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Myanmar's Road Ahead

Growth, Peace, and U.S. Sanctions

Aung San Suu Kyi at the Union Parliament in Myanmar, March 2016. Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters

When Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) took power in Myanmar in March of this year, they inherited three especially daunting challenges: an economy devastated by decades of mismanagement and sanctions; virulent anti-Muslim sentiment among much of the country’s Buddhist majority; and a moribund peace process struggling to end nearly seven decades of ethnic insurgency in many of Myanmar’s border states.

The situation in Rakhine State—where conflict has flared between the Buddhist Rakhine, the majority ethnic group, and the Muslim Rohingya, the minority—has been of particular concern. There, on October 9, a series of attacks by unidentified assailants on border police outposts has provoked what activists allege to be retaliatory killings by the authorities. Such incidents threaten to inflame tensions and plunge the region back into communal violence on a scale not seen since the 2012 riots that killed nearly 200 and displaced 140,000, almost

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