Rohingya crisis: Is there a Saudi role?
to promote Islamism of the Wahabi variety among a people who were otherwise inclined towards a folksy form of Sufism.
In her study on the Rohingyas for the Council on Foreign Relations, Eleanor Albert’s version tallies with the Mufti’s narrative on how the trouble started in Rakhine in August. Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army “claimed responsibility for attacks on police and army posts”. Is it any surprise that the government declared ARSA a terrorist organisation? It was then that the military mounted a “brutal campaign that destroyed hundreds of Rohingya villages and forced more than 500,000 Rohingya to leave Myanmar, approximately half of the Rohingya population out of the country”.
Military brutality on a scale never seen in history was then unleashed: the security forces allegedly opened fire on fleeing civilians and planted landmines near the border crossings used by the Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh.
A long-simmering conflict, intensifying over the past decade, was custom-made for outsiders to ignite and cause an explosion. This precisely is what appears to have been precipitated in Rakhine state two months ago. “But why would sleeping cells be activated now?” Well, one lesson learnt from manufactured terrorist groups is this: groups reared on lethal Islam cannot be destroyed. They have to be relocated. The defeat of militant groups in Syria has, ironically, created another kind of problem. Trained with Western
The defeat of militant groups in Syria has, ironically, created another kind of problem. Trained with Western and Saudi help, these trained terrorists have to be given work elsewhere... and Saudi help, these trained terrorists cannot be “exterminated” or sent to the gas chambers. They have to be given work elsewhere.
In the Syrian whodunit, the Americans have actually been admitting their mistakes with endearing docility. Remember former secretary of defence Ashton Carter, his face distinctly in the lower mould, being grilled by a US congressional committee, then by the media, for the clumsiness of US special operations in Syria? The “moderates” they were training had left their weapons with the AlNusra Front and sought safe passage. Mr Carter announced, on live TV, that a $500 million training programme had been discontinued.
Remember Gen. Lloyd Austin admitted to the Senate’s armed services committee that “only four or five” fighters trained by the Americans were “in the fight”.
In an interview to Thomas Friedman of the New York Times in 2015, former President Barack Obama admitted that he had not bombed ISIS when it first reared its head because “that would have relieved pressure on Iraq’s Shia Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki” whose departure, and not ISIS’ elimination, was a US priority.
The cake for flaunting terrorism as an asset goes to Bandar bin Sultan, who promised a “terrorism-free Sochi Olympics” in February 2014 to President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin if only the Russians helped him show Bashar al-Assad the door out of Damascus.
The plight of the Rohingyas in the exodus is even more heartbreaking as they have no clue of the Kafkian script which has maliciously affiliated then with the externally-financed Rohingya Salvation Army, a group most of the refugees know absolutely nothing about.
The writer is a senior journalist and commentator based in New Delhi