NOVEMBER 1, 2017


Rohingya refugees wait to receive humanitarian aid at Palong Khali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Overlooking risks in Myanmar persecution of its Rohingya Moslem minority is creating fertile grounds for drawing militant extremists and militarized combatants. Over 600,000 hungry, dispossessed refugees in miserable camping conditions would certainly attract recruiters, particularly amongst bitter, young crowds.

As ISIS/ISIL are closing or closed down in Syria and Iraq, some of their elements are surrendering or changing positions. Others -- particularly foreigners from Eurasia, subsidized by certain Gulf countries and, indeed, ones from Gulf countries which shifted position on new claims of "fighting terrorism" will be looking for available options, together with those ideologically devoted to bear the flags on an "Islamic State."

There are additional aspects to such a blend in search of a conflict. A political interest by certain key powers would seek to use it to accomplish geo-political aims on specific bargains.

In a recent interview with Qatar government TV, its former Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim indicated the extent that his own government, in full collaboration with Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- with U.S. participation -- helped create subsidized groups like al-Nusra Front, and others under varied names. Interesting for its timing, as well as its official source, the interview details meetings with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia ("Go ahead, we'll co-ordinate") with Turkish then-Prime Minister, now President Erdogan, to streamline arrival, passage and infiltration; with U.S. President Obama whom they promised to get rid of President Assad's regime within six months. When the promise was not delivered, the former Qatari official -- once famously known as HBJ, a former "Master of the Universe," had to fall on his emirated sword and focus on his enormous financial investments -- in London, Doha, and elsewhere.

Drawing militants to exploit refugee misery caused by Myanmar military repression could be of interest to powers seeking to gain a bargaining edge in East Asia.

It is often forgotten that Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda was launched in East Asia's Afghanistan, that he was killed in Pakistan, and that contraband smugglers in East Asia's Golden Triangle would welcome exploiting a religious motto (the same as certain famous smugglers between Syria and Turkey suddenly turned into religiously proclaimed Emirs). There are already certain events -- though still under some control from Bangladesh to Indonesia, even in the Maldives Islands -- which are facing another threat of submersion by sea!

Clearly, Myanmar oppressive authorities do not realize the risk of their persistent violation of basic human rights and dismissive creation of a tragic refugee problem. Contrary to worldwide public perception of Aung San Suu Kyi, as a hero of democratic rights, she was mainly built up at a certain period to play a designated role, proving that power usually corrupts. Those who knew her while working for the U.N. in New York were not particularly impressed by her average performance. Unlike our distinguished Secretary-General, U Thant, who refused to return to Yangon when the military took over, Aung San Suu Kyi may have hoped that as the daughter of an outstanding General, a leader of Independence, the new Generals would be offering her distinguished attention. They initially did not, and -- when her time came -- they did. Short-sightedly absorbed by discriminatory arrogance, they -- and her -- did not realize unintended consequences. A danger of a growing ISEA could entice several powers; those seeking to create issues for nearby China, or those seeking to bargain with it; or those exploring varied other options, like earlier in Syria and Iraq. But it could also raise issues that could backfire internally within Myanmar itself.