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Gambling for Peace in Southern Thailand

Pai Mosque, courtesy of Iceway/Wikimedia Commons

Insurgencies and local resistance to Buddhist-Thai rule have plagued the predominantly Malay-Muslim provinces of southern Thailand for well over a century. In response, Bangkok has used a mixture of economic development, military action, the restructuring of regional governance, and a series of secret talks with a range of insurgent groups. These attempts to stymie recurring upsurges in ethnic violence have unfortunately met with only limited success.

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the latest effort to enter into a formal dialogue with one of southern Thailand’s leading separatist groups, the Barisan Rovolusi Nasional (BRN), has also experienced its fair share of troubles. Yet, if the next Thai government succeeds in reviving the now-troubled talks and brings a degree of political stability to the embattled South, then the efforts of the now-deposed Yingluck Shinawatra government may not have been in vain.