The very first state to establish the Interim Executive Council (IEC)

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – June 15 Scenes

MoeMaKa, June 16, 2023

The very first state to establish the Interim Executive Council (IEC)

After the military coup, armed resistance and armed movements aimed at eradicating the military dictatorship and establishing a federal union have emerged, and armed conflicts have occurred in various parts of the country. In states and some regions, armed forces have emerged under the general name of People’s Defense Forces. In the cities, small armed forces known as urban guerrillas, or in other words, groups formed by cells, to carry out ambush attacks, explosions, and killings, have emerged.

All the ethnic states have already had ethnic armed organizations since before the military coup. Some ethnic groups (Karen, Mon, Shan, Chin, Lahu, Rakhine, and Pa-O) have signed the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and can be said to have reached a position to initiate political discussions on the establishment of a federal union.

The military coup on February 1, 2021, which did not recognize the NLD’s 2020 election results and called for re-runs, ended the participation of ethnic armed groups in the peace process. Only a few ethnic armed groups have maintained the national ceasefire agreement, called the NCA, for a period of time, as if it were a game that might explode at some point. But most of the ethnic armed groups considered that the NCA had become null, and reached the position of providing training, arming, and leading the military to the PDF armed forces. To be precise, these groups are the KNU, KNPP, KIA, and CNF ethnic armed organizations. Among these groups, the Karenni State Interim Executive Council (IEC), led by Khu Oo Reh from the KNPP party, has been established more than 2 years after the military coup.

Prior to the current Interim Executive Council (IEC), the Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC) was formed in April 2021, and it is believed that this group worked for the emergence of the Interim Executive Council (IEC).

There were 3 main armed groups in the Karenni region before the military takeover, the most powerful being the KNPP (Karenni National Progressive Party), the other 2 being the KNPLF (Karenni National People’s Liberation Front) and the KNLP (Kayan New Land Party). After the military coup, the KNDF (Karenni Nationalities Defense Force) emerged and now works with the KNPP. It is a group that has grown rapidly in 2 years, with a new generation of young people emerging after the military coup. Karenni State is a small state with a population of between 3.5 and 4 lakh.

However, Karenni State is a state where it only takes a day’s journey to travel from Karen State in the south, Bago Region in the west, and Pyinmana Nay Pyi Taw Council Area in the northwest. It must be said that the fact that it is bordered by Thailand in the east and the presence of a neighboring country for logistics and emergency shelter make it favorable for Karenni State.

I don’t think it would be wrong to say that Karenni State is politically ahead among the states and regions that have been active politically and militarily after the military coup. However, it cannot be excluded that the capital paid for this political journey is huge. Out of a population of more than 350,000, almost 250,000 are unable to stay in their homes and are fleeing, which is the highest number that cannot be compared to any region in Myanmar. Airstrikes, civilian deaths, mass killings, health-related illnesses among residents living in refugee camps, and food shortages have become routine events in the past 2 years. As for education, there is only the kind of education that is established under the condition of fleeing, and the Karenni people have not been able to learn normal education for more than 3 years since the COVID period.

Values such as the loss of life during battles, air strikes, and the military council’s raids, the deaths of the elderly due to a lack of access to medical care, and the loss of education rights for the young are values that are difficult to measure. In order to reduce these losses as much as possible, the challenges of how to develop public service activities such as education, health care in a situation where fighting and security are prioritized, will be waiting for the Interim Executive Council that has been formed now to face and deal with.