Thailand: All Quieter On The Southern Front


August 15, 2010: Over the last ten months, Islamic terrorist violence in the south has declined 70 percent. This was no surprise, as the police and military have been refining their counter-terror tactics (with an emphasis on economic development and intelligence gathering) for several years now. There are still lots of Islamic radicals in the south, but they have a harder time being violent and getting away with it.

August 14, 2010: In the south, three people (one policeman and two civilians) were killed by gunmen (believed to be Islamic terrorists).

August 13, 2010: The government indicted 19 red shirts (members of the United Front For Democracy Against Dictatorship party) on terrorism charges. The government is attacking the red shirts on all levels (police, political, the courts, economically and the media.) But the red shirts persevere.

August 11, 2010: In the south, a bomb went off, wounding three policeman. In the north, a bomb, believed planted by red shirt supporters, was found and disabled. Red shirts believe unexploded bombs like this were planted by government agents, as a way to justify keeping the northern provinces under an emergency decree (martial law). While the government controls most of the media, the red shirts are still able to get their message out via the Internet and cell phones. Thus the red shirts can continue to hold small demonstrations.

August 10, 2010:  The government has asked Cambodia for talks to settle a long standing border dispute. Last month, Cambodia arrested and returned to Thailand a Thai couple suspected of involvement in a red shirt bomb plot in June. This was considered a big deal, not because of the red shirt connection, but because it signaled  settlement of a border dispute that has kept troops from both nations threatening war for over a year.

August 7, 2010: In the south, an army ranger was shot dead by four armed men. The soldier was on an intelligence gathering mission.





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