Southern Thai Insurgency and the Prospect for International Terrorist Group Involvement
Brannon, III, Bradford M.
Malley, Michael S.
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This thesis explores the cause of the southern Thailand insurgency and the possibility that international terrorist groups have become involved in it. The insurgency began as an ethnic struggle by Malay Muslims for independence from predominantly Buddhist Thailand. But with the advent of the global war on terrorism, some scholars believe it has become an increasingly religious one. They fear that if the insurgency has become Islamist, it will attract support from international terrorist groups, which will bring funds, training, and ideology to the already violent conflict. This thesis investigates these possibilities. It finds that Islam has grown in importance, but the struggle remains driven primarily by ethnic separatist, not religious, aims. Since it remains ethnic in nature, international terrorists have not taken a significant role in the movement. The ideological gap between them and the insurgents remains too wide. Nevertheless, it is worth monitoring the situation as the danger of international terrorists becoming involved exists if the insurgency becomes a religious struggle.
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