What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thailand's insurgency...

Here's something I was glad to read at the Counterterrorism Blog, dropping by there today. Since I have absolutely no chance to write something state failure-related myself this time, here's an excerpt of what you can read over at CT-blog. A brief but comprehensive overview of the insurgency in Thailand (Southern discomfort: Thailand's insurgency enters year five) - the insurgency in Thailand is one I don't know that much of, so of course I'd be glad to have insightful comments if you have some.
" Analysts have often noted that no group has publicly claimed responsibility or stated their position or goals. They do, but in a very primitive manner: leaflets. The leaflets fall into several broad categories: threats to the Buddhist community, often to leave the region - either collective or individual; “Beware of harm” documents addressed to the Muslim community, outlining what they have to do to not get killed or in trouble with the militants; directives to village headmen; reportage of facts that reveal violence towards the Muslim community by security forces that go un-reported in the Buddhist-centric national media; and editorial cartoons. These leaflets routinely state their goal of establishing an independent Islamic state (Pattani Darulislam), their vehemently sectarian agenda, and their desire to establish Islamic institutions. But few bother to collect or analyze these leaflets, and few Thai officials take them seriously.
While analysts such as Peter Chalk, have noted that the insurgents have failed to get a broader base of support from the local population, such analysis ignores two key points. Of course they haven’t tried to win a broader base of support from the local community. They are Islamist militants, who seek to cleanse their community of shirk, bida, and murtad leaders who hold back the implementation of the sharia. Only then will the Muslim community be strong enough to take on the Thai state. To date over 55 percent of their victims have been fellow Muslims. They are more Islamist than their constituency and are systematically eliminating political rivals or moderates who seek accommodation with the Thai state. At the same time, they seek to destroy secular institutions and force people, often at great inconvenience, into parallel social networks that they control. They are not Maoist insurgents trying to establish a broad united front.
Second, despite the fact that the insurgents do not have mass support, neither does the Thai state. Their abusive policies, mass arrests, reliance on death squads, overt protection of Buddhists but not Muslims and overall failure to prevent the violence, has alienated the local population. They get little meaningful support from the local Muslim community that identifies itself first and foremost as Malays or Muslims than they do Thai. People in the south have little trust or faith in the Thai state. "
Go read all of this post by Zachary Abuza. My first ideas are that the neo-Taliban and the Islamists of Thailand may not be that terribly different, although the former are much stronger of course. My second ideas are that they are of course quite different. Hm. I've probably just committed myself to do some comparative analysis in the future. Anyway, today's not the day.

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