VIOLENCE IN THE MUSLIM SOUTH OF THAILAND
Violence and killing became an almost daily occurrence in southern Thailand after shadowy Muslim separatists launched a campaign of bombings, shootings and arson in early 2004, aimed mainly at government forces, police and soldiers but whose victims also included innocent Buddhist and Muslim villagers. The violence includes bombings, ambushes and even beheadings, but little is known about the structures or aims of the various militant groups involved in—or even their identities. The violence has claimed over 5,700 lives as of early 2014, making it Southeast Asia's deadliest ongoing conflict. Thousands more have been injured and traumatized as a consequence of the conflict. Among the dead are 500 government soldiers and policemen and 150 teachers. Some 350,000 individuals have been displaced as a result of the violence.
Most of the violence has taken took place in three predominately-Muslim provinces—Narathiwat, Yala, and Pattani—in southern Thailand near the Malaysians border. About 1.8 million people live there, most of them Muslim Malays, but many Buddhists as well. Mystery surrounds who is behind the violence in three provinces, which was part of an independent Malay Muslim sultanate until annexed by Buddhist Thailand in 1902.
No credible group has stated its aims or claimed responsibility for the attacks, which 30,000 troops stationed in the region have failed to prevent. Since the unrest erupted in 2003, the rebels have never revealed themselves publicly or claimed responsibility for the violence, which has remained limited to the rubber-producing region. There are worries that attacks between Muslims and Buddhist could result in a never ending cycle of revenge. "It's considered the world's third most intensive Muslim insurgency, after Afghanistan-Pakistan and Iraq," Benjamin Zawacki, an activist with Amnesty International, which condemns rights violations on both sides, told the Los Angeles Times. "And it's not just going to go away."[Source: Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times April 4, 2010]
As of December 2012, 5,377 have been killed and 9,513 wounded in shootings, bombings, beheadings and arson attacks, according to Srisompob Jitpiromsri, an academic in southern Pattani province who runs a website called Deep South Watch. According to Deep South Watch (DSW), a Prince of Songkhla University-based independent research group that monitors the conflict: From January 2004 to September 2012, there were a total of 12,377 violent events, resulting in 14,890 casualties (5,377 dead and 9,513 injured). As of February 2009 the group counted 3,287 dead, of whom 1,788 were Malay Muslims and 1,348 Buddhists, with another 5,405 people wounded. Of the 300,000 Thai Buddhists who used to inhabit the region, some 70,000 have left since 2004, DSW said. [Sources: Deep South Watch, December 13, 2012; The Nation, February 13, 2009]
According to a report compiled by the Thai government-affiliated Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Center, over 4,000 people were killed and 7,000 were injured over the period from 2004 to 2010. As of December 2008, more than 3,300 people had died, about two a day. That number was not so different from the number of American killed in Iraq up that date and that conflict started in 2002. Eight-nine percent of the victims have been civilians. The death toll reached 1,000 in September 2005. In August 2006, it surpassed 1,500.
Among the dead have been Muslim insurgents, police, soldiers but also community leaders, religious leaders and innocent Buddhist and Muslim villagers. School teachers and monks have often been targets. Sometimes decapitated heads have been with notes attached. Even eight-year-old children have had their heads cut off. Many of the Muslims victims, it is believed, were viewed as collaborators with the Thai security forces, government or the Buddhist community and killed by Muslim insurgents but some have also been killed Thai security forces.
During a typical week of heavy violence: seven soldiers were killed in a bomb and gun attacks while another soldier was wounded guarding teachers at a school on one day. On the same day, elsewhere, 13 schools were destroyed in a series of arson attacks. Maybe a couple days later three Buddhist teachers were killed and three merchants were killed, with of them being beheaded. The day after that perhaps a Muslim religious teacher was killed, a pair of rubber plantation workers were shot by a drive-by motorscooter and soldiers were ambushed after having lunch at a noodle stand.
The conflict is unusual in that it is waged in a comparatively wealthy nation. Most struggles of this nature take place in failed states, such as Afghanistan, Mali, Somalia, and Sudan. Yet, it can be argued that southern Thailand is so ungovernable it almost ranks as a failed state.
