Open Briefing |
, 8talled -yanmar &ransition
It is "ard for t"e international community to not get caug"t up in t"e fairy+tale prospect of -yanmar s#iftly rea$ing from almost five decades of military rule and rapidly recapturing t"e regional economic dynamism of pre+1.0 Burma% &"e political reform! t"e dialogue et#een 7resident &"ein 8ein and t"e leader of t"e 9ational @eague of Democracy! ,ung 8an 8uu Kyi! t"e removal of sanctions! increased foreign investment and slo# progress on ceasefires #it" armed et"nic forces s"o# unprecedented promise% 8ein(s reformist agenda could possily steer -yanmar a#ay from insecurity and economic stagnation and onto a pat" of prosperity and "uman development%
'espite the positi%e o%ertures of reform, there are concernin$ si$ns that a de%astatin$ mi(ture of intercommunal %iolence, resource conflict and ethnic conflict could be rei$nited.
Go#ever! despite t"e positive overtures of reform! t"ere are concerning signs t"at a devastating mi)ture of intercommunal violence! resource conflict and et"nic conflict could e reignited in t"e eastern and #estern perip"eries of t"e country% 8ectarian violence in 5a$"ine :,ra$an= 8tate! conflict over land gras and illegal e)propriation! sporadic violence in Kac"in 8tate and strong anti+/"inese sentiment in relation to large infrastructure proects indicate t"at -yanmar(s transition pat" remains a long road to travel%
, pivotal year in ,fg"anistan
2014 #ill e a decisive year for ,fg"anistan% &"ree $ey factors #ill come toget"er over t"e ne)t 12 mont"s t"at #ill s"ape t"e future direction of t"e country* t"e election in ,pril! t"e c"ange of mandate for C8+9,&O forces at t"e end of t"e year and t"e rene#ed relative autonomy of ,fg"anistan(s security forces! economy and administration% &"e ,pril elections #ill lead to a c"ange of government! as 7resident Gamid Kar?ai is not eligile for a t"ird term% It is "ig"ly li$ely t"at t"e election period #ill e surrounded y a climate of "eig"tened insecurity! as t"e &alian "ave pledged to #age a terror campaign to derail t"e electoral process% Go#ever! recent trends suggest t"at t"e &alian are li$ely to s"ift t"e focus of t"eir attac$s% In previous elections! muc" emp"asis "ad een put on intimidation tactics to prevent t"e pulic from voting! #"ic" proved ineffective and t"ere #as a large turnout at polling stations% ,s a result! it is very proale t"at t"e &alian #ill instead focus on targeting and $illing election officials! as evidenced y t"e 8eptemer 2013 assassination of ,manulla" ,man! t"e /"ief lection Officer of ,fg"anistan(s Kundu? province% 31 Decemer #ill mar$ t"e end of 9,&O(s mandate in ,fg"anistan% Go#ever! tal$ of a #it"dra#al is misleading! as t"at troop levels #ill not drop to ?ero after 2014% Instead! a s"ift in 9,&O(s mandate #ill occur #it" operation 5esolute 8upport! #"ic" #ill include troop reductions and s"ifting responsiilities% &"e scope of t"is s"ift #ill e "ig"ly dependent on t"e capailities of t"e ,fg"an 9ational 8ecurity ;orces :,98;= to ta$e over la# and order in t"e country% /ontinued involvement in ,fg"anistan y t"e Cnited 8tates and its allies is "ig"ly li$ely due its strategic importance for regional staility t"ere are concerns over neig"ouring 7a$istan(s staility and t"e security of its nuclear arsenal! as #ell as t"e t"reat posed y al+aeda and li$e+minded terrorist groups operating from 7a$istan%