Wednesday, December 15, 2010

CableGate Reaches Thailand, Will Civil War Follow?

Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra i...Image via Wikipedia
Thai Queen Accused Of Backing 2006 Military Coup: US Cable
A former Thai prime minister with close ties to fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra accused the queen of being behind a 2006 coup that ousted his ally, a leaked US diplomatic cable showed.
The political turmoil in Thailand left almost a hundred people dead earlier this year. The king is generally seen as a neutral party although he's old and dying. To have his queen accused of orchestrating the 2006 coup may generate sympathy for Thaksin's Red Shirts who were ousted in that coup. Some are predicting another coup in Thailand is coming, so it's unlikely that this would ease the tensions.

While I don't know if the redacted names and titles in a post from Bangkok Pundit are the Queen, it seems likely that these cables could precipitate a civil war (notes: 1. the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) are the political opponents of Thaksin. 2. this cable was written in Nov 2008):
9. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX believed PAD continued to aim for a violent clash that would spark a coup. He asserted that he had dined on October 6 with a leading PAD figure (NFI), who explained that PAD would provoke violence during its October 7 protest at the parliament. The unnamed PAD figure predicted (wrongly) that the Army would intervene against the government by the evening of October 7. XXXXXXXXXXXX asserted to us that PAD remained intent on a conflict that would generate at least two dozen deaths and make military intervention appear necessary and justified.
10. (C) We mentioned to XXXXXXXXXXXX the claim by Thaksin associate XXXXXXXXXXXX that Thaksin had been the target of an assassination plot (ref C). (Note: Subsequent to the Ambassador's meeting with XXXXXXXXXXXX, another Thaksin ally related the same claim, and said Thaksin himself had spoken of this plot. End Note.) XXXXXXXXXXXX suggested XXXXXXXXXXXX's list of conspirators -- including two prominent judges -- was not credible, but XXXXXXXXXXXX said he could confirm (presumably because of first-hand discussion with an organizing figure) that certain enemies of Thaksin (NFI) had sought to kill him. XXXXXXXXXXXX said he had been surprised to learn that the contract on Thaksin's life entailed a relatively low payment of only several hundred thousand Baht (in the range of 10,000 USD), although it also entailed resettlement abroad for the person(s) directly involved.
It's interesting to know that our State Department can write dispassionately about "a conflict that would generate at least two dozen deaths." I suppose that's just part of the job.

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