Thailand: When Mobs Collide


March 31, 2009: In addition to the continuing Islamic radical violence in the south, large scale protests in the capital, border disputes with Cambodia, and pirate attacks on foreign yachts, about five million rural Thais are living in a drought zone, where even drinking water has to be trucked in. The global economic recession has halted economic growth and unemployment is rising.

In the capital, tens of thousands of populist demonstrators have surrounded the offices of the royalist prime minister, and vowed to remain there until parliament is dissolved and there are new elections. The populists accuse the royalists of stealing the last round of elections, after forcing the populist government to quit (by using massive demonstrations in the capital). The populists are backed by the majority of voters, but the royalists have the support of most military officers, businessmen and educated urbanites.

Thai and Cambodian troops still face each other on a disputed section of their border, near an ancient temple. Thai troops recently advanced into Cambodia, but retreated when confronted by Cambodian soldiers. Negotiations over where the border should be have so far failed.

March 30, 2009: In the south, an army raid left four Islamic terrorists dead. The security forces are slowly grinding down the Islamic terrorists, who are not united, and gain most of their support from criminal gangs (who have long operated along the border) and general resentment at the Buddhist majority in the country.

March 28, 2009: In the south, Islamic terrorists murdered five Moslems. The Islamic radical groups have lost support among Moslems in the south, and are using terror to force Moslems to stop cooperating with the police.

March 21, 2009: In the south, a village leader was shot dead by Islamic terrorists.

March 18, 2009: In the south, police found and disabled four bombs planted in or near government facilities and commercial establishments.




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