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Thailand has a separatist problem. A Muslim separatist problem, to be more specific, in three southern provinces. As reports, “Violence in Thailand’s Muslim-majority south has left thousands dead – the majority civilians – since 2004 across the southernmost provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala, which were annexed more than a century ago by Thailand. In response to a recent slew of shootings and bomb attacks on civilian “soft” targets, Thailand has vowed to protect locals while it seeks a firm date for a fresh round of peace talks with the publicity-shy but ruthless rebels.” But the strategy they’ve chosen is an unusual one for a government that took power in a military coup . . .

Malay Muslims have fought for decades for independence from the Buddhist north. From channelnewsasia:

The main group is the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), which has often resorted to gun attacks, arson and car bombings. Their violent tactics are all part of their self-proclaimed campaign to remove symbols of the Thai state, and to drive out the Thai Buddhist population.

So to uphold the new prime minister’s promise to bring both sides to the negotiating table, he’s trying to create a balance of power. To do that…

Some 2,700 Heckler & Koch HK33 assault rifles have been distributed over the past two months to volunteers in the region, according to a spokesman for the Internal Operations Security Command (ISOC).

Yes, an authoritarian government is putting thousands of rifles in the hands of volunteers who have come under attack, part of an insurgency that has killed more than 6000 people in the last decade. As one internal security official put it,

“They need weapons for self-defence… they can’t fight with just wooden sticks,” ISOC spokesman Colonel Banphot Phunphien told AFP.

No, no they can’t. Hence the “assault rifles.”

“They are for security volunteers… who are stationed at provincial halls, district offices. They will also protect governors and district chiefs,” (Col. Phunphien) said, adding the majority of the weapons have gone to local Muslim villagers.

All of which has caused pearls to be clutched and hands to be wrung among Thailand’s peace activist community, who have apparently learned to appropriate talking points from America’s disarmament community. As relates,

Guns have been distributed to Muslim and Buddhist villagers before this, but some fell into the hands of the insurgents themselves or resulted in incidents where volunteers opened fire on unarmed civilians.

Right(s) groups have condemned the distribution of guns saying it would only increase violence in the region.

Guns will only make things worse! These people can’t be trusted to use them safely! The guns will only be taken away and used against them!

Maybe. Or maybe innocents who would otherwise be shot and burned or bombed will be able to defend themselves. And God Buddha knows we can’t have that.

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  1. As long as the weapons are ONLY being used to protect government officials and government facilities I don’t have a problem with this. People with no connection to the government can shelter in place.

    • What are you talking about? Do you have an actual argument to make or are you just one of those troll anti’s we see around here every now and then?
      Even if you are trolling, we would welcome level headed dialogue.
      Or did I miss the sarcasm?

      • BC is not a troll anti. I suspect it’s sarcasm. BC and I have been on opposite sides of a number of arguments here. But he’s definately pro gun.

    • Spoken like a PERFECT tool of the State…….Government = Force……as limited as humanly possible, and people self governing and protecting themselves……”shelter in place”? Unarmed ? Just because they may seek to protect themselves and their families ??? Really…..COMMIE STYLE THEN?

  2. I would say they are REAL assault rifles with select fire and fun firepower. Not like our puny semi autos.

  3. wow, a foreign government installed by a military coup has a better sense of individual rights than several American governors, Senators, Representatives, college professors, Presidents…

    • Actually, Thais can fight pretty damn well with sticks, or without them. But they should not have to.

  4. Wishful thinking would be that the NFA would be repealed to allow Americans to protect the country from ISIS.. But we all know that aint never gonna happen.. even if they rounded up Liberals and loped off their heads..

  5. Authoritarian govts only look out for authoritarian govts –thinking they do anything else is silly. That said, these types of governments are often so inept as to work against their interests unknowingly, so perhaps they are presently engaged in “sowing the wind” as it were. But more likely they are simply arming the fascists on their side to visit terrible injustice on the terrible fascists on the Islamist side. Meh.

    What I want to know is how H&K can sell these guns, what with German laws against exporting to war zones (or coup governments)? So I guess H&K is gonna lose its export license again, what, like two weeks after it was reinstated from the last ban?

    • The Thai Army pledge to defend the Thai People. A corrupt government was sacked and the political parties sent away to sort out their act. (politicians all over the world are scared of a military that are Oath Keepers – hence the unfair and ignorant reporting of this coup.) Money withheld from the millions of small lot rice farmers by the civilian government has now been paid by the Military Government. The civil militia are responsible for village security, fire fighting, local traffic control, assisting with funerals (a civic goverment function) and are often armed with 5-shot pump action shot guns: they are very well disciplined from my own observation. The moslem terrorist jihad is the south is financed by a foreign goverment. The Army is in control and people are safe and move around freely. from Thailand

  6. Ehhh… I’m not sure that this is really pro-gun so much as pro-government militia. It’s not like the Thai government really has a good track record with regard to the native peoples in that region…

  7. President Fujimori of Peru did the same thing in the nineties, in his campaign against commie terrorists from Sendero Luminoso and MRTA (Wiki: At the same time, Fujimori’s government armed rural Peruvians, organizing them into groups known as “rondas campesinas” (“peasant patrols”)).
    Worked like a charm, Shining Path and Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement are dead and gone.

  8. Yeah, something that many westerners don’t realise is that the Royal Thai Army seldom takes power to simply control Thailand. They do it as part of a strange idiosyncratic dance the Thais do every so often when their government becomes utterly ridiculous and riots break out. They can be heavy handed, but it is generally agreed that the military juntas are the least corrupt of any ruling authority when in charge. They don’t feel threatened by armed citizens – as long as the citizens never challenge the King. I think that’s a point that would make the army very nasty indeed.

  9. Ah… This is actually an old technique that leads to gun control. What happens is that the state issues newer, better guns to a militia it creates, and the guns it issues and the people who get them are all registered before the guns are issued. That crowds out any earlier guns and their owners, and afterwards the released guns are gradually withdrawn. It’s one of the techniques the French used in gaining control of Indochina in the nineteenth century. (A British refinement used in Egypt was to have guns that needed special ammunition, so the ammunition couldn’t be diverted to hold out guns and the new guns and their users were dependent on central supplies.)

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