chapter  14
22 Pages

Sri Lankan Terrorism: Assessing and Responding to the Threat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)


Few countries have suffered the consequences of ethnic separatism and cultural nationalism as severely as Sri Lanka in its postcolonial period. The Asian island has been besieged by an ethnic conflict between its Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority for decades. One of the strongest militant nationalist groups in Sri Lanka is the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers, a fierce terrorist group fighting for an independent Tamil nation and famous for its aggressive use of suicide terrorism. Insofar as it has grown from an insurgent group into a transnational terror network, the LTTE poses a significant threat to Sri Lankan security that has been poorly assessed and inadequately addressed. The trademark use of suicide terrorism by the LTTE in the Sri Lankan ethnic war is examined. An analysis of the fight against LTTE terrorism, including important policy recommendations, follows.