Kansai Gaidi Univeristy professor Mark Cogan spoke to i24NEWS about Bangkok’s strategy in liberating Thai nationals captured by Hamas
Thailand is relying on Iran’s mediation in negotiations with Hamas as 23 of its citizens are among the 241 hostages kept in Gaza for a whole month. On October 31, Thai delegation met with Iranian counterparts in Doha to discuss Tehran’s assistance.
Professor of Peace and Conflict studies at Kansai Gaidi Univeristy Mark Cogan explained to i24NEWS how internal Thai politics are affecting Bangkok’s choice of strategy in its effort to free its nationals.
The Thai military reportedly received pictures of the hostages, most of whom resided in Israel as agricultural workers or caretakers. “A delegation that included participants from Thailand’s deep southern Muslim communities are said to have met with Hamas, and terrorists have confirmed that hostages are safe, but their release depends on the campaign [Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) ground operation,” said Cogan.
He stated that Bangkok is facing a lot of internal pressure: “The longer the crisis protracts, the harder it becomes for Thai government as they have the Malay Muslim population that is pro-Palestinian and has a lot of empathy for the Palestinian cause.”
Cogan called the Thai government’s approach “pragmatic” and stated that “Thailand is incredibly vulnerable” in this situation. “Thai government wants to maintain both relations, as there is an ongoing insurgency within the country, and the authorities do not want to take a position that would inflame tensions inside.”
Assessing the level of cooperation between Thailand and Iran, the expert said that it was at a “serious” scale: “Thai delegation met representatives of the Iranian President, his advisors agreed to broker the conversation with Hamas.” Cogan said that those efforts are yet to be seen.
In terms of Thailand’s relations with Israel, Cogan highlighted the importance of this cooperation for Bangkok because of “military exchanges, arms trade, technology exchanges, telecommunication cooperation as well as the demand for agricultural work in Israel.”
Source » i24news