But first, an excursion into history. Rohindzha or Rohingya are Burmese Muslims, a rather numerous ethno-confessional community living in the state of Rakhine (Arakan) on the west coast of the country. The bulk of the state’s population is made up of Arakans, a kindred Burmese (Myanmar) people practicing Buddhism in the Theravada tradition. But since Arakan is located in the west of Myanmar and historically has been closely associated with neighboring India, especially Bengal, Bengalis, including those who professed Islam, came here in past centuries. As early as the second half of the 19th century, tens of thousands of Bengali peasants, most of whom were Muslims by religion, began to move to Arakan.
The coexistence of two communities that are so diverse from each other in ethnic and religious terms repeatedly led to conflicts, in which hundreds and even thousands (like in 1947 year, during one of the biggest clashes) killed people - both Rohingya and Arakans. In 1947, a group of politicized Rohingya called for the joining of North Arakan to the newly formed state of Pakistan (then Pakistan still included the territory of modern Bangladesh, directly adjacent to Myanmar). Later, several radical Rohingya organizations were created, which spoke in defense of the rights of their people. In response, the Burmese authorities resorted to the harsh methods they used to punish those who were undesirable. As usual, not only political activists suffered, but also ordinary Rohingjas. The authorities did not particularly understand who was really involved in radical groups, and who was not. Meanwhile, the Rohingya population continued to increase due to high birth rates and migration from neighboring Bangladesh. When Bangladesh fought Pakistan for its independence, a large number of refugees rushed to Burma, who found shelter in the communities of their fellow believers - Rohingya. At present, according to estimates, the number of Rohingya in Myanmar is not less than a million people, and most likely even more.
Nevertheless, despite the large number of communities, the authorities stubbornly do not want to solve the issue of Rohingya. To begin with, this national minority of the country is still virtually deprived of citizenship. Back in 1989, color control cards of citizens were introduced in Myanmar - for full citizens, associated citizens and naturalized citizens. Rohindz did not get any cards. Only in 1995, under pressure from the UN, did Myanmar issue Rohingya special white cards that do not give citizenship rights.
The reasons for the negative attitude of the authorities of Myanmar to the Rohingya are rooted in the peculiarities of the ideology of the Burmese state, which was affirmed throughout the entire period of the country's independent existence. State ideology considers Buddhism to be the basis of national identity, which has had a huge, decisive influence on the formation and development of both the Burmese state and the Burmese culture. In the existence in Myanmar of numerous foreign religious groups, the authorities of the country see a threat to the prevailing socio-political order.
The negative attitude is also met in Myanmar by the Christians, however, the authorities of the country treat the Muslims even more harshly. This is due to several factors: demographic - Rohingya has a very high birth rate and the authorities fear a rapid increase in the number of the community; political - some Rohingya groups have repeatedly stated the need for self-determination in the form of either disconnecting from Myanmar or joining North Arakan to Bangladesh; for sociocultural - Rohingya’s worldview and behavioral differences from Burmese Buddhists are very large and the latter simply do not get along with them, especially in the context of nationalist sentiments that are constantly fueled by the authorities. Of course, the Rohingya themselves, who, like any other people, are not free from the presence of criminals and scum in their ranks, but only crimes committed by national minorities are always more acutely perceived by society as contributing to the formation of negative attitudes towards themselves. Feeling the support of the military and the police, the nationalist formations of the Burmese organize pogroms in the villages of Rohingya. In response, militants from radical groups attack the non-Muslim population of Arakan and police patrols. Vicious circle.
The main “instigators” of the confrontation with the Rohingya world mass media usually call the Burmese nationalists - Buddhists. Their leader is Ashina Virathu (born 1968), who left school in 14 years and became a Buddhist monk. It was he who headed the organization "969", which considers as its main goal the protection of Burmese cultural and religious identity, including by combating the influence of other religions. In the world, Ashina Virathu is called the ideology of the persecution of Rohingya, his crossed portrait is an inevitable attribute of numerous demonstrations of Muslims all over the world in support of their co-religionists - Rohingya. Virathu himself has always denied accusations. He emphasizes that he seeks only to protect the culture of his country, Buddhism as the basis of Burmese society.
When a substantial liberalization of the political regime took place in 2011 in Myanmar, the world community increasingly began to talk about the Rohingya problem. Prior to this, the Rohingya relied mainly on the support of the Islamic world. They were most actively helped by neighboring Malaysia, where the large Rohingya diaspora, who fled from Myanmar from persecuting the authorities, lives. In addition, Malaysia traditionally considers itself the protector and leader of the Muslims of Southeast Asia. On the other hand, Rohingya Muslims are supported by numerous funds and media in the Gulf countries. As for the armed wing of the Rohingya movement, it had already established active interaction with the radical fundamentalist groups of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1990s, where Rohingya militants are being trained.
