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A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia

A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia

Elgar original reference

Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan

This timely and significant book seeks to explain the deep-seated complexities of terrorism and insurgency in Southeast Asia. In the aftermath of 9/11, this region has been designated by the United States to be the ‘second front’ in the war on terrorism. Yet despite the emergence of this ‘new’ global terrorism, the authors argue that armed rebellion in Southeast Asia is a phenomenon that predates Al Qaeda and the global Jihadist movement and that much can be learned from the motivations behind it.

Chapter 13: The Malay-Muslim Insurgency in Southern Thailand

Thitinan Pongsudhirak

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, development studies, asian development, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, politics and public policy, terrorism and security


Thitinan Pongsudhirak Introduction: conceptualizing the problem The resurgence of separatist violence that flared up in Thailand’s predominantly Muslim southernmost border provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat from 4 January 2004 has spawned a cottage industry of academic analyses.1 While the intensifying spate of violence has been vivid and well publicized, its nature, dynamics, direction and near-term ramifications have remained remarkably murky. Although a growing number of studies, including a handful of book-length expositions,2 have stimulated debate about the causes and consequences of the violence, few have been widely accepted. Two primary accounts by the International Crisis Group, which drew heavily on substantiated first-hand accounts in the field, arguably have been the most persuasive and resonant among the mushrooming research community interested in Southern Thailand.3 Other studies have been seen by some as excessively focused on domestic political factors,4 and by others as overly skewed towards regional and international linkages to the violence.5 On the other hand, a number of studies have usefully tried to tease out both the domestic and international dimensions of the violence.6 This short chapter is intended to contextualize the prolonged and protracted violence in southern Thailand. It is not a definitive account but a modest attempt to provide a brief backdrop for those who are relatively uninitiated. The insurgent violence whose aims range from greater administrative autonomy to outright separatism in Southern Thailand against the Thai state is triangulated between historiography, domestic politics and external involvement, with considerable overlap. An understanding of...

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