The unstable situation in Myanmar.

Ananda

The Bunker Group
armed resistance is obviously the highest risk strategy, but as I've said Burmese aren't seeking to stop the violence. If they were, they would have stopped protesting and gone home months ago. They're aiming to get the military to give up control and restore it to a civilian government. They've tried peaceful tactics for a long time now, and there's no sign that it's working. Therefore it's perfectly understandable if they take up arms.
Well good luck for them if they still want to venture on that path. They will fight Military and Security still solid under Tatmadaw, with small chances of active arms support from International sources or building logistics network and training grounds on/from neighbouring countries.

At the same time Tatmadaw still can get military supplies from China and Russia.
 
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tonnyc

Well-Known Member
I understand that even when the ASEAN envoy goes to Myanmar/Burma, the NUG and Tatmadaw is not likely to find a compromise suitable to both and that they will opt to settle the issue using military means. ASEAN will still try, because that's what ASEAN is supposed to do. If that means the Burmese people won't consider ASEAN part of the solution, that is fine, because what they want ASEAN can't give. My prediction is that Tatmadaw will not give up power willingly and ASEAN just isn't made to use force, period. This is something that I sometime lament, but that's in ASEAN's charter and it doesn't look like anyone wants to change that charter anytime soon.

What ASEAN can offer is:
1. Mediation channels. Don't dismiss this. Sooner or later the parties involved will want to talk in each other and ASEAN can be a neutral host and mediator.
2. Humanitarian aid. The Burmese people needs them now and will need them later.

What ASEAN can't offer:
1. Military force or military aid. ASEAN doesn't even have a mechanism to do this.
2. Recognition of NUG as the legitimate government. That's an issue that each member states must decide on their own, not ASEAN as a body. If all member states do so (well, not including Myanmar for obvious reason), then ASEAN will automatically follow suit. But until they do ASEAN can't and won't say anything about NUG's status, because that will overstep their writ. The member states decide who's the legitimate government of Myanmar, not ASEAN.

What I think will happen is that ASEAN will send an envoy. Tatmadaw lets him/her in but otherwise ignore everything he/she suggests. The mission fails and ASEAN kicks this to the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council. Whatever Resolution the UN takes, ASEAN will be happy to back. I understand that this is likely to take years, and that the Burmese people don't want to wait and that a lot of suffering will happen in those years, but again, ASEAN isn't made to force anything, period.

If the people of Burma wants faster result, they should consider making diplomatic overtures to the individual member states rather than demanding that ASEAN do something. ASEAN isn't a supranational body that can tell their member states to do something. It's a coordinating forum. The member states have to want to do something first and then they coordinate under ASEAN's umbrella.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
If the people of Burma wants faster result, they should consider making diplomatic overtures to the individual member states rather than demanding that ASEAN do something.
That's an interesting idea, but would individual states break ranks? OPSSG has often stressed the desire in ASEAN that the members work together whenever possible even if nothing can be agreed, moving at the pace of the slowest as it were.

Would Burma really be an issue where particular countries took unilateral action? If so, which ones - and why?
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
If NUG want to goes on armed conflicts path, there's only four countries that matters; China, Thailand, India and Bangladesh. Whoever wants to support their Armed adventure, need to get support from Myanmar direct neighbors. Just like US support on Taliban depends on Pakistan co-op and support.

Unless changes on Thailand internal politics, there's no way Thailand current military government willing to support NUG, Bangladesh will not support NUG, they're have no incentives to support any factions in Myanmar. Well we know where China's stand. If China's switch side, then there's going to be the beginning of the end for Tatmadaw. Also if China still back Tatmadaw, I don't think even Thailand or Bangladesh willing to support NUG Armed rebellion.

So the only one that 'theoritically' can support NUG Armed Rebellion, is only India. This if we're talking on support or let their territory to be used as logistics supply for NUG. Even India will be very small chances on doing that, they're trying to get Tatmadaw for not to be depends on China too much.

