In the south, the "Islamic rebellion" has turned into a different kind of conflict. Drug smuggling gangs are fighting to maintain their routes, and control over the population. But the Islamic radical groups, initially supported by the drug gangs, have evolved into enforcers for the drug gangs, spending more and more of their efforts attacking Moslems who cooperate with the government. Thus most of the casualties recently killed are Moslems, and the biggest complaint among civilians in the south is the gang related violence. The people down south consider any civilian with a gun a gangster, no matter what the shooter's religious beliefs might be.
A key event in the Islamic unrest in the south was a raid, seven years ago, on a military base down there. Some 400 rifles (mostly M16s) and pistols were taken. Only 18 percent of these weapons have been recovered, and those that haven't have been used to kill a large portion of those who have been killed (4,200) and wounded (7,300) down there in seven years of violence (and about 10,000 separate acts of violence).
January 10, 2011: Two Moslem men, both members of security organizations, were shot, apparently by Islamic terrorists.
January 9, 2011: Despite growing government pressure on the populist movement, over 30,000 red shirt (populist) demonstrators gathered in the capital. The government has gone after the red shirt leadership, but the populists have remained organized (and regularly reorganized), and vowed to hold two large demonstrations a month until the government backs off and holds honest elections (which the more numerous populists would probably win). But the red shirts are against formidable (wealthier, better educated and better armed) opponents. The "yellow shirts" represent the military, or, rather, the wealthy and well-connected officers of the military. Like many other ancient countries, the military is a magnet for well-born sons and ambitious commoners willing to follow orders. The Thai military, being the largest collection of trained gunmen in the country, is the ultimate source of power in Thailand. The military does not like the populists, who, until a coup five years ago, used their numbers to get elected, and cut the military budget. An ally of the military is the educated urbanites, especially the ones who work for the government. This includes educators, who see the populists as corrupt and common. The royalists include enthusiasts from all parts of society, but more of them are found in the military and among old money urbanites. The red shirts, even with superior numbers, thus have a hard time getting back in power.
January 7, 2011: In the northeast, the heartland of the populist movement, a bomb damaged a school library named after a prominent royalist official. No one was injured, and the attacks was believed to be red shirts sending a message.
January 6, 2011: In the south, two Islamic terrorists killed a Moslem village headman, and were caught and killed while fleeing, by police and marines.
January 1, 2011: In the south, a motorcycle bomb went off, killing two bomb disposal technicians. This is the second bomb in the south in the last four days.