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Is the Sri Lankan option a recipe for counterinsurgency? Lessons in legitimacy for Sri Lanka, Thailand.. 2011

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 IS THE SRI LANKAN OPTION A RECIPE FOR COUNTERINSURGENCY? LESSONS IN LEGITIMACY FOR SRI LANKA, THAILAND AND THE PHILIPPINES  by  Matthew James Bordewick  B.A., The University of British Columbia, 2008   A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS  in  The Faculty of Graduate Studies  (Political Science)   THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  April 2011    © Matthew James Bordewick, 2011   ii Abstract  Conventional wisdom has posited that it is difficult, if not highly unlikely, for a state to defeat an insurgency using conventional military strategy. However, the May 2009 victory of the Government of Sri Lanka over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam demonstrates that such victories are possible. This victory is attributed to a political strategy rather than the purely military one emphasized in the literature. This political component comes down to a contest for legitimacy between the GOSL and the LTTE’s leadership at the local level for the loyalty of two audiences: the rank-and-file of the insurgency, and the aggrieved minority population from which the insurgency was born. Among the former audience, if the state's legitimacy position gains in relative terms, the state can co-opt members of the rank-and-file through defection. Among the latter audience, the effectiveness of counterinsurgency operations will depend on a competition between the two actors for the support of the local aggrieved minority population. The logic behind these hypotheses on cooption and local support is born out in the Sri Lankan case, and, furthermore, is argued to have more general applicability by comparison to insurgent conflicts in Thailand and the Philippines. The Sri Lankan case demonstrates that when both actors have low support among locals (Sri Lankan Tamils) it is the insurgency, and not the state, that becomes more vulnerable on the battlefield. The Patani insurgency in Thailand is found to be closed to cooption, while the local population (Thai Malay Muslims) is argued to support neither side outright. This has led to conditions of stalemate on the battlefield. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines is found to be highly open to cooption since the 2003 ceasefire, with high levels of support among locals (Muslim Moros). This gives the insurgency a significant military advantage over the state if the peace process were to break down.                   iii Table of Contents  Abstract ............................................................................................................................... ii Table of Contents ............................................................................................................... iii List of Tables ...................................................................................................................... v Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................ vi Dedication ......................................................................................................................... vii Chapter 1: Introduction ....................................................................................................... 1 1.1 Defining the Sri Lankan Option ................................................................................ 3 1.2 Definitions and detailed explanation of the two hypotheses .................................... 7 Chapter 2: Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger insurgency (2007-2009) ................................. 11 2.1 Cooption: the LTTE, an insurgency that could not be entirely co-opted ................ 11 2.2 Local support: the decline of legitimacy perceptions for the GOSL and the LTTE during the final war (2007-2009) .................................................................................. 15 Chapter 3: Thailand and the Patani insurgency (2001-present) ........................................ 22 3.1 Brief backgrounder to the conflict .......................................................................... 22 3.2 Cooption: the Patani insurgency, a movement highly resistant to cooption ........... 23 3.3 Local support: Stalemate between the GRT and the Patani insurgency for the loyalty of Thai Malay Muslims ..................................................................................... 26 3.4 Recent developments .............................................................................................. 33 Chapter 4: the Philippines and the Moro insurgency (1996-present) ............................... 36 4.1: Brief backgrounder to the conflict ......................................................................... 36 4.2 Cooption: the MILF, an insurgency open to settlement ......................................... 37  iv 4.3 Local support: the MILF as a popular insurgency .................................................. 42 4.4 Recent developments .............................................................................................. 48 Chapter 5: Conclusion ....................................................................................................... 50 Works Cited ...................................................................................................................... 61                     v List of Tables  Table 1: Timeline establishing default legitimacy positions of GOSL and LTTE (1946- 2009) ................................................................................................................................... 5 Table 2: Local legitimacy perceptions of GOSL and LTTE during the final war (2007- 2009) ................................................................................................................................. 21 Table 3: Local legitimacy perceptions of GRT and Patani insurgency (2001-present) .... 35 Table 4: Local legitimacy perceptions of GRP and MILF (1996-present) ....................... 49                 vi Acknowledgements There are several individuals I wish to thank without which this thesis would not have been possible: Brian Job, Arjun Chowdhury, Christine Bordewick, Joe Davis, Dan Griffith and Chris Bitten. Thank you.                      vii Dedication   To Vicky                     1 Chapter 1: Introduction  Conventional wisdom has posited that it is difficult, if not highly unlikely, for a state to defeat an insurgency using conventional military strategy. However, the May 2009 victory of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) highlights that such victories are possible.  This victory is commonly attributed in the literature to a counterinsurgency strategy (COIN) that is becoming referred to as the Sri Lankan Option.1  On the surface, the Option seems simple to characterize: the granting of a blank cheque to the military to defeat the insurgency by any means necessary up to and including extralegal methods.2 The use of tactics in violation of international humanitarian law such as heavy artillery employed in civilian areas, intentional shelling of enemy positions near humanitarian targets, and the alleged refusal to accept insurgent offers of surrender on the battlefield (responding instead with lethal force) represent a new kind of COIN that is highly militarized. This militarized extralegal COIN stands opposed to the comprehensive legally circumscribed COIN3 that would be acceptable under international humanitarian law.4 That said, representatives from the governments of Burma/Myanmar,5 Thailand,6 Bangladesh, and the Philippines7 have been actively assessing how the GOSL applied the Option with its strong military component to defeat the LTTE.8 In fact, the GOSL now offers a training program on the island for foreign armies to learn the very lessons gleaned by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces (SLAF) in their COIN against the LTTE, an offer that Pakistan’s armed forces have already accepted.9 As a consequence the Option is being increasingly considered a     2 viable strategy for countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and beyond to deal with their own insurgencies.10 However, so far authors writing on the Option have overemphasized its military component and discounted, if not neglected, the political component of the GOSL’s strategy against the LTTE.11  This political component came down to a contest for legitimacy between the GOSL and the LTTE leadership at the local level for the loyalty of two audiences: the rank-and-file of the insurgency, and the aggrieved minority population from which the insurgency was born. This contest for legitimacy, and its resultant effect on COIN, is expressed by two hypotheses. Firstly, the applicability of COIN rests on the insurgency’s openness to cooption by the state: agreements that result in partial cooption (defections of rank-and-file members) or cooption of the movement as a whole (peace treaty with the insurgent leadership) can mitigate or even remove the need for COIN.12 Secondly, the effectiveness of COIN will depend on a competition between the two actors for the support of the local aggrieved minority population, and creates conditions of advantage, disadvantage or stalemate on the battlefield.13 The Sri Lankan case demonstrates that when both actors have low support among the local aggrieved minority (Sri Lankan Tamils) it is the state, and not the insurgency, that gains the military advantage. The logic behind these hypotheses on cooption and local support is born out in the Sri Lankan case, and, furthermore, is argued to have more general applicability.   The argument will proceed as follows. In section one, I define the Sri Lankan Option and provide a timeline summarizing the historical background of the conflict. This expanded history establishes the default legitimacy positions of the GOSL and the LTTE among locals. In section two, I consider the most recent developments in the conflict and     3 how they lead to short term shifts in the legitimacy positions of the two actors among local audiences. These short term events establish the logic behind the hypotheses on cooption and local support affecting the applicability and utility of COIN. In section three, I apply these two hypotheses to two countries with similar ethno-religious conflicts that are potentially flirting with a Sri Lankan-like Option: Thailand and the Philippines.14 By analyzing these countries’ local legitimacy dynamics I determine if COIN is applicable given the insurgency’s openness to cooption and the likely effectiveness of COIN given local support.  1.1 Defining the Sri Lankan Option Before delving into the history of the Sri Lankan conflict it is necessary to quickly define the Sri Lankan Option itself. The Option was an aggressive COIN involving sweeping powers for the military, a powerful cooption strategy aimed at the LTTE’s rank-and-file, and superficial efforts to project local legitimacy by offering limited social services and governance structures to civilian Tamils within Tiger territories.15 The focus of this thesis is the cooption and legitimacy aspects of the Option, as the military component itself is straightforward: a blank cheque to the armed forces to defeat the LTTE through any means necessary.16 A strategy of total war neglects to consider the possibility for political settlement with the insurgency through cooption, or, for that matter, how the competition between the state and the insurgency for local support is likely to affect the utility of COIN.  A detailed history of the GOSL-LTTE conflict is already available in the literature.17 As such, a timeline summarizing the history of the conflict is provided     4 (Table 1) and shows how historical events established the default legitimacy positions of both actors. From here this essay makes an original contribution by focusing on the final few months of the war, which lasted from 2007 until May 2009 (known as the final war or Eelam War IV) and how the competition for local legitimacy between the GOSL and the LTTE influenced the effectiveness of COIN. It was during this period that accelerated changes in the local legitimacy positions of the GOSL and the LTTE occurred.18 These rapidly shifting local legitimacy perceptions, in which both actors came to be held in low regard, that were a central cause of the LTTE’s eventual defeat.                   5 Table 1: Timeline establishing default legitimacy positions of the GOSL and LTTE (1946-2009)19  1946: Ceylon gains independence from Great Britain. Sinhalese political parties dominate parliament by means of the majoritarian principle. Disenfranchisement of Tamils begins.  1956: Sinhala Only Act: Sinhalese made the "one official language of Ceylon." Tamil civil servants forced to learn Sinhala in order to be promoted, Sinhalese civil servants posted to Tamil areas, Tamil civilians forced to interact with civil servants in Sinhala, courts begin using Sinhala only, pro-Tamil publications banned from Tamil Nadu state in India, Tamil students required to score higher than Sinhalese to enter university, quota system used to ensure rural Sinhalese easier university access than Tamils, Sinhalese migration promoted to colonize Tamil northeast region. Tamils begin peaceful protests against their increasing marginalization.  1961: Ceylonese Armed Forces stationed in northeast Tamil region suppress Tamils' peaceful protests against state-sponsored discrimination. Beginning of abuses by the armed forces against north eastern Tamils such as: insults, assaults, rape, and confiscation of property.  1972: Constitutional reforms in Ceylon codify Sinhala as the island's official language within the constitution itself (elevating it from organic to constitutional law) and declare Buddhism as having primacy over all other religions. The LTTE forms under name of Tamil New Tigers and begins using violence to eliminate rival militant Tamil groups. Island renamed from ethnically neutral title of Ceylon to Sinhalese derived name of Sri Lanka. Majority of Tamil protestors remain non-violent and seek a political reintegration with the state to address inequities. However, as these peaceful protests are increasingly met with violent state responses a small group of Tamil youths become radicalized and begin advocating violent resistance.  1976 May: Tamil New Tigers change name to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.  1978: Prevention of Terrorism Act passed allows security forces to arrest and hold anyone suspected of subversive activities incommunicado and without trial for up to 18 months. Numerous Tamils arrested, imprisoned, and tortured causing further radicalization of Tamils.  