From Thairath, September 5, 2003
Title: Stop terrorists… Thai people kill each other.
Caption: The situation in the southernmost provinces
[Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is shown holding a police officer killed in the violence in the Thai deep south.
When Thaksin came to power, he attempted to break up the political fiefdoms of those who opposed him. The military, allied with Privy Councillor Prem and the Democrat Party, had been able to maintain relative calm in the Thai deep south. The Democrat Party held political sway in the region. Thaksin transferred control of the Thai deep south from the military to the police. Once the Thaksin-controlled police were put in charge they began systematically killing the carefully constructed military network of home-grown spies that had allowed the military to control the pace of violence and vice in the region. These heavy handed killings and the loss of intelligence they caused resulted in a massive upswing in a semi-dormant separatist movement.
The cartoon shows the response of the Thaksin government–encouraging nationalism and outrage to justify even harsher crackdowns against wrongdoers the government insisted on classifying as “bandits.”]