World View: Al-Qaeda Captures Multiple Syrian Cities
- Thailand army coup feared in face of massive anti-government protests
- Chechen terrorist Omar Shishani leads al-Qaeda to victories in Syria
Thailand army coup feared in face of massive anti-government protests
The racial split in Thailand's population between the light-skinned
people of the Thai-Chinese elite minority and the dark-skinned
people of the indigenous Thai-Thai laborer majority is potentially
reaching a crisis point, as tens or hundreds of thousands of
Thai-Chinese anti-government flag-waving "yellow shirt" protesters
have blocked major roads around the center of Bangkok.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban of the People's Democratic Reform
Committee (PDRC) vowed on Monday to shutdown Bangkok indefinitely:
Today will be written in Thai history... We will
shut down the city. We will do it all days and we will do it
everyday until we win. No negotiations. No
Thaugsuban is calling on his supporters to boycott the planned
February 2 election, which he knows his party will lose because his
elite racial group is in the minority. Instead, Thaugsuban is
demanding that the prime minister resign and be replaced by an
unelected "people's council," whose members are presumably to be
chosen by Thaugsuban.
So far, the "red shirt" pro-government supporters have kept their
rallies fairly small, but there are fears that that could change if it
begins to appear that Thaugsuban might get his way. It's particularly
ominous that Thaugsuban is calling for a boycott of the February 2
election, since the last time that happened in 2006, an army coup
ousted the prime minister, Thai-Thai hero Thaksin Shinawatra, brother
of the current prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The army is known to be strong on the side of Thaugsuban's elite
minority and has shown willingness in the past to be violent to the
red shirt protesters while excusing the yellow shirts. If there's
violence between the red shirts and the yellow shirts, then the army
may stage a coup once more, and that is presumably exactly what
Thaugsuban wants, even though that could mean a lot more violence.
Bangkok Post and AP
Chechen terrorist Omar Shishani leads al-Qaeda to victories in Syria
The al-Qaeda-linked Islamic Emirate in Iraq and Syria/Sham/theLevant
(ISIS or ISIL) killed as many as 100 anti-Assad activists in Syria
over the weekend and took control of several cities. Al-Qaeda and
Syria's president Bashar al-Assad have essentially become military allies, fighting the Syrian anti-Assad militants.
The Syrian anti-Assad militants are the moderate Syrian National
Coalition (SNC) and the salafist Jabhat al-Nusra. Both of these
groups consist of actual Syrian citizens, and both are opposed to the
ISIS consists mostly of foreign al-Qaeda-trained fighters and is
being led by Abu Omar al-Shishani, a prominent jihadist leader from
Chechnya and the most influential military leader in Syria in ISIS.
The slaughter of dozens of activists in the SNC and al-Nusra over the
weekend puts him squarely on the side of al-Assad's army.
Well, this is certainly a complex situation. Al-Qaeda terrorists are
Sunni jihadists who consider Shia Muslims to be infidels or apostates.
Al-Assad is Shia/Alawite and is being supported by the so-called
"Shia crescent," consisting of Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah. ISIS is
also fighting the Shia government in Iraq. Jihadists in Chechnya are
fighting the Orthodox Christian government of Russia which is
providing an unlimited supply of heavy weapons to al-Assad.
have to assume that ISIS's love affair with al-Assad is not going to
In the meantime, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the
Russians are leading the effort to hold a "Syria Peace Conference" in
Geneva on January 22. It's not known if any of the Syrian opposition
groups will be there, or if Iran will be there; Israel certainly
won't be there. ISIS's string of victories over the weekend makes it
appear that that it will be the next in the list of John Kerry's
failed peace conferences, peace agreements, and peace announcements, a
list that seems to get longer every week. Cihan (Turkey) and Reuters
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