1981: Anti-Tamil racial riots result in burning of the library in Jaffna containing 97,000 rare books, palm leaf manuscripts and local historical materials. Tamils perceive this as existential attack on their culture.  1983 July 13: The LTTE ambush army patrol in Tinnevely and kill 13 soldiers—first time the LTTE kills large number of army personnel.  1983 Jul. 24-Aug. 5: In response to the ambush at Tinnevely, Sinhalese mobs begin the largest and most damaging anti-Tamil riots in the island’s history. Organized and implemented by the GOSL, mobs across the island attack, destroy and loot thousands of Tamil businesses and homes, rape numerous Tamil women and kill over 2,000 Tamils. Riots result in the displacement of 80,000 to 100,000 Tamil refugees in Colombo alone and lead to the birth of the Tamil diaspora, as Tamils flee the island on mass seeking asylum in Western countries. This apex of violence causes radicalization of the majority of Tamils against the Sri Lankan state, and increases Tamil support for the LTTE, effectively turning it from a small movement of a few hundred fighters to a mass movement. The LTTE declares itself sole representative of Tamils and steps up killings of rival Tamil groups and political opponents. Signals beginning of the civil war.  1990-2001: Period of escalating violence in which the LTTE increasingly attacks against the     6 Sinhalese majority population. 1991: Car bomb in Colombo kills 19 including the Deputy Defence Minister. 1993: Former Security Minister killed; President Ranasinghe Premadasa killed. 1996: Central Bank bombed in Colombo killing 100 injuring over 1,400; Colombo’s subway bombed killing 78. 1998: Tooth and Kandy temple bombed killing 11. 1999: Tamil Member of Parliament killed; Minister of Industrial Development killed; suicide bomb attack against President Chandrika Kumaratunga who escapes alive but 23 others die.  Mid-1990s-2006: Height of the LTTE’s power; controls nearly ¼ of Sri Lanka and territorial waters off Jaffna. Sets up de facto state in north and eastern regions including its own police force, courts, civilian administration, banks, radio, television stations. Militarily the LTTE’s army strength at over 20,000 fighters; a navy comprised of speedboats, dozens of transport ships and a basic submarine capability; an air force capable of bombing runs. Diaspora provides to the LTTE some $200-300 million USD annually making up an estimated 80 percent of the LTTE’s total budget as of 2007.  2001 July: Apex of the LTTE’s violence against the majority Sinhalese population as suicide commandos attack Colombo's international airport causing some $350 million in damage and leading to nation-wide economic recession.  2001: Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed and remains the only formal treaty signed between the GOSL and the LTTE leadership.  2006: Election of Rajapaksa. Escalating pattern of ceasefire violations on both sides, majority of which were committed by the LTTE.  2007: Skirmishes between the GOSL and the LTTE forces begin, de facto commencement of final war. 2008 Jan: The GOSL terminates the CFA, formal beginning of final war.  2009 Jan.-May: Endgame of final war and period of increased human rights violations against Tamils by both the GOSL and the LTTE. On the GOSL side: intentional shelling of civilians, hospitals and humanitarian operations. On the LTTE side: intentional shooting of Tamils and infliction of suffering on Tamils by preventing them from fleeing conflict zone, use of extortion and forced conscription of Tamils (including women and children). Result is that the GOSL and the LTTE share low legitimacy perceptions among Tamils.  2009 May: Decisive GOSL military victory over the LTTE.              7 1.2 Definitions and detailed explanation of the two hypotheses First it is necessary to operationalize key terms in this essay and explain in greater detail the logic behind the two hypotheses. Under the first hypothesis, cooption is defined in a maximalist sense and includes any state action that subsumes the insurgency within the state through negotiated settlement with the movement in part or in whole.20  As such, an insurgency’s openness to cooption rests on two measures: the loyalty of the rank-and-file and the nature of insurgent leadership. Under the first measure, loyalty is a simplified form of legitimacy perception, and means the loyalty of members of the rank-and-file to the insurgent leadership. The rank-and-file is defined as cadre members and low to middle level commanders, while insurgent leadership is defined as the senior figures in control of the movement. Loyalty is demonstrated through either the unity or bifurcation of the interests of rank-and-file members to that of the insurgent leadership. Bifurcation of interests can occur because of the historical mistreatment of rank-and-file members from certain castes/regions by the insurgent leadership, arguments over objectives and strategy, and differences over political and religious ideology.21 When such splits emerge between the leadership and the rank-and-file of the insurgency, they open space for the state to compete for the loyalty of the rank-and-file and defections can result.22 The remaining factions of the insurgency that cannot be co-opted are typically the more hard- line elements within the movement’s core and upper ranks. This brings us to the nature of insurgent leadership which is measured in two senses: status quo versus non-status quo demands and the credibility of the leadership’s commitment to peace with the state.23 First, in terms of demands, when the insurgent leadership has objectives that do not fit within the status quo preserving parameters of the     8 state, it makes cooption almost impossible. This is because state acceptance of such demands would be a threat to state sovereignty.24 Conversely, when the insurgent leadership has objectives that do fit within the government’s status quo parameters, negotiation is much more likely, as such demands do not represent an existential threat to the state. Second, the insurgent leadership’s credibility is important in two ways: the leadership’s track record on past agreements and whether or not the leadership has centralized hierarchical control over the movement’s rank-and-file.25 On these points, if the insurgent leadership has largely honoured past agreements and demonstrates it can get the rank-and-file to put down arms in the event of a peace deal, the leadership can be said to have high credibility of commitment with the state.26 Given the above framework, the state can mitigate or remove entirely the need for COIN if it can achieve partial or full co- option of the insurgency.27 If an insurgency cannot be successfully co-opted and becomes a serious threat to the state, COIN can quickly become the only remaining option to ensure state sovereignty barring a fundamental change in political circumstances.28 Under the second hypothesis, on local support, legitimacy is the key factor. The modifying term “local” simply refers to the audience of the aggrieved minority population in an insurgent-type conflict. Local legitimacy, therefore, is taken to be demonstrated by three measures: social licence, use of force and sanctuary.29 In measuring the influence of these factors on the legitimacy perceptions of locals this essay only accounts for in-state inputs; the influence of international actors is not considered. An actor, therefore, first gains legitimacy among the local population by earning a measure of social licence through the provision of governance structures providing     9 political control and public service provision.30 An actor that maintains political control over the relevant political unit while providing generous public services will enjoy high local legitimacy. The opposite is true for actors who are unable to maintain political control and/or who are unable or unwilling to provide public services. Second, an actor’s legitimacy will depend on the level of force it utilizes against the local population in order to maintain territorial control and extract material support.31 Actor’s utilizing high levels of force to prey on or exploit the local population will be seen negatively, as the actor’s rule will be perceived as oppressive. Such levels of force are typically higher when an actor receives the majority of its resources from an external source, such as from a diaspora, making the actor less reliant and accountable to the local population.32 In contrast, actor’s that rely on low levels of force to maintain political control are perceived more favourably, and maintain their authority because of a measure of popular mandate. And, third, an actor’s legitimacy is apparent by how willing the local population is to provide sanctuary to insurgent forces against government COIN.33 When locals are willing to help insurgents by providing them a place of refuge against advancing government forces, the insurgency can be said to enjoy high local legitimacy and the state low legitimacy. Historically, insurgencies under such conditions are notoriously difficult to put down—hence the maxim that insurgencies cannot be defeated by conventional military means. This maxim, however, has often been expressed in an over simplified form that neglects to mention the effects of underlying local legitimacy dynamics on COIN. For instance, if the insurgency does not enjoy local support, the maxim does not hold, and the insurgency can be defeated.  Typically, high external support of an insurgency is a cause     10 for the loss of sanctuary, as the movement will have little incentive to earn the support of locals. As a result, when locals are not willing to give cadre members sanctuary, the insurgency can be said to enjoy low legitimacy and the state a relative measure of higher legitimacy. This allows government forces to easily separate insurgents from the local population and fight the militants openly. Furthermore, since government forces typically have higher force numbers, this means the insurgency can be defeated through conventional means. Therefore, it is local legitimacy measured through social licence, use of force and sanctuary that lead to conditions of advantage, disadvantage, or stalemate on the battlefield for the two actors. Simply put, the willingness of locals to provide sanctuary to militants determines if COIN is likely to succeed or fail.                 11 Chapter 2: Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger insurgency (2007- 2009)  2.1 Cooption: the LTTE, an insurgency that could not be entirely co-opted The previously discussed logic of cooption is demonstrated by the case of Sri Lanka. COIN was necessary for the GOSL to undertake because the LTTE in its entirety could not be co-opted; only a breakaway faction in the Eastern province was amenable to settlement with the state. Furthermore, while the LTTE leadership did have centralized hierarchical control over the rank-and-file, this was offset by the fact the leadership maintained non-status quo demands and lacked credibility in honouring past agreements with the state. Firstly, then, the LTTE was not open to cooption because only the Eastern faction of the movement and its mid-level commander (provincial governor) was open to cooption with the state. This was due to a bifurcation of interests between the rank-and- file of the LTTE’s Eastern wing and the movement’s leadership. This bifurcation stemmed from the fact that the LTTE’s leadership, based in the island’s North, perceived Eastern Tamils as being of a lower caste.34 Consequently, Tamils of Northern descent came to dominate the movement’s upper ranks. Meanwhile, Tamils of the East, with their lower perceived social status among the leadership, were primarily utilized to fill out the Tiger’s military wing.35 The Eastern province was therefore the primary source for the LTTE’s conscripts, with the forced recruitment of adults (both male and female) and children widely practiced. Furthermore, because of this caste division, other policies and     12 incidences of force in the Eastern province were much harsher than in the North. For instance, stronger levels of coercion were used on Eastern Tamils to extract relatively higher taxes from families and businesses.36 Due to these harsh practices, and the disenfranchisement of Eastern Tamils within the upper ranks of the movement, a strong feeling of resentment was harboured among Eastern Tamil civilians and the LTTE’s cadres stationed there towards the movement’s leadership. The GOSL successfully capitalized on these intra-LTTE divisions by subsuming the LTTE commander of the Eastern province Colonel Karuna and his forces into the democratic Sri Lankan state in 2004.37 Karuna’s susceptibility to cooption was no doubt influenced by the fact he was a native Eastern Tamil accustomed to the historical mistreatment of his caste by the Northern leadership. For example, he experienced the harsh recruitment policies imposed by the North first hand as he was recruited into the LTTE as a child soldier.38 He also stated that he believed the LTTE’s Eastern cadres were underrepresented in the organization’s central hierarchy.39 These factors undoubtedly undermined Karuna’s loyalty toward the Northern dominated LTTE leadership and made him more willing to defect. Interestingly, the cooption of the Karuna faction also demonstrated the openness of the GOSL to settlements with insurgents who were willing to accept pragmatic and status-quo preserving solutions. This was made apparent through the fact that the defector Karuna and his faction were allowed to stay on as governors of a partially devolved Eastern province within a united Sri Lanka.40 However, the pragmatic nature of the Karuna faction was not applicable to the LTTE’s Northern leadership. Since the Northern Province was the historic support base of the movement, the LTTE’s leaders, especially     13 its overall commander Vellupillai Prabhakaran, clung resolutely to demands for autonomy and/or independence.41 These demands were seen as outside the GOSL’s status-quo parameters and as a result the government felt it could not reach negotiated settlement with the remaining Northern faction.  