Junta No More 2024! What’s Next?

by mohingamatters

It has been three years since the military staged a coup in Myanmar, ousting the democratically-elected government. It has been three painful years that the people have resisted the junta’s aggression. Stepping into 2024, the fall of dictatorship seems to be in sight. In the only area where the junta cares, i.e. the military front, Min Aung Hlaing’s troops, stretched thin across war fronts across the country, faces severe depletion of human, material, and financial resources. Militias formerly allied with the junta or took a neutral stance, sensing its worsening situation are now increasingly distancing themselves. The most embarrassing incident for the junta Min Aung Hlaing’s administration, the State Administration Council (SAC), before its three-year birthday is that its soldiers surrendering en-masse at strategically important and well-fortified towns, handing over the large inventory of weapons to the enemies.

After antagonizing the citizens and their soldiers not putting up a fight, the fall of Min Aung Hlaing, deemed unlikely in February 2021, now becomes a matter of when rather than if, and that when is soon. One year from now, when the Mohinga Matters team publishes the 4th year edition of Freedom Memoirs, there is a possibility that we will be discussing developments since the fall of the junta.

However, it does not mean that the junta is not dangerous. While the junta’s troops proved ineffective in fighting against other armed groups, they remained committed to unleashing atrocities on the civilians. Consequently, civilian casualties and destructions, wanton arrests, and other violations at the hands of the junta’s troops remain alarmingly high. This highlights the junta’s unwillingness to compromise and disregard for civilian lives even at a time of being cornered. The human and economic costs would remain high so long as the junta remains in power.

What’s going on in Myanmar in the past three years proved harmful to the interests of any stakeholder, be it the people, Ethnic Revolutionary Organizations (EROs), neighboring countries, or even the junta’s military itself. Thus, the removal of the junta remains a priority for each one of these stakeholders to protect their interests. However, foreseeing the end of the junta in sight, it becomes critically important for all stakeholders, both domestic and international, to create a peaceful order in post-junta Myanmar. The way we see is the removal of a dictatorship, despite the heavy cost in terms of lives and development, becomes inevitable when the people are dedicated and resilient enough. The people of Myanmar got nothing short of full marks for this test. However, with the junta gone, another task of paramount importance is to establish a new order where disagreements and grievances could be addressed at courts and through dialogues rather than through violence.

Here, we will be discussing the roles of some of the key major stakeholders in creating a stable and peaceful Myanmar.

The first stakeholder is the National Unity Government (NUG). The 2020 General Elections reflected the genuine will of the majority people of Myanmar in a democratic manner. Even considering the glaring flaws of the winning party National League for Democracy (NLD), the election was free and fair and to completely neglect it would be a blatant disregard for the people’s choice and the democratic process. However, we are not advocating MPs from the 2020 General Election to form a government after the fall of the junta, nor such is the will of any stakeholders (including the NUG) in Myanmar. However, with the junta gone, the NUG would play a critical role in drawing frameworks for the future of Myanmar in coordination with other stakeholders, primarily EROs. However, EROs would not be the only influential stakeholders that NUG would have to engage, neighboring countries, civil society organizations (CSOs), and every single domestic or foreign actor who has interests in Myanmar and has practical means to get involved would want a say in shaping the future of Myanmar, and the NUG would be in an enviable position of balancing everyone’s interests to ensure that federal democracy, peace, and prosperity can take hold in future Myanmar. The NUG would prepare itself and build its capacity and resources with this challenging task in mind.

Another key stakeholder is the armed groups, particularly the EROs. Since the Independence from the British Empire (and the beginning of the civil war), the military has repeatedly and successfully played the divide-and-conquer method among EROs to avoid multiple simultaneous fronts. However, the junta can no longer play the same trick, and now EROs and allied People’s Defence Forces (PDF) are giving the junta’s forces no rest. Furthermore, the near total lack of public support towards the junta means armed groups that are traditionally allied with the junta have declined in influence and power while those who opposed the junta have grown remarkably by leveraging anti-junta public sentiment and developments over the past three years. Moreover, the unreliability and incapability of the SAC became obvious in the fall of the junta’s staunch allies Kokang warlords of Laukkai, which caused other allied warlords such as Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) leader Saw Chit Thu to reevaluate their options and distance from the junta. The armed groups, EROs or otherwise, would come to hold the key to the future of the people of Myanmar. Ultimately, from the point of the junta’s fall, whether we could walk towards a federal democratic country where peace, justice, and human dignity prevail or we descend into further chaos will depend on coordination and dialogues between all stakeholders, but primarily among EROs and between EROs and the NUG. Having said that, the joint statement of 31 January 2024 by Chin National Front, Karenni National Progressive Party, Karen National Union, and the NUG, particularly, “Point B: to ensure that all armed forces operate solely under the command of a civilian government elected through democratic processes.”, highlight the recognition on the importance of this daunting task.

The international community would also play an important role. Although different countries would have different incentives, the common consensus could be having Myanmar as a conflict-prone failed state would pose economic and security challenges to the national interests of neighboring and regional countries primarily, and other countries from afar secondarily. This has been proved in the case of cyber scam factories where transnational crime syndicates have enslaved thousands of people from Myanmar and regional countries and scammed billions of dollars from people all over the world in post-coup Myanmar. If increased lawlessness in the aftermath of the coup gave way to these crime syndicates to exploit, no better outcome could be expected if the fall of the junta created a power vacuum and paved the way for a failed state. Therefore, it is imperative for the international community to facilitate conditions required for domestic stakeholders of post-junta Myanmar to address grievances through dialogue and not through arms. This will also be in line with the economic interests of neighboring countries since their economic interests typically extend beyond the control of a single entity.

For immediate actions, the removal of the junta remains a priority. And the dedication towards such a goal has never been in doubt. However, it remains murky when it comes to life after the junta. Now would be the time for domestic and international stakeholders to hold dialogues on this issue openly and in good faith.

You may also like


@2024 – Developed by Mohinga Matters

Mohinga Matters
Mohinga over everything
Update Required Flash plugin