Myanmar’s ‘Rohingya’ Conflict

September 2018 9781849049047 224pp
EU Customers


The plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims has made global headlines in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh, amidst serious allegations of genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The impact on Myanmar’s international standing has been massive. However, much of the commentary so far has been reductionist, flattening complex dynamics into a simple narrative of state oppression of a religious minority.
Exploring this long-running tripartite conflict between the Rohingya, Rakhine and the Burman-led state, this book offers a new analysis of the complexities of the current crisis: the fears and motivations driving it and the competition to control historical representations and collective memory. The authors question these competing narratives, and examine the international dimensions of this intractable conflict, ultimately arguing that the central issue is a contestation over political inclusion and control over governance.


‘[W]ell researched, thoroughly objective, and a treasure trove of knowledge on the issue of the Rohingya conflict. For anyone interested in understanding the conflict in Myanmar’s Muslim northwest, the impartial analysis proffered in this work is a must-read.’ — The Muslim World Book Review

‘A very compelling rendering of a situation, the complexity of which is greatly underestimated by outside observers of the international community. The strength of the book comes from the effective presentation of different perspectives and the ability to approach arguments from multiple angles.’ — Charles Petrie, former UN Assistant Secretary General, and UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar

‘Ware and Laoutides provide an important analysis for anyone looking for solutions to the crisis in northern Rakhine State. Well researched and eminently readable, it is to be highly recommended also for its examination of Myanmar’s governance today.’ — Christopher Lamb, President, Australia Myanmar Institute

‘This is an invaluable, must-read inquiry for anyone seeking to wrap their heads around the complexities and divergent perspectives of this seemingly intractable crisis. The authors are equally compelling and constructive in their recommendations, seeking to re-think pathways to constructive dialogue and engagement of all actors.’ — Kelland Stevenson, Save the Children Myanmar Country Director, 2011–2016, and Plan International Country Director, 2016 – present

‘Ware and Laoutides effectively weave together theory and empirics to provide a compelling analysis of one of Asia’s most intractable and troubling conflicts. They conduct a critical yet fair study of the duelling histories put forward by Rohingya and Rakhine advocates and offer useful policy prescriptions. This volume will be controversial, but with a dearth of careful work on the topic, it is very welcome.’ — Matthew J. Walton, Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford

‘This book will soon become the requisite source on the violent and vexed dynamics of the Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine State. Presenting a rare calmly balanced, but deeply principled and exhaustively detailed overview of the conflict, its history, Ware and Laoutides have raised important proscriptions for how to crawl out of decades of repression and poverty for all communities in Rakhine.’ — David Mathieson, Senior Technical Advisor for the Asia Foundation, former Senior Researcher for Human Rights Watch on Myanmar


Anthony Ware is Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at Deakin University, Melbourne, and Director of the Australia Myanmar Institute. He specialises in international development in conflict situations, and sociopolitical dynamics of community-led development.

Costas Laoutides is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Deakin University, Melbourne. He specialises in separatist conflicts, particularly relationships between negotiated settlements and modes of political accommodation.

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