Thailand: The Malaysia Connection

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February22, 2007: In the south, police have arrested three suspects in the mass bombing attacks of February 18th. Analysis of the bomb debris revealed that the explosives came from quarries across the border in Malaysia. Electronic components used for the timers were also traced back to Malaysian sources. The government admits that its counter-terror efforts in the south have not been effective, and that new tactics were being employed. Malaysia has agreed to help out more.

February 20, 2007: In addition to more meetings with moderate leaders in the three rebellious Moslem provinces, the government will run a public relations campaign to support efforts to eliminate the terrorists. In addition, 88 advisory teams are being sent to Moslem villages, to try and convince villagers to supply information. Although there are an additional 10,000 troops and police in the south, most of these men do not speak the local language (Malay, not Thai, which is spoken in the rest of the country.) The non-Moslem troops from up north also tend to look down on the less educated, less affluent southerners.

February 19, 2007: The government still has not caught any of those who set off bombs in the capital on New Years Eve. One man was caught on a security camera, and the government has now offered a $28,000 reward for anyone who can identify him.

February 18, 2007: At least 28 small bombs were set off in the south, killing nine people and wounding fifty. There were also about twenty shooting and arson attacks. The targets included many bars and movie theaters, indicating that this was the work of Islamic terrorists (who do not approve of movies or alcohol). Some Moslem targets were also hit, in order to terrorize moderate Moslem who do not support these attacks. The bombs also appear to have targeted businesses owned by ethnic Chinese Thais (who tend to dominate retail and wholesale trade, which is resented by non-Chinese Thais). The Islamic terrorists want to drive the ethnic Chinese Thais, who tend to be Buddhist, out of the south.

February 15, 2007: Malaysia has agreed to cooperate with Thailand in dealing with the Islamic terrorism in the three Moslem provinces of southern Thailand. Previously, Malaysia insisted it had nothing to do with the unrest, but it was an open secret that many gangsters and terrorists in southern Thailand, took refuge, and did business, across the border in Malaysia.

 

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