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

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

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

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

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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