SUPPLEMENT -- INSURGENCY IN THAILAND'S MALAY SOUTH

Created: 5/1/1971

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SUPPLEMENT

insurgency in thailand's malay south

SECRETNO FOREIGN DISSEM

eTgN DISSEM

INSURGENCY IN THAILAND'S MALAY SOUTH

Rising Communist terrorist strength inThailand couldif left uncheckedthreaten government conxrol there and inMalaysia.

The danger derives from activities by remnants of the Malayan Liberation Army, now known as the Communist Terrorist Organization (CTO). The CTO is well-established in the area and is already capable of attacking elements near its base areas-an units.

The government has done little to suppress the group or to cooperate wiTh Malaysia inout counterinsurgency operations. The CTO, in turn, has not interfered in Thai affairs or been hostile toward Bangkok. There are signs the Thai attitude may, however, change if the CTO manages to continue its successful recruiting

The CTO is said to be actively organizing people in rural areas of Narathiwat, Yala, and Songkhla Provinces. It has established village organizations which parallel the governmental Structure and, in many cases, supplant it. Over the years, the Communists have convinced the local Chinese and Thai-Muslim populations that they have their sympathy and support. Taxes are levied on Chinese businessmen, rubber-estate owners,workers, and other groups to provide thewith money. On the other hand, villagers loyal to the government are intimidated byand the public execution of police It is estimated thateople are under Communist influence: the population of the five southern provincesillion.

The CTO is believed tomembers in the area. Tho government'spolicy allowed it to rebuild andthree "regiments." The 8th in the Sadao area hasersonnel,h near Betong has, h in the Waeng District has. Although the units have military designations, they are actually politicalto which both political and military personnel

Apr 69

Intelligence Bulletin

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FOREIGN DISSEM

are assigned. They recruit quite openly. The CTO can also draw onnarmedandf them "have received military training and represent, an active reserve force. Suborganizations of the reserve are the Malayan Communist Youth

Leagueoluntary associations,women's and Young Vanguards.

Chinese still predominate in the CTO, but the number of Muslim-Thais and Chinese-Thais recruited has risen in recent years. As they replace aging Malay leaders, the movement may orient itself more toward Thailand and eventually align itself with the Communist Party in that country.

Nineteen incidents occurred in the first three monthss compared withn allnd In addition, the pattern appeared to changefrom assassinations and kidnapings to armed encounters. Prior to this period, encounters usually occurred between the CTO and Thai-Malaysian security teams. By way of contrast, four of the nine incidents whichonthly high ininvolved only Thai Border Police. Thisthat the Thais are acting more aggressively and that they are becoming worried over the CTO's increasing strength.

Four understrength companies of the Thai Border Patrol Police (BPP) and-three companies of Malaysia's Police Field Forces (PFFs) conduct anti-insurgency operations on the Thai side of the border. On the Malaysian side, there are four army companies,FF platoons,quadron of armored cars and artillery pieces.

All Thai police elements are short ofparticularly of officers and senior NCOs. Of thePP Platoons deployed, only three are commanded by officers. Platoons average aboutenauthorized strength rainingnow in progress will, however, provideecruits for assignment in the area by9 The army does not participate in counterinsurgency operations in the area, but it conducts occasional training exercises in remote areas.

AprIntelligence Bulletin

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Malaysia is far more worried about the CTO, since tho threat posed is basically directed toward that country. esult, lt has deployed well-trained and -equipped troops to the border area. itew command position, Director of Operations West Malaysia, to exercise authority over all police and military forces engaged in border operations. The incumbent, Lt Gen Dato Ibrahim bin Ismail, also commands theivision. The rationale behind the new position was operational and psychological in nature. It was hoped that its establishment would underscore Malaysia's concern and persuade Thailand to give more than lip service to joint security operations.

Thai authorities are beginning to appreciate the danger, but counteraction against the CTO is difficult to implement due to the securityin the North and Northeast. Another problem is that the vast bulk of the population in the affected areas are Muslim ana Chinese. Thai authorities are unable or unwilling to communicate with them in their dialects. If antagonized by martial law, compulsory resettlement, or the presence of Buddhist army troops, the Muslims might reconsider their political future. Apprehension over latent Malay irredentism has, therefore, vigorous action by the government. Until recently, security-development programs, such as Mobile Development Units and Army SpecialCenters, concentrated on combating the threat of Malay separatism rather than the CTO.

It is unlikely that Thailand will want or feel able to permit really effective jointagainst the CTO. As the number of CTO Thai recruits grows, however, the government's attitude may change markedly. During the past year, Malaysia brought increased pressure on Thailand to reinforce its border area units and to step up its counter-insurgency measures. Bangkok has, however, given no sign that it intends to lift strict limitations on Malaysian operations in Thailand.

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Original document.

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