Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Rohingya crisis

  1. #1
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
    Join Date
    11 Sep 10
    Location
    Bangalore
    Posts
    5,970

    Rohingya crisis

    Interesting read looking at the big picture

    The truth behind Myanmar’s Rohingya insurgency | Asia Times | Sept 20 2017

    While the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army claims to be fighting an ethno-nationalist struggle, its leaders and extremist group links point towards a wider regional agenda

    By BERTIL LINTNER YANGON, SEPTEMBER 20, 201

    While Myanmar’s emergent Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) claims it’s like other ethnic armed groups fighting for self-determination across the country and should not be branded as a terrorist organization, the realities on the ground tell a different tale.

    ARSA represents an entirely new type of insurgency, one which the Myanmar military has demonstrated it is wholly ill-equipped to combat. Other ethnic resistance armies in Myanmar, such as those from the Kachin, Shan, Karen or Mon, dress in military uniforms with the names of their respective groups prominently displayed and badges showing their ranks.

    ARSA’s Muslim fighters, by contrast, mingle with villagers and wear civilian clothes. After their low-grade attacks on security force targets, ARSA insurgents are known to retreat across the border to neighboring Bangladesh, where people speak the same language and adhere to the same religious beliefs. In that sense, ARSA’s tactics more resemble the Muslim insurgents in southernmost Thailand, adjacent to Malaysia, than Myanmar’s other ethnic armies.

    Without sharing the ideological doctrines of Nepal’s and India’s Maoists, ARSA appears to have aped their fighting techniques. Rather than facing Myanmar’s army in battles and ambushes, ARSA, like Nepalese Maoist insurgents did when they were active and the Indian Naxalites do today, prefers to mobilize hundreds of unarmed villagers to attack state positions in the middle of the night.

    Defenders of the targeted state outpost, usually small and isolated, get the impression that they are being surrounded by a much bigger fighting force. The relatively small attacking party then moves in, kills the intimidated soldiers or police and escapes with their weapons. It’s a style of attack familiar in South Asia but altogether foreign until now in Myanmar.

    After the attacks in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State on August 25, the Myanmar military claimed to have killed 400 insurgents. Most likely, however, nearly all of them would have been conscripted villagers. If that many ARSA fighters had been killed, almost the entire organization would have been wiped out, according to security analysts monitoring the group.

    The same analysts say the strength of the organization is much less than what the rebels as well as Myanmar military authorities claim. According to insiders, ARSA’s strength is in the hundreds rather than thousands, with the total number of active trained combatants likely not exceeding 500.

    While ARSA’s military capacities are limited, its propaganda machine is wide-reaching, with statements issued on Twitter and other social media platforms in surprisingly fluent English and in a language that aims to make the insurgent group appear moderate and reasonable.

    In one of its first announcements on September 9, ARSA declared a month-long unilateral ceasefire to enable aid groups to reach Rohingya refugees and avert a full-blown humanitarian crisis. Aid groups have estimated over 400,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since ARSA’s August 25 attacks and the military’s brutal counteractions.

    It was a bold declaration for a lightly armed group that is by no means a proper organized army. Many of the group’s attacks have been launched with machetes. At the same time, ARSA has failed to explain how attacks by their few and poorly equipped cadres facing the might of the Myanmar army could be seen as acts taken to ”protect the Rohingya.”

    If reports from the area received by Asia Times are accurate, local people are furious with ARSA for giving the Myanmar military an excuse to “ethnically cleanse” the area of Rohingya and other minority groups.

    On September 14, ARSA said it wanted to “make it clear” that it had no “links to Al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Lashkar-e-Taiba or any transnational terrorist group.” ARSA also wanted “it to be known by all states that it is prepared to work with security agencies to intercept and prevent terrorists from entering [Rakhine] and making a bad situation worse.”

    Security analysts and terrorism experts are not convinced considering the group’s clear links to foreign extremist groups, including in Pakistan. ARSA’s leader, Ataullah abu Ammar Junjuni, also known as Hafiz Tohar, was born in Karachi and received madrassa education in Saudi Arabia.

    There are hundreds of thousands of first, second and third generation Rohingya living in Orangi, Korangi, Landhi and other impoverished suburbs of Karachi. Nearly all of them are stateless, although they have lived in Pakistan for years and most by now were born there. The areas where they live are long-time hotbeds of extremist activity, with some known to have been recruited to fight in the wars in Afghanistan.

    ARSA was initially known as Harakah al-Yaqin, or “the faith movement.” The moniker had clear religious connotations and notably did not contain the words Rohingya or Arakan (Rakhine). It was only last year it started to use the more ethnically oriented name ARSA, perhaps in an attempt to distance itself from the radical milieu in which the movement was born.

