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by Rick Heizman

Origins of Harakah al-Yaqin - the Movement of Certainty

Leader and Spokesman Ata Ullah
October 2016 - Organized and Coordinated Attacks by
Rohingya Muslims
Thousands of Frantic Buddhists Rescued by Boats and
Fatwas Give Islamic Legitimacy to Attack and Kill Buddhists
Violence Escalates in November
Ata Ullah Rants and Demands
Planning, Training, and Operational Strategy for the Attacks
Clandestine Training
Assassinating Their Own People
Much Larger Attack Plans Were Thwarted
Local Support, Youth Are Emboldened
Communications via Viper and WhatsApp
International Links
International (Re)Actions, International (Mis)Understandings

Origins of Harakah al-Yaqin - the Movement of Certainty

A new violent militant group known by its Arabic name Harakah al-
Yaqin (translated as: the Faith Movement, or the the Movement of
Certainty) is a dangerous Rohingya nationalistic Islamic terrorist group
which carried out a series of surprise deadly attacks in October and
November 2016. Harakah al-Yaqin (HaY), is also known as Aqa Mul
Mujahadeen (translated from Arabic as, Those who stand as
Mujahideen (Muslim warriors). Recently, on March 29, 2017, the group
released a press statement using the new name of Arakan Rohingya
Salvation Army (ARSA), perhaps a savvy move to have an English
name, and therefore minimize the Arab and Islamist connection, and to
use the term Arakan to strengthen the propaganda that the Bengali
Rohingya Muslims are indigenous to the land of Arakan.

Leader and Spokesman Ata Ullah
Guided by a committee of Bengali Ryohinga Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Harakah al-Yaqin is led on the
ground, in part, by Ata Ullah (also known as Hafiz Tohar, Havistoohar, Abu Amor Jununi, and Ameer
Abu Amor), a Bengali Muslim, self identified as Rohingya, born in Karachi, Pakistan. His father, a
Muslim from northern Rakhine State, had migrated to Pakistan, and after Ata Ullah was born the
family then moved to Saudi Arabia, where he grew up in Mecca, receiving a madrassa (Islamic
religious school) education. This is consistent with the fact that on videos he shows fluent command
of both the Bengali dialect spoken in northern Rakhine State and the Arabic of the Saudi peninsula.

Ata Ullah and around twenty other Rohingya from Saudi

Arabia, all with international training and experience in
warfare technique and weaponry, are leading the training
of recruits, and the actual attacks. Ullah has stated that he
received training in modern guerrilla warfare in Pakistan,
and further weaponry and explosives training in Libya.
Ullah appears in a series of videos, released online by
Harakah al-Yaqi, where he bellows his fanatic calls for
jihad, and his supremacist demands.

October 2016 Attacks

In the early hours of October 9, 2016, Ullah led about 400 insurgents to the border area of
Bangladesh and Myanmar where, in three groups, they launched simultaneous surprise attacks on
three Burmese Border Guard Police (BGP) bases in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships, near the
border with Bangladesh. One of the targets was a BGP
headquarters, a major installation in Kyee Kan Pyin (just
north of Maungdaw town) that was overrun in a carefully
planned multi-phase attack, and from where many
weapons were looted. In another indication of the
preparation level, the group planted an improvised
explosive device (IED) and set an ambush on the approach
road to the headquarters, delaying reinforcements and
damaging vehicles. The two other targets were a BGP sector headquarters at Nga Khu Ya in north
Maungdaw and a BGP outpost at Koe Dan Kauk in Rathedaung, just south of Maungdaw township.

Ata Ullah had instructed that after attacking the bases, the attackers should murder the members of
the police, take their weapons and equipment, and use those weapons in further attacks on nearby
army and police bases.

The Muslims killed 9 officers, and carried away many

weapons and large quantities of ammunition. Over the next
few days 5 more soldiers were killed in further attacks,
ambushes, and firefights.

