Yesterday, Army Chief-of-Staff General Somdhat
Attanand was announced as the new army commander with effect from
October 1st. He will succeed General Surayud Chulanont who in
turn will take over the position of Supreme Commander.
General Surayud Chulanont will replace Admiral Narong Yutthawong
who is due to retire next month.
Analysts believe that the reason for the reshuffle was due
to General Surayud inflexible outlook on the Thai-Burmese Border
conflict. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had expressed his
displeasure with Gen Surayud who was recently held responsible
by Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai for damaging Thai-Burmese
relations. The premier also remarked on the difficulties faced
on implementing defence policy in specific areas.
This was said in response to the Thai-Burmese border dispute
that was a result of Shan rebel attacks on Burmese military
outposts on May 20. Burma accused the Thai army of supporting
the Shan rebels and closed its entire border two days later.
The Thai army denied the accusations.
One military source believed that Gen Surayud was moved out
of the army to appease Rangoon as the shift was made three days
ahead of Mr. Surakiart's scheduled visit to Rangoon.
Other positions appointed in the military reshuffle were the
positions of Admiral Taweesak Somapha as Navy Commander and
Air Chief Marshal Kongsak Wantana as Air Force Commander.