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  CHE MOHD AZIZ Yaacob Universiti Utara Malaysia AGGRESSIVE CONFLICT IN SOUTHERN THAILAND: ROOTS OF HOSTILITY AND AGGRESSION Violent conict occurred in Southern Thailand in the year 2004. Since then, there has continued to be a spiral of violence without any  sign of abatement. Events such as shooting, ambushing, bombing, arson, kidnapping and threatening letters constantly threaten the local inhabitants and exacerbate tensions between the Patani United  Liberation Movement and the Thai government. Despite a pro-active effort by the Thai government and civil interest groups in searching for  solutions, there has been no sign of a resolution. Therefore, this paper aims to contribute to this dialogue by exploring the roots of the conict  from the perspective of the ordinary people involved; especially those  supporters of the Patani United Liberation Movement. Discussion will focus on the role of violence during the conict and will also consider suggestions as to a resolution based on non-violent methods using an approach known as conict transformation within peace and conict psychology. Keywords:   Conict in Southern Thailand, Patani Liberation Movement, violence and aggression, and potential solutions. Introduction The Patani Conicts, better known as the Southern Thailand Conicts, re-emerged on January 4, 2004 when a military camp in Narathiwat province was attacked and robbed by an unknown group. In the attack, four military  personnel were killed and 366 weapons were stolen (Yaacob 2009:16). Starting from this event, Patani was shaken again by several terrorist attacks including  bombings, shootings, burning of schools, beheadings and kidnappings. The situation worsened as casualties and destruction of property were reported almost every day. According to the statistics released by the Centre for Conict Studies and Cultural Diversity (CSCD), Prince of Songkhla University, 11,074 incidents have occurred in seven years (January 2004 to August 2011), leading to 4,846 deaths and 7,995 injured. From these casualties, 2,856 (58.9%) were reported to be Muslims and 1,857 (38.3%) Buddhists. Among the injured, 4,854 (60.7%) were Buddhists and 2,616 (32.7%) were Muslims (Jitpiromsri 2011). The Thai government has been sending more than 60,000 members of the security forces, including the army, rangers, police and volunteers since 2007 to maintain public safety and control the rebel movement (Statistics Jebat: Malaysian Journal of History, Politics & Strategic Studies, Vol. 40 (2) (December 2013): 24-43@ School of History, Politics & Strategy, UKM; ISSN 2180-0251 (electronic), 0126-5644 (paper)  Jebat   Volume 40 (2) (December 2013) Page | 24  Aggressive Conict in Southern Thailand: Roots of Hostility and Aggression from Deep South Watch 2009). However, the conict has not been overcome and the terrorist attacks still occur and the number of deaths among civilians and security forces continues to increase. Although the security forces were sent with systematic strategies to control the Patani Liberation Movement Association (PLMA) 1  and nd a solution to the conict in Patani, there seems to be no progress to a permanent solution. These failures could be due to two core factors. First, the corrupt intention of the security forces who want to continue manipulating this conict in order to get the funding and budget from Bangkok for their personal gain. They behave in a nonchalant manner and sometimes their activities lead to conict. 2  Second, the shifting in approaches and strategies of the PLMA make it difcult for the security forces to track them down and arrest them.Therefore, this article discusses the issues of why PLMA has resurrected its struggles after the silence in the 1980’s, and why they have chosen to continue the struggle. Furthermore, the article discusses why they are continuing with the hybrid policy of peace negotiations as well as violence. Here I will apply Ted Robert Gurr’s Relative Deprivation theory to understand and analyse the struggle of the PLMA. Therefore, this paper discusses the causes and changes in PLMA’s struggle and tries to apply an appropriate approach to the peace process in Patani. Background of Conict Composition of Population Southern Thailand comprises 14 provinces covering 70.700 square kilometers 3 making up13.3% of the entire territories of Thailand (Makishima 2008). In terms of conict, upheaval occurs only in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla and surrounding areas such as Satun. 4  The third largest of the conict region is inhabited by ethnic Malays who make up 1.8 million of the population, which is equivalent to 80% compared with the Thai-Buddhist  population (McCargo 2007:3). Geographically, these four regions comprise a land area of 13.732 square kilometres and are located at latitude 5’35’ to 6’55’ north. 11  In terms of language, Malay Muslims of Patani (MMP) speak three dialects. The rst group speaks the Patani Malay dialect and uses Jawi or Arabic for writing. The second group comprises those who not only speak Thai but read and write in Thai as well. They consist mostly of the younger generation as a result of the government assimilation of Thailand. The third group of people are those who speak the Patani Malay dialect but do not use the Jawi script to write and read (Mahmood 1990:118).Economically, these regions are fertile and rich in natural resources such as tin, gas and crude oil. However, these three regions are still behind in economic development compared to other regions due to the prolonged political turmoil. Residents of the three territories are still under the poverty line where  Jebat   Volume 40 (2) (December 2013) Page | 25  their per capital income is much lower than people in other provinces across the country. 5   In terms of education, it is compulsory for them to follow the nationaleducation system based on Thai culture and Buddhist religion. MMP children at preschool level are allowed to receive an education based on Malay culture and Islamic religion. However, from primary school level until university, they must follow the curriculum determined by the government of Thailand. To develop the Thai and Malay culture in education, private schools have been established by MMP as religious schools and shelters. The curriculum is based on knowledge of Islam and a little about the Malay culture and language.  Nevertheless, they are required to teach the Thai language and culture as a  prerequisite for approval to establish an educational institution. Culturally, they  practice and adopt Malay culture that is based on the Islamic religion. Most of the cultural arts such as attire, traditional games, entertainment, handicrafts and others are the same as those practiced by the Malays in Malaysia. In terms of culture, they have adopted a Malay culture based on Islam.  History of Conict  The conict began in 1786 when the government successfully conquered the kingdom of Siam Patani Sultanate through a series of wars. The conquest changed the structure of government and the government of Siam used a Divide and Rule policy in Patani. Patani was broken down into seven regions and a puppet ruler was appointed for each of the regions, intended to weaken the power of the Malays. 6  This method was aimed at decentralization of  power, initiated by the Europeans. European power became more apparent when the French succeeded in conquering the Eastern region of the Mekong River in the south (Syukri 2002:81). Similarly, the British government actively dominated from the Northeast of Burma, South China and states in North Malaya to the Kra Isthmus (Pitsuwan 1982:29). Chulalongkorn, the king of Siam formed the Thesaphiban for centralization of power in Patani. In 1897 the Minister of Home Affairs issued the policies of District Administration known as Phraratchabanyat Pakkhrong Thongti. Two years later this act was further reinforced with the introduction of the regulations on administrative region known as Kho Bangkhap Pokkhrong Huamung (Pitsuwan 1982:28). Both these acts were generally intended to break the Patani provinces and the sovereignty of the Malay rulers. This shift led to the resistance of the Malay rulers of the kingdom of Siam as they became aware of their waning powers over Patani. The strife came to a peak in 1902 when Tengku Abdul Kadir, a king in Patani province was arrested and stripped of his position by the Malay rulers in Patani. Similarly, the Malay rulers in other provinces also suffered the same fate. After being arrested, the Malay rulers of Malay in Patani were stripped Article: Che Mohd Aziz Yaacob  Jebat   Volume 40 (2) (December 2013) Page | 26  of their powers . The Malay rulers wanted to triumph again to protect their rights in Patani, which previously was championed by the aristocracy, but later, the struggle included the religious and local leaders. Their resistance involved various strategies including gaining leverage and condence from the British government in Malaya to pressure the government of Siam. Their efforts failed when the British signed the Bangkok Agreement or the Anglo-Siamese Treaty with Siam in 1909 (Pitsuwan 1982:29). This border agreement granted freedom to the kingdom of Siam and left the decision of Patani without British interference. Starting from this point, the Siamese began to inculcate Siamese culture, identity and education into the lives of the MMP. 7  The most  prominent MMP policy that dealt with the question of identity and culture was the Rathaniyom policy introduced by Phibul Songkhram in 1938. According to that policy, only Thai cultural characteristics were allowed to grow in Thailand. 8  MMP had to once again deal with their group of Repressive policies which forced people to abandon their Malay-Muslim identity and adopt a Thai-Buddhist identity. In response to that policy, Haji Sulong bin Abdul Kadir, a famous scholar al-Patani established  Haiah al-Tanziah li al-Ahkam al-Shariyyah , and implemented Board Shariah Law in 1939. This organization was dedicated to creating scholars in Patani and organizing activities that would defend the sanctity of Islam. They establised a seven-point programme to restore peace in Patani (Fathy 1994:80).Haji Sulong began the struggle to free MMP from Thai-Buddhist inuence and assimilation and enlisted the help of the Patani Malays. Tengku Mahmud Mohyideen, a son of Tengku Abdul Kadir Kamaruddin, the last king led the MMP to request the British government to unite Patani with Malaya. MMP’s request was refused by the British because the British were more pro- Siamese. As a result, the British helped Siam by eliminating movements in Malaya, including the Federation Prosecutor Malay Kingdom (GEMPAR) 9 which aimed to help MMP. Tengku Mahmud Mohyideen was instructed not to engage in any activities for the separation of Patani. 10  British aid had weakened the resistance of MMP and allowed the government to threaten the Malay leaders. Many Malay leaders went missing or were murdered secretly, including Haji Sulong and Tengku Mahmud Mohyideen. Consequently, turbulence was controlled by the Kingdom of Siam and subsided with insurgency activities. However, by the end of 1960 and by early 1970, the turbulence re-surfaced . This agitation was led by groups of separatist movements to gain independence as per the aspirations of Malaya in 1957. 11  Most of the leaders of this separatist movement consisted of individuals who had obtained higher education from within and outside the country. They used weapons and violence in their struggle for independence of Patani. Their struggle is still active today, and it is  believed that the incidences of murder and burning of public property are not only acts by the separatist movement but also by the authorities of Thailand.  Jebat   Volume 40 (2) (December 2013) Page | 27Aggressive Conict in Southern Thailand: Roots of Hostility and Aggression
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