So, unless NUG can change China's support from Tatmadaw to them, there's no chance their Armed Adventure can bring good results. And China will not change their position unless they see cracks on Myanmar Military (which until now still solid under Tatmadaw control).
 

tonnyc

Well-Known Member
That's an interesting idea, but would individual states break ranks? OPSSG has often stressed the desire in ASEAN that the members work together whenever possible even if nothing can be agreed, moving at the pace of the slowest as it were.

Would Burma really be an issue where particular countries took unilateral action? If so, which ones - and why?
There has been many cases where ASEAN member states can't agree on something and ASEAN then makes no real commitment and the member states then independently pursue their own policies. The most obvious and still ongoing case is the South China Sea situation, where Vietnamese response to the situation is starkly different from the Philippine response. (Refer to the South China Sea thread for comparisons.)

For the current civil war in Myanmar though, I don't think there's any fundamental differences in the position of the ASEAN member states. The primary concern is restoring peace and stability in Myanmar. Whether the state is then ran by the Tatmadaw or NUG or Aung San Suu Kyi or some compromise government is a secondary concern. Some of them may prefer the Tatmadaw, some may prefer Aung San Suu Kyi's leadership, but no one cares about it enough to insist that one side or the other must be the "winner". As such, if one side is able to sway some member states into supporting them, the rest is likely to follow along in order to get this over sooner.

As for which country is most likely to take unilateral action, it's Thailand. They have a long border with Myanmar and any prolonged civil war will spill over into their side of the border. Consider the attack on the Tatmadaw camp near the Thai-Myanmar border that was mentioned in post #88 and #89. A stray bullet from that battle wounded a woman on the Thai side of the border and forced the Thai villagers to evacuate. Also, refugees are already streaming into Thailand. So Thailand is already affected and will be the most affected among the ASEAN states by the civil war in Myanmar. Everyone else in ASEAN is far away from Myanmar and can afford to wait and see. Thailand can't. So Thailand is the most likely to act first among the ASEAN nations.

Thailand is run by a military junta so I expect their sympathy to lie with the Tatmadaw. However, they are fine with the Aung San Suu Kyi government and has been asking together with the rest of ASEAN for her release. So I believe while the Thai junta may sympathize with the Tatmadaw, it doesn't translate into anything deeper and they'll be fine with any government that can provide stability in Myanmar. If the NUG can control the Karen ethnic armies and make sure the fighting doesn't spill over into Thailand and reduce the number of refugees, Thailand could be brought over. Being able to control the ethnic armies and stem the flow of refugees would mean that the NUG actually have control and power and thus is a viable alternative to the Tatmadaw from the Thai POV.

Next up would be the Malaysia-Singapore-Indonesia block. These aren't a tight block and they often diverge but here the three nations seem to be in agreement. They are genuinely disturbed at the shoot-em attitude that the Tatmadaw have taken. Had the Tatmadaw limited themselves to rubber bullets and tear gas they can ignore it, but opening fire at a worker's strike (for example) is a step too far even in their eyes. And Tatmadaw made the diplomatic blunder of agreeing with the ASEAN consensus at the meeting only to immediately walk it back after they're back home. I mean, you don't tell the Prime Minister Lee of Singapore that "we heard you" when we ask that they stop the violence and then continue once they get home. Similarly, Prime Minister Yassin of Malaysia and President Widodo of Indonesia requested that they release Aung San Suu Kyi and Wyin Mint and got ignored. It's not too late for the Tatmadaw to rectify this blunder and if they do it's likely that this block will not do much beyond humanitarian aid, but if the Tatmadaw disdain the diplomatic effort and the NUG manages to develop diplomatic ties then the NUG will get quite a bit of a boost.

Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia each have considerable amount of soft power and if they wield them together it's a serious force. All three countries also have deep and long-lasting ties with the US and India and China. I don't want to speculate too much on what their diplomacy can bring, but ultimately I think China will value their relationship with the trio over whatever the Tatmadaw can offer (plus the NUG will also welcome Chinese investment, it's not like the elected government of Myanmar is anti-China), and if China remains uninvolved in Myanmar, the three countries can also convince US and India to remain uninvolved. If a compromise is reachable, I'm also confident that the three countries can persuade China and US and India to accept the compromise. Don't think in term of tanks or dollars. That's not ASEAN's style. Think instead of phone calls followed by "hey, pal, can you do us a favour".

