Myanmar crisis not another Syria

Help  the peoples of Myanmar banner in Paddington

I have got to disagree with Simon Tisdall suggestion in the Observer that Myanmar is the new Syria as the rising violence threatens a repeat tragedy. A much better parallel is the Bangladesh liberation War of 1971, which happened next door 50 years ago, with potentially history repeating itself.

The Pakistani military then did not accept the General Election results of a free and fair election of December 1970, exactly like the Tatmadaw of the November 2020 General Elections in Myanmar. Then unleasing ruthless attacks against the majority population of Bengalis protesting against the coup under its Operation Searchlight, which began a nine month struggle for liberation. Again similar to what is happening right now against the Burmese and now other ethnic groups in Myanmar, in their mass uprising against the military.

The Bangladesh’s independence struggle took place of course in the broader context of the Cold War. During the Cold War, India allied with the Soviet Union, while the US allied with Pakistan to counter Soviet influence in South Asia and protect its geostrategic interests vis-à-vis Afghanistan and China. The emerging cold war will undoubtedly focus on Indo-Pacific conflicts with different alliances in places like Myanmar.  

Yet the geo-politics may have been different then but is the world really prepared to tolerate another “Bangladesh liberation” without a similar intervention like the Indians at the end of nine months of genocidial killings and millions fleeing their country by yet another Asian military force is what should be asked.  

So as the world becomes more Indo-Pacific centric, lets get our historic parallels right please.


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