Turning then to the question of why specifically the LTTE leadership’s demands were non-status quo requires considering the possible range of settlement options the GOSL could accept given the country’s constitutional framework. The LTTE’s leadership wanted Tamil Eelam, a separate and independent state carved out of the Tamil majority provinces of North and Eastern Sri Lanka.42 Moreover, the leadership demanded it be given immediate full political and economic control (de facto autonomy or statehood) before the consideration of any settlement.43 However, this was unacceptable under the unitary structure of the Sri Lankan state as specified in the Sri Lankan constitution.44 Any granting of autonomy, let alone statehood, would have to be approved via a constitutional amendment that would have required the support of two thirds of the country’s parliament. This was politically unacceptable to the Sinhalese majority legislature. Even if a settlement were possible within the GOSL’s status-quo parameters the LTTE’s leadership had demonstrated through the breaking of past agreements that it did not have sufficient credibility of commitment. Over the course of the country’s civil war from 1983 to 2009, there were a total of six rounds of peace talks between the GOSL and the LTTE, all of which failed to produce a formal agreement save the final round which produced the five year (2002-2008) Cease Fire Agreement (CFA).45 During this period of ceasefire it was the LTTE that was the first to violate the agreement with the resumption of child soldier recruitment and the assassinations of rivals within the Tamil community,     14 both of which were prohibited under the CFA.46 Furthermore, the LTTE resumed its terrorist attacks against the government while both sides claimed to still be party to the ceasefire: in August 2005 former foreign minister Lakshuman Kadirgamar was murdered, on 25 April 2006 a suicide bomber disguised as being heavily pregnant blew herself up outside the Army’s headquarters in central Colombo, killing 11, and seriously wounding Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.47 Then, in August of that same year the deputy head of the government peace secretariat Kethesh Loganathan was killed, and in late July the LTTE shut off water from a sluice gate at Mavil Aru threatening the water supply for farmers in the Eastern province.48 While the GOSL was also guilty of its share of ceasefire violations, overall, the LTTE was responsible for the majority of the breaches.49 Furthermore, the LTTE had consistently used periods of de facto and formal ceasefire in bad faith, using lulls in the conflict to rearm for further military action.50 Simply put, the LTTE’s leadership had demonstrated it was not able and/or willing to commit to any agreement both past and present, which greatly undermined the prospect for cooption of the remaining Northern faction after Karuna’s defection. The remaining option to address the Northern bloc of the LTTE was, barring a fundamental change in political circumstances, to continue with COIN. Therefore, it is important to consider how the competition between the GOSL and the LTTE for the legitimacy perceptions of Tamils affected the utility of COIN in the final war.      15 2.2 Local support: the decline of legitimacy perceptions for the GOSL and the LTTE during the final war (2007-2009) The aforementioned logic regarding local legitimacy and support for insurgencies is supported by evidence from Sri Lanka in the final war. As Stephen Battle asserts, the LTTE’s legitimacy among locals (Sri Lankan Tamils) fell to such low levels the population would not offer it sanctuary against the advancing GOSL forces.51 However, what this analysis does not take into account is the legitimacy perception of the state, which was also held in low regard among locals.52 This dyadic interaction resulted in government forces gaining the upper hand. As such, consideration of the downward slide of both actors’ legitimacy perceptions among locals is important in explaining how the GOSL defeated the LTTE. Starting with the LTTE, while the movement’s downward local legitimacy shift had its roots in the mid to late 1980s, with its increasing resort to violence to maintain political control (Table 1), it was during the period immediately prior to and during the final war that the movement experienced a rapid negative legitimacy shift among Tamils. This was because the LTTE lost social licence and used excessive force over locals. The first cause of the LTTE’s illegitimacy among locals was a lack of social licence; the movement had weak political control over its captured territories and poor social service provision to Tamils during and up to the movement’s peak in 2006. Beginning with political control, the LTTE failed to exert meaningful governance over the wide swathe of territory it had conquered from the GOSL.53 On the surface this would appear not to be the case, as, by 2006, the LTTE had conquered almost one quarter of Sri Lanka. While the movement had set up its own civilian administration, with its own     16 shadow government ministries to compete with those of Colombo, it did not exert unrivalled control over its captured territories. In fact, the LTTE exercised total control over only two districts, Mulaithivu and Kilinochchi. In the districts of Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Batticalao, and Amparai the LTTE had only partial administrative control with the GOSL running the majority of administrative services in these remaining areas. This lack of administrative monopoly in the LTTE’s territory seriously undermined the movement’s legitimacy among Tamils, who saw no clear governing authority in power. This poor administrative ability of the LTTE stemmed from the fact its state-building project had one primary focus: the building up and maintenance of its war machine. There was little thought given to the socioeconomic development for the LTTE’s Tamil constituents. As a result of the LTTE's overt military focus, social service provision for Tamils living in the LTTE’s controlled areas suffered. The LTTE only provided the most basic services, offering locals a police force, judicial system, bank, and controlled media outlets.54 Other social services, such as “the registration of births, deaths, and marriages; health and hospital facilities; education; water and sanitation; transport of essential food and non-food items” were provided by the GOSL.55  In fact, there was an unofficial understanding between the GOSL civil servants operating in rebel territory and the LTTE that Tiger political officers were in charge. This did not change the fact, however, that it was the GOSL and not the LTTE that played the primary role in socioeconomic development for Tamils, as paltry as these programs were compared to Sinhalese areas of the island. Tamil civilians, therefore, increasingly saw the LTTE as disconnected from the concerns of their everyday lives—the LTTE’s leadership was not able to think beyond     17 maintaining levels of subsistence living conditions for its Tamil "citizens."56 Instead, the leadership utilized all of the resources it collected from Tamils for the war effort. The LTTE’s failure, therefore, to earn social licence among Tamils through the unrivalled political control of its territories and through an adequate provision of social services undermined its ability to win over the mass support it needed to defend against COIN. Secondly, the LTTE’s rapid downward legitimacy shift in the final war was attributed to its excessive use of force against Tamils. This was largely due to the fact that the LTTE had become desperate. Once the SLAF began its offensive in 2007, the insurgency began to rapidly loose military engagements and core territories to government forces. Furthermore, unlike in the three previous wars, the LTTE could not rely on funding from the Tamil diaspora—a loss of legitimacy among transnational Tamils coupled with a global crackdown on LTTE fundraising abroad, cut off the Tiger’s main revenue stream.57 The result was that the LTTE turned to the local population to maintain material support for its failing war effort by using extreme levels of force to maximize resource allocation.58 For example, the LTTE used Tamil civilians as human shields to protect LTTE assets.59 The LTTE’s cadres also shot and killed Tamils civilians fleeing the conflict zone to deter/prevent the escape of the population, which the organization relied on as a revenue and recruitment source.60 There were also incidences in which the LTTE prevented civilians from fleeing areas they knew would come under government attack and see significant civilian casualties. In fact, this practice was a premeditated strategy as the LTTE leadership hoped massive Tamil civilian causalities would draw international attention and force a globally imposed ceasefire. Furthermore, the LTTE would use lethal force to punish Tamil civilians that refused to fight for them     18 or otherwise refuse to act within their interest. As a consequence, the LTTE lost any remaining support it had among the local population, lost its place of sanctuary and was vulnerable to conventional attack. However, while the LTTE had low levels of legitimacy during the final war, the state maintained, if not deepened, its own low legitimacy position among Tamils. The state’s low legitimacy was also a result of its failure to provide meaningful socioeconomic development to Tamils and its own resort to brutal military force in the endgame of the final war (January 2009-May 2009). Considering the state more closely then, the GOSL’s local legitimacy also suffered as a result of its failure to bring about meaningful development for Tamils in the North and Eastern provinces. While it controlled the vast majority of social service provision in the LTTE’s conquered areas, the Tamil regions remained in comparative terms the poorest in the country.61 Furthermore, discriminatory government policies largely prevented Tamils from improving their lot. Tamils were barred from entering into government employment unless they spoke fluent Sinhala (most Tamils did not), and Tamil students were denied university entrance thanks to a government imposed quota system favouring Sinhalese entrants.62 Despite this relative deprivation, the primary cause for the GOSL’s low legitimacy among Tamils was a result of its long history of abuse against locals. Adding to this, however, was the fact that Colombo, in the final months of the war, was waging COIN at levels of extra-legality and militarization that had never before been seen on the island.63 It was the playing out of the Sri Lankan Option. The Option effectively began with the flouting of international humanitarian law. From January 2009 to May 2009 the GOSL forcibly moved hundreds of thousands of     19 Tamil civilians into government-declared No Fire Zones (NFZs), before unilaterally changing these zones’ boundaries to allow for the firing of artillery against LTTE positions. These draw downs of the NFZs were done until the remaining population of the Vanni, some 330,000 civilians, comprised of 81,000 Tamil families, were trapped within an area no larger than Manhattan’s Central Park—all whilst the SLAF shelled LTTE forces in the immediate area. The SLAF’s use of heavy weapons in the Zones resulted in the shelling of civilians and humanitarian structures on dozens of recorded occasions. Those killed or wounded in these mortar barrages were not active combats, but rather many of them “were children, women, the wounded, and the elderly who were undernourished, without proper shelter and [who] had been on the run for months.”64 These attacks occurred despite the fact that the GOSL had knowledge from multiple sources of the civilian nature of these targets: aerial images; direct lines of sight; and communications from the UN and the ICRC. Exact casualty figures are difficult to attain as international and non-governmental organizations were shut out from the conflict zone by the GOSL, but it is estimated that tens of thousands of Tamil civilians died in the government’s final assault on the LTTE. Shockingly, despite these high numbers of Tamil causalities, and the repeated UN and ICRC warnings to Colombo that the SLAF was shelling civilians, the government maintained the façade of “legitimacy” by denying it was targeting civilians and by claiming it was “liberating” Tamils from the oppressive rule of a terrorist organization.65 It is apparent from this snapshot of the endgame of the war that the GOSL’s legitimacy position among Tamils became even more negative despite its feigned attempts at projecting a cover of legitimacy for its military operations. However, the     20 utility of the GOSL’s COIN benefited from the fact that the LTTE was also perceived negatively by the Tamil population, especially in the endgame of the war.66  This was the decisive factor in the success of the government’s militarily-driven COIN. Since the LTTE had fouled up its legitimacy among locals, insurgents could not rely on a supportive population to provide sanctuary as the GOSL’s forces advanced into Tiger territory. Furthermore, once the LTTE’s leadership and cadres were cordoned within an area the size of Manhattan’s Central Park, the Tiger’s political space was no longer large enough for insurgents to seek sanctuary. This lack of local support coupled with the rapidly shrinking size of the LTTE’s territories were the main reasons for why a guerrilla phase of the war did not take root—the movement did not have a pliant host population or a territory large enough to host it. As a result, the SLAF was able to isolate members of the LTTE from the local population and fight the organization openly and conventionally until the insurgency’s defeat in May 2009.  The wider lesson is that the LTTE (and, as a result, insurgencies more generally) was more vulnerable to low local legitimacy perceptions than the state. The GOSL could continue COIN under conditions of low local support (barring, perhaps, the extreme case of popular revolt) while the LTTE could not continue to operate as a viable insurgency under such conditions of low local regard.   Summarizing the Sri Lankan case on local legitimacy dynamics, the LTTE-GOSL conflict suggests two hypotheses regarding how the LTTE was defeated: (1) cooption: the GOSL gained relative legitimacy advantage over the LTTE’s leadership among the Eastern rank-and-file and was able to co-opt these insurgents into the state, mitigating the need for COIN;67 (2) local support: the LTTE’s defensibility against COIN was     21 dependent on high levels of local legitimacy, while the GOSL was less reliant on such levels of legitimacy to wage COIN, except under theoretical conditions of extreme negativity (popular revolt).68  Table 2: Local legitimacy perceptions of the GOSL and the LTTE during the final war (2007-2009)  ACTOR AUDIENCE State: (GOSL) Insurgency: (LTTE) RESULT: (Sri Lankan Case) Rank-and-file of insurgency: (cadre members and lower to middle leadership) Holds at low High to low (among Eastern faction) State advantage: The GOSL’s cooption of Karuna faction mitigated need for COIN by reducing number of insurgents state had to contest against. Only Northern hard-line faction remained, who were not open to cooption because of non-status quo demands and poor credibility of commitment in past agreements.  