Imminent military coup threatens further turmoil in Myanmar


M A Hossain
As Myanmar grapples with escalating turmoil and the specter of another military coup hangs ominously over the nation, the crisis reaches a critical juncture. The ongoing power struggle between the military, represented by Prime Minister Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, and various insurgent factions, including the People’s Defense Force, underscores the fragility of the current junta’s hold on power. However, what is perhaps most alarming is the potential for any new coup leader to be even more oppressive and brutal than the current regime.
Over the past year, the people of Myanmar have displayed remarkable resilience and defiance in the face of escalating violence and egregious human rights abuses perpetrated by the military. Despite facing immense risks, they continue to demand democracy and justice. The emergence of the People’s Defense Force, comprised of civilians and disillusioned military personnel, has further complicated the situation for the junta, which finds itself increasingly isolated and on the defensive.
Amidst this chaos and uncertainty, the possibility of another military coup cannot be dismissed. The fracturing of the military establishment, evident through defections and dissent among senior officers, has created fertile ground for internal power struggles. Hlaing’s leadership has faced intense scrutiny due to growing disillusionment over his handling of the crisis and failure to quell the insurgency. This discontent within the ranks of the military could pave the way for a coup orchestrated by disaffected generals seeking to assert control.
However, the prospect of a new military regime seizing power is chilling, particularly considering the escalating brutality unleashed upon civilians by the current junta. There is genuine fear that any new leader emerging from a coup could resort to even harsher measures to suppress dissent and maintain control. The atrocities committed against peaceful protesters, including arbitrary arrests, torture, and extrajudicial killings, serve as stark reminders of the military’s ruthless tactics.
The international community must not underestimate the potential ramifications of another military coup in Myanmar. The crisis has already sparked a humanitarian catastrophe, with millions facing displacement, food insecurity, and persecution. A new wave of violence unleashed by a reinvigorated military regime could exacerbate the suffering of the civilian population and plunge the country into further turmoil.
It is imperative that the international community, particularly regional actors like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), take proactive steps to prepare for such a scenario. ASEAN must play a central role in coordinating a concerted response to the crisis in Myanmar. While diplomatic engagement with the junta has yielded limited results, ASEAN must demonstrate firmness and unity in its approach to the situation.
First and foremost, ASEAN must reaffirm its commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The bloc should unequivocally condemn any attempts to subvert the will of the people through military means and call for the restoration of civilian-led governance in Myanmar. ASEAN’s credibility as a regional arbiter hinges on its ability to uphold these fundamental values in the face of tyranny and oppression.
Moreover, ASEAN should explore diplomatic mediation and dialogue to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the crisis. This could involve convening talks between the junta, the civilian opposition, and other relevant stakeholders to negotiate a way forward. While the prospects for dialogue may seem bleak, sustained diplomatic pressure and incentives for cooperation could yield tangible results.
Additionally, ASEAN must be prepared to deploy humanitarian assistance to mitigate the suffering of the civilian population in the event of renewed violence. This includes providing essential aid such as food, shelter, and medical supplies to those affected by conflict and displacement. ASEAN member states should also be ready to offer refuge to those fleeing persecution in Myanmar, demonstrating solidarity and compassion in the face of adversity.
Simultaneously, the international community must send a clear message to the military junta that further escalation of violence will not be tolerated. This may entail imposing targeted sanctions on individuals and entities complicit in human rights abuses, as well as intensifying pressure through multilateral forums such as the UN. The junta must understand that there are consequences for its actions, and the world is closely monitoring the situation.
The possibility of another military coup in Myanmar is a stark reality that cannot be ignored. As the junta continues to lose ground to insurgent forces and faces internal dissent, the risk of a power grab by disaffected military officers looms large. However, the international community, particularly ASEAN, must be prepared to confront this scenario head-on. By reaffirming its commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and by actively engaging with all stakeholders to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis, ASEAN can help avert further bloodshed and suffering in Myanmar. The time to act is now.

The writer is a political and defense analyst based in Bangladesh. He can be reached at: