Amid the tension and turmoil in Thailand this week, only one thing is certain — the military would not have intervened without the approval of ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej, writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. An excerpt of his new column:
A day after declaring martial law, the first attempt by Thailand’s army to mediate an end to the country’s eight years of political turmoil ended inconclusively, with both major factions refusing to end their street protests.
Hours after launching what has been called “a half coup,” Army Chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha today chaired a meeting with representatives of the governing Pheu Thai Party, the opposition Democrat Party and the chairman of Thailand’s election commission.
But he was unable to get any commitment from either the governing or opposition parties to end their demonstrations, which have regularly spawned violence since Thai politics was thrown into chaos by the 2006 military coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is now in self-imposed exile.
Gen. Prayuth insists his declaration of martial law is not a coup, that the government of Pheu Thai acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan is still the administration, and that his only aim is to prevent bloodshed … read more.*
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