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

Violence persisted in deep south, as govt appointed new head in dialogue with main southern separatist group.

Violence continued in southernmost provinces. In Narathiwat province, militants 3 Nov detonated 25kg IED targeting paramilitary rangers travelling in private vehicle in Tanyong Mas subdistrict, Rangae district. One ranger was killed 9 Nov after stepping on improvised mine in forested area of Tanyong Mas; militants 10 Nov fired small arms at security outpost in same subdistrict, causing no casualties. Authorities same day discovered and safely detonated IED in Bacho District, Narathiwat. Seven motorcycle-borne militants 12 Nov surrounded Muslim ranger officer, then on leave, who was travelling on motorcycle with his wife in Rueso district; they forced both to ground and shot officer more than ten times before fleeing. Media reports 27 Nov indicated that PM Srettha Thavisin appointed Chatchai Bangchuad, deputy sec gen of National Security Council, to lead govt’s delegation in dialogue with main militant group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN).

National politics remained in holding pattern. Since formation of Pheu Thai Party-led govt in Sept, national politics entered routine holding pattern marked by opposition focusing on criticising govt policy proposals, such as 10,000-baht digital wallet.

In other important developments. FM Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara 1 Nov visited Qatar to meet Iranian FM Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in efforts to secure release of 32 Thai hostages held in Gaza (see Israel-Palestine); Hamas 24-28 Nov released nineteen Thai hostages but thirteen Thais remain in captivity. As fighting spread across northern Myanmar (see Myanmar), some 260 Thais on 19 Nov were evacuated from Shan State to China’s Yunnan province; most are believed to have been victims of human trafficking, forced to work in scam call centres.

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In The News

9 okt 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

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Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
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