ISSN 1226-8240
Vol Vol.20 No.1 2019
Page 25 - 52
Title The Tragedy of Conflict Irresolution: Peace Dialogue in Southernmost Thailand under Military Rule
Author Matthew Wheeler and Paul Chambers
Abstract This study examines the continuing failure of conflict resolution efforts in the case of Thailandí»s Deep South or í░Patani.í▒ The introduction of an official peace-dialogue process in February 2013 raised hopes that the insurgency in southernmost Thailand might move toward a peaceful resolution. But under two different Thai governments, dialogue between Bangkok and Malay-Muslim militants has foundered. Factors inhibiting successful confidence-building and negotiations include the militants' disunity and parochialism and the Thai juntaí»s reluctance to countenance international mediation or devolution of political power. Following Lederach (1997), the study at hand contends that where efforts at conflict resolution occur only at the elite level with no corresponding efforts at the middle and grassroots level, then dialogue is liable to fail, become one-sided or simply lapse into a public relations stunt. Moreover, drawing on interviews with officials and militants, it argues that the structure of the process, including the role of Malaysia as facilitator, must be adjusted for talks to progress. The study also examines political will as a determining factor; although capacity constraints and technical problems pose challenges to a fruitful peace dialogue, they are a less immediate obstacle than the conflict partiesí» lack of determination to negotiate a settlement.
Key Words Dialogue, Peace, South, MARA Patani, BRN
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