The ceasefire announced by alleged leaders of the southern insurgency in Thailand is something that I - like all sane people - desperately wish to believe in and that is why it is almost certainly a form of mental warfare by the terrorists.
Since the insurgency perked up post 9/11 , more than three thousand people have been killed in the deep south. Some have been beheaded (crime: Buddhism) , some burned alive (Crime: Buddhism) , some executed in front of their students (Crime: being a teacher) and of course (this one still makes my heart sink when I think about it) the totally innocent female teacher who was captured and beaten into a coma by over one hundred villagers. (Crime: Being in the wrong place at the wrong time as Muslim villagers were angered by events elsewhere)
Would a group that employs and condones these tactics announce an unconditional cease fire out of the blue? Why?
The reason that the insurgency has been so difficult for the army and authorities to stop is no doubt partly due to the incompetence and corruption of these authorities, but it is also due to the secrecy, networking, clandestine and guerilla style tactics employed by the insurgents.
After such a campaign, why would these alleged leaders suddenly decide to expose themselves on national TV and promise an end to their insurgency campaign? It simply does not make sense.
So while I'm impressed that at least one soldier has staked his credibility on the claim, I hold little hope. If I am wrong, it will be the most glorious mistake I have ever made.
The building tensions on the Cambodian border are another cause for concern. Should this lead to violence, certain politicians will have blood on their hands. The temple (which is a Hindu temple, less than one percent of either Thais or Cambodians are Hindu!) has been whipped up in a storm of nationalistic frenzy. As much as I admire them on occasion, Chamlong, Aphisit and everyone else who has used the temple boundary as a political weapon have contributed to this problem.
The border settlement was dealt with reasonably well, and should have been left alone.