Thailand: The Red, The Yellow And The Green


September 21, 2009: The Moslem south is turning into the Wild West. There are more guns per capita among the two million southerners, than anywhere else in the country. The 20 percent of the southerners who are not Moslem are particularly well armed, with shotguns, rifles, pistols and even some automatic weapons. Most of the guns carried by non-Moslems are legal, for defense against Islamic terrorists. But many Moslems have legal weapons as well, also for defense against Islamic radicals (who are increasingly violent against Moslems they deem disloyal.) The police are slowly winning, as they have done in the past. But Islamic radicalism is popular among many of the young men, so the violence will continue for a while, despite the opposition of most Thai Moslems. Thus violence has been increasing in the south, with 27 bombings and eight arson attacks in the past month. In that period, there were a hundred terrorist attacks, which left 51 dead and 83 wounded. The Moslem radicals like to display green flags, the traditional color for Moslem partisans.

September 19, 2009: This is the third anniversary of the royalist coup that overthrew populist Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Since then, his red shirted supporters have been increasingly active with demonstrations. The royalists and urban elites have long had their way, despite the wishes of the majority. Even with a democracy, the royalists are determined to do what they want. But that is no longer working, and the royalists have to deal with finally losing ancient powers.

September 17, 2009: Some 200 riot police were sent to the Cambodian border, where Thai and Cambodian troops have been confronting each other over the issue of who should control an ancient temple. The royalist yellow shirt demonstrators want to show their support for Thai claims, while the riot police want to avoid an escalation with the Cambodian troops.

September 9, 2009: The head of the national police was forced to resign, after being blamed for the violence used against royalist (yellow shirt) demonstrators last year. The police, in general, don't like getting used against either of the two major factions (the other being the populist red shirts.) The current royalist government is still under threat from the more numerous populists. The police also have corruption problems, which the royalist government is suddenly becoming less tolerant about. Cracking down on bribe taking may clean up the police force, but it will definitely make more cops willing to do what the government wants.




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