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Myths and realities behind the Rakhine crisis

Condemnation of Aung San Suu Kyi highlights ironies of Myanmar's recent history

GWEN ROBINSON, Chief editor | Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

NAYPYITAW -- The international outcry over Myanmar's escalating Rohingya refugee crisis masks several ironies that have fueled an intensifying propaganda war since the Aug. 25 attacks by Muslim militants on security facilities in Rakhine state. The first is the resounding condemnation of the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, while the real commanders behind the brutal "clearance operations" targeting Rohingya communities have stayed out of the political frontline.

On the international front, Suu Kyi has been widely criticized for her silence and her perceived refusal to halt a military campaign that has driven more than 300,000 refugees -- mainly Muslim Rohingya -- into neighboring Bangladesh in just over two weeks and razed dozens of villages amid reports of summary executions, detentions, torture and mob violence.

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