Summary: most likely country to act unilaterally is Thailand. Next up is Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, probably as a loose block.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 1 of 5: Analysis of Consequences for the NUG

@tonnyc, let me begin by thanking you for the consistent quality in all your posts that I enjoy reading.

So Thailand is already affected and will be the most affected among the ASEAN states by the civil war in Myanmar. Everyone else in ASEAN is far away from Myanmar and can afford to wait and see. Thailand can't. So Thailand is the most likely to act first among the ASEAN nations.
1. There is much to agree with you and the insights you share. In this post, let me focus on the areas of difference but that should not be taken as a broad disagreement with your post. Instead, think of my reply as minor refinements to your broad picture.

Thailand is run by a military junta so I expect their sympathy to lie with the Tatmadaw.
2. Actually, no. I have a slightly different take.
(a) As of 31 Dec 2020, there are about 92,000 Myanmar refugees in Thailand, who fled previous waves of displacement, in nine temporary shelters, according to UNHCR. It’s in Thai interest to focus on non-interference but the Thai Prime Minister is really angry at being pushed into a corner with this growing refugee problem at the border that is created by the Tatmadaw.​
(b) According to a bulletin issued earlier, about 2,300 people crossed from Myanmar into Thailand on 27 Apr 2021 due to increased fighting and they are currently hosted in safe zones, managed by the Thai Army.​

However, they are fine with the Aung San Suu Kyi government and has been asking together with the rest of ASEAN for her release. So I believe while the Thai junta may sympathize with the Tatmadaw, it doesn't translate into anything deeper and they'll be fine with any government that can provide stability in Myanmar.
3. Agreed.

If the NUG can control the Karen ethnic armies and make sure the fighting doesn't spill over into Thailand and reduce the number of refugees, Thailand could be brought over.
4. From my perspective, the National Unity Government (NUG) and the National League for Democracy (NLD) politicians can be likened to kindergarten kids who can’t tie their own shoe laces. In Feb 2021, President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, both senior members of the NLD was arrested. Today, Myanmar security forces have also abducted two NLD MPs — U Ba Myo Thein and U Soe Win — from NLD HQ in West Shwe Gone Taing Street, Yangon.

5. Looks like the opposition to military rule in the cities are growing; which means not enough troops to deploy to pacify the ethnic rebels at the border areas.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 2 of 5: Analysis of Consequences for the NUG

Being able to control the ethnic armies and stem the flow of refugees would mean that the NUG actually have control and power and thus is a viable alternative to the Tatmadaw from the Thai POV.
6. I suspect the NUG are puppets of the ethnic armies; and not the other way around. The Tatamadaw closed the NLD office in Mandalay and searched for activists known to oppose military rule, such as the 1988 leader Min Ko Naing and The Irrawaddy’s editor, who are probably underground. NLD MPs are also being arrested left, right and centre. This means the protestors are unable to create no go zones — without security of leadership and representatives, they can’t coordinate over the mid-term.

Next up would be the Malaysia-Singapore-Indonesia block. These aren't a tight block and they often diverge but here the three nations seem to be in agreement. They are genuinely disturbed at the shoot-em attitude that the Tatmadaw have taken.
7. I think level of convergence of interests by the 3 countries is deeper than that. Singapore has had for years a negative opinion of the leadership of the Tatmadaw; and have consistently tried to give them valid suggestions (for less harmful action that they have consistently ignored). The Rohingya genocide and their eventual and safe resettlement is a deep concern of Malaysia and Indonesia — which means all 3 want this crisis resolved with less violence and more humanity.

8. The Malaysia-Singapore-Indonesia block have come to the common realisation that we are dealing with idiots that need firm management. Hence, the implied threat of not recognising them. The United Nations Credentials Committee and the UN General Assembly are set to be the stage for a likely diplomatic contest between the CRPH provisional government and the Myanmar junta when the world body convenes for a new session in Sep 2021.

