Analysis and Commentary

Reading through my thoughts and perceptions that will provide you to realize a bit more in the context of complex Myanmar's politics including Rakhine State's politics.

Fighting in Maungdaw: A Strategic Turning Point in Western Myanmar?

On the morning of September 16, around two months after intensive clashes resumed between the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar military in northern Rakhine State, Bri. Gen. Dr. Nyo Twan Awng, the AA’s deputy commander in chief, shared a message to the Rakhine people through his social media accounts. The message described the return to war against the junta as “a final war and decisive war” for building “the state of the Arakan.” The AA, the armed wing of the United League of Arakan (ULA), was

Myanmar’s Rakhine State: Parties Split, Rebels Rise, and the Junta Schemes

As the coup regime plots a sham election for next year, the volatile political and military conditions in Rakhine could decide its fate. Myanmar’s military regime has a plan for trying to establish its governing legitimacy next year: In August of 2023, the dictatorship, which overthrew a democratically elected government in early 2021, intends to hold sham elections. A critical piece of this strategy involves maneuvering Myanmar’s welter of small ethnic parties into taking part in the electoral

In Myanmar’s Rakhine State, a Fraying Truce May Hold Key to Anti-Regime Fight

A potent ethnic armed group, tied to the resistance, appears to be inching away from a cease-fire and back to the battlefield. Myanmar has been crippled by growing political turmoil and militant resistance since the army overthrew the elected civilian government on February 1, 2021. Today, most of the country is engulfed in a virtual civil war. In Rakhine State, however, home to one of Myanmar's most powerful ethnic armed organizations, a tenuous peace still prevails under a cease-fire reached

Can the Arakan Army achieve its confederacy dream?

The AA’s demand for confederacy status seems a bridge too far for either the National Unity Government or the junta, but the group says it will achieve its goal through any means necessary. More than a year since the military seized power in Myanmar, anti-coup resistance groups and their ethnic armed organisation allies continue to fight the junta with no victory in sight for either side. The military regime has been unable to crush the opposition or to take full control of administrative mecha

Relief Agencies Should Push for Independent Access to Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Since February, when Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, staged a coup against the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, Rakhine State in the west of the country has stood out. While other states witnessed massive peaceful demonstrations, followed by deeply troubling indiscriminate violence at the hands of the police and the military, Rakhine remained relatively tranquil. In November 2020, three months before the coup, the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army (AA), a powerful ethnic armed organization

Myanmar politics must be re-made, not restored

The growing democracy movement needs to look beyond Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD, and listen closely to ethnic voices. On the morning of February 1, my hopes disappeared when I learned that the civilian government had been overthrown in a military coup. Growing up under army rule, I did not have access to quality education or healthcare, and couldn’t use the internet until 2014. Terrified of the military, my parents always warned me to stay away from politics or activism. Now, I don’t want the

Democratic states should recognize Myanmar's National Unity Government

Fuadi Pitsuwan is a pre-doctoral fellow at the School of Public Policy in Thailand's Chiang Mai University and a son of the late Surin Pitsuwan, former ASEAN secretary-general (2008-13). Kyaw Hsan Hlaing is a researcher and independent journalist from Myanmar's Rakhine State. Just days after Myanmar's junta chief met leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Jakarta and agreed to their call to halt violence in the country, reports of fatal attacks on at least six protesters indic

Global Norms Are Under Attack in Post-Coup Myanmar

With Myanmar’s post-coup crisis dragging into its third month, security forces commanded by the coup leader Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing show no sign of abating in their brutal suppression of the anti-coup protests that have erupted across the country since early February. Despite their massive numbers, protestors have been highly disciplined and peaceful. It was only after the security forces began using excessive and lethal force that a small pocket of them resorted to handmade weapons such as Mo

After Myanmar’s Military Coup, Arakan Army Accelerates Implementation of the ‘Way of Rakhita’

On March 11, 39 days after Myanmar’s military seized power from the civilian government, it removed a terrorist designation from the Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic armed organization in the country’s westernmost Rakhine State, with which it had been engaged in violent conflict for most of the past two years. While many ethnic Rakhine people welcomed the step, many from the Bamar majority accused the AA of collaborating with the junta and blamed the Rakhine people. This response highlights a longsta

Covering the Coup: A Myanmar Journalist Reports

Chronicling events on the ground in Yangon, Arakanese freelance journalist Kyaw Hsan Hlaing documents an increasingly perilous situation for journalists in the wake of the military coup. When my roommate woke me early on 1 February with the news that the Myanmar military had staged a coup, I knew that as a freelance journalist focused on human rights I could become a target. I deactivated my Facebook account and requested the editor at an international news agency delete my byline from some se

The Myanmar Military is Trying to Divide and Terrorize the People. We Must Resist.

Since seizing power on February 1, Myanmar’s military has inflicted terror across the country. As a youth, seeing my country fall under military rule is not only psychologically disturbing, but crushing when I consider the potential impact on my future and that of my generation. Military and police forces have shot dead more than 200 people as of March 16. Soldiers are firing teargas, water cannon, and slingshots at protesters and beating people up, while some have been tortured. At night, they
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