Military may take over peace talks from NSC
It looks likely that the military make take over from the National Security Council in leading the peace talks with the southern separatist groups.
There are apparent signs of this move. One is the increasing views regarding the southern unrest and the peace process voiced lately from General Akkanit Muensawat, former head of the border co-ordinating committee with neighbouring countries. Observers interpret the sign as a way that Army Commander-in-Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has quietly allowed General Akkanit to speak on behalf of the army as both are classmates of the Army Prepatory School.
The other sign is the sudden emergence to public limelight of Dr Wan Kadir, former president of Patani Bersatu movement.
General Akkanit was instrumental in holding peace talk with the PULO separatist group and in mediating the talks between Malaysian government and the Communist Party of Malaya. However, he has been critical of Malaysia’s role as the facilitator of the ongoing peace talks process between the Thai government and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional and the other separatist groups.
The peace talks between the government and the separatist groups led by the BRN are in limbo. Some observers said that they have reached a deadend while others said they have collapsed although there is a speculation that the talks may resume after the February 2 election.
The BRN’s revolutionary council in early December issued a statement through the social media that it would not attend the peace talks unless the Thai parliament endorses its five demands and for the demands to be recognized as national agenda.
In his first public talk at the Thai Journalists Association on November 28, Dr Wan Kadir said that Hassan Taib, the man representing the BRN at the peace talks, is not the real power broker. He suggested that the government should not attach importance to any particular separatist group.
Dr Wan Kadir is due to give another talk on the southern unrest problem at the Prince of Songkla University, Pattani campus on December 24. The event is sponsored by the forward command of the fourth region of the Internal Security Operations Command.
The Isranews has obtained a copy of Wan Kadir’s speech in advance. The followings are excerpts of the speech.
Dr Wan Kadir begins his speech by asking a question about why Thai people are unable to resolve the southern conflict themselves despite the fact that they are smart and Thailand has never been colonialised.
In short, he disagrees with soliciting help from Malaysia to facilitate or mediate the peace talks between the government and the separatist groups. He also says that the concept of separatism is out-of-date and irrelevant with the current situation.
"Territorial separatism, for me, is an impossible matter at this time. The era of separatism is over. At the time when countries or communities in this region strived for separatism and self-rule, we did not. Now that others have stopped talking about separatism, we strive for separatism which is out of time. Therefore, we must start to co-exist in peace. The southern problem should be settled through peaceful means," said the former Patani Bersatu movement leader.
Dr Wan Kadir said that for peace talks to be fruitful they must be done properly. He then cited one undertaken by fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra which took place in Kuala Lumpur early 2012.
He said that 16 representatives of various separatist groups, including himself, were invited to meet Thaksin in KL. However, only half of them, excluding Wan Kadir, were allowed to see him one by one.
Of the 16, he said that only half of them understand Thai and an interpreter was required but unfortunately he only finished Pathom 4 education from a Thai temple in Kelantan state of Malaysia.
Besides, Wan Kadir said that 16 representatives were treated very badly as if they were criminal suspects. "We were kept in detention for two days before we were allowed to meet Thaksin and we were fed with dried fish and plain rice. Our friends said that food in prison were much better."
He said that those who were not allowed to meet Thaksin were in fact those who have the real power and muscle in the deep south. He added that they were enraged with the bad treatment and vowed to teach the Thai government a lesson and the lesson was the car bombings at Lee Gardens in Hat Yai and in Yala’s Muang district on March 31, 2012.
He claimed that the real perpetrators responsible for most of the violent incidents in the deep south were breakway factions from BRN PULO and other separatist groups. They formed a loose alliance, without an organization and operate almost independently and are known as Juwae or warriors.
Wan Kadir suggested that the Juwae should be brought into the negotiating table and he would help to convince them to join the peace process.
Caption : Wan Kadir on the stage at the Prince of Songkla University, Pattani campus