อันนี้จากหนังสือพิมพ์ชั้นนำของอังกฤษ Guardian, UK นะครับ เป็นข้อเขียนจากนักวิชาการ
ด้านการเมืองเอเซีย Prof. Duncan McCargo
Thaksin's long shadow
Protests in Bangkok are dominated by the baleful influence of the ex-PM, now holed up in Surrey
Duncan McCargo The Guardian, Wednesday September 3 2008
When the first fatality occurred in the clashes between rival "pro-democratic" forces in Bangkok early yesterday morning, people were shocked but not exactly surprised. Pressure had been building for more than three months, as yellow-shirted protesters styling themselves as the People's Alliance for Democracy appropriated royalist colours and nationalist language to oppose the government of prime minister Samak Sundaravej and his People Power Party (PPP). Late last year, Samak proclaimed himself a nominee of the party's mentor and financier, the former PM and now ex-Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra.
Although he was ousted in a military coup in 2006, Thaksin's five-year premiership has cast a long shadow over Thai politics. As the first recent PM to threaten the symbolic dominance of the monarchy, he remains a controversial figure. He was supported initially by two main groups: elements of the middle class and the business community, many of Sino-Thai descent; and rural voters from the populous north and northeast. Both groups, who were exasperated by the bureaucratic and military establishment, saw in the billionaire telecoms tycoon someone who could restore national pride after the 1997 Asian economic crisis. A former policeman fond of swift action and populist mobilisation, Thaksin threatened the core elite - monarchists who occupy key formal and informal positions in the country.
Protests against Thaksin and Samak reached new heights after Thaksin fled in August to escape a series of corruption-related court cases. Samak has since been publicly distancing himself from Thaksin, and paradoxically, the PAD demonstrations have served his purposes well, giving him a pretext to drop Thaksin loyalists from his cabinet. Samak, an ultra-conservative, has cultivated army commanders in a bid to avert a further coup, something the PAD has been trying to trigger. In much of this, Samak has been advised by a leading power broker, tough-guy ex-minister Newin Chidchob, who has links to the shadowy "pro-Thaksin" Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship, which was involved in the fatal clash with the PAD.
What does the PAD really want? It has advocated a "new politics" based on a parliament with a 70:30 formula: 70% appointees, 30% elected representatives. PAD supporters are drawn largely from the south, where they have blockaded airports, creating chaos for tourists. With Thaksin gone, the movement's call for "general uprising" seems rather desperate, and its substantive demands - beyond Samak's resignation - are confusing. Whereas previous demos involved clear clashes of ideas, neither the PAD nor the DAAD advocate any recognisable form of democracy; Thais are deeply divided into pro-PAD and pro-Thaksin camps.
Those on the streets are not the main protagonists in this struggle. The real players are working behind the scenes. On some level, the PAD is receiving moral support from the monarchical network yet the monarchy itself remains sniffy about street protests and sceptical about the real motives of the PAD leadership. Newin Chidchob is rumoured to be coordinating events from a suite at the luxury Pullman Hotel; many senior police officers are personally loyal to him.
Meanwhile Thaksin is holed up in his Surrey mansion and has applied for political asylum in the UK. He is another potential beneficiary: the newly declared state of emergency in Bangkok may strengthen his claim that he should not be sent home just yet.
* Duncan McCargo is professor of Southeast Asian politics at the University of Leeds