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On-line bestseller. Now in its 2nd Edition.

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Peace talks between the Thai government and Patani nationalists led by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Patani (BRN) drags on with no breakthrough in sight. The fundamental disconnect impacting the peace process is the Dichotomy of Context between the two sides. The Thai government views the dialogue process as a way to rein in and disarm wayward “Thai Muslim Separatists” and to persuade the Patani Malay populace to accept Thai rule albeit with some administrative and cultural concessions. On the other hand, Patani nationalists regard the process as a step towards self-determination in their own land with the ultimate objective of regaining independence and the re-establishment of a Malay Muslim nation state.

After the initial rounds of dialogue coordinated and hosted by Malaysia, the Patani nationalists have hardened their stance, with a series of demands set as preconditions for further talks. These include Thailand’s recognition of the distinct identity, race and language of the Patani Malays; withdrawal of Thai troops from the restive region; peacekeeping duties to be conducted by local security forces; and amnesty for insurgents.


Additional conditions announced in early September 2013 include explicit Thai recognition of the BRN as liberators and not separatists; Malaysia's role to be upgraded from facilitator to mediator; presence of observers from ASEAN, the OIC and relevant NGOs during the dialogue process; a special administrative platform be set up under the Thai constitution; and the unconditional release of all detained suspects or imprisoned insurgents. BRN also sought guarantees for the Patani Malays’ freedom to practice Islam, seek education, conduct business, as well as to remain free from harassment.


Would the Thai state accede to these demands? Would even a partial concession be possible? Is there sufficient political will in Bangkok? What about the influential Thai military? Would Thailand gain from a softer negotiating posture? Could it afford further violence and bloodshed in its soft underbelly? Would these concessions bring peace and a semblance of normalcy to the Patani Region? Could the civilian government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra push the dialogue process to the next level? Who actually decides for Thailand? What more must be done? What is the end game?


Get the book to find out.




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Patani: Behind The Accidental Border
2nd Edition. The Search for Elusive Peace



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The insurgency in Thailand’s southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla, collectively defined as the Patani Region, is the most misunderstood conflict in the world today. In relative terms, the toll on human lives over the past half decade is surpassed only by the Iraqi and Afghan conflicts. But unlike those well-reported hotspots, very little is known about the Patani insurgency – its root causes; the identity and objectives of the main players; the historical context; the role and legitimacy of the Thai state; the sentiment of the populace – and this multifaceted ignorance sustains the ongoing socio-political tragedy. The insurgency has been vividly painted by many as a religious conflict perpetrated by misguided “Thai Muslims,” effectively calibrating all discourses towards a Pan-Islamist terrorism agenda.


This is further embellished by tales of economic backwardness due to lack of educational and vocational opportunities. The combination of religious zealotry and abject poverty are supposed to be the main catalysts of the insurgency and this narrative has largely shaped world perception, with policy initiatives geared towards economic development, scholastic reforms and inculcation of “moderate” Islamic teachings among the Patani people. These programmes come and go but the insurgency rages on with heightened intensity and brutality in a region also known cryptically as the Thai Deep South. Why is this the case? Who are the real stakeholders? What would be the end game? And could we resolve this conflict without a firm understanding of its root causes?


Together we shall seek the answers. This book will provide a definitive analysis of the insurgency in a region that was a prominent Malay Sultanate for a half-millennium but now tethered precariously to the southern underbelly of the Thai nation. Necessary attention will be given to its historical dimension and current regional geopolitical context and realities. This may dilute the conventional narrative meticulously crafted by others, and the revelations may be unpalatable to some. But without the historical truth and a firm grasp of the real issues, a just, meaningful and permanent solution could never be conceived. The detailed processes and methodologies of the Pattani Peace Initiative presented in this book would hopefully form the building blocks for sustainable peace, justice and reconciliation for the Patani Region.




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Date and Time in Patani Darussalam

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

FAQ on the Patani Issue: Part 1

Ø What exactly is Pattani or Patani?

o “Pattani” is a modern-day province of Thailand. It is one of four provinces in southernmost Thailand with Malay majority populations. The others are Narathiwat (Menara), Yala (Jala), Satun (Setul) plus four districts in Songkhla (Singgora).

o “Patani” (with one “t”) was a Malay Muslim Sultanate that was annexed by Siam in 1902. Patani encompassed the present-day provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala and four districts in Songkhla.

o The present-day Thai-held provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala and parts of Songkhla are referred as the Patani Region. With Satun they constitute the Malay Muslim belt currently administered by Thailand.

o This Malay Muslim belt encompasses 16,500 sq km and a resident population of almost three million, of which ethnic-Malays make up about 80%.


Ø What is going on in the Thai Deep South?

o An ongoing struggle for emancipation by the people of a nation invaded and held captive by a colonising adjacent state.

o The actions of the colonising state to steadfastly cling to a colonised land no matter at what cost to the captive populace or to world opinion.


Ø When did Patani became part of Thailand?

o The Malay Sultanate of Patani was annexed by Siam in 1902 when its last Sultan, Tengku Abdul Kadir Kamaruddin, was abducted by Siamese forces, forcibly shipped to Bangkok at gunpoint and held captive in Phitsanulok prison.

o Siam’s occupation of Patani was sanctioned by the British government upon the signing of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty in 1909, although this captive state was not specifically mentioned in the Treaty. Addendums to the Treaty reaffirmed Britain’s special interest in the occupied Malay lands up to Bang Tapan near the Isthmus of Kra.

o The Patani populace were neither consulted nor participated in the Treaty deliberations.


Ø Why didn’t the seven principalities of the Sultanate of Patani as well as adjacent Malay-populated states occupied by Siam (Setul, Singgora, Ligor, Trang and Bedalung) be systematically detached from Siam and amalgamated with the Malay states of British Malaya?

o Britain’s plans to incorporate these northern Malay states within British Malaya were scuttled by the advent of the First World War, which diverted British attention to other theatres of conflict. The Second World War and subsequent American-induced decolonisation of Southeast Asia effectively pre-empted any British solution to the plight of the captive Malay states.


Ø Are the Thai Muslims of the south different from other Thais?

o They are not “Thai Muslims.” The Patani populace are ethnic Malays, with close linguistic and cultural affinities with the ethnic Malays of Malaysia’s Kelantan state. They profess the Islamic religion.

o The Patani Malays have their own language, culture, history and identity and are not part of the “Thai” social milieu centered on the ethnic-T’ais of the Central Chao Phraya basin.



 
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