Thailand: Terrorist Gamble Fails


August 3, 2007: Government efforts to stop the constant anti-military rule demonstrations in the capital, have failed. The military dictatorship wants to hold new elections by the end of the year, with a vote on a new constitution next month. The proposed new constitution would give military leaders new powers over even an elected government. The military threatens to jail anyone opposing the referendum, and is making a big media effort to get people to approve it.

In the south, police have arrested another three dozen terror suspects, and killed as many as ten in raids in the last week. The terrorists have responded with more (largely non-lethal) bombings, and pistol and rifle attacks on police, soldiers and civilians believed to be pro-government. This includes Moslems, especially Moslem police officers or soldiers.

The terrorists are increasingly being turned in by civilians unhappy with the growing violence. In the last few months, many of the terrorist attacks were directed at Moslem civilians, who either were, or were suspected of, supporting the government. This approach is risky, because if it does not succeed in terrorizing the target population into compliance, it just makes the civilians more hostile to the terrorists.


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