I don’t know what to make of the surging violence in Rakhine/Arakan state, and I’m no expert on that area. The conflict seems shrouded in opacity and dubious government claims, against a backdrop of sustained human rights abuses. All of which is to say, I don’t have any way to know if this new International Crisis Group piece in Time is right or not, but I found it very informative:
“The group refers to itself as Harakah al-Yaqin, or Faith Movement in Arabic. It was established following the 2012 deadly riots between Buddhists and Muslims in 2012, which killed some 200 people and displaced over 120,000, almost all of them Muslim. Most have long been denied citizenship and face draconian restrictions on freedom of movement — limiting their access to government services and jobs.
This new armed group is overseen by a committee of Rohingya émigrés based in Mecca. . . .
Though there have been some small insurgent groups in recent decades, mostly based out of Bangladesh, in Burma — which is officially called Myanmar — the Rohingya have never been a radicalized population, and the majority have eschewed violence, seeing it as counterproductive to improving their lot. But impoverished and oppressed, they struggle to survive and have little hope for their future; over the past year, the sense of desperation has been increasing. The fact that more people in northern Arakan are now embracing violence reflects deep policy failures over many years, rather than any sort of inevitability.”