By Thanong Khanthong
Published on February 11, 2011
It looks like a cat-and-mouse game again as Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is facing two wars ...
One at the Cambodian border and the other on Rajadamnoen Road at the back of the Government House. The yellow shirts and the red shirts are now going after the Democrat-led government in earnest.
The "war" against Cambodia has come to the prime minister as a big shock. He is not ready for it. But since the arrest of seven Thais in late December - for trespassing on what Cambodia says is its territory - events have been moving dangerously out of control.
Initially, Abhisit was no match for his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen, who was seen to control the game. Abhisit's hotline to Hun Sen could not effect an immediate release of the seven Thais. Kasit Piromya, the foreign minister, also failed to secure the release of the Thais, resulting in a huge diplomatic loss of face.
The arrest of the seven Thais appeared to be part of a diabolical plot. Why have we arrived at this point with an armed conflict against Cambodia?
From my February 7 TweetDeck:
"People in the government, in the Army, in the high-level and local bureaucracies have vested interests tied up with Cambodia."
"[There is] no unity in the country also."
"The government lacks unity."
"Our PM is weak, [he] can't handle the simmering conflict."
"It was a big shock that the PM, foreign minister, and defence and national security bowed to [Hun Sen] by admitting that seven Thais had encroached into Cambodian land."
"The most important questions: Where were the seven arrested? Why [were they] arrested? What must Thailand do to protect our rights and sovereignty?"
"Before the arrests, a Cambodian colonel had got an order from Phnom Penh one day ahead to arrest the Thais."
"Instead of sending the Thais to Sri Sophong, the Thais [had to] be sent to Phnom Penh instead."
"It was reported that this colonel has a former wife whose family owned Cambodia's largest tapioca plant, which supplies tapioca to Thailand."
"We have to understand that the disputed area is plagued with human trafficking, contraband."
"The question is whether the disputed area is designed to serve business interests between some Thai and [Cambodian] leaders."
"There is a special economic zone in Poipet and Aranyaprathet promoted by both [the] Thai and [Cambodian] governments. The Memorandum of Understanding BE 2543 is part of [that] package."
"This economic zone [will] be linked with Cambodia's 2,500 rai investment area established at Poipet and O'Neang, opposite Ban Pa Rai in Aranyaprathet."
"In effect, Cambodia is promoting a special economic zone at the border, a package that includes the land of our country."
"Once foreign companies or foreign powers invest in the special economic zone at Poipet, [the] Thai military [will] be rendered obsolete at the border."
"After the clashes at the border, the tide of events has twisted in the Thai favour. The [balance] of power has shifted away from Hun Sen, who now scrambles for UN Security Council intervention. He does not want to consult Asean either."
"Abhisit and Kasit have rushed [to] stitch the wounds. They stick to the ground rules that any conflict with Cambodia can be settled bilaterally. It is just a mini-series of border clashes. But Hun Sen proclaims that a full-scale war is going on."
"The Thai military is lurking in the wings, while the yellow shirts are staging rallies in their own fashion to topple the government. The red shirts, who also want the government out, have to join as conspirators."
"[The] Scorpion[s], the German rock band, [are] coming to town. I can hear their famous song, "Winds of Change", ringing in the air."