9. Former Singaporean diplomat Bilahari Kausikan said in Oct 2020 that Southeast Asian countries needed to consider revoking ASEAN membership for Cambodia and Laos for allowing an external power to exert influence on them, a thinly-veiled reference to their proximity to China. By Aug to Sep 2021, it will more urgent to consider revoking Myanmar’s seat at the ASEAN table, if no progress on talks is made.

Had the Tatmadaw limited themselves to rubber bullets and tear gas they can ignore it, but opening fire at a worker's strike (for example) is a step too far even in their eyes.
10. Yes. ASEAN will need to stand apart from the Tatmadaw or lose credibility and support from this generation’s civil society in Myanmar that is appalled by the military’s violent repression. Vigorous support for the junta by Thailand, Laos or Cambodia is also now unlikely given splits within ASEAN and the strong stance taken by both Indonesia and Singapore.

And Tatmadaw made the diplomatic blunder of agreeing with the ASEAN consensus at the meeting only to immediately walk it back after they're back home. I mean, you don't tell the Prime Minister Lee of Singapore that "we heard you" when we ask that they stop the violence and then continue once they get home.
11. PM Lee has a long memory and he will seek to punish this when the time is right. MFA have said that “Singaporeans currently in Myanmar should also consider leaving as soon as they can by commercial means while it is still possible to do so.”

12. In the next 3 to 4 months, as the situation deteriorates, the MFA is expected to activate its Crisis Response Team (CRT). After CRT deployment and the last few Singaporeans are pulled out via a SAF conducted NEO, the punches on the diplomatic front will come (likely after Aug 2021).

13. Singapore diplomats with the support of Malaysia and Indonesia have patience to see things through (but this ability to wait a little), to give some time for the parties to get their act together, is not infinite.

Similarly, Prime Minister Yassin of Malaysia and President Widodo of Indonesia requested that they release Aung San Suu Kyi and Wyin Mint and got ignored.
14. Which leads to a shared negative opinion of the leadership of the Tatmadaw by the 3 countries, along with even US, EU and China. In 2017, Myanmar’s military conducted an operation in Rakhine state that resulted in the displacement of nearly 750,000 members of the Rohingya minority. Many have labeled it a genocide. The case has gone to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). For domestic politics reasons, Malaysia in particular is very concerned about the Rohingya problem.

It's not too late for the Tatmadaw to rectify this blunder and if they do it's likely that this block will not do much beyond humanitarian aid, but if the Tatmadaw disdain the diplomatic effort and the NUG manages to develop diplomatic ties then the NUG will get quite a bit of a boost.
15. Both parties are idiots and dealing with them is a thankless task.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 3 of 5: Analysis of Consequences for the NUG

Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia each have considerable amount of soft power and if they wield them together it's a serious force. All three countries also have deep and long-lasting ties with the US and India and China. I don't want to speculate too much on what their diplomacy can bring, but ultimately I think China will value their relationship with the trio over whatever the Tatmadaw can offer (plus the NUG will also welcome Chinese investment, it's not like the elected government of Myanmar is anti-China), and if China remains uninvolved in Myanmar, the three countries can also convince US and India to remain uninvolved.
16. Agreed with this valuable insight.

If a compromise is reachable, I'm also confident that the three countries can persuade China and US and India to accept the compromise.
17. I share the same view. China, India (with its donation of a Kilo class submarine) and Japan (who has in 2012 waived payments on Myanmar’s sovereign debt) have some influence, but they are unlikely to put significant public pressure on Myanmar’s military junta.

