|Hun Sen visited Hanoi during crisis at home|
|protesters in the heart of Phnom Penh demanding Hun Sen to step down|
The largest protest ever took place on Sunday December 29, 2013 demanding Hun Sen to step down brought a political tsunami and grievances to the regime that has oppressed people over three decades. Albeit multiple protests took place at the same time, there were few polices presented at the scenes. Hun Sen, an apathetic leader, seems ignore the demand, and he may try to outlast protesters, allowing them to exhaust and to fade out by themselves. On the other hand, Hun Sen may use a Hanoi taught tactic, tricking his enemies into a trap and ambushing.
Now our visible conjecture based on a pattern in the past, smaller protests were met with violent crackdown by polices, but mass protests gained more respect from them. Furthermore, Previously, mass or small protest must get a permission from the City Hall or Interior Ministry and arranged several meetings between protest organizers and city officials, but now those restrictions seem no longer fallow or impose by anyone. All protesters from different groups got free hands to march through the city streets as long as they are organized and peaceful. It is the first time that protesters were allowed to march or to stay in front of government power structure facilities--prime minister office building, defense ministry, economic and finance ministry, and several other facilities.
This is a remarkable successful tactic of CNRP's supporters who strictly adhere to nonviolent means, adopting a slogan "one protester is one security personnel." They help one another to watch all strange and suspicious activities in the processions and take care on sanitation. So far, they have done remarkable jobs when hundreds thousands of protesters walking along narrow streets smoothly without security issues except traffic problems. And numerous onlookers and sympathizers lining up on sidewalks to welcome them or to handle them with food and water.
Although the protests have gone smoothly so far, none of protesters' key demands has been considered by Hun Sen yet-- re-election or Hun Sen peaceful step-down, and other grievances brought by different groups-- except CPP vaguely agreed to negotiation without specific offers. Hun Sen should consider at least three feasible choices to settle the crisis without losing his face: to create independent poll probe or to set new election or to resign peacefully. If he still rejects all these reasonable offers, he may choose Saddam Husein, Qaddafi, and Assad's options that still pose high risk and reward for his life. Before American invasion in Iraq 2003 and the West air power intervention in Libya in 2011, Saddam and Qaddafi had been given a similar offer for their immunity and exile in African countries, but they chose to live and die in their countries, and both of them faced the same fate. President Assad has been spared for now since he has strong support from Lebanese Hezbollah group and Iran along with Russia.
In the current scenario, if Hun Sen totally rejects all offers, he may fallow Assad's option. Obviously, Hun Sen even has stronger position than Assad, for Cambodia has no insurgency, and more important than this, Vietnam firmly but covertly stands behind him. A chance of Hun Sen on power may depend on a whim of Hanoi not the Khmer people. Before a bloody coup in 1997, Hun Sen quietly visited Hanoi to get tactic advice, now he has done the same but more publicly. In similar situation, Ms.Yingluk cancelled all her scheduled foreign trips since the Thai crisis has occurred. In contrast, Hun Sen scheduled a trip to Hanoi during such a deep crisis. Did Hun Sen go to Hanoi to get tactic advice to end the crisis or to conduct his business as usual, pretending to be every thing in the country is normal? May be only time can give a true answer.
An absence of government interruption on protesters is more likely to be Hun Sen's political tactic than Hen Sen's fearing of large crowds. Over the past three decades, Hun Sen has been well trained by Hanoi to handle all crises politically and militarily. Vietnamese leaders are well-known as tactic adepts. Emperor Le Hoan, a military tactician, faced with his Chinese giant enemy, he tricked the mighty Song advancing troops into his trap and ambushed, killing their commander and defeated his powerful enemy in 981 AD. 58,000 American lives lost during Vietnam War from 1964-75 mostly caused by the Vietnamese ambushes by luring their enemies into their trap. Hun Sen let Ranaridth bought new weapons and brought Khmer Rouge fighters into Phnom Penh then he used those evidences to wipe out FORNCINPEC's military power over night and put Ranaridth on a show trial, accusing him of illegal smuggling arms and Khmer Rouge fighters into Phnom Penh.
Now, the CNRP should move cautiously against this unpredictable beast. This time are legal and political tactics not military's; Hun Sen may trick the protesters to go far and deep enough in his legal and political traps-- blocking roads, seizing government buildings, and damaging public and private properties-- before he makes a surprised ambush, using these traps as an excuse to use violent crackdown on protesters and to imprison the CNRP leadership. But the well-organized and disciplined protesters who adhere to nonviolent means may be the best tactic to counter Hun Sen's tricks so far since he has no ground to unleash his conventional tactic yet.