Archive for October 2008
What do people often hear from Thailand saying about Cambodia? Well, Cambodia is known to many Thai people, Thai politicians, Thai intellectuals, and Thai scholars as the “betrayer, the insincere, and the distrustful,” written in their history, published by Thai media, and spoken out by their leaders and remembered in their people’s hearts.
Why are these terminologies used to paint the bad image of Cambodia? Has Thailand historically been affected and suffered by its relations with Cambodia? Yes, as Thailand has always claimed it.
The word which paints Cambodia as “the distrustful” is historically noted to hundreds of year back to the reign of king Naresuan, the king who freed Thailand (Siam) from the Burmese invasion in the 16th century. In the Thai history, it states that, the Khmer betrayed them by taking advantage of Thai weakness during the war with Burma, the Khmer attacked them. This word is thoroughly taught at school and learned and from then on they have labeled the Cambodians as “the distrustful.”
The word “insincere” is newly used after the border conflict between the two countries led to military clashes on 15th October 2008 which is written by Thanida Tansbpapo who raised questions about Phnom Penh’s sincerity in settling the border dispute through diplomacy.
There is still another one which is just recently termed that is, “the betrayal.” The term is painted when Thailand accuses Cambodia of planting new landmines, at the Veal Entry next to Preah Vihear temple which seriously wounded three Thai soldiers, the the betrayal of the Ottawa Conevention, 1997.
Of course, these words sound good to the Thais but they really disturb the Cambodians and they even reflect back to the Thais themselves regarding to history and legality and as reaction to the Thai accusation, the Cambodians always react with the word “thief” or “the ungrateful” to term the Thais, but rarely officially publicized.
Historically, Naresuan was not able to win the war against Burma in his leadership without the full support of Khmer King, Sattha. King Sattha sent his brother, Prince Srisuphanma, to lead troops who were experts of war elephants and martial art to help king Naresuan to fight against the Burmese King Bayinnuang. The war was successfully fought and freed Thailand from Burma. The Khmer Prince pulled the troops back to the Khmer Kingdom after helping Naresuan to win the war and hoped to continue to build peace with Thailand. Yet Naresuan, in stead of being grateful to the Khmer King, was so worried about the Khmer power reemergence, so he ungratefully decided to completely destroy the Khmer might when the Khmer were tired of war after helping Thailand and without preparation. Thai leaders really don’t want this truth be revealed to their next generations being afraid of losing the chance to claim for superiority to the Khmer among their people, condemning from the public or independent scholars, losing political sympathy from the general Thais and most importantly this can play a role as the political instrument in order to inspire and strengthen the spirit of nationalism among the Thai future generations.
Who must be demanded for “sincerity” in the part of Cambodia or Thailand? It would be Cambodia if Cambodia doesn’t respect the 1904 and 1907 Siamese-French treaties and the verdict of International Court of Justice (ICJ), 1962. But the Cambodia does respect these conditions. How about Thailand? As a matter of fact, Thailand must be the one that needs to show its sincerity at the first place because Thailand politically and intentionally shows that it doesn’t respect the 1904 and 1907 Siamese-French treaties, the verdict of ICJ, and the Paris Peace Accord, 1991 which Thailand itself legally recognized and signed and, in addition, it is even invading Cambodia. If Thailand were not a state but just an individual person, such an insult or abuse must be demanded for official apology, compensation, and other kinds of serious punishment according to law should there be any international judgment again.
The world clearly knows that Cambodia is ranked as one of the countries which have the most landmines in the world which planted from the Cambodian war of the 1970s into the 1990s. The landmine areas are geographically and politically marked the existence of Cambodian territory. So how can Thailand come up to such an accusation that Cambodia is the betrayal of the Ottawa Convention, 1997? Is Thailand really ignorant, as some Cambodians say about them, about history? Or is Thailand a perfect pretender?
In Thai territory, landmines do not exist since Thailand is always at peace. So, instead, Thailand should deserve the word “betrayal” or “thief “ named by Cambodia and the world for not respecting the spirit of the Paris Peace Accord, 1991.
Through centuries, Cambodia has been endured through all kinds of attack with both verbal and physical from her neighbors and remarkably Cambodian soft and compromised foreign policy has always been negatively paid back which historically happened with her neighbors.
