Thailand’s FM Don in hot water over claim of US tipoff about Baghdad drone attack
Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai has come under heavy criticism for his public claim on Tuesday that the United States had informed Thailand in advance about the drone attack that killed General Qasem Soleimani, Iranian commander of the elite Quds force, at Baghdad airport on January 3rd.
United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) chairman Jatuporn Promphan said today he wondered what good will come from Mr. Don’s statement. He said, as Foreign Minister, he should step down because the situation is highly sensitive and Thailand has no place getting involved in the US-Iran issue.
He quoted the Shiite Muslim leader in Thailand, who had described Mr. Don’s statement was “unwise” and who also doubted the Foreign Minister’s claim about advance US Military tactical intelligence, when the information had been withheld from both the UK government and the entire US Congress.
Jatuporn said he would wait to see how Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha deals with the Foreign Minister, noting that the inappropriate remark could unnecessarily risk Thailand being dragged into the conflict.
Former energy minister Pichai Naripthaphan also tweeted today asking if Foreign Minister Don should now resign, after his ministry publically retracted the claim.
He said Mr. Don’s error was unforgivable and the Foreign Ministry’s retraction amounted to a “slap on the wrist” for the Foreign Minister.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ms. Busadee Santipitak said today that Mr Don’s information was inaccurate and Thailand was not informed in advance about the attack.
Defending Mr. Don, however, former Thai ambassador to Argentina, Mr. Narisroj Fuangrabil, accused the media of distorting Mr. Don’s statement, noting that the US has never provided Thailand with such information in advance of military action elsewhere in the world.
In his Facebook post, the former ambassador said he understood the US might, on occasion, seek the opinions of Asian counties about some operations when appropriate.