#Myanmar is NOT becoming 'like Syria' and is not 'descending into chaos'

No doubt, Myanmar is facing a catastrophic emergency of immense proportions and requires urgent support.


#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #May4coup #MyanmarCoup
Myanmar is NOT taking in thousands of 'foreign fighters' from Afghanistan or other protracted int'l war zones.

Myanmar is NOT seeing millions of dollars of funding handed to all sides of the conflict by regional and global powers, nor international Islamist networks
Myanmar is NOT being taken over by ISIS

Myanmar is NOT prone to sectarian violence between communities (despite a few elite-orchestrated anti-Islamic attacks in '12-13 and '16-17).

Myanmar has almost NEVER seen communities of different ethnicities fight each other directly.
Myanmar's armed groups have NOT suddenly emerged due to state failure + proxy warfare

They HAVE been there for decades (some cases since before independence) and have well-formed political agendas and social bases

Most of the dividing lines of conflict ARE well established.
Myanmar IS in crisis because an elected government that won a landslide was suddenly put in jail (didn't happen in Syria).

Myanmar IS developing a pretty unified opposition movement including the elected government and dozens of key armed groups and political parties.
Myanmar's primary new conflict is pretty two-sided. It is:

A widespread national uprising led by a diverse National Unity Government (NUG), using general strikes, protests, boycotts & assymetrical warfare


A closed military clique using only extreme violence & coercion
NUG has offered the 20+ ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) a Federal Democratic system of gov't as long demanded.

In response 7-8 EAOs are co-developing a joint political roadmap while at least 6 are providing NUG sanctuary, logistical assistance or training.
We will likely see many months or years of unconventional warfare,

..with NUG and allies defying SAC full control, stretching military & multiplying the costs of clinging to power

If successful, bases will be easier to take, defections will increase, generals will be isolated
If not successful, then we can expect decade+ of:
- Exile/prison for tens of thousands of dissidents
- Capacity drain from gov't due to purge of suspected enemies
- Outpouring of conflict refugees
- Omni-present intelligence - checkpoints, teashops etc.
- End of free media
Any assumption that decreased state control would lead to an eruption of localised conflicts would be misplaced.

Intra and inter-ethnic conflicts have been generated and sustained due to Tatmadaw divide&rule strategy.

Tatmadaw has not been holding the country together.
While certain locales remain at high risk, e.g. Rakhine State and northern Shan State...

... and some militias and border guard forces will be unpredictable, amid lowered revenues and reduced backing from military...

... nothing could drive these conflicts more than SAC rule
Among other major EAOs:

- Around 6 have tried to remain neutral to retain ceasefire territories (incl. at least 3 that met SAC)

- 2 or 3 continue insurgencies independently, actively weakening SAC but refusing to endorse NUG

If NUG wins, many will accept its federal deal
Similarly, regional powers, the business community, and multiple militia leaders are essentially sitting & watching.

They have little incentive to back the arrogant, inward-looking and incompetent SAC but are not big risk-takers either.

Most will likely go with the flow
In summary, Myanmar is not descending into this 👇

This is a revolution, waged by a vast network of individuals & organisations who have agency, purpose and meaning.

The key factors that have driven Syria into intractable chaos do not exist in Myanmar.

Myanmar's central emergency is the total war being waged by the isolated military against its own people.

The Myanmar people need concerted and pro-active diplomatic, humanitarian and political support.

Nothing will be less stable and more chaotic than continued junta rule.

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More from @Kim_Jolliffe

16 Apr
As @CrphMyanmar announces National Unity Government of #Myanmar

This 'external analysis' commissioned by the Karen National Union provides useful background and context

#WhatsHapppeningInMyanmar #Apr16Coup #HearTheVoiceOfMyanmar
It emphasises the important alliance between (mostly Bamar) pro-democratic forces from the heartland alongside ethnic pro-federal movements

It analyses and supports Part 1 of the Federal Democratic Charter, also known as "The Declaration of Federal Democracy.
It notes that the charter:

- Is a crucial and impressive first step given practical situation
- Represents 4 blocs that 2gether can stop the coup
- Contains unprecedented agreement on federal principles
- Includes robust diversity & protection measures for women and minorities
Read 7 tweets
24 Feb
THREAD - Junta takes control of Village Tract and Ward Administration

Local admins are arguably the most important units of gov for most #Myanmar people

They deal with >90% of justice cases and are the main conduit for almost all interaction with gov

This is especially the case in rural areas, where taxation, land registration, welfare payments and any number of other functions run through the Village Tract Administrator.

In the past week, the #MyanmarMilitary has gone back 10 years, reversing decentralisation reforms

Now, Township Administrators (330 nationwide) are all uniformed military commanders

They names Ward and Village Tract Administrators, who are invariably men and stooges of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.

Even including nationalist monks
Read 6 tweets
13 Feb

I interviewed one of the regime's so-called "thugs" in 2011.

He was a Kachin teenager who had gotten into a drunken fight in Myitkyina and was then sentenced to prison.

#Myanmar #Myanmarcoup #myanmarmilitarycoup #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar
In 2011, while the Myanmar Army was struggling to fight combined forces of KNU, DKBA and KNU/KNLA-PC...

...the military government began transporting prisoners from across the country to the southeast so they could be forced to porter military equipment.…
He was one of these prisoners. He was hit by a DKBA bullet in the shoulder and hip, before managing to flee across enemy lines and give himself up.

They realised he was not the enemy and so he was allowed to live. He eventually found his way to Mae Tao clinic, Mae Sot, Thailand
Read 6 tweets
13 Feb

The ends the #Myanmar regime is going to to incite fear and chaos are unprecedented & shocking.

Thugs are being dropped in neighbourhoods throughout Yangon to set fires, start fights and cause disturbance.

#Myanmarcoup #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #MyanmarPoliceBrutality
Police are being given powers in public writing to arrest anyone and act without permission of local administrators.

Those administrators (with bands of local people banging pots and pans) are having to take justice in their own hands and apprehend thugs to protect citizens.
The thugs are often on drugs and, after being apprehended, are admitting that they have been paid significant sums of cash to commit these acts. Some are still carrying their prison release forms from yesterday
Read 7 tweets
12 Feb

Military government announces release of 23, 369 prisoners.

This could pose threats to protestors and to public safety.

Yet another return to the old junta playbook.

#Myanmarcoup #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #MyanmarPoliceBrutality
They could be making space for protestors

Myanmar's 42 prisons, 5 detentions centres and 48 labour camps are vastly overcrowded. In June 2019, there were 85,000 prisoners despite official capacity of just 72,000.

Lack of detention centres means prisons often used before trial.
This risks public safety and increasing crime rates

Myanmar does not have a parole system or meaningful rehabilitation services for prisoners.

When prisoners are released, it is not based on good behaviour or an assessment of their ability to return to non-criminal life
Read 6 tweets
15 Feb 19
THREAD: Recent conflict between the #Myanmar military and the Restoration Council of #Shan State seems to represent a notable escalation and big blow to the ceasefire process. 1/9
After RCSS collectors allegedly seized equipment from the #Myanmar military, it retaliated with two symbolic bouts of shelling near the RCSS HQ area. The RCSS has viewed this as a direct message implying ‘we can attack your HQ’. 2/9
The coordinated nature of the attacks, from two separate locations, and the fact that they were so close to the border with Thailand, suggests that senior commanders were involved. And the RCSS have considered this a major infringement on the terms of the NCA. 3/9
Read 9 tweets

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