Civil-military relations in post-conflict Sri Lanka: successful civilian consolidation in the face of political competition
Wijayaratne, Chaminda Athapattu Mudalige P.
Chatterjee, Anshu Nagpal
Matei, Florina Cristiana
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The LTTE insurgency seeking a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka was successfully eliminated by the Sri Lankan military in 2009. Toward the end of the conflict, Sri Lanka’s armed forces strength rose to approximately 375,000. The use of the military in nation-building projects was misunderstood by many as militarization of the country. Therefore, this thesis asks these questions: How are the civil authorities maintaining control and effectiveness of the country’s armed forces? And how does the civilian government constructively utilize the military and continue to assert civilian rule? These questions were examined as a comparative single case study because in recent history, no civilian government has concluded terrorism through military means. A combination of Huntington’s subjective and objective civilian control theory, Alagappa’s state coercion theory, and Matei and Bruneau’s CMR dimensions was used. This thesis finds that the civilians used heavy subjective-control mechanisms to ascertain the subordination of military due to political competition. However, the divided political setting prevented the military from entering into party politics, increasing professionalism and antithesis of subjective control, which is objective control. In this situation, Huntington’s subjective control did not happen, as the divided political setting and conflict positively contributed to ascertaining civilian control.
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