Friday, November 20, 2015

Sam Rainsy expects a barrage of lawsuit from Hun Sen

[Image credit to Sam Rainsy's Facebook Page]
 By Khmer Wathanakam

Hun Sen's political and legal offensives against Sam Rainsy, his main rival, in the past few weeks have met with counter offensive from Sam Rainsy apparently his final political counter attack before the battle is over.  After an arrest warrant for him and his parliamentarian status was removed by the CPP's rubber stamp MPs, Sam Rainsy has no choices but to fight back for his own justice.  In his latest verbal attack though clearly unrelated  to personal attack, Sam Rainsy accused the ruling party committed a constitutional coup in stripping his parliamentary immunity and a removal of Kem Sokha from the vice president of the National Assembly.  One day after this accusation, Hun Sen's court has summoned Sam Raisy to answer question related to Hong Sok Hour forgery case, accusing Sam Rainsy of using fake document by allowing Hong Sok Hour posted the document on his Facebook Page.  Hun Sen had warned Sam Rainsy of such legal action when he visited France in late October just a couple hours before he ordered his mobs to attack two CNRP's PMs severely.  This lawsuit against Sam Rainsy is not the last one but  just the beginning of a barrage defame lawsuit against him.  Hun Sen is building more cases against Sam Rainsy when he accused Hun Sen of creating political instability in order to delay or avert the next election, and another case when Sam Rainsy recently accused Hun Sen regime had convicted King Father Sihanouk to death in 1979.  This is a pattern of political altercation between the two rivals from the past to present. In 2009, after Hun Sen's court convicted Sam Rainy to two years in prison for his uprooting the border post, Sam Rainsy had unveiled more maps indicating Vietnam had encroached more Cambodian lands.  In response, Hun Sen ordered his court to convict Sam Rainsy for falsifying documents that led to adding more jail term for Sam Rainsy total of 12 years.
Such a familiar pattern of lawsuit now has happened again.  And all such the controversial lawsuits will only be settled on political deal between the two rival parties when the political tension has cooled down in some days.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Should Sam Rainsy return to live in notorious prison Prey Sar?

[Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha meet supporters in Korea, image Sam Rainsy's Facebook]
By Khmer Wathanakam

Following of an exchange of political rhetoric between Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy, arrest warrant had been issued for Sam Rainsy; this is probably a final political offensive that Hun Sen unleashed in order to eliminate his potential rival from political stage, and Sam Rainsy not only faced a dilemma but perhaps an end of his political career after he had gone through with it nearly three decades since early 1980s with very little success. Actually, Sam Rainsy is not a real politician but a technocrat.  He earned no Political Science Degree but Economics, Business, and Finance.  And he seemed enter politics accidentally when he was fired from finance minister post, from parliament, and from Forncinpec in 1994.  Then in 1995, based on demands for change for people inside and outside the country, he decided to create his own political party"the Khmer Nation Party" in order to contest the 1998 election, a year after the bloody coup launched by Hun Sen to topple Prince Ranaridh from first prime minister post.  But his party later known as Sam Rainsy party never won substantial votes to run the government.  Witnessing fragmentation among opposition parties just keeping Hun Sen continued holding his power without end, in 2012, Sam Rainsy Party merged with Human Right Party led by Kem Sokha to create the most popular party, " The Cambodian National Rescue Party, CNRP." in order to unseat Hun Sen from long over due power grab more than three decades.  Despite the election in 2013 was manipulated and cheated by the ruling party, CNRP still had strong potential to push the CPP to the brink.  Although the party gains more popular supports from all levels of people, the party leadership is not strong enough to weather the thunderstorm unleashed from Hun Sen, the most paranoid and trickiest leader in Cambodian history.  Hun Sen never got any real education degree as most other leaders, but he could outwit all his opponents since the Paris Peace Accord 1991, by relying on his strong political networks and power base from Hanoi.  For Sam Rainsy, a technocrat who lacks strong leadership and political skill to compete with Hun Sen whose ruthless behavior can eliminate him from political arena sooner or later if Sam Rainsy keeps repeated his unnecessary mistakes.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Should Cambodian politicians learn a lesson from Myanmar?