With Thailand, the Thais always claimed that they helped Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Empire and from the Pol Pot Regime to the present. How about the Khmers helped them to survive from the Mongolian huntin in the 12th century? How about the Khmer helped them to free from the Burma in the 16th century under the reign of Naresuan and the 18th century during the leadership of Taksin?
After the fall of the Khmer Empire, Thailand never helped Cambodia, but consistently invaded Cambodia in order to take control and compete for power balance against Vietnam.
During the Pol Pot regime, Thailand was not helping Cambodia to survive as they claimed but they helped push Cambodia destructively to die by secretively supporting the genocidal Khmer Rouge (KR) and other guerrilla groups in Cambodia during the1970s and 1980s through financial support and weapon trade, as Morton Abramowitz, former U.S. ambassador to Thailand, said in a 29 May 1994 Washington Post editorial that, “By graft or statecraft, Thailand has become [KR leader] Pol Pot’s best ally.” Interestingly, in April the new strongman in Bangkok, Army Commander Suchinda Krapayoon, told a US senator that he considered Pol Pot a “nice guy,” just as in 1985 the Foreign Minister of the previous dictatorship had described Pol Pot’s deputy, Son Sen, as “a very good man.” So, are all the good Thais in Thailand like Pol Pot and Son Sen? Is that what Thailand calls “help”?
In contradict to the spirit of Asean and United Nations and especially the memorandums and agreements signed by Thailand with its neighbors for respecting each country’s territorial integrity and strengthening friendship, Thailand is treacherously adopt the two-facial policy towards its neighbors as explicitly stated by a senior Thai official with security responsibilities, General Channa Samudvanija, to Milton Osborne, during an extended discussion of Thai-Cambodian relations in 1980 that, in essence, Thai policy towards Cambodia was to support those forces within the country that opposed the existing government. The rationale behind such a policy as the Realpolitik view of seeking to weaken a neighbor with which Thailand had substantial policy differences… According to this, can Cambodia trust Thailand in term of border resolution as it has publicly claimed? It can be trusted only if Thailand show its respect for all treaties it has signed and accepts the international body mediator such as UN or ICJ as proposed by Cambodia.
Respectively, the accusation game must be stopped because it gains for nothing but deepens the conflicts and hatred between the two countries and especially Thailand should take this chance to show the world that it is respecting the 1904 and 1907 Siamese-French treaties, the verdict of International Court of Justice (ICJ), 1962, and the spirit of the Paris Peace Accord, 1991 and withdraws its troops unconditionally from Cambodia. If Thailand can do so, friendship between the two countries will be re-strengthened, hatred will be healed, and accusations will be ended. Then, the two countries will peacefully co-exist.
Political turmoil in our country has historically left our beloved countrymen all around in the region and the world. In the region, Khmers in south Vietnam are call Khmer Krom, Khmers in Thailand are called Khmer Surin or Khmer Leu and the Khmers who live in Cambodia today are called Khmer Kandal (Khmer Middle). Actually, we do still recognize each another as brothers and sisters. We have been separated by political divisions caused by our dishonest leaders and the consistent invasion of neighboring countries. And we still hope for the day of reunion.
So our question to all beloved Khmers in Thailand is that, “Who are you fighting for?” Please remember that we are the same Khmer. We have the same ancestors –Khmer. We are the son of our greatest Kings Soryavarman II and Jayavarman VII. We are the new generation of the former Khmer Empire. We are a very civilized and dignified race. We always live our life of dignity, honesty, and respect. And please always remember that “One day a Khmer is a Khmer for life.” Of course, now you hold Thai passport or identity card but you are still Khmers because your blood and your origin are still Khmer. These will never change and no one can change that.
Please don’t help the Thai to kill our brothers and sisters. Please don’t help them more to invade your ancestors´ land. The Thai physically will be weakened without your participation. Just look at the history, the Thai could win over Khmer Empire and Burma invasion by the help of our Khmer Leu in Thailand whose expert are specialized in war elephant and martial art. So please stop and don’t forget our separation history caused by the Thai. You can choose not to fight against our Khmers by giving up this military duty and choose another career. Or you can mobilize our Khmers in Thailand and peacefully pressure them to take up the peaceful resolution and stop invading your brother´s land –Cambodia.
