US calls for ‘strong & swift’ UNSC action on Myanmar

Here it comes. If you were wondering why there has been so much attention paid to Myanmar, when we hear nothing about the plight of Bangladesh which is in a much worse condition due to floods and extreme poverty, it is because the US wants to put sanctions on Myanmar as punishment for its closeness to China and involvement in China’s One Belt One Road initiative.  The US doesn’t care about the human rights of the Rohingyas anymore than it cares about the human rights of Afghans.  What it DOES care about is poking China in the eye.

https://www.rt.com/usa/404004-myanmar-burma-pence-un-action-rodigya/

More to come? US calls for ‘strong & swift’ UNSC action to end Myanmar crisis

More to come? US calls for ‘strong & swift’ UNSC action to end Myanmar crisis
US Vice President Mike Pence has called on the UN Security Council to take action to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, which led to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing their homes in recent weeks.

“The United States renews our call on Burma’s security forces to end their violence immediately and support diplomatic efforts for a long-term solution,” Pence told the UN Security Council Wednesday, using the old colonial name for the country.

“President Trump and I also call on this Security Council and the United Nations to take strong and swift action to bring this crisis to an end and give hope and help to the Rohingya people in their hour of need,” he added.

The vice president did not specify what action the US is calling for, but last time Washington used the words “strong and swift” actions was in relation to Venezuela in July. Sanctions against the country’s leadership followed.

Pence also told the UNSC that Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi assured US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday that returning refugees have nothing to fear.

Myanmar’s military unleashed a crackdown on Rohingya settlements following an attack carried out by a group of Rohingya militants on a number of police posts in northern Rakhine on August 25.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called the crackdown “clearly disproportionate” and “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” as it led to around 400,000 Rohingya people fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh, according to human rights groups.

Last week, Amnesty International released satellite images which the group says show Rohingya villages set ablaze. The organization has attributed blame to Myanmar’s security forces, as well as “vigilante mobs,” saying it was done to drive the people out.

“When the military came, they started shooting at people who got very scared and started running. I saw the military shoot many people and kill two young boys. They used weapons to burn our houses. There used to be 900 houses in our village, now only 80 are left. There is no-one left to even bury the bodies,” Amnesty cited one unnamed 48-year-old man, saying his village was attacked on September 8.

The human rights group said the scale of destruction could not be independently verified due to governmental restrictions on outside access to the area.

On Tuesday, Aung San Suu Kyi broke weeks of silence on allegations of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya population and delivered a speech in which she claimed that the majority of Rohingya villages had not been affected by violence. She refrained from criticizing the military, but said it had been instructed to exercise restraint and avoid “collateral damage” in its pursuit of insurgents.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who received Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has drawn worldwide admiration for her long fight against military rule. Two years ago, her party had a landslide victory in Myanmar’s elections, which made her head of the country’s government. It is not clear to what extent she controls the military’s actions, however.

Rohingya Muslims have been largely treated as outsiders in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Most Rohingya were denied citizenship, leaving them stateless in a country where they were born.

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Myanmar’s Muslims: Unpicking The False Narrative

This history of the Rohingya is a MUST READ.

https://www.defendevropa.org/2017/the-establishment/4155/

Myanmar’s Muslims: Unpicking The False Narrative

The mainstream media has recently begun engaging in a massive propaganda campaign to incite the world’s sympathy for the plight of the so-called “most persecuted minority in the world”, the Rohingya Muslims. The Rohingya are an ethno-religious minority residing in Myanmar, with the vast majority of them living in the western coastal state of Rakhine close to the Bangladeshi border. Recent tensions in the region have led to a mass exodus of Muslims; as many as 146,000 have crossed the border into Bangladesh since 25th August. This is, or so the media would have us believe, the result of an ethnic cleansing operation, whereby radicalised nationalist elements of the Myanmar army are racing out of the genocidal starting blocks to rid their country of a minority, whose only crime is to be different from the majority culture.

Unfortunately – or rather, fortunately – not every citizen of the western world is a mindless, historically illiterate consumer of fake news. The narrative that the media has built around the situation in Myanmar is based upon anecdotal evidence, politically motivated half-truths, historical revisionism and outright lies. A great many of the untruths about the situation are being propagated by the Muslim world, with Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister tweeting an image of the supposedly genocidal scenes in Myanmar which turned out to be a 2-decade old picture from Rwanda – of course, this did not prevent the liberal European media establishment from taking this as irrefutable evidence of horrors taking place in the far-east.

