The only way to resolve the armed conflict or silenced the gun fire is to change the hybrid civilian-military to pure civilian rule. In other words, the military comes under the democratically elected civilian government.
What is happening today in peace negotiation process arena is that there are two sources of power in administering the country, which means the military can do whatever it likes in everything it sees fit, including on how to go about with conducting the peace process, and the civilian authority could do very little in a lot of important issues and being forced to accept what the military is inclined to do.
Take for example, regarding the policy of all-inclusiveness of all Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs). Originally, Aung San Suu Kyi-led NLD civilian part of the government wanted to go literally in involving all the EAOs. But later have to yield to the military’s wish to leave out the Northern Alliance – MNDAA, TNLA and AA.
Another example is that the military goes about with its offensives against the EAOs, especially in Shan and Kachin States, posturing to be the sole protector of sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity, when in fact it should behave to accommodate in facilitating the ongoing peace negotiation process and refrain from armed confrontation.
After all, isn’t the peace negotiation process all about adjusting and having shared responsibility on the issues of sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity?
Why should the military then act as if these are all taken for granted, when in fact they are the main source of political grievances and dissatisfaction that have triggered the ongoing ethnic conflict in the first place?
Many would still recall, during the President Thein Sein tenure that the military rejected the presidential directive to end the attacks on the EAOs so as to be conducive to the peace process, but has never listened and instead even escalated the conflict.
The same thing is happening over and over again and it is not a wonder that all-inclusiveness cannot be achieved and the war with the EAOs could not be stopped.
Thus, this hybrid civilian-military rule will have to be changed. In short, the military has to listen to the civilian authority’s policy directive and discharge its duty accordingly and not acting according to its own policy formulation, which at times are against the civilian government’s directive.
Until this civilian authority over the military is established, there is little hope that the guns would go silent and peace and reconciliation restored in the country.
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