Insurgency groups gaining momentum . . .
Myanmar’s military leader, Min Aung Hlaing, has extended the country’s state of emergency for an additional six months to February 1, 2023. But a commentary published in June by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies suggests the military, or Tatmadaw, may be losing its grip on the country and struggling to find recruits. Hundreds of soldiers have either left or joined one of the ethnic armed organizations or People’s Defense Forces fighting the military, with many Tatmadaw units now unusually small. Analysts believe insurgencies in Rakhine and Chin states are further weakening the Tatmadaw.
Five-point consensus and potential elections . . .
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been pushing Myanmar to follow the five-point consensus that ASEAN and Myanmar agreed to last year. The first of the five points is the immediate cessation of violence. Two days after the consensus agreement, the military backtracked on its endorsement and stated, “it will give careful consideration to constructive suggestions made by ASEAN Leaders when the situation returns to stability in the country.” Last week, Min Aung Hlaing said in a televised speech that the regime will prioritize stabilizing the country prior to elections. Although a date for the next election has not been given, the country’s military leader promised that “free and fair multiparty democratic elections will be held in line with the 2008 Constitution.”
Global condemnation . . .
Following a ruling last month by the International Court of Justice rejecting Myanmar’s objections to a genocide case being brought against it, Myanmar executed four activists. International condemnation was swift and severe. ASEAN condemned the executions, and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the bloc will need to reconsider the peace plan if Myanmar continues executions. For its part, Ottawa, together with several like-minded countries, released a statement immediately after the executions condemning the action and supporting the restoration of democracy in the country. According to the rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, some 12,000 political prisoners remain in detention, and more than 2,100 have been killed by the military in the 18 months since the February 2021 coup.