On the afternoon of October 10, heavily-armed Rohingya

Jihadis ambushed an army column on the road between
Kyee-gan-byin and Kyane-gyaung and killing five soldiers.

On October 10 and 11, Burmese army units entered Myo-thu-gyee, Yay-dwin-Byin, and U-Chint
Bengali Rohingya Muslim villages in northern Maungdaw area and cleared the Bengali militants
who were armed with some of the stolen guns, as well as guns smuggled in from Bangladesh.
Several stolen weapons and quantities of ammunition were recovered.

On October 13, another operation was made in the Bengali village of War-bate. One stolen gun and
more than a thousand rounds of ammo were recovered from the village ruins after the Muslim
terrorists set the village on fire and fled towards the nearby border with Bangladesh.

Similar operations were made against several Bengali villages suspected of hiding local villagers
who had taken part in the October 9 attacks, and harboring jihadis who had snuck in from
Bangladesh. According to unofficial sources altogether 40 Muslim terrorists were killed and more
than 200 were captured and now being detained and interrogated in Sittwe Prison.

A captured Bengali Rohingya named Mamud Eslam said, while being interrogated,
When we arrived at the mosque the Imam persuaded us to join the militant group.
We were told that we must conduct violent attacks in collaboration with the men from

Another detainee, Saw Du Aarr Mane said, Our group was

armed with Clubs, machetes, and slingshots. There was a plan to
loot guns (in the surprise attacks on the BGP bases) and then
attack the Burmese army and police forces when they arrived.

Another Bengali being interrogated told what he witnessed, On October 13, we

Muslims set fire to villages. I saw about 100 houses burning. Ei Ar Har admitted.

Disturbingly, IEDs were used with great effect in most of the attacks. The attacks marked a major
escalation of violence in Rakhine and reflected an unprecedented level of planning and execution.

Thousands of Frantic Buddhists Rescued by Boats and Helicopters

Riverboats are the main transportation routes in much of
Arakan, and frightened and desperate Buddhists near
the rivers flocked to the docks in order to escape to
The October 10, 7:30 AM Express ferry boat leaving
Buthidaung for Sittwe was so overcrowded with
Buddhists seeking safety from the Muslims that the
security forces had to remove many people tickets from
the Shwe-pyi-dan ferryboat.

Today the passengers traveling on the ferry to Sittwe was

more than double the usual number. Most are school teachers
and government employees from Maungdaw and Buthidaung
fleeing the Rohingya terrorists. Police had to force people
without tickets to disembark and finally the ferry boat left at
9:15 nearly 2 hours later than the scheduled departure, said a
local resident.

There were nearly 2,000 Rakhine and Burmese Buddhist teachers staffing 183 government schools
in Maungdaw and 217 schools in Buthidaung townships. Most Buddhists living in northern
Maungdaw were trapped behind Rohingya terrorists and their only hope was to wait (in great fear)
as the Burmese army slowly advanced out from the town of Maungdaw to clear the rugged area of
Rohingya terrorists, or to be rescued by helicopters.

On October 13, the Burmese Army sent at least ten helicopter gunships
into troubled areas north of Maungdaw and airlifted out nearly 2,000
Buddhists, mostly females, back to Maungdaw town and then to their
hometowns in other parts of Rakhine State. They were mainly teachers,
doctors, nurses, and government staff serving in the schools, clinics,
and government offices located in Bengali Muslim villages. Three
helicopter gunships in several trips managed to airlift 90 teachers who
were trapped inside Taungbyo-letwel Muslim village, with only a small
BGP patrol for protection. Other Buddhists took refuge in nearby
Rakhine Buddhist villages, which were most often surrounded by a
overwhelmingly larger population of Bengali Rohingya Muslim villages.

