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I was wondering whether the Sri Lankan Civil War, which officially ended, would technically considered to be still ongoing, since there are still clashes going on to this day. Would this classify as a war, something more minor, or irrelevant?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

The Sri Lankan Civil War was a war where the Sri Lankan government fought the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who were lead by Velupillai Prabhakaran. Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed on May 19 (or 18 depending on your sources), 2009, the Tigers of Tamil Eelam admitted defeat on May 17th, 2009, and the government declared the Civil War over on May 19th, 2009. Technically, there is no war, and it seems that the new conflict is between religions and not Tamil-Sinhalese conflict. There have been no formal successions or any form of organization after the LTTE was beaten. Most of these conflicts are spontaneous, without much leadership, much like the riots in Lahore, Pakistan, or India. Because there is no leadership or secession, there is no civil war going on

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However, would this still technically count as civil war? Just because religions are now fighting each other and not ethnic groups, wouldn't it still be war? Or would this just be classified as a new war? It would be nice if you could answer that as well, but I'm going to vote yours as best for now, at any rate. – Reliable Source Nov 29 '12 at 14:37
    
@ReliableSource, There have been no formal successions or any form of organization after the LTTE was beaten. Most of these conflicts are spontaneous, without much leadership, much like the riots in Lahore, Pakistan, or India. Because there is no leadership or secession, there is no civil war going on. – Russell Nov 29 '12 at 14:41
    
so the difference between conflict and war includes (but is not limited to) (1) leadership and (2) an objective/ agenda (secession)? Of course modern asymmetric warfare erodes the boundaries of all those conditions, but I think you've got it. Upvote. – Mark C. Wallace Nov 30 '12 at 17:26
    
When I studied the theory of international relations last century, one of the requirements for a war was that both sides have a recognizeable command structure, which implies that they are wearing a uniform. – Mark C. Wallace Nov 30 '12 at 17:27
    
@MarkC.Wallace Possibly the rules of engagement have changed. Terrorism has been termed as "war", guerrilla warfare is "war" and note that USA said it was at war on 9-11. Maybe there are new "expanded" definitions of war these days? – Rajib Dec 23 '13 at 10:08

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