What are the generals up to these days?

Current 24/7, instant replay coverage of political developments has completely bypassed one, allegedly the most important group – the army.

So, who knows what is on generals’ mind?

Bangkok Post’s Wassayos and Nation’s Thanong so far are the only journalists claiming to be in the know. Sadly, their “reports” totally contradict each other. They agree on one thing, though, generals have ulterior motives and are up to no good.

According to Wassayos, they are totally backing Abhisit and forcing him not to give up to dissolution demands until their business is settled first (the budget and the appointment of the next chief).

According to Thanong, however, the generals have deserted Abhisit and are busy cobbling up a new coalition, he actually mentioned it first, on Sunday morning, a few days before Wassayos article.

None of them sites any sources, even anonymous ones.

Both scenarios are equally plausible, too.

Certainly the generals have their self-interests, but, honestly, they will get what they want no matter who will form the government. I doubt they were fond of Somchai, for example, but his first order of business was to sign a huge bill for their needs.

The only practical way to keep them on the leash is for Abhisit to manage through the crisis on his own so that he doesn’t feel obliged. After last Songkran Anupong was left with a tail between his legs already, and then there was police chief saga where 3Ps couldn’t prevail over Abhisit, and so it’s more likely he would rather follow Thanong scenario or, if not, try to get into Abhisit’s good books instead.

This is not to say that Wassayos scenario is less likely. As far as his opinion is concerned, the part that I doubt most is that they call ALL the shots. It’s too late for them to stay away as they did during PAD protests and they won’t dare to publicly abandon Abhisit now. They don’t have any real leverage, being held hostages to their own promises.

They might offer help during the elections but their 2007 involvement in Isan was disastrous and Abhisit could just say thanks but no thanks, you, guys, only draw unwanted attention and, frankly, you are a liability when it comes to election campaign.

This brings me back to the option of secret talks with Banharn and Newin. Generals would certainly get more leverage that way than trying to manipulate Abhisit who has proven himself to be “dek due” – stubborn.

Maybe Thanong’s “report” is totally off mark, given coalition continuing public support for Abhisit, but no one had a clue Newin decided to defect back in 2008, too.

Either way, it seems the best option is for Abhisit to rely on public opinion and groups like “pink shirts”, and sideline the generals altogether. If this latest movement gets momentum even Banharn and Newin would think twice about doing a parliamentary coup. They can wait for the people to do all the fighting, come out clean and shiny, and not owe the generals a single satang.

Oh, and as far as reds are concerned, they’d wholeheartedly embrace this military brokered deal if generals throw a couple of bones Thaksin’s way. Some would probably think something is not right, but, in that group, the leadership has all the power, sets all the agenda, and has all the tools to “educate” the “awakened” masses in any way they want.

That’s just fact of life, without this, centrally installed infrastructure, red movement would not exist, deserters are consigned to oblivion.

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2 Responses

  1. Hostages to their own promises, Stan? Sondhi promised not to hold a coup.

  2. That was in a different era, before they’ve learned a lesson from the coup, running the country, winning over Isanese, buying them off in elections, telling Samak to resign on TV and so on.

    They could still be masterminding a coalition change but they won’t dare to be public about it.

    The momentum has passed, btw, no one wants to pacify reds anymore, public wants blood.

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