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Strategic Role of Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in Promoting Separatism in Sri Lanka

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Technical Report

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The Government of Sri Lanka GoSL fought a three-decade counter-insurgency war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam LTTE, a terrorist organization that adopted a separatist ideology to create a State of Eelam for the Tamil minority in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. The Tamil diaspora played a strategic role in the conflict as an external actor providing large sums of funds, procuring military material, running its shipping companies, providing moral support, and most significantly enhancing the international attitude towards the LTTE. It is not yet certain whether the GoSL achieved the defeat of the insurgency with the military defeat of the LTTE in 2009, as the Tamil diaspora still continues to promote the separatist cause through political, diplomatic, and informational approaches. In 2010, the Tamil diaspora established a Government in Exile, the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam TGTE, as a step towards the actualization of its cause. The Tamil diasporas shift of focus to a non-violent and political-diplomatic approach has gained it some acceptance and support internationally. This research investigates how a separatist movement could regain its momentum through an external actor such as a diaspora by analyzing the case of the current strategic role of the Tamil diaspora in promoting separatism in Sri Lanka.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Unconventional Warfare

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