April 27, 2011
By Dennis Behreandt
Violence continues to spread across the world, with the latest fighting breaking out between Thailand and Cambodia.
The Singapore Straits Times reported on Sunday that fighting at the Thai-Cambodia border had continued into a third day.
“Cambodian and Thai troops exchanged heavy weapons fire for the third straight day on Sunday, officials from both countries said, after clashes on their joint border left 10 dead,” the paper noted.
The most recent clash follows a cease-fire that had lasted for two months. Military officials involved in the hostilities acknowledged that both sides had exchanged mortar and artillery fire.
“What we can confirm is it involves artillery shell fire,” Cambodian commander Suos Sothea said.
An official from Thailand said the Cambodians fired first, the Straits Times reported.
According to the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “said he was troubled by reports of renewed fighting” between the two nations.
“In a statement released by his spokesperson,” the UN said, “Mr. Ban said he … believes that the dispute cannot be resolved by military means and urged the two countries to engage in serious dialogue to find a lasting solution.”
By Sunday, however, that seemed increasingly unlikely. The Bangkok Post reported that Thai officials believe that Cambodia is attempting to occupy and seize temples near the countries disputed border region.
“Phnom Penh has reportedly removed soldiers and tanks from its Preah Vihear military base, next to the disputed main border area near Si Sa Ket province, to fortify its troops near the two temples at the Thai-Cambodian border in Surin’s Phanom Dong Rak district, said army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd citing a late military report,” the Post said.
Thai military officials also claimed that Cambodian troops were building fortifications in the area.
The Cambodians, meanwhile, claim that Thai troops have used cluster bombs and chemical weapons during the fighting.
“They (Thai troops) have not only fired poisonous smoke on our troops, but they have also used cluster bombs to attack on Cambodian troops and surrounding villages,” Suos Sothea saidaccording to Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Meanwhile, in a sign of a probable escalation of the hostilities, the Bangkok Post reported that “Both sides were bringing in reinforcements right along the border including heavy weaponry, heightening fears” of a wider war.
The fighting along the Thailand-Cambodia border has broken out as wars and violence continue to spread throughout the Middle East.
In Libya, forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi fired artillery shells and rockets at the besieged city of Misrata on Sunday. Doctors there reported that as many as 32 people had been killed over the previous two days due to the attacks.
Also in Libya, U.S. Predator drones conducted their first strikes in support of rebel forces. NATO acknowledged that the drones “destroyed a Qadhafi regime Multiple Rocket Launcher (MRL) in the vicinity of Misrata” at about 1100 GMT on April 23.
President Obama authorized use of the drones in Libya on April 21. Speaking about the use of Predator drones in Libya, Marine Corps General James E. Cartwright said the craft have an “ability to get down lower and therefore, to be able to get better visibility, particularly on targets that have started to dig themselves into defensive positions.”
In addition to the ongoing civil war in Libya, tensions remain high elsewhere in the Middle East as well, particularly in Syria.
According to the Los Angeles Times, up to 300 protestors have been killed in recent weeks by plainclothes and uniformed government security personnel. The paper reported that as many as 120 had been killed in the past two days.
The Moral Liberal associate editor, Dennis Behreandt, is the Founder and Editor In Chief of the American Daily Herald, and former long-time contributor, serving both as Senior and Managing Editor, to The New American magazine, writing hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from natural theology to history and from science and technology to philosophy. Mr. Behreandt’s research interests include the period of late antiquity in European history as well as Medieval and Renaissance history.