Thailand: On The Brink Of Civil War

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November 26,2008: Small bombs went off at the two international airports, but there were no injuries. Both airports are closed by demonstrators. Pro and anti-government demonstrators in the capital have begun shooting at each other. The battle is basically between the educated urban royalists, who want to overthrow the populist politicians that have attracted the support of the majority of voters, most of them poor, less educated, rural people. The urbanites believe these populist politicians are corrupt (which some are, but that is common in all Thai political parties) and not fit to rule, even if they got the most votes, and seats in parliament. The military, whose officers largely side with the anti-government demonstrators, does not want to run the country again, because most Thais oppose military governments. But unless the demonstrations stop, the escalation is headed for a bloody civil war. Many politicians, from all parties, want to avoid this, but it's all spiraling out of control.

Meanwhile, the Islamic violence in the south continues, with the security forces continuing to grind down the terrorists.

Thailand is also suffering from the global economic recession, and the months of demonstrations in the capital have interfered with government attempts to do something about the growing unemployment and banking problems.

Thai and Cambodian troops still face each other on a disputed section of their border, near an ancient temple. In neighboring Myanmar, the government has sentenced nearly a hundred democracy protestors to prison terms, some as long as 65 years. Most of those sentenced were arrested as a result of demonstrations against the military government last year.

November 25, 2008: Demonstrators in the capital surrounded parliament and prevented the legislature from doing any work. Demonstrators then moved to the two international airports, shutting them down and stranding over 3,000 travelers, including many foreign tourists. The government called on the military to clear the airport. Thus far, the military has refused to use lethal violence, and insisted that they do not want to stage another coup.

November 24, 2008: Three small bombs went off near the headquarters of the anti-government demonstrators. No one was injured.

November 22, 2008: Another 40mm grenade was fired into a group of anti-government demonstrators standing near a government building in the capital. Eight people were wounded.

November 20, 2008: Someone fired a 40mm grenade into a group of anti-government demonstrators gathered near a government building the demonstrators were occupying. One person was killed and 29 were injured. This angered the demonstrators, who are now going to escalate their operations. For the last three months, demonstrators representing urban political parties, that lost the last two elections, have been occupying government buildings, trying to gain control of the government. The 40mm grenade is strictly a military weapon, and this attack indicates that some of the troops, particularly the many soldiers recruited from rural areas, are very hostile to the demonstrators. Some officers are as well, and both groups are becoming more vocal about it.

 

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