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Vantage | Who wants to keep Myanmar’s military junta in power?


Vantage | Who wants to keep Myanmar's military junta in power?

The junta has faced a series of setbacks losing control of numerous bases as rebel forces advance

The Vantage Take December 20, 2023 12:16:30 IST Vantage | Who wants to keep Myanmar's military junta in power?

(File) Members of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army pose for a photograph with the weapons allegedly seized from the Myanmar's army outpost on a hill in Chinshwehaw town, Myanmar on 28 October, 2023. AP

Myanmar is currently in the midst of a profound crisis marked by escalating conflict between multiple armed ethnic groups and the military junta. This turmoil has gained momentum since 27 October when three armed groups, collectively known as the Three Brotherhood Alliance, initiated an offensive in Myanmar’s northeastern state of Shan.

The Three Brotherhood Alliance, composed of various rebel groups, has united with the common goal of overthrowing Myanmar’s military junta. Their offensive has sparked a wildfire of resistance, drawing support from rebel groups across the country. The resistance movement has gained traction, leading to the capture of several major towns including the provincial capital Namhsan in Shan State.

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Rebel success and junta defeats

The junta has faced a series of setbacks losing control of numerous bases as rebel forces advance. Reports indicate that the military’s troops have been abandoning positions and, in some cases, surrendering to the advancing rebel forces.

“We have launched attacks against the military to protect the lives of civilians. The main objective is to take down the military dictatorship, which is what Myanmar people always want. When we captured military positions, we found that military soldiers had many weapons and ammunition left but they had abandoned their positions. Military soldiers could fight with these weapons if they wanted but they decided to run away. It shows that military soldiers don’t want to fight under the military dictatorship anymore,” said Lt-Col Tar Aik Kyaw , spokeperson of Ta’ang National Liberation Army.

China has played a significant role in the Myanmar crisis, historically supporting the military junta and maintaining ties with various ethnic armed groups. Acting as a mediator, China has pushed for a ceasefire in Myanmar, expressing happiness at the prospect of peace talks.

“China is happy to see the parties to the conflict in northern Myanmar hold peace talks and achieve positive results, and we are ready to continue to provide support and facilitation to this end,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning.

However, recent events, such as the rebels’ takeover of Namhsan, suggest that Beijing’s efforts to stabilise the situation may have been premature. Despite China’s mediation attempts, the fighting in Myanmar shows no signs of abating. The rebels continue to gain ground causing displacement and instability. Over 300,000 people have been displaced within Myanmar and thousands have fled to neighbouring countries like India. Mizoram and Manipur have seen a substantial influx of refugees with over 6,000 reported crossings.

International response and concerns

As the crisis unfolds, concerns are mounting internationally. Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has expressed worry about the situation, emphasising the need for humanitarian assistance to refugees while also highlighting the importance of creating provisions for their eventual return once the conflict subsides. However, with the ongoing violence and no immediate resolution in sight, the situation remains complex and challenging.

Views expressed in the above piece are personal and solely that of the author. They do not necessarily reflect Firstpost’s views.

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