Thailand: Islamic Terrorists Ignore Coup

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September 28, 2006: The generals who overthrew prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are having a hard time finding someone to replace him. Not many eager candidates for the job. Moreover, the coup leaders have promised new elections in 13 months, which, in theory, Thaksin Shinawatra could win. The generals will probably prevent Thaksin from running, and try to smear him with corruption investigations and propaganda in the meantime. A temporary prime minister will be appointed in the next few weeks, and life will go on.
Meanwhile, the Islamic terrorism continues in the south. Now there are cases of young men, dressed up in the "Islamic clothing" favored by religious school students, taking part in the murder of non-Moslems. While there are not a lot of these murders every week (maybe 5-10), they are brazen, the police are not having much success in finding the culprits.
September 27, 2006: In the north, someone burned down four schools. This was seen as a protest by backers of the ousted prime minister, who came from the north and was very popular there. Nationwide, however, Thaksins popularity was the result of clever media campaigns, and the personal wealth to pay for it. With Thaksin in exile, and his money immobilized, Thaksins opponents hope to eliminate Thaksin from the political landscape.
September 24, 2006: Corruption investigations have been opened against the former prime minister and his associates. Corruption is pretty common, although also much criticized. It's a problem everyone complains about, but that no one can do anything about.
September 23, 2006: Unrest continues in the Moslem south, where four policemen were wounded by a roadside bomb.
September 21, 2006: The military has forbidden meetings by political parties, and placed restrictions on the media. While there was no open opposition to the coup, which apparently went ahead with the approval of the king (who is very popular), the ousted prime minister was also very popular. In fact, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (who has set up shop in London) had the support of the majority of Thais. But Thaksins support was mainly in rural areas, while his opponents, and the military, are mainly in the urban areas (especially the capital.) So opposition to the coup would be largely out of sight. But it is there.

 

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