Thailand: August 15, 2004


Attacks continue in the Islamic south of Thailand, with government officials and soldiers being the most common targets. About 320 people have been killed so far this year, and aggressive police and army operations in the south have driven many of the Islamic radicals across the border into Malaysia. Despite the fact that Malaysia is a majority Islamic nation, the government has come down hard on the Islamic radicals. Malaysia has been arresting Thai Moslems suspected of  terrorist activities, and has complained about the Thai government talking too much about this and thus compromising Malaysian counter terrorist investigations.  There is a small group of armed Islamic militants in southern Thailand, perhaps a few dozen. But they have thousands of supporters, and work closely with Thai Moslems running smuggling gangs. The Thai Moslems have always felt left out, and there has been separatist violence in the past. But the current wave of popularity for al Qaeda like Islamic violence has revived the ill will in the south. 


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