But to truly unpick the fake narrative being spread by the media establishment, we must look deeper into the histories of both Myanmar as a nation state and the Rohingya people. Whilst there are of course many topical examples of Heads of States pushing false information, and media organisations presenting a one-sided image of the situation, the crux of the lie has its foundations in historical revisionism of the region. Whilst such falsehoods are frustrating, the internet age makes them remarkable simple to dissect and refute, which is of course why the vast majority of sane individuals place very little credence in any cause pushed by the mainstream media.

History: 1824-1948

What many people fail to realise about Myanmar is that its a relatively new country. Up until 1948, it was a British overseas territory called Burma or British Burma, a part of the wider British Indian Empire or the “British Raj”. The Arakan region that now goes by the name of Rakhine State, which is the home of the majority of Rohingya Muslims, was historically a part of British India after it was ceded to the empire by the Burmese at the Treaty of Yandabo in conclusion of the Anglo-Burmese War (1824-26). The region was extremely sparsely populated; there was certainly not a thriving Rohingya Muslim culture, despite the claims of many that the minority are native to Myanmar itself.

The British colonialists recognised that the Arakan region was fertile and, in true colonial fashion, looked at how best they could exploit the territory’s natural resources. This led to the mass importation of Benghal workers from British India, who would work for very little and therefore would undercut and depress the wages of the native Buddhist Bamar (Myanmar’s majority ethnic group) population. A British census showed that by 1872 as many as 58,255 Muslims had been brought to the capital of Arakan alone and by 1911 this had increased to 178,647. It was reported that the vast majority of these imports came from the Chittagong region of Bangladesh, who were “moved en masse into western townships of Arakan”.

Naturally, this bred resentment between the native Burmese people and the British colonialists with their foreign pawns. This is not surprising when one considers the sheer scale of this migration. Historian Thant Myint-U wrote that “At the beginning of the 20th century, Indians were arriving in Burma at the rate of no less than a quarter million per year. The numbers rose steadily until the peak year of 1927, immigration reached 480,000 people, with Rangoon exceeding New York City as the greatest immigration port in the world. This was out of a total population of only 13 million; it was equivalent to the United Kingdom today taking 2 million people a year.”

As the onset of the Second World War loomed, the British in typical colonial style simply retreated from the Arakan area without consideration for the security of the region. Instead of maintaining a presence in the territory, they armed the Muslim migrants in anticipation that they would help defend the territory from a likely Japanese invasion. In typical western-backed-rebel style, the newly armed Muslims proceeded to forget about the Japanese and instead burn down the villages of native Burmese Buddhists. At this point, it’s no mystery as to why the Burmese were more sympathetic to the Japanese than to the British who had armed a hostile migrant community.

The Rohingya force armed by the British, also known as “V Force”, never mounted any serious defence of British imperial interests. Instead, as the secretary to the British Governor remarked at the time, they “destroyed Buddhist monasteries, pagodas, and houses, and committed atrocities in northern Arakan”. Amongst these atrocities was a particularly disturbing incident in March of 1942, whereby the “V Force” Rohingyas murdered in cold blood 20,000 native Burmese. Notably, when studying this period in Burmese history, it becomes apparent that no violence was instigated by the Buddhist population who only took up arms as a defensive response to the hostile Muslim migrants.

During the Japanese occupation of the territory, many Muslim settlers fled back home to the Benghal region. The conquerors, as was reported in Indo-China, did commit isolated atrocities against the local population which drove many across the border to Bangladesh, but there is still some debate about the extent to which the Rohingya vacated the area. A study conducted by Standford University in 1955 would suggest that the re-migration occurred almost comprehensively, which is evidenced by the sheer numbers of illegal immigrants who re-settled in the Arakan region in the aftermath of the war. It is also noteworthy that the authors of the study, Virginia Thompson and Richard Adloff, wrote “the newcomers were called Mujahids (crusaders), in contrast to the Rwangya or settled Chittagonian population”.

