The problem of ethnic insurgencies and its impact on state building in Myanmar


Seminar Paper, 2006
20 Pages, Grade: 2,0

Excerpt

Table of Content

List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Motivation of Research Paper
1.2 Structure of Research Paper

2 Theoretical Background on Myanmar
2.1 History of Myanmar
2.2 Current Political Situation
2.3 Current Economic Situation

3 The Problem of Ethnic Insurgencies and its Impact on State Building
3.1 Ethnic Groups in Myanmar
3.1.1 Shan
3.1.2 Karen
3.1.3 Mon
3.2 The Reasons for Ethnic Insurgency Movements
3.3 Ethnic Minority Politics of the Government
3.4 The Impact of Ethnic Insurgencies on State Building in Myanmar

4 Conclusion

References

List of Abbreviations

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1 Introduction

1.1 Motivation of Research Paper

Since more than 40 years, Myanmar is ruled by a military junta, calling itself the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). It is today the last military regime of its kind in Southeast Asia. Due to disastrous economic policies initiated by the government, Myanmar belongs to the world’s Least Developed Countries (LCD’s), the majority of its population living below poverty line.[1]

Despite multiparty elections in 1990 that resulted in the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), winning a landslide victory, the ruling junta refused to hand over power.[2] Therefore, the military regime lacks the legitimacy to rule, but nevertheless they do so by using force to suppress oppositional movements.

Myanmar is one of the ethnically most diverse countries in the world, consisting of more than 100 different ethnic groups with their own history.[3] Since its independence from Britain in 1948, Myanmar has experienced numerous conflicts between the central government and ethnic minority groups seeking autonomy.

In this research paper, the reasons for the ethnic insurgency movements will be analyzed, as well as how the military regime has dealt with this conflicts. At the end, the state building process in Myanmar will be examined with the help of the „State in Society“ approach by Joel Migdal.

1.2 Structure of Research Paper

The research paper will be divided into two major chapters.

Chapter 2 “Theoretical Background on Myanmar” will outline the history of the country and analyze the country’s current political and economic situation.

In Chapter 3 „The Problem of Ethnic Insurgencies and its Impact on State Building“, different ethnic minority groups of Myanmar will be characterized and the reasons for ethnic insurgency movements analyzed. Moreover, it will be explained how the military regime has dealt with this topic and how the ethnic insurgencies are influencing the state building process in Myanmar.

The conclusion will summarize the main outcomes of the research paper.

2 Theoretical Background on Myanmar

2.1 History of Myanmar

The first settlements in the region today known as Myanmar (Burma) can be back-dated to at least 2500 BC. Burma was settled from the north and the south along the Irrawaddy river system. In the first centuries AD two empires were formed nearly at the same time, both founded by Mongolian descending peoples. In the north the Pyu, coming from central asia, created a flowering kingdom at the Irrawaddy delta. It decayed in the middle of the 9th century after the assault of the Mongolian Nanchao and was conquered afterwards by the Mon, which had created the State of Pegu in southern Burma.[4]

In the 9th and 10th century the Bhamese immigrated from Tibet to the country and were able to capture a strong supremacy. All peoples of Burma were Buddhists and the struggles for power among them were often religious fights regarding the correct interpretation of the complex Buddhist teachings. These battles of different ethnic groups have dominated Burmas politics up to this day.

The king of the Bhamese Anawratha, who mounted the throne of its capital Pagan in 1044, smashed the rule of the Mon in Buddhas name. This victory marks the flourishing of the Pagan dynasty. The successors of Anawratha showed themselves as weaker rulers and Pagans power broke, when the Mongolians from China destroyed Pagan in 1287.[5]

In the 13th century, the Thai invaded Burma and since the 14th century Pagan and the largest part of Burma were dominated by Thai descending Shan. For several hundred years Burma disintegrated into each other fighting realms. The liberated Mon created their kingdom around the city of Pegu, while the Shan in upper Burma made the city of Ava the center of their dynasty. Although in other regions the power and ownership structures changed constantly due to military conflicts, the city of Pegu developed to an important cultural and religious center. But the federation of Burma to a kingdom succeeded only because of the fate of a ruler of the Bhamese people. The establishment of the realm Jabinshwetis, who mounted the throne in 1550, maintained until the middle of the 18th century, as soon after his death the rivalries between the ethnic groups commenced again and weakened the unity of the realm, which found its end with the conquest of Ava by the Mon in 1752.

One year later the Bhamese Alaungpaya undertook another approach to unite Burma. This succeeded only due to brutal force, which suppressed everything that smelled of rebellion of ethnic groups.[6]

[...]


[1] cf. UN-OHRLLS, Myanmar, 23.01.2006, para. 3.

[2] cf. CIA, Burma, 12.01.2006, para. 1.

[3] cf. Lochner, D., Myanmar, 23.01.2006, para. 1.

[4] cf. Wikipedia, Myanmar, 20.01.2006, para. 1.

[5] cf. Schröder, K. R., Burma, 20.01.2006, para. 2.

[6] cf. Schröder, K. R., Burma, 20.01.2006, para. 3.

Excerpt out of 20 pages

Details

Title
The problem of ethnic insurgencies and its impact on state building in Myanmar
College
Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Nanyang Technological University  (Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, Singapore)
Course
Government and Politics of Southeast Asia
Grade
2,0
Author
Year
2006
Pages
20
Catalog Number
V58649
ISBN (eBook)
9783638527842
ISBN (Book)
9783638820028
File size
508 KB
Language
English
Notes
In this research paper, the reasons for the ethnic insurgency movements will be analyzed, as well as how the military regime has dealt with this conflicts. At the end, the state building process in Myanmar will be examined with the help of the 'State in Society' approach by Joel Migdal.
Tags
Myanmar, Government, Politics, Southeast, Asia
Quote paper
Cornelius Streit (Author), 2006, The problem of ethnic insurgencies and its impact on state building in Myanmar, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/58649

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