Contact: Roland Watson, email@example.com
IS IT TIME FOR AN AMNESTY IN BURMA?
June 8, 2011
We have a new post on our conflict blog, a report which describes clashes between the Karen National Liberation Army and the Burma Army during the month of May. (We also have six different KNLA sitreps covering the month of April.)
As this post makes clear, and as others have reported for the Shan State Army areas, clashes are occurring almost every day now in eastern Burma. The northern Kachin and far east Wa regions could also explode at any time. And, there is conflict in western Burma as well, although it is poorly documented.
The Burma Army is coming under greater and greater pressure in the ethnic areas. It is suffering heavy casualties, and desertions are rising. As we have previously suggested, this creates an opportunity to offer an amnesty to Tatmadaw soldiers who defect to the resistance: Who once again choose to serve the people of the country.
(Of note: The Libyan rebels recently made an amnesty offer to Dictator Gaddafi's remaining troops.)
As the only legitimate elected representatives for Burma, the logical advocate of such an amnesty would be the National League for Democracy. However, proposing this would put the organization and its members at great risk.
Another option, though, is the newly formed United Nationalities Federal Council, which is working to establish both a federal union and a federal army. The members of the UNFC can rightfully speak for their respective ethnic populations. Further, these are the groups that are the subjects of Burma Army attacks and war crimes, and which therefore should have a say over whether an amnesty offer is made.
Than Shwe is doing his best to hide it, but the situation inside the Tatmadaw is severe. It is close to collapse, and could fall with a little prodding. The UNFC should actively and publicly consider offering an amnesty. Even more decisively, all the armed members of the UNFC should commence coordinated offensive operations against the Tatmadaw. This would quickly lead to its collapse, and the end of the Than Shwe regime.