|(George Soros chairs & funds the Crisis Group)|
It would be shortsighted and self-defeating of the generals running Thailand to insist on dismissing these latest attacks as a partisan vendetta unconnected to the conflict in the south. They should recognize the insurgency as a political problem requiring a political solution. That means restoring the rights of freedom of expression and assembly to Thai citizens, engaging in genuine dialogue with militants, and finding ways to devolve power to the region.Wheeler's editorial intentionally misleads readers with various distortions and critical omissions, mischaracterising Thailand's ongoing political crisis almost as if to fan the flames of conflict, not douse them as is the alleged mission of the Crisis Group.
Wheeler's recommendations to allow violent opposition groups back into the streets for another cycle of deadly clashes (which have nothing to do with the southern insurgency) while "devolving power" to armed insurgents in the deep south appear to be a recipe for encouraging a much larger crisis, not resolving Thailand's existing problems.
Wheeler never provides evidence linking the bombings to the insurgency or provides any explanation as to why the insurgency, after decades of confining its activities to Thailand's southern most provinces, would escalate its violence so dramatically. Wheeler also intentionally sidesteps any mention of evidence or facts that indeed indicate a "partisan vendetta."
Instead, his narrative matches almost verbatim that promoted by the primary suspects behind the bombings, ousted former-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his political supporters.
Wheeler's distortions include an intentional omission of the scale of violence Shinawatra and his followers have carried out in the past, as well as the political significance of the provinces targeted in the recent bombings in connection to Shinawatra's conflict with the current ruling government, not the insurgency's,
The provinces targeted represented political strongholds of anti-Shinawatra political leaders and activists, all of whom have no connection at all to the ongoing conflict in Thailand's deep south.
Crisis Group is Covering up an Engineered Buddhist-Muslim Conflict
More alarming are Wheeler's attempts to cite growing tensions in Thailand's northern city of Chiang Mai between Buddhists and Muslims as evidence, he claims, of the real dimensions of Thailand's conflict. Wheeler is attempting to claim Thailand is experiencing a potential nationwide religious divide, separate from Shinawatra's struggle to seize back power.