Ceasefires Require Ceasing Fire

Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels, pushed by the Sri Lankan military into a tiny enclave awash with civilians, have indicated their willingness to accept a ceasefire with the government. Only, they just sent two airplanes careening into government buildings in the capital, Colombo, and don’t seem too ready to fulfill one of the crucial requirements of a ceasefire:

But the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rejected calls to lay down arms and surrender, saying keeping their weapons is necessary to ensure survival for the ethnic minority Tamil people in the Indian Ocean island nation.

This rationale seems to repeat the Tigers’ long-stated raison d’etre, so it’s probably premature to foresee the group disbanding or even ceasing attacks without some new diplomatic development. Unfortunately, in a situation that has attracted pitifully scant attention compared to the similar actions taken by the Israeli government in Gaza, the Sri Lankan government seems set on a military solution. It’s reprehensible for the Tigers to effectively be holding civilians in their small redoubt hostage, but it is equally reckless for the Sri Lankan military to continue a full-scale assault without adequate concern for the lives of innocent Tamils.