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May Today in Terrorism

May 25, 2014: Terrorists carry out five attacks on one day in Thailand

On May 25, 2014 Islamist terrorists in southern Thailand carried out a series of attacks on a number of venues, killing three and injuring 55.

SOUTHERN THAILAND – ‘Divide and conquer’ applies to terrorism too.

You most probably have come across the phrase ‘tyranny of choice’. This refers to the apparent contradiction that when we have more elements from which to make a selection (on anything) we are actually more unhappy as we have a hard time making that selection from among so many options.

I would imagine that, at least from a consumer’s perspective, this angst is a recent phenomenon. After all, before the modern economic system, little, not too much, choice was the norm. Now we have 100 types of jam to peruse in the grocery store!

The Soviets perfected the tyranny without the choice! (Photo: Jānis Puriņš on flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When you are a terrorist you also have a near infinite number of targets to choose from. Your ultimate plan depends on availability, impact and how prepared the defenders are to stop you from achieving your goals.

So why not just hit a whole bunch of places at once? This is exactly what happened in today’s featured attacks.

On this day in 2014

Violent Islamist extremists in southern Thailand carried out attacks on three 7-Eleven outlets, the office of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), an electricity facility and a petrol station. These actions were part and parcel of a longstanding campaign by those seeking independence for the three southernmost Thai provinces (which historically belonged to the Pattani Sultanate: for more details see my 2017 book The Lesser Jihads). In all, three people were killed and 55 injured.

The explosions occurred in busy areas as people were shopping ahead of curfew.

Southern region military spokesman Colonel Piamote Prom-In

Responding to one terrorist attack is a challenge; responding to a whole bunch is a near impossibility. The terrorists must know that. Their tyranny leads us to make choices: I hope they are the right ones.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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