- Nov 22, 2003
- Reaction score
by the RofP:
War of Shadows
PJM in Seattle
March 8, 2007 1:00 AM
Who is Thailand fighting in Thailand? Is it a Muslim jihad or an insurgency? Either way it has cost more than between 1,200 and 2,000 people their lives and shows every sign of becoming more violent.
by Richard Fernandez, PJM editor in Sydney
Yesterday suspected Muslim militants beheaded a 58-year-old rubber-plantation worker Wednesday in Yala, part of Thailands deep South Police found the burned body of Sathit Tongin, a Thai Buddhist, near an Islamic religious school on the outskirts of Yala City, 760 kilometers south of Bangkok. It was only the latest in a round of escalating attacks and atrocities.
On February 19, as thousands of Thais celebrated the Lunar New Year, dozens of bombings and shooting attacks struck across four provinces of southern Thailand. The attack killed 8 people and wounded dozens of others. These provinces are the center of an insurgency by largely Muslim ethnic Malays against Bangkok which has claimed a 1,200 lives in the past decade one thousand of them since 2004. Largely ignored by, and hence unknown to the West, it is the most lethal insurgency in Southeast Asia. In the wake of the most recent attacks an army spokesman believed that unidentified insurgent forces were trying to intimidate ethnic Chinese who celebrate the New Year holiday into fleeing the predominantly Muslim region. Even so, no organization has claimed responsibility for the direction of the insurgency. Reuters continues the story:
Thailands army-appointed government admitted it had no idea who in particular was behind a wave of bombs and shootings in which eight people were killed in the Muslim-majority far south as the Lunar New Year began. The attacks hit a variety of targets. Shortly before a special security meeting in Bangkok, an army major was killed outside his house in Yala, one of the four southern provinces hit by around 30 bombs on Sunday night, after he picked up a bag containing a bomb, police said. "The problem now is that we dont know whos responsible and where they are," army chief of staff General Montri Sangkhasap told reporters after Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont met security chiefs to discuss the violence.
The recent wave of unattributed attacks followed the attack last month in Bangkok which forced the cancellation of New Years Eve celebrations in the capital. The attacks were calculated to both disrupt and intimidate. "The first bomb exploded at the Victory Monument, an area crowded with food stalls subsequent bombings were at Klong Toey and in the parking lot of Bangkoks largest mall in the movie theater in Bangkoks newest and glitziest malls, the Siam Paragon two more bombs were detonated just after midnight, this time in more heavily tourist areas." The New Years Day attacks signaled that the insurgency had left the periphery and truly come to the capital. The Lunar New Year attacks showed the capability to launch multiple simultaneous attacks was no fluke. A number of insurgent groups were the usual suspects, but in the absence of a clear set of demands, the question remained: who was leading it?