"We used to live together with (Muslims) like family,"

said Moe Moe, a 62-year-old Rakhine Buddhist, as she
stirred curry inside her tiny kitchen in the village of
Warpaik, just next to the BGP headquarters in Kyee
Kan Pyin, which suffered the deadly attack 4 days
previous. They used to come to my shop. They used
to work inside the (border post)," she an AFP reporter.
She remarks about the Oct 9 attack that her village
seemed to be under attack as well because it was so
close, and she and others fled in panic. About 40 of
us (Buddhists) ran up a nearby hill with the children. We got hurt because we slipped and fell down
as we ran," she said, showing injuries to her foot. They (the Bengali Rohingya Muslims) were
shooting with guns. They only ran away when soldiers arrived. If soldiers hadn't come, we would
have all been killed."

Attackers returned three days later to

Warpaik, setting fire to more than two
dozen bamboo houses. The destroyed
homes still smoldered as Moe Moe stirred
her curry and spoke about the horror.

Moe Moe was shown the Harakh al-Yaqin

videos circulating on social media of
armed Rohingya men calling for Muslims
worldwide to rise up in jihad. She recognized three of the militants on the video as three of the
Muslim attackers who terrorized, killed, and burned the BGP headquarters and her village. She
knew them by name and said they, and others, had frequented her food stall, and eaten her curry.
Now, under the threat of more attacks, food and supplies scarce, and business dismal, Moe Moe is
considering leaving the village where she has lived for 24 years. "I'm still very scared. My relatives
have asked me to move back (south). I am thinking I will."

Fatwas give Islamic Legitimacy to Attack and Kill Buddhists
In a clever move to rally the local Rohingya Bengalis, and especially the greater Muslim world, Atta
Ullah sought religious legitimacy for the attacks. Harakah al-Yaqin prompted senior Rohingya
Bengali clerics and foreign clerics to rule that, given the (perceived) persecution Muslims face in
Rakhine State, the campaign to fight the security forces is legal by Islamic Law, and therefore anyone
opposing it is blasphemous by the tenets of Islam. Fatwas (Islamic religious rulings) to this effect
were obtained shortly after the October 9 attacks against the BGP, in many countries with significant
Rohingya Bengali diaspora, including Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. This
significantly influenced many Muslim religious leaders in northern Rakhine State to endorse HaY. The
group also has a senior Islamic scholar with it in Maungdaw (the largest town in northern Rakhine
State, where the Muslims have slaughtered and driven out almost the entire Buddhist population), a
Rohingya Bengali from Saudi Arabia, known as Mufti Ziabur Rahman, who brings religious legitimacy
to operations and has authority to issue fatwas.

(Note that they live in, and are supported and funded by a country in which there is not, and will never
allow, even one Buddhist temple, nor even allow a person to have even the smallest Buddhist statue)

Violence Escalates in November

A further serious escalation on November 12 made it clear that the October attacks on security forces
were not one time events, and that HaY was still operational despite a month of intensive military
operations against them.

At 6:45 am, an army column clashed with some 60 members of the

armed HaY group in a valley near Pwint Hpyu Chaung village; one
soldier died and several were wounded; six attackers were
reportedly killed. There were several other skirmishes as the
attackers retreated to Gwa Son village. When troops approached
the village, the HaY militants shot at them. Several hundred
villagers, armed with whatever they had at hand (knives and
farming implements), spontaneously supported the attackers. A
Burmese lieutenant-colonel was shot dead, and the troops
retreated, calling in air support from two attack helicopters with
mounted machine guns.

The same day, there were at least two IED attacks on government forces in the area. A BGP convoy
was struck as it crossed a bridge, then came under attack by armed combatants; the authorities
report the attackers were repelled and that there were no casualties. In the second incident, an army
column was struck by an IED, reportedly damaging a vehicle but without casualties. The authorities
have reported several other IED incidents and said that explosives/IEDs were also used tactically in
the initial attack on the BGP headquarters.

Ata Ullah Rants and Demands
Starting a few days after the October 9 attacks Atta Ullah appeared in a series of provocative online
videos, speaking in Bengali, claiming responsibility for the attacks, and appealing, with frenzy, for all
to join him in glorious jihad to liberate Arakan (of course that means to eliminate the infidels and
create a Sharia Law abiding Islamic State.)

