Myanmar's Rohingya: Bob Rae to the rescue? Don't think so.

Brian Thu, 2017-11-09 14:15
Oil tanker disaster, Congo, 2010, NOT an atrocity against the Rohingya

(Photo above: In Aug/Sept, 2017, the above photo was all over FB/Twitter as evidence of Myanmar atrocities against the Rohingya. The posters apparently didn't notice that every person alive in the photo looks distinctly African. That's because it's a photo of an oil tanker disaster in Congo, 2010.)

While the crisis affecting the Rohingya of Myanmar's Rakhine State seems to have exceeded the attention span of most of the Mainstream Media (MSM) these days, it doubtless continues on.

Here's Karl Nerenberg making a thoughtful contribution to the discussion over at It's terrific to see someone applying some real thought to the problem, as such insightfulness is sorely lacking these days.

It's an excellent, thoughtful article, unusual in these days. I congratulate the author for having applied some actual reasoning to the situation.

On the other hand, I myself can see no valid reason for Canada to be trying to make unilateral interventions in Burmese conflicts. With apologies to Mr. Nerenberg, this is especially if we're going to be inserting Bob Rae into the midst of them. (Full disclosure: As an NDP voter in 1990, momentarily ecstatic at the NDP forming the provincial government, Rae still haunts me.)

It's been largely overlooked that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Harakah al-Yaqin, or "Faith Movement") attack of August 25th was timed to coincide with (and over-shadow, hugely successfully) the release of Kofi Annan's Rakhine Advisory Commission's report. The report was a series of recommendations to the government of Myanmar on how to address the human rights situation of the Rohingya. The Commission was set up by Myanmar's civilian government (i.e. not the military part), and Aung San Suu Kyi endorsed their recommendations. Given the political structure in Myanmar, she has no power to implement them. (The military has all the real power.)

Those who look further than the MSM for information know that ARSA is led by a self-identified Rohingya from Karachi who grew up in Saudi Arabia. We also know they've got a non-Rohingya spokesperson who says they attempt with their actions to draw international attention to their "open war" against the government, and that at least some of their violence is directed at Rohingya who don't want to go along with them.

We've seen this kind of thing before. Anyone who's followed the tactics of the head-choppers in Syria should recognize them here. Just to be clear, I don't trust Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) spokespeople as far as I can throw them. But we also know that our own leaders and MSM are big, fat liars. And Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even United Nations staff have so completely disgraced themselves over the past 10 years, their pronouncements should be met with a scoopful of salt as well. ARSA? I don't believe a thing they say.

Though we've been lied to time after time by the MSM about what's going on in foreign countries, and we've witnessed one vicious PR campaign after another (Milošević is committing genocide in Kosovo! Chavez is a ruthless dictator! Qaddafi is feeding viagra to the troops! Aleppo is burning as the last hospital is bombed!), many of us still fail to recognize one when it meets our confirmation biases.

The current Rohingya crisis first came to my attention in September this year when there was a tsunami of fake photos of Tatmadaw atrocities on Twitter and Facebook. (I'm not assuming they were fake—I looked some of them up and found the originals. One of them was actually a photo of some performance artists re-enacting an atrocity, LOL.) Then, a little later, came the tsunami of MSM stories of "textbook ethnic cleansing."

Currently, the MSM has reported to us that 6-700,000 Rohingya have joined the 300,000 that were already in exile. Since the Rohingya population in 2012 was around 1,300,000, that would seem to be an incredible expulsion. And I emphasize the word "incredible." I've seen no photographs of any refugee camps that would indicate that many refugees. We've not been told how the UN/NGOs have made their estimates, so, frankly, I'm not convinced they're not making them up.

Is there a wahhabist insurgency going on? Yes, there is. Do the Tatmadaw have the right to quell it? Yes, they do. Do the Tatmadaw have the right to collectively punish civilian Rohingya for ARSA actions? No, they don't. Is that happening? It would be in character. Is it happening at the level the MSM say it is? Hard to be sure. The MSM lying about such things would also be in character.

It's also useful to keep in mind that people fleeing a place en masse are escaping the violence, no matter the perpetrators.

So what do we do? Well, prattling on about Aung San Suu Kyi's Nobel Peace Prize won't help the Rohingya. Or the Kachin, or the Karen, or the Shan. (But if you do, don't leave out Obama's prize.) Sending brave, brave, brave Sir RaeBob in to help? Don't make me laugh.

Poor Kofi Annan. Every time they send him in to address a crisis, he makes a report that seems to go a long way to address the problem, but it's completely ignored, if not contradicted and undermined. But that's the kind of international action that might do some good. (Given the recent past, it may also be necessary to find a way to cut off the funding that these head-choppers always have from Saudi/GCC sources.)

What about international sanctions? Good luck with that. There's an oil pipeline involved, part of China's "One Belt One Road" program, a pipeline that goes right through Rakhine, and relieves China of its dependence on the Malacca Strait. Repression of violent hot spots in the area, in fact, meets with China's approval. Western sanctions would play right into China's hands, making Myanmar more dependent on China. And, sanctions wouldn't make Western "investors," salivating over Myanmar resources, very happy at all.

But what about human rights? Sorry. If "human rights" can't be leveraged in a way that meets Western geo-political interests (see, for example, Yemen), Western "leaders" won't give a damn. In fact, the only thing that meets Western geo-political needs in the area would be more disruption.

And they may get it. According to the Bertil Lentner report referenced above, jihadis are itching to go to Rakhine and kick some Buddhist arse. The entire Muslim world, it would seem, is outraged over the Rohingya situation (not without justification), with the notable exception of Bangladesh, which is not only struggling with the refugee situation, but also trying to deal with the influx of jihadis, jihadi money, and funding of wahhabi madrassas.

I'm guessing that's something Myanmar and the Tatmadaw would want to avoid, if possible. The situation calls for international peace-making. Is there any? I'm not hopeful. Will Bob Rae be able to settle things? Stop! You're killing me.

(BTW, there is no doubt that the Rohingya are Bengali. They look like Bengalis, and they speak the Chittagong dialect of Bengali. This, of course, does not mean they don't belong in their homes in Myanmar. It just is.)


See also:

Moon of Alabama. The Rohingya Of Myanmar: Pawns In An Anglo-Chinese Proxy War Fought By Saudi Jihadists, Sept 4, 2017

Marjanović, Marko. What We Aren’t Being Told About Myanmar?, Checkpoint Asia, Sept 11, 2017

Stinson, Sean. America’s Long War: US Tightens the Noose on China, CounterPunch, Sept 8, 2017

Ramu anti-Buddhist violence, Bangladesh, 2012 (Wikipedia)

Rakhine State riots, Myanmar, 2012 (Wikipedia)

(Photo below: This is a view of the Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya, seen in Google Earth at 12,200m altitude (40,000ft). It's the largest in the world, housing 600,000 refugees. The Rohingya camps in Myanmar, of course, will vastly exceed Dadaab. Unfortunately, Google Earth's latest data for the Cox's Bazar area of Bangladesh is February, 2017. If you find an aerial photo of any refugee camp in Bangladesh that's anywhere near this size, I'd be very interested in seeing it.)

Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya, viewed with Google Earth at 12,200m (40,000 ft)