From Red Power, August 15, 2010
[2014 comment: Thaksin’s fear of the Eastern Tigers goes back several years.
The main impetus and goal of the 2010 Red Shirt siege of Bangkok was to prevent this clique of generals from assuming top positions of power in the Thai military during the military reshuffle that year.
This is why, even when the government acceded to Red Shirt demands for elections in 2010, the elections were cleverly scheduled for November which was safely after the military reshuffle. Thus, the Red Shirts were forced to continue to protest on the streets of Bangkok even though their stated demands had been met.
Having The Eastern Tigers in power raised the stakes for Thaksin. Not only would they oppose him, but they would constrict his ability to act. Any military class or clique that becomes dominant in the Thai military increases the general likelihood of a coup. Perhaps it is the collective ambition as there is great social cohesion down to the family level in these groups. It takes close alignment of viewpoints and goals from all the powers needed to support a putsch. Having a unified military class in key positions makes this agreement more likely.
In 2013, Thaksin apparently thought he had pacified Gen. Prayuth–the purposely leaked Thaksin audio was meant to broadcast this to the political world. After the audio was released, bold moves to grant Thaksin amnesty were started along with constitutional amendments that would result in cementing Pheu Thai power in government for the foreseeable future.
The confidence that underpinned the amnesty push was apparent. The mass amnesty that was being pushed would have stretched all the way back to 2004–well before resistance to Thaksin’s rule and mass political turmoil became widespread. This was to cover controversial actions by Thaksin himself during his time as prime minister–such as mass extra-judicial killings of drug suspects and enforced disappearances. This would enable a new Thaksin premiership to begin unburdened by court activism that had hampered Thaksin at every turn.
When the Shinawatra family first heard that Eastern Tiger Gen. Prayuth had declared martial law in 2014, they must have thought they should have fought even harder in 2009 and 2010 to prevent him from ever gaining power in the first place.]
2Bangkok.com Editor Ron Morris’ book, The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations, is available in the Kindle Store.