Although the use of violence is an unacceptable means of changing the status quo, it must be recognized that the Tamils in Sri Lanka had genuine grievances. The 1983 violence had been preceded by more than two decades of discrimination against them.
In a campaign that lasted just under 30 months, the Sri Lankan military had eliminated one of the world's most effective terror organizations and the one that had perfected the use of suicide bombers.
[T]he fear of a Sri Lankan alignment with countries seen as hostile to India was decisive in Indira Gandhi's decision to arm, fund and train the LTTE - a policy that had a huge blowback in subsequent years, including the 1992 assassination of Indira's son, Rajiv Gandhi, by a female LTTE suicide bomber.
[Premadasa's assassination] was a real lesson to those who believed that they can ride a terror tiger and dismount at will.
The "Stop, Go, Stop" policy pursued by successive Sri Lankan administrations in dealing with the LTTE is a textbook example of how not to deal with an insurgency.
... Prabhakaran's plan to reestablish the LTTE's strength would move forward assisted as it was by the money that had begun flowing in from numerous foreign NGOs, which were collecting the cash "for humanitarian purposes."
Adopting the combat tenets of counterinsurgency warfare, the Sri Lankan army ceased seeking decisive engagements with LTTE forces. Instead, small stealthy army units ... surprise[d] LTTE units in their rear areas which, in addition to killing LTTE fighters, sowed confusion and panic within the heretofore confident LTTE ranks.
Prabhakaran's personal dictatorship and refusal to tolerate anyone other than sycophants to be close to him had so demoralized LTTE commanders that a few even surrendered to the government.
The critical factor in the Sri Lanka's 2009 victory was the diplomatic coup secured by President Rajapaksa. For the first time, Norway and the EU were prevented for imposing a cease-fire that would allow the LTTE to regroup and rearm.