Thailand: Slow Burn


March 2, 2006: Large terrorist attacks have not occurred in the Moslem south, but each week there are more minor terrorist actions directed against non-Moslems. Teachers are still shot at, or attacked with bombs. This despite the use of armed escorts for teachers. While few teachers have been killed or injured lately, more of them are fleeing the south. This plays into the hands of the Islamic terrorists, who want only Islamic schools teaching the kids, and less schooling for girls.

Several non-Moslems are murdered each week. While the government has called for a conciliatory approach to the Moslem anger, the police have gone in hard, and that has caused more terrorist attacks. So far, the Thais have been able to play down the violence in the media. The attacks usually take place away from the tourist areas. But if the violence keeps increasing, the vital tourist industry will take a hit as well.

February 24, 2006: Prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra called for parliamentary elections in early April, in response to calls for his resignation. Thaksin is very popular with the poor, particularly the rural poor. Thaksin is a self-made millionaire who played by the corrupt rules of the Thai economy. He has brought more efficient, but not cleaner, government to Thailand. This has caused a growing movement for Thaksin to resign, and for corruption to be attacked. Thaksin counted his support, and decided that he could win a new election. He probably can, much to the dismay of his clean-government opponents.




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