Thailand: We Will Grind You Down

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August 4, 2011: The army claims that, in the last seven years, the number of Islamic militants in the south has been reduced from 10,000 to 5,000. The violence has also declined, but all this is mainly because more and more southerners are fed up with years of violence. The "terrorists" are a combination of Islamic radicals (most of the people in the three southern provinces are Moslem), Malay nationalists (nearly all the Moslems are ethnic Malay, not Thai, which 97 percent of Thailand's population is) and gangsters (smuggling has long been a big business down there). The ethnic Thai majority refused (as they usually do) to back down in the face of Malay Moslem violence, and now the Moslem minority is increasingly hostile to the Islamic terrorists, and cooperating with the police. In response to this, the militants have turned on the Moslem civilians, which is a downward spiral that eventually destroys the Islamic radicals. The national government has also sent more economic aid to the south and improved the educational system.

The military wants to order a few dozen new helicopters. The immediate reason for this is the fact that, last month, three helicopters crashed within eight days, killing 17 people. Two of the downed choppers were UH-1 types and the other was a UH-60. Public opinion is against buying the military new helicopters, feeling that the problem was corruption and poor leadership (stealing money for aircraft maintenance and not taking care of equipment in general). Buying new helicopters would provide more opportunities for bribes.

In the south, a Moslem religious teacher was shot to death by gunmen.

August 3, 2011: In the south, several violent incidents left one dead and one wounded.

August 1, 2011: In the south, a bomb went off, killing a soldier and wounding two.

July 30, 2011: In the south, bombs and landmines wounded seven people.

July 27, 2011: In the south, two bombs damaged tracks and briefly interrupted train service. Elsewhere in the south, a bomb and a gun battle left two policemen dead and two soldiers wounded.

July 19, 2011: Nine soldiers and seven civilians were wounded in the south by a motorcycle bomb.

July 18, 2011: In the south, a group of gunmen opened fire at a Buddhist temple during an annual religious festival, killing one person and wounding eleven.

The UN declared the disputed temple lands along the Thai-Cambodia border to be demilitarized, and requested that both nations withdraw their troops.

 

 

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