Bangkok’s Insurgency Blunder

Bangkok’s Insurgency Blunder –, April 24, 2012
…Ms. Yingluck’s single biggest mistake may be her apparent decision to assign her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, to negotiate with the insurgents. Although Mr. Thaksin has repeatedly denied that he is involved in the peace process—describing himself as “just an unemployed man”—local media have credibly reported otherwise. Thailand’s The Nation reported that exiled Malay Muslim leaders from Thailand recently met with Mr. Thaksin in Malaysia. In the past year, Mr. Thaksin also has made numerous visits to Malaysia, meeting with both Prime Minister Najib Razak and former premier Mahathir Muhammad. If those reports are accurate, Mr. Thaksin’s involvement could go a long way toward explaining why Ms. Yingluck’s strategy is failing. Mr. Thaksin’s tenure in office from 2001 to 2006 witnessed an aggravation of the southern conflict as a result of his hard-nosed policy toward Malay Muslims. He is also an odd choice as a liaison with Kuala Lumpur, having once accused Malaysia of providing shelter to Muslim terrorists. His hostile policy created a deep friction in Thai-Malaysian relations. Mr. Thaksin reportedly is trying to mend these fences now. At his meeting with Malay Muslims, he is said to have apologized for his earlier harsh measures. Before leaving, he gave each exiled leader a hug…

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