Suu Kyi’s defense has been that it isn’t just the Rohingya, but also the Buddhist Rakhine ethnic group who are victims of the unrest—a line that plays well to many in Myanmar as virulent anti-Muslim sentiment engulfs the Buddhist majority.

“I would appreciate it so much if the international community would help us to maintain peace and stability and to make progress in building better relations between the two communities instead of always drumming up calls for, well, for bigger fires of resentment, if you like,” she told Channel News Asia during a visit to Singapore last week.

The irony is palpable, given Suu Kyi depended on the same international community to keep Myanmar’s democratic movement alive during her years under house arrest.

Myanmar authorities have restricted access to international media, as well as the United Nations and international aid agencies, into Rakhine state, a decision that Suu Kyi also defended.

“We can’t guarantee security everywhere, and we have to make sure that whatever we allow to happen officially guarantees absolute security, she told Channel News Asia on Dec. 2.

With most international observers shut out, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s army) and other security forces have reportedly targeted Rohingya settlements in the restive region. Using satellite imagery, Human Rights Watch estimated that some 820 structures were destroyed across five Rohingya villages between Nov. 10 and Nov. 18.

Suu Kyi doesn’t have a free hand in the matter. The 71-year-old is balancing the demands of the security-obsessed generals in the Tatmadaw; a Buddhist-majority electorate, many with a deep distrust of the Muslim Rohingya; and an international community that hopes Myanmar will adhere to most tenets of liberal Western democracy.

The larger problem, however, is that Suu Kyi doesn’t seem to have a proper plan to resolve the long-running conflict. Her decision to appoint committees may well be a ploy to buy time, longtime Myanmar watcher and former BBC journalist Larry Jagan told Quartz last month.

“She understands the complexity of this matter—and the broader need for reconciliation in Rakhine state. At this point, provided there is no dramatic threat to peace and stability, moving slowly and carefully is probably the best strategy. While putting the issue in the hands of the Kofi Annan commission appears in part a delaying tactic, she hopes that a fresh outside view might help come up with a concrete strategy to at least improve communal relations in Rakhine.”

But the recent violence in the region, which kicked off after insurgents attacked security forces in early October along Myanmar’s border with Bangladesh, has complicated matters. It has also reduced the elbow room that Suu Kyi and the Annan-led committee initially had as they attempted to resolve the situation.

At the same time, pressure is building from nearby Muslim-majority countries to resolve the situation. Large-scale protests have taken place in Indonesia, in addition to the ones in Malaysia.

But Suu Kyi seems to be doubling down on her hardline position.

Suu Kyi is due to meet with the Annan commission this week.

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