U.S. Politics

Vox Sentences: Who in Congress can check Donald Trump?


The Burmese military escalates its attacks on Rohingya Muslims; China steps in to ban Hong Kong legislators from the city’s council for being rude; who will provide a check on the Trump administration?

The Rohingya probably aren’t burning down their own villages

Rohingya villagers Khine Htoo Mrat/AFP/Getty Images
  • Over the past month, the Burmese military has engaged in continued attacks on Rohingya Muslim communities in the state of Rakhine. Over the weekend, it began to use armed helicopters and killed 25 Rohingya in one attack. [Time / Feliz Solomon]
  • The Rohingya have long been an oppressed minority in Myanmar (which denies they’re Burmese at all). Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is literally in the country right now leading a task force to improve treatment of the Rohingya, though he, like other human rights observers, journalists, and food aid, isn’t being let in. [Human Rights Watch]
  • The current escalation is a response to a coordinated set of attacks on border guard posts last month, which the Burmese government blamed on a hitherto-unknown Rohingya terrorist group. [BBC]
  • In theory, the military is “clearing” Rohingya villages of terrorists, and only shooting when attacked. In practice, the BBC’s Jonah Fisher has noticed disturbing similarities among accounts of the “attacks” — which indicates the military might be making them up to justify killing civilians. [Jonah Fisher via Twitter]
  • The military’s claim that the Rohingya are burning their own villages — satellite images of Myanmar have discovered widespread burning in at least three villages, and partial burning in others — is even less plausible. [GlobalPost / Patrick Winn]
  • Rohingya who try to escape are stranded at the border. Bangladesh refuses to take them. [AFP]
  • And the military is putting out a call to non-Muslim civilians to volunteer to participate in its “counterterrorist” efforts against Rohingya. [Al Jazeera / Katie Arnold]
  • Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t control the military, even though she’s head of the Burmese government. But that doesn’t excuse her from saying something about the Rohingya. And her silence has been deafening. [NYT / Jane Perlez and Wai Moe]

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