Thailand: Civil War Delayed


December 5, 2008: The anti-government protesters shutting down the main airports  put the hurt on the tourist industry. Currently, it's expected that GDP for this year will be cut two percent because of the airport shut down. Additional action by the protesters will make it worse. There may also be long term tourist losses, as many of the stranded tourists were not too happy at how they were treated, and will pass that attitude on to others when they get home.

The battle between the educated urban royalists, who wanted to overthrow the populist politicians that had attracted the support of the majority of voters, most of them poor, less educated, rural people, resulted in getting the prime minister out of power, but failed to overthrow the popularly elected government. The urbanites believe these populist politicians are corrupt (which some are, but that is common in all Thai political parties) and not fit to rule, even if they got the most votes, and seats in parliament. The military, whose officers largely sided with the anti-government demonstrators, does not want to run the country again, because most Thais oppose military governments. A bloody civil war was avoided, for the moment. But the urban elitists still believe they should rule, and not leaders elected by the majority of Thais. There may be new elections, but given political attitudes throughout the country, voting patterns are not likely to change. Either the urban elitists accept democracy, or the country is going have to go on flirting with civil war. This time around, the protesters managed to do some major damage to the economy, which is already hurting from the global recession.

In the Moslem south, bombs and gunfire have left nine dead. Violence in the south has been declining, but it returns in spurts as the remaining Islamic terrorists carry out attacks.

December 2, 2008: The constitutional court (created by the last military government to deal with politicians the military does not like) declared that the prime minister, and 59 of his political allies, had committed vote fraud in last years elections, and banned all sixty from politics for five years. While this left the ruling party in power, it got rid of prime minister Somchai. The protesters declared a victory and agreed to go home.

November 29, 2008: The prime minister fired the head of the national police for refusing to clear protesters from the two major airports outside the capital. The army also refuses to do the job. The hundreds of thousands of stranded air travelers are being moved to a military airport where chartered passenger jets will begin to fly the foreigners home.

Around midnight, someone threw a grenade into a crowd of anti-government protesters in the capital, wounding nearly fifty people. Some protesters are attacking police roadblocks.

November 27, 2008: The government sent the national police to the airports with orders to clear away the protesters. The police failed to clear out the protesters, but simply surrounded the airports and tried to limit vandalism.


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