From his many rants:

My Rohingya brothers, I am requesting you, if you want to save Islam, if you want to save the land of
Arakan living inside Arakan, if you want to save the honor of the mothers and sisters of Arakan, if you
want to save all the masjid (mosques) and madrassas (Islamic schools) of Arakan from destruction,
then, my special request to you, Please listen to me with attention. Please, join us. Please take part in
this great Jihad with us.

To my young Rohingya brothers who are listening to us from Arakan and outside Arakan, I benignly
request all of you - Please do not sit in the four walls of your house. Please get up and join us. If you
want to see Arakan free, if you want to save the oppressed Rohingya, if you want to save Islam,
please join us. Please, do not fear death. Death is inevitable. If Allah doesnt want your death you will
not die.

I repeat, you will never die if Allah doesnt want you to die. No one has the
power to take your life except Allah. So, please join us. I am asking the Islamic
scholar society who are reluctant to follow the fatwa of Jihad. My brothers who
are experts in Hadith, (accounts of the prophet Muhammads life) please join
us.If you act upon Jihad fatwa, Jihad will be established in Arakan. I urge you to
join us. And please start giving the fatwa of Jihad. Please dont hide yourselves,
please, join us. Please join us to establish Jihad in the land of Arakan.

I am speaking to all Rohingya brothers and Muslim Ummah around the world.
Please prepare for Jihad and come here. The fighting can start now, today.

If we dont get our rights, if 1 million, 1.5 million, if all Rohingya need to die, we will die.

Planning, Training, and Operational Strategy for the Attacks

Interviews of HaY members and the local population, as well as interrogations of captured HaY
members, by The International Crisis Group, Reuters, and other well-informed sources including
regional diplomats and security analysts, have revealed a fairly detailed picture of the planning and
operational strategy behind the attacks.

HaYs formation and planning for operations were initiated in the wake of the 2012 violence. Active
recruitment of local leaders began in 2013, then the training of hundreds of recruited villagers.
Training was in small batches to avoid attention, a village at a time, so members would not know the
identities of other trainees, and was primarily conducted in the hills and forests of the Mayu mountain
range along the border of Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships (the only part of Arakan that is now
mostly Muslim), as well as in the compounds of some large houses in villages. It included weapons
use, guerrilla tactics, and - as gleaned from captured HaY members and trainees - a particular focus
on explosives and IEDs. The training took 2 years or more to complete, and was taught by Rohingya
Bengalis with combat experience abroad, as well as Pakistanis, Bengalis, and Afghanis with
extensive combat experience, fighting with Taliban, al-Queda, and other major Islamic terrorist

Since October 9, several hundred young Rohingya men
from Bangladesh have joined the fight. However, the
main fighting force is made up of Muslim villagers in
northern Rakhine State who have been given basic
training and organized into village-level cells to limit risks
of compromise. These are mostly led by young Islamic
clerics (known as Mullahs or Maulvis') or scholars
(Hafiz) from those villages.

Clandestine Training
In the village of U Shey Kya, close to Maungdaw, northern Rakhine State, adult men were
approached in early 2016 and asked to join the group, three residents told Reuters. Some agreed and
took part in the training. One man said, Some villagers were recruited first, then these agents
persuaded other people one by one. They would go to a grocery store or in the tea shop, they would
talk to people. Mohammed Shah, 26, from Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son village, told how he came
across 30 people training in a forest clearing near his village with wooden dummy weapons. I
support them. We have been persecuted for decades and they are working to bring us justice.