(a) China’s and India’s unequal influence also relies on the fact that they share long land borders with Myanmar, which are important conduits for trade. China for example, shares a 2,129 km southwestern border and amongst all aid providers, Beijing has the largest stake in keeping Myanmar stable — the issue is how China will interpret keeping the country stable. Likewise, India and Myanmar share a 1,643 km border and people on either side have familial ties. Since the Myanmar Army seized power on 1st Feb 2021, there has been an influx of people into India’s north eastern states. Many of them are democracy activists belonging to the Chin ethic group, or policemen who said they disobeyed orders to shoot at protesters. China and India as aid providers prefer stability but have different methods to go about achieving this goal— China in particular, is expected to act in concert with Myanmar’s military junta (as that ensures their retention of influence).​
(b) The US, the EU, UK and Australia have almost no influence in Myanmar, having previously followed an approach based on isolating and penalizing the junta. In contrast, the Japanese have engaged actively engaged with the regime (prior to the Feb 2021 coup), with about 400 Japanese companies investing in Myanmar after the 2011 transition to a civilian government (following decades of military rule). Since then, Japan's official development assistance resumed but companies are still required to partner with local firms due to restrictions on foreign investment, and several of them partnered with those related with the military.​
(c) ASEAN’s influence on Myanmar relies on local knowledge in terms of the numerous government-to-government and people-to-people ties (which effectiveness may now be limited due to arrest of NLD ministers).​

Don't think in term of tanks or dollars. That's not ASEAN's style. Think instead of phone calls followed by "hey, pal, can you do us a favour".
18. By the Sep to Oct 2021 time frame, Myanmar’s Heath System at the poorest regions is likely to be on the brink of collapse (from a lack of supplies and CORVID-19 super-spreader events due to the daily protests).

19. IMO, there are other carrots ASEAN, through the ADMM mechanism, can deploy in the Sep to Oct 2021 time frame — including deployment of up to 4 military helicopters to facilitate delivery of a range of ASEAN humanitarian aid (worth millions when we include the Sultan of Brunei’s donations, aid from Red Cross societies in every ASEAN country), to the provinces, flown into a hub on multiple ASEAN C-130/A400M flights or shipped in by sea via the Makassar class and Endurance class vessels; that also includes donations of test kits for CORVID-19 and other needed medical supplies, like 1,500 to 2,000 oxygen cylinders to regional hospitals and large clinics.

20. Humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre can only flow when aid workers are secure. With an ADMM led HADR deployment, there will be some level of security, if the Tatmadaw allows.
 
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Ananda

The Bunker Group

The way I read this, the Tatmadaw seem saying; "I'm in no mood to talk yet. I'm going to do cleaning up first, then I'll talk".

Well in this case seems they already see NUG as armed insurgencies. The NUG decision to go with armed conflicts seems something that Tatmadaw hoping for.
 

CheeZe

Active Member
Well in this case seems they already see NUG as armed insurgencies. The NUG decision to go with armed conflicts seems something that Tatmadaw hoping for.
It is an arena which they are familiar with. The insurgencies have existed for decades. While they've never been stamped out, they also haven't been particularly dangerous to the national stability.

Navigating this new arena of public imagery and international diplomacy while cracking down on dissent is clearly not the Tatmadaw's forte. No doubt they'd rather go back to the "simpler" strategy of cracking everything with a hammer and not worrying about what the rest of the world thinks.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 4 of 5: Analysis of Consequences for the NUG

Well in this case seems they already see NUG as armed insurgencies. The NUG decision to go with armed conflicts seems something that Tatmadaw hoping for.
21. Myanmar's junta declared on 8 May 2021 that a group of ousted lawmakers running a shadow government, the NUG, would now be classified as "terrorists", as the military moves to tighten its grip over a country in turmoil.

22. Previously, the junta had declared the CRPH and NUG as "unlawful associations", and said interacting with them would be akin to high treason.

23. But their new designation as a "terrorist organisation" means anyone speaking to them - including journalists - can be subjected to charges under counter-terrorism laws — which means ASEAN negotiators can no longer try to help both sides scale down violence.

24. The announcement comes as sporadic bomb blasts go off more frequently across Myanmar, especially in commercial hub Yangon - which authorities have blamed on "instigators." I believe that some of the bombs going off are planted by the Tatmadaw (about 30% to 40%) and this will be used to justify the shoot to kill orders (instead of arrests and murder in custody).

Navigating this new arena of public imagery and international diplomacy while cracking down on dissent is clearly not the Tatmadaw's forte. No doubt they'd rather go back to the "simpler" strategy of cracking everything with a hammer and not worrying about what the rest of the world thinks.
25. The armed members of the NUG better rapidly improve their bomb making skills; if their roving armed teams are to avoid being slaughtered by the Tatmadaw. With this change, the civilian death rate will rapidly escalate — with the Tatmadaw still firmly in control of the means of violence. The gloves have come off in this fight.

