Thailand: The Permanent Puny Insurrection

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April 7, 2011: A settlement of the border dispute is stalled on the Cambodian insistence that Indonesia serve as a mediator. Direct talks with Thailand, according to the Cambodians, have not worked. The Thai armed forces have put 15,000 troops on the border, around a 4.6 square kilometer temple compound that both nations claim control over. Cambodia has about the same number of troops there, but Thailand has prepared plans to send a lot more troops to the border, and apply Thailand's larger and more powerful military power against Cambodia.  The royalists running the current government see this as a way to gain wider support in Thailand, but the prospect of expanded war with Cambodia is not popular in either country.

Commanders of the Thai military continue to insist that there will be no coup (to settle the current political stalemate). The military is aligned with the royalists, who currently control the government. The military would prefer to just give the opposition what they want, new national elections. The military has declared that they would not interfere in the elections, and are mainly interested in settling the years-long dispute between royalists and populists.

The government, and the yellow shirt movement, refuse to allow foreign monitors to oversee the national elections later this year. The populist red shirts believe that, without the foreign voting monitors, the yellow shirts will cheat and steal yet another election.

The Islamic violence continues in the south. On a national level, the Islamic terror campaign is considered a minor problem, only affecting a few percent of the population. The violence has been there for seven years and has not gotten out of control, or out of the small patch of the south where it has always been. While often described at part of the global Islamic terrorism movement, the Islamic radicals down south are more local than global.

March 31, 2011: Unusually heavy rains caused heavy flooding in the south. At least fifty died and over a million were flooded out of their homes. What motivated the navy to send several warships to the south was the need to evacuate several thousand foreign tourists who were stranded by the floods. The tourist trade is important to the economy, and for Thailand's image on the world stage. Moreover, the navy is currently currying public favor in order to get money for six second-hand German submarines.

March 27, 2011: In the south, two pro-government villagers were killed by Islamic radicals.

March 25, 2011: A court fined 13 royalist leaders of the yellow shirt movement $17 million for making possible the illegal shutdown of the main airport in 2008.

March 23, 2011: In the south, ten Islamic terrorists attacked the home of a pro-government family and killed three Moslems.

 

 

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