August 19, 2011:
The new government is under pressure to do something for teachers in the Moslem south. Over 140 teachers have died down there in the last seven years, and many more have been injured or have simply fled the region. The Islamic terrorists see non-religious schools as particularly dangerous, despite the popularity of these schools with Moslem parents and children. Over the years, security for teachers and schools has been greatly increased, but there are still some attacks. This danger will not disappear until the Islamic terrorism does.
The military is addressing morale problems among their helicopter crews after three military helicopters crashed last month, killing 17 people. The most important morale booster would be the purchase of new helicopters. Two American MH-60 helicopters are in transit to Thailand right now, but these were ordered four years ago (and the original order was for six). Military personnel, particularly helicopter pilots, want more ordered, and delivered faster. That may not happen any time soon, because of tight budgets, and general bad feelings towards the military by most Thais. The recent elections removed yet another military government. There have been ten such governments in the last four decades, and most Thais are tired of it. But trimming the power and influence of the military will not be easy, and it could trigger yet another military takeover “for the good of the country.”
August 16, 2011: In the south, four people were shot dead. Three were Moslems and one a Buddhist.
August 14, 2011: In the south, a bomb went off in a market, but caused no injuries. A nearby police patrol was apparently the target. Several shootings left four dead, but two of these turned out to not be terrorism related.
August 7, 2011: In the south, three attacks left four Moslems dead.
August 5, 2011: Cambodia has agreed to begin peace talks, before the end of the year, to settle a sometimes violent border dispute. This unrest was prompted by the former minority government’s effort to create a foreign distraction.
Yingluck Shinawatra was confirmed by the king as Thailand’s 28th prime minister, and is the first woman to hold the job. In addition to her party winning the recent legislative elections, she has since put together a multi-party coalition, giving her control of 60 percent of the 500 members of parliament.