More War in Burma? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
More War in Burma?

Burma, called Myanmar by the ruling junta, is one of the great world’s great tragedies.  The victims are in the millions–jailed, killed, injured, and displaced both through suppression of the democracy movement led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and endless war against ethnic groups in the east.  Many children grow with their entire lives shaped by conflict.  Groups like Christian Freedom International do heroic work in attempting to meet the needs of the many in need.

The government had reached ceasefires with a number of the opposing groups.  But now many of the conflicts threaten to renew.  Reports Der Spiegel:

But now the fragile peace is at risk. The junta plans to hold an election this year and use it to cement its power. Foreign observers and critics in Burma say the election will be a farce. For example, the country’s election laws, which the junta has fashioned in its favor, expressly prohibit Aung San Suu Kyi from participating in the election. The 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Winner has been under house arrest for years.

The ethnic minority armies operating in Burma’s border regions could now prove to be a much bigger threat to the government than Burma’s icon of freedom, Suu Kyi. The government has given the militias an ultimatum: Either their fighters allow themselves to be voluntarily integrated into the regular border troops, thereby partly submitting to the command of the Burmese army, or the army will disarm the militias by force.

So far few of the many combat groups have indicated a willingness to give in to the junta’s demands. For most, integration into the border troops would amount to capitulation. As a result, two unequal sets of adversaries face off in the largely impenetrable jungle regions of the northeast, eying each other warily. The junta is apparently serious about its plans to break up the groups of armed ethnic fighters.

There’s little the U.S. can do about the isolated state, which already is under U.S. and European sanctions.  But with the threat of another round of bloody warfare rising, it’s worth a renewed effort to get surrounding states to pressure the junta, including imposing targeted sanctions against members of the regime and their business buddies, while promising enhanced engagement if the government steps back from the brink.  And the people of Burma certainly need our prayers.

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