Thailand’s Army chief warns of a ‘proxy crisis’

PHOTO: Matichon

The Army chief, General Apirat Kongsompong, is warning Thais about what he sees as a “proxy crisis” facing the country. The comments, without directly referring to the event by name, were a veiled criticism of the “Run Against Dictatorship” event coming up next month.

The commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army took the “everything’s OK, but…” approach to answering questions about the forthcoming sports and quasi-political event.

He said the Army supported all kinds of physical activities to strengthen the mind and body.

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“However there are people who have ulterior motives and are trying to use these activities as a cover for other objectives, which defeat the purpose of physical training.”

The “Run Against Dictatorship” (translated from Thai more precisely as “Run against Uncle”, referring to the Thai PM whose nickname is ‘Uncle Tu’) event is scheduled for January 12. The Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and his supporters are expected to take part in the event, foreshadowed in the recent mid-city protest that attracted around 3,000 supporters.

Without even applying for a permit for the ‘run’, the organisers have run into hurdles merely trying to find a venue to announce January’s running event. Read that story here…

“Run against Dictatorship” organisers threatened with legal action by “those in power”

When the Army Chief was asked about measures to handle a possible accompanying political rally or politically-motivate crowds next year, Apirat said: “There’s no need to worry as Thailand has overcome various kinds of crises in the past. However, there’s a different kind of crisis that we need to prepare for and it’s ‘proxy crisis’.”

Explaining his door-stop meme “proxy crisis” further, Apirat explained that a proxy crisis was organised or manipulated by someone to fulfill their goals.

“The mastermind (clearly referring to Thanathorn) probably realises it is not possible to fight the authority head-on, so a proxy is appointed to fight for them.”

“A proxy crisis is different from a proxy war; look up their definitions to see how they are different. No matter what kind of crisis we are facing, the most important thing is that everyone must obey the law.”

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, and his Future Forward Party, performed well in the March election coming third behind the two leading parties and outshining the traditional centrist Democrats party. In a run-off for the parliamentary-elected PM position, Thanathorn missed out by a handful of votes from the eventual winner Prayut Chan-o-cha, the former head of the military government.

General Apirat Kongsompong has positioned himself as a staunch supporter of the new pseudo-military government and is an ardent royalist. He has spoken against any opposition to the current government.

“If Thai people disobey the laws and the Constitution by ignoring the resolutions of judicial bodies, it will raise questions among foreign countries regarding the sanctity of our laws.”

When asked who he thought was the mastermind behind these proxies, Apirat said there could be many people who used different proxies for different purposes.

Stirring the pot, and dragging the turmoil in Thailand’s south into the wider political debate, he said…

“The unrest situation in the South and political demonstrations could be the work of these proxies, too.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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