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Reactive blogger (~and more~)

Red Zone

Srisompop Chitpiromsri had an interesting article in Deep South Watch and Prachatai. The title read “ศรีสมภพ จิตร์ภิรมย์ศรี: 4 ปีครึ่งไฟใต้: ความล้มเหลวนโยบายคุมพื้นที่สีแดง” (4.5 Years of Southern Fire]: Failure of Policies to Control Red Zones. ) Using casualties analysis, Srisompob summarized that in the “qualitative violence” the number of violence seemed to reduce but each casualties during the latter phase are precise, more violence and, causing more casualties and injuries […] comparing to the earlier phase. [อาจจะตีความได้ว่าความรุนแรงที่เกิดขึ้นในช่วงหลัง เป็นความรุนแรงในเชิงคุณภาพ เป้าหมายชัดขึ้น การก่อเหตุแต่ละครั้งจึงทำให้มีการตายและบาดเจ็บมากขึ้น อย่างดีที่สุดที่มาตรการทางทหารจะทำได้ก็คือจำกัดขอบเขตของการสูญเสียไม่ให้มากเกินไป หรือไม่ก็ป้องกันมิให้แนวโน้มความรุนแรงสูญเสียขยายตัวไปมากขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็ว จนควบคุมไม่ได้] He estimated that military measures could “only to circumscribe massive casualties or prevent the trend of [casualties] from spreading too fast that they could be out of control.” He offered to solve the problems from fundamental and structural issue

I am interested in zone.
However, was “zone” to be responsible? Should we control red yellow and green zones strictly? Should a village be label and treated accordingly to reduce violence according to the zoning.

Red zone was an example Carlo Bonura’s paper delivered at faculty of Political Sciences, Thammasat University, used to demonstrated “indeterminacy of geographies.”

Political community, as seen in the work of Jacques Ranciere, is
always indeterminate in that it exposes a “gap” that prevents it from totally representing the sum
of its parts. In fact, the core function of political community, according to Ranciere, is to classify, categorize and manage these “parts” of society. (Bonura, 2007)

Zoning is a way to manage the situation, to decide how to deal with local people or how many troops should be deployed. Zoning is never without politicalization. Yet the point I am interested is the perception of zone and security policies. While state treat zone as ‘semi permanent,’ insurgents treated them as elusive. The borders are meant to be crossed, the green zone are meant to be tampered. Whether or not state have to assume the role of “separatist” according to Ranciere, I will leave it to readers to read the rest of interesting article.

As Paisarn Phromyong, the Deputy secretary general
of the Central Islamic Committee of Thailand argued “southern bandits can operate in
any area, not just in a red zone. And a green zone can be turned into a red one at any time if
residents change their minds. (Bonura, 2007, p 7)

A combination of casualties, estimated attitude of people towards state officers, the number of Buddhist/Muslin ratio, cooperation of local people with officers and operation of insurgent would probably be a factor to determine a zone.

Back to Srisompob’s article, from state’s point of view, the zone that the state created would be managed and neutralized,(reduce red to yellow and yellow to green) while Paisarn’s argument suggested that people, not geographical space are factors to determine the zone, according to state’s criteria. Along with military operation, the state has introduced “psychological operation” and other non-military interventions to respective zones (re-education, detention, mobilization of pro-state supporters, arrange for “buddhists” to live in special protected areas so they will not leave the province, etc.) Thus, zone management is also inclusive of people in the zone management, whether they are civilians, partisan, military or insurgents.

Despite zones are fixed, it can be changed, a red can be green and vice versa. Apart of changing people’s mind, casualties, like weapons smuggling, can be imported. But watching a zone is easier than tracking people, eh?

Another point that would be interesting is to compare casualties in zone to see if zoning can help reducing violence?

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