Former BBC World Service News Editor
Larry Jagan is a specialist on Myanmar and a former BBC World Service News Editor for the region.
International attention is firmly focused on Aung San Suu Kyi as she faces the judges in the International Court of Justice and presents Myanmar's side of the story.
Myanmar's top leaders -- both military and civilian -- have been shell-shocked by the avalanche of international legal cases they are now facing. In the space of days, three cases have been lodged in separate courts, all intended to make the Myanmar government and the country's military leaders accountable for the horrendous events that unfolded in strife-torn western Rakhine state during military operations over the last three years. These forced nearly a million Muslims, or Rohingya as they call themselves, to flee to safety in Bangladesh.
Behind the scenes of this year's Asean and East Asian summits, currently taking place in Bangkok, the region's key nations -- China, India and Japan -- are engaged in a quiet battle for greater influence in Myanmar. While on the sidelines, the countries of Asean, especially Thailand, as the current chair of the regional organisation, are offering qualified support for its problematic ally, largely behind the scenes.
Myanmar's stalled peace process is precariously poised, and may now be in danger of falling apart all together, as mistrust and hostility between some of the ethnic groups and the military worsened significantly. The fragile relationships between the three key players deteriorated further on the eve of the anniversary of the signing of a key peace pact, and the hopes of kick-starting negotiations and bringing the groups back to the table took a tumble for the worst.
The stand-off between Myanmar and Bangladesh over the planned repatriation of tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees continues. But things have just got a bit more complicated with China's intervention. Beijing -- with all good intentions -- is now trying to soothe the troubled waters, in part, a result of their earlier misjudged involvement, having proposed a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers in New York in the coming weeks -- sponsored by the UN secretary-general -- to try to find a way out of the growing impasse.
The repatriation of some 3,000 Muslim refugees back to Myanmar, who have been in camps in Bangladesh for nearly two years, is due to start today. But widespread fear and confusion in the camps, according to sources in Cox's Bazar -- currently home to nearly a million Rohingyas who have fled excessive violence at the hands of the Tatmadaw, or Myanmar army -- have left the repatriation plans in limbo.
Last week was the anniversary of Myanmar's mass pro-democracy demonstrations in August 1988, which brought the country to a standstill after its military leaders brutally reacted, resulting in heavy loss of life, and a coup. But 31 years on, the country's long struggle for democracy is far from over, as the country enters, perhaps, the final stage of transition.
Myanmar's ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), is preparing for an audacious attempt to change the constitution. The final steps are being taken before the plans are revealed to the parliament and the people. But the changes and the process being rolled out by the civilian government will upset the military, and an acrimonious confrontation between them seems inevitable.