February 26, 2021
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Rohingya crisis and implications for regional stability The issue of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is making headlines for quite some time but it is dangerously brewing a deadly cocktail in which outside intervention is becoming more likely and an armed militia could soon be formed to take revenge. There are signs of radicalization among Rohingya youths who now view Myanmar military as repressive and unwilling to allow them to live peacefully in Myanmar. Combined with foreign help and massive radicalization the issue may turn ugly in coming years if it is not handled with care and prudence. The escalating military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State, on Myanmar’s western border with Bangladesh, signifies the first major crisis for the fledgling government of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Of the myriad issues facing Suu Kyi, Rakhine-and related allegations of military abuses, displacement, destruction of villages and even “ethnic cleansing”-has the greatest potential to damage her international image and the country’s successful emergence on the world stage. A sweeping operation to root out Muslim militants in northern Rakhine after October 9 attacks on police posts and subsequently on an army unit, is entering a deadly new phase. The next stage could see harsh zoning plans and relocation of villages, under a revival of the military’s old “four cuts” strategy, developed in the 1970s
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