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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

Violence continued in deep south, while constitutional court issued two rulings bolstering PM Prayut Chan-ocha’s new govt. In Khok Pho district in Pattani province, two village defence volunteers killed in ambush involving roadside IED and small-arms fire 16 Sept. Gunmen 19 Sept killed Muslim village chief in Sai Buri district, Pattani province. General Wanlop Rugsanaoh, National Security Council chief, 26 Sept said he will lead Thai peace-dialogue delegation beginning in Oct. Following controversy over PM Prayuth during swearing-in of new govt in July omitting sentence from constitutionally required oath that directs cabinet to uphold the constitution, Constitutional Court 11 Sept declined to accept opposition petition to examine omission, determining it had no authority to consider case. In separate case, court 18 Sept ruled that Prayuth was not considered a “state official” following 2014 coup when he served as head of National Council for Peace Order, which would have made him ineligible to stand as candidate for PM in June 2019. Rulings added to growing perception among some observers of double standards in application of law.

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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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