Video Duration 25 minutes 07 seconds
From: UpFront

What’s driving the ISIL attacks?

Professor Gilles Kepel on what motivates ISIL attacks, and we debate Aung San Suu Kyi’s stance on the Rohingya.

In this week’s UpFront, political science professor Gilles Kepel weighs in on ISIL attacks and what he calls “third-generation jihadism”. 

And in the Arena, we debate whether Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is intentionally ignoring the plight of the Rohingya, or whether she is incapable of stopping the violence owing to constraints by the military. 

Headliner – What’s behind ISIL attacks? 

In the past week, at least 12 people were killed in Tehran and eight killed in London by attacks claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

In an interview recorded before these attacks, we asked what drives attackers in Europe and whether ideology is a bigger factor than social or economic circumstances. 

“It’s not necessarily bigger, but it’s very important,” says Kepel, author of The Roots of Radicalism. “You cannot shun it, and you can’t shun the social factor either, you know.” 

In this week’s Headliner, Kepel speaks about what he sees as the radicalisation of some young Muslims and why he disagrees with fellow scholar Olivier Roy, who says that young idealists who in the past would have turned to Marxism or anarchism are today joining the likes of ISIL. 

Arena – Aung San Suu Kyi: Turning her back on Rohingya? 

Since October 2016, nearly 75,000 of Myanmar’s Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh, as a United Nations international probe investigates accusations of rape and murder committed by Myanmar security forces.  

According to the UN, Rohingya families “may have had members killed, beaten, raped”, in what likely amounts to crimes against humanity. 

With anti-Rohingya violence continuing to simmer in Myanmar, why doesn’t the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, put an end to it? 

“We know that Aung San Suu Kyi does not control the armed forces,” says Maung Zarni, an exiled dissident from Myanmar. “[But] she controls four other ministries that are directly involved in dismissing, denying, and legitimising the persecution of the Rohingyas.” 

But former East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta disagrees, claiming Suu Kyi inherited an “extraordinarily difficult situation”. 

“She has to deal with the military, who still have enormous power,” says Ramos-Horta, a Nobel prizewinner. “She inherits a very fractured society with more than 18 armed insurgencies, ethnic groups, and this is a very difficult transition from military dictatorship to democracy.”  

In this week’s Arena, scholar and activist Maung Zarni debates with Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta on whether Suu Kyi has the power to help the Rohingya.

Follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront and Facebook.