There are too many wars and conflicts around the world to keep up with. It’s difficult to stay updated on some of the conflicts that do occasionally make their way to the headlines, even just for a little bit. Firefights in Afghanistan will sometimes make the headlines, but to many consumers they look like the same headlines over and over and over again. The same goes with a lot of violent crimes across America. For example, in 2001 Chicago has actually surpassed the number of American troops killed in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. When an average of a dozen people are shot a day, like violence in Afghanistan, the headlines appear to be the same over and over to many.

There are wars, conflicts and horrific events that do make the headlines, and rightfully so. The situation in Syria, the strained relationship between North and South Korea, and the rising tensions with Iran are all over the headlines as they are recently developing situations that are threatening to (or already have) boil over into serious conflict. They ought to be at the center of everyone’s attention, as they often are.

Still, there are conflicts that have been going on for so long that they are largely overlooked by the international community.


Burma has suffered through one of the longest civil wars in human history, with active violence in its ethnic areas going on since WWII.

Much of the media attention has been directed toward the Rohingya recently. When the Burmese government started their offensive targeting the Rohingya, they killed a lot of civilians — over 1,200 children under the age of 5 were killed due to the government aggressions in the very first month of fighting. They have displaced almost 700,000 people, forcing them across the border into refugee camps in Bangladesh.

While most of the victims of the Burmese push against the Rohingya are civilians, it would be disingenuous to dismiss the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the Rohingya insurgent group, that has recently been accused of massacring almost 100 Burmese civilians. This act is one in a myriad of human rights abuses and war crimes committed on the battlefield and off it. The state-sponsored media groups in Burma would have many believe that they were proportionally responding to ARSA attacks when they begun what they U.N. would describe as “textbook ethnic cleansing.” Conversely, many would insinuate that ARSA or other groups had never committed acts of aggression against the Burmese government or its people, and that would also be false. The actual conflict goes back decades, and to understand it, one must see past modern Islamic extremist groups and state-sponsored media reports and reach back into history that remains somewhat unstudied by the international community.

The Rohingya aren’t the only ones under the iron fist of the Burmese government. The government tends to shift their focus from ethnic minority to ethnic minority, all of which form a sort of horse-shoe shape around the central population. SOFREP readers might see a shift in future months from the Muslim Rohingya toward the Kachin, who are mostly Christian, and who are about to take on the brunt of Burmese military forces. It is one of many examples that illustrate the government’s true priorities (which have nothing to do with Muslim extremism) in stifling the ethnic minority populations in rural Burma.

On top of the Kachin, the Burmese government keeps constant pressure on the Karen people to the east, who are Christian, Buddhist and some animist. They are currently weathering a very unstable cease-fire, and peace is on a knife’s edge as the Karen authorities navigate and attempt to negotiate with the Burmese military rule.