Gerard _ MCdermott_report_forgotten conflict_southern Thailand July 2012.PDF

Introduction

Driving to Pattani from Hat Yai is much like any other journey in the south of Thailand; an ocean view lined with palm trees, rubber plantations, small towns lined with yellow flags, and large portraits of the King placed outside of municipal buildings. Yet what makes the districts of Thepha and Nong Chik different from other coastal districts in Thailand are the military roadblocks that are encountered along the route and the large numbers of military and paramilitary personnel that can be seen along the roadside as one approaches Pattani town. The idyllic coastal landscape, the small crowds gathered outside of tea-shops in the early mornings, the chaotic driving of local motorcyclists and the wandering goats are a temporary distraction from the fact that this peripheral region has been the stage for a brutal cycle of violence between state (and state-sponsored) forces and a mysterious insurgent movement since 2004. The movement’s aims, structure and membership are cloaked in secrecy. Barely any statements have been made to the press and any such statements by supposed representatives of the movement are treated as dubious by both authorities and analysts alike.>>>>>