This suggests that the term Rohingya itself is relatively new, and that prior to this period in Burmese history they were always known as Benghal settlers as opposed to a native group of Myanmar. The term “Mujahids” also suggests that the Muslim migrants saw Arakan as territory to be conquered as opposed to a place to be shared in peace with the native inhabitants, much the same as what we’ve seen in more modern history with the “Mujahideen” (plural Arabic word for those engaged in jihad or, holy war of conquest).

Thus far in our journey through history, a very different picture than the one the media is attempting to portray of the Muslims in Myanmar is emerging. What we can see is oppressors, not oppressed; Jihadist conquerors, not natives; violent agitators, not assimilated, peace-loving citizens.

Post-Burmese Independence, 1948 Onward

As the “British Raj” disintegrated in the aftermath of the Second World War, various ethno-religious groups and factions attempted to piece together their peoples to create some semblance of nationhood. The only established national groups at the time that required little to no persuasion to do this were the Indians and Burmese, from whom India and Burma (Myanmar) were created. The more problematic elements of the post-colonial period in the region were mostly the Muslim populations, particularly in India where the “Muslim League” political party agitated and advocated Jihad in their quest to create a separate Islamic state. This resulted in mass riots in India, in which Muslim radicals participated in the mass murder of up to 200,000 Sikh and Hindu Indians.

The result was the creation of the Islamic State of Pakistan and subsequently the largest population transfers in recorded history. Up to 4.6 million Sikh and Hindu Indians were compelled to move from west Pakistan to India, leaving behind their livelihoods and ancestral roots in the process. Arakan, being a largely Muslim area thanks to the illegal immigration of Benghals, became a disputed territory. The “Rohingya” Muslims of the Arakan chapter of the Muslim League aspired to have their territory annexed into a greater Pakistani state, although this never materialised.

In 1947, the Arakan Muslims created the “Mujahid” Party, a political organisation dedicated to establishing the territory as an autonomous Islamic state. As the name suggests, this was not a group who sought to achieve their aims through peaceful or democratic means. They saw Jihad in the name of Allah as their primary method to realising their aims and behaved as such. Between 1947 and 1962, the group were very active and, not only did they commit acts of terrorism against the Burmese, they also encouraged yet more Islamic immigrants to cross the border and bolster their demographic stake in the region. There was a spike in the movement of people into Myanmar’s westerly-most region between 1971-78, causing Buddhist Monks and other activists to go on hunger strike in protest at their demographic displacement.

Interestingly, the term “Rohingya” only came into popular usage during the 1950’s when the Muslim population of Arakan, led by the Mujahids, were attempting to create a separate Muslim identity and distinguish themselves from the rest of the Burmese population. This, coupled with the acceptance of a further 200,000 Muslim immigrants in 1978 following international pressure, goes some way to contradicting the popular media claim that the Rakhine State Muslims are somehow an indigenous ethno-cultural group of the country.

In 1982, the Myanmar government enacted the Burmese Citizenship Law which specifically excluded Bengali immigrants of the variety imported by the British under the colonial era, as well as those who illegally migrated from Bangladesh in the aftermath of the Second World War. This is often seen by so-called humanitarian observers as effectively making the Rohingya stateless, but refusing permanent residency rights to a hostile group from a foreign land is hardly a genocidal move.

Current Tensions, 2012-2017

The current tensions that have gripped Myanmar and, specifically, Rakhine State, began in 2012 with a series of sectarian riots. Feelings spilled over after the gang rape of a native Rakhine Buddhist woman by a gang of Rohingya Muslims, resulting in a series of incidents including retaliatory acts by the Buddhist natives. This is compounded by the fact that the Buddhist natives to the region have a very real fear of being replaced in their own land by the hordes of Islamic migrants and established settlers, the size of which continues to grow and grow. The Burmese are already an ethnic minority in their own land in the northern part of Rakhine State.

The violence, which amounted to a radical insurgency by the Rohingya Muslims, left 78 dead and 87 injured. Martial law was declared, permitting the military to intervene in the administration of the state. “International observers” (leftist activists) were quoted at the time as saying this amounted to a genocide attempt, but the International Crisis Group explained after researching the situation that both the Muslims and the Buddhists were grateful of the military intervention to stop the violence.

