Posts By Thomas Parks

In The News

A New Peace Plan for Southern Thailand

July 22, 2009

Recently, the Prime Minister of Thailand and more than 400 other people – including government officials, military personnel, representatives from foreign embassies and NGOs, academics, and a large contingent from the southern-most provinces of Thailand – assembled with great anticipation at the King Prajadhipok’s Institute (KPI) in Bangkok. The big draw was overwhelmingly the presentation […]

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In The News

Averting Disaster: Reflections on Violent Protests in Thailand

April 22, 2009

Thailand has seen some turbulent times over the past three years, but this past week was probably the low point. Protests by the anti-government United Democratic Front against Dictatorship (UDD), also known as the “red shirts,” threw the country into crisis at a moment when it should have been basking in the international spotlight. The […]

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In The News

The Elephant in the Room: Internal Security Operations and Conflict Management

July 30, 2008

At a recent conference on violent conflict in Asia, an Asian civil society leader said to me: “If we want to be serious about reducing violence in conflict-affected corners of Asia, how can we ignore the role of security forces?” In another conversation, a senior military officer from Southeast Asia explained to me that they […]

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In The News

In Timor-Leste: The Politics of Internal Security

May 21, 2008

The security situation in Timor-Leste seems to be improving. Since the February 11th attacks on President Ramos-Horta and Prime Minster Xanana Gusmao, Dili has been remarkably quiet. With the April 27 surrender of Gastao Salsinha and the remaining rebel hold-outs, the government has shown that it can use negotiation to resolve an ongoing security threat. […]

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In The News

In Thailand: Violent Conflict: Past and Present

April 30, 2008

Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand ” For more than 800 km, the muddy brown waters of the Mekong River divide Thailand and Laos. Here at Khong Jiem, the easternmost point of Thailand, the Mekong drifts slowly into Lao territory, leaving Thailand for the last leg of its journey to the South China Sea. In this remote corner […]

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Notes from the Field

Critical Challenges in Asia: Violent Conflict and Fragile States

January 9, 2008

Violent conflict presents enormous challenges for development and security in Asia. Many of Asia’s worst cases of instability and political violence are a direct result of sub-national conflicts involving areas in remote or border regions. In these peripheral areas, the state tends to have very limited capacity and its authority is challenged by armed non-state […]

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In The News

Three Years Later, Conflicts in Tsunami Areas Have Taken Very Different Directions

December 19, 2007

The devastation of the 2004 tsunami came on the heels of two separate, decades-long conflicts between insurgent armies and the governments in Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia. These conflicts had led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, but they progressed very differently after the disaster: Aceh moved toward peace, while Sri Lanka […]

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In The News

In Thailand: Thaksin – Ending of an Era?

June 13, 2007

The last two weeks have not gone well for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. On May 30, the Constitutional Tribunal disbanded Thai Rak Thai (TRT), the political party that Thaksin established and rode to power on a wave of support from rural and working class Thai voters. The verdict also banned Thaksin and 110 other […]

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In The News

In Cambodia: Early Signs of an Emerging Middle Class

May 23, 2007

While Cambodia rarely makes international headlines except for endless accounts of past atrocities, there has been an emerging transformation occurring here over the past few years that has mostly gone unnoticed outside of this quiet corner of Southeast Asia.  The early signs of an urban middle class are beginning to emerge.  

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Notes from the Field

From South & Southeast Asia: Breaking the Cycle of Persistent, Violent Conflict

March 21, 2007

The recent attack on a bus in Yala province serves as a stark reminder that the violence in Southern Thailand shows no signs of letting up. Despite a more conciliatory approach by the new government in Bangkok, the situation continues to worsen in this turbulent corner of Southeast Asia. This conflict, like many others in […]

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