The Leaderboard: Yar Pyae

Who is he?

Lieutenant General Yar Pyae heads the Myanmar Armed Forces’ Bureau of Special Operations 2, based in Shan State in the country’s northeast. He previously served as the chief of training and judge advocate general of the Myanmar military. He also served as a commander in the Bureau of Special Operations 2 at a time when current commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was the bureau’s head. During this time the two developed a close relationship.

Why is he in the news?

Yar Pyae is chairman of the union-level Joint Monitoring Committee for the ceasefire agreement that the previous government signed with eight ethnic armed groups last October. In this role, he serves as the military’s chief negotiator in the peace process.

He currently leads one of two government subcommittees preparing for State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi’s 21st-century Panglong Conference, which will attempt to chart the next steps in a political dialogue with the ceasefire groups. The new Panglong Conference is named for the 1947 conference in which ethnic minority leaders and an interim Burmese government led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, Aung San, negotiated the terms of federation under the Union of Burma.

What can we expect from him?

A close ally of Min Aung Hlaing, Yar Pyae will likely be a firm advocate of the military’s position and interests in the peace process organized by Aung San Suu Kyi.

While Min Aung Hlaing has pledged his support for the new Panglong Conference, the military leadership still maintains that the non-signatory groups need to sign the ceasefire agreement before they can have a seat at the table. The military in early August also asked three non-ceasefire armed groups — the Kokang army and its allies, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Arakan Army — to issue a statement “showing their political willingness to abandon their weapons” if they want to take part in the 21st-Century Panglong Conference. Peace negotiators said this was a relaxation of the military’s previous demand that these groups lay down arms first. The success of the peace process will depend on the new government’s ability to reach common ground between Aung San Suu Kyi’s agenda and that of the military, and soften the latter’s position on security issues in the political dialogue to follow.

Thumbnail image: Myanmar Armed Forces emblem. Source: Wikimedia, public domain.


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