Archive | September 10th, 2017

The Rohingya Crisis: Reality, Rumors and Ramifications


A Border Guard Police officer stands at a police post that was previously attacked by a Muslim terrorist group in Kyee Kan Pyin Buthidaung in which Myanmar government and military claim the existence of Muslim terrorists, in Rakhine state Myanmar, on Friday, July 14, 2017


Andrew Korybko

The world, and especially the Ummah, is incensed at what is being portrayed as genocide against Muslims in Myanmar, but the reality of what’s happening there is a lot more complex than the simplistic rumors lead one to believe, and the geopolitical ramifications of this crisis could become very far-reaching.

Right off the bat, killing innocent people is wrong, and everyone is justified for feeling outraged when they believe this is happening, as it plainly is in some cases in Myanmar’s coastal Rakhine State. The question, though, comes down to identifying who’s doing the killing and why, and whether the victims were intentionally targeted or “collateral damage,” be it from a military “anti-terrorist” operation or a “rebel” one against the government. It’s also important to ponder what the geopolitical ramifications of all of this could be in terms of the larger dynamics at play in the New Cold War.

Rakhine Review

To oversimplify the situation for brevity’s sake, the Rohingya are Muslims who live in the northern part of Rakhine State and claim to be native to the region, though the Myanmarese government says that they’re just Bengali migrants and their descendants who began moving into the area after the late-19th-century imposition of British colonial rule. The other main demographic group in this territory is the Rakhine people, who are Buddhists that inherited the legacy of the long-standing Kingdom of Mrauk U.The immediate post-independence period in Myanmar, called Burma until 1989, saw the many ethno-religious minorities of the country’s resource-rich periphery rebel against the central authorities in favor of federalization or, as the Rohingyas wanted, unification with the neighboring state that they more closely identified with (East Pakistan, but Bangladesh since 1971), thereby setting off the world’s longest-running and still-unresolved civil war.

Pertaining to Rakhine State, this conflict has ebbed and flowed throughout the decades, most recently climaxing in 2012, 2015 and just recently this summer, with the latest three escalations seeing reprisal violence by some of the hyper-nationalist Buddhist majority against the minority Muslim population. In response, the more impoverished Rohingya, who don’t have citizenship rights because most of them don’t qualify for such under the country’s pertinent laws, had little to leave behind in Rakhine State and would flee en mass to Bangladesh for safety.

It’s worthwhile here to point out that the Myanmarese military, known as the Tatmadaw, claims that its operations in their locales are triggered by the deadly attacks that Rohingya rebels — seen as terrorists by Naypyidaw and accused of having links to al-Qaeda and other such notorious groups — carried out against them and Buddhist villagers. The fog of war is such that civilians are obviously getting killed as a result, but it’s unclear whether this constitutes genocide, or who’s actually behind it all.

A “South Asian Kosovo”

It’s impossible to tell at this moment exactly what’s going on in Rakhine State and part of the reason is because of the heavy information war against Myanmar right now and Naypyidaw’s refusal to let independent journalists into the region out of what it says are security concerns, but the general dynamics at play right now are oddly reminiscent of the run-up to NATO’s 1999 War on Yugoslavia in carving the West’s protectorate of Kosovo out of what is now Serbia.

Back then, the world suddenly became aware of a newly popularized sub-identity of Muslims called “Kosovars,” just as they’re now becoming quickly acquainted with the “Rohingyas,” and they too claimed that their rights were being violated and that this therefore justified them committing acts of violence against the state and sometimes even civilians.

Another common thread is how much-publicized mainstream media images and stories, many of which were later proven to be fake or totally decontextualized, served to inspire the global Muslim community (Ummah) to rise up in rage and send volunteer fighters to help their co-confessionals, as is the traditional duty of this religion when they believe one of their own is being persecuted.The problem, however, is that the situation is never as black and white as it’s made out to be by the mainstream media, as anyone following the war on Syria for the past six and a half years knows by now, especially when it comes to the never-ending accusations that President Assad is also carrying out a “genocide” against Muslims like Milosevic before him and now the Tatmadaw apparently too. The intrinsic human urge for people to get upset by what they believe to be the senseless and deliberate killing of an entire identity group is often abused by “perception managers” to gin up support for their patrons’ upcoming wars, and this is especially so when Muslim victims are involved.

