Four months after promising power would be “returned to the people,” leaders of a military coup in Thailand remain in charge, with half the country under martial law. Talk of a coup is also in the air in Bangladesh, amid a political crisis (The Economist). In Sri Lanka, the revival of the country’s lengthy civil war has raised the prominence of military voices on its political scene.
Escalating violence between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger separatist group threatens to end the shaky 2002 cease-fire and spark another round in a brutal civil war that has caused 65,000 deaths. S.P. Tamilselvan, a leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) called the army’s recent occupation of the formerly Tiger-dominated northeastern city of Sampur a violation of the truce, saying the Tamil populations are in “misery” and warned the Sinhala population, who make up three quarters of Sri Lanka’s 19 million people, that they “face the same fate in the future.” (The Hindu). The terrorist organization, which is known for recruiting child soldiers and pioneering the use of suicide bombings as a terror tactic, has proven a resilient foe for the Sri Lankan military over the course of more than two decades, as this new Backgrounder explains. But the Christian Science Monitor reports that the Tigers are weakened by a breakaway faction, waning support from the minority Tamil population, and the recent crackdown on LTTE operatives in the United States.