Thailand

Thailand’s junta has relinquished military rule in favour of pseudo-democracy in which a pro-military party governs with a narrow parliamentary majority. There are no obvious near-term triggers for political turmoil in Thailand, but the country’s fundamental political and social divisions have not been bridged, and there is potential for future conflict. In the deep south, the Malay-Muslim separatist insurgency continues, while the dialogue process appears moribund. Crisis Group aims to reduce the risk of escalation in the south and limit medium-term threats to political stability by supporting strengthened democratic institutions and promoting substantive peace talks. 

CrisisWatch Thailand

Unchanged Situation

Peace process in deep south remained fragile as separatist group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) condemned murder of member and deadly attacks persisted.

BRN condemned murder of member amid ongoing violence in deep south. Main southern separatist group BRN 18 Oct issued statement on torture and murder of BRN member Zahri Bin Abdullah whose body was recovered 29 Sept on Thai side of Kolok River, which marks Thailand-Malaysia border, after he had been “picked up in Rantau Panjang” in Kelantan, Malaysia; group said murder would adversely affect dialogue process and decried failure to provide security guarantees to BRN delegation members. BRN 30 Oct issued statement via Twitter that reiterated commitment to peace process, sharing relevant documents such as “General Principles of the Peace Dialogue Process”. Meanwhile, in Pattani province, gunmen 4 Oct ambushed police officer driving in Saiburi district, wounding officer. In Yala province, gunman 15 Oct killed assistant village chief in Bannang Sata district as victim arrived at mosque. In Narathiwat province, IED 21 Oct targeted vehicle carrying rangers and defence volunteers in Chanae district, wounding five patrol members.

Thailand abstained from UN vote condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine. Govt 12 Oct abstained on UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine as other members of regional body ASEAN except Laos and Vietnam voted in favour; govt had approved similar resolution in March. Thai Ambassador and UN Permanent Representative Suriya Chindawongse justified abstention with reference to “an extremely volatile and emotionally charged atmosphere”, while observers pointed to govt’s desire for Russian President Putin to attend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s summit in capital Bangkok next month.

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In The News

9 Oct 2022
There’s a sense of hopelessness [in Thailand] — that there’s no way to effect any kind of real change in the available political avenues. New York Times

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
12 Feb 2020
I think the reason [for the new talks in Thailand] is that [the Muslim separatists] recognize that the conflict is not going to end on the battlefield for them; it's goin... Voice of America

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
22 Jan 2020
As difficult as the [peace process in Thailand] has been up to this point, the most difficult work remains to be done. AFP

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
10 Jun 2017
[The Barisan Revolusi Nasional sees its struggle as] nationalist and anti-colonial. Subordinating their struggle to a forlorn agenda imposed by outsiders would be counter... The Straits Times

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
28 Apr 2017
The militants [of the National Revolutionary Front] continue to demonstrate that they have the capabilities to launch attacks across the region despite of the security me... Voice of America

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
10 Apr 2017
[The main southern Thai insurgent group BRN] perceive the current (peace) process as one driven by Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for their own interests. AFP

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia

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Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
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