In the south the Islamic terror groups continue to shift tactics. Attacks are increasingly directed at security forces or pro-government Moslems. Attacks that might injure neutral or pro-terrorist Moslems are avoided. The Islamic radical groups have apparently agreed to work with the existing separatist groups (which have been largely moribund for decades, with their leaders living in exile across the border in Malaysia) to obtain independence or more autonomy from Thailand (which is over 95 percent ethnic Thai and Buddhist). The government sees this shift as driven by falling support for the Islamic terror groups in the south and declining morale among the terrorists. The military point to the recent surrender of over a hundred Islamic radicals, including some wanted leaders.
September 11, 2012: The government extended the emergency law for the southern three provinces for three more months (September 20th to December 19th).
September 10, 2012: The government says that it has uncovered the names of the leaders of the separatist movement in the south, both those living in the south and those in exile. The government is using this information to organize peace talks. Malaysia has agreed to help Thailand organize peace talks. The separatist leaders in the three southern provinces have always tried to remain anonymous to the government, to avoid arrest or persecution.
September 9, 2012: In the south soldiers encountered Islamic terrorists in a village (known as a terrorist hideout) and after a brief gun battle, one terrorist was killed and three arrested.
Elsewhere in the south a nine year old boy triggered a bomb on a road but survived.
August 31, 2012: Islamic terrorists made a major, and unusual, effort today, staging over a hundred incidents. But most were non-violent (like burning Thai flags, or waving Malaysian ones). This was all to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Bersatu separatist movement (which advocates an independent Moslem state in the south) and the 1989 establishment of a joint separatist council to coordinate the efforts of four different separatist groups. Waving the Malaysian flag celebrated Moslem Malaysia's National Day, which also occurs on August 31. While many bombs were planted, most were found and dismantled. One went off and injured six soldiers. Today's events show that the Islamic groups have backed off from their efforts to dominate the less violent separatist groups. The Islamic terror tactics have angered many Moslems in the south.
August 30, 2012: In the south Islamic terrorists killed and beheaded a Moslem man who supported the government.
August 26, 2012: The air force has ordered four Eurocopter EC725 helicopters for SAR (search and rescue) duties.
August 25, 2012: The government ordered 1,500 more border police sent to the three Moslem provinces in the south to put more pressure on the smuggling gangs. Criminal gangs, whose main business is smuggling drugs and other contraband from Malaysia, have long dominated the area. The gangs agreed to support the Islamic terrorists, since both groups had something to gain by trying to weaken law and order in the area. While the gangs made it more difficult to improve the economy, they were more tolerable than the Islamic terrorists. The continuing violence in the Moslem south has led to 5,000 dead and 8,000 wounded in the last eight years. But it has also led to over 200,000 people leaving the area. Most of those fleeing have been Moslem. About 30 percent of the Buddhists in the south (who were 20 percent of the population in 2004) have fled and ten percent of the Moslems. All this has become too much for most Moslems. The Islamic terrorists wanted to expel all non-Moslems, shut down secular schools, and didn't care if they made it difficult to improve the economy. This was too much for most of the Moslems the Islamic terrorists were supposed to be representing. Those that don't flee are increasingly joining pro-government armed defense groups. The gangs and Islamic terror groups long refused to negotiate or quit, making it a fight to the death. The gangs will probably turn on their Islamic radical allies eventually, as the criminal organizations are not run by religious fanatics but business-minded entrepreneurs who are not keen on getting wiped out. Then again, the gangsters believe that the Islamic radicals will have to be killed otherwise the southern gangsters will have some pretty deadly and determined enemies in their own backyard.
August 24, 2012: Senior generals are now accused of trying to intimidate officials assigned to investigate army misbehavior during the military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in 2010.
August 20, 2012: In the south three village defense volunteers were killed by Islamic terrorists.