Thailand: Involuntary Martyrs


June 25, 2009:  The government is sending $43 million to the three Moslem provinces in the south, to pay families who lost someone to the Islamic terrorism, and to raise the salaries of government employees (especially teachers) who are often the targets of the terrorist.  The government is increasing economic investment in the south, seeing that as the best way to retain the loyalty of the Moslems, and halt the Islamic terrorism.

In the last few weeks, nearly 5,000 refugees from Myanmar have fled across the border, joining over 100,000 already there. Nearly all are from Karen tribes, which have been losing their 60 year old rebellion since the 1990s, when many Karen tribes surrendered to the government.

The Islamic terrorists in the south are using the June 8th mosque attack as a rallying call. But it's still unclear who attacked the mosque. No one took credit for it, and the government insists it was not responsible. The Islamic rebels have been losing in the past year or so, and they may well have staged the mosque attack as a way to make the security forces more unpopular, and less likely to recruit informants within the Moslem community.  Islamic radicals justify killing fellow Moslems either by declaring the victims to not be "true Moslems" (because they disagree with the radicals) or are "involuntary martyrs" for the cause.

It's been a bloody month down south, with over 150 casualties so far. In the last five years, the southern strife have left 3,700 dead. The terrorist target government officials, especially those who are Buddhist, and Moslems who inform on the terrorists, or work for the government. About three percent of the dead are school teachers, who have been frequently targeted by the Islamic terrorists, because Islamic religious schools are where most of the terrorists have been recruited. The terrorists want to shut down the state schools, and force all children to attend the religious schools (not all of them are influenced by radicals, but enough are to provide more terrorist recruits.)         

No progress in solving the border dispute with Cambodia, and troops still patrol the disputed region around an ancient temple.

June 8, 2009:  In the south, six men shot up a mosque, killing eleven and wounding twelve. The men appeared to be soldiers, but the army and the government denied this. It would help the Islamic rebels if the attackers were soldiers, angry over recent attacks on Buddhists in the area. The Islamic rebels have carried out attacks dressed as soldiers before. But Moslems also believe the attackers may have been Buddhists militia (armed civilians used to protect non-Moslem villages.)

June 7, 2009: On the Myanmar border, over 3,000 refugees have fled to Thailand, because the Myanmar army is making the largest attack, on Karen tribes, since the late 1990s. The Karen have been rebelling for decades.  

June 6, 2009: In the south, a bomb and gunfire left two dead and 19 wounded.


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