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Thailand

Following the smooth royal succession, and with the military government firmly in control,there are no obvious triggers in Thailand for political turmoil in the near term. Yet the country’s fundamental political and social divisions have not been bridged, and there is potential for future conflict between elected and unelected authorities. In the deep south, the Malay-Muslim separatist insurgency continues, as does a sterile and slow-moving peace-dialogue process that is rejected by the main insurgent group. Crisis Group aims to reduce the risk of escalation in the south and limit medium-term threats to political stability by supporting the strengthening of Thailand’s democratic institutions and promoting substantive peace talks.

CrisisWatch Thailand

Unchanged Situation

Ahead of final results of 24 March election due 9 May, ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) initiated raft of legal challenges against Future Forward Party, which came in third place with almost seven million votes on anti-junta platform, in apparent attempt to prevent it forming govt with Pheu Thai Party and five smaller parties. NCPO 3 April charged Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit with “sedition” in connection to role in 2015 anti-junta protest and violating regime orders prohibiting political gatherings of five or more people; Election Commission 23 April unanimously resolved to press charge against Thanathorn for alleged violation of media shareholding rules, which could disqualify him. Insurgent violence continued in southernmost provinces. In Pattani province, motorcycle-borne bomb wounded four policemen and villager in Khok Pho district 12 April; Muslim defence volunteer killed in drive-by shooting in Kapho district 16 April; two people killed in separate attacks 25 April. In Yala province, gunmen executed two Muslim border police in mosque in Than To district 5 April; gunmen killed assistant village headman in Muang district 17 April; gunmen shot dead rubber tapper in Bannang Sata 25 April.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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-productive, if not suicidal. 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 measures by the Thai state. 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
28 Aug 2016
The bombings [in Thailand] may have been intended to compel the military government to reconsider its approach to the conflict in the deep south. The Washington Post

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
24 Aug 2016
Two years of military rule haven't really resolved any of the fundamental problems [in Thailand] ... and the constitution won't succeed in doing that either. The day of reckoning is just being delayed. AP

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia

Latest Updates

Watch List 2017 – Second Update

Crisis Group’s second update to our Watch List 2017 includes entries on Nigeria, Qatar, Thailand and Venezuela. These early-warning publications identify conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.

Op-Ed / Asia

Government, Rebels Must End Pernicious Impasse

Originally published in Bangkok Post

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Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
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