February 19, 2008:
The Islamic terror
continues in the south, with several attacks a week. Moslems continue to be
targets, as the Islamic terrorists try to cut off the flow of tips from Moslems
to the police. The terrorists have recently increased their attacks in mosques,
where they will often shoot politicians or local leaders who oppose Islamic
radicalism. Al Qaeda preaches that Moslems who don't agree with al Qaeda, are
not true Moslems, and can be killed wherever you can find them. Most Moslems do
not agree with this, which has led to a sharp decline in public approval of al
Neighboring Malaysia has offered to
help the newly elected Thai government with the Moslem unrest in southern
Thailand. The Thai Moslems are envious of the situation in Malaysia, where the
60 percent of the population that is Malay and Moslem, have passed laws favoring
Moslems for government jobs, education and all sorts of goodies. The unhappy non-Moslem
minority is kept in line via the Malay controlled police and army. The Thai
Moslems would like some of that special treatment.
February 18, 2008: In northern Myanmar,
four small bombs went off, in the pre-dawn hours, at a casino resort. Nearly a hundred guests soon
checked out because of this. While Myanmar has a very efficient police state,
rebels continue to be active.
February 14, 2008: An exiled Karen
rebel leader was murdered in Thailand. The killers were apparently from another
Karen faction. There has long been bad relations between Karen factions,
usually based on religion. The murdered man (Mahn Sha Lar Phan, secretary-general
of the Karen National Union) was a Christian, and his killers are believed to
be from a Buddhist Karen faction. The Burmese government takes advantage of
this factionalism by supporting some factions against others.
February 8, 2008: Opinion surveys of
voters indicates they returned supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin
Shinawatra to power because the military junta demonstrated they had no
solutions to the nation's economic and corruption problems. Thailand is similar
to many other Asian democracies, in how military dictators, after a year or so
of rule, can gracefully turn over power
to a new slate of elected leaders. This is rare in the West, but quite common
in the East.
February 6, 2008: In the Moslem south,
Islamic terrorists tried to disrupt Chinese New Years celebrations by setting
off a bomb near a shrine used by local Chinese. The Islamic terrorists are very
intolerant of non-Moslems, particularly if they are not Malay (as are nearly
all Moslems in Thailand).
February 4, 2008: In Myanmar (Burma)
soldiers began another offensive in the centuries old war between the coastal
Burmese, and the interior tribes, in this case the Karen, living along the Thai border. Several hundred
Karen people have fled to Thailand recently as a result. The army chases the
Karen villagers from their crops and attempts to capture armed tribesmen. Tribesmen
are frequently subject to forced labor for army run infrastructure projects (that make it
easier for the government to control the mountainous jungles along the border.)
These army operations have chased about 30,000 Karen from their homes over the
last three years.