Role of Army and ISOC: two sides of the same coin
by Pornpen Khongkachonkiet
Army and Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) operation have been increasing their role in Thai politics in reason years and will be more influential in Thailand. The extreme interference was the coup in 2006 and continued their non-democratic roles during the military government during 2006-2008. The role of ISOC during the political turmoil in April-May 2010 is dramatically discouraging Thai democratization and dried up rule of law in Thailand.
Internal Security Act 2008 is a problematic Act. This Act delegate “another” set of state power to Army (by law ISOC head is Prime Minister, Deputy Head of ISOC is Amry Commander). ISOC power under this ACT is a little state in Thai State (Administrative power (transferring officials/ order/command officials), some of Judicial power and immunity etc).
ISOC under ISA since 2008, has been approaching nontraditional security issues likes; transborder migration, drug suppression, counter insurgency and counter terrorism. All these issues are directly affected marginalized population in Thailand; ethnic groups both in Thailand and those who are migrants. Since then ISOC has established their provincal branches with /without clear structures. Thai civil society has not yet awared of this structure and not truly understanding of the role of army and ISOC on their security approach. The role of ISOC and army has been complexed in the south, like one officer waring two different hat and used their power arbitrary without checking and balance. One may imagin how army and Isoc’s role would be in 2014 after the coup, it is most likely to be the confusing, arbitary and supressive.
21 May 2014