    According to intelligence analysts, its mentor is Abdus Qadoos Burmi, another Pakistani of Rohingya descent. Likewise based in Karachi, he has appeared in videos spread on social media calling for ‘jihad’ in Myanmar.

    Abdus Qadoos has well-documented links to Lashkar-e-Taiba, or the Army of the Righteous, one of South Asia’s largest Islamic terrorist organizations that operates mainly from Pakistan. The group was founded in 1987 in Afghanistan with funding from now deceased Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. Abdus Qadoos has even appeared in meetings together with Lashkar-e-Taiba supremo Hafiz Mohammed Syed.

    ARSA’s second-ranking leader is a shadowy man known only as “Sharif” who comes from Chittagong in southwestern Bangladesh and does not appear in any of the group’s propaganda videos. He reportedly speaks with an Urdu language accent, the official language of Pakistan.

    ARSA itself may have been able to recruit angry and desperate young men among the Rohingya in Rakhine state and refugee camps in Bangladesh, but, according to security analysts, there also 150 odd foreigners among their rank.

    Most of them are from Bangladesh, eight to ten come from Pakistan with smaller groups from Indonesia, Malaysia and southern Thailand. Two are reportedly from Uzbekistan. Trainings held in the Myanmar-Bangladesh border areas have been carried out in part by older veterans of the Afghan wars, the security analysts say.

    It is now clear that the simultaneous attacks on August 25 required meticulous planning. In the months before the attacks, as many as 50 people, Muslims as well as Buddhists suspected of serving as government informants, had their throats slit or were hacked to death in order to deprive the Myanmar military of intelligence in the area.

    The timing of the attacks was hardly a coincidence. On August 24, the Advisory Commission on Rakhine state, chaired by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and commissioned by the Myanmar government, released its report suggesting peaceful means to end the conflict in the area.
    This is the part that suggests more is going on. ARSA attacks began the day after Kofi Annan report came out.

    Under the current chaotic and violent situation it will be difficult to revive its proposals, leaving the road open for more destabilizing militant activities.

    Videos released by Islamist groups in Indonesia show groups of young men undergoing military training in Aceh, northern Sumatra, in preparation for a jihad in Rakhine state. Massive demonstrations in support of the Rohingya have been held throughout Bangladesh, where the influx of refugees has quickly become a domestic political issue pitting the ruling Awami League against a fundamentalist-backed opposition.

    Given the Myanmar military’s ferocious reaction to ARSA’s first clash with security forces last October 9, an exchange and subsequent “clearance operation” which forced as many as 70,000 refugees into Bangladesh, analysts consider it inconceivable that the group did not anticipate an even stronger response to the more widespread attacks of August 25.

    If the group’s goal was to “protect the Rohingyas”, as ARSA has claimed, its attacks backfired horribly. But the militants must have calculated the wider benefits that could be derived from the blowback. The international publicity surrounding the Rohingya’s plight has been unprecedented, promising new and potentially lucrative support from the Arab and Muslim worlds and more angry young men to recruit.

    But the victims of this cynical game are the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya and others who have been forced from their destroyed homes and now languish in squalid camps in Bangladesh or the inhospitable no man’s land along the two countries’ increasingly hellish border.

  2. #2
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
    Join Date
    08 Mar 11
    Location
    London
    Posts
    2,401
    I first met Bertil in the 1980s, when he walked for about a year from NW Thailand around the northern border of Burma and out through China.

    With his Shan-born, pregnant wife.

    He’s no friend of the thugs who lead the Burmese army, and has a pretty skeptical view of Daw Aung Sang.

    I trust his analysis.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  3. #3
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 Jan 07
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    9,215
    DE,

    While that article undoubtedly provides some context to current events, the idea that it is the 'big picture' is a VERY long way from being accurate. I can't imagine you'd think the same if someone presented an article on Kashmir that focused on a recently created militant group and its activities without any further information.

    That article needs to be read along side something like the one below that lays out the decades long treatment of Rohingya that has provided fertile soil for extremists. What I find remarkable is not that there is a Muslim extremist group attacking the Myamnar government, but that it took so long to happen given the appalling treatment of Rohingya Muslims.

    The article also needs to be understood in the context of a nation dominated by a ethnic group with a history of imperial conquest and 'ethnic cleansing'. An ethnic group that has been at war with the ethnic minorities that make up over 30% of the nation ever since independence in 1947. The Rohingya are just the most recent group to suffer at the hands of a Burman majority that seems to treat the violent repression of minorities as a birth right.

