Image courtesy of the Council on Foreign Relations
Foreign fighters have previously flocked to Southeast Asia's domestic struggles. In May this year, a battle between terror group Abu Sayyaf and Philippine armed forces attracted more than 80 foreign fighters, the analysts pointed out. Moreover, ISIS-affiliated soldiers are seeking new missions beyond Syria and Iraq, so opportunities to defend Muslims are inevitably appealing, they added.
In 2014, Rakhine was declared a key region for jihad by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Living in an environment of systemic discrimination, Rohingya Muslims are also targets for religious radicalization. Yangon regards the group, which is nearly one million strong, as illegal migrants and denies them citizenship in addition to restricting marriage, family planning, employment, education and movement.
"The conditions in Rakhine are ripe for the influence of extremist stimuli, including the infiltration of Islamic State ideology, which may worsen the situation in Myanmar," researchers at Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University said in a report. It's an ideal situation for ISIS and affiliates to collaborate with regional groups, they added.
De-facto leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi, is now under a barrage of international criticism for her failure to end alleged military crimes against the Rohingya.