THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Myanmar State Counsellor and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was detained in a military coup Monday seen as a reversal of the democracy emerging after several decades of military rule.
Suu Kyi was tentatively replaced by Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. The Myanmar military says the coup was necessary due to its unresolved claims of fraud during November’s elections. Suu Kyi’s party won most of the available parliamentary seats. The claims of election fraud were refuted by the election commission, which says there is no merit to the allegations.
Gen. Aung Hlaing has promised to provide a “genuine discipline-flourishing multiparty democratic system,” adding that a free election will be held, with power passing to the winning party, but he has not given a timeframe for when elections would take place. The junta also removed 24 ministers and replaced them with 11 of its own.
Suu Kyi gained global attention after her non-violent struggle with the previous military dictatorship that punished her with 15 years of house arrest, earning a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. While still largely popular in Myanmar, she has since fallen out of favor with much of the West after her role in downplaying and covering up the systematic genocide of the Rohingya Muslim people.
The U.N. Security Council will meet Tuesday to plan the international response to the military takeover and Suu Kyi’s detention. President Joe Biden has also threatened to levy new sanctions on Myanmar. “The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy,” he said in a statement. “The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action. The United States will stand up for democracy wherever it is under attack.”
This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.
Myanmar’s Army Stages Coup, Detaining Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Others – NPR – 2/1/2021
Soldiers were on the streets in the capital, Naypyitaw, and in the largest city, Yangon, and Internet and phone outages hit major cities, the BBC reports. Suu Kyi’s NLD party won elections in November. Parliament had planned to convene on Monday with the NLD set to form a government, but the military-backed political party has rejected the results as unfair. The election commission has denied accusations of fraud, according to news reports.
Biden briefed on Myanmar situation, US ‘alarmed,’ White House says – New York Post – 2/1/2021
President Biden has been briefed on the developments in the Southeast Asian nation, which appear to be part of a bid by the military to seize power. “The US is alarmed by reports that the Burmese military has taken steps to undermine the country’s democratic transition,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
EXPLAINER: Why did the military stage a coup in Myanmar? – Associated Press – 2/1/2021
But some noted the looming retirement of Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who has been commander of the armed forces since 2011 and who was put in charge on Monday. “There’s internal military politics around that, which is very opaque,” said Kim Jolliffe, a researcher on Myanmar civilian and military relations. “This might be reflecting those dynamics and might be somewhat of a coup internally and his way of maintaining power within the military.”
Biden Threatens to ‘Take Action’ if Myanmar Military Doesn’t Reverse Coup – US News & World Report – 2/1/2021
“The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed. We are monitoring the situation closely and stand with the people of Burma, who have already endured so much in their quest for democracy and peace,” Psaki said.
This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.