[Image credit RFA Khmer]
By Khmer Wathanakam

Political atmosphere has heated up again after Hun Sen has angrily reacted to Sam Rainy's criticism, labeling  his leadership as a dictatorial rule and planning to create political instability in order to avert the incoming election.  Through his Facebook Page, Hun Sen called Sam Rainsy " a son of the traitor." And he also warned Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha of facing imprisonment, accusing them of inciting violence on Veng Sreng Road in early 2014 where Hun Sen's security forces opened fire on protesters, killed at least seven people and wounded nearly a hundred more.  Along with rude personal attack on Sam Rainsy's background and the threat of imprisonment, Hun Sen simultaneously called for his supporters to stand up against the opposition party (CNRP).  As a pattern, all Hun Sen's threats and warnings always have turned into violent mobs or imprisonment on his opponents.  Now Hun Sen's new threat seems even stronger than before, and the opposition should carefully watch out what measure Hun Sen would take against the two CNRP leaders and their members.  When Hun Sen labeled Sam Rainsy as a traitor just reflected to his own actions, and let the people make their own judgement who is a real traitor? A landslide victory of the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Ms. Aung Sann Suu Kyi in Myanmar over the Pro-military government of President Thein Sein, has sent a clear massage to all dictatorial leaders in the region--Hun Sen, Gen. Prayuth Chan Ocha of Thailand, and the communist leaders in Vietnam and Laos that their political fate would not last forever.  For Hun Sen, a paranoid man, the more he fears, the more he reacts to his opponents in rude and uncivilized manner.  On his Facebook Page, Hun Sen tried to differentiate between Aung Sann Suu Kyi and Sam Rainsy, portraying Suu Kyi from a patriotic family and Sam Rainsy from a traitor family.  Why did Hun Sen tried to show such a comparison? Because he did not want the people to see Sam Rainsy as Aung Sann Suu Kyi of Cambodia, the political shadow that he fears most.  However, to cool down political tension in the country, Hun Sen should learn from President Thein Sein whom Hun Sen used to boast that he had taught him about reform and democracy from Cambodia.  And Sam Rainsy, as a friend of Ms. Aung Sann Suu Kyi and sharing a common value of democracy with her, he should learn from political skill and how she has dealt with her political opponents in order to reach his final goal of bringing a true democracy to Cambodian people the same as the people of Myanmar.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Can Cambodian politcal atmosphere return to detente?

[Sam Rainsy was welcomed by his supporters when he arrived at airport, image Sam Rainsy Facebook]
By Khmer Wathanakam

The return of CNRP's president Sam Rainsy to the country with thousands of enthusiastic supporters welcomed him home without any incident has made many people feel more released and sense of new detente.  Many observers and analysts had warned ahead of Sam Rainsy's return that he might face more threats and even imprisonment by Hun Sen.  However, Sam Rainsy returned to the country, encountering with only a warm welcomed crowds of his supporters, but his peaceful return can't go on without a backdoor deal with Hun Sen first.  As we have learned that Hun Sen had demanded Sam Rainsy apologized him for comparing his violent tactic against CNRP's PMs to the Fascists in Italy, and Hun Sen also had warned that Sam Rainsy might face jail term for his collusion with Senator Hong Sok Hour on charged of forgery on Vietnam-Cambodia border treaty.  Despite those threats by Hun Sen are real or empty ones, no one can't predict Hun Sen'd move and guarantee Sam Rainsy's safe return.  To clarify such an uncertainty, Sam Rainsy needs to use realpolitik: a system of politics based on country's real situation and it needed rather than on ideas about what is morally right or wrong.  Although Sam Rainsy's comparison is well reflected to Hun Sen's actions and behavior, he has to apologize Hun Sen for his comparison as overstate in order to avert more political tension.  Nonetheless, Hun Sen had to step back too by accepting Sam Rainsy's apology privately, not publicly as he had demanded.  And Hun Sen reaffirmed that "the Culture of Dialogue" between the two parties would continue.  For Sam Rainsy, though this apology private or public, he has repeated his mistakes.  Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha may avoid these humiliations and counterproductive for the party if they did not miscalculate and have good judgement on Hun Sen's behavior.

Sam Rainy and Kem Sokha should learn that political rhetoric and provocative speeches have never brought positive result for themselves and the party but political backlashes and counterproductive.  As a weaker party and adhered to nonviolent principle, they should not use any provocative speech, instead focus on building the party strength and garnering support from the people by frequently visiting the grassroots, educating and spreading the party principle and policies for the next election.  The party can prove its confidence of winning the incoming election by showing its good policies and principle, avoiding name referring or comparing their opponents to whatever unnecessary, but let the people make their own judgement, the more violence and intimidation Hun Sen has committed against CNRP, the more sympathy and support it receive from the people.  Hun Sen's violent tactic against CNRP is also his counterproductive since he just portrays himself as a real evil leader.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Both sides should restain from verbal and violent attacks on each other

[Image Sam Rainsy's Facebook Page]
By Khmer Wathanakam

A violent mob organized by the ruling party, beaten up two CNRP's MPs severely injured has stirred up more political confrontation between the two leaders.  After condoning violent protest against CNRP's vice president Kem Sokha, Hun Sen also warned that Sam Rainy will face jail term , for he had allowed Hong Sok Hour who was accused and jailed by Hun Sen's court for forging a document about Cambodia-Vietnam border treaty, publishing on his Facebook Page. Sam Rainsy when seeing his party members were beaten up viciously by a violent mob set up by Hun Sen, as a leader of the party, he strongly condemned that brutal attack and demanded the government to bring those perpetrators to justice. Additionally, he compared Hun Sen's tactics of violent intimidation against his party to the fascists in Italy before the World War II in order to delay the two critical elections in 2017-18.  Such an analogy even made Hun Sen more furious, and he demanded Sam Rainsy to apologize him publicly or a culture of dialogue between the two parties will be ended.  Now Sam Rainsy has faced two more imminent threats from Hun Sen--to face a jail term and to apologize him publicly for comparing him to a fascist. A question is whether Hun Sen's threat to put Rainsy behind bar real? And should Sam Rainsy apologize Hun Sen publicly? Sam Rainsy may face an unpleasant choice. A short answer is Sam Rainsy must deny any wrong doing involved with Hong Sok Hour publishing a so called forgery.  And he doesn't need to apologize Hun Sen publicly either.  And another question, does Hun Sen allow Rainsy out of hook? It may or may not, but only a political dialogue between the two parties will solve this continuous political confrontation by tuning down their political rhetoric and violent threat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hun Sen condones violence and also pretends to condemn it

[Image credit VOD]
 By Khmer Wathanakam

A pattern of violent tactic against political dissidents by Hun Sen's regime has been repeated in Cambodia since the 1993 election sponsored by the UN.  This wily, tricky regime has very high skill in dealing with its political opponents by using all available means to humiliate, to weaken, and to destroy them at the end.  Usually, Hun Sen plays two actors in the same episode: to be an Asura and Devada at the same scene.  Since 1993 election, hundreds of opposition members, union leaders, workers, journalists, environment activists, and even movie and singer stars have been murdered in cold blood and viciously, but none of perpetrators has ever been brought to justice.  Such a culture of impunity has flourished in Cambodian society for decades.  No one can change or stop it if Hun Sen has magic power to plays two roles as an Asura and Devada at the same time.  Sometimes, a victim of violence or discrimination has become a double victims or an innocent person has been framed as a scapegoat to cover up a real murderer. Cambodia has become a hybrid society; it is a constitutional monarchy democracy on the banner, but in reality it is a authoritarian and mafia state. During Pol Pot's regime, they taught people to be obedient and deaf in order to survive, but in the current regime they teach people to see black as white and good people as bad and vie versa.  It is very unusual and unreasonable that the prime minister organizes a violent protest against the opposition, a powerless group who has no role to make any key decision relating to the country's affair while the prime minister has all power to decide a fate of the nation.  Ridiculously, those protesters demanded Kem Sokha to resign from his post as vice president of the National Assembly, a powerless position, why not asked Hun Sen and Heng Samrin to resign, who have held power over three decades and committed countless mistakes and atrocities? In democratic countries in the world, the people protest and criticize their leaders or the ruling party, for they run the country so they eventually makes some mistakes.  And the people demand them to resign when they commit severe mistake or fail to fulfill their promises, not to ask the opposition leaders to resign; they can't hold accountable for the people since they don't rule the country. Such a violent mob against the opposition party rarely happens in democratic countries, only in authoritarian states.  But this violent mob here can be easily to prevent it if Hun Sen did not give a green light and the authority has been given order to stop it.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hun Sen unleashes another wave of violence against innocent CNRP's MPs

[Violent protesters in front Kem Sokha's residence, RFA]
 By Khmer Wathanakam

A  violent set up protest against Mr. Kem Sokha, a vice president of the National Assembly and vice president of CNRP took every one by surprise since this violent protest was quietly organized by the CPP's network, and they intended to harm the CNRP's MPs physically and emotionally.  This violent mob usually incited and organized by Hun Sen who used to play such a shameful and violent game against his opponents numerous times in the past.  This is not a new story, as Dr. Kem Ley said, " when I read this story, I already know who is an author."  Exactly, all the sagas of such violent protests always organized and stoked by the powerful person who is siting above the law.  A clear evidence that confirmed Hun Sen had stayed behind this violent demonstration is a Hun Sen's statement from Paris, warning the opposition party, " if you get mad, don't play and if you play, don't get mad. And playing at this time you can lose the vice president post of the National Assembly too." Magically, less than 24 hours after Hun Sen's statement, a large group of violent-prone mob dominated by men, and some of them wore black caps to hide their clear identity stormed in front of the National Assembly and the other big group besieged Kem Sokha's residence, demanding him to step down from his position.  And some of them pretended to be CNRP's supporters accusing Kem Sokha of making empty promise during his 2013 election campaign.  The other evidence that indicated this violent protest was set up by Hun Sen and his CPP's supporters is the situation around the National Assembly Building is so unusual because there were big group of loud protesters, but there were no police and security forces presence to protect the National Assembly as well as to stop or disrupt the protesters as they used to do in the past according to a CNRP's spokesman, Mr. Yem Sovann, Human rights observers, and the Journalists' accounts.  All these proofs have clearly pointed out that This violent mob that caused severe injury two CNRP's MPs was orchestrated and set up by Hun Sen and his security agents.  Hun Sen is more likely to order this violent protest to counter peaceful protest by Khmer overseas in France during his three day state visit in Paris.  Because Hun Sen baseless accused the opposition stayed behind those protesters against him in Paris when the CNRP has strongly denied its involvement.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Is Hun Sen's threat of war real if he loses election?

[Image credits]
By Khmer Wathanakam

In the past few months Cambodian political atmosphere has turned into a boiling point since Hun Sen has reneged all his political agreements with CNRP on July 22, 2014 by employing his old tactic of intimidation and imprisonment CNRP's political activists including a senior CNRP's official Senator Hong Sok Hour, a border expert for the party.  Along with imprisonment, Hun Sen frequently repeats his threat of war if he or his party lose the incoming general election in 2018 by inciting or encouraging his military, police commanders and his appointed provincial and district governors to turn against the winning party if those officials will be replaced with new members from the wining party.  Furthermore, Hun Sen recently has promoted his second son, Hun Manith, to be a chief of an intelligence department similar to the job of the US's CIA director while his oldest son, Hun Maneth, has maintained a position as a deputy commander of his father's bodyguard unit, an elite troop designed to protect Hun Sen and his family is similar to the US's secrete service which is assigned to protect the President and his family.  Many analysts and political observers have concluded that Hun Sen has tried all his ability to cement his long time power grip by promoting his children and his relatives to the key security positions in order to clarify his doubt and fear of losing power.  The more Hun Sen fears, the more he makes threat to all his opponents and all the people.  Will the war really happen if he loses election? The answer is may or may not happen, but if it happens, it will be a short one, not a protracted war as in the 1970s and 1980s.

As a new election is about two years away to happen, Hun Sen has deployed his old trick, threatening his opponents as well as the whole nation that war will be imminently happen if his ruling party lose election.  This verbal threat should not be looked over since Cambodia had experienced the most bloody war and genocide in the 1970s and fallowed by invasion war in the 1980s,  many people have a good reason to fear about it. Most Cambodian people had lost their loved ones during past wars and genocide, and no one wants to see such a horrible event happening again in any circumstance.  However, the fear of war has been fully exploited by Hun Sen in recent election campaign in 2013, and now he starts to renew his threat of war again.  Although the economy has grown in a remarkable way under Hun Sen's rule, human rights, democracy, and a rule of law in the country seem move in opposite direction from the economy growth.  Hun Sen never let democracy flourish as the economy; he may try to walk against the water current or try to prove that political theory is wrong.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

CNRP walks a tightrope as Hun Sen still practices culture of violence

 By Khmer Wathanakam

 Hong Sok Hour being arrested, Khmer Times
Over the past several weeks political atmosphere has heated up into a boiling point when Hun Sen has continued his witch hunt, throwing opposition activists into jail without concrete evidences and proper legal procedure.  Whenever he feels threatened or feared of losing his wielding power, he reacted in bellicose behavior, ordering his established security forces and court to quickly arrest and imprison the opposition member mercilessly.  What Hun Sen has behaved in the past few weeks has clearly indicated that he is still a man with violent-prone nature.  Culture of dialogue with the opposition has never changed him to be a new man, but his violent nature has overwhelmed the culture of dialogue. Tiger and lion used to eat meat as their daily meal, can't eat grass to replace meat.  A tiger can't be patient to wear a sheep skin for too long since it doesn't comfort as its own natural skin.  In the same way, Hun Sen can't act like a saint or Bodhisattva when he has heavy kalesa and tonaha of power and personal ambition.  His craving of power and personal pride have deprived other people of their basic personal freedom of living and expression.  The latest arrest of the opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour in a quick and intimidated way, accusing him of treason when he has actually sacrificed his energy and effort to defend and protect the interest of the country has perturbed many Cambodian people inside and outside the country.  Throughout social media, many people expressed their angers on the arrest, others felt frustrated and hated Cambodian society and its leader, and while the others felt unfortunate and dismayed to be born and raised under such a repressive regime.  However, some people including the opposition leader, Sam Rainsy still showed their resilience and optimistic that the current political heat up would be cooled down in someday.  After arrival at Phnom Penh Air Port from his long trip abroad, Sam Rainsy claimed that his top priority was to secure all his party's activists from jail including senator Hong Sok Hour.  After arriving at home, he has hurried to visit his activists in Prey Sar Prison.  Despite all the activists requested him not to exchange their release for political concession with Hun Sen, Sam Rainsy perhaps doesn't have much leverage as he did before joining the parliament on July 22, 2015 to negotiate with Hun Sen beside using his personal relationship with him and reviewing a political solution that both parties had signed on July 22, 2014 to officially end the post-election crisis.

Recently Sam Rainsy was criticized by some people for being irresponsible and escaping the country when Hun Sen  jailed 11 CNRP's activists and ordered to arrest more.  But CNRP's official Mr. Eng Chai Earng, explained that Sam Rainsy just traveled abroad as his usual schedule even if he stayed in the country, he could not do anything to secure those activists.  Based on this explanation, Sam Rainsy is more unlikely to have much leverage left to negotiate with Hun Sen for the release of his party's activists.  Nonetheless, Sam Rainsy still has confidence that he would use his cordial and cool method to deal with Hun Sen unrelated to the culture of dialogue since it is the long term strategy and relationship with CPP.  But now he has to search for all possible means to persuade and convince Hun Sen for his activists' release based on previous political agreement.  Because both public and most political observers have seen these cases as political, and it can be solved by negotiation between the two leaders though the CPP and Hun Sen insisted that they could not interfere with a so-called independent court system in which Hun Sen usually uses as a tool to jail his opponents on his wills.  Sam Rainsy himself had experienced in dealing with this flagrant court system under Hun Sen's decision for many occasions over the past 20 years, so he may still has some optimistic to solve this problem with Hun Sen fruitfully, but it may consume more times and more political concession have to offered by CNRP.  As Mr. Sok Eysan, a CPP's spokesman, indicated, " if Sam Rainsy wants to live in harmony with the CPP, he has to tell his party's officials and activists to do the same."  Hun Sen used to claim that the CNRP has two kinds actor: the friendly actors and the mean actors.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Royal Armed Forces belongs to CPP? Constitutionally no, Politically yes

[Image Phnom Penh Post Khmer]
By Khmer Wathanakam

Since Hun Sen has summoned his top military and police officers to pay their loyalty to him in order to protect the constitution, his legitimate government, and to crackdown on all kinds of suspected color revolution, Hun Sen's speech has been echoed by many government spokesmen including defense minister Tea Banh, but a more brazen claim from a four-stars General, Chea Dara, declared that the Royal Armed Forces belong to CPP because Hun Sen supports, raises, and leads the armed forces is deviating too far. What Chea Dara has said is tantamount to a constitutional coup, for Cambodian constitution states that the Royal Armed Forces belong to the nation, not any leader or a party.  Thus those military officers who dared to profess their loyalty to any leader or political party while they get salaries from tax payers (the People), they should relinquish their position and title and go to work for those leaders and parties. There is no space for politics in the army and police in any democratic country.  They must be neutral and independent from all political parties.  They pledge allegiance to no one but the constitution and the nation. Without such a principle in their minds, those military and police officers would be the private police and army officers who being used as tools to protect the interests of a specific leader and political party, not the nation and constitution.  Consequently, the military and police institutions will lose their integrity and trust from the people. To preserve the integrity and neutrality of these key national institutions, all police and military officers from the top to the low ranks should publicly declare themselves as neutral and independent from all political parties and leaders; they should not brazenly declared themselves loyal to any party even the ruling party but only to the nation and the constitution since the political parties and leaders can be changed or lost power in every election, but the nation and constitution will last forever no matter which party win or lose the election.  What Gen. Chea Dara said suggests that he doesn't understand a difference between the national institution and political party.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hun Sen plays hard ball while CNRP faces conundrum

By Khmer Wathanakam

After a brief detente since July 22, 2013 when CPP and CNRP agreed to end a post election political crisis, political environment has been boiled again as CNRP's MPs have challenged with the government's opaque border demarcation with Vietnam by organizing two trips to visit border posts suspected deeply installed inside Cambodian territories.  A brawling between Vietnamese and Cambodian border activists in the first trip and a larger crowd participating in the second trip which had welcomed by ebullient local people along the way have made Hun Sen furious and fear that the CNRP is still capable to rally its supporters for a short period of time to visit the border dispute with Vietnam, the most sensitive issue that can attract million of people if the CNRP plans a large campaign in this issue.  In addition, a short confrontation between Mr. Um Sam An, a CNRP's MP border activist, and Heng Samrin that led to his disciplinary punishment from Heng Samrin, and the other formidable news that the ICC case against Hun Sen has emerged again when a lawyer for the victims of land grab, has submitted  more numbers of victims to the ICC case against Hun Sen.  All such a coincidence is apparently to make Hun Sen sleeplessness again.  To respond to that awed strike, Hun Sen has swiftly thrown the court pending 11 CNRP's activists into a long jail term, then he summoned all top military and police officers to pay loyalty to him though he used the term of protecting the constitution and his legitimate government. During his speech to those officers, he slammed the opposition lawmakers who had led a big crowd to visit the border, and he threatened to handcuff those lawmakers if violence happened again disregarding of their immunity.  Also, he instructed all levels of military and police officers to strictly prevent all kinds of color revolution, using all means to subdue and extirpate them immediately since he saw thousands of jubilant youths crowding on the border, reminding him the post-election protests which had swept Phnom Penh in late December 2013. The threats of words and actions by Hun Sen has embroiled a political environment into a post election crisis again and made the opposition facing conundrum or a confused and difficult situation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Is detente over between the two major parties?

[CNRP's activists being escorted to prison, Image credit the Cambodia Daily]
By Khmer Wathanakam

After a calm political atmosphere for awhile since the two major parties--CPP and CNRP-- signed an agreement to end political crisis on July 22, 2013 due to election fraud protests, political heat up seems return to post-election crisis again.  At this time not about election crisis but border demarcation issue, a controversial law to restrict NGO's, and CNRP's MP Um Sam An who plans to sue Heng Ramrin who refused to sign and send the CNRP's MPs' letter to the council of minister for postponement of border demarcation.  Meanwhile Hun Sen has threatened to end "culture of dialogue" with Sam Rainsy if Mr. Um Sam An dares to sue Heng Samrin in the constitutional court for failure to perform his constitutional duty as the president of the National Assembly. Thus, the border crisis, the controversial NGO law, and a question of Mr. Heng Samrin who failed to perform his constitutional duty have pushed the CPP against the wall again.  Nothing new if we have fallowed up political situation from the past when the opposition demands reform, accountability, and transparency from the government, it never gets a favorable response from the ruling party but threatening and jail term.  Now a swift response from the ruling party CPP is to order its controlled court to hand down jail term from 7 to 20 years for 11 CNRP's activists, accusing them of "insurrection," a violent act to overthrow the government, a ridiculous baseless charge.  In fact, those activists just defensed themselves from the brutal security forces who are famous in beating up protesters numerous times in the past.  The severe conviction on the 11 CNRP's activists is totally political motivate and a scapegoat in order to wedge the CNRP to back down from their campaign to bring transparency of border delineation and to retaliate the CNRP on its boycott the vote on NGO's law.

Monday, July 20, 2015

CPP's thugs emerge again to intimidate border activists

[CPP's thugs armed with sticks blocked border activists to reach their goal, Facebook image]

By Khmer Wathanakam

[Image Thy Sovantha Facebook]
The border dispute saga with Vietnam turns into humiliation for all Khmer when Hun Sen turns to his old tactics of using his militias or armed thugs to disrupt and intimidate border activists from visiting border post peacefully, only 100 activists were allowed to reach border post 203 while the rest watched from a distance.  This old CPP's dirty tactics had been used in the past when the opposition boycotted the parliament in protesting election fraud, by intimidating and disrupting all opposition's activities throughout the country.  We believe that this kind of violent tactics no longer being used by the CPP since the opposition agreed to join the parliament and to create a culture of dialogue with the CPP in order to avert all such violent confrontation.  Now the CPP may run out of patient or lose control when the opposition and the people demand transparency on border demarcation with Vietnam thus they return to violent tactic again.  So far, though Hun Sen accepts some errors in demarcation, and pledges to borrow original map from UN and other powerful countries-- the US, France, and Great Britain-- there is no sign the government has taken a concrete step to tackle with such a sensitive and critical issue yet.  After three day-meeting between the two border committee from the two countries, they have announced a contradicted result: Cambodia claimed Hanoi had made a big concession, agreeing to cease all activities on the white zones and to fill up at least three of eight excavated ponds while Vietnam repeatedly claimed that it has built roads, military outpost, and ponds only in its controlled territories. In fact, Vietnam made no any concession or correction on border dispute, instead it insisted that it had adhered and respected a previous memorandum in 1995.  Now over 80 per cent of delineation has been completed, and Hun Sen claimed that he could relocate border posts if found incorrectly based on the constitutional mandated map of 1964.  So far, the government has not received the original map yet, Vietnam did not budge to Cambodia's demand, and thousands of Cambodian borders activists were disrupted and not allowed to view border post, only 100 activists were allowed.  So the border issue with Vietnam more likely turned bleak; no sign of conceded and compromised tone from Hanoi.  How can Hun Sen's government resolve border dispute with Vietnam more effectively when Hun Sen still uses violent tactics to intimidate his own fellow Khmer border activists?  This is not a political but a national security issue that the government must heed and protect all those border activists as if Vietnam has done for its own border activists.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A culture of dialogue, a good or bad strategy for CNRP?

[Image Sam Rainsy Facebook]
 By Khmer Wathanakam
It's a rare family dinner occasion taking place between the two political rivals over the past two decades though quiet but it surprises  many people and political observers to see such an unusual occasion.  The culture of dialogue can bring the two bitter opponents close together to show national unity at a time when the nation is facing threat and border encroachment by its more powerful neighbor by setting aside their personal and political differences.  As Sam Rainsy said, " this private meeting between the two families is the first and historical event that never has happened between the opposition party and the ruling party leaders in the past. And it helps strengthening a culture of dialogue that inhibits violence confrontation and protect safety of party activists and supporters while Hun Sen call a culture of dialogue, a mean to maintain political stability and prosperity for the country." What does CNRP gain from this new political culture?

An ending parliament boycott along with a culture of dialogue with CPP has alienated some CNRP's radical supporters who wanted no political compromise with CPP, and some of them turned to support some newly created parties.  Some even believe that CNRP is no different from Forncipec in the past.  To clarify these suspicions, we should look to the CNRP's principle and actions hitherto. Since CNRP has joint the parliament to work with the CPP more than a year ago, it has achieved its enormous works for the nation as well as for the party.  Wherever problems happen, there are CNRP MPs there to solve and protect the rights of the people and the national interest, such as land grab, labor disputes, human rights abuses, and border issues and so forth.  Although those issues are not effectively resolved but the CNRP's MPs have fulfilled their duty as a true representatives of all people throughout the country. They summoned many government officials to answers and explained all questions related to corruption, human rights abuse, environment destruction, labor disputes, and even border issue.  And some of those MPs received physical and emotional abuses while they were performing their duties to help and protect people and national interest.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cambodia-Vietnam Border Row Turns into Complicated Issue in the Future

Vietnamese border guards stand to protect their people, image Facebook
By Khmer Wathanakam

Recent violent confrontation on border where Vietnamese villagers beat up Cambodian border activists  and CNRP MPs who peacefully visited border demarcations have raised a serious question about how Vietnamese and Cambodian governments have handled and solved a border issue between the two countries though publicly the two governments always have shown their commitment to solve this issue peacefully and fairly, but unofficially Cambodian people who have seen their government had done nothing to protect Cambodian territorial integrity and sovereignty, allowing Vietnam to encroach Cambodian land without consequences by ignoring the Paris Peace Accord that fully guaranteed Cambodian sovereignty and territorial integrity, sometimes took this matter on their own hands.  Furthermore, Vietnam quietly had forced Cambodian government to sign an extra border treaty in 2005 which  helped to legalize all previous treaties signed during the Vietnamese occupation from 1979-89.  The Violation of Paris Peace Accord and an extra border treaty in 2005 have created more border spats between the two countries, for the extra border treaty with Hanoi in 2005 had cost Cambodia a big chunk of land and created numerous unmarked areas known as white zones.  And those white zones are systematically encroached by Vietnam; evidently Cambodia has found at least 8 man-made ponds excavated by Vietnam into those white zones.  Cambodian people who live along the border frequently complained about border encroachment by Vietnam, but  all those complaints usually ignored by the Cambodian government.  Until recently, The Cambodian foreign ministry publicly announced that it had filed diplomatic complaints with Hanoi at least 11 times about border encroachment, including three more in the past month, but no serious response from Hanoi beside telling Cambodia to wait for further investigation and report from its local authorities.  However, Vietnam encroachment activities have still continued such as they continue to build military outposts inside the white zones and refuse to fill up all illegal man-made ponds demanding by Cambodia.
Should Cambodian government allow Vietnam to encroach more land or should it find more effective and legal means against Hanoi's aggression?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

More New Political Parties Flooded into Next General Election

[New formed FORNCINPEC, Image]

By Khmer Wathanakam

Since CPP and CNRP have agreed to work together in parliament and created "culture of dialogue" that produced a new NEC and discontent of some radical supporters of CNRP who accused the CNRP of adopting a soft stand against the CPP through a culture of dialogue, many  new political parties have been created over the past six months from some infamous politicians--a return of Prince Ranaridh to lead a new Forncinpec, the People Power Movement of Sourn Serey Ratha, Mom Sonando, a Beehive Radio Station owner, an independent political analyst Kem Ley, and Ms. Lac Sopheap, a former CNRP central committee member who was expelled by the CNRP disciplinary committee.  All these new emerged parties have no viable political strength not only to unseat Hun Sen from power but they will even fail to capture a single seat in the parliament.  Nonetheless, these new political parties have put more pressure on the CNRP more than on the CPP since these small political parties will split votes from CNRP, and they will create a more favorable opportunity for Hun Sen to win the next election again.  Should Khmer continue to play such a political suicide again and again until Cambodia will be wiped out from the world map like Kapuchea Krom and Champa?

All Khmer should learn a bitter lesson in every election since the 1993.  The CPP, which had been installed by Hanoi in 1979, has ruled Cambodia until the 1993 election and it still has managed to control the country until today through violence, intimidation, election fraud, and more critical than those is to break up all Khmer opposition forces by all means-- buying out, granting title and statues, sharing fake power, and encouraging to create and set up more political parties.  Since 1993 election the CPP has never won popular votes 50 per cent or more, but it won most seats in the parliament in every election.  For example in recent election 2013, the CPP got only over 200,000 votes more than the CNRP, but if all the opposition forces combine votes together, they would win by 300,000 votes more than the CPP.  However at the end, the CNRP lost majority in the parliament and more than 500,000 votes wasted by the other smaller parties.  Forncinpec gained nearly 250,000 votes but did not win a single seat in the parliament. A bitter lesson repeated again recalling the 2008 election when the CPP won landslide victory 90 seats in the parliament though it won popular vote less than 50 per cent. In that time the major players --Sam Rainsy, Kem Sokha, Ranarith, and BunChay-- each has his own party to compete with Hun Sen.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A moment of Vietnamese invasion on January 7, 1979 and its aftermath

By Khmer Wathanakam

(The Vietnamese Tanks rolled into Cambodia in 1979)
On January 7, 1979, people in my village, Phum Thmey, Srok Sangke, Ket Battambang, just went to work on rice field and build irrigation system as usual day.  Surprisingly, around 12 or 1PM, when we returned from work to the canteen for lunch, suddenly we heard a loud noise of two helicopters flying in very high speed but unusual low altitude just above a top of the trees from Phnom Penh toward Battambang City.  We even saw the people on the board of those helicopters, but we had no idea who they were.  In fact, Pol Pot and his leadership team had fled Phnom Penh in disarray, indicating that his central government had collapsed by the Vietnamese invasion.  They rushed to Battambang City on their way to Thai-Cambodia border.  But Not long enough, about 10 to 15 minutes later, the Vietnamese Mig-21 had chased them behind, a few minutes after the Mig-21 passed over our village, we heard two loud explosions from the Vietnamese jet bomber, but it missed the target apparently in an attempt to assassinate Pol Pot and his entourage.  Since then the Vietnamese jets flew every day passing over our village to bomb the Khmer Rouge hideout targets and their ammunition depots in various locations in the province.

However, the people in our village were so bewildered even if they had known that Pol Pot regime was overthrown by the Vietnamese, the local Khmer Rouge administrators still ruled our village and the nearby areas as usual.  Every day people just went to work on their fields and ate lunch and dinner as normal.  But, on January 13, we felt the reality of the regime changed when we saw a column of Vietnamese tanks and trucks slowly driven on highway 5 from Battambang toward Phnom Penh with their victory red flags on the top.  Then they briefly stopped in our village searching for the Khmer Rouge troops and their locations, but no one knew where they were.  After that the Vietnamese convoys continued their way to Phnom Penh precariously.  Indeed, on their way to Phnom Penh, the Vietnamese elite troop columns were disrupted by land mines and severely beaten down by the regrouped Khmer Rouge special forces.  Later we frequently saw the wreckage of the Vietnamese trucks and tanks along the highway 5 from Battambang to Phnom Penh.