Can the solutions to Myanmar issues behind the curtain work?

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – April 23 Scenes

MoeMaKa, April 24 2023

Can the solutions to Myanmar issues behind the curtain work?

Waging of Myanmar’s armed conflict at high speed, increasing numbers of people fleeing war from their homes, villages and cities to millions in the past 2 years, terrorist killings, burning down of houses, wide-scale assassinations, and the lack of access to help those in urgent need of humanitarian assistance are said to be crises in Myanmar.

After the military coup, protests in the cities and the CDM movement of employees emerged. Within a few months, the armed path has become the path adopted by the majority, with the belief that only an armed revolution against the coup military would work. They started producing hand-made weapons, attending military training for armed attacks, and delivering military training, and in May 2021, the People’s Defense Forces were formed.

After that, regionally formed armed forces were established, and they received military training and weapons assistance from ethnic armed groups. Then, they produced hand-made guns and mines, and began to attack the military council troops.

The armed resistance against the military council, which began in mid-2021, has expanded to almost the entire country in the past two years and has become the most widespread armed conflict in Myanmar after the civil war that occurred from 1949 to 1951 in the history of Myanmar. The battles of ethnic armed groups fighting for their liberation, the right to equal self-determination and federalism for more than 70 years, have spread to central regions called the mainland, where the Burman people live, and the rage of civil war has flared up even more. These situations in Myanmar have caused concern for the neighboring countries and the international community, and have led them to intervene. ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member, is playing the leading role in intervening to resolve these issues, and on April 2021, a private meeting to resolve the Myanmar issues was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Today, it has been 2 years since then. Although the leader of the Myanmar military coup agreed to the 5-Point Consensus of the ASEAN adopted at that meeting, none of the 5-Point Consensus has been significantly implemented after passing 2 years. So, confidence in the ASEAN 5-Point Consensus has also decreased.

This year, when Indonesia becomes the rotating chair of ASEAN, it becomes a question of how successfully Myanmar’s political crisis can be solved. In 2021, Brunei failed to produce a remarkable result, and in 2022, Cambodia, a country of the rotating chair of ASEAN, also tried. But after the middle of the year, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen also seemed to surrender upon solving Myanmar’s political crisis. Now, it is Indonesia’s turn to see if they can make a change. It has been almost 4 months since Indonesia took over the chairmanship of ASEAN, and it has sent official representatives to Myanmar. There may be non-public meetings and discussions. We cannot say exactly whether there are meetings with all the relevant organizations or not, and no remarkable result has come out yet.

In addition to ASEAN, signs that China, and the group formed by the former presidents of the United States and the former UN Secretary Generals called the Elders are trying to mediate and find a solution are seen in the news these days.

Although the military council has given up administrative authority, taxation, education, health, etc. in many areas, it is estimated that they may assume that they can attack with the use of their weapons and finances. In Rakhine, Karenni region, and some parts of Chin State, the administrations have become in a situation where both sides are ruling, and the military can expect to be able to regain control and rule from this situation. The military council may probably hope that it will be able to defeat the revolutionary armed forces by using weapons, resources, and the country’s treasures.

Because of this expectation, it can be assumed that the military council will not want to discuss and negotiate interventions. As a ploy, they may want to treat the international community only for the purpose of gaining diplomatic recognition. It is believed that successful negotiations are only possible if there is good will, the right attitude, or if there is no way out.