Arakan

Arakan: Enter the predictable                                   وها هي كل التوقعات تتحقق في أراكان

لقراءة المقال مترجم إلى العربية انتقل إلى الأسفل

As i wrote last February:

“In my view, it is not that the government actually wants to complete Genocide against the Rohingyas, they want to maintain a genocidal sentiment, preserve the Rohingyas as eligible for extermination, and just keep the hatred alive as long as they can. This can both keep the Rakhine majority distracted and it can provide a rationale for military occupation of the state, in a manner very similar to what the central government of Nigeria has done in the resource-rich and utterly impoverished Niger Delta. And, again, this is intrinsically connected to the interests of foreign investors and multinational corporations.”

Now it appears that the military occupation of Arakan may well be imminent.

Any sensible observer who is familiar with the standard patterns that usually accompany neoliberal economic policies elsewhere should have expected this, should, indeed, have anticipated the emergence of questionable militant Rohingya groups in Arakan to advance the regime’s agenda; and anticipated that such groups would become rapidly more sophisticated, promoted, trained and funded; as has, in fact, happened over the past 5 months.  This has to do with the usefulness of conflict.  Armed Rohingya groups in Arakan must be viewed as instruments of the regime, whether the individuals involved in those groups are cognisant of this role or not.  The reality is that they serve a function that advances, not undermines, the goals of the regime, and the goals of global power.

Multinational corporations, the global owners of capital; have a stake in Myanmar and the regime is collaborating with them.  One cannot, therefore, believe that the internal situation in Arakan is not being actively managed by external forces.  If you are familiar with how these forces habitually operate elsewhere in the world to pursue their interests, you can effectively forecast the future in Myanmar.

The only thing more depressing than how predictable it is, is our failure to see it.

كما كتبت في فبراير الماضي:

“لا أرى أن الحكومة تريد أن تقوم بعمل إبادة جماعية فعلية ضد الروهينجا، فما يريدونه هو الإبقاء على مشاعر الإبادة الجماعية، والإبقاء على الروهينجا كأقلية مؤهلة للإبادة، والإبقاء على الكراهية أطول وقت ممكن، فكل هذا سيساعدهم على أمرين وهم: 1) إبقاء الأغلبية في أراكان مشتتة، 2) سيوفر لهم المسوغ لاحتلال الدولة عسكريا، بطريقة تشبه إلى حد بعيد ما فعلته الحكومة المركزية في نيجيريا في دلتا النيجر الغنية بالموارد ومع ذلك نراها في غاية الفقر. مرة ثانية الأمر كله مرتبط جوهريا بمصالح المستثمرين الأجانب والشركات متعددة الجنسيات “.

ويبدو الآن أن الاحتلال العسكري لأراكان قد أصبح وشيكًا.

أي مراقب لدية القليل من التعقل ومعتاد على الأنماط القياسية التي ترافق عادة السياسات الاقتصادية النيوليبرالية في أماكن أخرى سيكون قد توقع كل هذا، كما سيكون قد توقع ظهور جماعات مسلحة من الروهينجا في أراكان للمضي قدما في أجندة النظام؛ وكذلك سيكون قد توقع أن تتطور هذه المجموعات بسرعة، وأن يتم تعزيزها وتدريبها وتمويلها؛ وهو ما حدث فعليًا خلال الأشهر الخمسة الماضية. وكل هذا مرتبط بجدوى الصراع، فالجماعات المسلحة من الروهينجا في أراكان يجب أن ينظر لها على أنها أدوات للنظام، سواء كان المنضمين إلى هذه الجماعات يدركون هذا الدور أو لا. الواقع هو أن وظيفتهم هذه ستؤدي إلى تقدم وتعزيز النظام (لا تقويضه) وكذلك الشيء نفسه بالنسبة لأهداف القوة العالمية.

الشركات متعددة الجنسيات، وأصحاب رأس المال العالميين، لديهم مصالح في ميانمار والنظام يتعاون معهم، لذلك لا يمكن للمرء أن يعتقد أن الوضع الداخلي في أراكان لا يدار من قبل قوى خارجية. إن كنت معتادًا على كيفية عمل هذه القوات عادة في أي مكان آخر في العالم لمتابعة مصالحهم، ستتنبأ بشكل فعال بمستقبل ميانمار.

الشيء الوحيد الأكثر ألما من تحقق كل ما نراه، هو فشلنا في رؤيته.

The usefulness of conflict

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Recently I had a conversation with a renowned expert in humanitarian relief and conflict resolution regarding ethnic cleansing in Myanmar against the Rohingya Muslims, and I expressed my concerns that the US might potentially back the fledgling militant group “The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” (ARSA).  She disagreed, saying that the US had been very supportive of the Rohingya; they had welcomed refugees (before Trump), and had convened a Security Council meeting at the United Nations on the issue, facilitated relief work, and so on.  What was interesting to me about this was that she believed these actions by the US precluded the likelihood of American covert support for ARSA, whereas I do not see the slightest contradiction between US expressions of concern for the plight of the Rohingya and their simultaneous exacerbation of that plight.  But then again, I am American.  The US does that kind of thing all the time.

The US, let’s be clear, promotes democratic facades, not democracy.  When the façade is flimsy, they criticize, and offer dictatorial regimes the necessary marketing strategies to obscure their authoritarian tendencies.  Hold elections; talk about “transitions to democracy”, cultivating pluralism, and so on.  Meanwhile, they will simultaneously facilitate the intensification of repression.  Remember, American foreign policy is exclusively dedicated to securing the perceived “national interests”, and this translates to the interests of business.  No regime is better suited for doing that than an authoritarian one; preferably a corrupt military government.  The ideal situation is for any country to be ruled by an unscrupulous  group of local elites who are ready and willing to collaborate with global elites to deliver their country’s resources in exchange for a percentage and a guarantee of immunity.

One of the best mechanisms for camouflaging the fact that a client regime is tyrannical and not even slightly interested in democratic reforms (which no one in power really wants anyway), is the creation of, or the encouragement  of, internal conflict.  A military government can then impose brutal crackdowns in the name of securing peace and tranquility; while the actual objectives are the subjugation of popular dissent, the prevention of democracy, and the ruthless protection of vital business interests for themselves and their global sponsors. It is understood that the sponsors will occasionally reprimand the regime for particularly egregious atrocities, but these reprimands will be hollow, and the regime is allowed to ignore them.  In fact, they are essentially part of the mechanism required to enable the regime to continue, as they serve to abate any public pressure on the international community to actively intervene.  They are permissive condemnations, and everyone involved understands this.

In Myanmar, the central government’s real problem is the Rakhine, not the Rohingya.  The Rakhine are an ethnic minority living in a resource-rich, and strategically important state, who have a history of secessionist ambitions.  They are oppressed, exploited, and impoverished, and if they rose against the government, it would be a lethal blow to the Burmese.  As long as their resentment and hostility are directed against the helpless Rohingya,  the regime is secure.  Internal conflict in Arakan, therefore, is useful to everyone who matters.  The Rohingya, however, may need to be slightly less helpless in order for this conflict to be sustainable.  Hence, it is entirely possible that the US will covertly, with the help of conduits in the Gulf States, try to foster a semi-viable militant movement in Arakan; and probably is already doing so.  And this is entirely for the purpose of supporting the central government, increasing US ties to the Burmese military, and previous expressions of support for the Rohingya do not contradict with this strategy at all, but rather align with it.