News about Thailand in 2004 was dominated by the “Crisis in the South.” Daily assassinations of local police, soldiers, religious leaders, and other civilians marked a level of insurgency beyond that in other regions of Southeast Asia and one not seen in Thailand for over 30 years. The recurrent violence represents a serious challenge to the nation and at this juncture, it is unclear whether Thailand will concede to irredentism, initiate more local autonomy, or settle for a protracted period of political unrest. These events dominated the political picture in preparation for parliamentary elections scheduled for February 2005 and clouded the premise of a stabilizing economy and programs of government change unprecedented in recent Thai history.

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