|ARSA is latest phase of Bengali-Mujahid Insurgency since 1948.|
The counterinsurgency operation, which was precipitated by Rohingya insurgent attacks in August, has so far sent 626,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh. International players in the drama are acting perfectly in character.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which conducted the attacks, called itself a garden-variety ethnic insurgent group out to protect the Rohingya people against state repression. Burma declared ARSA a terrorist group, and initiated what it calls a legitimate counterinsurgency campaign against extremist Bengali terrorists. Rakhine Buddhist nationalists actively supported the army, and took their own vigilante action.
Al-Jazeera, Qatar’s official mouthpiece for spreading Salafist propaganda, called for foreign governments and international institutions to force the hand of the Suu Kyi government and hold it accountable. The oratory of the Muslim diaspora, meanwhile, quickly reached fever pitch.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights — Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, controversial for his positions on freedom of expression, free markets, populists and President Trump’s treatment of the American press — described the crackdown as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” If the term was calibrated to go viral, it succeeded.
(Blogger's Notes: If Prince al-Hussein has a textbook on Ethnic Cleansing he should loan it to Burmese generals as they seem to be quite lousy in committing either Ethnic Cleansing or a Genocide as the Rohingya Muslims are the only group who amazingly multiplied to millions despite a genocide or ethnic cleansing going on for a very very long time.)
|Chief Burma-hater al-Hussein|
who seems to read a textbook
on Ethnic Cleansing.
Not to be outdone, the U.N. Human Rights Council overwhelmingly approved a resolution saying that crimes against humanity have “very likely” occurred. Human rights chief Zeid objected, arguing it didn’t go far enough.
If the international community really wants to do something constructive about the crisis, it will stop debating semantics and focus on permanently resettling the Rohingya refugees. The alternative — their “safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return” to Burma, based on the recommendations of Kofi Annan’s Rakhine Advisory Commission — is a fantasy. The commission, established in 2016 by the Burmese government after earlier Rohingya insurgent attacks, is an object lesson in crisis management malpractice.
For security and other reasons, Bangladesh doesn’t want the Rohingya refugees there permanently. But few think they will return anytime soon because of security problems, persecution, discrimination, lack of citizenship, absence of official papers and the verification process.
Because of this, Amnesty International and others want Bangladesh to adopt a policy of non-refoulement, “the cornerstone of international refugee protection.” That would stop their return to Burma if life or freedom would be threatened there — which they surely would be. Human Rights Watch supports resettlement for Rohingya who are unable or unwilling to return to Burma, but the U.N. is reportedly avoiding long-term planning for the refugees because it wants to negotiate their return.
What is needed is for the U.N. and other bilateral, regional and non-state actors to start planning for permanent resettlement of the refugees in Muslim countries that already host large Rohingya populations.
|Expecting to be resettled in US, Germany, Australia, and other rich countries the Rohingya|
burned their villages and strolled across the border into Bangladesh.
Since Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were so helpful in creating, training and arming ARSA, they will no doubt be especially welcoming to their Rohingya brothers and sisters.
The Rohingya refugee problem isn’t going away until the Rohingya insurgency is over. It started just three short months after Burma’s independence in January 1948, and it has churned more or less continuously in Rakhine state for the last 70 years. The latest insurgent attacks precipitated what is now the seventh major flood of refugees to Bangladesh, totaling some 1.3 million Rohingya.
All of the players in this drama are acting in character, and Burma is no different. It may be the most insurgent-prone country in the world, with 47 armed ethnic groups, and it will no doubt continue fighting this insurgency as it has fought others for the last 70 years — in this case with help from China.
If it’s smart, it will stop the violence, peacefully escort the remaining Rohingya to the border with Bangladesh, and seal that border permanently. It’s time to end the Rohingya insurgency for good, stop the recurring humanitarian crises, and close off western Burma permanently as a potential gateway for Islamic jihad.
Whatever the fate of the few hundred thousand Rohingya still remaining in Burma, the international community should stop setting its hair on fire and focus on doing what it does best: help resettle the Rohingya refugees to countries where they can have a real future.