C-in-C Min Aung Hlaing's PR Stunt

news_opinion_SaiwansaiTwo words, "rebranding" and the Burma Army "hitching their wagon” to those of Suu Kyi’s bandwagon portrayed quite adequately, the whole picture of how the Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing is trying to go about with his PR stunt.
Rebranding the pocket army of a totalitarian regime, up to the era of USPD-Military clique, to a Union Army, taking order from a 75% civilian regime of NLD needs to be accompanied with returning to the barracks, giving up its unelected 25% parliamentary seats allotted to the Burma Army, and also find ways to accommodate the integration of ethnic resistance armies. Otherwise, rebranding would lost its luster, without meaningful innovation.
In other words, reforming the now Bamar-dominated Tatmadaw into a genuine federal army. It is not enough just to say that a number of cannon fodder from the ethnic nationalities within the Tatmadaw would pass as a federal union army. Other option and the lowest denomination for the ethnic armies would be either to agree to function as state defence forces or police forces responsible for the protection of the respective state that belongs to the individual ethnic armed group.
Now to the hitching of Tatmadaw's wagon to those of Suu Kyi's bandwagon would only work so far, if the military really takes order from the civilian government, not acting as "a state within a state" and formulating its own policy on the ethnic armed forces.
Clearly this should be the task of the elected civilian government and not the other way around.
C-in-C circumventing this obedience of the elected government could be seen, when he noted that “He does not need to inform the president before making decisions about military affairs and combat offensives,” during his recent meet the press undertaking a few days ago.
If what C-in-C said could be taken literally, this would mean the military have a free rein in formulating the peace process and make decision on who could participate and who could not, including declaring war on any ethnic armed groups according to its wish and whim.
And if this is going to be what the NLD has worked out with the Tatmadaw, we could all kiss good-bye to the 21st Century Panglong convention initiative of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, before it even starts to lift off.

Re: Army To Rebrand Itself As New Political Reality Sets In (The Irrawaddy - Monday, May 16, 2016)


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