Thailand: Follow The Money, And Kill It


October 10, 2011: The newly elected government has backed off on its campaign promise to grant more autonomy to the three largely Moslem provinces in the far south. The autonomy offer did not gain the new government much support down there, thus there was not a great number of Moslems available that the new government could trust with an autonomous zone. There is not a lot of political unity in the Moslem south, which is part of the problem.

The Islamic terrorism in the south has turned into an attempt by gangsters, and their Islamic radical allies, to gain control of the mainly Moslem (80 percent of two million people) population. But most of the Moslems don't want to be ruled by criminals and religious fanatics. As a result, some 60 percent of those killed by the terrorists are Moslems. In eight years of violence, 5,000 have been killed (a third of them terrorists and security personnel), 7,000 wounded and 5,000 arrested.

In the last year, police and border guards have put more effort into hurting the smuggling gangs in the south. These organizations have been there for as long as the border has existed (about a century) and have thrived as the Thai economy boomed in the past few decades. They bring across drugs, luxury goods, weapons and people. These investigations have revealed a more extensive smuggling operation than was previously believed. No wonder the smuggler gangs finance the Islamic radicals, as a way to distract the police. But now the government has realized that the gangs are as much a part of the problem as the Islamic terrorists who do most of the killing.

October 9, 2011: Police found the bodies of eleven Chinese sailors in the Mekong River, near the Burmese border. It was soon discovered that that men came from two small Chinese cargo ships, which had recently disappeared, along with two other crewmen. Police suspected Burmese drug smugglers (of meth and heroin), who are having a hard time getting all their drugs moved into Thailand. Drug production is up in Burma, and Thailand is one of the main conduits for getting the stuff out to foreign markets. The drug gangs often belong to tribal armies, which are fighting the Burmese government.

September 28, 2011: In the south, four soldiers (guarding a school) were killed by Islamic terrorists. Elsewhere in the south, a civilian was murdered by Islamic terrorists.



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