Fog of stats enshrouds Myanmar’s wars

Myanmar’s multiple internecine conflicts are raging, with few if any signs of respite or resolution. Quantifying “old” and “new” dimensions of the conflict with the recent proliferation of new, anti-coup People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) alongside long-fighting ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) is difficult, if not impossible, with any degree of accuracy.

But that isn’t deterring some dubious manipulators of data. The March publication of the Annual Peace and Security Review 2020-2021 of the Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security (MIPS) is worth scrutinizing for its reliability in informing the public of post-coup dynamics and realities.

MIPS was formed several years ago as a “non-governmental, non-partisan ‘think-and-do-tank’ providing principal stakeholders with the insight needed to navigate the challenges of the ongoing peace and security transition.” Overviewing the MIPS’ work should weigh two broad criteria, namely the outfit’s methodology and presentation of data, and its political motivations.

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