All-out war unlikely despite Sri Lanka killing, analysts say

Ishara S. Kodikara | AFP | Getty Images Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center, speaks to supporters at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo on December 16, 2018, after he was reappointed as prime minister by Sri Lanka's president, the same man who fired him from the job nearly two months ago.

Sri Lanka’s peace initiative suffered a major setback when suspected Tamil Tiger rebels assassinated the foreign minister, but analysts say the troubled nation is unlikely to race toward all-out war. Sri Lanka’s peace initiative suffered a major setback when suspected Tamil Tiger rebels assassinated the foreign minister, but analysts say the troubled nation is unlikely to race toward all-out war. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have fought for three decades against the Colombo government in a conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives, denied involvement in Friday’s murder of Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Former rebel turned politician Dharmalingam Sithadthan said he did not expect the Tigers to stop targeting political opponents in the face of growing foreign criticism, but neither did he expect a return to large-scale fighting.

“I don’t seriously think that this will lead to full-scale war,” Sithadthan said. “The LTTE will overtly maintain the ceasefire but covertly target their opponents.”

Norway brokered a truce between the government and rebels in February 2002 but there has been increasing concern about the stability of the ceasefire, and negotiations between th