ICG on Thailand’s deteriorating situation

30 04 2010

Like many other international agencies, the International Crisis Group has been rather too quiet on the conflict in Thailand. Today, however, they have issued a Conflict Risk Alert. Its first paragraph is set to stun:

Bangkok/Brussels, 30 April 2010: The Thai political system has broken down and seems incapable of pulling the country back from the brink of widespread conflict. The stand-off in the streets of Bangkok between the government and Red Shirt protesters is worsening and could deteriorate into an undeclared civil war. The country’s polarisation demands immediate action in the form of assistance from neutral figures from outside. It is time for Thailand to consider help from international friends to avoid a slide into wider violence. Even the most advanced democracies have accepted this.

It adds this useful observation:

While some blame Thaksin for the stand-off, the protests have moved far beyond his control. Many Thais are deeply disillusioned by an elite that denied them the fruits of development for decades and then ousted a government elected mostly by the rural poor. Thailand is a country prone to violence, with a history of bloody insurgencies and authoritarianism – an uncomfortable reality for most Thais to accept.  Violence in Bangkok could spread if there is a crackdown.

While thinks the whole alert is worth reading and pondering, we see the recommendations as being oddly flawed. The ICG’s suggestion of Jose Ramos Horta as an independent figure will cut the mustard given hi strong allegiance to figures in the Democrat Party. The idea of a “national government” is essentially a conservative idea. The call for such a government “led by someone from parliament but should be made up mostly of neutral, respected individuals from across society” is potentially undemocratic. New elections and a new constitution makes more sense.

PPT wonders when the government and its backers will accuse the ICG of being in the pay of Thaksin and/or of ignorance.


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1 05 2010
InI » Thailand Newslinks 1 May, 2010: Anti-government clashes in Thailand bring stalemate to a city and nation

[…] ICG on Thailand’s deteriorating situation “ Political Prisoners in … By thaipoliticalprisoners Like many other international agencies, the International Crisis Group has been rather too quiet on the conflict in Thailand. Today, however, they have issued a Conflict Risk Alert. Its first paragraph is set to stun: … thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/icg-on-thailands-deteriorating-situation/ […]