Southeast Asia Theater
From Bangkok's The Nation, Jan. 4:
Blasts shatter hopes for reconciliation
The bomb blasts that hit Bangkok on New Year's Eve signalled that the worst is yet to come. The explosions, which killed three people and injured almost 40, were certainly not the work of international terrorists, who typically direct their attacks at large targets for maximum impact and exposure -- that much is certain. However theories and counter-theories abound regarding the other two key suspects -- southern insurgents and the remnants of the previous regime. Some analysts have ruled out militants from the deep South on the grounds that it would be unlikely for them to want to venture beyond their accustomed areas. Besides, the manner in which the bomb devices were planted in eight different locations in Bangkok was too sophisticated for southern insurgents.
From the Brunei Times, Nov. 9:
Surayud eyes autonomy for Thai south
Thailand's military-appointed prime minister, whose visit to the troubled deep South yesterday sparked a new wave of violence, is mulling to allow the rule of sharia law in the majority-Muslim region as a long-term solution to its problems.
A new military operation on Mindanao and growing impetus for a sweeping "anti-terrorism" bill in Manila, both aimed at the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)—which denies involvement in the terror blasts which have targeted markets and other public places, leaving a dozen dead in recent days. From the Philippines' Sun-Star Network, Oct. 11:
We'll have a clearer idea of what is going on here when the dust settles, but two things are worth noting about the Sept. 19 coup d'etat in Thailand. First, the coup leader Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin is the first Muslim to head the nation's armed forces, and was apparently appointed in an effort to win hearts and minds in the Islamist insurgency in the country's south. Secondly, the coup comes days after Thailand was implicated as possible host of one of the now-acknowledged secret CIA prisons established after 9-11 for the Global War on Terrorism.
Note that this is being portrayed openly as a tit-for-tat to counter-balance the scheduled execution of those convicted in the Bali bombings. Note also that the Indonesian military itself has been accused of enflaming the Sulawesi violence through proxy militias. And note that the Pentagon has openly broached intervention in the Sulawesi conflict. From Asia News, Aug. 10:
Jose Ramos Horta, winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, is a figure of towering moral authority, and will hopefully be able to restore both stability and real sovereignty to his nation. But it is painful to watch him take power as the East Timor he struggled to liberate from Indonesia is under de facto occupation by Australia and other foreign powers. From Austrialia's The Age, July 11:
Exactly four years after winning its independence from Indonesia, East Timor is tragically descending into chaos, and Australia has sent a "peacekeeping" force. Excerpts from a Reuters account via TV New Zealand, May 27:
Gangs of youths allied to feuding East Timor police or army units went on the rampage in parts of the capital on Saturday, torching houses and vehicles, as Australian and Malaysian peacekeeping troops stepped up their patrols.
From Reuters, March 30:
CANBERRA - An Indonesian cartoon depicting Australia's prime minister and foreign minister as fornicating dingoes was "grotesque", Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Thursday as bilateral tension flared with Jakarta.