26. ASEAN’s proposal is dead and now it can correctly step-back, wash its collective hands, and avoid further blame for NUG’s stupidity for the rest of 2021— in the next 180 to 220 days, I expect the death toll to cross 7,700 (up from the current 770 reported to date). The NUG should know that decisions have consequences. Unless the dreamers in the NUG (like Duwa Lashi La, Yee Mon, Khin Ma Ma Myo and Naing Kaung Yuat) are able to evolve into a rebel group with the fighting ability of the Tamil Tigers (with the technical ability to make powerful IEDs, recruit and deploy teams of suicide bombers into their attack tactics), they are going to get a lot more of their own people killed, without an effective reply to the repression being done onto the Burmese people.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I saw a TV news report on the local (NZ) idiot box (TV) news last night that showed the continuing opposition to the military junta. The interesting thing was the number of young people still carrying the mantle of opposition. One 20 year old said that the junta have miscalculated the anger of the people and especially the determination of the young people to fight for their freedom and their rights. He said that they have had five years of democracy and freedom and they are not going to have that taken away from them without a fight.

That's where I think the Tatmadaw has really miscalculated. They think that they can easily go back to the old ways without any problems and cower the population in the usual way. However this time around it's different with those five years of quasi democracy and freedom, the people aren't going to necessarily lie down and give in. So the Tatmadaw may have bitten off a bit more than it can chew in the long term.

From their POV maybe they should not have agreed to the sharing of power agreement five years ago. However they did and their biggest mistake is not adjusting to the political realities.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 5 of 5: Analysis of Consequences for the NUG

One 20 year old said that the junta have miscalculated the anger of the people and especially the determination of the young people to fight for their freedom and their rights. He said that they have had five years of democracy and freedom and they are not going to have that taken away from them without a fight.
27. I differ in perspective. I suspect that the Tatmadaw correctly calculated that in a few more years, opposition to military rule world be stronger and therefore had no choice but to execute a drawer plan in Feb 2021, to dictate terms to Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD. I think it is the NLD, the NUG (as an umbrella organisation to resist the coup) and youths that have miscalculated on the response to come. They think that the Tatmadaw will easily go back to the barracks, when less than a thousand have been killed; and less than 8,000 have been arrested.
Anything less than 7,700 killed in any 180 day period, is considered a blessing, given the Tatmadaw’s inherent character when executing said drawer plan. As others have said before, we should not be negotiating for hostage release by talking to the hostage.