Unfortunately, these sorts of situations have a track record of attracting international terrorists and leading to the explosion of domestic ones, like what happened with the “Kosovo Liberation Army” and its al-Qaeda backers in Yugoslavia; the “moderate rebels,” al-Qaeda and eventually Daesh in Syria; and now the “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” and what increasingly looks to be Daesh’s next Asian hot spot in Myanmar.

Correspondingly, each conflict was linked to either capturing the whole country or partitioning off a strategic corner of it, with post-conflict Kosovo hosting the US’s gigantic Camp Bondsteel; all of Syria at one time being planned to become the US’s pivot of control over the entire Levant; and a future “South Asian Kosovo” of “Rohingyaland” giving its patron powerful influence over the two oil and gas pipelines from coastal Kyaukphyu to China’s Kunming and accordingly dominating this envisioned New Silk Road hub.

Yugoslavia 2.0

The point here isn’t to whitewash what might eventually turn out to be proven is the Tatmadaw’s excessive and disproportionate counterinsurgency operations against civilians, but to draw attention to how the overall conflict momentum is being guided in the direction of an externally provoked identity-centric hybrid war through a coordinated and one-sided information campaign. This is aimed most immediately at demonizing the Myanmarese state while deflecting attention away from the attacks of Rohingya “rebels,” which contributed to the rapidly deteriorating military and humanitarian situation.

The medium-term purpose behind provoking such targeted global outrage is to inspire countless Muslim “volunteers” (some of whom will undoubtedly be actual terrorists) to flood into Rakhine State and then set the stage for a multilateral “humanitarian intervention” following the Kosovo model or an anti-terrorist campaign like what the US-led coalition experimented with in Syria in order to ultimately gain control of a territory indispensable to China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity.Furthermore, remembering how none of this is taking place in a vacuum and that the country is still engulfed in a multi-sided civil war all along its periphery, it’s possible that the ongoing federalization talks could give way to the all-out “Balkanization” of the former Burma along the lines of what happened to the former Yugoslavia. The end result of this tragedy would be the birth of a host of new states through their own bloody baptisms of fire, which would allow hostile foreign powers to more easily control this strategic space at the juncture of South, Southeast and East Asia.

Moreover, another fault line would instantly emerge in the so-called “Clash of Civilizations” (itself nothing more than a blueprint for dividing and ruling the Eastern Hemisphere through identity-centric Hybrid War) between not only Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine State, but possibly even eventually the Buddhists and Christians in the central part of Myanmar and its Northern-Eastern peripheries respectively. In addition, one could expect Buddhist and Christian “volunteers” from abroad to flood into the battlefield too, potentially catalyzing what might go on to one day become their religions’ own form of Daesh.

Other than the geopolitical removal of Myanmar from the world map and the untold suffering of its over 50 million people, the other victim would of course be China, which would have to confront a Syrian-like Hybrid War along its porous southwestern border on top of the other many security challenges ringing its periphery (North Korea, East China Sea, South China Sea and India). Any plans for a CPEC-complementing Myanmar Corridor to the Indian Ocean would also be dashed, and Buddhist troublemakers in Tibet might become radicalized and inspired to commence another round of violence.

The likelihood of these forecasted scenarios could naturally compel China to take the lead in jump-starting emergency conflict resolution measures in Myanmar if the situation continues to spiral out of control there, which might help establish exactly which of the two sides started this whole mess and hopefully bring justice to all the perpetrators without the large-scale geopolitical consequences that threaten to unfold otherwise.

Posted in Far EastComments Off on The Rohingya Crisis: Reality, Rumors and Ramifications

Syrian Army Drives Daesh Terrorists From Deir Ez-Zor Province


Image result for Syrian Army CARTOON

Using heavy artillery strikes and aided by the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Syrian Arab Army continues its offensive in the Deir ez-Zor province, driving back Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) terrorists.

Syrian Army forces have successfully wrestled control of Kabajib village, located southwest of Deir ez-Zor, from the clutches of Daesh terrorists.

The liberated village is considered to be one of the most important strategic settlements in the area as it essentially serves as the gateway to the main access road leading to the city of Deir ez-Zor.

A Syrian military source told Sputnik Arabic that “infantry units have been working in that direction for a while now in order to open access to the city from the south.”

“They’re being supported by artillery and airstrikes. After our recent success in breaking the blockade from the other side, it is time to capitalize on this success and move to lift the siege on the city from multiple directions,” he explained.

The source also added that the Syrian army was able to secure the most important strategic locations within the village.

“We’ve managed to secure the village in no small part due to capturing the elevated positions surrounding Kabajib. The terrorists have fled, and our sappers have already swept the village for the booby-traps they left behind,” the source said.

The Deir ez-Zor offensive, launched by the Syrian military aided by the Russian Aerospace Forces’ aircraft, resulted in probably the biggest defeat for Daesh in the past three years. In one bold and decisive move, the Syrian army managed to smash through the  terrorist forces that were encircling the city and reach the heroic Deir ez-Zor garrison that, against all odds, managed to hold the city against the Daesh onslaught for 3 years.


Syrian Armed Forces Clearing Area Around Deir Ez-Zor Airfield From Daesh
Russia Delivers Humanitarian Assistance to Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor
Syrian Army Breaks Daesh Blockade of Airbase in Deir ez-Zor

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There Will Be No New Korean War’: What Putin Knows That Western Pundits Don’t


Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with representatives of foreign business circles as part of the 3rd Eastern Economic Forum


© Sputnik/ Michael Klimentyev

At the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that there would not be another large-scale military conflict on the Korean peninsula. Russian political observer Anatoly Wasserman explains what it is that the Russian president knows that many observers don’t.

Addressing participants of the forum on Thursday, Putin said he believed all the parties involved in the standoff in the Korean peninsula are likely to “have enough common sense and understanding that they bear responsibility to the people in the region, and [that] we could solve this problem by diplomatic means.”

“Like my South Korean counterpart, I am sure that there will not be a large-scale conflict, especially one involving the use of weapons of mass destruction,” the Russian leader added.

Putin also recalled that in 2005, the parties to the conflict were on the verge of reaching an agreement on Pyongyang’s nuclear program. “Agreements were reached under which North Korea assumed responsibility to curtail its nuclear and missile programs. All other parties in this process promised to contribute to this. But then, someone started demanding from North Korea what it did not promise, and gradually the situation deteriorated to the present state,” he said.

Analyzing the Russian president’s remarks in an article for RIA Novosti, Anatoly Wasserman took note of the fact that “first of all, Putin diplomatically avoided naming this ‘someone’. It’s like in the famous anecdote about a group of woodland critters including a fox sitting down in the woods to play cards, one of them saying ‘if someone cheats, they’ll get a slap in the face –their sneaky orange face.'”

“In the conflict we’re discussing here, it’s equally obvious just who it was that may have demanded from North Korea something that Pyongyang never promised,” the political observer wrote.

“Factually,” Wasserman suggested, “among all the potential parties in the conflict on the Korean peninsula, only one is known for its inadequacy. Specifically, it was the same one that the Russian president was referring to a few days earlier at a press conference following the BRICS summit, when he said that these were the people who would confuse Austria with Australia.“In the case of the Koreas, the observer suggested that both of them are rational enough, “if only because the conflict that’s developing today is just another stage of a confrontation that’s been going on in the peninsula since the beginning of the 20th century, when Korea was first occupied and thoroughly genocided by Japan. Then, after Japan was expelled, there were those who sought to turn the territory…into their own strategic base, and who would use this base for another genocide of Korea.”

Background note: During the Korean War of 1950-1953, the US Air Force dropped 635,000 tons of bombs, nearly 150,000 tons more than it had in the entire the Pacific Theater during World War II, on Korea. The Korean War caused over 3 million civilian casualties, the vast majority of them in the north.

A South Korean JSA guard (front R) and North Korean guard (L) stand guard opposite each other at the border of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas. File photo.
© AFP 2017/ KIM DOO-HO
A South Korean JSA guard (front R) and North Korean guard (L) stand guard opposite each other at the border of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas. File photo.

