Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thailand military coup update

The Thai military has declared today to be a national holiday and called top civil servants and foreign diplomats to a meeting at military headquarters to update them on the situation. Apparently they have declared "a holiday for government, banks and the stock exchange in order to quickly restore law and order," according to their statement.


As I said in my previous post the position of the King will be critical. Will he intervene and if so on which side? Sky News reported last night that the King never intervenes in Thai politics. This is not so. He very rarely intervenes but he did so back in April to get the constitutional court judges to meet to attempt to resolve the crisis.

The other issue which may be critical is the make up of the Thai Army. This is an area I have no knowledge of so if anyone can shed any light I would be most grateful. If the Thai army is structured like UK forces then it is possible that many units will be regional in origin. If so this may cause a divide within the army and units which are derived from rural areas may be opposed to the coup.

Meanwhile the Foreign Office has issued the following advice for travellers - "On 19 September 2006 the Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, declared a state of emergency in Bangkok. There have been reports of tanks taking up positions around the Thai government headquarters in Bangkok and blocking traffic. The British Embassy in Bangkok is closely monitoring the situation. If you are currently in Bangkok, you should stay put and avoid moving around the city. If you intend to travel to, or are currently in Bangkok, you should monitor all available information on the local situation and keep in contact with your tour operator. You should also avoid any demonstrations and large crowds. Movements around government buildings and in public may be restricted until the situation becomes clearer" We are due to travel to Thailand in January but unless things take a significant turn for the worse we will still be going.

The latest from the BBC can be found here

and details of the coup leader can be found here

1 comment:

Gerald Jackson said...

Concern about the possibility of a military coup in Thailand is not new. This is discussed - together with a detailed analysis of how Thaksin was repoliticizing the Thai military - by Duncan McCargo and Ukrist Pathmanand in their book, "The Thaksinization of Thailand" (NIAS Press 2005). For the benefit of those yet to read the book, we have made available a PDF of their key chapter on the military at the following link:

http://www.niaspress.dk/samples/Repoliticized_military.pdf

More details on the book can be found at:

http://www.niaspress.dk/asian_studies_bookshop/detail.asp?ID=The%20Thaksinization%20of%20Thailand

In addition, background information on the military coup in Thailand can be found at the main NIAS website, http://www.nias.ku.dk/. This includes a lot of links to other useful sites as well as pointing to several other NIAS books dealing with Thai politics.

Anyone wanting to get hold of these (or any other) NIAS books in a hurry should NOT order from NIAS but rather from your local book store or an online retailer like Amazon.

Best wishes

Gerald Jackson
Editor in Chief, NIAS Press