Thailand’s capital was hit by two bomb blasts on Monday night. It has not been confirmed who is responsible, whether it was the “Red Shirts” political movement – for whom an act such as this, ie indiscriminate murder, would be way out of character, and would alienate it from mainstream Thais; or one of the groups fighting an Islamic insurgency – who usually, but not always, confine their attacks to the South, where they are fighting for greater autonomy/ an Islamic caliphate. It must be noted that this kind of attack is more in keeping with the practices of Islamic jihadists the world over, and it is not unusual for Thailand’s Islamic insurgents to commit terrorist acts without claiming responsibility, so as to sow maximum confusion.
So without making a call on who is responsible for Monday night’s bombings, it draws our attention to a very important question:
Has Thailand invaded Iraq for oil? (I don’t agree with this question’s underlying assumption, but it’s worth asking.). A small number of Thai troops were deployed to police the demilitarised zone between Iraq and Kuwait in 1991, after one Islamic, Middle Eastern country country invaded another Islamic, Middle Eastern country, for oil. Some bitterness may exist over Thailand’s strong contribution (1581 soldiers, and its role as Deputy Force Commander,) to the Australian led INTERFET operation, when the majority Christian East Timor split from the majority Muslim Indonesia, and international troops intervened on the ‘pretext’ that the East Timorese were being massacred. (Although the numbers were below initial fears, it appears such concern was justified.) More recently, Thailand contributed a whopping 423 troops to peacekeeping operations in Iraq in 2003-04, and allowed the US access to its ports, airspace and airfields in its efforts in the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also considered a “major non-NATO ally,” and has been involved in many joint military exercises with the US. Does this mean Thailand deserved 320 bombings in four southern provinces in 2013 alone? Or the murder of 171 teachers in the southern border provinces between 2004 and 2014? I guess it depends who you ask.
Did Thailand invade the Levant during the Crusades? I can’t be certain, but I don’t think so. Given that actions by Europeans almost a thousand years ago, to reclaim through warfare land which had been taken from them through warfare, have been often cited to explain why Islamic terrorists behead children today, it is entirely plausible that animosity still burns over the defeat of the Sultanate of Phatani by the Kingdom of Siam in 1785. For some unknown reason, the level of violence escalated in Thaild’s southern provinces after 2001, despite there being a strong representation of Muslims in Thai politics and the military. The southern provinces are economically and educationally poorer, but are on the rise. A heavy handed approach was blamed in the early 2000’s for sparking reprisals, but a more conciliatory approach by the country’s military rulers has failed to stem the violence.
Perhaps it is to do with sweat shops? Or Child prostitution? But then, are not Thais the victims of this exploitation of their labour and their bodies, not the perpetrators? Why then would Islamic terrorists want to kill the victims of this economic exploitation, rather than the perpetrators? Thailand itself is home to hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, most from non-Muslim countries, often under insecure arrangements. And thousands of Thais also work in the Middle East, under the Kafala system, which has been likened by human rights groups to a system of modern day slavery. It all seems a little too complex to warrant the sparking of an insurgency.
More to the point, does this not reveal as rubbish the arguments of Western apologists for terror, sorry progressive academics, (and the use of this line of reasoning by such luminaries as Osama bin Laden,) that colonial/imperialist exploitation of the third world is the source of terrorism, sorry, asymmetric warfare, against the West? It brings to mind the London Bombings of 2005, when barely a day beforehand, Tony Blair announced, along with his fellow G7 leaders, that the debt of the poorest 18 countries in the world would be completely wiped out. Surely if terrorism was about colonialism, about exploitation, about racism, about US foreign policy, about capitalism, this would have been exactly the sort of thing to make a terrorist think twice about killing innocent civilians, because surely, surely it was being made clear by the West that they were taking responsibility for their actions and trying to consider those in countries less fortunate?
Perhaps, rather than perpetually trying to blame ourselves for Islamic terrorism, and thus continue to enable it, we should be looking at the nature of the religion from which, statistically, it most commonly springs?
At this point I would like to reiterate that we do not know who is responsible for the latest Bangkok bombing. But in the words of my fellow XYZ editor, Jeremy Morgan:
“The point is that regardless of who is responsible for this attack (it’s likely to be Islamists, but even still) the Islamists are waging a war in the southern part of Thailand – a nation that is 95% Buddhist.
There are other religious minorities – Christians and Hindus (it was a Hindu shrine that was attacked, after all) but are they creating insurgency? No.
The same thing that is happening in Thailand is happening elsewhere. There are Islamic insurgents in China (secular/atheist), the Philippines (95% Catholic) Burma (95% Buddhist), et al.
The world needs to wake up to Islamic insurgency/terrorism which is happening everywhere and does not discriminate against culture or religion (they even like to kill their own).
So, we don’t know who is responsible for this bombing, but we do know who is responsible for all the killing and problems which are ongoing in the south of Thailand and elsewhere.
Time to join the dots…”