Following the forced integration of approximately 1million Malay Muslims into Southern Thailand in 1902, the region has been prone to separatist violence. The Malay population begin saw their ethnic and religious identity slowly vanishing into a predominantly Thai Buddhist culture. In response, organized demonstrations began to form which were peaceful at first and then became violent in the late 1950s. Violence directed against the Thai Government continued into the early 1980s and finally began to abate with the creation of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Center (SBPAC) in 1981. The SBPAC was responsible for increasing communication between the regional military and government and enabling them to develop a shared strategy in combating the insurgency and addressing the grievances of the Muslim Malay population and was ultimately successful in reducing corruption. Many of the separatist elements likely viewed the successful policies being implemented as answers to their grievances and violence and insurgent strength began to reduce significantly. Violence continued throughout the 1990s but at a significantly lower rate than in previous decades. The exact reason for the dramatic increase in attacks that began in 2004 and continue to the present is unknown at this time. It is likely related to the disbandment of the SBPAC by Thakshin Shinawatra in 2002 and an aggressive narco eradication campaign by the Thai Military in Southern Thailand in 2004 that left hundreds dead and missing. Violence has continued since 2004 but has yet to reach the levels of coordination or violence seen that year.
In the 1970s and 1980s insurgent elements received training and benefitted from ties formed with groups in Afghanistan and Libya. Monetary support was received from wealthy Malay Muslim donors who had relocated to either Malaysia or Saudi Arabia. It is unlikely a structured funding program currently exists within the insurgency. A more viable option is each...
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