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The Case of Southern Thailand
Adam Burke, Pauline Tweedie, Ora-orn Poocharoen
From The Contested Corners of Asia: Subnational Conflict and International Development Assistance.
Aid agencies aiming to address the subnational conflict in the Deep South confront a difficult, entrenched situation. The structure of the Thai state, including its regional economic disparities, highly centralized governance, and ethnic nationalism is a cause of many of the problems experienced in the Deep South and a barrier to future transformation. Enduring inequalities continue to feed a sense of resentment among many Malay Muslims and foster a violent response on the part of a small minority of them. This report looks at development assistance to the area since the re-eruption of violence in 2004, focusing on internationally-funded initiatives. The report asks: Is there a meaningful role for aid if there is no transition to peace underway? How can international aid effectively address critical issues in a highly constrained, politically-sensitive environment? The report draws on new data, including a large perception survey, locality case studies, a stocktaking of aid, and key informant interviews. The report also utilizes official statistics, violence data, and previous studies of southern Thailand.