Thailand: Death Trip


September 28, 2007: In the south, the Islamic terrorists are turning more of their violence against locals who side with the government. Most southerners see the Islamic terrorists as a bunch of young punks with guns. It doesn't help that the Islamic radicals are backed by the
smuggling gangs (who also have a tendency to behave like thugs). More tips means the security forces have more names of suspected terrorists. The army is now making mass raids, searching many villages in an area at once, and catching terrorist suspects who have no place
to run. The growing number of arrests leads to a better picture of the family, mosque and gang links of Islamic terror organizations. The terrorists are not such a mystery anymore. The Islamic radicals also continue to make themselves unpopular with their obsession with shutting down schools and driving away teachers. Here, the terrorists are seriously opposed by most Moslems in the south.

In neighboring Myanmar (Burma), the military dictatorship that has ruled the country since the 1960s is facing a crisis. The Buddhist clergy, which usually stays out of politics, has been organizing larger and larger demonstrations. It all began when police beat up some monks and the government refused to apologize. That was the trigger, but the real reason for the increasingly large demonstrations is the dictatorship. In classic fashion, the generals have taken control of the economy and squeezed what cash they could from it to keep themselves, and key leaders of the military and security forces, fat and happy. All the generals have to fear is the kind of massive popular rebellion that brought down the communist dictatorships in
1989 and the early 1990s. That sort of thing has frightened dictators everywhere. The Myanmar generals, however, crushed such an uprising in 1988 leaving over 3,000 dead. But some generals, and many Burmese, believe another major uprising might succeed. Burmese are increasingly unhappy with the dictatorship's poor economic performance and increasingly heavy handed treatment of any dissent. It's not lost on most Burmese that neighboring India and Thailand are thriving economically while Myanmar sinks further into poverty.


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