15-Nov-2015 06:29
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Understanding peacebuilding consolidating the peace process

The question remains: Who is going to be the better player?Note: The full paper is to be published by The Irrawaddy.

In order to achieve lasting peace it is crucial that both governments start devising the political solution instead of trying to dominate over the minorities by focusing only on their state-building projects.That way, they will be able to work toward a true peace building strategy.No doubt the Sri Lankan experience has a lot of lessons not only for the Burmese government, but also for the non-Burman resistance movements.By the look of things, both sides are seeing the peace process as a game that two can play, knowing what the chances and the risks are.Title of paper: Settlement in the Civil Wars of Myanmar and Sri Lanka: the Success, Failure, and Deception of the Peace Process Author: Jiwon Lee, Political Science, Yale University It is always nice to receive a different opinion from someone who is friendly yet may possess some information you may have missed or overlooked.Especially for someone like me, who likes to say he upholds the words of his Chinese teacher Lao Zi (601BC-531BC) who has counseled: This young author, who may be wise beyond her years, argues her that both the Sri Lankan and Burmese governments are only using the peace process “to consolidate their central power over the minorities.” In the Sri Lankan case, she says, “the new United National Front (UNF) regime that took power in 2001 had no option but to initiate a peace process with the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), as the previous regime’s strategy of ‘war for peace’ had failed with serious economic consequences.” (Uyangoda) But the peace-building period had “allowed the government to regain legitimacy and take time to rearm.

Ironically, it was during the peace process when the government was able to strengthen its position to combat the Tamils.

Thus, the Sri Lankan civil war shows that if employed even before the settlement of a war, the peace building strategy of the government can actually become a state-building strategy to win the war.” To her, it is the same situation in Burma.

It is national reconsolidation, rather than national reconciliation.

The government simply regards “ceasefires as part of its state-building mechanism.” Studying the 1989-2009 ceasefires, she finds they were largely a gain for the central government: She sees that the ceasefires in Burma (at least up to 2009) were not really a neutral ground.

They did not bring peace but rather domination of one party over the other. Her conclusion: In Sri Lanka, the prospect for peace is even worse because the government has only repressed the Tamils by force.

If the LTTE still holds its aspiration for autonomy and its self-perception as a state-like polity, then there is no guarantee that they will never express their dissatisfaction again.

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