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Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
Bangkok, Thailand

Crisis Group Role

Matt Wheeler joined Crisis Group in May 2012. Based in Bangkok, he researches and produces Crisis Group reports and briefings focusing primarily on political conflict in Thailand and the insurgency in Thailand’s southernmost provinces.

Areas of Expertise

  • Thai politics
  • South East Asian security
  • Democratisation
  • Insurgency and counter-insurgency

Professional Background

  • Visiting Researcher, Institute of Security and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok)
  • Thailand-based Fellow, Institute of Current World Affairs
  • Researcher, Asian Security Issues, RAND Corporation
  • Fellow, Blakemore Foundation (Bangkok)
  • Fellow, Empowering Network for International Thai Studies
  • M.A. in Asian Studies, Harvard University

Select Publications

  • “Thailand’s Southern Insurgency”, Daljit Singh, ed., Southeast Asian Affairs 2014 (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2014)
  • “Thailand,” Regional Outlook 2011-12 (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2011)
  • “Bangkok Bombs,” Asian Conflicts Report (2010)
  • “People’s Patron or Patronizing the People? The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre in Perspective”, Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 32, no. 2 (2010)
  • “Understanding Thailand’s Political Crisis,” Asian Conflicts Report (March 2010)
  • “Legitimacy, Counterinsurgency, and Order 66/2523”, Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies 2 (2009)
  • “The U.S.A., the War on Terror and Thailand’s Southern Violence,” Chaiwat Satha-Anand, ed., Imagined Land? The State and Southern Violence in Thailand (Tokyo: ILCAA 2009)
  • “China Expands its Southern Sphere of Influence,” Jane’s Intelligence Review (June 2005)
  • Thai-Vietnamese Relations in the Post-Cold War Period, 1988-2000. ISIS Occasional Paper 4, (Bangkok: Institute of Security and International Studies, 2001)


  • English (native) 
  • Thai (fluent)

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

Commentary / Asia

Calls to Curb the Crown’s Writ Put Thailand on Edge

Young pro-democracy protesters have roiled Thai politics with a previously taboo demand to reform the country’s monarchy. As the state resists change, and conservative citizens recoil, the risk of violence is growing. The standoff poses Thailand’s existential question: is the king sovereign or are the people? 

Q&A / Asia

Behind Bangkok’s Wave of Popular Dissent

Anti-government protests and popular demands for reform, including of the once-sacrosanct monarchy, have accelerated in Thailand. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s senior analyst for South East Asia, Matt Wheeler, explains how this crisis over political legitimacy has now reached a dangerous impasse.

Q&A / Asia

Behind the Insurgent Attack in Southern Thailand

On 5 November, insurgents in southern Thailand staged their deadliest attack in years, killing fifteen people. Crisis Group’s South East Asia Senior Analyst, Matt Wheeler, explains what happened and what it means for the stagnant peace-dialogue process.

Commentary / Asia

A Young Leader in the Philippines’ Battle-scarred ‘Islamic City’

It is a challenge to represent South Madaya Proper, a district in Marawi, the Philippines’ historic “Islamic city”, depopulated two years ago in a battle between government forces and jihadists. To do so, a young council chair says, she acts as both official and activist.

Op-Ed / Asia

Government, Rebels Must End Pernicious Impasse

Originally published in Bangkok Post