The UFDAP (United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship) has halted
its blockade of the parliament, and called for its followers to enjoy the five
day New Years holiday, and maybe resume demonstrations after that. The economic
recession has overshadowed the struggle between the urban royalist minority and
the entrepreneurs and their rural majority. The revolution will resume after
the next national elections.
the counter-terror campaign in the Moslem south continues to grind down the
Islamic radicals. Police and army officials have concluded that there is no one
organization leading the violence in the south. The central element in all the
anti-Thai ethnic and religious violence is the media, including the Internet. As
happened elsewhere in the Islamic world, the media coverage of Islamic radicalism
got a lot of young Moslems thinking about using violence to right real or
imaginary wrongs. Combining this with the traditional smuggling gangs (and the
outlaw culture they have long represented to the youth of the area), produced
several years of Islamic terrorism. Oddly enough, efforts by foreign Moslems to
help out have not gone well. The Thai Moslems are a very insular bunch, and
hostile to all outsiders, even many Malay Moslems from just across the border.
This hostility to outsiders made it difficult for the police to gain inside
information about the terrorist groups. Difficult, but not impossible. It just
took longer. But what the cops found out was discouraging, as it meant that
numerous separate groups, gangs and factions would have to be hunted down and
shut down. Further complicating the situation was the spontaneous exit from Islamic
terrorism activities for some groups. There was usually not press release
announcing which group was exiting the terrorism scene, leaving the cops
chasing Islamic terrorists who no longer existed. The biggest asset the police
have is the growing popular hostility for the Islamic radicals among the Moslem
population. The Islamic terrorists have no long range plan beyond chasing the
Thai government out and establishing some kind religious dictatorship. The lack
of unity among the Islamic militant groups does not help them either.
26, 2008: In response to the recent
coup, the majority parties, which are now illegal, have formed a new group, the
UFDAP (United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship). Emulating the
anti-democracy groups, who wore the royalist color yellow as they occupied
government buildings and airports to bring the government down, thousands of
UFDAP demonstrators are wearing red and surrounding parliament and attempting
to shut down the new royalist government.
17, 2008: The eight day occupation of the major airports by anti-democracy
demonstrators delivered a major hit to the tourist industry (which accounts for
about six percent of GDP). More than half the tourist traffic has disappeared,
and it will take a year or more of good behavior to regain the lost business.