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Abuza Updates on the Thailand Insurgency

The Counterterrorism Blog's Zachary Abuza has an excelent quick Update on the Insurgency in Southern Thailand.

By April 2006, as the commander of Thailand’s 4th Army, Lt-Gen Ongkorn, was asserting that “The situation in the three southern border provinces should improve since the militant network has been weakened by the arrest of its top members,” the insurgency was spiking back to the levels reached in May-July 2005. To date, more than 1,200 people have been killed, and several thousands more have been wounded.

In reality there has been little progress in Thailand’s own counter-insurgent operations. Police assert that they have now detained 123 individual and have concrete evidence that at least 105 of the 123 are linked to the insurgency, yet few have been in leadership positions. Their intelligence is still weak, coordination of the 80,000 government personnel from at least a dozen offices and agencies is spasmodic, and several heavy-handed counter-insurgent policies have backfired. By most estimates there are some 1,000 insurgents, 247 “red zones,” or villages controlled by insurgents, and the government still has only a rudimentary understanding of the organizations infrastructure involved.

He reports more detail, so be sure to read. While the Thai government touts some successes, he reports that the Muslim insurgents have been adapting well to the defensive security environment Thailand is attempting to create, noting there is little cause to share the official Thai optimism.