Sunday, April 02, 2006

Targeting the Voters

In today’s news, Islamic insurgents bombed polling stations as voters cast their ballots in…

You thought I was going to say “Iraq”, didn’t you? Or maybe “Afghanistan”?

No, it’s Thailand. Southern Thailand, in the predominantly Muslim provinces of Pattani and Narathiwat. Southern Thailand has caught a severe case of Jihad in recent years — take a look at the Bloody Borders Project to see the concentrations of Islamist attacks along the Thai section of the bloody border.

The mujahideen took the opportunity of today’s general election to make their presence felt. According to TMCnet,

Three explosions wounded three soldiers and a policeman in the southern province Narathiwat on Sunday shortly after polls in Thailand’s general election closed at 3 p.m.

Police Col. Thanongsak Wansupha, chief of the Jo Ai Rong police station, said one bomb exploded at a polling place as officials were closing the station.

Another blast occurred while officials and security personnel were carrying ballot boxes to a counting station.

And the third explosion was reported at a nearby administrative office in the Tak Bai District, also in Narathiwat.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra called the election early in the midst of controversy over his authoritarian tendencies as leader. The prime minister dissolved parliament after demonstrators took to the street, protesting his rule and demanding his resignation.

So democracy is not always easy, and jihad doesn’t make it any easier.

According to this report from Xinhua, in addition to the bombings, the terrorists engaged in a practical form of taqiyya:

Earlier, suspected militants tried to disturb the election by placing empty boxes with a mobile phone taped on it to make people think they were explosives at seven areas in Pattani’s Yarang district.

Police cordoned off the areas only to find that they were empty boxes.

Keep an eye on Thailand.


Wally Ballou said...

The electoral problems in Thailand have nothing to do directly with the Muslim insurgency (although the Islamists hate the current PM deeply). The big issue there is that the PM is a corrupt but open-handed Huey Long-type figure who is overwhelmingly popular in the countryside, while deeply unpopular in Thailand's only large city, Bangkok, where about 14% of the national population lives. This means the "progressives" in Bangkok find themselves opposed to democratic rule. Their "people power" tactics amount to a rejection of majority rule in favor of an energized minority in the capital. Not a happy state of affairs. One can only hope that they get out of this with the institutions of representative government intact.