Thailand: Terror Turns Into Civil War


September 1, 2013: Violence in the south has killed about 5,000 people and wounded nearly twice as many in the last nine years. The peace talks, which began on March 28th, have split the Moslem separatists in the south. Because of this there are now more attacks against pro-peace Islamic leaders. This is bad news for the criminal gangs that have supported the Islamic radical groups because the continued heavy police activity in the south is bad for business if you are a smuggler (the primary source of income for the Moslem gangs). The army makes no secret of its refusal to consider withdrawing troops from the south, which several Islamic terror groups are demanding as a precondition for more negotiations. Peace talks may not end the Islamic terrorism in the south, but infighting among the terrorists and continued military pressure certainly might. Separatist movements in the region have collapsed like this before and looks like, once more, history is repeating itself. There are more terrorist attacks on Moslems, especially Moslem leaders and Moslem government workers. This is meant to intimidate local Moslems into cooperating with the terrorists, and in some cases that is what happens. But more frequently it turns more Moslems against the terrorists. What began as a separatist rebellion against the Thai government has evolved into a civil war within the southern Moslem community. While some (less than ten percent) of the “terrorist” killings may be Buddhists taking unofficial (unauthorized and illegal) revenge, the majority are Moslems killing Moslems.

August 30, 2013: Police arrested a local man (Wuthikorn Naruenartwanic or “Willie”) living in the capital and held him on Indian gunrunning charges. India says it has evidence that Naruenartwanic has been procuring rifles, pistols, and ammo in Thailand and smuggling them into northeast India for tribal rebels there. Naruenartwanic will now have to fight extradition to India, where he faces life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted of criminal conspiracy to wage a war against the Indian government (by supplying rebels with weapons).  

August 24, 2013: In the south eight Islamic terrorists disguised as police opened fire on a tea shop where local officials were meeting and killed three of them. The victims were Moslems who had cooperated with counter-terrorism operations.

August 22, 2013: Two Iranians were sentenced to long prison terms (one got life and the other 15 years) for engaging in terrorist acts. In February 2012, a house in the capital exploded after the three Iranians inside attempted to throw a bomb (built for a terror attack against Israelis) at police. It went off inside the house, badly wounding one of the three Iranians. Two of them were captured and are now going to prison for a long time. The third made it out of the country and is still wanted. The three men had rented the house for several months and the Iranian government would not admit any guilt. The trial revealed much evidence that Iran was very involved.

August 20, 2013: In the south twelve schools were shut down for a week to protest the murder of one of their teachers (a Moslem) by Islamic terrorists.

August 19, 2013: In the south 87 Burmese illegal migrants (Rohingya Moslems) escaped from a detention center near the Malaysia border. The other fifty Burmese in the detention center did not leave. The next day police arrested two of the escapees and the search for others continues. The government refuses (despite growing international pressure) to accept illegal Rohingya migrants as refugees. At the start of 2013, the government ordered Rohingya to be blocked from entering the country. Despite that, Rohingya manage to get into Thailand and many get caught. During the last few years Thailand was more receptive of these Burmese Moslem refugees. But there was another outbreak of violence between Rohingya and Burmese in mid-2012 that caused many more Rohingya to flee. Some 13,000 Rohingya fled Burma last year, up from 7,000 in 2011. Thailand is a favorite destination for refugees because of the booming economy. The Thais know this and deport any economic refugees they catch to keep the unemployment rate for Thai citizens low. While the business community likes the illegals for their willingness to work harder for less pay, most Thais oppose illegals for the same reason. The Rohingya have long been a special problem in both Burma and Thailand. A major problem in Burma is that the government does not recognize the Rohingya as Burmese. In part this was because the Rohingya lived on the Burmese/Bangladesh border and were considered invaders from Bangladesh and partly because the Burmese are largely Buddhist and have had problems with Moslems (who tend to be a lot more intolerant and aggressive when it comes to religion). Moreover, while most Burmese have an East Asian appearance, the Rohingya look like Indians. Criminal gangs in the area are selling places on boats that attempt to sneak into Thai waters, where the Rohingya could claim asylum. But in the first few months of 2013 Thailand arrested over 4,000 Rohingya refugees and confined them in guarded camps and jails until the refugees agreed to go back to Burma.

August 18, 2013: Acting on a tip police in the capital found a million doses of illegal methamphetamine hidden in a truck. Each of these pill size doses sells for about six dollars. Police estimate that about 1.4 billion doses of illegal methamphetamines are manufactured each year in the region, mostly in northern tribal areas of Burma. Most of the stuff is exported.

August 16, 2013: In the south Islamic terrorists ambushed a police vehicle and killed four policemen.

August 13, 2013: In the south police were investigating the scene of a failed ambush when a bomb went off. This killed one policeman and wounded nine other people nearby. 




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close