The Rohingya problem is an old one. After nearly 70 years, the problem has been greatly aggravated by rising sectarian violence by radical Buddhist groups against Muslims and the involvement of transnational terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
The Rohingya crisis in Myanmar has a long history. Following Burma’s independence in January 1948, a Rohingya-based insurgency broke out in northern Arakan, now known as Rakhine State, with the aim of integrating with East Pakistan, present-day Bangladesh. By the late 1950s, the mujahidin-oriented insurgency was crushed by the Burmese Army. Since the 1970s, various Islamist groups have surfaced to take up the cudgels of liberation, either to gain greater autonomy or outright independence.
The key groups championing the Rohingya struggle include the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation, the Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front and Arakan National Liberation Organisation. Following the success of the Afghan Mujahidin in defeating the Soviets, since the 1980s, extremist jihadi-oriented groups have espoused violent struggle against Myanmar, often with the support of Af-Pak based radical groups and by the late 1990s onwards, groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and Islamic State.
… Jasminder Singh is a Senior Analyst with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Last updated on 20/04/2017