Police Captain Yan Naing Latt, the lead interrogator of suspects at the jail in Sittwe, the state capital,
told Reuters that Harakah al-Yaqins goal was to seize control of the northern part of Arakan to create
a State for Muslims only, detached from Burma, and following Sharia Law. There were six cells in
total, said Captain Yan Naing Latt, but only three were able to successfully launch attacks in October.
He continued, Leaders like Mohammed Noor were sent with some weapons to each village, and he
recruited and trained locals there. They trained karate and practiced firing guns. Some of the
attackers came from refugee camps in Bangladesh and brought with them weapons that had been
stolen there, he remarked.

Villagers who have seen the Harakah al-Yaqin videos say Ata Ullah was one of those who led
recruitment and training. He used to come to the village very oftenhe told the villagers that he will
fight for our rights, said a school teacher from the village of Kyar Gaung Taung. Four other residents
said some of the trainers did not speak the local Bengali language but conversed in Urdu, the
language of Pakistan, or other languages they did not know.

About 20 people in our village attended the training. We attended it it in an area of the western Mayu
Mountains. Jarburaman, a captured Bengali said during interrogation.

They are moving from one place to the next and organizing short 5-10 day long training sessions in
different villages, according to an intelligence officers investigation and interrogation of captured Hay

Assassinating Their Own People

Harakah al-Yaqin has assassinated informers, or suspected informers, among the Muslim villages of
north and south Maungdaw and threatened, intimidated, or killed others to ensure its own survival.
Those who refuse to support their brutal methods, or dare report on their activities to government
forces, are often found with their throats slashed as a warning to any who would dare question the
righteousness of their campaign, according to an International Crisis Group report. HaY has drawn up
a hit list of those whom it cannot find or reach. The group also paid significant hush money to keep
potential informers - that they couldnt kill - quiet. From August 2016, the killing of informers increased
because of a bold and secret plan being made.
A captured Bengali Rohingya named Jarburaman told interrogators, I was forced to attend the
terrorist training. They threatened to shoot me or cut my throat if I did not attend it. Another captured
Bengali, Mamud Eslam, said, When we arrived at the mosque the Imam persuaded us to join the
militant group. We were told that we must conduct violent attacks in collaboration with the men from
Bangladesh. The Imam also said that one person from every house must join in this action. Those
who dont join will be killed with their throat cut.

Even after the October 9 attacks, there were more assassinations - a Muslim man who used to work
as a BGP cook was abducted by fellow villagers in Laungdon village and found in a paddy field on
October 31 with his throat cut. On November 3, in U Shey Kya village, a former village administrator
was similarly found dead, with his throat cut, as was a village leader in south Maungdaw on
November 17. These killings were done in the same gruesome way, presumably to inspire fear. Three
more Rohingya Muslims, who had worked closely with the local administration, were found dead on
Jan 21, 2017, believed to have been murdered by Rohingya insurgents in reprisal attack.

Much Larger Attack Plans Were Thwarted

Two Saudi Arabia-based senior leaders of Harakah al-Yaqin spent the month of August, 2016, in
northern Rakhine State, selecting targets for a much larger coordinated attack and determining how
and when the attacks would take place. Once they left, the intention was to obtain weapons and
ammunition for the hundreds of trainees. Plans were also made to deploy at least four experienced
doctors with medicines and supplies and to train locals as medics to assist them. From late August,
2016, there was an increase in the killing of known informers within the Rohingya community, in an
attempt to keep the plans secret.

The claimed objective of the upcoming operation was to take complete control of Maungdaw
township, cut off communications with Buthidaung to the east and establish military posts on the
ridges of the Mayu range between Maungdaw and Buthidaung, creating a defendable liberated area.
After this, the intent was to attack the northern part of Buthidaung a very ambitious plan that would
give complete control of the Bangladesh border as well as parts of Rathedaung.

In early September, 2016, after the two senior leaders left, two informers in U Shey Kya village-tract,
close to Nga Khu Ya where one of the 9 October attacks occurred, revealed the identities of eight
local HaY members to the BGP, which arrested them on September 12. They were interrogated and
finally divulged shocking and frightening information about the secret plan. HaY managed to bribe
their members out of jail, learned who the informers were, and on September 30 killed the two
informants. The Burmese and Rakhine authorities subsequently began large payments to informers in
north Maungdaw to draw up lists of villagers in their area involved with terrorist and separatist groups,
which prompted many to flee into Bangaldesh.

