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Making Sense of Suicide Missions$
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Diego Gambetta

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276998

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276998.001.0001

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Tamil Tigers, 1987–2002

Tamil Tigers, 1987–2002

(p.43) 2 Tamil Tigers, 1987–2002
Making Sense of Suicide Missions

Stephen Hopgood

Oxford University Press

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been fighting a war for the national liberation of Tamils living in the north and east of Sri Lanka since the early 1970s. This chapter addresses a series of questions concerning both organizational and individual motivations. Why were the Black Tigers formed? How and why have they been deployed? Why did the intensity of their use Xuctuate? Who becomes a Black Tiger? Why have they acquired such a powerful reputation? The first section gives a brief history of the conflict. The second looks at the Black Tigers in the context of the LTTE, the third at the Black Tigers as a unit, and the fourth at what little can be said about personal motivations. The chapter concludes with some conjectures about the Black Tigers at both the organizational and personal levels.

Keywords:   Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Sri Lanka, conflict, Black Tigers

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