Aggrieved minority population: (Sri Lankan Tamils) Low to lower High to low State advantage: The LTTE moved from high to low because of lack of social licence and excessive force against Tamils. State moved from low to lower because of its own failure at equitable social service provision and its rampant human rights abuses against Tamils. Ultimately, however, the LTTE was more vulnerable to low local support as it lost sanctuary while the state could continue to prosecute COIN regardless of locals’ perceptions.        22 Chapter 3: Thailand and the Patani insurgency (2001-present)  3.1 Brief backgrounder to the conflict Thailand’s Patani insurgency is based in the country’s Deep South provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, and purports to represent the grievances of Thai Malay Muslims against the Government of the Republic of Thailand (GRT). Historically, the Patani insurgency in Southern Thailand has been motivated by more than a half century of ethno-religious discrimination by Bangkok against Malay Muslims, revolving around attempts at the forced assimilation of this group into the Thai Buddhist majority state.69 Consequently, there have been several waves of rebellion in the South since the incorporation of the Sultanate of Patani into Thailand (then Siam) in 1902.70 More recently, the 1980s to mid 90s saw a wave of insurgency that fused Patani independence with Marxist ideals. The GRT managed to quell this outbreak by offering a highly successful amnesty and DDR (disarm, demobilize, and reintegration) program for the communist guerrillas.71 However, in 2004 the insurgency re-emerged with a stronger Islamic flavour, when in May of that year militants launched a raid on a Thai military storage bunker stealing over 400 firearms, including M16 assault rifles.72  The return of an active Patani insurgency is largely blamed on Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose policies of dismantling the conflict management structures of the Deep South likely re-stoked Malay Muslim grievances.73 As such, while there is a great deal of history surrounding the default local legitimacy positions of the GRT and the Patani insurgency, this essay focuses on the legitimacy dynamics of the conflict’s recent escalation, which is taken to commence with the election of Thaksin in January 2001.74     23 Since 2004, the conflict has registered approximately 9,400 attacks that have killed some 3,900 Southerners and injured more than 6,200.75  3.2 Cooption: the Patani insurgency, a movement highly resistant to cooption Overall the Patani insurgency is highly resistant to cooption because of the extreme loyalty of the movement’s rank-and-file, assumed non-status quo demands of the insurgent leadership and the near impossibility of gauging the leadership’s credibility of commitment.  Firstly, the rank-and-file of the Patani insurgency are incredibly loyal as they are highly resistant to any bifurcation of interests with that of the leadership. In fact, members of the insurgency are indoctrinated in an extremist version of Islam that incorporates local customs of mysticism with radical political goals making for strong unity of interest between the rank-and-file and the leadership.76 Such local customs include rituals of intense prayer to make fighters invisible and invincible, giving militants a rationale to precipitate in attacks that would otherwise be considered suicidal.77 While the communist insurgencies that plagued Thailand in the 1980s and 90s were largely open to bifurcation and cooption by appealing to the rank-and-file’s economic incentives (with the government implementing a highly successful amnesty program directed at job placement for co-opted members),78 the Patani insurgency, with its high levels of religiously inspired loyalty, cannot be appealed to with such economic inducements.79 In fact, Islam has served as a unifier over the types of intra-movement differences that previously existed in the era of the Marxist insurgencies. As a result, there appears to be no significant disagreements within the movement. Without such disagreements over the     24 mistreatment of certain castes, differences in ideology or goals there are no splinter groups within the rank-and-file that the state can vie for the loyalty of. Members of the insurgency are even required to swear an oath of secrecy on the Koran to keep details of the movement secret. The Patani leadership, whoever they are, have successfully capitalized on the Islamic devoutness of young Thai Malay Muslim men, in combination with a radical religious-political indoctrination program, to create near impenetrable loyalty of the rank-and-file.  Secondly, cooption is hindered by the fact that the demands of the Patani insurgency’s leadership are unclear, and assumed to be non-status quo. When overall objectives are unknown, it is highly difficult for the state to formulate concessions to bring about political settlement. Based on the few hard materials captured from bodies of slain rank-and-file members, the insurgent leadership’s objectives are assumed to be independence for the Southern provinces along with the implementation of Shari'a law.80 Given that Thailand is a unitary state with a formal separation between church and state the acceptance of independence (or even autonomy for that matter) and Shari’a law in the Deep South falls outside the GRT’s status quo parameters.81 In fact, according to interviews of government officials by the International Crisis Group (ICG), the tense polarization of Thai politics, characterized by the competition for state power between the Thaksin supporting Red Shirts and the royalist-nationalist Yellow Shirts, means that consideration of autonomy would be political suicide for the current Abhisit government.82 This is because such a discussion would likely prompt a backlash from the conservative Yellow Shirts, as it did when the government opened talks with Cambodia for a proposed development around the disputed territory at the Preah Vihear temple.83 A     25 public discussion on autonomy for Malay Muslims would also give the opposition Red Shirts an issue to capitalize on and mobilize greater support for its anti-government protests.84 Already the Red Shirts’ protest actions have brought large sections of the Thai capital to a virtual standstill with mass demonstrations and occupations of government buildings. Another limitation on the state to consider the autonomy option for the Deep South is that such an arrangement would be a hard pill for the military to swallow. Traditionally the military has preferred full control over the “Patani problem” as it generates income for the armed forces in the form of increased government military expenditure.85 If recent history is any example, with the 2006 military-led coup d’état against former-Prime Minister Thaksin, a civilian government promoting policies in the South contrary to the preferences of the army is loath to last long in Bangkok.86 And, thirdly, even if the state was willing and able to offer autonomy to the Patani leadership, the movement is so secretive that it would be almost impossible to gauge the leadership’s credibility of commitment to such a settlement.87 A primary reason why the Patani insurgency leadership has non-existent credibility is because there is no centralized hierarchical control over the movement. Rather, the Patani movement has an incredibly decentralized structure with considerable decision making powers given to local commanders. Each cell in the movement is comprised of roughly 10 to 15 men,88 and is completely isolated—it has no contact with other cells or the leadership.89 In fact, commanders of each cell are left to plan and execute their own attacks against the GRT and receive no orders from higher ups. Given this decentralized and non-hierarchical structure of the Patani movement and its leadership, it is nearly impossible for the GRT to     26 determine with what effect, if any, the leadership could get members of the rank-and-file to disarm if a peace deal were even possible. A secondary reason why the leadership’s credibility is hard to qualify is that it has no track record of agreements with the GRT. In fact, the leadership is highly enigmatic.90 No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks carried out in the Southern region, and, moreover, Bangkok has been unable to gain much intelligence on who is leading the insurgency. According to Liow, the leadership has remained an “unknown” on purpose; it has not reached out for the olive branch offered by the government because it believes it currently holds the strategic advantage.91 This indicates that the Patani leadership may see no reason to negotiate with the GRT, which does not bode well for cooption. It is extremely difficult for the GRT to negotiate peace with an insurgency it knows almost nothing about. Therefore, similarly to the Northern hold-out faction of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, it appears the Patani insurgency is a movement that cannot be co-opted for three reasons: (1) the unity of interest between the rank-and-file and the movement’s upper ranks; (2) the believed non-status quo objectives of the leadership; and, (3) the non- existence of this leadership’s credibility.  3.3 Local support: Stalemate between the GRT and the Patani insurgency for the loyalty of Thai Malay Muslims For COIN to succeed in Southern Thailand, the Sri Lankan example demonstrates how the competition for local legitimacy is key in producing tactical advantage or disadvantage on the battlefield. Unlike the Sri Lankan case, however, in Thailand neither actor has managed to gain a relative legitimacy advantage amongst the local population     27 (Thai Malay Muslims), resulting in conditions of military stalemate between the GRT and the Patani insurgency. This is because both the GRT and the Patani insurgency have failed to earn social licence amongst locals and have used excessive force in trying to assert political control. This has resulted in a weak sanctuary effect that only allows the Patani insurgency to wage low intensity guerrilla war, while, at the same time, still manages to prevent the state from decisively separating insurgents from the local population.92 Firstly, however, when it comes to social service provision, it is important to distinguish that Malay Muslims have a distinct prioritization in mind. Essentially, Malay Muslims are so frustrated by the ongoing violence that they perceive their own physical security as the public good of prime importance. This means that Malay Muslims would support either of the competitive actors provided they could give them the peace necessary for the pursuit of economic interests. One Thai officer claims that 10 percent [of Malay Muslims] support violence in pursuit of succession; while, another 10 percent oppose the use of violence altogether; and, 80 percent would “support the side that is able to protect their lives and property, so they can live and work peacefully.”93 General Kitti Rattanachaya of the Thai Armed Forces comments that “people will always be [siding] with those who have power. If we are stronger, they will be with us. If [the insurgents] are stronger, people with be with them.”94 Clarifying further on this power dynamic, local officials have stated that “it was not so much that indigenous Malays actively supported the insurgents or shared their aspiration for an independent state; it was just that they feared and resented the police and military more.”95 This is not atypical for an insurgency, when we consider that the LTTE started off with a high legitimacy position     28 among locals because of its claim to represent Tamil grievances.96 Rather, in Thailand, it appears that Malay Muslims yearn more for peace more than for armed struggle to assuage past and current grievances.97 This dynamic has meant that the Patani insurgency is only held in slightly higher regard than the GRT among locals, as only a minority of Malay Muslims in the Deep South’s rural areas actively support the insurgency.98 It also suggests that whichever actor can bring the public good of peace and stability to Malay Muslims will effectively win their loyalty.99 As a result, conditions of stalemate exist between the competitive actors for locals’ support, as neither side can deliver the “public peace goods” Malay Muslims desire. This competitive failure therefore warrants further consideration, as it would explain why neither actor has gained a dominant legitimacy position.  Commencing with the state, the GRT has failed to deliver the public good of peace to Malay Muslims because of bad policies at the local level often dictated by state level politics. By the mid to late 1990s Bangkok had created a civilian controlled institutional structure in the South that was effective at mitigating conflict and maintaining a measure of peace. This structure was comprised of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) and the 43rd Civilian Police Military Command.100 The effectiveness of these institutions stemmed from the fact they were both placed under civilian oversight, included Malay Muslim representatives, improved coordination among agencies, provided DDR programs for militants, and ensured accountability to locals for the inappropriate conduct of Thai military and state officials.101 The measure of peace brought by these institutions served to enhance the state’s legitimacy perception among Malay Muslims and earned the GRT a measure of     29 local support that fell at best within the neutral range. If the state had maintained this relatively higher legitimacy perception, it would have been in a far better position to counter the Patani insurgency which resurged in 2004. However, the election of Thaksin as Prime Minister in 2001 saw the dismantlement of these conflict management institutions and, as a result, the unravelling of the measure of public peace the GRT had been able to provide Malay Muslims. Thaksin dismantled the SBPAC and the 43rd Command because he saw them as a base of support for his political rivals in the Deep South, as the region had widely voted for the opposition Democratic Party.102 Devoid of the only institutional means to mitigate grievance in the region, the insurgency soon resurfaced, with a May 2004 raid on a Thai military bunker signalling a renewed violent phase of the Patani conflict. While Thaksin’s successor, Abhisit Vejjajiva (elected in December 2008), restored a similarly styled conflict resolution structure in the South, it was placed under the control of the military instead of civilians, circumscribing a restoration of state legitimacy among Malay Muslims.103 Without this measure of local legitimacy and support, the renewed conflict management structure under Abhisit did not prove as effective as its civilian-led forbearers, and, as a result, has done little to improve the security situation in the South. It appears the GRT sabotaged its own local legitimacy position as a result of giving primacy to state level concerns. While, pre-Thaksin, the GRT had earned a measure of relative local support (neutrality) through its provision of a limited public peace, by changing the Deep South’s institutional structure the GRT undermined security for Malay Muslims. This effectively caused the GRT’s legitimacy position amongst locals to slide from the neutral range to a position of low regard.     