Thaksin Shinawatra’s tactic of using urban terrorism, aimed at creating widespread rioting in Bangkok and paving the way for his return, is facing a setback.
His strategy is simple. After torpedoing the Asean Summit in Pattaya, the red-shirt anti-government protesters stage urban-style terrorism around key points in Bangkok so that Abhisit is forced to declare a state of emergency. Then the military has to be brought in to quash the red-shirt protesters. When the military suppresses the protests, there will be bloodshed and the situation will spill out of control, creating a state of anarchy.
Finally, the strategy goes, Thaksin’s supporters petition His Majesty the King for a royal intervention to end the crisis.
Under this plan, Thaksin is seeking to hold Thailand hostage as he bargains for his amnesty. When the worst came to the worst, a military coup would be launched to bring down the Abhisit Vejjajiva government.
But Thaksin’s game plan is not working. First, the red-shirt protesters’ urban-terrorism tactics have spiralled out of control to create an effective state of civil war inside the capital. Second, they have failed to mobilise enough critical mass support. Third, the Thai public – appalled by the violence and the protesters’ clashes with the security forces – does not support the red shirts.
Yet the most important factor is that Prime Minsiter Abhisit has managed to consolidate his power. He is now being advised by a specially assembled unit consisting of old veterans and retired generals. continue