The incidence at the hospital, although we don’t exactly know who the attackers were, but there are enough indications that they were the RKK ,considering the facts that the date 13 March was symbolically chosen , with some other sporadic attacks elsewhere on the same day.
The incidence was NOT related to Mara since the similar attacks had occurred several times in the past even before the formation of Mara.
The signal ,if any , is a reminder that if the Thai state is not serious about solving the root causes of conflict and not refrain from unjust acts that we see day by day, the armed wing of the movements will retaliate from time to time.
Until now both Mara and Thai side has not agreed on any “safety zones” arrangement. When the process is formal we will discuss its possibility, and must be agreed upon by both sides,on how best to implement the safety zones and appropriate mechanism to make it workable. Therefore , since the agreed safety zones is not yet in place , there is no reason why this could be linked to rejection of Mara. The safety zones in Cho-Ai-Rong was a unilateral proposal from Army Region 4 . Considering the area is the stronghold of the RKK the retaliation is understandable.
The primary target was the army/ranger unit adjacent to the hospital. While the target is legitimate ,using hospital ground, facilities and personals en route to the attack is very much against the IHL. So was the decision to erect an army/ranger armed unit in close proximity to the hospital. In this respect BOTH sides have violated the IHL.
Therefore it is important that BOTH sides must mutually agree on the safety zones in the peace process and principles of IHL be applied. BOTH the Thai armed forces and the RKK must be EDUCATED on the principles of IHL and the rules engagement contained there in.
I personally do not think that the incidence could affect the dialogue process. On the contrary, it is even more necessary to push it forward so that the safety zones could be agreed upon as soon as possible.
The technical teams of both party A and B will finalise the Terms of References pretty soon. And if all are OK we expect the process will start officially in the near future.