Kim Jolliffe Profile picture
Feb 1 24 tweets 5 min read

UN Special Envoy calls for non-military-led dialogue with all parties to agree a power sharing agreement as first step towards long-term military transformation.

Reasonable common sense suggestions but lack attention to practical realities...

This is exactly what the UN has been calling for since the 1990s (at least) and what has been consistently blocked & avoided by the military.

This is not an accident. The military could not be more explicit. It knows what is best for Myanmar and its power cannot be questioned.
The closest Myanmar has come to power sharing is the '08 constitution.

The SLORC/SPDC held National Convention but dominated proceedings like a petulant monarchy, offended everyone, took no one elses suggestions and - of course - did not let the UN anywhere near the process.
The NLD was harrassed, frozen out and eventually boycotted it. The EAOs that took part had their requests rejected.

The resulting constitution was entirely a military creation, designed to give the generals complete autonomy in security affairs and inordinate political power.
Nonetheless, both the democracy opposition and majority of EAOs applied the same logic as Dr. Heyzer and committed everything to working within this arrangement as a first step, putting trust in a long-term process of reform. They were unbelievably cooperative and patient.
The NLD and other parties agreed to run in elections and enter the legislature and executive despite constant surveillance, asassinations, infiltration of judiciary etc.

People also criticised NLD for inflexibility and poor communication, but we should now put it in perspective
All significant EAOs (20+) were fully in the peace process from 2013-2015.

They ALL had ceasefires or agreed to sign NCA and all agreed to join political dialogue for "power sharing"

At last min, MAH banned AA/TNLA/MNDAA and told UWSA it could only join dialogue if signed NCA
That was the beginning of the end of the NCA.

These precisely calculated shifts in position forced the northern EAOs + KNPP/NMSP into impossible dilemmas vis-a-vis alliances, existing agreements and public relations.

Pol dialogue went ahead but all meaningful topics blocked
[The above doesn't even begin to capture how artful the military has been at evading real dialogue. I can't begin to count the meetings where EAO & parties would prepare detailed points only to be met by blank faces, last min cancellations or news that their HQ was just bombed!]
Meanwhile under article 20 of the constitution, the military could commit daily unthinkablly violent acts against civilians with impunity.

Against #Rohingya they burned over 200 villages, killed more than 10,000 people and raped thousands more without a single check or balance
Despite all these issues, the vast number of other stakeholders stuck with Dr. Heyzer's logic that this could be a first step towards long-term change.

ASSK committed so fully to non-confrontational "national reconciliation" that she abandoned ethnic allies and Rohingya
Similarly, the blocs from all EAOs that pursued dialogue and trust building - mostly seeing it as the least worst option to reduce bloodshed - lost favour from much of the public and were regularly accused of corruption.

Can EAOs or NLD point to any concrete political gains?
Nonetheless, even this obscenely uneven "power sharing" deal was not enough for Min Aung Hlaing.

He crossed a rubicon when he put 100+ years criminal charges on ASSK.

And he remains committed to this 'all or nothing' gambit.

Tell him no and he digs in harder. Every time.
The point of all this is not to say one side is all good and one side is all bad.

It is to say this is not about sides.

It is about a specific systemic block on all progress towards peace and towards the inclusive politics needed to keep the union together.
That systemic block is the swollen tumor of an institution that calls itself Tatmadaw.

An institution that is deep in bed with a small cabal of cronies and a shady network of Buddhist nationalist extremists.

An institution that just destroys, never adapts & doesn't switch off.
Nobody can say the NLD, the EAOs or any other faction is ALL good.

But not one of them has tens thousands of unhinged rapists, arsonists and killers trapped in a bureacracy whose only objectives are to accumulate power, eliminate opposition, spread hate and collect profits
Myanmar is in an unprecedented situation where the majority of genuine political stakeholders are already in a "power sharing" dialogue and are all focused on removing the tumour.

All talk of dialogue by UN or others must start with this existing process (NUCC, PA etc.).
The UN should also recognise that the chances of the SAC entering talks with any other objective than dividing and eventually destroying opponents are now at zero

The UN risks dividing the existing coalition & unleashing a much more fractured conflict if it gives SAC this plan B
This will only change if the SAC is brought to its knees and forced to negotiate from a very weak position.

Even then, it will never negotiate in good faith and would need to be heavily constrained.

UN & others should focus now on pressuring SAC into this kind of position
It is simply not true that the junta is "currently in control", as Dr. Heyzer claims and this is perhaps the root of the entire misframing around dialogue

The SAC cannot enforce laws, it cannot charge taxes or bills and it cannot provide services.

It is just a terrorist group.
It is not hyperbolic to suggest that the Spring Revolution can win or that other EAOs, militia, companies and regional stakeholders will readily abandon SAC when the time comes.