The latest outbreak of violence has resulted in almost 150,000 Muslims leaving the country, but this is not as a result of “ethnic cleansing” as many sectors of the media like to claim. In reality, the crackdown on the illegal immigrant population came as a result of a terrorist insurgency by the “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” (ARSA), a group many media elements present as an humanitarian organisation looking after the welfare of the oppressed Muslim minority, but who are in reality a Jihadist organisation. On 25th August they coordinated attacks against Burmese police stations and attempted to raid an army barracks, the final tipping point that resulted in the clearance operation by the Burmese military in recent weeks.

The recent violence has come as a result of an upsurge in activity within the ARSA, who have been recruiting heavily amongst the Bengali villages close to the Bangladeshi border. This has coincided with an increase in terrorist Jihadist activity; in October 2016, the group attacked Burmese border patrol posts resulting in the deaths of 9 border guards and 4 soldiers; 15th November 2016, the group was involved in heavy fighting with the Burmese military; in December 2016 it was revealed the group have links with extreme Islamist organisations in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The summer months of 2017 have seen another step up in the terrorist activities of the group and other affiliated Islamist organisations. On 26th August, a day after the attacks on Burmese police, 4,000 native Rakhines were forced the flee their homes thanks to ARSA Jihad. The following day, 27th August, the group claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of 6 Hindus, including a woman and 3 children. These actions by the subversive foreign group have prompted the Burmese military to act in order to prevent the slaughter, yet the media accuses them of being the aggressors.

Media Motives

The reasoning for this biased hysteria on the part of western media outlets is rather curious. There is every chance that this could just be the bleeding hearts of white liberals, whose priorities and principles shift based on who they believe is the most oppressed group in the current year. The irony is that Burmese Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi was the western media’s favourite underdog when she spent many a year under house arrest, campaigning for democracy in her country. The transparency of their motivations is clear to see now that the Nobel Prize winner is no longer the underdog, as the white liberals who once saw her as the next Nelson Mandela are queuing up to denounce her response to the escalating violence in her country.

But moronic liberal tendencies aside, there may be more complex motivations for the current faux outrage over the Myanmar situation. One theory is that this is an attempt to soften the mood in order to facilitate the importation of Rohingya refugees to Europe. Considering the Bangladeshi government is reluctant to take them, this is a very real possibility. Logistically it is not beyond the criminal NGOs either, for they have displayed their ability to bring migrants to Europe from the deepest deserts of central Africa – a coastal region of East Asia is a stroll in the park for these experienced campaigners.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the powers that be in the western world are seeking to incite their populations to another foreign interventionist war, “the next Vietnam” if you like. Without wishing to delve too far into the depths of conspiracy, it could be argued that after failing to get their war in Syria the military-industrial complex is looking for new battlegrounds on which to flex its muscle – and of course create the demand for the mass production of fuel and munitions. This would also tie into the theme of recent years, of western powers supporting terrorist Islamic groups against traditionalist governments in the east who are otherwise immune to western influence.

Whatever their motives, the duty is incumbent on those who see through the contemptible Fake News propagated by western media outlets to counter it in the strongest possible terms. We are, as many of you are aware, in the midst of the greatest information war the world has ever seen, the micro-battles of which – such as the Myanmar issue – are equally as important as the illegal people smuggling operation being conducted in the Mediterranean. Every lie allowed to spread unhindered is a victory for the establishment, therefore every false narrative must be dissected and destroyed on whatever battleground it spreads.

Who are the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army ?

So are the Rohingya jihadist terrorists?  The photo below, with ARSA posing with AK47s would seem to suggest they are.  So does making the announcement  to cease all military offensive operations, which implies they were previously at war, not doing humanitarian work.

https://www.theapolitical.in/world/myanmar-arakan-rohingya-salvation-army-declares-unilateral-ceasefire

Myanmar: Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army declares unilateral ceasefire

10/09/2017
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The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), notified as a terrorist organisation by Myanmar, have declared a month-long unilateral ceasefire, beginning on Sunday, to enable aid groups to help ease a humanitarian crisis in Myanmar’s northwest Rakhine state.

About 290,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh after the military launched counter-offensive operations following attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) terrorists on 30 police posts and an army base on 25 August.

Around 30,000 non-Muslim civilians have been displaced in Rakhine as dozens of their members were killed in attacks by ARSA.

Urging humanitarian aid to all victims of the crisis, ARSA, in a statement yesterday, called on the Myanmar government to cease all military offensive operations and participate in assisting the victims.

