Thailand: Swedish Delight

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October 21, 2007: Islamic terrorists continue to trouble the Moslem south, with five or six attacks a day, causing 5-15 casualties. There has recently been, on average, at least one bombing a day. The bombs are not large, and are usually placed near army or police, but most of the casualties tend to be civilians. Moderate Moslems are increasingly resisting the militants, and that has resulted in more terrorists attacks on these Moslems. The police intelligence effort keeps making progress in identifying terrorists. This is forcing the terrorists to spend more time avoiding arrest. Once the identity of a terrorist is known, he can no longer hide in plain sight. Despite this, the level of violence continues to grow, with about a hundred dead each month, and nearly 2,700 dead since the terrorism began in early 2004. All this in an area with a total population of about two million.

October 17, 2007: The air force, by virtue of their being part of a military dictatorship running the government, got authority to spend $1.1 billion over the next decade to buy twelve Swedish JAS 39C/D ("Gripen") jet fighters, and two AEW (airborne radar) aircraft. The JAS 39s are to replace a squadron of 14 elderly (1970s) U.S. F-5 fighters. The air force wanted F-16s (to complement the 59 already on hand), but the U.S. refused, because the military had recently tossed out the elected and government and established a dictatorship. But there will be new elections soon, it's possible that elected officials will cancel the Swedish deal before it can be carried out. The Swedes are hoping that the newly approved (by referendum) Thai constitution, which gives the military more political power, will keep the sale safe.

 

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