Big changes ahead
- Published: 18/01/2012 at 10:02 AM
- Online news:
New defence minister is likely to have much cooler relations with army chief and his subordinates.
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Time to settle old scores
ANALYSIS: New defence minister is likely to clash with officers who plotted Thaksin's downfall
Sukumpol: Close friend of Thaksin
The likely appointment of Sukumpol Suwanatat as defence minister will cause ructions, which is no doubt just the reaction that Pheu Thai Party powerbroker Thaksin Shinawatra intended.
ACM Sukumpol, who is tipped to leave the transport portfolio to take up the defence job, is hawkish and a close friend of former prime minister Thaksin from their days in Class 10 at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School.
He also has a grudge against the officers who staged the Sept 19, 2006, coup that toppled Thaksin's administration.
ACM Sukumpol was an air force chief-of-staff of the day and expected to become the air force chief.
After the coup, he was moved to inactive positions. He was an inspector-general at the Defence Ministry before resigning to take the transport portfolio last August after the Pheu Thai Party won the election and formed the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.
ACM Sukumpol is at odds with air force chief ACM Itthaporn Subhawong, who was promoted to the top job following the coup. He has stayed in the office for three years and will retire this September.
Thaksin has decided to get tough on the armed forces, as present Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa is seen as being much too lenient with armed forces chiefs, especially in the military reshuffle last year.
Gen Yutthasak claimed the 2008 Defence Act blocked him from influencing the reshuffle, which under current legislation is decided by a seven-member committee.
A Class 10 source said that as the likely new defence minister, ACM Sukumpol would have the Defence Act changed as soon as possible.
"ACM Sukumpol will not leave the armed forces with so much freedom or power as they have now. Politicians must be able to supervise to some extent," the source added.
On the list, Gen Yutthasak will be a deputy prime minister overseeing the armed forces.
As defence minister, ACM Sukumpol is likely to clash with army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.
"The armed forces and Gen Yutthasak are getting along well. They talk like brothers," said an army source.
"That could now end, as the new defence minister is likely to target Gen Prayuth," he added.
Other targets are the officers who were promoted by those behind the 2006 coup and by Gen Prayuth.
Gen Prin Suwanatat, chief of staff officers of the defence minister – and a relative of ACM Sukumpol's – was also left disappointed following the 2006 military coup.
ACM Sukumpol's presence as the defence minister will mean that former classmates of Thaksin dominate the Defence Ministry.
Many members of Class 10 are attached to the ministry.
A source said ACM Sukumpol and Gen Prin advise Thaksin on military affairs. ACM Sukumpol is also close to Thaksin's ex-wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra.
"If I am not the transport minister, I may become the defence minister," ACM Sukumpol told the Bangkok Post last month.
"A coup will always be possible if the armed forces are allowed to go on like this and the Defence Act remains," he added.
ACM Sukumpol has no problems with Supreme Commander Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn and navy chief Adm Surasak Roonroenrom as they have good ties.
settle scores – to hurt or punish somebody who has harmed or cheated you in the past
clash – to argue or fight ขัดแย้ง ปะทะ
plot – to make a secret plan with other people to do something bad แผนการ
downfall – a sudden loss of power, status, or success ความตกต่ำ,การตกลงมาอย่างแรงหรืออย่างกะทันหัน
ructions – angry protests or arguments
reaction – the way you behave or respond as a result of something that happens ปฏิกิริยาตอบโต้
powerbroker – a person who has a strong influence on who has political power in an area ผู้บงการ
intend – to plan to do; to want to happen ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น, วางแผนไว้
tipped – expected to happen คาดการณ์
portfolio – control over a ministry; all the responsibilities of a government minister ตำแหน่งรัฐมนตรี
hawkish – forceful; not afraid of conflict; preferring to use military action rather than peaceful discussion in order to solve a political problem ชอบรบ
grudge – a feeling of anger towards someone because they have done something to you that does not seem right or fair ความบาดหมาง, ความไม่พอใจ, ความคับข้องใจ
stage a coup – to forcefully seize power ใช้กำลังยึดอำนาจและเปลี่ยนแปลงรัฐบาล
topple – to force out of power; to cause to fall (also oust, unseat or overthrow) โค่นอำนาจ
administration – the government of a country รัฐบาล
chief-of-staff – an officer of very high rank, responsible for advising the person who commands each of the armed forces
inactive postion – a job or position with no real responsibilities or duties
resign – to leave a job permanently ลาออกจากตำแหน่ง
at odds with – disagreeing with ไม่เห็นด้วยกับ
promote – to move someone to a job at a higher level เลื่อนตำแหน่ง
retire – to stop working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work เกษียณอายุ
get tough – to act in a strong and determined to deal with someone or something
lenient – not strict; not giving someone as strong a punishment as you could ลงโทษสถานเบา หรือให้ความเมตตา
reshuffle – the process of changing the jobs or responsibilities of people in a particular group or organisation การปรับหรือโยกย้ายตำแหน่งคนในองค์กร
Act – a law passed by a country’s government พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
block – to stop something from being done or from succeeding กีดขวาง
influence – to affect or change how someone or something develops, behaves or thinks มีอิทธิพลต่อ, ชักจูง อำนาจบังคับ
legislation – a law or set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament กฎหมาย, การออกกฎหมาย
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
supervise – to be in charge of an activity and to check that everything is being done correctly ดูแล ควบคุม
to some extent – somewhat ในระดับหนึ่ง
oversee – to watch or organise a job or an activity to make certain that it is being done correctly คุมงาน,ควบคุม
armed forces – a country's army, navy and air force กองทัพทุกเหล่าทัพ
clash – to argue or disagree with someone ขัดแย้ง
target – to direct something at someone or something ตั้งเป้าหมาย
promote – to move someone to a job at a higher level เลื่อนตำแหน่ง
disappointed – unhappy because someone or something was not as good as you hoped or expected, or because something did not happen ผิดหวัง
presence – the fact of being in a particular place, thing or situation การเข้าร่วม
dominate – to be in control มีอำนาจเหนือ ครอบคลุม ควบคุม
ties – relations; connections ความสัมพันธ์
About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager