Not long after the September 19 coup I blogged about whether it could possibly bring an end to the violent conflict in Thailand's deep south. Well, there seems to have been little change in the terrible state of affairs.
An article in the Asia Times reports,
If Thailand's new military-appointed interim government is suing for peace with the Malay Muslim insurgent groups ravaging the country's three southernmost provinces, nobody apparently told the rebels.
One month since military coup-makers ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and vowed to reconcile Bangkok with the historically restive region, the security situation has only gone from bad to worse.
The article also uncovers some more of the complicated nature of the conflict. The Malaysians have recently been involved in peace negotiations. However, apparently former Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad's motives may have been less than noble.
Mahathir's efforts were not endorsed by Kuala Lumpur and were apparently arranged more with a view to upstage his successor Abdullah than to establish a legitimate peace process, according to people familiar with the situation.
And still nobody really knows who is behind the violence.
Nearly three years into the renewed conflict, Thai officials still do not have a clear idea concerning who exactly they should be negotiating with to stop the violence. Thailand's shadowy insurgency notably lacks any charismatic leaders and is being perpetuated by a number of different autonomous rebel groups, some of which share divergent outlooks and competitive objectives for the resistance.
It seems there will be no quick or easy solutions to end the violence. It may indeed get worse. I wish I could say something more positive or offer some hope for peace, but there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel at the moment.