Joshua Kurlantzick writes:
In Tearing Apart the Land, Duncan McCargo gives a thorough explanation of why unrest began in southern Thailand, and why it has spread. The southern provinces essentially formed an independent state until the turn of the 20th century, and have chafed at Bangkok’s rule ever since. In the 1960s and 1970s, separatists launched a spate of violent attacks, but by the 1980s and 1990s Bangkok seemed largely to have pacified the region, by directing more state money there and responding better to southerners’ complaints.
Prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra reversed much of this. He dissolved the longstanding local council charged with dealing with these complaints, and increased the presence of the security forces, while a generation of southerners fell under the sway of militant leaders and took up the separatist cause. In 2001, several policemen were shot dead, apparently by snipers. The insurgency grew rapidly. According to McCargo, ‘the security policies of the Thai state in the south were a lamentable catalogue of criminal blunders, negligence, incompetence, lack of co-ordination and sheer misdirection … The militant movement consistently gained the upper hand in the southern border provinces, placing the Thai security forces firmly on the defensive.’
(LRB 25 March 2010)
Cornell University Press | Paperback
232 pp. |ISBN: