Analysis and Commentary

Reading through my thoughts and analysis will provide you to realize a bit more about the context of complex Myanmar politics, in particular dynamics of Arakan politics.

How Would Rakhine Figure in Myanmar’s “Sham” Elections?

The most critical player in Rakhine for the security situation and upcoming elections is the Arakan Army, not the local politicians. At the two-year mark of the 1 February 2021 coup in Myanmar, the State Administration Council (SAC) regime extended its term for another six months and sought support for elections now planned for August 2023. The SAC’s moves to push ahead with what are likely to be sham elections have stacked the odds in favor of its proxy, the Union Solidarity and Development Pa

How India Betrayed the Rakhine People – And Why It Matters Today

Twenty-five years ago this week, India’s government betrayed the people of Rakhine State in western Myanmar, when its armed forces smashed a nascent Rakhine revolutionary group in a remote part of the Andaman Islands. In the years since, the Indian government has never referred publicly to the incident, but it continues to resonate among the Rakhine people, who remember it as Gen. Khaing Raza’s Day, or Betrayal of India over Rakhine Revolution Day.

ရခိုင်မှာ ဘာကြောင့် တိုက်ပွဲတွေ ပြန်ဖြစ်လာလဲ - BBC News မြန်မာ

ရခိုင်ပြည်နယ်အတွင်း ရက္ခိုင့်တပ်တော် အေအေ နဲ့ စစ်ကောင်စီတို့ကြား နှစ်ဖက်စစ်ရေး တင်းမာပြီး တကျော့ပြန်တိုက်ပွဲတွေဟာ ပြည်နယ်တွင်း မြို့နယ်အများစုမှာ ဖြစ်နေပါတယ်။ စစ်ဘေးရှောင်ဦးရေကလည်း သိန်းချီရှိနေပါတယ်။ ၂၀၂၀ ရွေးကောက်ပွဲ နောက်ကာလနဲ့ စစ်အာဏာသိမ်းပြီးစမှာ စစ်ရေးအခြေအနေ အနည်းငယ်တည်ငြိမ်ခဲ့တဲ့ ရခိုင်ဒေသမှာ ဘာကြောင့်အခုလိုတိုက်ပွဲတွေ ပြန်ဖြစ်လာရတာလဲ။ ရက္ခိုင့်တပ် အေအေရဲ့ စစ်ရေးနဲ့ နိုင်ငံရေး ရည်မှန်းချက်တွေအကြောင်း ရခိုင်ပြည်နယ်ဆိုင်ရာ သုတေသီတစ်ဦးဖြစ်တဲ့ ကိုကျော်ဆန်းလှိုင်နဲ့ မညိုလဲ့ရည် မေးမြန်းထားပါတယ်။ ဘီဘီစီမြန်မာပိုင်း

Japan needs to ratchet up pressure on Myanmar's junta

On Sept. 16, about two months after intensified armed clashes resumed in Myanmar between the state military and the Arakan Army in Rakhine and the southern Chin States, the military regime blocked the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations from accessing six townships, despite the severe humanitarian need. Two weeks later, the junta further restricted the supply of medicine from Yangon to Rakhine State while at the same time arresting at least two medical doctors.

Insurgents in Myanmar’s Rakhine State Return to War on the Military

Serious combat has resumed in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, despite a continuing de facto cease-fire declared by the military just before its coup last year. Unlike previous rounds of fighting in Rakhine that could be viewed as a localized internal conflict, the renewed violence is taking place in the context of a nationwide civil war triggered by the coup, and its consequences are spreading far beyond the state’s borders. The resumption of war in Rakhine State, in short, could be a hinge on which th

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

Rumbles in Rakhine amid strains between Myanmar military, rebels

Recent skirmishes between Arakan Army and the military have raised concern about the stability of an informal year-long ceasefire. Since Myanmar’s military staged a coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on February 1, triggering mass unrest, the formerly restive far-western state of Rakhine has remained relatively peaceful. But recent skirmishes have raised concern that an informal ceasefire agreed in the long-troubled area in November last year is starting to break down, even as

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

Arakan Army Seeks to Build ‘Inclusive’ Administration in Rakhine State

Seven months since the military coup in Myanmar, the political wing of the rebel Arakan Army (AA) has significantly expanded its administrative and judicial mechanisms across Rakhine State in western Myanmar, with hundreds of its personnel now effectively administering the region independently of the military junta that rules in Naypyidaw. The group is also attempting to involve the state’s entire population, including the Rohingya Muslims, in the governance of what it hopes will become an auton

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

Protests Unite Myanmar’s Ethnic Groups Against Common Foe

Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, has killed at least 510 people and detained more than 2,500 others since it took power on Feb. 1. Now terrorized by the military themselves, many people from the Bamar ethnic majority are developing a sense of solidarity with the country’s numerous minority groups. Public apologies for years of indifference and denial of minority people’s experiences have proliferated. “We have learned day by day, and our point of view has changed. We feel really sorry,

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

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
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