Explaining intervention in Southeast Asia a comparison of the Muslim insurgencies in Thailand and the Philippines
Walgren, Scott A.
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This thesis explores the theories of international intervention into ethnic conflict. The two case studies utilized to evaluate the interventionist literature are the Islamic separatist movements of Thailand and the Philippines. Both insurgencies are characterized by domestic attempts at secularization, marginalization, forced assimilation, and repression, causing ethno-religious minorities to violently attempt to separate from the state. While insurgencies are nothing new to Southeast Asia, the conflicts in the Philippines and Thailand were redefined by the War on Terror. Both countries became peripheral symbols of the broader international effort against militant Islamism. As a result, external actors took a vested interest in the evolution of each conflict. Strangely, the international or regional actors with parallel interests in each conflict have adopted divergent approaches in their involvement with activities in the two countries. The United States, Malaysia, and Al Qaeda seem to have equally vested interests in each conflict, and yet the extensive intervention in the Philippines is offset by a lack of intervention in Thailand. In the end, this comparison will offer insights into how domestic and international interests affect intervention, and the resulting implications for regional stability in Southeast Asia.
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