Thailand: The Coming Darkness

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August 27, 2006: Opponents to prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, unable to defeat him with votes, have continued demonstrations and other forms of protest. In response, the police have been ordered to "get tougher" with the escalating opposition tactics. While Thaksin has lots of enemies, he apparently has more supporters. So far, the opposition has been largely non-violent.
August 26, 2006: In the south, a roadside bomb was used to kill a colonel in the army security forces. another soldier died and five more were wounded. There were several gunmen, opening fire with automatic weapons, after the bomb went off. Soldiers returned fire, and the terrorist gunmen escaped on motorcycles.
August 25, 2006: A large car bomb was found near the prime ministers home, and was defused. A army lieutenant was arrested for having driven the car there. The prime minister accused the army of plotting to kill him. A senior general accused the prime minister of making up the plot, but the army agreed to carry out an investigation of some retired officers who have been active in the anti- Thaksin movement.
August 24, 2006: Police intelligence believes that Moslem rebel leaders met last April to plan a large increase in attacks, a three month campaign beginning next month. These attacks would concentrate in infrastructure. Power plants and water treatment facilities would be bombed, along with power lines and water pipelines. In addition, attacks would be made on government facilities and security force bases and headquarters.
August 22, 2006: The army wants to raise special border patrol (or "ranger") units along the southern border. Several thousand local men would be recruited for this duty. The recruits would be screened to keep out Islamic radicals, and trained to shut down the smuggling across the border. The program will only continue if parliament provides the money. The army also wants to increase educational opportunities in the south, including Moslem schools that don't teach religious extremism, and education outside the south.
August 19, 2006: Several of roadside bombs have been going off each week in the south, along with shootings of non-Moslems. The terrorists have been using cell phones to detonate the bombs remotely.

 

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