    One of the points of the plan unveiled by Kofi Annan was that Rohingya should be granted citizenship. It seems no coincidence to me that the military is so keen to drive as many as possible out of the country before that can happen. There are few people in the world who have been treated as badly as this group for as long. Sadly I have no faith that anyone inside or outside Myanmar is going to fix this, especially with the government pushing the 'Muslim terrorism' barrow for all it is worth.

    The systematic slaughter of civilians by security forces in Myanmar's Rakhine State has forced hundreds of thousands of stateless Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh, creating a humanitarian disaster not seen in Asia for decades.

    Who are the Rohingya?

    Historians say Rohingya Muslims have lived in Myanmar, also known as Burma, since the 12th century. They are descendants of Muslim migrants from India and China as well as earlier Arab settlers. Their religion is a Sufi-infused Sunni Islam.

    Because the Myanmar government restricts their educational opportunities, many pursue fundamental Islamic studies in mosques and religious schools present in most villages. They speak a dialect of Bengali, which is spoken in Bangladesh and parts of India. Their dialect is distinct to other languages spoken in Rakhine. Their rights to marry, study, travel and have access to health services are restricted.

    What sparked the exodus of Rohingya to Bangladesh?

    The world's newest Muslim insurgency revealed itself in western Myanmar last year when militants attacked Myanmar police posts. New attacks took place on August 25, the day a state-appointed commission of inquiry headed by former UN chief Kofi Annan released its report into previous bloodshed. Several police were killed.

    According to the International Crisis Group, a committee of Rohingya emigres with experience in guerrilla warfare oversees the militants from Mecca. Its leader Attaullah Abu Ammar Jununi was born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia. Muslim militants started to secretly train in guerrilla warfare after ethnic riots in 2012 killed hundreds of Rohingya. ARSA militants are now pitted against Myanmar security forces in Rakhine.

    Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship in 1982 as part of decades-long persecution that has denied them basic rights, including freedom of movement. An intense propaganda war has been waged by all sides in Rakhine.

    In 2012 riots erupted in the state after weeks of sectarian disputes, including an alleged gang rape and murder of a Rakhine woman by Rohingya men and the subsequent killing of 10 Rohingya people by Buddhists. In all, violent Buddhist mobs forced more than 140,000 Rohingya from their homes into squalid camps.

    In March 2014, the Myanmar government banned the word Rohingya and asked for registration of the minority as Bengalis in the country's first census in three decades. It meant that 1.3 million Rohingya in Rakhine state, also called Arakan, were not included in the census.

    On April 2015, the government formally rescinded the temporary ID or "white cards", the last form of official government identification for Rohingya, stripping them of voting rights linked to the cards.

    The Rohingya had hoped the election of Nobel Peace laureate and democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi in November 2015 would see a turnaround in hostility towards them from the new government in Naypyidaw and Buddhist groups. But violence against them has dramatically worsened since then.

    A UN report in February 2017 accused Myanmar security forces of atrocities against the Rohingya that could amount to crimes against humanity.

    Could the crisis spread beyond Myanmar's borders?

    According to the International Crisis Group, a committee of Rohingya emigres with experience in guerrilla warfare oversees the militants from Mecca. Its leader Attaullah Abu Ammar Jununi was born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia. Some experts say more than one million Rohingya living in Rakhine were ripe for exploitation by foreign jihadists.

    Rohingya do not have a history of radicalisation and there are no indications ARSA has been pursuing the goals of global jihadist groups. But Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups want to establish a foothold in the region, and that may change.

    Unless Myanmar's security forces end their brutality in Rakhine and the government of Aung San Suu Kyi adopts a political response to the crisis, increasing numbers of Rohingya are likely to swing their support to the militants.

    Why has Aung San Suu Kyi refused to speak up for Rohingya?


    Although the country's de facto leader, Suu Kyi is sandwiched politically by the powerful Myanmar military, nationalist Buddhist-majority parties and an undemocratic Constitution. She says her government, swept into power at historic elections in 2015, cannot tell the military not to launch offensives.

    Army generals see themselves as saviours of the country. Many Buddhists hate Rohingya and label them "Bengali" illegal immigrants. If Suu Kyi was to speak up for the Rohingya she would alienate her support base.

    Why are neighbouring countries so worried?

    The crisis divides Buddhists and Muslims across south-east Asia and South Asia. Anti-Buddhist protests have already been held across Pakistan, India and Indonesia.

    The plight of Rohingya could become a lightning rod for existing underlying divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and India, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are living, many of them after putting their lives in the hands of people smugglers to flee Rakhine. Politicians with domestic agendas could exploit the tensions.

