Morning Brief: Desperation in Sri Lanka

Top Story The UN believes that 6,500 civilians have been killed in the recent fighting in Sri Lanka. More than 100,000 people have now fled the war zone, but around 50,000 are still trapped behind Tamil Tiger barricades. India has dispatched a delegation to Colombo to try to press the government for a ceasefire. UN ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
586449_090424_srilanka5.jpg
586449_090424_srilanka5.jpg
This handout photo released by the Sri Lankan Army on April 22, 2009 shows what is claimed to be civilians fleeing from an area controlled by Tamil Tigers in the northeast of the island. Sri Lanka's government said on April 22 the Tamil Tigers were close to complete defeat as the army pressed a final offensive against the rebels despite international fears for civilians. AFP PHOTO / HO / Sri Lankan Army. (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Top Story

The UN believes that 6,500 civilians have been killed in the recent fighting in Sri Lanka. More than 100,000 people have now fled the war zone, but around 50,000 are still trapped behind Tamil Tiger barricades.

India has dispatched a delegation to Colombo to try to press the government for a ceasefire. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also demanded that international monitors be let in. The military believes that Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is trapped in a small patch of jungle with the last of his forces and the Sri Lankan government is unlikely to halt the offensive until he is killed or captured.

Top Story

The UN believes that 6,500 civilians have been killed in the recent fighting in Sri Lanka. More than 100,000 people have now fled the war zone, but around 50,000 are still trapped behind Tamil Tiger barricades.

India has dispatched a delegation to Colombo to try to press the government for a ceasefire. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also demanded that international monitors be let in. The military believes that Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is trapped in a small patch of jungle with the last of his forces and the Sri Lankan government is unlikely to halt the offensive until he is killed or captured.

The Sri Lankan government is still blocking reporters’ access to the front lines but the BBC‘s Charles Haviland got close and filed a chilling video report. 

Middle East

Asia

  • Pakistani Taliban leaders have agreed to pull back to their Swat valley stronghold after occupying the neighboring Buner district. Some hardliners are vowing to stay though. 
  • A landmine blast killed five people during India’s elections yesterday. Communist rebels are suspected.
  • The U.S. journalists arrested in North Korea last month will face criminal charges.

Africa

  • With victory all but assured in this week’s national elections, South Africa’s ANC is now just aiming to beat its results from the last election.
  • At an international conference, countries pledged more than $200 million to fight Somali piracy. 
  • Two army officers in Guinea were arrested on suspicion of plotting a coup.

Americas

Europe

  • U.S. and Russian negotiators have opened talks on replacing the about-to-expire START treaty with a new arms reduction deal.
  • President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed the head of Russia’s military intelligence service. It’s unclear why. 
  • Despite the dire forecasts, German business confidence continues to rebound.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.