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Thailand

CrisisWatch Thailand

Improved Situation

Thai officials and Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) representatives met for first round of formal peace dialogue on ending conflict in deep south while domestic political tensions persisted. Constitutional Court 21 Jan dismissed case that opposition Future Forward Party (FFP) had attempted “to undermine the monarchy”; other cases against FFP still pending, including one over alleged illegal loan to FFP by party founder Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit with ruling expected in late Feb. Parliament 10 Jan passed 2020 budget; controversy over proxy voting by coalition MPs could derail budget as Constitutional Court 29 Jan accepted petition to rule on validity of budget vote. “Run to Oust Uncle” (Wing Lai Loong), anti-govt protest run, 12 Jan drew some 18,000 participants in Bangkok; another anti-govt protest scheduled for 2 Feb in Chiang Mai city, northern Thailand. In major development, Thai officials and BRN delegates 20 Jan met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to announce start of formal dialogue process, with Malaysia resuming role as facilitator. Head of BRN delegation Anas Abdulrahman 21 Jan said both parties had agreed to framework and terms of reference for dialogue after months of negotiations; next meeting reportedly scheduled for 2-3 March. Violence however continued in deep south. Insurgents 12 Jan attacked outpost secured by defence volunteers in Sukhirin district, Narathiwat, one volunteer killed and seven wounded; following attack security forces exchanged gunfire with two insurgents near outpost, killing one insurgent. Gunman 18 Jan killed village headman in mosque in Saiburi district, Pattani. Motorcycle-borne gunmen 22 Jan killed off-duty Muslim ranger in Mayo district, Yala, five-year-old son wounded in attack.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

12 Feb 2020
I think the reason [for the new talks in Thailand] is that [the Muslim separatists] recognize that the conflict is not going to end on the battlefield for them; it's going to have to end at the negotiating table. Voice of America

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
22 Jan 2020
As difficult as the [peace process in Thailand] has been up to this point, the most difficult work remains to be done. AFP

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
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

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

Op-Ed / Asia

Can Thailand Really Hide a Rebellion?

Originally published in The New York Times

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Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
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