Who's behind New Year's Eve bombings and coup rumours
Public jitters have escalated to full out anxiety as Bangkok residents reel from the New Year bombings coupled with the Thursday's rumours of a second coup.
While the bombings remain a mystery, coup rumours have progressed from whispers to the talk of the town.
This progression coincided with bickering between former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and Council for National Security (CNS) assistant secretary General Saprang Kalayanamitr.
Chavalit - reportedly in a sour mood for failing to convince the military to back his political comeback - lashed out at Saprang for trying to link him to the violence.
On Wednesday night, sources close to Saprang circulated speculation that Chavalit was about to be apprehended.
In retaliation, sources linked to Chavalit raised the possibility of another power seizure.
Coup rumours gained momentum because they coincided with the rotation of troops on security detail at 300 public places in the capital. Troops had been deployed after the bombings.
So, will there be another coup?
The military intervention is undeniably part of the political landscape. But the ongoing power struggle seems unlikely to escalate into a new coup.
Offtherecord comments from active and retired Army officers indicate there is a real rivalry inside the military.
One possibility is that a rival military clique may dethrone the CNS to revive the Thaksin Shinawatra regime.
Sources say the situation is not drastic enough to see the outbreak of civil war.
The other possibility is a repeat coup where the CNS would realign its power to overcome problems, one of which is a power struggle for control of the Army.
Key contenders include Saprang, his CNS colleague General Anupong Paochinda and Army chiefofstaff General Montri Sangkhasap.
The eruption of political violence has brought this military rivalry to the fore.
The military clique of Anupong, Montri and First Army Region commander General Prayuth Chanocha is in charge, while Saprang is on the sidelines. Following the explosions, power has perceptibly shifted to the three.
Coup speculation will be revised as it seeks to keep up with the subtle power plays in the Army.
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by Avudh Panananda