by Stingray, this blog national security journalist
It sounds too fantastic, even from a fantastic soldier like Sea Dang. But that is what Sae Dang just said, that the Thai military is fractured and internal military conflict looms.
Thai Intelligent News had been the first Thai media to exposed a serious problem inside the Thai military, as Aunpong, the current Thai army chief, went on a witch hunt for Red Shirt sympathizers in the Thai military-and reports said about 20,000 Thai soldiers of all ranks have seen their careers frozen.
Top Echelon Defects to Taksin:
Since then the situation has deteriorated, with first a group of about 50 highly respected and high-ranking retired soldiers joined Taksin’s party Puey Thai. Then followed by another batch of the most warfare-capable freshly retired Special Warfare soldiers, who again joined Taksin. Then the leaders of a now defunct, but still united unit, called Volunteer Rangers, then went and joined Taksin, via Sae Daeng.
Then a bunch of retired very senior intelligence and national security people joined Taksin.
The Anupong, Prem and Abhisit’s Cronies:
The appointment by Anupong of the future commander of the all powerful Thai Army with a man who says he is sickened by the sight of any Red Shirt, Prem’s man to control the Deep South, and a cousin of Abhisit to control a key coup staging unit-all have added to the fracture.
Intelligence source said there are two key competing philosophy in the Thai military that dates back some 20-30 years and that is between the “Hawks” who believes in enforcements and those other soldiers who believes in “Political Solutions” to conflicts.
The rise up the ranks of “Hawks” has resulted in those in the opposition uniting, “As Never Before,” said one intelligent analyst.
Graduate Class in Constant Competition:
The point to keep in mind is that the Thai military is highly “Graduate Class” conscious, meaning the careers of Thai soldiers, follows the ebb and flow of their Graduate Class movements in the military.
Therefore, when a significant numbers of soldiers from a particular group of Graduate Class, make a significant political move-like allying themselves with Taksin or Anupong-it sends shivers down the entire Thai military organizational structure.
A Politicized Military:
This is even more problematic, in reality, because the Thai military had been highly politicized since the coup of 2006, and thus being politicized, the military is exposed to political reality. That political reality is that Taksin and his Red Shirt and the Puey Thai Party are major political and social movement in Thailand.
Sae Dang, as fantastic as he is and under pressure by Anupong to distance himself from Taksin, still must be taken seriously, when he said the Graduate Class of 9 may cause an “Open Revolt” in Thailand’s military.
Rank and File Situation:
Sea Dang is a highly popular soldier and he typify what soldiers should be like, to many Thai soldiers. Sae Dang said the rank and files in the Thai military are greatly divided these days-between being Red Shirt supporters and being supporter of Anupong.
Sae Dang might be right on the money on this point, according to some intelligent analyst. The career rank and files in the Thai military comes from two main source, first, those with tradition in the military to escape long poverty and those that are family members from grassroots political figures. Significant numbers of families from both these groups are strong Taksin supporters.
Red Shirt Poised for Underground Resistance:
Anupong, via his political front-man, Nevin, is propping up the current government of Abhisit. Such a conflict in the military bodes ill for Abhisit and the government. Already, some Democrat Party members are scared and are making fresh calls in the past few days, that Taksin and Puey Thai, do not split the country apart. It could mean a great many things, but then again it could be directed at the Thai military.
Meanwhile, as Thai Intelligent News had reported earlier, some intelligent analyst, predicts that if the situation deteriorates for the Red Shirt, the Red Shirt are poised to go underground with a violent campaign against the military backed government of Abhisit.
“The coup may be peaceful, but we expect the aftermath will be very violent,” said one intelligent analyst.