Thailand: Theft Before Dishonor

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May 27,2008: To put the southern violence in perspective, the economy continues to grow at an annual rate of six percent. The Islamic terrorism takes place in a small portion of the country, containing only a few percent of the population. Fears that the Islamic terrorists might take their terror campaign to other parts of the country have, so far, not been realized. Apparently the Moslem terrorists do not feel comfortable, or safe, operating outside their own communities. The violence continues to shift towards attacks on pro-government leaders and informers within the Moslem population. Long term, the government can buy support and information within the Moslem community, and use that to identify and take down the terrorists. Meanwhile, the Islamic terrorists face a threat of their own, as neighboring Malaysia forbids sale of petroleum products to foreigners within 50 kilometers of the border. Many of the Islamic terrorists support themselves with smuggling, and bringing cheap (subsidized by the government) Malaysian fuel across the border. Now it will cost more, and take more time, to get that fuel in Malaysia. That may reduce the amount of time available for terrorist activities.

The international pressure on the Burmese military dictatorship, to allow international aid workers into Myanmar (as the generals have renamed Burma), finally worked. The May 2nd storm apparently killed over 100,000 people and made 2.5 million homeless. So far, only about a quarter of the victims have received any form of aid. The Burmese government wants $10 billion in aid for the victims, in part to replace the 136,804 buffaloes and 1,250,194 chickens lost in the storm. The Burmese government finally relented after weeks of constant diplomatic pressure, and began allowing relief aid, and relief workers, into the country. The military government is well known for its thieving ways, and one reason they want to keep foreign aid workers out is to prevent any publicity for diversion and theft of aid supplies. The generals also do not want any foreign influence that would weaken their police state control of the population. So foreigners have to be carefully watched and controlled.

 

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