“ARSA strongly encourages all concerned humanitarian actors resume their humanitarian assistance to all victims of the humanitarian crisis, irrespective of ethnic or religious background during the ceasefire period,” stated ARSA in the statement.

The impact of the unilateral ceasefire by ARSA remains unclear because the group does not seem to have been able to put up significant resistance against Myanmar’s military.

Myanmar says its military is conducting clearance operations to clear insurgents of the ARSA, which the government has declared a terrorist organisation.

The Myanmar government said that only 421 people have died as of Friday.

The UN yesterday said humanitarian agencies operating in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh urgently need US$77 million to assist people who have fled violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Mr. Robert Watkins, said, “With the movement of people showing no signs of stopping, it is vital that agencies working in Cox’s Bazar have the resources they need to provide emergency assistance to incredibly vulnerable people who have been forced to flee their homes and have arrived in Bangladesh with nothing.”


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41160679

Myanmar: Who are the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army?

6 Sept 2017

More than 100,000 Rohingya people have fled their homes since 25 August. They are trying to escape violence, following a military counter-offensive

against Rohingya militants who attacked police posts.

The insurgents claim to be acting on the behalf of Myanmar’s Rohingya – but who are they?

Who are Arsa?

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) operates in Rakhine state in northern Myanmar, where the mostly-Muslim Rohingya people have faced persecution. The Myanmar government has denied them citizenship and sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Clashes erupt periodically between ethnic groups but in the last year, an armed Rohingya insurgency has grown. Arsa, previously known by other names including Harakah al-Yaqin, has killed more than 20 police officers and members of the security forces.

On 25 August it attacked police posts in Rakhine state, killing 12 people in its biggest attack so far. In turn, this prompted a counter-insurgency clampdown from the security forces.

The government calls it a terrorist organisation and says its leaders have trained abroad. The International Crisis Group (ICG) also says the militants have trained abroad and released a report in 2016 saying the group was led by Rohingya people living in Saudi Arabia. The ICG says Arsa’s leader is Ata Ullah, who was born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia.

However a group spokesman countered this, telling the Asia Times newspaper that it had no links to jihadist groups and only existed to fight for Rohingya people to be recognised as an ethnic group.

What kind of weapons do they have?

The government says the 25 August attack was done with knives and home-made bombs.

When did Arsa start?

The spokesman who talked to the Asia Times said Arsa had been training people since 2013. But their first attack was in October 2016, when they killed nine police officers.

What are its aims?

Arsa says its aims are to “defend, salvage and protect” the Rohingya against state repression “in line with the principle of self-defence”.

Arsa also rejects the terrorist label, saying it does not attack civilians. However, there are reports of it killing informers while training members

The ICG says Arsa members are young Rohingya men angered by the state’s response to deadly riots in 2012. Young men trying to escape the area used to be able to do so by boat to Malaysia, but the Malaysian navy blocked that route in 2015, which led to thousands of people being stranded at sea and, the group says, others considering violence.

This is in the context of extreme poverty, statelessness and restrictions on Rohingya people’s movement. The security forces crack down heavily on violence; a UN report in February described the “devastating cruelty” of soldiers who had beaten, raped and killed people in the region while it was in lockdown following the October 2016 attacks.

  • The UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has said the scale of the destruction now is “far greater” than last year.

What effect has the insurgency had so far?

The attacks on security forces have prompted a crackdown from the military, who say they are fighting against civilian-attacking militants. More than 100,000 Rohingya people have fled their villages and crossed the border to Bangladesh, where refugee camps are full. Many of them say the military, assisted by Buddhist monks, have razed villages and killed civilians. The government says Buddhists and Hindus have also fled attacks in the area.

Media access to Rakhine, where the violence is, is severely restricted, making it hard to verify the situation on the ground.

Campaigners and politicians around the world have expressed concern at the refugees’ situation, warning of a lack of shelter, water and food. There are reports of children being injured in landmines as they try to leave the country.

A UN representative, and the Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai, called on leader Aun Sang Suu Kyi to stop the violence. Ms Suu Kyi has previously said there is “a lot of hostility” in the area but ethnic cleansing is “too strong a term” to use.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arakan_Rohingya_Salvation_Army

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), also known by its former name Harakah al-Yaqin (English: Faith Movement) is a Rohingya insurgent group active in the jungles of northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. According to a December 2016 report by the International Crisis Group, it is led by Ata Ullah, a Rohingya man who was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and grew up in Mecca, Saudi ArabiaOther members of its leadership include a committee of Rohingya émigrés in Saudi Arabia.