Muslims in Thailand
There are 6.3 million Muslims in Thailand (about 10 percent of the population). About half of all Thai Muslims live in the southern Thai provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Satun and Pattani and some districts of Songkhla.. Ninety-nine percent of these Sunnis and one percent are Shi’ite.
Although the majority of Thailand’s Muslims are ethnically Malay, the Muslim community also includes the Thai Muslims in rural areas of central Thailand , who are either hereditary Muslims, Muslims by intermarriage, or recent converts; Cham Muslims originally from Cambodia; West Asians, including both Sunni and Shias; South Asians, including Tamils, Punjabis and Bengalis; Pakistani immigrants in the urban centers; Indonesians, especially Javanese and Minangkabau; Thai-Malay or people of Malay ethnicity who have accepted many aspects of Thai language and culture, except Buddhism, and have intermarried with Thais; and Chinese Muslims, who were mostly Haw living in the North. Education and maintenance of their own cultural traditions is often seen as of vital interests to these groups. [Source: Library of Congress]
Islam is the second largest faith in Thailand after Buddhism. Except in the small circle of theologically trained believers, the Islamic faith in Thailand, like Buddhism, had become integrated with many beliefs and practices not integral to Islam. It would be difficult to draw a line between animistic practices indigenous to Malay culture that were used to drive off evil spirits and local Islamic ceremonies because each contained aspects of the other.
According to statistics compiled by the Internal Security Affairs Bureau, Department of Provincial Administration, there were 3,610 mosques registered in Thailand in 2008: 1) 42 mosques in the North (13 provinces); 2) 486 mosques in the central region (24 provinces); 3) 24 mosques in the Northeast (15 provinces); 4) 3,058 mosques in the South (14 provinces). The central mosque of Yala province is the largest in Thailand, while the one in Pattani is considered the most magnificent in the country. The wooden Wadi al-Hussain Mosque, built in 1624 in Narathiwat, is one of the oldest Islamic structures in Thailand.
In the mid-1980s, the country had more than 2,000 mosques in 38 Thai provinces, with the largest number (434) in Narathiwat Province. All but a very small number of the mosques were associated with the Sunni branch of Islam; the remainder were of the Shia branch. Each mosque had an imam (prayer leader), a muezzin (who issued the call to prayer), and perhaps other functionaries.
The National Council for Muslims, consisting of at least five persons (all Muslims) and appointed by royal proclamation, advises the ministries of education and interior on Islamic matters. Its presiding officer, the state counselor for Muslim affairs, is appointed by the king and holds the office of division chief in the Department of Religious Affairs in the Ministry of Education. Provincial councils for Muslim affairs exist in the provinces that have substantial Muslim minorities. There are other links between the government and the Muslim community, including government financial assistance to Islamic education institutions, assistance with construction of some of the larger mosques, and the funding of pilgrimages by Thai Muslims to Mecca. Thailand also maintains several hundred Islamic schools at the primary and secondary levels.
See Separate Article MUSLIMS AND ISLAM IN THAILAND
History of Southern Thailand
Robert Horn wrote in Time magazine, “Once known as the Sultanate of Pattani, the area was annexed by Thailand, then known as Siam, in 1909. Divided into the five provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Satun, Songkhla and Yala, resistance to Buddhist-centric rule from Bangkok went on for decades, only waning in the 1990s. [Source: Robert Horn, Time magazine, February 17, 2012]
What is now southern Thailand was the Muslim Pattani sultanate—a center of Muslim culture—until Thailand annexed it in 1909. Most of the Muslim residents there are ethnic Malays who have more in common with the people of neighboring Malaysia. The Muslim have periodically risen up in revolt against the central government, demanding independence or more autonomy. There is also a history of insurgent activity in the area.
Pattani was once a kingdom comprised of seven sultanates that included Trengganu, Kedah and Keletan in present-day Malaysia. In the past they paid tribute to the Thai kings of Sukhotyai and Ayutthaya but otherwise were independent. Narathiwat and Yala were later detached from Pattani. Pattani became part of Thailand in part because it suited British imperialists employed divide-and-rule tactics too have the region divided between Siam and Malaysia. Today Trengganu, Kedah and Keletan have reputation for being among the more conservative areas of Malaysia.
