The Future of Myanmar’s Peace Process: Same Old Challenges or New Progress?
Saturday, 05 September 2020
But beyond the deliberations this week, the key question is what the future will hold for Myanmar’s peace process beyond the upcoming elections. Some of the headlines may lead some to turn to cynicism and conclude that peace talks are no more than just talk and that old obstacles will prevent any meaningful progress at all. However, there are in fact ways that parties could move forward as those familiar with conflict dynamics have suggested, be it a government review of some of the structures of the peace process or managing the situation in Rakhine state. And as ever, the variables shaping the dynamics of the peace process will be governed by an array of actors beyond the government, including individual ethnic armed groups, factions within the military, and international actors as well.
The exact trajectory of Myanmar’s peace process remains unclear, and will be intimately tied with broader governance issues such as the agenda of a new Myanmar government, the treatment of ethnic groups, and the evolution of civil-military relations and related issues such as constitutional change. But how exactly this will play out will be critical to watch given that it could have significant implications, not only for general conflict dynamics, but for the welfare of populations within Myanmar as well as the political future of the country. As we see more headlines related to peace and conflict in Myanmar in the coming weeks and months, this bigger picture will be important to keep in mind.