    Why is Australia concerned about in the situation?

    Australia fears ongoing violence in Rakhine could spark a new wave of boat people - that's what happened in 2015 after an outbreak of violence in Rakhine prompted a flood of refugees.

    One leading analyst warns the region could suddenly have to confront desperate Rohingya diaspora problem such as that of the Palestinian issue that has perpetuated violent conflict in the Middle East for 70 years.
    http://www.theage.com.au/world/what-...12-gyfp5q.html


    Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

  4. #4
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
    Join Date
    11 Sep 10
    Location
    Bangalore
    Posts
    5,970
    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    I first met Bertil in the 1980s, when he walked for about a year from NW Thailand around the northern border of Burma and out through China.

    With his Shan-born, pregnant wife.

    He’s no friend of the thugs who lead the Burmese army, and has a pretty skeptical view of Daw Aung Sang.

    I trust his analysis.
    Yes, Shan wife, earlier article he spoke abut meeting the Dalai lama in the 80s. The meeting was supposed to take a half hour but ended up three times as long as the Dalai lama was talking to his wife. We get this revelation that Dalai lama originally intended to flee to Burma instead of India. That would have changed history

    Given the dictators in Burma took over by '62 Burma would have been the weaker choice

  5. #5
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
    Join Date
    11 Sep 10
    Location
    Bangalore
    Posts
    5,970
    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    DE,

    While that article undoubtedly provides some context to current events, the idea that it is the 'big picture' is a VERY long way from being accurate. I can't imagine you'd think the same if someone presented an article on Kashmir that focused on a recently created militant group and its activities without any further information.
    Sure, but its the events of Aug 25 that stand out. Why does ARSA mount attacks after the report. The intent of this report was to help the situation and the rohingyas in particular

    That article needs to be read along side something like the one below that lays out the decades long treatment of Rohingya that has provided fertile soil for extremists. What I find remarkable is not that there is a Muslim extremist group attacking the Myamnar government, but that it took so long to happen given the appalling treatment of Rohingya Muslims.
    The place was sealed up until 2007, once they loosen up things bubble out.

    The article also needs to be understood in the context of a nation dominated by a ethnic group with a history of imperial conquest and 'ethnic cleansing'. An ethnic group that has been at war with the ethnic minorities that make up over 30% of the nation ever since independence in 1947. The Rohingya are just the most recent group to suffer at the hands of a Burman majority that seems to treat the violent repression of minorities as a birth right.
    Yes, they booted Indians out earlier. People remember Uganda, how many know about Burma. Chinese fare no better. Being successful is a problem in that place if you're from outside

    What i find curious is the present stance of both India & China towards Burma. Kowtow. Both. Neither dares upset Burma. Burmese air force bomb militant camps inside the Chinese border and not a peep from Beijing.

    Understand the motivations and compulsions are pretty compelling here.

    The Indian govt view, in public, is in line with that of the Burmese govt. Amazing how politically divisive it has been in India. The effects manifested in my city few years back. Images of dead rohingyas were doing the rounds on social media. Some rumours were spread, next thing we know, thousands of north easterners rush to the train stations to go back fearing riots were to break out and they would be the target.

    Fortunately no riots took place but the local govt was unable to reassure them not to leave

    One of the points of the plan unveiled by Kofi Annan was that Rohingya should be granted citizenship. It seems no coincidence to me that the military is so keen to drive as many as possible out of the country before that can happen. There are few people in the world who have been treated as badly as this group for as long. Sadly I have no faith that anyone inside or outside Myanmar is going to fix this, especially with the government pushing the 'Muslim terrorism' barrow for all it is worth.
    Burmese nationalism appears blood based not soil based. Ne Win aggravated things further in the late 60s.

    You wonder where it all went wrong, in the 40s, Burma actually was one of the bright spots of the region. U Thant was from Burma. Then the military takes over and the clock stops for the next half century
    Last edited by Double Edge; 22 Sep 17, at 13:29.

  6. #6
    Senior Contributor
    Join Date
    12 Jul 13
    Location
    Bangalore, India
    Posts
    2,325

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. The Nepal Crisis
    By ramananda in forum International Politics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 24 May 09,, 11:32
  2. Yet another Fiji crisis
    By Bigfella in forum International Politics
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 13 Apr 09,, 12:22
  3. Pakistan in Crisis
    By Merlin in forum International Politics
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 15 Mar 09,, 18:34
  4. Newfoundland Crisis
    By Canmoore in forum International Politics
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 25 Apr 07,, 19:38

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •