The king might be causing the military rulers angst as his erratic behavior and demands make problems for the junta, but that’s not stopping the regime preparing for its ongoing political domination.
In an earlier post we noted moves by the military to dominate the civilian administration in one province and involving on regional army commander.
The military is now establishing a parallel administration. The Bangkok Post reports that the “Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) has forged ahead with major changes in its personnel in what is seen as a move to ensure military power in the provinces ahead of a general election.”
ISOC is the 1960s-era anti-communist agency that became addicted to political murder, intrigue, plots, election rigging and other political manipulation. It has played a considerable role in maintaining the military’s political dominance and in bringing down elected governments.
Army boss General Chalermchai Sitthisat, who is deputy to The Dictator in ISOC, has signed an order for “a full-scale reshuffle of provincial Isoc military officials that will take effect in October.” This is one of the largest rearrangements in ISOC for decades, described as “unprecedented.”
ISOC is being made even more significant for the military’s meddling. ISOC is upgrading its position by making more provincial commanders generals rather than colonels.
In effect, ISOC provincial bosses will be “military governors” in a parallel administration. Their job going forward is “to keep track of provincial governors while critics and opponents of the regime are active during the transition period.”
Critics rightly observe that the “77 provincial Isoc military officers will help drive the regime’s policy on all fronts and give the provincial governors a little push to ensure policy implementation.”
The provincial Isoc military officer is “to coordinate between the army, Isoc and the regime.”
The emphasis is on provinces “known to be strongholds of the anti-regime United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.”
Provincial ISOC officers work directly with provincial governors but report to regional ISOC commands, each headed by the regional army commander.
Thailand is a militarized state and will remain so following any “election” the dictatorship feels like managing.