U.S. military courses and workshops are included in the draft military bill with Myanmar.
The United States is in the process of drafting a new defense military bill intended to expand its military cooperation with Myanmar, the Associated Press reported.
If approved, increased cooperation with Myanmar’s military will come amid violent crackdowns against the Rohingya Muslim community in the country’s northwestern Rakhine state. Critics have slammed the targeted violence as being equivalent to “ethnic cleansing.”
The bill is set to be voted on in the U.S. Senate next week.
U.S. military courses and workshops are included in the draft bill. Republican Senator John McCain, who serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, declined to offer details about the bill’s content.
“Further normalization of the military-to-military relationship with Burma is the last thing we should be doing right now,” analyst Walter Lohman told PressTV.
“What a terrible signal to be sending.”
Other analysts suggest that Myanmar’s extensive border with China, coupled with U.S. geopolitical maneuvers aimed at diminishing China’s influence in the region, present the need to support Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
They also note that this maneuver represents another clear gesture of Washington’s “Pivot to Asia” policy aimed at containing China and, in the process, turning a blind eye to blatant human rights violations and international law.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration have refused to answer calls from international activists calling on him to impose sanctions against Suu Kyi’s government.
An online petition calling for the revocation of Suu Kyi’s 1991 Nobel Peace Prize has accrued 366,000 signatures.
Some 125,00 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar’s Rakhine state since violence intensified on Aug. 25, according to the latest U.N. figures. Myanmar officials claim violence broke out after Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an army base. Rohingya activists, however, dispute that version.
At least 400 people have been killed as a result of the ensuing military counter-offensive.