Saturday, April 18, 2009

Abhisit is preparing a reshuffle

Posted by Thanong
From one of the blogger by the name of DTC:

Perhaps I missed your answer.

I previously inquired regarding your perspectives on what Thailand needs to do to solve our political problems.

Assume you are PM Abhisit. What would be your immediate goals - within a week and a month? Also, what would be your strategy for abating the Clear & Present Danger of the State?

Let me put it this way:

Thailand and other countries request you publicly and distinctly pronounce the sequential steps of your policy for achieving security and harmony for the country. All your deeds are to be pursuant Thai law.

You are on air. All Thais and other countries are listening. The floor is yours.

What would be your course of action – all to be in line with Thai law and in the interest of the State?

My take is as follows:

Most people don't understand the structure of Thai politics. Police and military form a shadow government of their own. Their positions are as fluid as water on a lotus leaf. These two organisations, including the other intelligence agencies, are responsible for maintaining law and order during this time of turmoil. Now most of leaders of the security-maintaining apparatuses have sided either with Red Shirts or Blue Shirts against Abhisit, who is now swimming among the sharks.

Abhisit has come to power via politics in December 2008. His role is to initiate policies and run the government. But the military and police and other agencies already exist as independent turfs. They do not necessary answer to Abhisit or the government. There lies the complications of Thai politics as the heads of the military, police and agencies play musical chairs or jockeying for power. Their role is never static. They change their positions all the time.

Thaksin's coup attempt has been revealed (read my previous blogs). There was no pro-democracy movement among the Red Shirts, who ravaged Bangkok only as a pretext. You have to divide the Red Shirts into two: Those sitting at the Government House and those shutting out some 35 key traffic points in Bangkok for terrorim purposes. By bringing out three gas-tank trucks, with eight tonnes of gas, they were holding Bangkok as their hostage. Almost 20 years ago, a gas tank with only one tone of gas overturned on Petchaburi Road, and it caused huge damage to the people's life and properties. Now we are talking about 8 tonnes of gas, capable of mass destruction.

At the Cabinet meeting on Friday, Abhisit recounted the terror of the Red Shirts, who were determined to cause him severe injury or even to kill him while he was trapped on Sunday inside the Interior Ministry.

"He was soaked with sweat, shattered with the horror. He could have vomited out from the spasm of his muscle in the face of the terror," a friend of mine told me.

If the Red Shirts were for real, as my professor friend at Chulalongkorn University has kept on ranting in his countless interviews, they would have continued the rally until they had achieved the purpose of changing the government. Why did the Red Shirts abruptly end the rally on April 14 after about a forthnight while the Yellow Shirts could sustain the rally for more than 100 days? The answer is that when the money stopped flowing, the rally could only lay dead in the water.

Thaksin would only finance the scheme until Songkran or a few more days if necessary, if his people's revolution -- in fact there is no people's revolution of any sort but only military coup on his behalf -- could bring about the result. As it turned out, the military has been subdued and the police has been edged out (through the emergency decree). This has allowed Abhisit to take control over the situation.

Since Thaksin recognised that the military and police could not move, while the public sentiment turned badly against the Red Shirts, he called for an end of the people's revolution. When the money stopped flowing, Veera Musikapong & Co could only stop.

No money, no rally. The plug was pulled off suddenly, causing the Red Shirts to disperse like bees fleeing their hibe.

But Thaksin would not stop here because he is now wanted by Thai law on his role in the ravaging of Bangkok on Songkran Day. Once formal investigation is launched, it would trace the turmoil back to Thaksin in spite of his denial of any riots or act of espionage. Thaksin keeps on mumbling that the Red Shirts are for pro-democracy and peaceful resolution.

What can Abhisit do to restore normalcy to the situation?

He might probably have to reshuffle the heads of the police and military pretty soon, including those responsible for national intelligence service. All the intelligence service has broken down during the turmoil, failing to help provide Abhisit with the true assessment of the dangerous situation. For example, Abhisit should have been warned about the Red Shirts' threat to the Asean Summit in Pattaya. But the warning did not come to him. Suthep Thuagsuban, the deputy prime minister in charge of national security, also made it sound that there would be no problem with the Red Shirts at Pattaya.

So Abhisit will need his allies at the military, police and intelligence agencies. When Obama came to the White House, he could up a new team at all the federal agencies, which immediately fell into their ranks and acted in unity to support his presidency. In Thailand, a new government cannot expect to get cooperation from the law and order or national security agencies outright.

On April 21, the Democrats will hold a meeting among themselves to assess the situation. At that meeting, the role of Suthep is likely to be discussed. Um............

Trairong Suwannakhiri might be asked to step into the Cabinet to help restore confidence in the economic management. Sathit Wongnongteoi might lose his job as minister attached to the Office of the Prime Minister in charge of PR.

If the leaders of the Red Shirts are subdued, the Red Shirts movement among the grass-roots will also be brought under control. Abhisit will need to speak out and reach out to them, telling them that the government understands their anger and their needs. But to do so, the government must be more effective. This is Abhisit's drawback, effective PR to educate the Red Shirts and effective government to reach out to the Red Shirts.

READ MORE---> Abhisit is preparing a reshuffle...

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