It is sending 20,000 troops to the border, deploying its navy and air force to do aerial surveillance of Cambodian positions and also practiced electronic jamming
While ASEAN has called on all foreign ministers to gather in Jakarta on 22nd February, and while the UNSC readies to meet on 14th February, Thailand is ratcheting up its antics and contrary to deescalating the tenacious border, is sending more than 20,000 soldiers who will be deployed along the Thai-Cambodian border as part of a national defense plan and an incident action plan.
These actions shows the true colors of Thailand’s diplomacy – while it claims Cambodia is the aggressor in the four days of deadly clashes, Thailand is taking extraordinary provocative measures that has one and only intent – to wage all out war on Cambodia if it fails to convince the international community of its supposed innocence.
By sending two jet fighters in such close proximity to the border was an attempt to do a quick over fly to gather aerial intelligence on Cambodian positions and also try out sensing electronics to pin-point Cambodian SAM positions. This was no accident as claimed later by the Thai authorities. War start on such as mistakes.
In addition, from just infantry fighting, than the air force being threatened to be unleashed against Cambodia, knowing well that Cambodia does not have an air force, Thailand is also deploying is navy.
What does this all mean – deploying tens of thousands of additional troops, arming villagers with shot guns, deploying the air force in such close proximity to Cambodia and deploying its naval forces to Cambodia’s border?
The meaning is only one. That Thailand has lost its plot and is preparing itself for a military onslaught against Cambodia as the world knows that Thailand is to be blamed for the real war all these decades and especially that of the past week.
Thailand, sources well placed in Bangkok say, fears an immense loss of face when it was forced to explain to the international community on the situation, threatened to pull out of UNESCO, warned the UNESCO not to send a inspection team to see up close the damage Thai troops had done to the World Heritage of Preah Vihear temple.
It was hoping against hope that Cambodia would back down from its position to go the UNSC as Cambodia has done previously. This time, Cambodia persisted and its diplomatic offensive caught Thailand by surprise so Thailand had to react in a stupidly and hastily planned diplomatic damage control by claiming to be victims.
Too late Thailand. The world has caught you with your hands in the cookie jar – the Preah Vihear temple.
This time, do the honorable thing by accepting the international community. The time to threaten, use of force and military might over the temple is over in this era of Globalization.
The time for the international community to clearly spell out the ICJ ruling and make Thailand accept it or face sanctions is the only way to resolve this crisis once and for all. Cambodia has suffered for centuries and decades under Thai oppression and invasion. This stops now.
(T. Mohan, a long time Political Analyst in Cambodia)