A lesson in Sri Lanka

For a few months already, government troops have been on the verge of ridding Sri Lanka of the island nation’s terrorist scourge, the Tamil Tigers. Now, it seems, they have done so.

Most of the world has ignored this 25-year-long conflict, and Israel is no exception. But now that this struggling island state has defeated one of the most accomplished terrorist and guerilla forces in modern history, it is imperative that every Western nation — and especially Israel — take great pains to study this development well.

The Tigers’ extinction is a resounding reality check for all those who have said that such a movement could not be defeated. Indeed, it was only after the rebels broke a truce that the Sri Lankan government decided to abandon its plan of managing the conflict and go for total victory that success became possible.

There is a profound lesson in this for Israel and its ill-fated strategy vis-a-vis Hamas: Pursue victory, and you shall get it. Pursue calm, and you shall never have it.

Like the notion of bringing Hamas to surrender is ridiculed as impossible, so too was the idea of defeating the Tigers of Tameel Elam once considered impossible. But no more. Today it is not folly to declare, “terrorism can be defeated!” It is folly to ignore such a declaration.

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