Additionally, local people say, an IED that accidentally exploded in Ngar Sar Kyu village-tract around
October 7while it was being prepared drew the attention of the security forces. According to members
of the group, HaY saw that the net was closing and decided that though its preparations were not yet
complete for the larger attack plan, it had to make an emergency plan and launch a smaller operation
on October 9 - ahead of schedule.

Though done hastily, the attacks showed some sophistication, including diversionary tactics; blocking
reinforcements with a complex attack (IEDs plus armed assault) on a convoy some distance away;
and felling of trees across roads to halt military vehicles. It is unclear where the explosives came
from, but a foreign expert described the IEDs as crude but not completely amateurish.
The group was able to organize widely, pay numerous potential informers in northern Rakhine State
prior to the attacks to keep them quiet and large bribes to the security forces to free detained
militants. Now that it has established its legitimacy and capability with attacks, it is likely to be able to
get funding much more easily, from the Rohingya diaspora and major private donors in Saudi Arabia
and the Middle East - all of whom like to see their money result in quick and powerful events. HaY
may also attract much larger terrorist groups to come and join their warfront.

Local Support, Youth Are Emboldened

It would not have been possible for HaY to establish itself and make
detailed preparations without the buy-in of some local, particularly
religious leaders and local communities in northern Rakhine State.
HaY leaders also seem to have been effective in this regard. The
local commanders, about twenty Rohingya Bengalis from Saudi
Arabia, including Ata Ullah, all had good, secure lives in Saudi Arabia
- the dream of many Rohingya - but were seen to have sacrificed
comfort and prosperity to live beside impoverished villagers, without
wearing shoes or good clothes and eating the same meagre food.
These observations convinced many locals that the group was
sincere and committed.

Young men are especially emboldened now to join. Following the

success of the attacks, some youths take the view that the group has
achieved what their fathers and grandfathers could not.

Communications via Viper and WhatsApp

Much of HaYs communications and planning is over encrypted
messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Viber, as well as
WeChat (which does not have end-to-end encryption). Use of these
has become widespread across Myanmar over the last few years, as
mobile voice and data connectivity have been rolled out along with $20 smartphones (people close to
the border have had access to these opportunities for much longer, by connecting to Bangladeshi
networks). Myanmar is one of the only countries where Viber is the dominant messaging app: the
company claims 25 million unique users as of October 2016, out of a 51.5 million population. Such
tools have significantly lowered communication and organization barriers for communities in northern
Rakhine State.
The preferred messaging app among Rohingya is WhatsApp. This is probably due to its much greater
popularity internationally and the fact that Rohingya use these apps to keep in touch with family
overseas and the diaspora more generally. International Crisis Group identified more than 50
WhatsApp groups in use in northern Rakhine State, each with as many as 250 members, and
including diaspora Rohingya around the world. These are mainly used for social interaction and
information sharing, not nefarious purposes. Some individuals are members of ten to twenty
WhatsApp groups and can also easily share information from
group chats with their individual contacts. In the wake of the
October 9 attacks, these have been used to quickly
disseminate information about security threats and other urgent
issues. They are likely also an important source of HaY
operational intelligence. Since the Rohingya dialect of Bengali
does not have a written form, much of the communication over
these applications uses audio files or voice messages.

Links with International Jihadist Groups
Ata Ullah, the other commanders, and the Pakistani and
Afghan fighters with Ullah are well-trained and experienced in
guerrilla warfare; their tactics and operational success appear
to confirm this, particularly their use of asymmetric methods
and weapons such as IEDs, albeit crude ones. Such training
and experience imply at least some links with international
extremist groups. HaY recruits confirm that they have been instructed in Rakhine State or
Bangladesh by Rohingya Bengalis, Bangladesh Bengalis, Pakistani, and Afghani trainers, and that
their leaders seem well connected with those countries, and the various militant groups in those
countries, and more.

