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CrisisWatch Thailand

Unchanged Situation

Deep south largely quiet in terms of insurgency-related violence and official peace-dialogue process between govt and MARA Patani (Patani Consultative Council), while febrile political environment continued at national level. Apparent suicide attempt 4 Oct by judge in Yala courtroom focused public attention on long-standing misgivings about impartiality of justice system in southernmost provinces; judge shot himself after delivering verdict acquitting five Malay-Muslim defendants of murder and “illegal association”, alleging political interference in case by his superiors. Four rangers suffered light injuries in roadside IED attack in Bannang Sata district, Yala 26 Oct. At national level, royal powers continued to increase, and pro-military govt continued efforts to paint opponents as disloyal to monarchy. Army general 3 Oct brought sedition charges against academic and seven opposition party leaders for discussing constitutional amendments at seminar in Pattani late Sept; 51 MPs of governing Phalang Pracharat Party 9 Oct filed complaints over opposition MPs’ “treasonous” acts, and demanded they be banned from parliament. PM Prayuth Chan-ocha used emergency powers to transfer command of two army regiments to King’s Guard, which reports directly to King Maha Vajiralongkorn; Future Forward Party noted objection to PM’s bypassing parliamentary approval for move. Palace 21 Oct announced that king stripped Royal Noble Consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi of military rank and royal titles for “disloyalty”. King subsequently purged at least six other palace officials. Digital Economy and Society Minister early Oct announced that police were on verge of “purging” anti-monarchy figures on social media, and ordered all internet cafes to track customer use of computers for 90 days.

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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.

Commentary / Asia

Thailand: Malay-Muslim Insurgency and the Dangers of Intractability

The Malay-Muslim separatist insurgency in Thailand’s South has little in common with jihadism, but persistent instability could provide openings for foreign jihadists who thrive on  disorder. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – Second Update early warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to encourage Bangkok to accept some degree of decentralisation and to implement measures that can diminish radicalisation.

Op-Ed / Asia

Government, Rebels Must End Pernicious Impasse

Originally published in Bangkok Post

Our People

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia