State of Denial

In the quiet fishing village of Rusimalae in Thailand's embattled southern region, an army camp lies empty. Following a bomb on Aug. 2 that killed a soldier, the Thai military abandoned the improvised base, erected by sappers building a school nearby. The gates now stand wide open, and the silence of the camp speaks volumes about a nation that has lost its way, and a state that cannot exercise its authority fully, even inside its own territory.

Since January 2004, more than 1,700 people have been killed in an increasingly deadly conflict in Thailand's south, which comprises three...

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