The military junta in Myanmar, which took control in February 2021 after overthrowing the elected government, appears to be in serious peril. They disapproved with the outcomes of the national election that took place in 2020 and was organized under their direction. They rewrote Myanmar’s history, in actuality. When the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung Sun Suu Kyi, took office in 2011, they began a limited process of democratization long after their direct military dominance in the nation. Since then, the NLD and the military junta have shared control of the nation. Suu Kyi even defended the cruelty and crimes committed by the Myanmar military before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). However, the election that was place in November 2020 altered the junta’s and NLD’s relationship. The accomplishments of the previous ten years were ruined by the junta’s rule.
The junta has, however, been up against fierce opposition on both the political and military fronts since February 2021. On the political front, they had to contend with a massive nationwide civil disobedience effort. Later, a shadow administration known as the National Unity Government was established—possibly for the first time in modern Myanmar (NUG). The European Union, the United States, and Asean members have emphasized the role of NUG in Myanmar’s future, but today it has greater acceptability from many nations and organizations around the world. Initially, the NUG struggled to acquire recognition. The NLD leadership and their supporters made up the majority of the People’s Defence Force (PDF), which the NUG established to vehemently oppose the junta. However, there has been an insurgency in Myanmar for many years. The ethnic groupings are putting up a fight against the junta. It’s interesting to note that the ethnic groupings are backing the NUG. Notably, a few of these organizations once belonged to the NUG.
In order to fight back against the junta overlords, the ethnic groups simultaneously maintained their own military capabilities. As a result, the junta has struggled to exert political control in Myanmar. From a diplomatic perspective, they further cut themselves off from the rest of the world. They have come dangerously close to losing on the diplomatic, political, and military fronts. It’s interesting to note that the junta partnered with some of the insurgent organizations, such the Arakan Army (AA). Initially, the Arakan Army kept cordial ties with the junta, but as we have seen in recent days, they began to pursue their own course of action in an effort to increase their authority and control over the Rakhine state. They were increasingly antagonistic against the junta, which also began to view the Arakan Army as a serious adversary. In Rakhine, fighting broke out in the middle of August of this year.
The military junta is currently having major problems in Rakhine. They are progressively losing their power and perhaps their very presence. They are suffering casualties, losing personnel, and they’ve lost control of a number of military installations. They are under constant Arakan Army onslaught, and their military supply and communication lines have been seriously damaged.
Politicians and ordinary people in Myanmar are consistently repressed by the military dictatorship. When they assault and kill, they don’t discriminate. They are using all of their resources to defeat the Arakan Army, but they haven’t really advanced strategically. According to media reports, the junta only controls 17% of Myanmar’s territory, while the NUG controls 52% of it. In the remaining territory, neither party is in complete control. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that the junta has lost ground in the nation. They are in a really precarious position in Rakhine. We are well aware that they are weak in other areas where there are powerful armed organizations. The junta is losing support even among majorities like Buddhists and Bamars. The junta leaders are currently considering their own future, power, and military control over the nation. We are well aware that the constitutional modification that would have lessened the power of the military in Myanmar was the primary justification for rejecting the 2020 elections. Now, the junta might suffer the repercussions.
Given the situation, it is only natural for the military junta to be in trouble. But they are unwilling to embrace the truth. Whether Myanmar is a failing state or a pariah will not concern them. Instead, they will make every effort to increase their influence and keep the region unstable. Already, they are causing regional issues like the Rohingya catastrophe. Their violence and depravity resulted in millions of displaced people, refugees, and internally displaced people (IDPs), putting strain on Bangladesh, which is their neighbor. The junta is currently inciting Bangladesh by crossing borders. They don’t work with the international community. They don’t even pay attention to Asean, which also includes Myanmar. By refusing to include the junta at several of its meetings and summits, Asean has already taken certain measures against it.
The Rohingyas should be allowed to return home, and the military junta administration in Myanmar needs to be put under additional pressure to foster the conditions necessary for a democratic government. Suu Kyi should be freed, and the junta should recognize the outcome of the 2020 election and let the democratic administration run the country. China and India should exert pressure on the junta administration to hold itself accountable. In order to preserve regional and global stability, the West should exert stronger pressure on the junta.
Tilottama Rani Charulata is an independent researcher. She is interested in the Bangladesh and Rohingya refugee affairs. She is currently living in Canada