Thailand: Treat Me Special

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February 19, 2008: The Islamic terror continues in the south, with several attacks a week. Moslems continue to be targets, as the Islamic terrorists try to cut off the flow of tips from Moslems to the police. The terrorists have recently increased their attacks in mosques, where they will often shoot politicians or local leaders who oppose Islamic radicalism. Al Qaeda preaches that Moslems who don't agree with al Qaeda, are not true Moslems, and can be killed wherever you can find them. Most Moslems do not agree with this, which has led to a sharp decline in public approval of al Qaeda.

Neighboring Malaysia has offered to help the newly elected Thai government with the Moslem unrest in southern Thailand. The Thai Moslems are envious of the situation in Malaysia, where the 60 percent of the population that is Malay and Moslem, have passed laws favoring Moslems for government jobs, education and all sorts of goodies. The unhappy non-Moslem minority is kept in line via the Malay controlled police and army. The Thai Moslems would like some of that special treatment.

February 18, 2008: In northern Myanmar, four small bombs went off, in the pre-dawn hours, at a casino resort. Nearly a hundred guests soon checked out because of this. While Myanmar has a very efficient police state, rebels continue to be active.

February 14, 2008: An exiled Karen rebel leader was murdered in Thailand. The killers were apparently from another Karen faction. There has long been bad relations between Karen factions, usually based on religion. The murdered man (Mahn Sha Lar Phan, secretary-general of the Karen National Union) was a Christian, and his killers are believed to be from a Buddhist Karen faction. The Burmese government takes advantage of this factionalism by supporting some factions against others.

February 8, 2008: Opinion surveys of voters indicates they returned supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to power because the military junta demonstrated they had no solutions to the nation's economic and corruption problems. Thailand is similar to many other Asian democracies, in how military dictators, after a year or so of rule, can gracefully turn over power to a new slate of elected leaders. This is rare in the West, but quite common in the East.

February 6, 2008: In the Moslem south, Islamic terrorists tried to disrupt Chinese New Years celebrations by setting off a bomb near a shrine used by local Chinese. The Islamic terrorists are very intolerant of non-Moslems, particularly if they are not Malay (as are nearly all Moslems in Thailand).

February 4, 2008: In Myanmar (Burma) soldiers began another offensive in the centuries old war between the coastal Burmese, and the interior tribes, in this case the Karen, living along the Thai border. Several hundred Karen people have fled to Thailand recently as a result. The army chases the Karen villagers from their crops and attempts to capture armed tribesmen. Tribesmen are frequently subject to forced labor for army run infrastructure projects (that make it easier for the government to control the mountainous jungles along the border.) These army operations have chased about 30,000 Karen from their homes over the last three years.

 

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