Anyone who has been closely monitoring the current military operation in the north-east of Sri Lanka, where the battle to liberate the rest of the Wanni region is getting close day by day, would know that it is a do or die situation for the LTTE. The LTTE has claimed that they have pinned down and killed around 1000 troops in an infiltration offensive into the army FDL during the last five days.
In turn the army has claimed that Mullaittivu battle has reached its last phase as LTTE cadres made several desperate attempts in vain, to infiltrate the military forward defenses which left over 100 cadres killed and as many injured since the dawn of Friday (March 6). LTTE was preparing for a large scale offensive towards the existing military defenses at Palamathalan and North of Puthkkudiyirippu, inducting over 200 cadres including suicide bombers and sea tigers. Following the initial thrust the LTTE had planned to send waves of around 200 odd cadres to provide reinforcements.
Bahnu, Soosai, Swarnam, Theepan, Pottu Amman, Lowrence, Ratnam Master, Sasikumar Master, Thinesh Master and few other high profile LTTE commanders were directly involved in master minding the pre-emptive assault, security sources said. According to the military, this is the first time during recent battles LTTE has inducted many of its 'high profiles' to the battlefront. Yet, timely detection and precise ground intelligence received from the directorate of military intelligence proved decisive as LTTE’s offensive waves were received with intense military counter attacks. Over 150 cadres were killed during the initial thrust while the rest were hunted down by 2nd Commando Regiment troops, 12 GR, 12 GW and 8 GW troops during the past 48 hours.
As repeatedly claimed by some defense experts it is widely believed that the fighting power of LTTE is enormously weakened due to the scarcity of military supplies and lack of man power. These are the main reasons for the 'defeat' according to those experts’ assessment. But the latest LTTE attempt from the 65 square km area still controlled by it has proven that the LTTE is still capable of planning, preparing and executing surprise raids on the rapidly advancing military. It is against this backdrop the security forces are rethinking their strategy in order to implement intelligence led unconventional warfare tactics.
As we know from open source you can extract to 95% of strategic intelligence, but for tactical intelligence the security forces need to depend on the human intelligence (HUMINT). Other types include signals intelligence (SIGINT), obtained by intercepting and decrypting the LTTE’s communications information, transmissions, and imagery intelligence (IMINT), which comes from the study of photographs taken from the air or space. It is not news that the security forces have been trying to strengthen its HUMINT gathering capacity for some time now; indeed, it has been openly recruiting former LTTE cadres and other Tamil militants who are working with security forces as “Para-Military” groups. In addition to this the SL Army’s Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) and/or Special Force Regiment (SF) also play vital role in its HUMINT gathering effort.
Given the current context it is very easy to do such psychological warfare projects as most of the non-hard core LTTE cadres and leaders are in low morale while the security forces are moving in. As humans all LTTE cadres would be thinking of survival these days. But the security forces can’t expect LTTE leaders like Bahnu, Soosai, Swarnam, Theepan, Pottu Amman, Lowrence, or Nadesan to defect because these guys are married to female LTTE cadres and have kids. Therefore the security forces must be looking for some young but clever LTTE cadres for the job. It’s indeed a good plan as Karuna Amman is made a minister this week and the former LTTE child soldier Pillaiyan is the chief minister of the east now. It will make other LTTE cadres to think about this option. President Mahinda Rajapaksha should be applauded for appointing Karuna Amman and Pillaiyan to these high posts within a short period of time because it’s definitely a strategic move.
Hence the security forces are planning to exploit its latest HUMINT asset in the current military operation. To fully liberate the Wanni terrain and wipe out LTTE completely as the security forces did in the east, the directorate of military intelligence should engineer another “break-away” faction just like Karuna Amman defected in 2004. For this purpose security forces may utilize Karuna Amman to convince some LTTE senior cadre to run away from the LTTE and surrender to the security forces. The military intelligence may use LTTE’s communications and transmissions intercepting systems for this purpose.