28. The NUG are silly enough to blame ASEAN for their willingness to continue to dialogue with Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing (as the leader of the hostage takers in the above analogy) and become a spoiler in the mediation attempt to reduce the death toll. Let me set the context to ask 3 key questions:
(a) Unlike the Twitter and social media herd supporting the NUG, I have a realist take on events on the ground. Sadly, I believe that the Tatmadaw are more than willing to kill 20,000 to 50,000 of the general population (aka the hostage) in their usual way, as the violence escalates in Jun-Jul 2021.​
(b) Night after night, soldiers and police raid homes to arrest suspected activists — both protesters and those taking part in the civil disobedience movement that has crippled the state’s ability to function. Despite the dangers, the movement persists, fuelled by a young generation who came of age since democracy dawned and the country began opening up a decade ago.​
(c) We have to see events unfolding in Myanmar as they are, not what we want. The kids on social media are prone to confirmation bias— I believe that hoping for the best, or having the willingness to fight alone is not a strategy to cope with changes on the ground. To rebel against an army, any rebel group needs: (i) a sanctuary; (ii) a certain level of training (or learn by dying); (iii) mastery of logistics; and (iv) a fanatical dedication to the cause.​
  • Q1: What happens to organisational capability when the initial crop of capable supporters of the NUG get arrested or killed?
  • Q2: When will the morale break for the NUG supporters break, when they realise the help they hope for is not coming?
I suspect that Western media perspective will be different in the Feb 2022 to Aug 2022 period. By then the news cycle is expected to become numb to increasing numbers of dead civilians, after the horror of 1 to 1.5 years of military rule.​
(d) Only at that time period in 2022 will the Tatmadaw realise that they have bitten off a bit more than they can chew (when the death toll exceeds 20,000).​
  • Q3: We have to ask what best that the NUG can hope for, in the next 1 to 1.5 years of co-evolution in this struggle?
29. Human rights organisations, the more vocal members of the G7 and the UN tend to fall for the availability bias — which leads to a loss of influence due to playing the wrong chess moves. The Biden administration is updating the old foreign policy doctrine of realpolitik by acknowledging the reality of limits on US power, in the era of great power competition with a rising China.
(a) In a G7 May 2021 conference, where Chinese influence is top on American minds, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will ineffectively urge G7 nations to take stronger action against Myanmar's military junta, and "this includes expanding targeted sanctions against individuals and entities connected to the junta; support for arms embargoes, and increased humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable in the country."​
(b) The British speaking at G7 and at the United Nations Security Council seem to think that just because sanctions are available, it is the only tool to be applied no matter how ineffective it is (in relation to reducing the death toll). While the G7 "firmly condemn" violence committed by Myanmar's security forces against protesters and urged them to "exercise utmost restraint and respect human rights and international law," I expect only lukewarm G7 support from the Americans, the Japanese, the Germans, the French, and the Indians (attending by invitation), given realpolitik considerations. They know that the British diplomats have no effective sticks to threaten the military dictatorship in Myanmar and are too cheap to give enough carrots, in the form of aid, to move the needle. At the G7 meeting, I suspect that only Canada and Italy will find common cause with the British on the topic of more sanctions.​

30. There are also serious concerns over the continuing impact of the crisis, with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) warning of an economic collapse, and the UN human rights chief cautioning that Myanmar could spiral into a “full-blown conflict” similar to the implosion of Syria over the past decade, if the bloodshed does not stop. Let’s review the situation when the death toll hits 20,000 or a year from now, whichever is sooner. Both the rebels and Tatmadaw will need to co-evolve to cope with changes on the ground as the death toll goes up.
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Haven’t seen much wrt to COVID in Myanmar. Surely this could effect the situation as well unless the junta’s friend China comes across with significant aid?
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Haven’t seen much wrt to COVID in Myanmar. Surely this could effect the situation as well unless the junta’s friend China comes across with significant aid?
Agreed.

For context, I note that the day before the 1 Feb 2021 coup, Myanmar had logged just over 140,000 total cases and 3,131 deaths. The country was on the downward slope of a second wave of infections. In an 1 Apr 2021 statement, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said the turmoil “poses a significant threat to efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic;” and reported by VOA on 12 April 2021.

The U.N.’s acting resident country coordinator, Andrew Kirkwood, told reporters in a virtual press conference last month that Myanmar’s health system “has practically collapsed” and that “nearly all COVID-19 testing and treatment has halted.”
 
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Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #116
After months of protests and 800 civillians killed, the demonstrations become smaller in size. After all the people have to work and earn money to survive.
And it seems that the Tatmadaw will disband Aung San Suu Kyi's political party.

The Tatmadaw claims she is in good health.

Latest update:
Rebels have attacked a police office and killed some soldiers.
 
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Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
There are reports that Russia has delivered T-90 tanks to Myanmar. This isn't all that surprising, given recent high level contacts between Russian and Burmese military officials, but it does highlight that for all their misdeeds, the military running Myanmar currently isn't in any real international isolation.

 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
There are reports that Russia has delivered T-90 tanks to Myanmar. This isn't all that surprising, given recent high level contacts between Russian and Burmese military officials, but it does highlight that for all their misdeeds, the military running Myanmar currently isn't in any real international isolation.

Of course they aren't. I wouldn't be surprised if the PRC aren't in contact as well. The US, UK,and France would too if it served their national interests, but Myanmar doesn't have oil, isn't in a highly strategic location, nor is it building WMDs.
 
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