Saturday, August 23, 2008

Car Bombing

*All images copyright*

The following images are from the large car bomb that was detonated in the southern border town of Sungai Kolok, Narathiwat on Thursday August 21st.

This attack, according to the Yala bomb squad, was the largest car bombing in Southern Thailand.

There were two explosions. The first was hidden in a motorcycle and detonated to attract the police/military, first responders, media, and civilians who often crowd around.

The second bomb, a homemade devise made out of 2-3 large fire extinguisher casings and filled with metal shrapnel, was then remotely detonated by an insurgent who was
likely watching the scene.

The final photos are from Chalee Boonswat's funeral. He was a reporter for Thai Rath newspaper and was killed by the second explosion.

Friday, August 1, 2008

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

Thai soldiers on morning patrol in the conflict ravaged Bananstar 'redzone' in Yala province.

For most non-governmental organizations working on issues involving violent conflict around the world there is a perpetual dilemma.

While working to devise strategies that manage and mitigate violent conflict, there is often the revelation that militaries sent to keep the peace are the primary belligerents threatening peace.

In addition, these soldiers are not fighting wars against another country. They are fighting on home soil.

As Tom Parks has just posted on the Asia Foundation's In Asia Blog:

"For most soldiers in Asia, the only real fighting they will ever see will be within their own borders."

The problem for NGOs is this; if they know that military abuse is a major driver of conflict, can NGOs simply ignore this fact?

This is the classic question of triage. NGOs and other aid agencies can continue to treat the symptoms conflict, but without addressing the source of the problem, there is no long term solution.

But, this is of course a politically loaded topic.
Any trespassing away from civil society and involvement with militaries could threaten an NGOs standing with either their host government or the citizens that they work with.

Yet the fact that this topic is being approached is a positive step. By bringing this topic into NGO discourse it might be possible to creatively and systematically address the potential dangers of such work.

But most importantly, the potential for NGOs to move from conflict triage to true conflict mitigation can be opened.