Monday, May 20, 2024

A Federal Union Is Unachievable Amid Militarization

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The attempt to establish a new type of nation-state through militarized means has reached an impasse. As the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hlutaw (CRPH), and the National Unity Government (NUG) engage in contentious disputes, ethnic armed factions such as the Karen group, consisting of the Karen Nationality Liberation Army (KNLA), Karen National Democratic Organization (KNDO), the newly formed Karen National Army (KNA), and the Karen’s People Defense Forces (PDFs), have launched offensives against the military junta, seizing control of Myanmar’s commercial border trade hub, Myawaddy Township.

Also, over recent months, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Arakan Army (AA), and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) have expanded their territorial control.

Meanwhile, the Karenni Army and Chin National Front (CNF) have conflicted with the military regime since the 2021 coup and can control most of their territories. In addition, groups like the Wa and Mongla have established de facto authority, governing themselves with their own administrative systems.

Again, since the coup, the CRPH and NUG have asserted de jure authority.

This current situation has challenged the military’s governance fundamental principles which are a non-disintegration of the Union; non-disintegration of National solidarity and perpetuation of sovereignty. Of course, it has weakened the military’s power.

However, challenges persist in order to form a new federal democratic nation. This is because the decision-making is still dominated by the Burman-led NUG and CRPH while marginalizing other ethnic groups.

In addition, there are also internal divisions within the NUG, CRPH, and NUCC. For example, they have disagreements over drafting the Federal Democracy Charter (FDC) and the exclusion of the NUCC and CRPH from the NUG’s cooperation with armed ethnic organizations (EAOs) like the KIA, KNLA, KA, and CNF, collectively known as K3C.

The NUG which is comprised of MPs from the the National League for Democracy (NLD) government faces another challenge because the NLD’s Central Working Committee has not actively participated in the NUG’s endeavors.

Consequently, if all stakeholders continue to pursue militarized strategies, it will inevitably lead to fragmentation rather than the peaceful formation of a unified nation-state. The inclusion of all relevant groups in the nation-building process is essential to resolving the ongoing crisis.

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