Thailand in Turmoil — Manthorpe

Caretaker Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan

Thailand is once again roiled by political turmoil, with a rural-urban split. Will there be civil war? Can the country’s aging King Bhumibol Adulyadej hang on? What will come of its democracy when Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, “seen as a vindictive man with thuggish instincts,” takes over? International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe explains why military intervention – now being widely discussed – is no simple matter. Excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column:

Thailand’s military leaders are clear that they don’t want to launch another coup, but the growing intensity of the political chaos may give them little choice.

Last week’s ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra by the Constitutional Court for abuse of power has left dangerous uncertainty about which political leader, if any, has the authority to run the government.

There is even talk of civil war as cohorts of pro and anti-government supporters circle each other in the capital, Bangkok, so far without serious clashes.

In the last few days anti-government demonstrators from the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, known as Yellow Shirts, have rampaged through the capital, Bangkok, attacking media outlets and demanding the removal of the caretaker government.

So far there have been no clashes with the government supporters of the United Front for democracy Against Dictatorship, known as Red Shirts. But emotions are high and on a hair-trigger …  read more.*

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