Home > Local News > What is behind the latest Thailand-Cambodian conflict?

What is behind the latest Thailand-Cambodian conflict?

As so often the disputed 11th century Preah Vihear temple in
Cambodia, long a source of anger for Thai nationalists who believe it
rightly belongs to Bangkok, has become the focus of the renewed spat
between the countries. 

This February 5, 2010, file photo shows the Preah Vihear temple Photo: AP

 

2:09PM GMT 07 Feb 2011

But it was the arrest of seven Thai
nationalists – including an MP from the ruling Democrat Party – who
deliberately strayed over the disputed border into Cambodia, that
ratcheted up anger in Bangkok. The jailing of two for long terms on
spying charges probably started the ball rolling.

Yellow
Shirt demonstrators – who once supported the Democrat-led coalition but
have since turned against it – have again taken to the streets of
Bangkok to protest the jailing of the pair as well as a host of other
issues, including the government’s impotence over the border dispute.

Some
analysts believe that hawkish elements within the government and
military are whipping up the nationalist fervour by provoking the
fighting to show a strong hand to curry favour with hard-line voters in
the upcoming poll.

With elections
due this year the government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva needs to keep
both elements on board, some say he is declining to rein in the extreme
elements.

His noisy demands that the Cambodians remove their national
flag flying over the temple site and Thai army anger over a plaque on
the site proclaiming “This is Cambodia” lend weight to the theory.


But
some commentators go further. They suggest the fighting is the result
of a secret pact between nationalist elements and hawkish generals in
an effort to unseat the government, or even provoke a coup in a country
where army takeovers are common-place.

Source: The Telegraph

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Categories: Local News
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