This seminar will trace the development of the conflict in Southern Thailand, from its roots in the Muslim ethno-nationalist struggle of the 1970s to the new generation of non-elitist traditional leaders who are looking at Islam as the main rationale for resistance against the Thai Buddhist state. The shift from an earlier anti-colonial, anti-Buddhist struggle to the liberation of the Islamic land of Pattani from the infidel echoes global movements of Islamic liberation. Nonetheless, the subsequent ethnicisation of religion and the appeal of jihadist ideology have to be analysed against the backdrop of complex conjunctural factors such as misguided policies on the part of the Thai government and the rise of transnational terrorist networks. The seminar will put the South Thailand conflict into historical perspective, analysing the contemporary trends in the upsurge of and motivations for violence.
About the Speakers:
Srisompob Jitpiromsri is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Northern Illinois University 1997. His publications include: The study about Roles of the Fisherfolk Community in the Local Governance: A Model for Management of Coastal Resources and Policy Implementation in Pattani Bay (King Prajhadhipok Institute, 2002); National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Status of Drug and Substance Uses: the South (Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and Thailand’s Academic Networks for Substance Abuse Research 2004); “Illicit substance supply and abuse in 2000–2004: an approach to assess the outcome of the war on drug operation,” Drug and Alcohol Review; and “Unpacking Thailand’s southern conflict: The poverty of structural explanations,” Critical Asian Studies (2006); “A ministry for the south: new Governance Proposals for Thailand’s Southern region” (with D. McCargo); and “The southern Thai conflict six years on: insurgency, not just crime,” (with D. McCargo), Contemporary Southeast Asia (2010). The latter were based on studies of local governance and special administration in conflict zones undertaken in 2008. Dr. Srisompob is currently engaged in further research on violence in Deep South Thailand and is the director of Deep South Watch (DSW), a watchdog organization monitoring the conflict in Southern Thailand. He is also the director of the Centre for Conflict Studies and Cultural Diversity (CSCD), a research center of excellence in the Social Sciences, based at Prince of Songkla University.
Ernesto H. Braam is a diplomat and scholar who has lived and worked in Europe, the Middle East, East and Southeast Asia. After studying international law and attaining his Master’s degree with a thesis on the Geneva conventions and the Palestinian territories, he began his career with the Dutch Foreign Service just before the first Gulf War. After 11 years of diplomatic postings in the Far East (Singapore, Japan, Thailand), plus some intermittent postings at HQ in The Hague, Mr Braam returned to the Middle East in 2009 as Chargé d’Affairs of the Dutch embassy in Baghdad. In 2010, he was posted to The Hague to take up a position as Strategic Policy Advisor at the North Africa and Middle East Department. Since July 2015, he has started with a new assignment at the Dutch embassy in Singapore as a Regional Strategic Advisor for Southeast Asia. In addition to, and sometimes interwoven with his diplomatic work, he has conducted academic research on Islamic movements, particularly Salafism (in Southeast Asia and Middle East) and Shi’ism. He has published on both topics in peer-reviewed publications and is currently pursuing a related PhD.