Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is again expressing outrage with Thailand as one of the police officers allegedly involved with the disappearance and possible death of a Saudi businessman in 1990 is up for a promotion.  Somkid Boonthanom is up for the position of assistant national police chief.

The officer was given amnesty for the administrative charges under a blanket amnesty on the King's birthday in 2007, but the criminal charges still exist.  The PM has explained that the Saudi Arabian government does not understand the situation, and that he will explain it to him.  He has stated that under Thai law, the promotion is legal.

I think that Saudi Arabia understand perfectly well.  Thailand continues to thumb its nose at Saudi Arabia over incidents that arose from the theft of jewels from Saudi Arabia back in 1990 or so.  The Thais involved in the aftermath must be very powerful people or have very powerful protectors because Thailand has basically sacrificed its relationship with Saudi Arabia over the matter.  The Peau Thai (red shirt) party said the promotion of Somkid Boonthanom was as a reward for his suppression of the red shirts in the north.

I can almost imagine the honest conversation that the PM might have.  "Yes, a Thai stole your crown jewels.  Of course several Saudi Arabians were murdered here in the aftermath.  But these are powerful people.  Can't you just act like a good Thai and pretend nothing happened?"

Saudi Arabia has denied that the possible promotion caused them to deny visas to three hundred Thai Muslims' visit to Mecca.  The Saudi Arabian government said this was due to a technical problem.  Thailand has a small, but significant Muslim population, and if some how this problem led to them not being able to fulfill their visiting Mecca, it would be very sad.  Of course, the people responsible might not care so much.

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