It seems that in the region, Thailand is the only one country that doesn’t know where its border lines are but not Cambodia, Burma, and Laos, and provokes war arrogantly all around with its neighbors. With this, Thai must review its mischievous politics towards its neighbors if Thailand does want peace in the region as Frank G. Anderson wrote in UPI Asia Online that; “The latest clash follows earlier, repeated, border spats with Laos, and with Burma. It leaves one wondering about the Thai Way of foreign policy.”
It is even ridiculous for the Thai leaders that try to deepen the dispute by accusing Cambodia of planting new landmine. In this sense, one may say Thai must be stupid for history because the whole world know that Cambodia had civil war for decades and these landmines believed to be laid from the Cambodian war of the 1970s into the 1990s. In another sense, it shows the world clearly that Thailand is absolutely invading Cambodian territory because there is no landmine at all in Thailand.
So again, I would like to appeal to our beloved Khmer who now live under Thai control, please rethink about this war and help do something to avoid this war to happen because we, Khmer, really want to live in peace and respect.
These few days I have tried to contact my counsin and my cousin-in-law who are soldiers stationing at the Cambodian-Thai border in the front line. Luckily today, i got their numbers and called them.
I was supprised about the news they told me:
- The today negotiation is absolutely negative and the fight will be erupted again any time. And now both sides are preparing to war.
The true causalty on Wednesday exchange fire:
- The Cambodian side: 2 died and two wounded.
- The Thai side: 12 died, 10 captured, 5 wounded. He told me that the 12 killed Thais were blown out by B 40. They were killed at the Eagle Field as they entered the field and opened fired and the Cambodian soldiers just targeted them at the spot with repeated blasts.
He said that the Thai side have tried to negotiate until now to take back the bodies but were refused by the Cambodian comanders. The Thai have proposed the Cambodian not to publish the news about their dead soldiers and even the 10 captured. The Cambodia accept it as the condition to pressure the Thai. Note: I askedthem about what presure and they said they don´t know because it the higher policy.
These only what I have recieved today and I hope this news be true. I will keep updating it if I get any thing new from my relatives on the field.
The United We Win!
The recent conflict between Cambodia and Thailand did pose serious concern over our country´s stability and security. We really don´t know to what extend the war will become in the future. And we are asking if there would be any hidden agenda in the conflict, and if not, what is the resolution to stop this unnecessary war?
The possible hidden agenda:
- Hun Sen might want to help his close and share personal interest friend, Thaksin Sinawatra whos was ousted by the military coup last year, by helping his in-law , Somchai, to stay in power. The PPP governement has always been troubled by the People Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the extremist Thais, with daily mass protests which deepen Thai internal conflict day after day. This act of declaring war of Hun Sen can divert the PAD´s attention from protest against its own government to look at the external issues and calmdown or united with the government.
- It can be a political strategy of Hun Sen. This is the only alternative to finish the conflict through the help of the third parties -UN, ICJ, and Asean, as Cambodian people wanted. Unfortunately, this resolution is not welcomed by the UN and Asean body as long as the situation is not seriously concerned. So this might make Hun Sen government to have patience for the right time to come.
- If Hun Sen government is really protecting the soveriegnty of Cambodia, so Hun Sen government must understand that to take bilateral negotiation is not the advantage at all and Cambodia might lose her territorial integrity to Thailand and therefore only the third party´s intervention may help and protect the nation from loss, so the third party is needed and the resolution is to react militarily against the endless invasion of Thailnd.
- It also can be a boost for political support for Hun Sen government and divert the Cambodian people´s attention from the quiet protest of the opposition of the disturb result of recent unfair national election and more importantly to divert the Cambodians from launching another protest against the third aniversary of the Supplemental Treay 15 October 2005 which validates the 1985 treaty of the Vietnamese invasion back to life, which he himself personally signed it.
- Hun Sen may be pushed to war by Vietnam for Vietnam will not want to see Cambodia at peace for this will cause the loss of its future´s political control over Cambodia. And Hun Sen may get any secret agenda with Vietnam as well.
Will Cambodia lose the war? It may be said that Cambodia won´t lose it, but Cambodia will take advantage in taking in the international intervention if Cambodian government truly serves the country. If the war is just to help Thaksin´s crony to stay in power, then Cambodia will be absolutely at a big loss.
