End of 2019 with Full Bloody Conflicts in Rakhine, Myanmar

Rakhine IDPs are hiding in the jungle when Myanmar soldiers are coming into their village
End of 2019 with Full Bloody Conflicts in Rakhine, Myanmar 

January 15, 2020. Kuala Lumpur 

Rakhine (Arakan) at the present is synonym to war zone, a new killing field, genocide, and Balkanization after 2017 Clearance Operation against Rohingya and 2018 military operation aginst Arakan Army, changing from peaceful and calm region. 

It comes from nowhere but repression and marginalization of Burman dominated central government’s policy and contexts, the poorest state. 

While looking back to year of 2019, it was full bloody conflicts in Rakhine State, but no future concrete policy and strategy for peace, stability, and development even ignored former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan recommendation of nonviolent solutions to deal with the grievances and oppressed diverse communities of Rakhine people. 

Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint ordered Tatmadaw to use air power to crack down Arakan Army. As a results civilian casualties were high, 130 killed, 244 injured, 361 arrested, 28 disappeared, 10 forced labors, and 4 rapped and reported by Arakan Information Center-Human Rights Documentation Institute. 

Rakhine Ethnic Congress reported Internally Displaced Persons were increased to over 100,000 in 12 months fighting between Arakan Army and Myanmar Army.

Thazin Law Farm based in Sittway, capital city of Rakhine State, reported Myanmar government arrested and issued arrest warrants on 503 suspects in 9 months period. 

The government also targeted and arrested immediately families of AA leaders. AA Commander’s brother, sister, and brother in law were arrested; some were deported from Singapore and Thailand. 

Myanmar government issued arrest warrants for 164 Rakhine workers from Singapore and 25 sympathizers from Thailand under the counter terrorism laws. 

Socio-economy conditions were worse since the military operation began last year. 

Inter trading were down. Social cultural activities were low. Personal security and law enforcement were vain. 

Local people were struggling for surviving and basic foods under harsh restriction, curfews, and internet banned. 

On the other hands, the military is increasing offensive and its own term “Clearance Operation” against Arakan Army, resorting jet fighters, Navy, and ground forces. But the light to win the war is uncertainty.

Arakan Army claimed it fought 681 battles against Tatmadaw and killed and injured 3,562 soldiers including high ranking officers. 

Peace talks with the AA is still opening but insincere. Courts in Yangon and Rakhine issued several arrest warrants over the AA leaders including Commander Tun Myat Naing, Deputy Commander Dr. Nyo Tun Aung, Joint Chief of Staff Col. Kyaw Han, and Spokesperson Khine Thu Kha. 

Indeed, both the government and the army do not have any truce solution, but the military planners believe they will win the war against AA in this dry season by using all forces including air force  and artillery fire power.

Arakan Army issued a statement in January it killed 75 soldiers, and local people reported AA killed 3 majors and several captains in two weeks. That has how AA started with the 2020 dry season battles. 

Determination of ordinary Rakhine people are strong. They will not back down. Their sentiment and pain-heart for long-due marginalization and oppression is uneasy. They will keep supporting Aarakan Army unless political settlement with greater autonomy and natural resources sharing is made.

Political analysists predict that Tatmadaw leaders will learn the lesson in Rakhine war after the rainfall season begins in June that limits Myanmar army movements in the Rakhine frontlines under the stormy monsoon.

A newly elected government after 2020 national election, changing or collation, is required to
over view the policy of peace talks with the ethnic armed forces or staying with the same policy of Nationwide Ceasefire Agremment (NCA).

But hope for changing the peace policy is grain as long as nationalist Burman leaders are stuck-up with domination and centralization figures. It invites more conflicts and endless civil wars across the Myanmar boundaries. 

It is never too late the Burman leaders before the election to set up practical peace policy and framework of federation or choose to go Balkanization. 


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