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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 new govt cabinet under PM Prayuth Chan-ocha was sworn in. Insurgents launched series of attacks on security forces in Southern Thailand: bomb 12 July targeted four defence volunteers on two motorcycles in Muang district, Yala province, wounding three. In Bacho district, Narathiwat IED explosion 15 July targeted convoy of ranger trucks in district, causing no injuries and improvised mine 17 July wounded three rangers. IED 21 July wounded four rangers in Bannang Satar district, Yala province. Army 22 July announced investigation after suspected insurgent found unconscious in army camp in Pattani province 21 July, day after his arrest; family members claimed he was tortured. Suspected insurgents 23 July killed two soldiers and two defence volunteers in bombing and shooting at military outpost in Pattani province. PM Prayuth Chan-ocha 1 July publicly apologised for delays in forming cabinet and seating new govt, threatening to use the “old method that nobody wants to see”, provoking widespread criticism for allegedly implying threat of staging coup. King Maha Vajiralongkorn 16 July swore in new cabinet, with ruling National Council for Peace and Order party filling finance and interior ministries, and PM serving as defence minister. Constitutional Court (CC) 19 July accepted petition to evaluate PM’s qualifications as PM to determine if being junta leader made Prayuth a “state official”, which would disqualify him from standing as PM candidate. Same day, CC accepted petition accusing Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, his party and its executives of trying to end constitutional monarchy.

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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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