Managing Interstate Ethnic Tensions: The Thailand-Malaysia Experience
Thai Malay separatism, centred in the southern Thai provinces of Pattani and Yala, offers an interesting contrast to current ethnic conflicts around the globe. Next to the Moro of the Philippines, the Malay of Thailand have been one of Southeast Asia's most vocal and least assimilated Muslim minorities. Despite the presence of significant international linkages, the Thai Malay secessionist movement has yet to result in serious conflict between Thailand and Malaysia. The goal of this inquiry is to determine how and why these processes have led to minimized interstate ethnic conflict and to specify how the management of these tensions could provide insight for those states that are not coping well. Three phases of Thai Malay secessionism, including their impact on Thailand Malaysia relations, are examined. The article concludes with an assessment of these patterns for the management and resolution of interstate ethnic conflict.