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SCENARIOS-How is Thailand's crisis likely to play out?




As the nearly two-month protests drag on, royalist and pro-government demonstrators take matters into their own hands, frustrated by the army's reluctance to intervene.


This leads to skirmishes between red shirts and rival protest groups such as the royalist yellow shirts. Bottle-throwing is followed by petrol bombs and possibly guns.


The army is drawn in and launches a harsh crackdown on the red shirts, who respond with heavy arms, including M-79 grenades.


The army, after failing to disperse the red shirts for weeks, faces intense pressure to finish the job. Large numbers of soldiers are deployed. Fighting continues for hours or even days with many casualties before the red shirts are eventually overpowered by about 50,000 troops deployed in Bangkok.


The red shirts regroup in the northern provinces and other areas of Bangkok, creating a low-level rebellion that causes a new wave of political uncertainty, but they fail to pose a force strong enough to topple the government immediately.


MARKET REACTION: If the army manages to get the upper hand, this could be seen as opportunity to buy despite any violence.




Abhisit maintains a tough line, resisting talks and allowing tension to build on the streets in the hope of wearing down the protesters enough so they slowly disperse.


However, with no agreement for talks, frustration grows in Bangkok as the economic toll mounts. Abhisit's position becomes untenable. He defies his military and establishment allies and dissolves parliament.


Aware polls would almost certainly return a government allied with Thaksin -- the de facto red shirt leader despised by the establishment elites -- the military stages a coup saying it is upholding national security and protecting the revered king.


This is not likely. Abhisit will not call an election without a nod from the military and the palace. The climate may be ripe for a putsch, but the army wants to keep the prime minister in power, as long as he stands firm against the supporters of Thaksin, who was ousted in the last coup in 2006.


MARKET IMPACT: A coup would cause stocks to plunge, and the baht to slide. Concerns about fiscal mismanagement, poor governance, and a public backlash -- even civil war -- would curtail long-term investment. Thailand's credit ratings would be downgraded. There could even be a contagion effect in Southeast Asian emerging markets.




The pressure to find a political solution to buy time and calm down inflamed passions in the country is growing. Failure to do so means the crisis drags on with hardliners from both camps dominating the agenda.


Under one scenario for a political formula, Abhisit's uneasy coalition partners hold behind-the-scenes meetings, perhaps with Thaksin or his representatives involved. This leads to a deal to end the ruling alliance and focus on a new election.


Abhisit's Democrat Party could try to rule as a minority government, but his former allies echo red shirt calls for an immediate dissolution of parliament. Faced with a vote of no confidence in parliament, Abhisit agrees to dissolve the house.


Or the Democrats could dump Abhisit as leader in favour of another figure, who then produces a timetable for an early election.


These are unlikely scenarios. Any political deal would have to satisfy the army and the palace. Coalition partners may not be happy with Abhisit, but he is still their best bet right now.


MARKET IMPACT: A political deal would be seen as positive for the market. Stocks would likely rise, with the market's low valuations tempting investors with an appetite for risk. (Editing by Bill Tarrant)




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I am far from being a military expert and just served the mandatory 15 months in the army after college.


Nevertheless, i can't believe that dispersing the ca. 10,000 - 15,000 remaining protesters can be that difficult.


They carved themselves in at Rrajprasong and Ratchadamri behind walls of tires and sharpened bamboo sticks.


Why the army isn't just doing the following:


Seal the whole site off with strict check points in front of the protesters walls. No protester can enter no one can leave.


Cut their food and water supplies. Considering the current heat, within a couple of days the stocks of water will be drained. Soon the protesters will be dehydrated, weakened and many giving up.


The one who give up will receive water and a meal and are send home after their ID's are taken. If they don't return no action will be taken against them. After all they are just misguided by Thaksin and their leaders.


If some e.g. the leaders and black shirts killers decide to stay they will be soon so weakened that they aren't any match for the fresh security forces.


Arrest and charge the leaders. Don't let them off the hook. Go after Thaksin with all means, even it means sending a commando like the Israelis did in Dubai in earlier this year.


Once Thaksin is history peace will be restored.


The government should finish to serve the full term and use its remaining time to hold serious talks with upcountry folks. Then come up with new policies that really help the poor classes in the long run, not cheap populist policies that don't change anything at all.

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The military would have to do it, not the police.


Notice that a lot of the terrorists arrested so far are related to the police. Notice how the police have been present at blockades and other places where the red shirts create havoc, and the police gave them free reign.


Remember during the PAD protests, red shirts collaborated with the police before, during, and after they beat up the yellows at Central World Plaza. After Abhisit became PM, the police officer in charge was disciplined, but the major national police commission ignored that ruling and tried to reinstate that officer.


Abhisit also took some actions to move some corrupt police officers out of their current positions... no wonder the police do not support him.

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You are right about the police. It became a state in the state and no government dares to really change this and break up these unholy structures and connections.


Thailand would be a much better place if a real police reform would take place.


Thailand does not need a mafia they got their police. :hubba:

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Of course they do, as the people Thaksin promoted while he was in power have now been side-lined.


I would guess (I do not know) that the proportion of pro-Thaksin people in the military is materially lower than the percentage of pro-Thaksin people in the police force.


I would say that almost all Thais, at least the ones I'm in contact with, have little regard for the police but have a much higher regard for the military. Much more professional. I think we've seen reason for that in the past couple of weeks.

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