Monday, March 19, 2007

The Nation: Is the Soft Approach Failing in the South?

Soft approach in South failing

An apology to the people of the restive South by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont when he took office in November sounded good for all.

It indicated the military-installed government was heading in the right direction to contain the trouble, but six months on, the reality is that the violence is getting worse.

As of the end of February, 6,214 violent incidents had killed 2,088 people and injured 3,920 others, according to Prince of Songkhla University's Intellectual Deep South Watch (IDSW). Violence erupted in January 2004 when a group of gunmen stormed a military unit in Nara-
thiwat, killed four soldiers and stole 400 weapons.

The previous government, led by billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, was blamed for a tough approach and misconduct that caused an escalation in the violence. Injustice and ignorance of local identity under Thaksin's direction were considered root causes.

The junta, which staged a coup on September 19 last year to topple Thaksin and all his wrongdoings, claimed it knew the situation and could do better.

The Council for National Security, led by army chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, and the interim government were praised for employing a soft approach towards the deep South. For many people, it seemed there was light at the end of a dark tunnel.


It looks like The Nation may have started to employ better copy editors. This piece is not half bad.

What is intriguing to me is how The Nation's tune is starting to change regarding the coup.

The rest of the Thai media is getting restless.

If things keep going down the toilet, I predict mass protests soon. There also have been rumblings of another coup. That might be the straw that will break the camel's back.

Things look bleak everywhere without any end game in sight. I hope I'm wrong.


hobby said...

The Surayud government can take a little comfort from the fact that the anti coup forces are split between pro & anti Thaksin forces.

hobby said...

Sorry Fonzi: My comment above has nothing to do with the situation in the south - it actually related to your blog March 19 2007 re The Nation editorials on the Surayud government running out of time (again).

As for the situation in the south, as predicted by some astute observers, it looks like pressure is building against the soft approach taken by the Surayud government - unfortunately I fear hardline V's moderate approach will become an election issue, with the hardline approach the 'populist' policy.

fall said...

Hobby -
Karma come bite their ass.
It would be better for CNS if it was all pro-Thaksin.
That way they can crack down on the protest using non-political gathering clause.

Now, they cannot or to they will lose support. And even with differ cause, coalition protest work, CNS used it. So I guess it is time to put those 14,000 gestapos to work.

On the South. What worry me are insurgent's terror tactic are working.
The Nation:

300 protester demand ranger to leave after unknown gunmen shot up their mosque? I mean either this is a insurgent instigated protest group or the people are really fed up and subdue by force.

hobby said...

fall: I agree it's very confusing.
I dont know what's happening on the ground in the south - apart from lots of killing.

The Surayud government is supposed to be taking a softer approach and yet people are protesting the actions of the rangers & even fleeing to Malaysia.

Has there been a shift in policy on the ground after the recent killings (& the Queens statements)?

I'm not sure because the southerners are keen to protest against the authorities, but they do not seem to do much protesting against the daily killings beheadings etc.

It could be that the army is acting hardline on the ground, while the government in Bangkok is soft, or it could be that the insurgents are pulling the strings and have the people scared.

If, after all the abhorent killings, the people sympathize with the insurgents (not just scared) then there is no hope of ever resolving the crisis.