Thailand - A Brief History: It is prudent to include a brief history of the country so as to analyze whether the present disturbances faced by the country has any its roots in its history. Thailand is credited to have been in existence from the late 1300's itself and till 1930, was known as the Siam. Even though, it is a constitutional monarchy, the country had its shares of coups and the last one had happened as late as September 2006. 95% of its population is Buddhist, with Muslims constituting a meagre 4.5% and other minority groups forming the rest. Its main source of income is through exports of electronics and machinery. Tourism too is a major revenue earner and Pattaya beach is a very popular tourist destination. It has a healthy per capita income of USD 3700 and an envious unemployment rate of only 1.5% of the labor force. "Thais date the founding of their nation to the 13th century." (Background Note: Thailand: Profile: History, 2008).
The Ongoing insurgency in Thailand: Since 2001- the same year that Thaksin Shinawatra assumed the prime ministership of Thailand - the Southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat have been rocked by almost unprecedented violence. Although some accounts trace the cite January 4th, 2004 - the date of an attack on an army base in Narathiwat (which produced four deaths) and 20 school burnings - as the true start of the violence that has since continued unabated. In what amounts to the gravest political violence in Thailand's recent history, during 2004 and 2005 almost 2,000 separate assaults shook the three Southern promises and claimed more than 1,000 lives. Though Prime Minister Thaksin was celebrated by some for his "businesslike solutions" to various problems, following the January 2004 assaults, his government and forces responded to the violence with hard-line tactics that apparently including a number of covert, illicit actions on the parts of military and security personnel. Yet the imposition of martial law throughout the South and intense, heavy-handed policing tactics failed to staunch the deadly attacks. Indeed, the assaults appeared to become ever more sophisticated and more fatal. The roots of ongoing crisis date back more than 100 years to the prolonged fighting which led the annexation, in the early twentieth century, of the majority-Muslim Malay sultanate of Pattani into the Kingdom of Siam. Such analysts note that, for decades following the annexation, the Thai regime employed authoritarian policies intended to consolidate an expanded, Thai-dominated nation-state, moving aggressively to prevent Malay-Muslims from preserving their traditional cultural and ethnic identities. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, many Malay-Muslims resisted official policies that sought, in effect, to eradicate their traditions and clamored for separation from Thailand, but the Thai regime responded to that resistance with even fiercer and more repressive measures. From the 1960s and into the late 1980s, "separatist" groups were active in the South, with levels of tension and violence reaching particularly high levels during the 1970s, when the so-called "separatist movement" reached a peak. During the 1980s, the Thai government under Prime Minister General Prem Tinsulanond initiated new policies towards