February 25, 2013

Is Asia's Forgotten Revolt About to Explode?

by Jonah Blank

It was the deadliest day in the rebellion's deadliest decade: On February 12, dozens of gunmen armed with assault rifles and wearing ballistic vests attacked a Thai Marine post in the southern province of Narathiwat. At least 16 of the militants were killed.

The so-called Pattani Insurgency has taken more than 5,000 lives since its embers were rekindled in 2004, but this was reportedly the greatest death toll on a single day in several years. The assault, combined with a recent spate of attacks on school teachers, raises a troubling question throughout Southeast Asia and beyond: Is this long-ignored revolt poised to explode into something even more dangerous?

The remainder of this op-ed is available at

Jonah Blank is a senior political scientist at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation, and a former policy director for South and Southeast Asia on the staff of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

This commentary originally appeared on CNN on February 25, 2013.