Politics: Intelligence Briefs as the year, 2009, closes out

My ID says CIA, but I am just a strange girl

by Stingray, this blog national security journalist

Khumunig, China, Golfing Rounds:

Intelligence: Anupong and a group of very senior Thai soldiers went to play golf in Khuming right before a major military reshuffle recently, and most that went on that golfing trip were elevated.

Analysis: These type of open action for every other Thai soldier to see and observe bodes ill for the Thai military because the move not just indicates that cronyism and favoritism is rampant in the Thai military, but it show a total lack of tact and sensitivity to other senior military people. The move also indicates the the type of money Thai generals are able to accumulate for such an expensive trip, or it indicates how the Thai military is using tax payers money.

More Soldiers Join Taksin:

Intelligence: Today 46 fresh retired senior Thai special warfare soldier join Puey Thai Party of Taksin.

Analysis: This is the second batch of soldiers from Thailand’s most war-ready unit to join Taksin. Since this unit is also in charged of the psychological warfare activity of the Thai army, that was ordered by the Thai government to make contact with the grassroots to get them to support the government, we suspect there is a major conflict that looms in this command and this defection is a direct result of rejection of that government order.

Emergency Decree Funds Dry Up:

Intelligence: Emergency Decree enforcement order special fund rejected by the government.

Analysis: The government has rejected giving money to support the enforcement of the Emergency Decree saying it has no money for the promised payment. However, today the government extended its many free services program to the poor Thai people. Some commanders in charged with the enforcement of the decree, openly told Thai press that they had to pay the soldiers under their command out of their own pockets. One soldier said he does not understand why the money is not there because the government keeps spending and spending. The involved amount is about 12 million baht.

F16 Rough Ride for Thai Air force:

Intelligence: Defense Ministry and Government differs on use of F16 to intercept Taksin.

News is leaking out that the Defense Ministry rejected the government’s request to use F16 fighters to intercept Taksin leaving Cambodia on his last visit there because the cost involved in F16 readiness is 270,000 baht per hour and to have the several jets stand by for long period of time means substantial amount of money. But the government instead went directly to the air force and ordered the air force to put the F16 on stand by.

Analysis: The air force has little room to reject the government or to insists the government go through proper channel on this one because the Don Mung Airport, a major Thai air force base, is under consideration by the government of its future usage and the air force wants to have a voice in the matter.

Military Attache Secret Meet:

Intelligence: Thai military secret meet with foreign military attache in Thailand on the Cambodian situation reportedly angered many who attended.

Analysis: The Thai military rushed together an urgent meeting to explain Thailand’s position to the foreign military attache in an attempt to gain support for its position on Cambodia, however, several reported back to their country, as indicated by some foreign wire services such as AFP, that the Thai military failed in the attempt as many in attendant told the Thai military that a conflict will isolate Thailand and brings Cambodia support. However, after the meeting, the Thai military took a U-turn on its policy on confrontation and began an appeasement process with the Cambodia military, independent of the Thai government.

Future Army Boss Move Disappoint Many:

Intelligence: The future Thai army chief in waiting assigns his close aids and staff members to about 20 force commanding units.

Analysis: This and other move, like the assignment of Abhisit cousin to head a key unit with tradition of staging coups, has disappointed many more senior and capable soldiers, as some Thai press reports. One soldier said it plainly that some of this people qualifications is strong relationship only, but the appointments have broken all protocol on proper appointments. The problem for many Thai soldiers now, is the realization that their career now to rise up the ranks is pretty much have been terminated, even when they are not Red Shirt sympathizers.

Plane Load of Arms:

Intelligence: Mysterious plane full of weapons lands in Thailand and cause a great deal of confusion.

Analysis: Intelligence source said the CIA spy satellite and the Singaporean AWACS were tracking the plane. However, the destiny is unclear as of this reporting, and there was a debate going if it was better to kill the process in Thailand or let the plane reach close to its destiny to be able to read better what is going on. However, letting the plane leave Thailand would require Thailand’s participant in keeping the move secret and refuel the plane as a normal event. As one foreign intelligence source told this blog, the US decided to kill the operation in Thailand mainly because the Thai intelligence community was not prepared to handle the event.

Myanmar Ditched:

Intelligence: Senior Thai military planned to visit Myanmar for talks on security issues but had to ditched the meeting to deal with the Cambodian situation.

Analysis: Myanmar soldiers crossed over deep into Thailand and faced Thai soldiers who came to the brink of firing on the Myanmar soldiers. But face with potential war with Cambodia, the Thai military decided for talks with the Myanmar. But as Cambodia border heated up, the Thai military focused on Cambodia. This indicates some serious problems in the Thai military and defense establishment, namely about its ability to negotiate in multiple situation scenario and also to the extent of war readiness in that it appears the Thai military only has the capability to deal in a total way with one conflict at a time.

Volunter Ranger and Taksin’s Chaovalit:

Intelligence: Chaovalit, a former Thai military boss who created the Volunteer Ranger to help fight the war with the communist at the grassroots level, had recently aligned himself with Taksin and created fear in the Thai military of the movement of the now defunct unit that at its height had about 40,000 members.

Analysis: The Volunteer Rangers are now defunct, but the leaders have been active and united. The key question is how active are those former rank and files under their command. Since the unite was disbanded quite some time ago, most of the units are now in their 40-50 and most likely quite assimilated into the overall Thai society normal way of life. However, since Chaovalit created the unit, that drew people who were at the time, mostly deep in poverty, most in this unit still sees Chaovalit as their saving father. The relationship is made more solid by the philosophy of the unit in that they see political solution as the solution to conflict, to which most of the unit in mainly psychological oriented. The bottom-line is that it could be ssid that many in this unit, can still be called on by Chaovalit for support.

Sae Dang in Dubai and Cambodia:

Intelligence: Sae Dang visited Taksin in Dubai and Cambodia and have aligned himself with Taksin.

Analysis: Anupong, the Thai army chief, is greatly angered at Sae Dang and is on a war-path with Sae Dang to kick him out of the Thai military. The difficulty for Anupong is that Sea Dang is an active general and the rules and regulations is quite strict on the limitations when dealing with Thai generals. Anupong is trying hard however, to the extent that the military courts have been called into make some quick decision against Sae Dang’s on other matters. The move by Anupong is raising some eyebrows in the Thai military, as having a double standard, to which that is the main complaint Taksin is using to legitimize his activities on Thailand. Off note also is that Anupong is highly politicized, and thus many military people question Anupong if it is not hypocritical to accuse Sae Dang for being politicized.

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