30 Turning to the insurgency, the failure of the Patani insurgency to deliver public peace goods to locals stems from the fact that, like the LTTE, the Patani movement is focused almost entirely on the war effort and gives little attention to the provision of physical security for Malay Muslims, or, for that matter, any other form of social services. This is attributed to a bifurcation of interests between the Patani insurgency and Malay Muslims: the insurgents are focused on achieving their goal of independence militarily while the majority of Malay Muslims would settle for autonomy under a peaceful political process.104 As such, any “institutional” structure the insurgency builds is to facilitate the movement’s military objective of succession—it is not focused on providing aid to the locals. In fact it is the state, and not the insurgency, that provides basic social services to Malay Muslims, such as funding for Islamic education. This is significant as Islamic schools are regarded by Malay Muslims as central institutions for the preservation of their culture and identity.105 And yet, it is the GRT, despite its Buddhist bias, that provides a great deal of the funding for Islamic schools in the Deep South (albeit, with some secular conditionality attached). The rest of the funding for these schools comes mainly from private donors in Middle Eastern countries.  In fact, rather then attempting to deliver the “peace goods” Malay Muslims desire, the Patani insurgency’s actions have served to undermine local security. This has occurred through the insurgency’s constant attacks against police and military outposts, and bombings of civilian targets, such as hotels and market places, which cause the deaths of countless civilian Muslims.106 The Patani insurgency has therefore served to heighten locals’ sense of physical insecurity and threat to life.   However, the failure of both actors to achieve social licence through provision of public peace is not the only     31 reason why the GRT and the insurgency have failed to earn dominant legitimacy positions. It is also the case that both actors have utilized excessive levels of force in attempting to gain or maintain political control in the region. These high levels of coercion have undermined both actors’ prospects for gaining widespread support among locals, which is needed to obtain an upper hand in the conflict. First in considering the state, widespread human rights abuses by the GRT in its military operations in the Deep South immediately prior to, and after the insurgent resurgence of 2004, has damaged the state’s standing among locals. This first started when the Thai military used the war on drugs as a cover to launch a heavily militarized and extralegal crackdown on suspected members and supporters of the Patani insurgency. Between February and August 2003, the security forces engaged in anti-trafficking operations in the Deep South, which resulted in the deaths of 2,275 Southerners. Thousands more were “arbitrarily arrested, blacklisted or disappeared.”107 Many of those killed and/or arrested are alleged to have had little and or nothing to do with the drug trade. As violence continued to escalate in the region, Thaksin declared a series of draconian-like laws in the south which became a second source of excessive government force against locals.108 These draconian laws included the declaration of martial law in the south, an emergency decree, and the Internal Security Act (ISA). As a result, state security forces had extraordinary extra-legal powers in the Deep South to curb the insurgency and its supporters.109 These powers led to widespread human rights abuses, documented in the reports of the ICG, and served to further undermine state legitimacy among locals.110 While the Abhisit government has presently lifted martial law, the extralegal powers granted by the emergency decree and the ISA remain and human rights     32 abuses against Malay Muslims, while somewhat abated, still continue. Therefore, an additional source for Bangkok’s downward sliding local legitimacy position is the human rights abuses committed by its security forces. However, the Patani movement has also resorted to the excessive use of force in the Deep South to assert control, which in addition to its lack of social licence, is a secondary cause for its lack of wide-ranging support among locals. This is primarily because the insurgency advocates and enforces through violence a repressive version of Islam.111 While the insurgency has tried to elicit local support by targeting venues associated with Western decadence and anti-Islamic values such as “drinking houses, gambling halls [and] karaoke bars,”112 the indiscriminate nature of the attacks, which have killed many Malay Muslims, has failed to foster the broader support base the insurgency desires.113 In fact, the use of young Islamic men in suicide attacks has undermined the legitimacy of the insurgency, as such attacks are perceived by the community as a waste of young life.114 Furthermore, the Taliban-like effort of the Patani insurgency to destroy societal fabric by breeding religious control through “fear, conflict and hatred” is not popular among locals.115 Malay Muslims, who practice Sufi Islam, perceive ultra-conservative interpretations of Islam, such as the Salafism central to groups like al-Qaeda, as antithetic and even a threat to local religious practice and culture.116 This is interesting, as the insurgency, with its primacy given to Shari’a law, should have an advantage over the state among Malay Muslims. This is especially so given that Malay Muslims do not perceive a formal separation between mosque and state.117 However, the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam the Patani movement subscribes to has alienated what should nominally be a solid support base.118 As such, the     33 movement has only managed to rally up pockets of rural support in the Deep South’s border provinces. For example, one estimate suggests the movement has only 1,000 insurgents, who exert control over a mere 247 villages.119 A more “official estimate” from Thai police suggests there is roughly 3,000 insurgents, potentially operating in some 500 villages.120 Furthermore, members of the Thai military believe that “few villagers are militants or even strong supports of the insurgency.”121 While there are some rural areas of Narathiwat Province in which government officials will not venture (ceding it as almost completely under insurgent control), the above figures suggest that, in the Southern provinces as a whole, the sanctuary effect for the Patani insurgency is quite limited.122 While the insurgency may enjoy support from rural pockets in the Southern provinces, it is clear the movement has failed to connect at a broader level among locals because of its lack of social licence and use of force in pushing for a repressive variant of Islam. As such, it has not managed to rally up the general support needed among Malay Muslims to wage a full fledged guerrilla war. The conflict has therefore remained described as low intensity.123  3.4 Recent developments Overall, the competition for legitimacy among locals in Southern Thailand is presently at a critical stage. While the Sri Lankan case demonstrates the state has advantage in a low (state)-low (insurgency) legitimacy environment, the Thai experience shows us that when the state is in a low legitimacy position and the insurgency in a neutral one, conditions of stalemate are created that prevent decisive advantage on the battlefield for either actor.124 The state is unable to separate insurgents from the local population because of the fact the     34 movement is small and rurally based—it can essentially “hideout” in the countryside125 This also means, however, that the insurgency remains unable to rally the mass support it needs to move beyond “hit and run” type attacks.126 As a result, whichever actor is able to improve its position in relative terms among locals will quickly gain the upper hand in the conflict.  The leadership of the Patani insurgency is attempting to do exactly this—it seeks to improve it relative legitimacy position among locals by provoking a government crackdown in the Deep South, one that would likely push Malay Muslims onto the insurgency’s side.127 The use of asymmetric warfare by insurgencies is typically aimed at manipulating the reaction of the state to the benefit of the insurgency. With this tactic in mind, the insurgency has taken to attacking Buddhist settlers in the South in order to stoke communal tensions between Buddhists and Muslims.128 If wider inter-communal conflict breaks out in the South, the government would face extreme pressure from the country’s majority Thai Buddhist population to respond with force to protect the settlers. Such a crackdown would prove incredibly unpopular among Malay Muslims, and would likely give the insurgency the widespread local support it needs to wage higher intensity guerrilla war.129 The government must therefore be extremely careful in its COIN operations to ensure they are legally circumscribed and not seen as overly heavy handed amongst locals. Otherwise, the GRT risks playing into the Machiavellian designs of the insurgency.        35 Table 3: Local legitimacy perceptions of the GRT and Patani insurgency (2001- present)  ACTOR  AUDIENCE State: (GRT) Insurgency: (Patani) RESULT: (Thai case) Rank-and-file of insurgency: (cadre members and lower to middle leadership) Holds at low Holds at high Insurgency Advantage: Patani insurgency leadership has harnessed religious devoutness of young Malay Muslim men, in combination with radical political-religious indoctrination, to make rank-and-file highly resistant to cooption. Non- status quo demands of leadership and its enigmatic nature (hard to gauge credibility) make peace settlement unlikely.  Aggrieved minority population: (Thai Malay Muslims) Neutral to low Holds at neutral  Stalemate: Pre-Thaksin (2001) the GRT had earned a measure of relative support (neutrality) among locals through fragile peace attained via conflict management institutions. However, when Thaksin dismantled these institutions, and the state resorted to excessive force to contain the ensuing breakdown of the peace, the GRT undermined its own legitimacy position. The insurgency, through its own failure to provide locals with peace and its own excessive use of force, has also failed to win anything more than general apathy. Result is neither side has strategic advantage.         36 Chapter 4: the Philippines and the Moro insurgency (1996- present)  4.1: Brief backgrounder to the conflict The Moro insurgency of the Philippines is based in the archipelago’s Mindanao region. It purports to represent the grievances of Moros of primarily Muslim decent against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). Muslim Moros have been fighting for self rule for over 325 years, as their Sultanate was occupied by first Spanish, American, and then Philippine forces.130 The most recent phase of the conflict stems from the colonization of the island of Mindanao by Christian Filipinos from the North. While at the beginning of the 20th century Moros represented the majority ethnic group on the island, today they account for less than 17 percent of the population, with Christians outnumbering the natives three to one.131 The only provinces on Mindanao that maintain majority Muslim populations are on the Western cusp of the island, and on the surrounding smaller islands of the Mindanao-Sulu archipelago.132 These demographic changes are representative of the extent to which the historic lands of the Moros (referred to by locals as ancestral domain) have been lost to the Christian Filipino settlers. As a result of this conflict over land ownership, some 120,000 people have died since 1970.133 While the Philippines is rife with insurgent movements, the most recent expression of the ethno-religious Moro insurgency is represented by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).134 As such, transnational jihadi groups, such as Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Jemaah Islamiah (JI), and the Maoist movement under the New People’s Army (NPA), are beyond the scope of this essay. Additionally, because this     37 thesis does not account for transnational inputs, the role of US forces in the Philippines is not addressed. Nonetheless, it should be noted that US and GRP forces are engaged in joint COIN operations on the surrounding Western islands of the Mindanao-Sulu archipelago, primarily against the jihadist ASG and JI.135 However, these exercises exclude military action against the MILF. Therefore, in order to focus on recent in-state legitimacy dynamics of the Moro conflict, the 1996 enactment of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is taken as the crucial benchmark.136 This is because the ARMM, created by a peace treaty between the GRP and the MILF’s predecessor, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), was designed to address Moro grievances over contested property rights and relative underdevelopment on the island. It failed on both counts, and therefore is a primary reference point from which to measure contemporary sources of Moro grievance and conflict.  4.2 Cooption: the MILF, an insurgency open to settlement Beginning with state efforts at cooption, interestingly, unlike the LTTE and the Patani insurgencies, there is little competition between the government and the leadership of the MILF for the loyalty (cooption) of rank-and-file members. This is because the MILF’s leadership is open to wholesale cooption of the movement through political settlement with the GRP.137  Bifurcation of interests, therefore, between the MILF’s leadership and the rank-and-file and the potential for defections is a non-issue. As such, the analysis on cooption focuses on the nature of the MILF’s leadership which is argued to be highly open to cooption for two reasons: its demands fit within the status quo parameters of the     38 Philippine state and it has demonstrated high credibility of commitment. The MILF’s openness to cooption, therefore, stands in stark contrast to that of the LTTE and the Patani movement, whose leaderships had/have non-status quo demands and low credibility of commitment.  