Although the Thai government has taken a stance to be honest and open about what it is doing when it comes to Dealing with Thaksin’s Red Shirts, there is still a lot that is not being said. What is being kept from the public has both psychological and tactical reasons for sealed lips.
Connecting the Dots has been watching what has been going on as well as checking with our listening posts in Isaan and Northern Thailand, and we have come to the opinion that there is a significant concern about some of the tactics being employed by the Red Shirts. They clearly are of military design and thus pose more of a significant challenge than what happened in April 2009 in Bangkok. So as we are Connecting the Dots, we will now connect the dots for you as to what we see.
First off we must simply say the approach of Abhisit and his government are very admirable. The methods they have used in the past year have been proven to be measured and appropriate for the situation.
It is very clear there will be violence. All the little signs are there that the threat is trickling into Bangkok. However there is no significant evidence as yet to warrant the invoking of the Internal security Act. We are writing this entry on March 6 so events after that are not considered. No mass shipments of weapons have been detected as yet.
Thaksin has been unusually quiet and appears to be distancing himself from this wolf in sheep’s clothing rally. Typically Thaksin distances himself from violence as a form of alibi. The Songkran riots were the exception where he was clearly working at stirring the pot. Thaksin’s involvement has been passive in general with only contacts being with Red Shirt leaders, and occasional remarks on Twitter.
Another concern is there is clear evidence the Red Shirts look to disrupt Bangkok and use their vehicles as barricades. The government has countered by instructions to park the vehicles at Don Mueang Airport in northern Bangkok. This is a subtle way of neutralizing this military tactic without raising concern. How this will pan out is yet to be seen.
One of the biggest concerns the Thai government has is for innocent Thais being duped into believing this will be a non violent event. The Red Shirts are going out of there way to market this as non violent, but the fact is all the subtle signs are there and frankly there are too many dots to list except for the biggest ones. The government fears innocent Thais will find themselves in the middle of a unruly mob bent on a violent overthrow of the government. For lack of a better term, these innocent Thais will become a form of human shields.
Thaksin has set into motion calling this a people’s army and is setting up platoon type structures with a 1 to 10 ratio. It is all this military type readiness that is the biggest dot. A military structure is not needed for a rally if the intent is to be peaceful. Another dot is the intended size of the rally is meant to overwhelm.
Other concerns are news reports of six or more rally sites. Although we have only seen 1 report of this without naming the locations, it is totally a military tactic and would only be used in a divide and conquer tactic. The Red Shirts have floated this before and ran a series of small unannounced rally tests to see how fast the government would respond and in what way.
So the Government is selectively releasing information as significant evidence becomes available. Keeping their hands above the table is a bit of a handicap when nearly all of what Thaksin and the Red Shirts are doing is under the table.
The government along with other observers expect an explosion of violence on Que, and as it would be the government must wait for the Red Shirts to take the first swing in order to legitimize countering tactics. But it is clear already this will be a military style conflict as it remains Thaksin’s only choice. His options have been limited to this because of the February 26 court ruling that found him guilty. 30 days after the ruling he will be banned from politics for life and even for Thaksin it becomes hard to legitimize himself going against a mandate spelled out in the Constitution. Totally ignoring the laws will turn Thailand into a lawless state and only Thaksin’s personal laws will be the law of the land.
With late breaking news reports about 3000 rounds of ammunition and 20 grenades suddenly missing, and certain pro Thaksin military personal in and around the area where the arms went missing in recent weeks, it looks like the dots are clearly lining up to take advantage of using the governments tactics against the government. That is to go in with measured force to control the crowd and then suddenly discovering the crowd is not unarmed and hungry for blood responding with overwhelming force to neutralize the unarmed riot control police and military.