by Mike Winchester
The surprise wave of lethal attacks by Rohingya militants on police and army posts in
Myanmar's western Rakhine State, their largest operation to date, was a defensive move
aimed at pre-empting an escalating security force crackdown on both the rebels' military
wing and Rohingya civilian communities, a senior militant official has told Asia Times.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on the day after the attacks of August 25, the
militant official said the campaign of Myanmar military suppression and the rebel
counter-punch has now pushed the majority Muslim northern region of Rakhine state into a
state of "open war." He vowed "continued resistance" until Rohingya demands for the
restoration of citizenship rights within Myanmar are met.
In a wide-ranging interview, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) representative
who identified himself simply as ‘Abdullah', insisted that the military crackdown had
gathered pace following the reinforcement of security forces by an estimated 400 troops
of the crack 33rd Light Infantry Division on August 10-11.
He said it had left the militants no choice other than to strike back in defense of
civilian communities facing what he described as further killings and abuses by security
forces. . . .
[Burma's president has admitted an unprecedented wave of ethnic violence has targeted
his country's Rohingya Muslim population, destroying whole villages and large parts of
towns.--Peter Beaumont, "Burma's Leader Admits
Deadly Attacks on Muslims," Guardian, October 27, 2012]
Nafeez Ahmed, "The Dirty Fossil Fuel Secret Behind Burma's
Democratic Fairytale," Guardian, April 26, 2013
Bertil Lintner, "China looms
large over Myanmar war and peace," atimes.com, November 28, 2017
Hannah Beech, "'No
Such Thing as Rohingya': Myanmar Erases a History," nytimes.com,
December 3, 2017