ASEAN Defense: New Thai Mechanize Army in E-Sarn Region is mainly to “Quell Internal Unrest & Meet Cambodia”

By Stingray-this blog national security journalist

The Thai army is considering bringing all army calvary units under a single commend by first establishing a new calvary army in E-Sarn, a foreign intelligence source told this blog.

Today Abhisit called in the commander of the army to discuss security situation with Cambodia. Details were not given of the talks, however, the intelligence source said it was mainly about Cambodia’s quiet built up of equipment. Earlier, Cambodia’s high command told senior Thai government officials that it was prepared to throw about 10,000 battle hardened troops against the Thai army.

“The Thai army will likely bring together parts of the 17 calvary units spreaded across several army region and command to form the third calvary army. With three calvary army, a command would then be formed. The Thai government is under tight budget currently, but the army will likely have some pockets of vacuum to filled after the re-organization, and they will likely have to purchase some additional equipments,” said the source.

The source said the third calvary army will be stationed in the E-Sarn region for a variety of reasons.

These are namely to keep watch on the E-Sarn region, which is Taksin’s stronghold and also to beef up forces in the region that is near Cambodia and Laos, to which the source said, are becoming wealthy from natural resources and have “definite plans to re-equip their military forces.”

Earlier report also said the airforce is alarmed with Vietnam taking delivery of advance Russian fighters that are a little more advance than the Thai airforce most advance fighters that is the F-16. Earlier report also said the Thai navy is alarmed at worsening situation on disputes Gulf of Thailand claim with Cambodia and subsequently, have rushed to set up a new base in the area and indicated to the government it needed to modernize its naval forces.

Cambodia gave Total Oil, a French oil firm, the right to explore the disputed area. Earlier, this blog reported that the French navy has taken nuclear devices off its aircraft carrier, with some European analyst saying was to “pave the way for the nuclear free ASEAN zone.”

The Thai navy is currently beefing up its ability to transport special forces, with numerous “very” fast attact craft that are equiped to transport special forces.

The source said the Thai military comes out with major directives on military development every 3 years and the last development plan was in 2006. “I don’t think this move now is political, but it could be. We will just have to wait and see how fast they rush this through,” said the source.

The Thai army and the government have seen their relation soured in recent months. And some see this “Hint” of demand for resources from the government is a deal by the military to keep its support and prop up the government going, in exchange for arms.

“The Thai army has been targeting this calvary command for a long time, with most of the top brass in Thailand who subscribe to direct military politicking coming from calvary units. This is just their way of saying they want more muscle and to control things in the Thai army directly, not through other units,” said the intelligent source.

In the mean time, in Thailand’s Deep South, terrorism is on the increase with alarm being heard throughout Thai internal security apparatus with terrorist there using much more advance and difficult to track bomb arming devices. News also appeared that video surveillance systems put in place during the coup government, have failed to perform.

Corruption has also buffeted the procurement system for weapons to give to the village defense volunteers, with allegations of higher than market price and inappropriate weapons type being acquired for the task.

The Thai armed forces claim that most of its equipment purchase is through government-to-government contracrts, however, several wealthy business groups in Thailand are agants of foreign arms. Independent arms dealers are also ramphant in Thailand, mostly using personal connections to market their wear. Several foreign illegal arms dealer also use Thailand as a base of smuggling arms throughout the globe’s hot spots.  

The Thai calvary is currently equiped mostly with Vietnam era M48 and M60 tanks. Self propelled howitzers of various types are used. Apart from those western weaponry, the Thai army under Chaovalit also purchased substantial calvary armaments from China. Apart from ground calvary, the Thai army also have air calvary units, armed with older and modern helicopters gunships.

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