Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr deserves credit for taking a new look at the old problem of violence in the deep South. But the army veteran's proposed solution of yet more military force requires much debate and refinement.
The new head of the National Security Council (NSC) has proposed replacing the current hodge-podge of troop deployments in the troubled region with a full infantry division trained in counter-insurgency. But use of even more military force against Thai citizens is a serious and probably irreversible step and must not be taken hastily.
The plan to raise a new 15th Infantry Division is not new. But two items are noteworthy in the statement by Lt Gen Paradorn. The first is to move quickly to recruit, train, arm, equip and deploy the 10,000-plus men of such a fighting unit. It seems optimistic to expect only positive results. Counter-guerrilla warfare is highly specialised, and requires massive support in addition to the actual troops. Military intelligence seems far more lacking in the deep South than military force.
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