Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Thai Insurgency: Two Years On

In Thailand there are 247 villages under the control of insurgences. While the government is touting 190 arrests, not convictions, this does not even equal 1 insurgent per village. If we had a crime rate that low, I do believe we would celebrate the LACK of crime, not the capture of the criminals. That is not to equate terrorists with criminals, but the facts are stubborn things.
US terrorism expert Zachary Abuza has told The Australian that the Muslim insurgency [Jemaah Islamiah-linked terrorists in southern Thailand] could spread from the hinterland to beach resorts, such as Phuket, frequented by Western tourists. ...

"We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners," the DFAT website warns. But the threats have been more specific, with past intelligence acknowledging that the areas of Phuket, Pattong Pattaya, Bangkok and the island of Samui could be targeted. ...

In the past 10 days, 19 people - five of them policemen - have been killed in attacks in southern Thailand.

While a raid by militants two years ago on a weapons depot in Narathiwat province is generally regarded as the start of the Muslim insurgency, Dr Abuza said the violence had been spreading, albeit slowly, for several years.

Dr Abuza has warned that there are insurgent leaders who want to take terrorism to the next level, and they could be helped by JI or whatever form al-Qa'ida might take, by attacking places such as Bangkok or Phuket.
Neil Fergus, the chief executive of Intelligence Risks, and terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna all contributed this article by Natalie O'Brien of The Australian. The article is dated January 11, 2006.

In the meantime, there has been reports of more explosions in Thailand, however I was unable to source any information on that. However the Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr. Thaksin Shinawtra has put together a plan within the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology which will seek to inspect the usage of roaming mobile phones.

There is mention of a terrorist attack that had used 'sim' cards from Malaysia to detonate a bomb. While the PM does not believe there is available enough power in the relay stations in neighboring countries to transmit such a call, he has asked the ICT Ministry to investigate the issue.
Air Chief Marshal Khongsak Wanthana (คงศักดิ์ วันทนา), the interior minister, said the call was made in an overlapping area between Thailand's and Malaysia's border, and both countries would find ways to prevent such calls.
Credits due to Thais News.

It would appear other countries want to save their own hides, so to speak. When death is crouching at their door It is a pretty good motivator. Do you think maybe now they will understand why the United States does what it needs to in order to protect her citizens? Well, it was just a thought.

At Counter Terrorism, Zachary Abuza has written a very detailed and serious article on this situation. (Yes, he is the man who was interviewed at the beginning of this article.) He sees this from a perspective that only people without voices hold. He believes this is a type of religious war, but not in the same way as many may ponder.

Many of the people who are being murdered by this group are Muslim. It is a war within Islam.
According to The Nation, “Ninth Police Region records show that more than half of the non-security personnel assassinated over the two years are Muslims. In Pattani, Muslim casualties number 330 against 141 Buddhists; in Yala it is 222 to 99; and in Narathiwat the figures are 1,406 to 237.”

Very simply the militants are ideologically and religiously motivated; they are trying to impose a very austere and intolerant form of Islam on their society and they countenance no opposition to this. They are going after not just collaborators, or individuals who receive a government salary, but also Muslim clerics who perform funeral rites for murtad – or apostates; or teachers who work in schools that have mixed curriculums. [continue reading]
It is very sensible and leaves one thinking, "What if they make it over here? What if they are here already here? Am I prepared to defend my country, my neighbor, myself?"

These are just a few questions you should answer very seriously, you have not already. Remember, other Muslims have the greatest risk to their lives by other Muslims. We must help those who are innocent.

Hat tip to Zachary Abuza at Counter Terrorism.
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