In August 1963, Thai Prime Minister Saritsaid in a speech in Yala: ‘This province has been within the Thai periphery since Sukhothai period, so we can consider that people of this province have a very thick Thai blood'. Thai military commander Prapas Charusathiara was quoted as saying ‘if you want to separate go by yourself, we won't give you the land to take away'. On the other side of the divide, historians refer to the Lankasuka Kingdom (Lang-ya-hsui) mentioned in the Chinese annals as being a prosperous Kingdom in this area in the 7th century A.D. Islam came to the area in the 10th century A.D. even before reaching Malacca. According to some accounts the Raja of Pattani was converted to Islam around A.D. 1457. [Source: Gothom Arya, Manidohl University’s Research Center for Peace Building, August 2005]
History of Muslim Separatists in Southern Thailand
Around 80 percent of the 1.8 million people living in the south are Malay-speaking Muslims. Many regard Buddhist rule from Bangkok and heavy military presence in the south as oppressive.
Muslim separatist groups first emerged in the 1960s and had connections with the Thai communist insurgency, a movement that died out after an amnesty was offered in the late 1980s. The Thai government generally succeeded in its effort defeat the Muslim insurgency by allowing the Muslims freedom to practice their religion and follow Muslim law while making improvements in communications and infrastructure. The government cracked down hard only when necessary and pressured the Malaysian government to crackdown on sympathizers in northern Malaysia.
The Muslim separatist movement in southern Thailand took inspiration from the Muslim nationalist Haji Sulong Toemeena, who in the 1940s and '50s called for cultural and linguistic autonomy before disappearing, by some accounts drowned by Thai police. In subsequent decades, the insurgency ebbed and flowed, as did Bangkok's response. [Source: Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times April 4, 2010]
Muslim separatists remained active in the 1990s but didn’t receive much attention. Around 2001, a younger, more radical generation of fighters took over, one favoring scorched-earth guerrilla tactics. Its victims include police officers and soldiers, soft-target symbols of the Thai state such as teachers, and Muslims it considers collaborators.
Robert Horn wrote in Time magazine, As the 21st century began “the convergence of several factors served to reignite the conflict. Younger Muslims in the south were being educated in conservative, Saudi Arabian–funded schools. A handful of Thai Muslims who had fought in Afghanistan or trained in Pakistan began returning to the region and training others in armed jihad. The Prime Minister in the early 2000s, Thaksin Shinawatra, disbanded intelligence networks set up by his predecessor, ordered security forces to take a harder line against the few remaining militants and then launched a “war on drugs” in which many young Muslim men were among the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings. Radicalism in the sleepy south was reawakened. [Source: Robert Horn, Time magazine, February 17, 2012]
Muslim Separatists in Southern Thailand After September 11th
After September 11th and the Iraq War started the movement was given a boost by the crackdown on Al-Qaida and the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan which is believed to have given Muslims in Thailand a sense that Muslims were being discriminated against on a global scale as well as on local scale in Thailand, where they felt they were denied their fair share of university placements and government jobs, and their villages received paved roads and electricity long after their Buddhist counterparts.
During this period men gathered around mosques and coffee house and talked politics and seemed inflamed by what they saw on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine on television. More and more people began wearing Osama bin Laden T-shirts. Signs at mosques urged people not to buy American or Jewish products because “the money you spend goes to buy weapons to kill our Muslim brothers.”
In late 2001, gunmen armed with AK-47s killed a police officer at a remote outpost. In 2002, more Thai police officers were killed, bombs were detonated when the minister of interior toured the region and five schools suffered damage from arsonists. In 2003, there were roadside bombs and ambushes.
Beginning of the Violence in the Muslim South in 2004
In January 2004, in attack that some point to as the beginning of the wave of violence in the Muslim south, unidentified attackers thought to be separatists raided an army barracks in a well-planned, well-executed attack in Narathiwat Province near the Malaysian border and killed four soldiers and stole more than 400 weapons, including assault rifles, machine guns, pistols and rocket launchers. In other attacks 20 schools were set on fire, three policemen were shot (two fatally) and three Buddhist monks were hacked to death with machetes.
Robert Horn wrote in Time magazine, “On April 28, 2004, Thais were shocked at the scenes of over a hundred young militants attacking 10 police outposts in three provinces. Armed mostly with sticks, knives and mystical beliefs they could survive live fire, many were cut down. An army commander enraged the Muslim community by shelling the region’s holiest mosque where a few dozen militants had taken refuge, then executed them. The south, where the embers of rebellion had appeared to be dying out, erupted in flames.[Source: Robert Horn, Time magazine, February 17, 2012]
According to the Thai government: At dawn on January 4, 2004, a group of armed perpetrators launched raids on the Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra military camp in Cho-airong district, Narathiwat province, attempting to attack authorities, seize government firearms, and instigate instability. Following the arms theft, the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, and some districts of Songkhla became the scenes of continuing violence. A number of local schools were also set on fire by a network of perpetrators.”[Source: Thailand Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department]
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra responded by declaring martial law and sending more troops to the area. The attack was said to have been orchestrated by Muslim insurgent leader Dorame Kuteh and was so well planned many thought there had to have been some foreign involvement. Kuteh topped Thailand’s most wanted list until January 2005 when he was captured in Malaysia.
Attacks by Muslim Separatists in 2004
In March 2004, a bomb exploded across the street from a building where two senior government minsters were holding meeting to discuss to situation in the Muslim south. No one was killed. A woman was injured slightly. Another explosive devise next door was defused. Also in the same month a bomb hidden in a motorcycle exploded outside a karaoke bar in a nightlife area of Sunghai Kolok, a town near the Thai border. One person was killed and 29 people were injured, including eight Malaysian men.
In April 2004, a Thai army officer was shot and killed shortly after 50 public building were set on fire. The officer was killed in Pattani Province by armed attackers on a motorcycle. Two firefighters were killed putting out the fires. In June 2004, a Buddhist rubber taper was beheaded. Next to his headless body was a note that said the attack was retaliation for scores of Muslims killed in April (See Below), and warned of more attacks. By this time arson, ambush killing of police officers, machete attacks, drivep by shootings and other killings were a daily occurrences.
In August 2004, a powerful exploded at a busy morning market in Narathiwat Province, killing one person and injuring at least 31. The bomb was planted in an motorcycle and went off near a place that soldiers and police stopped for breakfast. Among the injured were schoolchildren marching in a parade to a sports festival. In another attack the same month, three bombs went off simultaneously at a bar and two hotels in Yala in southern Thailand, injuring 11 people.
Clash at Krue Se Mosque Leaves 31 Muslims Dead in April 2004
In late March and April 2004, Muslim insurgents attacked 11 police and army posts in Yala, Pattani and Songkla provinces, generating a wave of violence that left 112 people dead, all but five of them Muslims and attackers. Many of the separatist were wearing black or dark green uniforms with bright red headbands and chanted Islamic slogans as they launched their attacks. Police and soldiers had been tipped off in advance and were waiting for them with superior fire power. The government insisted they were drug users and criminals. The five non-attackers killed were police and soldiers.
The largest clash occurred in Pattani, where militants attacked a police post and then sought refuge in Krue Se Mosque, a 450-year-old. red-brick building and a symbol of Muslim identity in the area. Inside one the militant leaders declared a jihad and told anyone who wasn’t prepared to die to leave. Thai security forces surrounded the mosque, blasting it with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapon fire, and then stormed it, killing all 32 militants found inside. Television news broadcasts showed images of soldiers dragging dead bodies from the mosque, and burning motorcycles and bullet-ridden corpses with Muslim skullcaps.
In another attack, 12 members a soccer team that had just won a tournament, plus seven of their friends, attacked a police post. They were armed mostly with knives, machetes and sticks and were easily mowed down by the well-armed police, who again were tipped off and waiting for them. The attackers were said to be motivated by perceived injustices against Muslims in southern Thailand and as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some were found dead with Arab-style headdresses on. They were buried in common graves as martyrs.
Many Thais, especially Muslims, felt excessive force was used against the militants in the mosques the same way excessive force was used against drug dealers in the campaign against drugs and Burmese militants that took over a hospital in eastern Thailand. The government claims it had no choice but to crack down hard and the attack appeared to have been fomented by foreigners, perhaps with links with Al-Qaida or Jemaah Islamiah.
An investigation into the Krue Se Mosque clash revealed that 28 people were killed inside the mosque and four were killed at a nearby checkpoint. Three military officials was blamed for being responsible for many of the deaths. The investigation was a judicial procedure and not part of trial and thus no criminal charges were brought. An independent investigation reported that the clashes were started by insurgents but that government forces used excessive force far beyond what was need to handle the threat.
The assault on the Krue Se mosque became a watershed event. It became a symbol of the heavy-handed tactics of Thai authorities. In years that followed attacked were staged around the time of the anniversary of the event.
Death of 85 Muslim Protestors at Tak Bai
In October 2004, during Ramadan, 85 Muslim protestors were killed after a crowd of about 1,500 gathered around a Tak Bai Police Station in Narathiwat Province, demanding the release of six villagers detained on suspicion of selling weapons to insurgents. The crowd could have been much larger but security forces took measures to keep people away. Thai officials said about 300 troops with assault weapons surrounded the protesters and said shots were fired at them from the crowd. A police chief said, “We had to use fire otherwise they might have ransacked the police station and set fire to it.”
Seven died and 20 were wounded as a result of wounds suffered during a violent clash in which security forces fired live rounds, tear gas and water cannons at rock-throwing Muslim protestors. One demonstrator told the Washington Post, “At the sound of shooting, everyone dropped to the ground.”
Later a total of 78 protestors died of suffocation while police custody. The victims—men exhausted from fasting during Ramadan and fighting with police—had their hands bound behind their backs and were forced to lie on top of one another in layers four- or five-people-high in the back of six-wheeled army trucks that were driven five hours to a detection center in Pattani Province. One survivor said the protestors were piled up “like bricks and stomped on by troops after the were piled up.” Some of the victims may have been gagged. A forensic expert said, “They may have had something stuffed in their mouths and nostrils.”
About 1,300 demonstrators were transported in the trucks. Reporters said no one saw them loaded on to the trucks but they did see them lying on the ground, stripped of their shirts with their hands bound behind their backs. Television news footage showed some of the detainees being forced to crawl to the trucks while troops kicked and hit them with rifle butts. A forensic doctor said that 80 percent died because they could not breath. “We found no wounds on their bodies...We didn’t find any bodies with broken arms or legs, but two or three of them had broken necks, which may have occurred during transportation.”
One witness told the Washington Post, the troops “brought them one by one and shoved them into the waiting army trucks like they were loading animals.” On man who was lying on top of one man with two other lying on top of him said, “Some people begged the soldiers, but the more you begged, the more they stepped on you.” He said soldiers taunted them, saying, “If you want to die, we can deliver that for you.” He also said he heard men gasping for air and having a plastic bags placed over their heads.
Response to the Death of 85 Muslim Protestors at Tak Bai
Somboon Bualand, a Pattani-based sociologist told the Washington Post, “I’m absolutely shocked, For people to die like this during Ramadan, in the Muslim fasting month, is tragic. Suffocating to death is...more violent than being shot to death. These people suffered greatly in dying.” In some cases relatives were not allowed to see the bodies, only identify victims by photos of their faces. The mother one victim told The Asia News Network, “There are no words to describe our feeling. We couldn’t even see his body of take him home...The government would not let us. They told us his body was three days old and already bloated. They burned them in a mass grave.” Some of those that were allowed retrieve the bodies found the victims covered with bruises and blood.”
No soldier or government official were charged with any crimes or punished in any way. The general in charge of the south was later transferred to Bangkok and promoted by Thaksin. Some demonstrators, on the other hand, were charged with crimes related to their involvement in the protests. Thaksin ordered and investigation and gave $250,000 in compensation to Muslim leaders. Families of the dead received $250 each. Hundreds of protesters continued to be detained even after deaths, Most were released within a couple of weeks.
Thaksin said, “The tragedy should not have occurred. It was mishandled. It was a mistake and since we did the wrong thing I admit to the mistake... The government still cares and is concerned for the Muslim people and what happened has nothing to do with religious discrimination...It was an accident during transport which happened because time and the situation were pressing. That was why they were crammed together,” He said all this after initially saying, “This is typical. It’s about bodies made weak from fasting. Nobody hurt them.”
The Thai government reported: The incidents at the Krue Se (Kersih) Mosque in Pattani in April 2004 and at Tak Bai district in Narathiwat in October 2004 were two of the most serious issues reported widely in the media. Thailand regarded the incidents as national tragedies, and fact-finding investigations were carried out to uncover the persons behind the events. [Source: Thailand Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department]
Violence and Tension After Tak Bai
More arsons and bombings and attacks on police and army bases occurred after Tak Bai. Thirty Buddhists were killed in November 2004 in retaliation for Tak Bai. By the end of 2004 more than 500 people had died as a result of violence in the south and the border with Malaysia was closed.
Shefali Rekhi wrote in the Strait Times: “Chegu Mail Kutih: Thai police have posted a reward of 100,000 baht (S$4,000) for information leading to his arrest. He is believed to be a leader of the GMIP Pattani group and is accused of mobilising weapons for the rebels. Vaehama Luboyaseng A rebel group leader, he is currently believed to be hiding in Kuala Lumpur. Vaehama has been charged with an attempt to kill and attempt to hijack. Dr Michael Montesanto, an assistant professor in the South-east Asian Studies Programme of the National University of Singapore, told the Strait Times: “Southern Thailand could be seven steps away from what's going on in Sri Lanka - we have to ensure that it remains 10 steps away.” [Source: Shefali Rekhi, Strait Times, October 19, 2004]
Michael Vatikiotis wrote in the New York Times, “Southern Thailand was until recently a model of tolerance, with a Muslim majority living side by side with a Buddhist minority under the umbrella of the Thai Buddhist state. But after a year in which more than 500 people have died in bombings and random shootings and at the hands of harsh military and police action, the region is a brewing cauldron of religious and ethnic conflict. Take a drive through the rice fields and rubber plantations of this narrow isthmus and the evidence is clear. Armed militia guard a Thai Buddhist school, and a Buddhist temple wall is draped with barbed wire. Temples have been turned into army barracks; the entire region is under martial law. "We never had a problem like this before," lamented Niedir Waba, a 66-year-old who heads a religious school south of Pattani. "That's because the people committing this violence are influenced by events around the world and beyond our control." [Source: Michael Vatikiotis, New York Times, December 9, 2004]
Robert Horn wrote in Time magazine, “More than 150,000 soldiers and paramilitaries have flooded the region to protect it from an estimated 3,000 to 9,000 juwae fighters. They have had little success. The militants have become more sophisticated and better armed over the years, frequently ambushing Thai soldiers and waging a campaign of terror against civilians, hoping to drive Buddhists out of the provinces. The young men who stormed police stations in 2004 wore flip-flops and had few weapons. The juwae who stormed the army base in February 2012 week wore military uniforms, had bulletproof vests and carried assault weapons and grenades. [Source: Robert Horn, Time magazine, February 17, 2012]
Economic Impact of the Attacks in South Thailand
The economic impact of the attacks in southern Thailand have been severe. The price of crops there has plummeted as merchants have become afraid to buy products from the region. Wholesale buyers no longer come to the fruit and fish markets to buy seafood, fabric or clothing, The government has subsidized part of the economy by burning local produce.
Rubber production fell as curfews cut working hours and the violence scared off workers. Workers lost their jobs when rock quarries were shut down to prevent the theft of explosives. Tourists from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia that usually visited the area to go shopping were scared of as were Western tourists. Muslims began doing business with only with Muslims and Buddhists did like wise.
Professor Srisompob Jitpiromsri, professor at Prince of Songkla University in Pattani province, told Wenews, "People are afraid that anything can happen at anytime," says Jitpiromsri. The conflict has dealt harsh blows to tourism, one of the main sources of revenue for Thailand. In the last two years, the number of visitors to the south has plummeted. "In southern provinces, the majority of people are living under the poverty line," said Jitpiromsri. "Narathiwat, where the maximum number of attacks has taken place, is the poorest province in the south and one of the poorest in the country." In the region, many survive on less than $1 a day. [Source: Ayesha Akram, WeNews, October 22, 2006]
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Tourist Authority of Thailand, Thailand Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, CIA World Factbook, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Global Viewpoint (Christian Science Monitor), Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, NBC News, Fox News and various books and other publications.
Last updated May 2014