Thailand: Border Wars


May 3, 2006: Violence continues in the south, despite the formation of a new government. There are several attacks a week, sometimes almost daily. Over 1,200 have died in the last two years, since the Islamic violence escalated beyond nuisance levels. Captured Islamic terrorists reveal frequent connections between Islamic terrorist groups and criminal gangs. The smuggling business has always been a major part of the local economy, but the increasing movement of drugs across the border from Malaysia has made smuggling even more lucrative, and attracted more young men to the gang life.

April 26, 2006: Several thousand Burmese civilians have crossed the border, fleeing a Burmese army offensive against Karen separatists. The Karen tribes of northern Burma have been fighting the Burmese government for several generations, and have often fled into Thailand to escape violence. The Thais don't encourage this, and eventually send the Karens back. But there are almost a million internal refugees in Burma, from the fighting between the army and various rebellious tribes. There have been some border clashes between Thai and Burmese troops, but the Burmese have tried real hard to avoid that of late, as the Thai troops are better, and Burma is a police state that has its hands full keeping all the unhappy groups under control.

April 19, 2006: In the southern Moslem provinces, there were several attacks on polling places, leaving one policeman dead. These attacks were a continuation of the terror and intimidation campaign by Islamic radicals, and local criminal gangs. Often it's hard to tell the two apart, as some of the same thugs belong to both.


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