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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

Year of official mourning for King Bhumibol Adulyadej ended 30 Oct following cremation ceremony 26 Oct. PM Prayuth Chan-ocha 10 Oct said military govt will announce general election date “around June” of 2018, by which time all four organic laws should be completed; under new constitution, election must be held within 180 days of their promulgation. Prayuth met U.S. President Trump 2 Oct; said “President Trump did not put any pressure on us at all [regarding elections]”. Senior officials made conflicting statements about lifting military’s ban on political activities, key step on roadmap for restoration of civilian rule. Violence continued in southern insurgency, including roadside IED attack targeting motorcycle-borne ranger patrol 9 Oct, killing one ranger and wounding another in Narathiwat's Bacho district; assistant village chief shot dead 14 Oct in mosque in Thung Yang Daeng district, Pattani. BBC news 29 Sept reported interview with “Yusuf” of main militant group Barisan Revolusi Nasional’s information department, who said group will continue with military operations until govt “opens up for both sides to jointly solve the conflict”; also said BRN would not join MARA Patani, umbrella group of separatist fronts, in talks with Bangkok facilitated by Malaysia. General Aksara Kerdpol, chief of Thai dialogue delegation, said Thailand would not accede to BRN’s demands under pressure from insurgent violence.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

Analyst, South East Asia
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