“So far as I understand it, both Koreas remember the genocides that were arranged for them perfectly well, and do not have the slightest desire to allow anyone to repeat them,” Wasserman wrote. Therefore, he added, “I am quite certain that among all the participants of the conflict in the Korean peninsula, only the US is capable of behaving inadequately and aggressively.”

“Given these circumstances, I believe that the behavior of the South Korean president, which consists of a harmonious combination of a reminder of the danger posed by North Korea’s conduct, and promises to offer Pyongyang a role in mutually beneficial economic projects, is the most reasonable way forward,” the observer noted.

“Because on the one hand, participation in such projects significantly weakens interest in any aggressive behavior, even though it does not completely eliminate it…And on the other hand, extensive global experience shows that when a country has great economic potential, it often also has the opportunity to build up its defense potential quickly and, therefore, does not have to do so in advance and spend a great deal of money doing so…For this reason, countries that are economically developed, as a rule, appear less aggressive.”

With these facts in mind, Wasserman noted that the strict pro-diplomacy position “expressed by the South Korean and Russian presidents at the Eastern Economic Forum is the most promising way to resolve the conflict.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, left, during a joint press statement on the results of the meeting held as part of the 3rd Eastern Economic Forum at the Far Eastern Federal University, Russky Island. September 6, 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, left, during a joint press statement on the results of the meeting held as part of the 3rd Eastern Economic Forum at the Far Eastern Federal University, Russky Island. September 6, 2017.
Incidentally, the analyst wrote that it was worth recalling that in the early period of the dispute over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, “the United States promised Pyongyang that it would help it resolve a number of serious energy problems by supplying it with sufficient energy resources at normal world energy prices, and create in the north a powerful nuclear energy complex using American technology which would guarantee the inability to use this complex for military purposes.”

“Pyongyang readily agreed to these proposals,” Wasserman wrote. “But after that, Washington, quibbling over some small issue, refused to fulfill their own promise. And thus North Korea was forced to develop its own nuclear energy project, giving it the opportunity to continue its project to create nuclear weapons. So the US did not simply demand from North Korea something that they did not promise, but also violated their own promises, and in a way that obviously led to an aggravation of the situation.”

Ultimately, Wasserman wrote that he could not exclude that the US may have sought to deliberately aggravate the situation in the region, “because without this they would risk losing the political reason for deploying US troops in the Korean peninsula.”

US Air Force F-16 fighter jets wait to take off from a runway during a military exercise at the Osan US Air Base in Osan, South Korea
U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets wait to take off from a runway during a military exercise at the Osan U.S. Air Base in Osan, South Korea

“Is there anyone now who’s interested in war?” the commentator asked. “I think not,” he answered. “Theoretically, one can imagine that for a part of the American establishment, this war could be deemed profitable under the present circumstances, since President Trump won the election thanks to his promise to return jobs to the country. And jobs began leaving the US for South Korea long before than they began to leave for China. Therefore, I cannot rule out the possibility that the destruction of South Korea as a result of a war would be beneficial to the US,” or at least to those financial and industrial groups who may look to rebuild the US industrial base at any cost.

“But even in the US, those forces for which a war in Korea would be unprofitable are even stronger. And the Russian president, I think, is also aware of this,” Wasserman concluded.


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S. Korean Opposition Lawmakers to Include US Nukes Redeployment in Budget
North Korean Leader Orders Scientists to Strengthen Nuclear Forces
Pyongyang Will ‘Inevitably Respond’ to South Korea’s New ‘Frankenmissile’
The One-of-a-Kind Flight Over Pyongyang Shatters Myths About North Korea
Moscow Has ‘Best Option’ to Retaliate to US Dragging Its THAAD Closer to Russia
S Korean Opposition Criticizes President’s Idea of ‘Tentative’ THAAD Deployment
US Assault Ship Loaded with Joint Strike Fighters Heads to North Korea
Pyongyang’s Crude: Three Reasons Why North Korea Doesn’t Fear US Oil Embargo
Trump Says Military Action Possible to Solve N Korea Crisis, But Not Inevitable

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