Thailand: The worst-case scenario is civil war

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Bangkok protests Dec 22_2_Arno MaierbruggerThe continuing protests in Thailand which culminated on December 22 in a turnout of hundreds of thousands of people at various locations in Bangkok could eventually lead to a civil war if no ways are found to end the current political deadlock, several Thai politicians and the head of the Royal Thai army have warned.

With the Democrat Party’s announcement to boycott the February 2 snap elections, the situation has even become worse. There are no concepts on the table for demanded reforms, neither is there a roadmap on how and when and with whom to establish a “people’s council” or governing assembly that could bridge the divide.

The situation has even become more tense as one ex-MP of the ruling Pheu Thai party even demanded the prime minister to declare martial law in the country to disperse protesters violently.

On December 22, many Thai Muslims could be seen among the protesters, much more than at earlier rallies. This illustrates the increasing fission in the Thai society between Bangkok urbanites, middle-class surburbanites and Muslim southerners on the one hand and the poorer farmers and rural folk in the north and northeast on the other.

A worst-case scenario could be a civil war escalating into a conflict between ethnic groups that could split the country, and lead to segregation of the northeastern part, Isaan, which is culturally and historically much closer to Laos and partly to the Khmer than to Siam. And the southerners, many of them ethnic Malays, could seize the moment to move closer to Malaysia. What would remain would be Bangkok and the industrial heartland around it, apart from northwestern Thailand with Chiang Mai.

It seems that all depends on whether the Royal Thai Army will mingle into the conflict or not. So far, army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has been the most prudent and sober-minded figure in the whole conflict, which otherwise would have boiled over much earlier.

Bangkok protests Dec 22_6_Arno MaierbruggerBangkok protests Dec 22_5_Arno MaierbruggerBangkok protests Dec 22_4_Arno MaierbruggerBangkok protests Dec 22_3_Arno Maierbrugger

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The continuing protests in Thailand which culminated on December 22 in a turnout of hundreds of thousands of people at various locations in Bangkok could eventually lead to a civil war if no ways are found to end the current political deadlock, several Thai politicians and the head of the Royal Thai army have warned.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bangkok protests Dec 22_2_Arno MaierbruggerThe continuing protests in Thailand which culminated on December 22 in a turnout of hundreds of thousands of people at various locations in Bangkok could eventually lead to a civil war if no ways are found to end the current political deadlock, several Thai politicians and the head of the Royal Thai army have warned.

With the Democrat Party’s announcement to boycott the February 2 snap elections, the situation has even become worse. There are no concepts on the table for demanded reforms, neither is there a roadmap on how and when and with whom to establish a “people’s council” or governing assembly that could bridge the divide.

The situation has even become more tense as one ex-MP of the ruling Pheu Thai party even demanded the prime minister to declare martial law in the country to disperse protesters violently.

On December 22, many Thai Muslims could be seen among the protesters, much more than at earlier rallies. This illustrates the increasing fission in the Thai society between Bangkok urbanites, middle-class surburbanites and Muslim southerners on the one hand and the poorer farmers and rural folk in the north and northeast on the other.

A worst-case scenario could be a civil war escalating into a conflict between ethnic groups that could split the country, and lead to segregation of the northeastern part, Isaan, which is culturally and historically much closer to Laos and partly to the Khmer than to Siam. And the southerners, many of them ethnic Malays, could seize the moment to move closer to Malaysia. What would remain would be Bangkok and the industrial heartland around it, apart from northwestern Thailand with Chiang Mai.

It seems that all depends on whether the Royal Thai Army will mingle into the conflict or not. So far, army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has been the most prudent and sober-minded figure in the whole conflict, which otherwise would have boiled over much earlier.

Bangkok protests Dec 22_6_Arno MaierbruggerBangkok protests Dec 22_5_Arno MaierbruggerBangkok protests Dec 22_4_Arno MaierbruggerBangkok protests Dec 22_3_Arno Maierbrugger

 

 

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