Why Are Bangladesh’s Retired Generals Courting Rohingya Organisations?
Decoding the relationship.
From the early days of July through to the first week of September, the X/Twitter feed of Reza Uddin, Director General of the Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU), has frequently featured the smiling visage of retired Bangladeshi Brigadier General Manzur Qader. If X/Twitter posts could serve as a barometer of camaraderie, the two would appear to be inseparable. They've been spotted together in a range of settings—from undertaking umrah in Mecca to diplomatic missions in Turkey.
While ARU might be hobnobbing with one ex-general, the Arakan Rohingya National Alliance (ARNA) is not to be left behind. They've had two retired Bangladeshi generals pen op-eds in their favour and another even graced their inaugural meeting. He also attended the preparatory meeting in Sarajevo. One can't help but wonder: what's with the magnetic allure of retired military men for these organisations? Why this sudden parade of retired generals in the diaspora's dealings? Is it mere coincidence, or is there a more calculated strategy at play? These relationships demand scrutiny.
In truth, the dalliance between Rohingyas and Bangladeshi military figures isn't a recent phenomenon; it's an epoch-spanning, complex relationship with roots dug deep into the soil of history. When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina blamed General Ziaur Rahman for 'creating the Rohingya crisis,' her comments should not be dismissed as mere political thrust and parry between the AL and BNP; they allude to a specific, largely unwritten chapter of history. This is not a history gathering dust in unread books—there are no books dealing with it! Many of its key figures are still alive and dispersed around the globe, each keeper of untold tales that are yet to be unravelled. But before we graze the surface of that intricate history, let's first weigh the pros and cons of this ongoing relationship between the military establishment of Bangladesh and Rohingya organisations and revolutionaries