‘Defensive war’ declared . . .
Today, the acting president of the National Unity Government (NUG), a parallel government formed by ousted lawmakers and opponents of the ruling junta in Myanmar, launched a “people’s defensive war.” The NUG urged civil servants and border guards to join hands with the people to defeat the military. It also warned people to avoid unnecessary travel, and to stock up on food and other essential goods. Following the announcement, there were reports of panic buying, fighting in border areas between the military and ethnic armed organizations, and anti-junta street protests.
Upping the ante on the revolution . . .
Since the February 1 coup that toppled Myanmar’s elected government, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed by the military. The NUG’s call to arms is seen as an attempt to unite opponents of the regime, including several ethnic armed organizations and civilian militias that had been fighting military forces across the country. Many see a resistance war as the only option given the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) inability to bring an end to violence in Myanmar through diplomatic efforts. While the NUG’s declaration seems to have lifted people’s spirits, observers expect an escalation of violence in the future as the military tries to maintain its hold on power.
Eyes on next week’s diplomatic battle . . .
Supporters of the NUG hope that the declaration will raise international awareness of the situation in Myanmar, as the call for a defensive war came exactly one week before the United Nations General Assembly’s credentials committee is set to decide the fate of Myanmar’s UN seat. The committee could either recognize the junta, the NUG, or neither, but allow the current representative of Myanmar, who declared his allegiance to the pro-democracy movement, to temporarily remain in his role. While the outcome of next week’s high-stakes meeting is uncertain, a reaffirmation of the current ambassador could be interpreted as a partial victory for the NUG.
- Al Jazeera: Myanmar shadow government calls for uprising against military
- The Diplomat: Who will win the battle for Myanmar’s UN seat?
- The Irrawaddy: NUG questions ASEAN’s ceasefire agreement