Crossfire War: Bangkok/Tehran; Deceptions East – Iran FM Meets Thailand FM


Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – Southeast Asia Theatre: Bangkok/Tehran; Deceptions East – Iran FM Mottaki Meets Thailand FM Suphamongkon – 3 Day Visit – Growing Concerns

Night Watch: BANGKOK – While calling for enhanced cooperation and “growing relations” Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, on a three day visit to Bangkok, may actually have been referring to Tehran’s growing concerns over enhanced military relations Bangkok is having with Washington and Paris. That of course is due to continued attacks in Thailand’s southern provinces, along Malaysia’s border, provinces that are populated mostly by Muslims and who have never had much contact with Bangkok.

As stated constantly, the attacks, which began in January 2004, were the result of the July 2002 visit to Kuala Lumpur by Iran’s then President Mohammad Khatami. He and Malaysian officials stated that Islam should have more say in world affairs. Tehran-Kuala Lumpur know that in order to achieve that they will have to control more of Southeast Asia’s raw materials which will give them more of a presence in world markets and therefore in events.

As reported yesterday Mottaki was in Jakarta perhaps attempting to forge an understanding with Indonesia’s government that Southeast Asia’s economy will not be disrupted including that of Thailand. What will convince Bangkok, and I supect Thai Foreign Minister Khantathi Suphamongkon is telling Mottaki this, is that Tehran should use its influence with Kuala Lumpur for them to end their support for the Islamic groups still engaged in attacks in the south and that Malaysia should be as cooperative as Indonesia has become.

That may have been the message Bangkok has been conveying to Kuala Lumpur for the past year that violence along the Malay-Thai border won’t benefit anyone and if it becomes much worse war will result between them with outside powers becoming involved much more than they are now. As mentioned earlier both Paris and Washington have made no secret of their increased military support for Bangkok, in recognition of the strategic economic connections they have with the entire region.

With Tehran’s deceptive foreign policy it remains to be seen if they actually mean improved relations or are they just using these negotiations to reduce Thailand’s security measures and make it easier for attacks to continue.

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Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.