Thursday, May 20, 2010

Is Thailand The Next Front In The Jihadi War?

Events are taking place in Thailand that very well may make it a prime target in the ongoing Jihadi Wars to be the next front. A lot of people may have heard at least a passing mention of the recent violent outbreaks between the group called the Red Shirts and the current Thai government. What has been under reported, and has slipped off the radar screen is the reporting of the Muslim surge in what the press has euphemistically called "restive southern Thailand". One needs to only put that phrase in the search engine of their choice to be greeted with a number of stories on this subject.

Here is where the two stories dove tail. The Red Shirts are primarily from the northern part of Thailand, and are the supporters of the former president of Thailand.
UDD is known for its support for the former premier Thaksin and the former two pro-Thaksin administrations led by Samak and Somchai. When the pro-Thaksin ruling People's Power Party (PPP) was dissolved by Thailand's Constitution Court in December 2008, and Abhisit Vejjajiva of the minority Democrat Party was elected prime minister later, the red-shirts turned up in force to hold rallies again.

It was not that long ago that Thaksin went to work to clamp down on the Muslim uprising in southern Thailand.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s swift response, including full-scale bilateral coordination efforts with bordering countries (Malaysia and Indonesia) amplifies the government’s precarious position of eliminating terrorism in a Muslim-dominated region. While necessary to sustain peace and order, acknowledging the presence and activity of Islamic separatists groups may prove more of a hindrance to Bangkok’s efforts, further widening the existing gap between the already discontented Muslim population and government authorities. Meanwhile, local community leaders have warned that such heavy-handed action could drive away future tourism and foreign investment opportunities to the area.

What we have here is the type of opportunity that jihadist love to exploit, and that is a weakness in the central government. In this case they have a built in enemy whom they already have grievances with, to further excuse any violent acts on their part. With the acquiescence of the western world to always try to somehow assign blame to the radical Islamists by ignoring the real reason they act they way they act, and instead try to chalk it up to economic or social ills, the jihadists are free to laugh in face of the very people they are about to target.

Of course our illustrious state department can not be bothered to take time from their international apology tour and nobody in this administration has the courage to actually confront an enemy or even take sides in a debate, unless the target is Fox News or the Tea Party, and is no doubt blithely going about it business oblivious to what is happening and instead concentrating on those radicals in Arizona.

Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe all out civil war will erupt. The worst case scenario is that the two different factions of the Thai government go at each other while the jihadist sit by moving their base of operations further northward, unnoticed and stand ready to swoop in at an opportune time. And of course taking the world by surprise, yet again.

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