The politics within the revolution are where the UN and others should prioritise engagement
Even in the wild card event of an SAC split or sudden release of ASSK, the NUCC and the People's Assembly will remain the most relevant and inclusive dialogue forums for negotiation of a political deal that the majority of actors will commit to.
I humbly suggest that Dr. Heyzer and other international institutions focus on building partnerships with the People's Assembly, NUG, NUCC and EAOs and find reputable and reliable stakeholders who they can back, support & listen to.

Meanwhile, explore all measures to weaken SAC

The UN Special Envoy office clarified that she "has never proposed power sharing as an option"

Stresses that all dialogue has to be led by the MM people and that space depends on immediate cessation of violence and "credible progress".

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More from @Kim_Jolliffe

Feb 1
"As the junta attempts to forcibly bring the country under its control, it has inadvertently united many of Myanmar's diverse groups against it."

#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #Feb1Coup…
KNDF: "We will take back step by step, slow and slowly," he said. "We will continue, day by day. We are getting stronger. We are winning day by day."

@YeMyoHein5 : "In the past, their strategy and objective was how to control the country. Now they are focused on how survive."
@khinsandarwin: "I have never seen this kind if unity in our history... We believe that we will win this time. We never think we will lose ... Whether we die or whether you die, this is our slogan,"
Read 4 tweets
Oct 13, 2021
THREAD on #Myanmar army sending 2 large convoys (80+ trucks each with armoured vehicle escort) to Chin State.

- HUGE human rights / humnitarian concern

- Potential int' security concern for #India

- Unlikely to be strategic victory for MM military

This is a relatively small unit of troops. Report say max. 120 trucks. If 25 men per truck, that is 3,000 troops.

I'd expect only a handful of support personnel (comms, medics, intelligence) for every 100 and they will be greatly isolated, hens the long, high-profile journey
MAJOR THREAT that this relatively weak and poorly supported infantry force will lean into Tatmadaw strategem #1:

Abuse, terrorise, destabilise and disperse the local population, destroying food stores, clearing people from the region, and instilling terror in those who remain.
Read 18 tweets
Oct 11, 2021
The best book I have read on any aspect of local governance in #Myanmar.

Deep ethnography by local and int researchers on how actually justice works, mostly outside of the official courts where local leaders, EAOs and others fil void.
It is a must read for understanding how governance is patchworked & why village/ward level is so important.

Written pre-coup but is deeply relevant post-coup as the governance and security environment becomes more fragmented and "mixed" in many areas.

Also covers customary and ethnic justice practices, in Karen Mon, Naga and Pa-O communities, who - in different ways - handle justice affairs locally without the official state system.

Much needed to go beyond the imaginary and simplistic EAO-controlled / gov-controlled binary.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 9, 2021
Critical story on a US gun enthusiast using faux CIA credentials to train #Myanmar activists in highly problematic methods, including home-made indiscriminate weapons.

Some of my thoughts below 👇

#WhatsHappeninglnMyanmar #Sep9Coup…
Activists and political leaders underwent an extremely difficult decision-making process in March and April, deciding whether to take up arms.

They received no protection from anyone, and the zero sum nature of the SAC's agenda meant it was 'fight, be arrested/killed, or flee'
Myanmar has suffered unimaginable violence for decades, not because of parochial conflicts, competing economic agendas or sectrarian divides.

But because of a particularly peverse and violent institution that controls nearly everything and never compromises with anyone.
Read 13 tweets
Sep 8, 2021
KNU Chairperson of Dooplaya District (southern Karen State) has requested NUG withdraw its declaration of war.

He is "terrified" of exepcted impacts on civilians and calls for political talks.

#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #Sep8Coup…
Worth noting that ppl in Dooplaya probably suffered more than any other Karen district after DKBA formed in 1995 and the constant fighting, forced labour, land confiscation and other abuses that followed.
Ceasefires brought dramatic improvements to security and well-being and relative peace and stability between the Karen groups allowed huge advancements in rebuilding Kawthoolei governance systems, laws etc. alongside improved economy etc.
Read 4 tweets
Jun 16, 2021

As #Myanmar Army burns villages in Sagaing...

Let's discuss the 'four cuts' strategy and community resilience to it

4 cuts is NOT about cutting resources to civilians. No.

Civilians ARE the resource that is being cut.
I have seen many posts lately framing food or water blockaids to civilians as 4 cuts (Phyet-Lay-Phyet)

It is all connected, but '4 cuts' is something much more evil.

'4 cuts' aims to cut off civilian support to armed groups, by displacing, killing and terrorising the civilians
There are disagreements about what the '4 cuts' actually are.

Many scholars have claimed the aim is to stop civilians from providing 4 things - often choosing 4 from food, funding, resources, recruits, sancturary, intelligence.

(It is all these things - take your pick.)
Read 19 tweets

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