One thing keeping the Islamic rebellion in the south from gaining
wider support is the respect and affection older Moslems have for the king. The
monarchy has long operated as a restraint on the men who actually run the
country. The current king, Bhumibol, has been on the throne for sixty years,
and has long worked to improve the lives of the southern provinces. Even the
young radicals down there, do not attack the royal projects (mainly research
centers for improving agriculture), for fear of angering the majority of Moslem
farmers in the south. The king is also known for advocating a non-violent
resolution of the problems in the south. To young radicals, this is just a game
of "good cop/bad cop." But the Islamic radicals are a minority, and
the majority in the south still believe in the king.
30, 2006: In the south, two drive by shootings left two dead and five wounded.
While the victims were non-Moslems, the attacks were believed as revenge for
the recent arrest of a man suspected of carrying out earlier attacks. The
Islamic rebels want to encourage the police to get rough, which will make it
easier for the terrorists to get the local population on their side.
28, 2006: A time bomb was found, and disarmed, three hours before it was set to
explode, in the headquarters of an opposition political party. This was not
believed to be the work of Islamic radicals, but the culprit has yet to be
27, 2006: The demonstrations against the prime minister are going to continue
until the national elections on April 2nd. The king refused to replace the
prime minister, and all will depend on the outcome of the election. The prime
minister is heeding the kings advice, and putting more effort into non-violent
resolution of the Islamic rebellion in the south. This approach is much less
dramatic, and hard for a politician to sell. But apparently, having the king on
your side is more important than some headline grabbing counter-terrorism operations.