Thailand: Payback

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April 30, 2015:   Many Western nations, especially the United States, refuse to sell weapons to the new military government. That resulted in negotiations with Russia to buy major weapons systems. Russia is interested in buying food from Thailand and a barter deal is possible given the growing number of sanctions placed on Russian because of their invasion of Ukraine.

The military government now says elections would be held in April 2016. The military is also trying to pass laws that will make the next elected government less troublesome for the military and the other groups (royalists, urban elites) that supported the recent coup. The majority of Thais still back the populists so the struggle continues and will heat up once the elections are held. Most Thais are also unhappy with the stalled economy, which they attribute to military opposition to the last two elected governments and their inability to shut down the Islamic terrorist violence in the far south.

Until recently the military said it was going to hold elections at end of 2015. But the military is aware that their government takeovers are unpopular with most Thais and a popular vote will put populists (which the military has been persecuting) back in power and seeking to punish the military. This may not end well.

Meanwhile the violence down south continues, although at lower levels. Few of the Moslem separatist groups down there want to negotiate with a military government because they believe an elected government might just refuse to recognize such a deal.

April 27, 2015: In the south (Pattani) a roadside bomb killed one soldier and wounded another. A second bomb was discovered nearby (to kill reinforcements and medical personnel) but was disabled.

April 25, 2015: In the south (Yala) a roadside bomb wounded four civilians. Another bomb was found nearby and disabled.

April 21, 2015: In the south (Yala) a roadside bomb went off while two Islamic terrorists were placing it, killing the two. One of the dead was later identified as the brother of a known Islamic terrorist who was killed in a gun battle with police in 2013.  

April 13, 2015: In the south (Narathiwat) Islamic terrorists shot dead a government health official and two parents of men belonging to a self-defense (against Islamic terrorists) militia. An increasing proportion of the Islamic terrorist attacks are against Moslems, most of whom have lost patience with the promises of radicals.

April 12, 2015: In the south (Narathiwat) Islamic terrorists shot four villagers in an effort to discourage pro-government activities.

April 11, 2015: In the south (Pattani) there were two incidents of Islamic terrorist violence that left two civilians and two attackers dead.

Elsewhere in the south (the resort island of Koh) a car bomb wounded seven civilians including an Italian tourist. The Islamic terrorists generally leave the heavily policed tourist areas alone, but there have been some attacks.

April 7, 2015: In the south (Pattani) government investigators concluded that a police raid in March that left four local civilians dead was not, as police reported, a gun battle with Islamic terrorists but rather police opening fire during a night operation and later falsely claiming they were fired on. The four victims were local men with no known connection with Islamic terrorists or gangsters. One of the victims was the son of a local official. The seven policemen involved are now being investigated and face possible prosecution.  

April 1, 2015: The military government lifted martial law in all parts of the country. This ended ten months of martial law but the military rulers left in place new laws that still allow police and soldiers to make arrests without warrants and detain people without charging them.

 

 

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