Potential Hot Spots: August 8, 2000

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Laos is one of the few remaining communist police states. A three way civil war between royalists, communists and tribesman (mainly Hmong) went on during the Vietnam war. North Vietnam occupied Laos in force throughout the 1960s and finally defeated the US supported Hmong army in the early 1970s. The country has been tightly controlled by the communists ever since, although the Hmong held on to a lot of their weapons and never fully submitted to the new government. In the last four months there have been eight reported bombings in the capital, and on August 1st, two bombs were found and defused (one in the Vietnamese embassy.) Some suspect that this is the result of different factions within the government feuding, although the government denies this. No one has taken credit for the bombs. There was also a odd attack from Thailand on a border post last month. There are Hmong living in most nations adjacent to Laos and there have been signs that the Hmong are rearming (there are a lot of weapons available, cheap, in nearby Cambodia.) Then again, the economy is a mess and the bombings may also involve criminal activity.

 

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