According to the lead interrogator of ARSA suspects jailed in Sittwe, Police Captain Yan Naing Latt, the group’s goal is to create a “democratic Muslim state for the Rohingya” in Myanmar.

 

The Rohingya Of Myanmar

The collateral damage from being pawns in a bigger game is families having to flee to Bangladesh, a country currently three-quarters under water and desperately poor.  Since they are already Muslims, I don’t know why Saudi Arabia isn’t helping THEM out, instead of causing trouble for Myanmar. The only explanation must be that the Saudis are acting on the instructions of the US, aiming to hurt China’s OBOR interests.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/09/the-rohingya-of-myanmar-pawns-in-an-anglo-chinese-proxy-war-fought-by-saudi-jihadists.html

The Rohingya Of Myanmar – Pawns In An Anglo-Chinese Proxy War Fought By Saudi Jihadists

4 Sept. 2017

Media attention is directed to some minor ethnic violence in Myanmar, the former Burma. The story in the “western” press is of Muslim Rohingya unfairly vilified, chased out and killed by  Buddhist mobs and the army in the state of Rakhine near the border to Bangladesh. The “liberal human interventionists” like Human Rights Watch are united with Islamists like Turkey’s President Erdogan in loudly lamenting the plight of the Rohingya.

That curious alliance also occurred during the wars on Libya and Syria. It is by now a warning sign. Could there be more behind this than some local conflict in Myanmar? Is someone stoking a fire?

Indeed.

While the ethnic conflict in Rankine state is very old, it has over the last years morphed into an Jihadist guerilla war financed and led from Saudi Arabia. The area is of geo-strategic interest:

Rakhine plays an important part in [the Chinese One Belt One Road Initiative] OBOR, as it is an exit to Indian Ocean and the location of planned billion-dollar Chinese projects—a planned economic zone on Ramree Island, and the Kyaukphyu deep-sea port, which has oil and natural gas pipelines linked with Yunnan Province’s Kunming.

Pipelines from the western coast of Myanmar eastwards to China allow hydrocarbon imports from the Persian Gulf to China while avoiding the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca and disputed parts of the South China Sea.

It is in “Western interest” to hinder China’s projects in Myanmar. Inciting Jihad in Rakhine could help to achieve that. There is historic precedence for such a proxy war in Burma. During World War II British imperial forces incited the Rohingya Muslim in Rakhine to fight Burmese nationalist Buddhists allied with Japanese imperialists.

myanmar2

The Rohingya immigrated to the northern parts of Arakan, today’s Rakhine state of Myanmar, since the 16th century. A large wave came under British imperial occupation some hundred years ago. Illegal immigration from Bangladesh continued over the last decades. In total about 1.1 million of Muslim Rohingya live in Myanmar. The birthrate of the Rohingya is said to be higher than that of the local Arakanese Buddhists. These feel under pressure in their own land.

While these populations are mixed in some towns there are many hamlets that belong 100% to either one. There is generally little integration of Rohingya within Myanmar. Most are officially not accepted as citizens. Over the centuries and the last decades there have been several violent episodes between the immigrants and the local people. The last Muslim-Buddhist conflict raged in 2012.

Since then a clearly Islamist insurgency was build up in the area. It acts under the name Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and is led by Ataullah abu Ammar Junjuni, a Jihadist from Pakistan. (ARSA earlier operated under the name Harakah al-Yakin, or Faith Movement.) Ataullah was born into the large Rohingya community of Karachi, Pakistan. He grew up and was educated in Saudi Arabia. He received military training in Pakistan and worked as Wahhabi Imam in Saudi Arabia before he came to Myanmar. He has since brainwashed, hired and trained a local guerrilla army of some 1,000 Takfiris.

According to a 2015 report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn there are more than 500,000 Rohingya in Karachi. They came from Bangladesh during the 1970s and 1980s on the behest on General Zia ul Haq’s military regime and the CIA to fight the Soviets and the government of Afghanistan:

Rohingya community [in Karachi] is more inclined towards religion and they send their children to madressahs. It is a major reason that many religious parties, especially the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the JI and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, have their organisational set-up in Burmese neighborhoods.

