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Cablegate: Ltte Split Festering Wound Say South Indians

R 190635Z MAR 04
FM AMCONSUL CHENNAI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0969
AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
INFO AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
AMCONSUL CALCUTTA
AMCONSUL MUMBAI
AMEMBASSY OSLO

UNCLAS CHENNAI 000294


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PREL IN CE
SUBJECT: LTTE SPLIT FESTERING WOUND SAY SOUTH INDIANS

REF: A)03 CHENNAI 1441
B)03 CHENNAI 304
C)03 CHENNAI 1036

1. (U) SUMMARY: The current split in the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) hamstrings the Sri Lankan
peace process and might even degenerate into a
"bloodbath," warned security analysts who met DAS
Donald Camp during his May 15 visit to Chennai. They
predicted a standoff between Karuna, the better
general, and Prabhakaran, the autocrat who brooks no
dissent. Indian state government officials foresaw an
interruption of refugee repatriations. All feared that
a multi-polar state, ideal for breeding terrorists,
might emerge. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- --------
Analysts See Stalemate, Covert Ops, Muslim Alienation
--------------------------------------------- --------

2. (U) "This is going to lead to a stalemate that will
hinder peace moves," lamented V. Suryanarayanan, former
Director, Center for South East Asian Studies,
University of Madras. Other speakers at the Observer
Research Foundation (ORF) expressed complementary
views. Colonel Hariharan, former Chief of Military
Intelligence of the Indian peacekeeping Force in Sri
Lanka, indicated that Karuna was a better general than
Prabhakaran and would likely win any conventional
confrontation. So, he hypothesized that "a covert
operation is likely to have already been launched" to
assassinate Karuna. B. Raman, former additional
director of the Research and Analysis Wing (India's
CIA), added that Karuna, no fool, would not have split
from Prabhakaran unless he sensed growing popular
discontent in the East against Prabhakaran's northern
LTTE faction. Raman added that Karuna must have
believed that Prabhakaran planned to eliminate him so
he defected, with a powerful force, while he still
could.

3. (U) ORF panelists described the current split as a
defining event for the LTTE. "The image that the LTTE
is a monolithic structure is broken once and for all,"
V. Suryanrayanan noted. The apparent failure of the
LTTE's famed intelligence wing to prevent this crisis
stunned the analysts. "Looks like intelligence outfits
of non-state actors are as fallible as their state
counterparts," A.S. Paneerselvam, Sun Television
network's chief news editor, observed. T.S.
Subramanium, special correspondent, Frontline Magazine,
predicted that "Pottu (LTTE's Intelligence Chief) will
pay with his life" for the oversight.

4. (U) ORF panelists also predicted increasing
alienation among Sri Lankan Muslims. They noted that
neither Prabhakaran nor Karuna offered Muslims hope of
adequate representation in any government. This,
coupled with a growing sense of Muslim identity,
virtually ensured alienation with potential for
extremism. The panel referenced previous calls for a
"separate Muslim police force" and the flow of Gulf
money to Sri Lanka as evidence. They noted a "rich
potential for radicalization," and hinted at others who
would want to take advantage of the situation, gliding
into references to what they called Lashkar-e-Toiba
"sleeper cells" in South India and especially
Hyderabad. They implied that the Muslims of Eastern
Sri Lanka could be ripe for such contacts.

--------------------------------------------- -
State Officials Fear For Security and Refugees
--------------------------------------------- -

5. (U) "We are watching the situation for it has
security implications for the state," Lakshmi Pranesh,
Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN)
offered at a separate meeting between DAS Camp and GoTN
officers. Her statement echoed earlier reports of
Indian concern (REF A). The GoTN fears the LTTE split
will stop the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees from
Tamil Nadu (REF B). "We repatriated 1500 refugees last
year," T. Pitchandi, Secretary Public and
Rehabilitation, told DAS Camp. The GoTN continues to
work with the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in
Chennai to facilitate issuing Sri Lankan travel
documents for the refugees (REF C).

6. (U) COMMENT: South Indian security experts have
warned that the LTTE's split may signal a tectonic
shift in Sri Lanka's political environment that could
have international repercussions. India's Tamil Nadu
state has already considered the implications for its
refugee population. In the shadow of the current
crisis, South India feels vulnerable to a break down in
Sri Lanka. END COMMENT.

HAYNES

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