Firstly, the nature of the MILF leadership’s demands will be considered. While the present objectives of the leadership fit within the status quo, this was not always the case. After its 1984 split from its now largely neutralized parent group the MNLF, the MILF’s original objective was non-status quo.138 The movement sought a separate Islamic state for the majority Muslim areas of the Southern Philippines under the rule of Shari’a law. This was outside the status quo parameters of the GRP because the Philippine constitution stipulated the country to be a unitary state with no mechanism for succession or autonomy.139 However, instead of pursuing this non-status quo goal, the MILF’s leadership, in September 2010, after years of fighting, announced it was moving toward a less radical endgame that could fit within the Philippines’ constitution. This new objective was made clear by the statements of the chief negotiator for the MILF on the peace panel, Mohag her Iqbal, who stated that the MILF has now dropped its demand for independence and instead seeks status as a sub-state within a Philippine “unitary government.”140 Iqbal has given few additional details as to the exact nature of the proposed sub-state’s relationship with Manila, merely asserting that the sub-state would not wield crucial powers held by the central government such as “foreign affairs, national defence, currency and postal services.”141  In private, many of the MILF’s leaders have expressed such a desire for a similarly styled sub-state as early as February 2009.142 These leaders described the nature of the purposed sub-state to resemble that of Puerto     39 Rico’s relationship with the US. However, it is unclear if the majority of the MILF’s leaders are in agreement for such a “Puerto Rican Option.” Despite the uncertainty over the details, the leadership’s dropping of its demand for independence is the key point in establishing the MILF’s new end-objective as within the status quo parameters of the GRP. Despite this uncertainty over the details for what a future relationship between a Moro sub-state and Manila would resemble, clarification can be gleamed from the Memorandum of Agreement for Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), a proposed treaty negotiated directly between the MILF’s leadership and the GRP’s executive. Under the agreement, the status quo preserving nature of the MILF leadership’s vision for a sub- state is laid out. The MILF would become governors of a newly created Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), which would incorporate Mindanao’s Muslim majority provinces and give the island’s Christian provinces the option of joining in with a plebiscite. Under the treaty the BJE would be self governing, receive federal funding, have control over local development projects, and split the proceeds of the island’s rich resources with Manila.143 The fact that both parties were willing to come to such an advanced and finalized stage of negotiation under the MOA-AD shows that the MILF is willing to settle within status quo parameters that the current GRP’s executive would find acceptable. However, the judicial and legislative branches of the GRP did not view this agreement as within the status quo.  The reason why the judicial and legislative branches of the GRP found the MOA- AD unacceptable stems from the fact it was negotiated in secret between the GRP’s executive and the MILF’s leadership.144 When it was first presented to the public in the     40 summer of 2008, there was popular outrage and opposition to the agreement in the Philippine Senate.145 The final death knell came, however, when the Philippine Supreme Court ruled that the MOA-AD was unconstitutional, stating that the proposed BJE would lead to “eventual independence” and therefore violated the Philippines’ “physical and territorial integrity.”146 The failure, therefore, of the legislative and judicial branches to accept the proposed BJE under the MOA-AD demonstrated that, despite the flexibility of the current executive, under the Philippine’s current constitutional framework and political context only a minimalist autonomy option is feasible. Any future deal with the MILF rests on the GRP resolving the legal impasse in the courts surrounding the autonomy question.147 As a result, while the GRP’s executive and the MILF’s leadership continue negotiating, the central issue of territorial rights remains held up. This does not change the fact, however, that the MILF’s leadership is willing to make significant concessions on its demands to accommodate the GRP’s status quo parameters. If future negotiations were to include all relevant stakeholders on the government side, such as the legislature and the judiciary, it seems likely a new status quo preserving agreement could be reached with the MILF’s leadership.148 Secondly, the MILF’s leadership is open to cooption because it has demonstrated a good track record on prior agreements with the GRP. Such a track record is evident from the MILF’s leadership honouring the general cessation of hostilities in 1997 (which lasted three years until it was cancelled by the GRP) and the following Mutual Cessation of Hostilities signed in July 2003 by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.149 While the MILF initially took the blame for a series of terrorist attacks that included the Rizal Day bombings in 2000, an attack on Davao airport in 2003, and a ferry bombing in Manila’s     41 harbour in 2004, it was actually JI and ASG operatives that were responsible for those acts of violence. To be fair, though, it does appear some of these JI and ASG terrorists received safe haven within the MILF’s territory to train for the attacks.150 While some Philippine politicians assert this is reason to distrust the MILF leadership’s credibility, the insurgent leadership maintains that it was rogue commanders that gave refuge to JI and ASG trainees.151 While there does appear to be an issue with the MILF’s rogue commands (as I will shortly explain), on the whole the MILF has largely abided by the ceasefire, and has not participated directly in attacks against the wider Christian Filipino population. And thirdly, aside from the issue of the rogue commands, the MILF’s leadership has demonstrated its credibility through its hierarchical command structure that exerts a high level of control over the rank-and-file. While the structure of the organization is not centralized, the leadership is clearly defined and formalized in structured under the Central Committee, whose orders the majority of the MILF’s cadres are loyal to.152 In fact, Ebrahim Murad, leader of the MILF, has publically stated that the MILF’s militants are “united and committed to negotiation with the Philippine national government.”153 As such, it is estimated that out of the MILF’s total force of approximately 12,000 to 15,000,154 up to 9,000 to 12,000 fighters would disarm if a final settlement was signed, and that only some 3,000 fighters could potentially go rogue, joining the lost commands, ASG or JI.155 On the whole, therefore, the MILF’s leadership seems able to exert enough control over the rank-and-file to credibly commit to an agreement with the GRP—it can clearly get the majority of its rank-and-file members to disarm in the event a peace deal is signed. This fact, then, stands in addition to the MILF leadership’s openness to a status     42 quo preserving settlement and its good track record on prior agreements.  As such, the MILF’s leadership is highly open to cooption, mitigating if not removing entirely the need for the GRP to pursue COIN.  4.3 Local support: the MILF as a popular insurgency There are strong parallels between the MILF’s present legitimacy position among locals (Muslim Moros) and that of the LTTE among Tamils before the final phase of the Sri Lankan civil war. The MILF, like the LTTE in its early years after the anti-Tamil riots of 1983, enjoys a high measure of local support and territorial control.156 This is especially important given that the LTTE and the MILF were founded at roughly the same time in the late 1970s and early 1980s.157 And yet, the MILF has managed to maintain its high local legitimacy and territorial integrity while the LTTE was not. Given this parallel, it is important to consider if the MILF is in the same danger as the LTTE in loosing the support of locals and its defensibility against COIN. Overall, this does not appear to be the case, as the MILF, unlike the LTTE, has earned high social licence among Moros for three reasons: it seeks increased socioeconomic development in the Mindanao region, it rules via a political-religious authority that is compatible with locals’ beliefs, and it provides basic social services to its constituents. Moreover, the MILF has not used excessive force to maintain political control. As a result, the MILF has managed to maintain its high local legitimacy position. The GRP, on the other hand, has failed to relatively improve its own low default legitimacy position among locals. Its legitimacy has remained low since the enacting of the ARMM in 1996 and is due to poor social service provision, lack of legitimate political authority and high use of force to maintain     43 territorial control. These above legitimacy dynamics have led to a strong sanctuary effect for the MILF. In fact, if the peace talks were to break down it is likely that the MILF has enough mass support on Mindanao to wage high intensity guerrilla war.158  Firstly, then, this analysis of the two actors’ legitimacy position must consider the notion of social licence. While social licence is tied to social service provision and socioeconomic development, a prerequisite for such developmental aims hinges on property rights.159 Without a clear understanding of who owns what, infrastructural and social development schemes are almost impossible to effectively implement. Additionally, economic activity is greatly hindered without clear land ownership. For instance, it is exceedingly difficult for a Moro family owned farm to secure greater access to credit to expand operations, as ownership of the farm has passed down through undocumented means.160 Creditors would therefore be hesitant to lend to Moros as they cannot prove legal ownership of the lands they conduct business activities on.161 The resolution, therefore, of the issue of ancestral domain and property rights is key in addressing the relative underdevelopment of locals.162 In this respect the MILF has earned high local social licence, as it seeks to address the root problem of land rights that is behind the island’s underdevelopment.163 The GRP, on the other hand, with the failure of the ARMM to deliver tangible results, is seen as having failed in its efforts to resolve the issues of land ownership and relative deprivation. As a result, the GRP takes much of the blame for the present grievances of Muslim Mindanaoans. Commencing with the state, the lack of social licence the GRP has among Moros is caused by the failure of the GRP enacted ARMM to resolve the issue of ancestral domain.164 In 1996, the GRP, in negotiations with the MNLF, created the ARMM as a     44 devolved political sub-unit to not only give greater self rule to Muslim Moros, but also to provide a mechanism for the resolution of land disputes. However, the political powers of the ARMM and its land dispute resolution mechanism were designed by Manila to be incredibly weak. As such, this mechanism amounted to nothing more than the holding of referendums in the Christian majority regions that had colonized the historic lands of the Moro people.165 The purpose of the plebiscites was to give Christian majority communities a democratic process with which to opt in or out of the newly established ARMM. Unsurprisingly, Christian majority regions voted unanimously not to enter the ARMM, giving the new Muslim Moro governing body no political authority to resolve the issue of contested lands. The MILF, on the other hand, seeks to redress the failure of the ARMM to deal with the issue of ancestral domain by pushing for a more robust land dispute resolution mechanism through the creation of a new and expanded Moro sub-state, the BJE.166 This has made it highly popular among Moros who feel their lands have been invaded by Filipinos from the North.167 Details on how the MILF envisions the settlement of land rights under the BJE are expressed in the text of the MOA-AD.168 While the BJE would be comprised of the core Muslim areas that include the present ARMM, it would also give Christian majority villages with substantial and minority Muslim populations a referendum on joining the BJE after 25 years. While this is nothing new to what was achieved under the ARMM treaty, Christian majority villages would also be required to implement affirmative action programs for minority Muslims, potentially switching the demographics of the vote less out of the Moros favour by the 25 year deadline. More importantly, however, is the fact that regardless of the results of the plebiscites, all     45 Christian majority villages on Mindanao would be declared as technically within the ancestral domain of the BJE. Under such an arrangement, the BJE would have greater political authority to resolve property rights, as legal claims could be launched by Moros against Christian landholders. Therefore, the MILF’s efforts to resolve the issue of ancestral domain, by pushing the GRP for the creation of an enlarged and more politically independent Moro territory, has been a source for much of the MILF’s social legitimacy among locals. However, when the MOA-AD was rejected by the Philippine Supreme Court, the MILF took a hit to its local social standing. Soon after the announcement, three MILF commanders went rogue and attacked villages across a swathe of central Mindanao displacing over 390,000.169  Furthermore, extremism among young men increased as frustration brewed over the seemingly endless cycle of MILF-GRP negotiations with few tangible results.170 It is feared these angry young Moro men, if the MILF’s leadership is unable to address their frustration, could become radicalized and join the rogue commands or extremist jihadi groups of ASG and JI.171 While the MILF has maintained its position of high legitimacy among Moros because of its firm stance on the issue of