Myanmar’s military junta faces biggest threat to its power since 2021 coup

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Myanmar's Commander in Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing salutes as he attends an event marking Martyrs' Day at Martyrs' Mausoleum in Yangon, Myanmar July 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ann Wang - RC1F4623D2C0

Naypyidaw [Myanmar], November 28: The ruling Junta in Myanmar has been losing vital military locations and border towns to well-armed ethnic militias that have collaborated with resistance forces to launch massive new offensives in recent weeks, CNN reported.
This is a development that has not been seen in decades when it comes to Junta in Myanmar.
“The junta is actively collapsing right now and that’s only become possible because there is this wider effort across the country,” an independent Myanmar analyst, Matthew Arnold said.
Arnold described the situation as a “military existential moment” and stated that the opposition is “now focused on taking major towns to fundamentally defeat the junta.”
It appears well-armed ethnic militias are attempting to overthrow the military government that has controlled the country since a 2021 coup ousted the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD).
For decades, there has been a civil war raging in Myanmar between the ethnic armies and the various military regimes.
However, the nation’s opposition to army leader Min Aung Hlaing’s February 2021 coup, which toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government, is what led to the most recent uptick in hostilities.
In Myanmar’s rural and urban centres, people took up guns to protect their towns and villages when the military used force against peaceful protestors following the coup, and documented crimes against civilians further incited anger.
Ever since, daily skirmishes have broken out between the military and resistance organisations supporting the National Unity Government in exile, which opposed the junta.
Though it hasn’t yet reached large towns like Mandalay, Naypyidaw, or Yangon, the most recent conflict escalation after October 27 is a turning point in that resistance.
The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that since the coup, armed conflicts have reached their largest and most widespread levels to date.
Up to now, hundreds of civilians, including children, have died as a result of Junta bombings and ground assaults on locations that the Myanmar military designates as “terrorists,” and almost two million people have been displaced, CNN reported.
The Three Brotherhood Alliance, comprising the Arakan Army (AA), Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and allied peoples defence forces, announced its October offensive and said it was “dedicated to eradicating the oppressive military dictatorship.”
Additionally, the alliance pledged to fight “the widespread online gambling fraud that has plagued Myanmar, particularly along the border between China and Myanmar.”
Chinese-run compounds have proliferated in several of the villages dotting the boundaries between China and Thailand in recent years. They are said to be hubs for widespread internet fraud and illicit gambling, run by junta militias, and they have ensnared and trafficked thousands of individuals to become online scammers.
In November, Myanmar’s military government lost control of Chinshwehaw, an important town on the border with China, following days of fighting with armed groups. In a significant setback for the military leaders who seized power from Myanmar’s elected government in February 2021, they have struggled to quell opposition to their rule.
Chinshwehaw, a town bordering China’s Yunnan province, holds vital importance in facilitating trade between Myanmar and China. State media reported that more than 25 percent of Myanmar’s USD 1.8 billion border trade with China passed through Chinshwehaw from April to September, citing the Ministry of Commerce.
This development was followed by days of conflict in Myanmar’s northern Shan state, where the army has been engaged in battles with a coalition of three ethnic rebel groups known as the Brotherhood Alliance, Al Jazeera reported.
The United Nations has expressed deep concern over the displacement of thousands of individuals due to the ongoing conflict, with some seeking refuge across the border in China. In response, the UN has issued a call for an immediate ceasefire.
Following the military’s takeover, Myanmar descended into a state of crisis, as the generals responded to widespread protests against their power grab with severe measures. In response, opposition groups aligned themselves with fighters from well-established ethnic armed organizations in an effort to restore civilian rule.
Ethnic groups in Myanmar’s jungles and mountains have endured years of struggle, during which they have observed and experienced crimes such as killings, rape and other sexual abuse, torture, forced labour, and forced relocation by the military forces, in addition to state-sanctioned discrimination.
A 10-year phase of transition that momentarily brought in more extensive democratic and economic changes was abruptly terminated by a coup. However, the military continued to have a significant impact.
According to some analysts, Myanmar is now more likely than ever to succeed in overthrowing the regime.
“The important thing to be clear about is that a genocidal military can be defeated outright… That there’s not a need to have another 10 years of a so-called transition that is fundamentally premised or corrupted by the idea that you have to negotiate and accommodate a genocidal military,” said Arnold.

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