Engineers, doctors and even exotic pet owners have come together in opposition to the military coup for what are now Myanmar’s widest protests in three decades. We asked Crisis Group’s senior adviser on Myanmar, Richard Horsey, to talk about what's happening and why.
Originally published in Philippine Strategic Forum
In his introduction to this month’s CrisisWatch, Crisis Group's Interim President Richard Atwood weighs what's needed to avert even greater humanitarian disasters in the ongoing wars in Yemen and Ethiopia's Tigray region.
Myanmar’s military overthrew its newly elected parliament on 1 February, halting the country’s democratic transition and sparking massive protests. External actors should cooperate to prevent a violent crackdown and adopt tailored measures that target coup leaders, without penalising the population or damaging the broader economy.
Peace talks in Afghanistan have only inched forward even as the pace of conflict has picked up. As the Afghan government and Taliban await clearer policy signals from the incoming U.S. administration, their primary goal should be to keep the vital negotiations going.
An informal ceasefire has created the best opportunity in two years to curb fighting between Myanmar and the Arakan Army, the ethnic Rakhine rebels in the country’s north. To seize it, all three of the military, civilian government and insurgency need to make significant concessions.
De facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is likely to win Myanmar’s 8 November elections. The next test will be whether the result entrenches minority grievances that fuel armed conflict or revives reform efforts to give minorities a fairer deal alongside the Burman Buddhist majority.
Ethnicity and conflict are tightly linked in Myanmar, as communal groups take up arms to press grievances for which they have found no other recourse. The problem calls for dialogue and deep reform, but meanwhile authorities can take smaller steps to indicate their positive intent.
For Afghanistan's peace talks to work, the Taliban will need to shift focus to what they want, not what they oppose. They should develop clear negotiating positions on key issues and work to convince their members that peace requires compromise.
If the Taliban want to become a legitimate power in an Afghan state, then they’re going to need to show the world that they take global counterterrorism concerns seriously.
Posturing from the Taliban... suggests they perceive their current position to be one of great strength.
To say there is a partial transfer of power seems to be an exaggeration, given the system in North Korea.
A U.S. departure from Afghanistan without a peace deal would likely result in a protracted and intensified civil war, in which many Afghans will suffer.
As Myanmar starts to consolidate a system of electoral democracy after so many decades of authoritarianism, observers play a key role in giving the elections credibility.
In order to establish greater trust during intra-Afghan negotiations, both sides should quickly discuss practical measures that can be taken to combat the violence of spoiler groups.
In testimony to the European Parliament about efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Crisis Group expert Andrew Watkins describes the current scale of fighting, Taliban policies and how outside actors can support the peace process.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and guest host Comfort Ero speak with Richard Horsey, Crisis Group’s Myanmar expert, about the country’s military coup, the mass protests it has provoked and how the world should respond.
On 1 February, Myanmar’s armed forces overthrew the country’s civilian leaders. International actors should make clear in word and deed that there will be no business as usual until the elected government is restored. If protests break out, the military should act with maximum restraint.
Afghanistan’s fate hinges in large part on how the Biden team decides to approach the country’s conflict and its tenuous, still-nascent peace process.
Originally published in World Politics Review