June 17, 2012:
The continuing violence in the Moslem south has led to 5,000 dead and 8,000 wounded in the last eight years. But it has also led to over 200,000 people leaving the area. Most of those fleeing have been Moslem. About 30 percent of the Buddhists in the south (who were 20 percent of the population in 2004) have fled and ten percent of the Moslems. Criminal gangs, whose main business is smuggling drugs and other contraband from Malaysia, have long dominated the area. The gangs agreed to support the Islamic terrorists, since both groups had something to gain by trying to weaken law and order in the area. While the gangs made it more difficult to improve the economy, they were more tolerable than the Islamic terrorists. All this has become too much for most Moslems. The Islamic terrorists wanted to expel all non-Moslems, shut down secular schools, and didn't care if they made it difficult to improve the economy. This was too much for most of the Moslems the Islamic terrorists were supposed to be representing. Those that don't flee are increasingly joining pro-government armed defense groups. The gangs and Islamic terror groups refuse to negotiate or quit, so it's a fight to the death. The gangs will probably turn on their Islamic radical allies eventually, as the criminal organizations are not run by religious fanatics but business-minded entrepreneurs who are not keen on getting wiped out. Then again, the gangsters believe that the Islamic radicals will have to be killed, otherwise the southern gangsters will have some pretty deadly and determined enemies in their own backyard.
In the north the rest of the country is still stalemated between populists, who keep electing officials that minority royalists fear are out to weaken the monarchy, and royalists, who champion doing whatever it takes so that royalist politicians keep running the country. The royalists are mainly the educated urban bureaucracy and old money who fear change. These conservatives also control the military, which makes them a dangerous and troublesome minority. Currently the populists are in charge, but the monarchists are still trying to have their way.
June 16, 2012: In the south Islamic terrorists used a grenade against soldiers guarding a school, killing three troops.
June 13, 2012: China and Cambodia signed another series of economic agreements. Cambodia has grown closer to China, in part because of the four year border war with Thailand. This conflict is on hold for the moment, as both sides agreed to withdraw troops last December. The border dispute is still unresolved and is supposed to be negotiated sometime in the future. For the moment, poverty-stricken Cambodia is scrambling to obtain as many cheap or free weapons from China as possible. More importantly, Cambodia is hoping to have some diplomatic assistance from China if the border dispute with Thailand heats up again. China will pursue what is best for China in such a situation but it's the best that Cambodia can hope for. Thailand is much stronger militarily and economically.
In the south a roadside bomb hit a truckload of Moslem village defense militia, wounding four of them. The Islamic terrorists are increasingly directing their violence at fellow Moslems who oppose Islamic terrorism.
June 10, 2012: In the south Islamic terrorists fired a 40mm grenade at a border crossing, injuring two policemen and four Moslem men who were passing by.
May 29, 2012: In the south a roadside bomb hit a truckload of Moslem village defense militia, killing three of them and wounding four others.