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Academics see no basis to Army 'water coup' threat

People should not believe in conspiracy theories and rumours that the Army is sabotaging flood-protection efforts to unseat the Yingluck Shinawatra government, or other counter conspiracy theories, academics say.

The warning came after some red shirts began entertaining the idea the Army was disrupting flood-relief by putting in fewer officers and doing too little to help protect or reinforce flood barriers in various areas. This, they said, led to the total inundation of half a dozen industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathumthani provinces and affected hundreds of thousands of workers, seriously damaging the economy and the government.

"It makes no sense," Sirote Klampaiboon, a Mahidol University political scientist told The Nation.

Yesterday, red-shirt community radio FM92.25, broadcasting from Samut Prakan province, south of Bangkok, queried whether there was an attempt to unseat the Pheu Thai government through a coup by the Army and the established elite.

"Yesterday, many are asking whether the government is now facing a ’water coup d'etat,'" a female radio host said. She added that on April 10 last year, when soldiers were despatched to launch a bloody crackdown on red shirts their numbers were massive, contrary to the few soldiers she claimed were now battling the flood.

Sirote said such theories- including one held by yellow shirts that the government intentionally neglected the alleged advice of His Majesty the King to allow water from dams to be released much earlier - are simply not plausible. The academic said people must accept that the amount of rainfall this year was unprecedented. Even though he feels the government isn’t doing a good job at protecting some areas from the flood, the theories should still be regarded as "cheap conspiracies."

Kasetsart University red-shirt political scientist Kenkij Kitirianglarp concurs, saying it’s most unlikely that anyone, be it the Army or the government, would want to see such damage incurred on the Kingdom. Kenkij said the blame game should stop as it is clear Thailand lacked an integrated system to deal with flooding and that's not a problem of just this administration.

Sirote urged the government to declare a state of emergency in some provinces in order to effectively evacuate people. The emergency decree in limited areas would not allow the Army to seize control over the government as some pro-government red shirts feared.



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