- It also can be the Thai hidden politics to bring its unity by provoking the outrage of Cambodian leaders by keep invading to the last patience of Cambodia in order to wage war against Cambodia. The reason is that the weak Thai government can divert the PAD to become its alliance and united as a nation and move against the external country, Cambodia.
- It´s about superiority. The Thai and Cambodia keep claiming superiority over each another. We are the rivalery neighbors over the history. This act means the Thai want to take pride over Cambodia that they will not submitt to Cambodia.
- It actually about increasing the nationalism among the Thai and with this the PPP goernment will be able to collect political sympathy among the Thais.
- This will paly as a military show-off to its neigbors because Thai military is known as weak and inexperiened even though they are equiped with the modern weapons they will have a hard time to deal with the poorly equiped but better experiened Cambodian soldiers. If they can bug down Cambodia soldiers it will bring more confidence among their soldiers for future military operation against other neigbors. With this, they will not let the opportunity goes away easily.
- It might be the case of taking revenge over the lost of Khmer Preah Vihear temple.
- Thai politics is always about saving face. This operation actually may save its losing face from the last few months´s invading acts as being viewed by the international community and become the rightious by not the one who first declares the war. But take this advatage it ignites the war.
All these hidden agenda can be called the strategy of “Uniting one´s Country on the expense of the other nation.” Cambodian leaders must be aware of this inhuman strategy.
Will Thailand win the war? Thailand will not win the war. But thai may win over its people´s heart for unity. With this war, Thailand just regain national unity for a while if possible and save its face but it will then confront the international judgement and lastly it will lose its greed and alibi forver to invade Cambodia in the future.
Can we solve the conflict peacefully? Yes!
The resolution is easy as everyone must say:
- The two countries must bring the case to the credible third parties- UN Security Council, International Court of Justice or at least Asean.
- It also can be solved through bilateral resolution.
The two countries must stick to a truly honest neighborhood principle and the resolutions stated above must be solved basing on the international recognized legal documents and treaties- 1904 and 1907 Siam-french Treaty, the verdict of ICJ 1962, and the 1935 Siam-French border resolution treaty.
But this is not happened because the Thai has claimed that it needs bilateral resolution rather than the international intervention or keep claiming that its country is having the internal problem and asks Cambodia to wait. And it always flip-flops that it has the will to solve the issues peacefully. Cambodia can not wait. The longer the issue is prolongued the advantage will be lost on the Cambodian side. Therefore, to stop the war the third party´s intervention must be the last choice.
However, we do put doubt over Thai political atittude for its dishonesty and treachery by observing the following cases:
- If Thailand is truly honest in its national and international politics and a true freindly neighbor Thailand should be the one who takes a lead in bringing the case to the International Court of Justice, United Nation Security Council (ICJ), and Asean, because Thailand always keeps claiming that Cambodia invades its territory and the ICJ is injustice. But why it denies Cambodia chalenge in the international level and yet keeps dishnoestly demanding the bilateral resolution? Thai deplomatic can reach the rest of the world any time it wants why refuses to openly fight peacefully for its justice in the international arena with Cambodia through court and dialogue?
- If Thailand is truly a good neigbor, Thailand must not have sent its troop to station on Cambodian land. If Thailand also claims for the land and have materials in hand recognized by the international body, why don´t use the existing Joint Committee for Border Resolution that the two countries have established to solve the issue instead of sending troop to provoke the war?
- if Thai themseves do accept the interal political trouble and have often asked Cambodian to be patient and understanding why Thai government allows its troops to encraoch Cambodia day after day? Why don´t they spare time the Cambodian government given to them to strenghten the stability inside its own nation and regain its reputation in the international community?
These are truly unacceptable in the political game of Thailand towards its neigbor. The world must see understand this and push for the peaceful resolution as soon as possible in order to avoid any unpredictable causalty by the conflicts.
Conflicts causalty as up today
- Two Cambodian soldiers died.
- Three Cambodian soldiers slightly wounded.
- Three Thai soldiers lost their legs by stepping on landmine.
- Ten Thai soldiers seriously wounded.
- Ten Thai soldiers captured.
- Six Thai soldiers died.
The ten Thai soldiers captured and their weapons confesticated during the fighting on Wednesday 15-10-2008.