Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army - No Salvation

The Socialist Party is well aware of the fact that brutality leads to more brutality. We wrote in a Socialist Standard article to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing.
 "The Myanmar army, the Tatmadaw, who had never really yielded their power to the civilian government, engaged in the brutal repression of dissent, pushing some Rohingya to call for an armed uprising to stop the oppression. The problem, therefore, became exacerbated by the arrival on the scene of armed groups such as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – who launched violent attacks against Burma's military. In October 2016, hundreds of fighters attacked border posts which prompted a massive army crackdown, with troops accused of rape and indiscriminate killings. In August 2017 attacks on police posts across the north of the state killed 12 members of the security forces and the fully to be expected backlash was swift. ARSA naturally style themselves as 'freedom fighters' yet some analysts such as the International Crisis Group describe them as jihadists financed, recruited and trained by private individuals in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia who have campaigned to enhance ARSA’s religious legitimacy further by obtaining fatwas from senior clerics in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and elsewhere. The stated aim of ARSA is to secure the rights of the Rohingya as citizens within Burma, however its choice of violent resistance may well have set back that cause. It has fuelled the regime's claims that the Rohingya are not peaceful, and that they are foreign interloper, not truly deserving of national recognition and must be expelled."
Indeed the cautionary warning proved only too appropriate because Amnesty International now reveals that ARSA were complicit in the massacre of a village of Hindus. Amnesty says interviews it conducted with refugees in Bangladesh and in Rakhine state confirmed that mass killings which took place in a cluster of villages in northern Maungdaw Township. Around a hundred Hindu villagers were murdered. The report The report details how Arsa members on 26 August, 2017 attacked the Hindu village of Ah Nauk Kha Maung Seik. Amnesty said the bodies of 45 people from the village were unearthed in four mass graves in late September. The remains of the other victims, as well as 46 from the neighbouring village of Ye Bauk Kyar, have not been found.
"In this brutal and senseless act, members of Arsa captured scores of Hindu women, men and children and terrorised them before slaughtering them outside their own villages." said the report.
One woman from the village described how: "They slaughtered the men. We were told not to look at them … They had knives. They also had some spades and iron rods. … We hid ourselves in the shrubs there and were able to see a little … My uncle, my father, my brother - they were all slaughtered."
These atrocities have provided the Myanmar government with a propaganda victory.
 Amnesty International explains, "It's hard to ignore the sheer brutality of Arsa's actions, which have left an indelible impression on the survivors we've spoken to. Accountability for these atrocities is every bit as crucial as it is for the crimes against humanity carried out by Myanmar's security forces in northern Rakhine State."

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