Thailand Coup

Thai military officials loyal to King Adulyadej have seized power in a coup in Thailand. This is not the first we've heard of trouble in Thailand this year:

Massive rallies earlier this year forced Thaksin to dissolve Parliament and call an election in April, three years ahead of schedule. The poll was boycotted by opposition parties and later annulled by Thailand's top courts, leaving the country without a working legislature.

Prime Minister Thaksin is central to the conflagration:

Opposition to Thaksin gained momentum in January when his family announced it had sold its controlling stake in telecommunications company Shin Corp. to Singapore's state-owned Temasek Holdings for a tax-free $1.9 billion. Critics allege the sale involved insider trading and complain a key national asset is now in foreign hands.
Thaksin also has been accused of stifling the media and mishandling a Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand that flared under his rule.

The Muslim unrest in southern Thailand is especially concerning because of long-standing friction between them and the Buddhists, who control the government. Coups and other non-democratic means of government tend to foster civil war. Will there be two Thailands in the world's future? is especially dour on conditions in the south:

Historically, this region, consisting of the provinces of Satun, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, has served as a dumping ground for corrupt and/or incompetent civilian and military officials. This has been further aggravated by the population's ethnic make-up, predominantly Thai Muslims, which has produced a major degree of alienation intensified by government misadministration. Additionally, daily life there, particularly in urban areas, is continually plagued by a higher level of common banditry and lawlessness, more so than in the kingdom's other regions, making it very difficult for authorities to differentiate between criminal lawlessness and terrorist acts commissioned by domestic Thai terrorist or Muslim Separatist groups.

You may ask yourself what else is down there in the southern part of Asia with strong Muslim influences? Next door in Malaysia is Kuala Lampur and Singapore. Also there's the strongly Muslim island nation of Indonesia.

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Sep 19 2006 09:53 AM

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