'Arakan Army Excluded in Ceasefire Extension; Old School Strategy but Dangerous Game'

'Arakan Army Excluded in Ceasefire Extension; Old School Strategy but Dangerous Game'

(War and News Analysis) 
Gen Tun Myat Naing
May 1, 2019. Sittway.

Myanmar Army’s Commander-in-Chief Office announced yesterday it was extending another two more months of ceasefire in North and Northeast in Myanmar except Rakhine State where Arakan Army and Tatmadaw are fighting. 

The extension will end on June 30, 2019. Former bilateral ceasefire was expired on April 30. The statement says the extension intents continuances of talks on nationwide ceasefire agreement with KIA, TNLA, and MNDDA. It did not mention AA at all.

Local people are worry more fighting and human rights abuses constituted. 

Arakan Army along with other ethnic armed forces met the government representatives known as National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) in Muse on April 30, a government body but has no decision-making power.

No specific agreement was reached but scheduled for further meetings.

Hla Maung Shwe, one of the keys members of NRPC, wrote on his Facebook, “The supporters and observers of this peace negotiation may get disappointed, but it will have lengthy of talks until peace is reached.” 

Arakan Army is anticipated Myanmar Army has reinforced more troops and standby with M122 MRLS, M270 MRLS, fighter jets, and helicopter gunship firepowers in recent weeks. 

AA has already warned more military escalations are unavoidable but rest it with its best effort. 

Dr Nyo Tun Aung wrote on his VK account, “Never give up. We had demonstrated an astonishment in history and during the four months hardship (heavy offensive military operations
He continued, “Storm has not yet over, but how hard it shall be, we will hold our hands together as solid unity. We shall show off our red bloods to be in an era of unity as harmonious Thazin flower.”

Thazin flower he refers to is it is a national symbol of white orchid. It usually blooms in winter time. 

His beautiful mind is colluded with offending military operation by the government. It has been launching counter insurgency operations since last December. The army has carried out all-out-war and all-root-out-operation against AA and its supporters. 

Beginning of the operation, Myanmar Army has been targeting civilians. It has killed over 50 civilians, injured many, arbitrarily arrested hundreds. It also drives out villagers who are cottoned on to be sympathizers of AA. In fact, they are just poor villagers. 

Over 35,000 villagers in several townships are forced to turn internally displaced persons, IDPs, so far. The military strategy of targeting civilians is to demoralize the local people’s supports of AA and  giving all kinds of hardship including revenge killing and random arrests. 

The all-root-out-operation is intended to cut off supplies, freedom fighting volunteers, and arms, but it is turning out in reversion of anger and joining more men and women in AA.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing recently visit to Russia revealed it. He told the Russia TV during the penal interviewed while asking for how his army doing counter terrorist operations in Rakhine State--referring to ARSA and AA--he said the military operation alone could not win the war, but cooperating with the neighboring countries, other ethnic armed organizations, and local people, his army would win the war. He said that another method was to cut all supply lines: money, men, and arms. These were essential contexts to win the war. 

It is exactly he is doing in Rakhine State now. 

It is in fact dangerous political and military game he plays whereas he is not a mastery of total control of power since there is an elected government on the other side, NLD, and already having bad shape of relationship.

United Nations and International Criminal Court have been investigating his possible war crimes against Rohiingya. The army in fact killed over ten thousand Rohingya people and drove out a half million to Bangladesh in 

Another fact of political game he plays is he wants to be president after 2020 election. Despite the international and people expostulation, he is still pursuing it. His recent trips to China and Russia provided considerable factors of pursuit of presidential post. 

In addition to it, his tactic of delaying Aung San Suu Kyi’s peace negotiation process that could be able to amend the unpopular 2008 constitution intact with an agreement of ethnic armed organizations but exposing himself at the last peace conference in Naypyitaw known as 21stCentury Panglong Conference where he gave the speech in which he could bring full peace after 2020, he shown of his ambitious to be next president. His exposure of hiding agenda in his speech was he was the only reliable person who could brought the peace.  

Over the 50 years, Myanmar people have dismayed the military domination in politics since they had got oppressed and bitter experiences of iron rules. 

Even though people are facing hardships and economically difficulty under the NLD government, they do not accept the military coming back to politics. They perceive the current elected government is a bit better than the previous military junta despite of the fact that the obstacle of freedom of expression and political arrests is continuing. 

The danger zone is if ICC steps up, Snr Gen Min Aung Hlaing will be indicted. 

Or, he has to choose retirement. 

In spite of the fact that he is retiring, no one can guarantee he will be able to escape from the war crime charges whereas he is accused of committing crimes in Kachin, Shan, and Rakhine. 

If he himself forces to be next president, the international condemnations and sanctions will be looming, a hard nut in his plate. 

People are aware of it and want to sway from self-gravitating ruin and absence of freedom under dystopian regime.

Back to the Rakhine's historical grievance and in touching with the deeper feeling of Arakan Army and the people, there is no way the people will back down from shellacking of injustice and harsh repression they have got for over 70 years. 

Despite the army hardest repression, the use of excessive military forces, fired by deathly artilleries, Rakhine people’s strong determination, tremendous eternal strength, and readiness of challenges of adversity are difficult to break down in this historic freedom movement. 

The more the oppression is imposed, the most the people will revise abhorrence and retaliations. 

If persistently denying these true fact and reality of Rakhine people’s acute feeling and freedom struggles by the government, the danger of conflicts spreading to anther ethnic regions is unstoppable.

Looking up to the military tactics, the old school strategy of “four cut,” an obsolete policy of genocidal military operations, Myanmar Army’s terms it “Clearance Operation,” against indigenous Rakhine people and forcing the large scales of populations out of their villages, it is in this information age and worldly connectedness will meet more public oppositions and international condemnations. 
By glancing with open minded and apprehending with wise political view, as Arakan Army’s commander General Tun Myat Naing has already illustrated the outlines of peace and federation process—to have open talks, to allow AA security force to protect its border and the people under the government command, and to grant greater autonomy—it is negotiable space availability for the government. 

Take it or leave it, all are up to the government. Better or worse, he turns over it to the government decision. 


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