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Rohingya issue may escalate terrorists' recruitment: US

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

The Rohingya issue in and may expand opportunities for recruitment of terrorists, America's warned today.

Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's western state of and taken refuge in after the country's military launched a brutal crackdown in August last year after attacks.

The turmoil resulting from more than 600,000 Rohingyas fleeing Burma (Myanmar) to increases regional tension and may expand opportunities for terrorists' recruitment in South and Southeast Asia, of said in his testimony before the on Intelligence.

Further operations by Burmese security forces against Rohingya insurgents or sustained violence by ethnic militias probably would make it difficult to repatriate Burmese from Bangladesh, Coats said during the hearing on 'Worldwide Threat Assessment' of the community.

Coats said democracy and human rights in many Southeast Asian countries will remain fragile in 2018 as autocratic tendencies deepen in some regimes and rampant corruption and cronyism undermine democratic values.

Countries in the region will struggle to preserve foreign policy autonomy in the face of Chinese economic and diplomatic coercion, he said.

The crisis resulting from the exodus of more than 600,000 Rohingyas from Burma to Bangladesh will threaten Burmas fledgling democracy, increase the risk of violent extremism and provide openings for to expand its influence," Coats said.

Cambodian leader will repress democratic institutions and civil society, manipulate government and judicial institutions and use patronage and political violence to guarantee his rule beyond the 2018 national election.

Having alienated Western partners, will rely on Beijings political and financial support, drawing closer to as a result, he said.

In the Philippines, (Rodrigo) Duterte will continue to wage his signature campaign against drugs, corruption and crime. Duterte has suggested he could suspend the Constitution, declare a 'revolutionary government' and impose nationwide martial law, Coats said.

His declaration of in Mindanao, responding to the ISIS-inspired siege of Marawi city, has been extended through the end of 2018, he said.

Thailands leaders have pledged to hold elections in late 2018, but the new Constitution will institutionalise the militarys influence, Coats told lawmakers.

On Afghanistan, he said that the overall situation in the war-torn country will deteriorate modestly this year.

The overall situation in probably will deteriorate modestly this year in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Taliban-led insurgency, unsteady (ANSF) performance and chronic financial shortfalls, Coats said.

The probably will struggle to hold long-delayed parliamentary elections, currently scheduled for July 2018, and to prepare for a in 2019, he said.

The ANSF probably will maintain control of most major population centres with coalition force support, but the intensity and geographic scope of activities will put those centres under continued strain, Coats said.

Afghanistans economic growth will stagnate at around 2.5 per cent per year, and will remain reliant on international donors for the great majority of its funding well beyond 2018, he said.

Coats said Sunni violent extremists -- most notably and -- pose continuing terrorist threats to the US interests and partners worldwide, while the US-based homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) will remain the most prevalent Sunni violent extremist threat in

and and their will be persistent threats, as will groups not subordinate to them, such as the Haqqani Terror Network, Coats said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 13 2018. 22:20 IST