Friday, June 15, 2007

"The military has run out of excuses as to why it cannot protect civilians and restore peace in the deep South "

Thailand's The Nation rightly criticizes the military for their failure in combating the Islamic terrorism in the South:

Insurgents have succeeded in everything that they have set out to do, while the military has failed to achieve any of what the public expects of it. The armed forces have not only failed to contain the worsening situation in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat, which have descended into lawlessness, but they have also allowed insurgents to expand their sphere of influence to parts of Songkhla, if not Bangkok, which was rocked by coordinated bombings on New Year's Eve.

The number of people killed since January 4, 2004 has gone well past 2,200, most of them civilians, and it keeps rising. Not a single day has gone by without policemen, troops and civilians being blown up and ambushed, schools being torched, teachers being murdered or other innocent civilians being killed.

Insurgents have been able to challenge the authority of the Thai state, destabilise the southernmost region and wreak havoc on local economies with impunity and little cost to them. Only a handful of suspected insurgents have been arrested and have court proceedings pending in connection with about 20 incidents. Insurgents get away with their crimes 99 per cent of the time.

The military has been so humiliated in this regard that its credibility as an effective fighting force has been cast into doubt, which explains why the armed forces never have good intelligence: local people are too afraid to identify with authorities. This is why government troops who are armed to the teeth dare not venture into areas infiltrated by insurgents.

Troops brave enough to put their lives on the line to do their jobs are left largely to their own devices if targeted by roadside bombs or ambushes - there is little hope of reinforcements arriving promptly. In the absence of clear strategy and workable tactics, the majority of troops stay in their heavily fortified units whiling away their six-month tours of duty.

Big hat tip to BangkokPundit who comments:

So it seems that even The Nation does not believe Thaksin behind the New Year's Eve bombings.

I think at this point the only people who still believe Thaksin are behind the New Year's Eve bombings are those that perpetrated the myth in the first place - the military government who has failed so miserably to do anything constructive in the South. I remember when it happened and all the U.S. news outlets dutifully reported the official military government line that the bombings were the work of "political elements".

For those of you who don't know what is going on in Thailand, here's a great primer to get you started. Also lots more from Dr. Zachary Abuza over at the Counterterrorism Blog here, here, here, and here.

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