A new round of attention to the problem of Rohingya was caused by reprisals against Muslims, followed by how the insurgents of the Arakhan Salvation Army of the Rohingya attacked at once thirty police stations on the territory of Myanmar at once on 25 in August. As a result, 109 people died. After that, clashes began in the state of Arakan, which, according to official data, have already killed more than 400 people, including 370 dead - militants of the Rohingya Arakan Salvation Army, 15 people - policemen, 17 people - civilians. But foreign media have reported several thousand civilian deaths. Moreover, it is emphasized that they were victims of reprisals not only by the military and the police, but also by the Burmese nationalists. Nationalist detachments burst into the villages of Rohingya, sparing neither old nor young.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the events in Myanmar no other than the genocide of the Muslim people of Rohingya. Many other influential politicians in the Muslim world made similar statements. They can be understood - the Islamic world is always very sensitive to any persecution of fellow believers, especially when they become victims of discrimination or repression by members of other religions.
However, it is worth noting that the tragic events in Myanmar are used by many media to denigrate not only the current authorities of the country, but also Burmese Buddhists and Buddhists in general. And this is despite the fact that the Dalai Lama XIV repeatedly made public statements against the persecution of the Rohingya and asked the Burmese authorities to resolve this situation. The most glaring example of the manipulation of public opinion can be called the publication of photographs of Buddhist monks standing against a mountain of corpses. It was presented as if the monks were the initiators of the destruction of thousands of Rohingya. In fact, the photograph was taken in the Chinese province of Sichuan, and the monks were not Burmese, but Tibetan, and participated as volunteers in helping victims of the terrible earthquake with large human victims. The question is who will benefit from hate speech between Muslims and Buddhists, and who is behind the attempt to destabilize the situation in Southeast Asia?
As in many conflicts of our time, which led to the most tragic consequences and cost the lives of thousands of people, behind today's “rush” around Myanmar you can easily see the hand of the United States. For Washington's puppeteers, destabilizing the situation in Myanmar is a great way to annoy China by kindling a fire of ethnic war in its underbelly. China traditionally views Myanmar as its sphere of influence, Beijing has always had special relations with the authorities of the country, so any Western intervention in the affairs of this state in the PRC is perceived very painfully. Now the Chinese media interpret the events in Myanmar as a struggle of the country's government forces against terrorist groups. Public opinion of a significant part of Chinese is also on the side of Burmese Buddhists - and the point is not only in cultural proximity, but also that China has its own similar problem - Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a significant part of the population of which are Uygur Muslims unsuccessfully trying to achieve political independence. In addition, China is well aware that the world’s excessive attention to the situation in Myanmar threatens Beijing’s political and economic interests in this region, and they are very, very large. Therefore, China blocks in the UN Security Council any attempts by the United States and Great Britain to raise the question of the situation with the persecution of Rohingya in Myanmar.
When Washington became aware of the finding of large reserves of oil and gas in the state of Arakan, the American leadership became very keenly interested in events in distant Myanmar. This interest was especially actualized in the context of completing the construction of the pipeline and the gas pipeline from Arakan to China in 2013. Myanmar is viewed by China as the most important transit point on the way of transportation of oil and gas from the countries of the Persian Gulf, and the discovery of oil and gas deposits in Myanmar itself increases China's interest in this country even more. Naturally, this situation does not suit the United States, seeking to create all sorts of obstacles to the development of China and the Chinese economy. A special Burma Task Force was established, which included a number of non-governmental organizations disguised as charities and human rights organizations. Where American “human rights activists” appear, sooner or later conflicts and even civil wars begin. First, American agents define the country's acute problems, form a “conflict field”, and then begin to kindle smoldering conflicts, contribute to their aggravation and exit to a new level, provide “support to the world community.”
In Myanmar, in addition to the confrontation with China, the American game has another strategic goal - the disintegration of the countries of Southeast Asia. As it is known, there are Buddhist (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam), Muslim (Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei) and Christian (Philippines) countries in Southeast Asia. At the same time, the Philippines and Thailand, like Myanmar, have on their territory numerous Muslim minorities that are in favor of self-determination and have long been leading an armed struggle against central governments. Until recently, the United States provided both the Philippine and the Thai governments a great deal of help in the fight against radical groups, but then the alignments in world politics began to change.
The escalation of conflict between the Rohingya and the government of Myanmar can be used by the United States to create and deepen contradictions between the ASEAN member countries. Already, Malaysia and Indonesia are actively supporting Rohingya, while in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, and it is possible that in the Philippines, public opinion will support the line of Burmese authorities. Considering that the countries of Southeast Asia have achieved great success in recent years, primarily economic ones, the strategy of the collapse of ASEAN can be beneficial for the Americans to maintain their own economic influence in the region. Washington is very afraid that the entire Asia-Pacific region could get out of control of the United States and achieve complete economic independence.