ancestral domain, it is clear from the movement’s failure to deliver on the MOA-AD that cracks in its reputation are beginning to form. A second source of the high social licence the MILF enjoys is the nature of its political control and basic social service provision. On the point of political power, the fact that the MILF operates a shadow government under the dictates of Islamic law is an added source for its local legitimacy.172  This is because Moro Muslims, like the Malay Muslims of Southern Thailand, do not recognize a formal division between mosque and     46 state. Instead they perceive the legitimacy of the MILF’s political authority as partly stemming from its adherence to local interpretations of Shari’a law. Interestingly, this explains why the MILF has been able to use Shari’a law to rally its support base while the Patani insurgency has not—the Patani movement’s Taliban-like interpretation of Islamic law is seen as a foreign import by locals and non-representative of Malay Muslim customs.173 The MILF, on the other hand, is able to capitalize on Moros preference for non-secular governance by using local, rather than foreign, interpretations of Shari’a law to project the movement as more legitimate than the secular government of Manila. In terms of social services, the MILF provides a level of basic service provision to Moros that the GRP has long failed to supply. From a return on investment point of view, it makes sense that the MILF would provide basic services to its constituents.174 By providing these services the MILF maintains the loyalty of the Moro population, of which the movement is dependent on for tax revenues.175 While these services are basic and amount to no more than a functional judicial system under Shari’a law, physical security, and the granting of official certificates for marriages and births, it is still a lot more than the GRP has offered to Moros.176 As a consequence the MILF does not need to rely on high levels of force to maintain political control over Moros. The MILF instead maintains its authority through the religiously inspired loyalty of Muslim Moros and by winning over locals through basic service provision. This stands in contrast to the GRP, which in addition to its historic use of force in the region, still resorts to military means to maintain political control after the signing of the ARMM. Firstly, this is because the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), with US military support, is still heavily active in the Mindanao region with its COIN operations     47 against groups such as the rogue commands, Mindanaoan clans, ASG and JI.177 These joint-operations have resulted in the jihadi extremists being pushed out of their hideouts on Sulu and Jolo and increasingly into the territories of MILF insurgents on the Mindanao mainland, who, unlike the jihadists, have valid grievances.178 This has therefore served to undermine the effectiveness of COIN by alienating potential allies among the MILF’s decentralized cell commanders, who are increasingly agitated by AFP-US strikes against jihadists in their territories. And, while these operations do not target MILF cadres directly, they still result in the deaths, injuries, detentions and human rights abuses of Muslim Moro civilians, which serves to undermine the GRP’s legitimacy among locals. Secondly, the GRP has taken to outsourcing the use of force to maintain political control on the island to powerful familial-clans.179 For example, the Ampatuan clan, which managed to amass a sizable private army, received the bulk of its funding from the former Arroyo administration before itself going rogue in November 2009 and massacring 57 men and women on the island. And, thirdly, the GRP has taken to arming its Christian settlers on Mindanao who have organized into civilian militias.180 While the aim of these militias has been to increase security for Christian Filipinos on the island, the result has been heightened communal tensions between Mindanao’s well armed Christian residents and those of Muslim Moro decent. The GRP is therefore seen by locals as maintaining its rule through oppressive force rather than through earning a measure of local social licence, seriously hampering its legitimacy position.        48 4.4 Recent developments It is clear from the above analysis that the MILF’s earned social licence and low reliance on force to maintain political control has given it high legitimacy and a potent sanctuary effect in the Mindanao region.181 While the MILF did take a hit to its local legitimacy over popular frustration with the failure of the MOA-AD, its overall perception remains relatively high. Under such a local dynamic of low state legitimacy and high insurgent legitimacy, the MILF has the capability to wage a much larger scale guerrilla war than other comparable ethno-religious insurgencies.182 For instance, clearly the MILF are not in the same danger of loosing local legitimacy as the LTTE were in Sri Lanka. This is because, unlike the Tigers, the MILF has not alienated their support base by failing to earn social licence and by over using force to maintain its authority. And, unlike the Patani conflict, which has remained low intensity because the insurgency can only find support in pockets of the rural South,183 the MILF has managed to secure wider-ranging support in the Mindanao region.184 This gives the MILF the capability for a comparatively high intensity guerrilla war—a capability that should not be underestimated in the GRP’s calculations to suspend or abandon the slow moving peace process for a military option.                49 Table 4: Local legitimacy perceptions of the GRP and the MILF (1996-present)  ACTOR  AUDIENCE State: (GRP) Insurgency: (MILF) RESULT: (Philippine case) Rank-and-file of insurgency: (cadre members and lower to middle leadership) Holds at low Holds at high, but downward trend with failure of the MOA-AD Insurgency advantage: the MILF’s leadership has high legitimacy among members, but downward trend caused by failure to secure final settlement with the GRP. The GRP’s efforts at cooption of the MILF’s leadership through comprehensive settlement feasible given leadership’s status quo preserving objectives and high credibility.  Aggrieved minority population: (Muslim Moros) Holds at low Holds at high, but downward trend with failure of the MOA-AD  Insurgency advantage: the MILF has widespread support because of high social licence among locals (basic social provision, rule under Shari’a law) and low resort to force to maintain political control. Meanwhile, the state has a low legitimacy position because of low social licence (poor social service provision, rule under secular law) and continued resort to force to maintain authority. Result is potent sanctuary effect for the MILF that could support high intensity guerrilla war.           50 Chapter 5: Conclusion  The government of Sri Lanka was able to defeat the LTTE, not only because of its conventional military strategy, but rather because of the political component of the Sri Lankan Option. This political component was a competition with the LTTE leadership for the legitimacy perceptions of two audiences at the local level: the rank-and-file of the LTTE insurgency, and the aggrieved minority population of Sri Lankan Tamils.185 In terms of the former, the GOSL was successfully able to co-opt the Eastern faction of the LTTE because of a bifurcation of interests between the Eastern rank-and-file and the LTTE’s leadership, and because the Eastern faction had status quo preserving demands. As a result, the Eastern defection significantly weakened the LTTE and mitigated the need for the GOSL to undertake COIN.186 In terms of the audience of the local aggrieved population, the GOSL’s paltry record on social service delivery and socioeconomic development, coupled with its high use of force to maintain territorial control, failed to enhance its legitimacy among Tamils.187 Ultimately, however, it was relative shifts in legitimacy perceptions among locals that mattered more than absolute ones. Once the LTTE, like the state, was also held in low regard among Tamils, it was the state that gained the upper hand—the GOSL’s COIN was unaffected by lack of support among the local population while the LTTE was highly dependent on support from Tamils in order to wage a guerrilla phase of the war.188  The logic behind cooption and local support in Sri Lanka has wider applicability to other insurgent conflicts fuelled by ethnic-territorial grievances. In Thailand, the logic of cooption suggests that the Patani insurgency is too enigmatic and its demands too     51 radical for the state to realistically co-opt.189 Moreover, the religiously inspired loyalty of the rank-and-file makes for strong unity of interest between them and the leadership, making defection highly unlikely.190 In terms of local support, Thai Malay Muslims see their physical security as the social good of prime importance and would support whichever side can bring them peace.191 Both actors, however, have failed to deliver the “peace goods.”192 In fact, the competition between the GRT and the Patani insurgency for the loyalty of Malay Muslims has produced conditions of stalemate on the battlefield. The insurgency, with its continuing resort to terrorist attacks and violence to promote a Taliban-like social order are perceived largely as threats to public peace by Malay Muslims.193 As such, the Patani movement has only limited pockets of rural support and remains unable to wage the wider war for Patani independence it desires.194 The GRT, on the other hand, with its poor record on providing for locals’ physical security and social development, and its prior use of militarized extralegal force in the region, has attained low support among locals.195 As such, it is unable to separate Patani insurgents from the local population. While neither side is in a dominant legitimacy position, either actor could quickly gain a military advantage over the other given any sudden changes in their perceptions among Malay Muslims. If the Patani movement continues to attack Buddhist Thai settlers in the Southern provinces the GRT would face pressure from the majority Buddhist population to take swift military action.196 Such action would likely push Malay Muslims into the insurgency’s arms, and give the movement the widespread support it needs to wage a higher intensity guerrilla war.  The Philippine case is different from that of Sri Lanka and Thailand. Unlike the LTTE and the Patani insurgency, the MILF’s leadership appears open to cooption. It is     52 willing to embrace a status-quo preserving option (at least, in the view of the current GRP executive) by dropping its demand for independence. It has demonstrated a high level of control over the rank-and-file and has shown a moderately good track record on past agreements with the GRP.197 In terms of local support the MILF enjoys high legitimacy among the local Moro population, thanks to its local interpretation of rule under Shari’a law, the provision of basic social services, and the minimal use of force against locals.198 This has resulted in the MILF enjoying a strong sanctuary effect that would put the GRP at a significant disadvantage if peace talks were to break down and the conflict to become hot.199 The GRP should therefore guard against rogue elements in the South who may seek to frame the MILF through acts of violence to provoke a government crackdown. There are many groups on the island that would benefit from the power vacuum that would be left behind if the GRP were to defeat the MILF. Such groups include the rogue commands, ASG, JI, and the private armies of Mindanao's powerful clans, such as the Ampatuans.200 The GRP should also be wary of overconfidence among its armed forces. The AFP’s victory over the MILF at Camp Abu Bakar was over a decade ago; the movement has had plenty of time during the drawn out peace process to potentially rebuild a measure of its former military capacity.201  In attempting to apply the lessons from the LTTE’s defeat to the insurgencies in Thailand and the Philippines it becomes clear that the military component of the Sri Lankan Option should not be overemphasized.202 Instead, it is the political component of the Option that was a deciding factor in the conflict and offers the wider lessons to be learned. By co-opting members of the rank-and-file the GOSL significantly weakened the LTTE and mitigated the need for COIN.203 Furthermore, the GOSL was able to capitalize     53 on relative shifts in local legitimacy perceptions—once the LTTE was also held in low regard among Tamils, it was at a greater disadvantage than the state on the battlefield.204 It seems likely, however, that over the long term, the GOSL’s low legitimacy among Tamils will cause resurgence of the conflict under a new and mutated form.205 Therefore, in utilizing its extralegal and highly militarized Sri Lankan Option, the GOSL may have achieved short term victory at the price of lasting peace.206 It remains to be seen, therefore, if other states facing ethno-religious insurgencies will take all the wrong lessons from the Sri Lankan example, by applying military force without the consideration of local legitimacy dynamics.                              54  1 International Crisis Group [ICG]. 17 May 2010[a]. “War Crimes in Sri Lanka,” Crisis Group Asia Report No. 191. Brussels. 2 Shashikumar, V.K. Jul-Sep 2009. “Lessons from the War in Sri Lanka.” Indian Defence Review, Vol. 25, No. 3.; ICG 2010a 3 The idea that terrorism has to be defeated military without considering political options stands in contrast to the strategy Washington is belatedly pursuing in Afghanistan, see Economist. 22 May 2010. “Friends like these”, Economist, Vol. 396 Issue 8683: 47. 4 ICG. 18 May 2005[a]. “Southern Thailand: Insurgency, Not Jihad.” Asia Report No. 98. Singapore/Brussels. 5 On Nov 2009 Myanmar’s military dictator Than Shwe visited Sri Lanka "so that his regime can apply any lessons learned to its efforts against the ethnic groups in Burma," says Benedict Rogers, a biographer of General Than. Also, in May 2009 Myanmar’s deputy minister at a meeting of regional defence ministers in Singapore stated “the world had witnessed a victory over terrorism in Sri Lankan but had forgotten about the insurgency in [his] country.” Both as quoted in Economist 2010. 6 On Oct 2009 Thailand’s PM Abhisit Vejjajiva held talks with President Rajapaksa regarding the lessons of LTTE’s defeat for handling the Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand, see Economist 2010. 7 According to European centre for Conflict Prevention and International Dialogue some “government and military officials in the Philippines have been advocating the…’Sri Lanka solution” in ending insurgencies in the country.” See Inquirer. 