The August issue of the Jane's Intelligence Report said the annual income of the banned terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) is between US $ 200-300 million making it the rebel group generating the second biggest income both by legal and illegal business.
The report said the huge income is generated perhaps from shipping to drugs and extortion by a network of professional managers -both Tamils and others- across a string of countries and as a guerilla group its income is second only to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia whose income comes from its vast Cocaine sales.
"Shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles are almost certainly the most probable item on the wish list, but there will also be small arms and other weapons," Christian LeMiere , managing Editor of Jane's Country Risk.
Jane's also said part of its income also comes from purported Tamil Charities, the funds of which are allegedly transferred for its coffers.
The LTTE also known as Tamil Tigers has been spending part of this vast income to buy conventional arms to fight the Sri lankan security forces to form a separate state in the country encompassing one third of the land mass and two thirds of the sea coast of the island nation.
The report said the group has been engaged in a war with waning results since 2006 and its weapons have been smuggled in from South-East Asia and nearby parts of India.
Editor Christian LeMiere said, "But the progress of the war since 2006 has been against the LTTE, so it hasn't done them very much good," LeMiere said. A series of arrests of alleged Tiger weapons buyers in North America, Europe and Thailand have also obviously worsened the situation.
The report said many Tamil charities have become an effective way of transferring money to the terrorist outfit.
The report said a network of Tamil charities proved an effective way of moving money for the coffers of the outfit. It said the Sri Lankan government says large amounts of money raised after the 2004 tsunami found their way to the rebels. Australian federal government has prosecuted LTTE supporters against the same charge but the LTTE has denied the charge.
Possessors of the world's only rebel air force and a navy of fast attack boats, the Tigers were able to bomb the capital and airport this year with light aircraft probably smuggled into the country in pieces, the report said.
But the rebels have lost large amounts of territory, it added, in the east of the island to the army since late 2002 ceasefire collapsed last year and government jets have been able to raid their bases with impunity-hence their wish for anti-aircraft missiles.
The Tigers, who still control a de facto state in the north, have been widely condemned for their use of suicide bombing and are listed in the US, European Union and elsewhere as terrorists, the report said.
Jane's also said the Tamil Tigers freedom to operate overseas was reduced by a global crackdown on militant groups after 11 September 2001 attacks.
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