Additionally, the Rohingya cause has been used propagandistically by international jihadist groups for
several years. Examples include threats against Myanmar by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (2012);
calls by an Indonesian extremist leader for Muslims to wage jihad in Myanmar (2013); threats by the
IS leader to take revenge on Myanmar and several other countries for abuses against their Muslims;
promises to rescue Muslims in Myanmar and elsewhere from injustice and oppression in the
formation announcement of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent; frequent citations in speeches as
recently as 2015 by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, head of Pakistans Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, to the
atrocities on Rohingya Muslims and calls for revenge; offers of resources and training facilities by
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in June 2015 to help Myanmar Muslims take up the sword; and a call in
the April 2016 issue of ISs Dabiq magazine by Bangladeshi militant Abu Ibrahim to help oppressed
Muslims in Myanmar in every possible way, but stating that it was not a current operational focus.
There appear to be some other forms of cooperation or assistance, including training and funding, as
well, potentially, as provision of weapons and explosives, which HaY currently seeks in Bangladesh.
According to security analysts, small arms and military-grade explosives are available there, and
procuring them should not be too difficult if the group has connections with regional arms traffickers or
Bangladeshi or regional militant entities.

It is also possible that the spotlight on the Rohingyas plight might prompt foreign groups unconnected
with HaY to conduct a terrorist attack; there has been a foiled attempt to bomb Myanmars Jakarta
embassy, and the individual who carried out the recent attack at Ohio State University in the U.S.
claimed to have been inspired, in large part, by his perceived oppression of the Rohingya Muslims.

On the western border in particular, arms, narcotics and human smuggling networks are intertwined
and could be used by insurgent and jihadist groups to transport weapons, materiel and personnel.

All indications are that HaY is preparing

further attacks on security forces and
retains the capability to do so, or more
likely, is increasing the capability to do so.
And, the involvement of foreign militants
has the potential to radicalize and enflame
the conflict, and to create a war with which
not only Arakans Buddhists are threatened
with extinction, but Myanmar itself, and the
other Buddhist populations in Asia.

International (Re)Actions, International (Mis)Understandings
The current security operation has strained relations with nearby
countries that have large Muslim populations and with which
there are practical needs for close ties - Bangladesh, Malaysia,
and Indonesia - all of which have seen huge rabble-rousing
demonstrations, heated political talk, and gross demonization of
Buddhists and Buddhism. Their Muslim majorities are subject to
completely false and manipulative media, and the entrenched
Islamic supremacist view, where Muslims are never at fault, and
always are, or should be, above all non-muslims in all matters.

The anger against Myanmar in much of the Muslim world is real,

though the reasons for the anger are not real. Among the
Western countries there is anxiety and concern, but without
proper understanding of the history of the region, and without
understanding the core Islamic tenet to conquer and eliminate all
others, and to have no concern about doing that.
Looking at the larger picture, of which these incidences described
here are just several events, people are, or should be,
disillusioned and aghast at the genocidal elimination of the
indigenous Buddhists in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in
Bangladesh, countless terrorist attacks by Islamists against
Buddhists in Southern Thailand, the destruction of historic and
holy Buddhist relics in Afghanistan and the Maldives by intolerant
Islamic militants, the bloody and sensational attacks in China by
Islamic Uigyurs from Xinjiang, the anti-Buddhist hatred spewed by
Indonesian and Malaysian mobs, the demonization and vitrification of
Buddhist people and the Buddhist faith by the very malicious and
manipulative Muslim media, and more.

Simply put: the regional and historical realities are being neglected by
a simplified Western - and an Islamic media - bias.

Hoping for peace and harmony, in diversity, with metta (loving kindness)
Rick Heizman, April 20, 2017, San Francisco