Thailand: Terrorism Is Good For Business

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February 8, 2010: The government believes it will crush the Islamic terrorist movement in the south this year. This will be done using a combination of economic investment (to create jobs) and better policing (to detect and arrest the terrorists). The main thing the government has going for it down there is the Moslem population tiring of the violence, and the disruption to their lives. More tips from the Moslem civilians has made it more difficult for the Islamic radicals to operate. The criminal gangs are getting tired of the increased police and army presence, which is bad for business (smuggling, drugs and prostitution). The gangsters have aided the Islamic radicals, but that seems to be changing.

The Defense Ministry procurement officials are on the defensive because of the purchase of over 500 GT200 bomb detectors (for $42,000 each) that use the same cheap and untested technology found in similar devices (ADE 651) sold to Iraq. Britain, where these devices are from, is investigating the manufacturers for fraud. It's believed that the devices cost less than $10 to build, and a lot of the purchase price goes back to the government officials who approve the purchase. You get away with scams like this if there are few actual bombs going off (this is the case in Iraq and Thailand), and you can insure that no one actually tests the device (a real test, not a fake one). Now the device is being tested in Thailand. In Britain, scientists tested this tech and found it to be a fraud.

February 6, 2010: In two incidents, a soldier and an Islamic terrorist were killed in the south.

February 5, 2010: Bowing to foreign pressure, the government has halted the return of several thousand tribal refugees to Myanmar. These were among about 3,000 Karen tribal people who fled across the border last June to escape an Myanmar army offensive. There are already 140,000 Myanmar refugees (mostly tribal people who have been fighting the government for generations) living in Thai refugee camps, and the Thais don't want any more.

January 29, 2010: In the south, a soldier was killed as he prayed in a mosque. This sort of thing, murder in a place of worship, has lost the Islamic radicals a lot of support from the Moslem civilians they say they are fighting for.

The armed stalemate with Cambodia, over who shall control what territory around a 1300 year old temple on the border, got hot when Thai and Cambodian troops exchanged fire for a few minutes, leaving a Thai soldier dead. Elsewhere, the Thai government concluded that the Il-76 air transport flight from North Korea, and its 40 tons of arms, that was seized in December, was headed for Iran.

January 24, 2010: Cambodian and Thai troops patrolling the border, near a disputed temple, briefly exchanged fire. There were no casualties.

 

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