4 Oct 2009. “No Sri Lankan solution to Moro conflict” <http://newsinfo.inquirer.net./breakingnews/nation/view/20091004-228327/No-Sri-Lana-solution-to-Moro- conflict>. 8ICG 2010a 9 Pakistan’ military has been offered training by Sri Lanka’s armed forces (SLAF) at the military academy at Vavuniya, and at future planned training schools in Mullaithivu, Kilinochchi and Vavuniya . The SLAF also intends to write an English version of their COIN doctrine, in addition to offering a six week military training program tailored to foreign armies due to high “international demand,” see Asia Tribune. 22 Aug 2009. “Sri Lanka Army Plans to Train Foreign Military,” < http://www.asiantribune.com/node/22221>; BBC. 21 Aug 2009. “Sri Lanka to Train Pakistani Army.” <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8214731.stm> 10 Military officials and politicians from “Colombia to Israel” are studying GOSL’s defeat over LTTE, see Economist 2010 11 Battle, Steven L. June 2010. “Lessons in Legitimacy: the LTTE End-Game of 2007-2009.” Master’s Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, CA. 12 Acharya, Arabinda. “Ending the LTTE; Recipe for counter-terrorism?” RSIS Commentaries, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, <http://www.rsis.edu.sg/publications/Perspective/RSIS0542009.pdf>. 13 Battle 14 Economist 2010 15 Acharya; Shashikumar; ICG 2010a 16 Shashikumar 17 For a detailed history see DeVotta, Neil. 2005. “From ethnic outbidding to ethnic conflict: the institutional bases for Sri Lanka’s separatist war.” Nations and Nationalism, 11(1), 141-159.; DeVotta, Neil. 2009. “The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Lost Quest for Separatism in Sri Lanka,” Asian Survey, Vol. 49, Issue 6: 1021-1051. 18 Battle 19 Acharya; Asian Development Bank [ADB]. 9 Apr 2002. “Growth in Sri Lanka to Rise in 2002.” <http://www.adb.org/Documents/News/2002/nr2002051.asp>.; BBC News. 25 July 2001. “Sri Lanka’s airport reopens.” <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1455757.stm>.; BBC News. 25 Jan 1998. “Eleven die in Sri Lankan temple suicide bomb.” <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/50366.stm>.; BBC News. 31 Jan 1996. “Fifty dead in Sri Lanka suicide bombing.” <http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/31/newsid_4083000/4083095.stm>.; BBC News. 2 Mar 1991. “Sri Lankan hardliner among 19 killed in blast.” <http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/2/newsid_4201000/4201675.stm>; Battle; DeVotta 2009; DeVotta 2005; Horen, Basil van. 2002. “City Profile Colombo.” Cities, Vol. 19, No. 3, 217-227.; ICG 2010a; ICG. 23 Feb 2010[b]. “The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora after the LTTE,” Crisis Group Asia Report No 186, Colombo/Brussels.; ICG. 28 Nov 2006. "Sri Lanka: The Failure of the Peace Process",     55  Crisis Group Asia Report No. 124. Colombo/Brussels.; Jane's Intelligence Review. 1 Aug 2007. "Feeding the Tiger--How Sri Lankan insurgents fund their war", as quoted in Becker, Jo. Mar 2006. “Funding the Final War: LTTE Intimidation and Extortion in the Tamil Diaspora,” a Human Rights Watch report, Vol. 18, No. 1.; Manor, James. 1989. The Expedient Utopian: Bandaranaike and Ceylon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 285, as quoted in Battle; Wilson, Alfred J. Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism: Its Origins and Development in the 19th and 20th Centuries. 2000. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, as quoted in Battle; Tambiah, Stanley J. 1993. “Buddhism, Politics, and Violence in Sri Lanka.” Fundamentalisms and the State, eds. M.E. Marty and R.S. Appleby, 589. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, as quoted in Battle; Manor, James.1994. “Organizational Weakness and the Rise of Sinhalese Buddhist Extremism.” Accounting for Fundamentalisms, eds. M.E. Marty and R.S. Appleby, 779. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, as quoted in Battle.; Government of Ceylon. 1956. Official Language Act No. 33 of 1956, as quoted in DeVotta 2005 149.; Uyangoda, Jayadeva. 2007. “Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka: Changing Dynamics.” Policy Studies 32. Washington: East-West Center.; Wooldridge, Mike. 18 May 2009. “History of the war in Sri Lanka.” BBC News. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8055578.stm>. 20 Acharya 21 Wooldridge; ICG 2005a; Wilson, Thomas G. 2009. “Extending the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front a Catalyst for Peace”, Monograph, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Fort Leavenworth, KS. 22 Acharya 23 Uyangoda; Wilson 24 Uyangoda 25 Wilson; Solomon, John and B.C. Tan. Aug 2007. “Feeding the Tiger: How Sri Lankan insurgents fund their war,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, <http://www.jir.janes.com>. 26 Abuza, Zachary. Feb 2008.  “The Philippine Peace Process: Too Soon to claim a Settlement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front?” Jebsen Centre for Terrorism Studies research Briefing Series, vol. 3, No. 3, as quoted in Wilson. 27 Acharya 28 An example of a fundamental change in the political environment would be the 2004 Tsunami disaster. While the disaster struck both Sri Lankan and Indonesia it had different effects. The disaster was enough of a game changer in Indonesia to produce cooperation between insurgent and government forces to lead to eventual settlement of the Aceh dispute. In Sri Lanka, however, despite the comparative scale of the disaster, cooption (let alone coordinated disaster response) was unachievable between GOSL and the LTTE, see Beardsley, Kyle and Brian McQuinn. 27 May 2009. “Rebel Groups as Predatory Organizations: The Political Effects of the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka”, Journal of Conflict Resolution 53: 624. 29 Wilson; Barbara Van Daan and David Van De. 2007. “Why People resort to Coercion: The Role of Utility and Legitimacy”, European Journal of Social Psychology 37, No. 2, as quoted in Battle; McCormick, Gordon H., Steven B. Horton and Lauren A. Harrison. Mar 2007. “Things Fall Apart: The Endgame Dynamics of Internal Wars”, Third World Quarterly 28, No. 2: 321-367, as quoted in Battle. 30 Wilson 31 Van Daan & Van De, as quoted in Battle. 32 Zald, Mayer N. and John D. McCarthy, eds. 1987. Social Movements in an Organizational Society. New Brunswick: Transaction Books, as quoted in Battle. 33 McCormick, as quoted in Battle 34 Wooldridge 35 DeVotta 2009 36 After signing the Feb 2002 ceasefire LTTE leadership proceeded to ruthlessly tax eastern Tamils, avoiding such levels of taxation in the Northern province, ibid. 37 Amaratunga Laksiri. 24 Mar 2009. “Mission From Anti-Terrorism to Peace in Sri Lanka.” Strategy Research Project, U.S. Army War College. Carlisle, PA. 38 Shashikumar 39 Wooldridge 40 Shashikumar     56  41 DeVotta 2009; Withana, Nadeeka. 12 Mar 2009. “Sri Lanka’s Civil War: End of an Era?” RSIS Commentaries, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, <http://www.rsis.edu.sg/publications/Perspective/RSIS0252009.pdf>. 42 DeVotta 2009 43 See the principles of the interim-self governing authority presented during the Oslo-round of peace negotiations in ICG 2006. 44 ICG 2006 45 Uyangoda 46 ICG 2006 47 Shashikumar; BBC News. 25 Apr 2006. “Bomb targets Sri Lanka army chief,” <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4941744.stm>. 48 ICG 2006; Shashikumar 49 Shashikumar 50 Withana 51 Battle 52 ICG 2010a 53 Uyangoda 54 ICG 2006; ICG 2010b 55 ICG 2010a 10 56 Uyangoda 57 Becker 58 Battle 59 Hart, Lawrence. 9 Dec 2009. “The option no one wants to think about.” The Jerusalem Post. <http://www.jpost.com/home/article.aspx?id=161982>.; Shashikumar 60 ICG 2010a 61 Amaratunga 62 DeVotta 2009 63 ICG 2010a 64 Ibid 23 65 Ibid 66 Battle 67 Acharya 68 McCormick, as quoted in Battle; Battle 69 Culp, Todd A. 2003. “Who you are is where you stand”, PhD thesis, Northern Illinois University, p. 34; Pistuwan, Surin. 1985. Islam and Malay Nationalism: A Case Study of the Malay Muslims of Southern Thailand. Boulder, p. 216.; Tugby, D., and E. Tugby. “Malay-Muslim and Thai-Buddhist relations in the Patani region: An interpretation”, in Andrew D.W. Forbes, ed., The Muslims of Thailand, Vol. II: Politics of the Malay-Muslim South, Gaya, Bihar, India: Centre for South east Asian Studies, 1989, pp.73-7. All as quoted in ICG 2005a 70 Cline, Lawrence E. June 2007. “Thailand and the Insurgency in the South.” Small Wars and Insurgencies, Vol. 18, No. 2: 275-87. 71 ICG 2005a 72 Abuza, Zachary. 6 May 2005. “A Conspiracy of Silence: Who is Behind the Escalating Insurgency in Southern Thailand?” Terrorism Monitor, Vol. 3, Issue 9.; Liow, Joseph. 2006. “Muslim Resistance in Southern Thailand and Southern Philippines: Religion, Ideology, and Politics”, Policy Studies 24, East- West Centre: Washington.; Human Security Report Project. 20 Jan 2011. “Thailand: Southern Separatists Attack Army Outpost, Kill Four,”< http://www.hsrgroup.org/our-work/e- newsletters/archive/archivepost.aspx?storyid=a11c688a-0e5a-498d-ae61-f5e7f213fa4e>. 73 ICG 2005a 74 Bangkok Post. Aug 2001.“Thaksin Shinawatra-a biography,” The Post Publishing Co., Ltd., <http://www.bangkokpost.com/election2001/thaksinprofile.html >. 75 Statistics from Srisompob Jitpiromsri’s research team at Prince of Songkhla University at Pattani, as of the end of Oct 2009, as quoted in ICG. 8 Dec 2009[b]. “Southern Thailand: Moving Towards Political Solutions?” Crisis Group Asia Report No 181, Bangkok/Brussels.     57  76 ICG. 22 June 2009[a]. “Recruiting Militants in Southern Thailand,” Crisis Group Asia Report No 170, Bangkok/Brussels. 77 ICG interviews with military officials; interrogation deposition of Adinan Sarideh, 3 June 2004 as quoted in ICG 2005a. 78 ICG 2005a; Liow, Joseph C.Y. 2004. “The Security Situation in Southern Thailand: Toward an Understanding of Domestic and International Dimensions.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 27/6: 531- 48.; Liow, Joseph C.Y. July 2006. “International Jihad and Muslim Radicalism in Thailand? Towards an Alternative Interpretation”, Asia Policy, No. 2: 89-108. Both as quoted in Cline. 79 ICG 2009a 80 This document which was found on the body of a dead militant in the April 28th Attacks, see Jaafar, Ismail. Berjihad di Pattani, as quoted in Liow 2006. 81 As per the trifecta of Thai identity as stated in “Nation, Buddhism, and Monarchy” as quoted in Roughneen, Simon. 24 Nov 2009. “Muddy Waters in Thai Deep South.” ISN Security Watch, <http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?lng=en&id=109863>. 82 ICG 2009b 83 ICG. 3 Nov 2010[d]. “Stalemate in Southern Thailand”, Crisis Group Asia Briefing No. 113. Bangkok/Brussels. 84 ICG 2009b; ICG 2010d 85 ICG 2009[b]; Crisis Group interview, Chaiwat Satha-Anand, political scientist at Thammasat University, Bangkok, 11 May 2008, as quoted in ICG. 28 Aug 2008[a]. “Thailand: Political Turmoil and the Southern Insurgency,” Crisis Group Asia Briefing No 80, Bangkok/Brussels. 86 ICG 2009b 87 ICG 2008a 88 ICG interview with senior police official, Pattani, Dec 2004 as quoted in ICG 2005a 89 ICG 2009a 90 Abuza 2005 91 Liow, as quoted in Bajoria 92 ICG Interview, Soldier Peace Development Unit, as quoted in ICG 2009b; Abuza, as quoted in Cline; Shinworakomoi, as quoted in Cline 93Not-for-attribution briefing by a senior Thai special forces officer, 2005, as quoted in Cline 281. 94Quoted in Nuainoi Thammasathien, 8 Jan 2004. “Thailand wakes up to southern threats”, BBC Thai service, Bangkok, as quoted in Cline 281. 95 Interviews with Thai and Western security officials, diplomats and analysts, Pattani and Bangkok, Nov 2005 and Apr and Sep 2006 as quoted in Chalk, Peter. 2008. 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Bangkok, as quoted in Cline. 99 Interview Thai special forces officers, as quoted in Cline; Nuainoi, as quoted in Cline; Interview Thai and Western security officials, as quoted in Chalk. 100 ICG 2005a 101 Noiwong, Ornanong. 2001. “Political integration policies and strategies on the Thai government toward the Malay-Muslims of southernmost Thailand (1973-2000)”, PhD dissertation, Northern Illinois University.; ICG interview with community and religious leaders and villagers, Yala and Pattani, Dec 2004. Both sources as quoted in ICG 2005a. 102 ICG 2005a 103 ICG 2010d 104 Abuza, Zachary. 3 Jan 2007. “Three Years after the January 2004 Raids, the Insurgency in Southern Thailand is Building Momentum,” Counterterrorism Blog, <http://www.counterterrorismblog.org>, as quoted in Chalk 2008.  Logic behind bifurcation of interests from Battle.     58  105 ICG. 16 Feb 2009[c]. “The Philippines: Running in Place in Mindanao”, Crisis Group Asia Briefing No. 88. Jakarta/Brussels. 106 Liow 2006 107 Human Rights Watch. Jul 2004. “Not Enough Graves: The War on Drugs, HIV/AIDS, and Violations of Human Rights in Thailand,” as quoted in ICG 2005a 35. 108 ICG 2010d 1 109 ICG 2009b 110 For list of human rights abuses see ICG 2008a 111 Liow 2006; Chalk 112 Chalk 12 113 Liow 2006 114 ICG interview with military intelligence official as quoted in ICG 2005a 115 Interviews Thai and Western officials, Bangkok, Nov 2005 and Apr 2006, as quoted in Chalk 12. 116 Interviews with Thai and Western security officials and journalists, Bangkok, Nov 2005 and Apr 2006 as quoted in Chalk; See also Davis, Anthony. 20 Apr 2006. “Shifting battle: understanding the southern Thai insurgency”, Jane’s Intelligence Review, , p.21 as quoted in Chalk; ICG 2009a 117 ICG 2009b 118 Interview with Thai and Western officials et al, as quoted in Chalk; Davis, as quoted in Chalk; ICG 2009a 119 Abuza, as quoted in Cline. 120 Shinworakomoi, as quoted in Cline. 121 ICG Interview. 6 Aug 2009, as quoted in ICG 2009b 11. 122 Discussions with NRC members, Pattani. Nov 2005. As quoted in Vatikiotis, Michael. Apr 2006. "Resolving Internal Conflicts in Southeast Asia: Domestic Challenges and Regional Perspectives," Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs, Vol. 28, No.1. 123 ICG 2008a; Chalk 124 Uyangoda 125 ICG Interview. 6 Aug 2009. Soldier of Peace Development Unit, Pattani, as quoted in ICG; Abuza 2006, as quoted in Cline; Shinworakomoi 2006, as quoted in Cline. 126 Liow 2006 46 127 Chalk 128 Abuza 2005 129 Chalk 130 Wilson 131 Morales, Ricardo C. Dec 2003. “Perpetual Wars: The Philippine Insurgencies”, Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, as quoted in Hastings, Jonathan P and Krishnamurti Mortela. Dec 2008. “The Strategy-Legitimacy Paradigm: Getting it Right in the Philippines”, Master’s Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School. Monterey, CA; Anave, Jun. 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