Thailand at War in the South
With more than 5,000 lives lost in just 8 years the turmoil in Thailand’s Southern regions appears to be escalating with no end in sight.
The latest incident on Saturday 28th July 2012 saw the killing of four Thai soldiers in a drive by murder in the Pattani Province. This particular incident was captured by a security camera and shows the brazen attitude of the insurgents, it’s disturbing and it’s real.
Incidents such as this happen almost daily. Residents of the affected areas live in daily fear with random attacks on innocent people at shopping malls. Targeted attacks on teachers have also been carried out in local schools to the extent that there is now a massive shortage of teachers in the schools and those that remain have soldiers protecting them in some of the worst affected areas.
Successive Thai governments have failed to address the issue seriously enough to make a difference and instead believe that by the imposition of a state of emergency the violence can be contained. Unfortunately the state of emergency gives the Thai Military an almost immune status that allows them to carry out their own atrocities on the insurgents so fueling the unrest.
It’s akin to the early years of the conflict in Northern Ireland that soon of course spread to mainland UK and lead to increased bloodshed for years to come. Only after international help through mediation and negotiation did the conflict actually come to an end.
The Thai government should take heed; this conflict is not going to end unless serious actions are taken by all parties through dialogue and tough decisions. So with the absence of this what’s the outlook? It can only be escalation of the conflict and the very real possibility of it breaking out of its contained area’s and spreading to the tourist spots of Thailand, the nearest being Phuket. After all Phuket is only 564 km away, a nine hour drive on Thailand’s roads, how long is it going to be before a group of these insurgents decide that their tactics will now also target this holiday Island and the tourists that flock there.
Our fear is that this seems to be the only way for them to actually give their cause the international attention that is completely lacking at the present and that the day this happens may be sooner rather than later. What is certain is that if this does happen then their goal of international attention would have been fulfilled but Thailand’s massive tourist industry will be finished!
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