The period from July 1983 to October 1986, until the Battle atMannar where LTTE leader Victor became a martyr for the cause, hasto be labeled as a period of civil unrest, followed by civil strife.The dictionary definitions of the three words in discussion namely,unrest, strife and war are as follows, and I provide examples within parentheses.Unrest is defined as,
‘trouble; turmoil, especially with regard to public or political conditions and suggesting premonitions of revolt.’
(bank raids; LTTE’s 1985 retaliatory attack in Anuradhapura)Strife is defined as,
‘fighting; any contest for advantage or superiority’
(Infighting in TELO between Bobby and Das factions;LTTE’s decimation of TELO)War is defined as,
‘an armed conflict between nations or states; the science of military operations’
.To recapitulate, Licklider’s three criteria which need to be satisfiedfor a designation of civil war are:Presence of influential leaders concerned about the possibilityof living in the same political unit with their current enemiesafter the killing stops.
Existence of multiple sovereignty: Population of an area obeyingmore than one institution, paying taxes, providing men to itsarmies, feeding its functionaries, honoring its symbols, givingtime to its service, yielding other resources despite the prohibitions of a still-existing government they formerly obeyed.
Large scale violence, reflected by (a) 1,000 battle deaths or more per year, and (b) effective resistance where the weaker sidemust have imposed casualties on its opponent equal to at least5% of its own (to distinguish between civil wars and politicalmassacres).
Now, let me show why the civil war began during Pirabhakaran’ssole-leadership of Eelam Tamils, and not when Amirthalingam wasthe nominal leader in July 1983, or when there were competingclaimants for leadership among the Tamil militants, between August1983 and end of 1986.Pirabhakaran’s ascent to Eelam leadership, though unprecedented inSouth Asian setting, is legitimate, if one comprehends the peculiar conditions Sri Lanka faced in the mid-1980s, when (1) parliamentary
The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon Part 10http://www.sangam.org/PIRABAKARAN/Part10.htm2 of 1212/12/2008 5:37 PM