Sri Lanka rebels’ bid for own state sets stage for war: analysts

Nov 28, 2006 (AFP) – A solemn vow by the veteran Tamil rebel leader that his people will now pursue their own independent state has set the stage for a return to full-scale war in Sri Lanka, analysts said Tuesday. “He has gone for a declaration of war,” former Tamil separatist turned politician Dharmalingam Sithadthan told AFP.

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the ruthless leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for more than three decades, accused the Colombo government of waging war under cover of the island’s peace process.

The 2.5 million Tamil minority were left “with no other option but an independent state,” Prabhakaran declared Monday night in an annual policy speech.

“All these days what we had was ‘undeclared war’. Now he is saying that he has ditched the peace process and is taking the ‘Eelam’ route, meaning a separate Tamil nation on the Sinhalese-majority island.

“There is very little chance of the peace process being revived,” Sithadthan said.

“After all-out war, maybe the two sides might come again for talks, it could be in about a year or more.

The ex-rebel also suggested that the current monsoon gave the LTTE an advantage over the army.

“He (Prabhakaran) is not u