Thailand's south under extremist pressure - December 2, 2003
Assessment of the security situation in the south from the American
Foreign Policy Council (dated October 1 ,2003): The Thai
government is under increasing pressure to deal with Muslim extremists,
especially members of the al Qaeda-related Jemaah Islamiah (JI)
network, who use southern Thailand as a safe haven, reports Anthony
Davis in Jane's Intelligence Review. However, the Thai government
fears a popular backlash in the Muslim-dominated area, which is
closer to the Malaysian border than Bangkok, and where government
control is weak and criminality is historically rampant.
Thai authorities gained international acclaim for their August
2003 arrest of JI terror mastermind Hambali. The arrest was made
in the non-Muslim town of Ayutthya, north of Bangkok. Thailand's
Muslim population, who are predominantly ethnic Malays, are concentrated
in the south, comprising 10 percent of Thailand's 61 million population.
Many Muslims see their community as a target of discrimination
by Thailand's majority Buddhist population [which includes most
police], and fear that they will become a target of convenience
in the U.S.-led war on terrorism. A growing number of Thai Muslims
have adopted the strictly orthodox Salafi teaching and Wahhabi
doctrines imported from the Middle East.
- The little people are corrupt
- Helping the rice farmers
- Thailand caught in the middle
- Help out or win out?
- While keeping a votive tablet in the mouth
- Words won’t stop the attack
- Profiting from being military
- Knives out for Sudarat
- We will straighten this out
- Suriya chemical is the most dangerous
- The chicken farmer and the monkey