The Rampant Outbreak in Myanmar

Graphic by Irfan Khan

Myanmar is a multi-ethnic country with an extended history of political conflict between the military and different ethnic armed organizations. In politics, deadlock is a situation when there is difficulty in passing laws that satisfy the requirements of the people. One similar incident passed in Myanmar, a country with one of the world’s longest-running civil conflicts. A dangerous stalemate has been observed between Myanmar’s military regime and resistance forces, where both sides are determined to prevail, but neither seems likely to deliver a knockout blow imminently.

A general election was held in which Ms. Suu Kyi’s NLD party won by a landslide. The military had backed the opposition who were demanding a rerun of the vote claiming widespread fraud. Ms. Suu Kyi was held in an unknown position since the coup. She was facing various charges, including violating the country’s official secrets act, possessing illegal walkie-talkies, and publishing information that will “cause fear or alarm”.

Since the 1 February coup, the regime has cracked down hard on peaceful protesters, activists, and the general population, driving further violent forms of resistance. In the later weeks after the coup, the military began its campaign to quash and protested tirelessly. Many communities and groups of protesters across Myanmar began forming militias to safeguard themselves from regime violence and launched an armed resistance. Two hundred and fifty of such groups have emerged over the last six months and are carrying out regular attacks on regime targets. According to the researchers, there are seven obstacles to achieving peace in Myanmar, and the biggest among them prevailing is to get all ethical fortified groups to subscribe to the NCA (National Ceasefire Agreement).

After the coup, Thein Sein’s new government launched a peace process that aimed at ending decades of conflict by reaching a political settlement with Myanmar’s ethnic armed groups. Thousands of monks rose against the military regime and protesters mainly included preceptors, attorneys, scholars, bank officers, and government workers. The Burmese economy was already weakened by the pandemic and the national health system was on the verge of a third wave. Citizens of Myanmar began to protest against the regime, despite brutal crackdowns by security forces, eight hundred civilians were murdered and more than five thousand people were arrested. This was claimed to be the after-effects of the elections. The targets included enclosed government, native administration offices, houses, businesses owned by or seen as substantiating of the military, homes or businesses of alleged informants, public places, and police and military posts. Myanmar had come dangerously close to bankruptcy and civil war with no apparent resolution.

It is widely recognized in Myanmar that the country’s long-running problems cannot be solved without substantive political reform. For this to be achieved, it will be necessary for all parties to be able to meet and negotiate as equals in a spirit of reconciliation and peace. However, the new National Unity Government in Myanmar raises hopes that the various forces opposing the military rulers are finally organizing themselves. This could galvanize the opposition to the military, which has ruled the country by force since it took power on the 1st of February. The government, military, and ethnic armed groups must constructively review the causes of the current impasse, rebuild trust through sustained informal dialogue, and take steps to reinvigorate the peace process. A better approach to this issue would be to focus on less controversial topics in order to build trust and make progress over time on the bigger issues of federalism, power-sharing, and integration of armed forces.

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