A month after the coup in Myanmar , protesters are digging in their heels – and neither they nor the military are going to back down, analysts say. With this in mind, they are predicting that the protracted stand-off will cause further instability in the Southeast Asian nation, even as Asean ’s foreign ministers are set to meet on Tuesday in a first attempt to defuse the situation. What is now important, according to Myanmar watchers, is coordination within the international community – and further pressure on the junta from the United States and China. Washington has said that additional action against the military will be revealed in the coming days, while Beijing has merely indicated that the current situation in Myanmar is “absolutely not what China wants to see”. Asean foreign ministers to meet Myanmar military on Tuesday, Singapore confirms James Gomez, regional director of the Asia Centre, a Bangkok-based not-for-profit, said the escalation of violence by the military was likely in the short term, adding that the key concern was to avoid a protracted civil war which would have economic implications for Myanmar and the region. Nehginpao Kipgen, associate professor and executive director at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at the Jindal School of International Affairs in India, said the scale of the civil disobedience movement (CDM) was unprecedented in previous coups or protests in the country. “While there is room for negotiation and reconciliation, it will not be surprising to see further use of lethal force and brutal crackdowns on the protesters, leading to a greater humanitarian crisis,” he said. Canberra-based political analyst Hunter Marston said the bravery of the protesters in the face of repression from the military and police would be tested in the coming days and weeks. He said the protesters’ success or otherwise in merging their demands with broader centers of bureaucratic power, such as township and state-level administrative offices, would be a key factor in their ability to present an organised nationwide pressure campaign against the junta. Leif-Eric Easley, associate professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, said the CDM would soon face resource constraints and tougher crackdowns from security forces, adding that setting up an alternative government, as has been mooted, “may risk even greater bloodshed”. Myanmar police kill at least 18 in bloodiest day of anti-coup protests Independent analyst David Scott Mathieson said it was unlikely the innovative, widespread protests and resistance of the past month would evaporate any time soon. “The anger towards the army and police is so complete now, this generation will never forgive the coup leaders or the abusive security forces,” he said. DIPLOMACY AND DIALOGUE Kipgen from the Jindal School of International Affairs pointed out that the international community needed to come up with a coordinated approach, as sanctions alone would not make much of a difference since there were other countries that would continue to do business with the Myanmar military. Noting that there had been a history of “strong anathema to Western intervention or interference from the Myanmar military”, he said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) could play a vital role in mitigating the situation and helping the different parties reconcile. Gomez of the Asia Centre said even though international efforts were welcome, the key lay in regional efforts, adding that both China and India – as New Delhi’s response to the coup and its fallout has so far been muted – must weigh in further. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea also needed to get “past the rhetoric [and] move towards initiating sanctions”, he said, adding that Asean had “continued to disappoint with rhetoric-based diplomacy” and had to do more. Indonesia condemns Myanmar violence after worst day of bloodshed Analyst Marston said additional US sanctions, while important, would have little effect on the military unless they were coordinated with major investors in Myanmar such as Singapore, China, and Japan. The tricky part, he added, was “getting the military to acknowledge the error of its path and to find off-ramps for de-escalation”. Ewha Womans University’s Easley said while any international response needed to be short, sharp and as united as possible, there was no excuse why countries with significant economic leverage over Myanmar such as Singapore, Thailand, India and Japan should not increase pressure on the generals. “The theory that Myanmar will just run to the arms of China is overstated,” Easley said, pointing out that it was the generals who made the strategic decision a decade ago to diversify away from Beijing because of its heavy influence over the economy and ethnic armed groups in the Southeast Asian nation. Mathieson, however, said the international community had very little leverage over the military, as strong statements and sanctions were not credible threats to a military with full knowledge of its own unpopularity. “Having the US ‘lead from behind’ to work with Asean sounds feasible, but never underestimate Asean’s culture of accommodation and defeatism,” he said. “This is not to say effort should be abandoned, but to keep expectations very low.” INTERIM GOVERNMENT On plans by the National League for Democracy (NLD) to form an interim government to rival the junta, Mathieson said any such attempt “will have little resonance internationally” as many parliamentarians were incarcerated. He said even though the United Nations had condemned the coup, it was likely to work with the military leaders. #MilkTeaAlliance springs to life as Thailand pro-democracy protesters march on Prayuth’s home “It’s in the UN’s nature to seek accommodation with repressive states; it is a morally bankrupt institution,” Mathieson said. “Myanmar’s military has a proven track record of bamboozling the West and the UN, they know everyone from special envoys, special rapporteurs and military delegations.” Kipgen of the Jindal School of International Affairs said forming a parallel government might further divide the international community, with only certain countries recognising it. But even if there was a competing government, he noted that the military was likely to maintain control over the country, at least in the urban areas, unless the generals “voluntarily cooperate with the international community or are convinced to stand down, which is unlikely”. Marston said the interim government in Myanmar could engage with its international partners to encourage more countries to denounce the coup and pressure the generals to recognise the results of last year’s election, which the military claims is tainted by voter fraud. He said it was crucial that the protest movement had an elected leadership that was able to speak for them on the international stage, not just to help get their voices and demands out to a global audience, but also to speak up for the detained leaders. However, Gomez pointed out that the NLD was “part of the problem” and backing the party would be no different from “endorsing a one-party dictatorship in the making”. “The NLD to date, in spite of its popularity and landslide win, has not been seen as defending and protecting the ethnic minorities, including the Rohingyas ,” he said. “There need to be checks and balances to the NLD’s dominance in Myanmar’s politics, both within and without parliament.” Since her party won the 2015 election, Aung San Suu Kyi is said to have exhibited sharp authoritarian tendencies, while the NLD has been accused of stalling on human rights imperatives such as releasing political prisoners. Suu Kyi’s response to the atrocities committed against the Rohingya was also heavily criticised. She initially remained silent on the issue, but later at the International Court of Justice offered an impassioned defence of Myanmar’s military campaign when they were accused of ethnic cleansing. Gomez said any interim government needed to include representatives from the ethnic communities and Rohingyas. “Inclusiveness should be a condition imposed on the NLD before giving it any recognition,” he said.