“A number of Rohingya members living in Arakan Abad have lost their relatives in recent attacks by Buddhist mobs in June 2012 in Myanmar,” said Mohammad Fazil, a local JI activist.Rohingyas in Karachi regularly collect donations, Zakat and hides of sacrificial animals and send these to Myanmar and Bangladesh to support the displaced families.

Reuters noted in late 2016 that the Jihadist group is trained, led and financed through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia:

A group of Rohingya Muslims that attacked Myanmar border guards in October is headed by people with links to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said on Thursday, citing members of the group.

“Though not confirmed, there are indications [Ataullah] went to Pakistan and possibly elsewhere, and that he received practical training in modern guerrilla warfare,” the group said. It noted that Ata Ullah was one of 20 Rohingya from Saudi Arabia leading the group’s operations in Rakhine State.Separately, a committee of 20 senior Rohingya emigres oversees the group, which has headquarters in Mecca, the ICG said.

The ARSA Jihadists claim to only attack government forces but civilian Arakanese Buddhists have also been ambushed and massacred. Buddhist hamlets were also burned down.

The government of Myanmar alleges that Ataullah and his group want to declare an independent Islamic State. In October 2016 his group started to attack police and other government forces in the area. On August 25 this year his group attacked 30 police stations and military outposts and killed some 12 policemen. The army and police responded, as is usual in this conflict, by burning down Rohingya townships suspected of hiding guerrilla forces.

To escape the growing violence many local Arakanese Buddhist flee their towns towards the capitol of Rankine. Local Rohingya Muslim flee across the border to Bangladesh. Only the latter refugees seem to get international attention.

The Myanmar army has ruled the country for decades. Under economic pressure it nominally opened up to the “west” and instituted “democracy”. The darling of the “west” in Myanmar is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Her party won the elections and she has a dominant role in the government. But Aung San Suu Kyi is foremost a nationalist and the real power is still held by the generals.

While Aung San Suu Kyi was propped up as democratic icon she has little personal merit except being the daughter of Thakin Aung San, a famous leader of the Burma Independence Army (BIA) and the “father of the nation”. In the 1940s Thakin Aung San was recruited by the Imperial Japanese Army to wage a guerrilla war against the colonial British army and the British supply line to anti-Japanese forces in China:

The young Aung San learned to wear Japanese traditional clothing, speak the language, and even took a Japanese name. In historian Thant Myint-U’s “The River of Lost Footsteps,” he describes him as “apparently getting swept away in all the fascist euphoria surrounding him,” but notes that his commitment remained to independence for Myanmar.

The ethnic strife in Rakhine also played a role in the British-Japanese conflict over Burma:

In April 1942, Japanese troops advanced into Rakhine State and reached Maungdaw Township, near the border with what was then British India, and is now Bangladesh. As the British retreated to India, Rakhine became a front line.Local Arakanese Buddhists collaborated with the BIA and Japanese forces but the British recruited area Muslims to counter the Japanese.

“Both armies, British and Japanese, exploited the frictions and animosity in the local population to further their own military aims,” wrote scholar Moshe Yegar

When the British won against the Japanese Thakin Aung San change sides and negotiated the end of British imperial rule over Burma. He was assassinated in 1947 with the help of British officers. Since then Burma, later renamed to Myanmar, was ruled by ever competing factions of the military.

Thakin Aung San’s daughter Aung San Suu Kyi received a British education and was build up for a role in Myanmar. In the 1980s and 90s she quarreled with the military government. She was given a Nobel Peace Price and is somehow seen as progressive defender of human rights by the “western” literati. They are now disappointed that she does not speak out in favor of the Rohingya. But doing so would put her on the opposite side her father had famously fought for. It would also put her in opposition to most of the people in Myanmar who have little sympathy for the Rohingya and their Jihadi fight.

Moreover – the Chinese OBOR projects are a huge bon for Myanmar and will help with its economic development. The Saudis and Pakistani send guerilla commanders and money to incite the Rohingya to Jihad in Myanmar.  This is a historic repeat of the CIA operation against Soviet influence in Afghanistan. But unlike in Afghanistan the people of Myanmar are not Muslim they will surely fight against, not join, any Jihad in their country. The Rohingya are now pawns in the great game and will suffer from it.