Southern Thailand’s Insurgency Turns Jihadist – irrawaddy.org, January 22, 2013
…The insurgency is now primarily a rebellion legitimized by Islam. Further complicating the nature of the rebellion are deep links to local criminal gangs, especially those centered on drug and people trafficking. Conflict in the Deep South is an extremely profitable business.
Since 2001 and the New York terror attacks, academics and specialists have probed the insurgency in southern Thailand for links to global Islamic terrorism. Nothing has been proven and the accepted wisdom is that there are no links. This view is generally accurate. There has been no grand bargain between local militants and global Islam, although the view does ignore important regional links to Islamic supporters in Malaysia and Indonesia.
However, creeping Islamization is changing the nature of this previously low-level conflict. Eventually, and regardless of the input of global Islam, the current escalation of the conflict is likely to lead to a widening of acceptable targets…