The power of the Myanmar military junta is threatened due to rebel attacks. Photo/Reuters
YANGON – Myanmar’s ruling military faces attacks on multiple fronts in its border regions as an alliance of ethnic minority rebel groups joins pro-democracy fighters to try to seize territory and challenge the junta’s rule.
Apart from that, the military junta is also under pressure from fellow ASEAN members. This makes it difficult for the Myanmar military junta to carry out diplomacy, even though it has full support from Russia and China.
The following are 4 reasons why the power of the Myanmar military junta is threatened.
1. Coordinated Attacks by Ethnic Minority Rebels
According to Reuters, on October 27, an alliance of ethnic minority groups launched coordinated attacks on military posts in northern Shan State bordering China and captured several towns, in an operation they called 1027, referring to the date the attack began.
The Three Brotherhood Alliance, as the group is known, said its aim was “to protect civilian lives, assert our right to self-defense, maintain control of our territory and respond decisively to ongoing artillery and airstrikes” by junta.
The agency is also “dedicated to eradicating the oppressive military dictatorship”, he said, and is committed to fighting online gambling fraud hubs on the Myanmar-China border, involving thousands of foreign workers, many against their will.
China, which has significant influence in the region, has pushed for an end to the fighting and has pressured the junta to dismantle illicit businesses that have turned many Chinese citizens into victims of fraud, some even into slavery. Some analysts and diplomats say the 1027 attack would not have been possible without China’s permission.
2. Three Rebel Groups Move Together
Although fighting has occurred in several regions in Myanmar since the generals seized power in a 2021 coup, the scale of the new offensive represents the biggest military challenge to junta rule, expanding the junta’s power in several areas.
The alliance consists of three groups with extensive combat experience – the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Arakan Army (AA).
Importantly, they were also joined by members of the people’s defense forces, a loosely organized movement supported by Myanmar’s parallel National Unity Government (NUG). This suggests a level of planning and coordination not seen since the coup, with militias also assisting by thwarting military supply efforts.
The attacks in Shan State were followed by the AA opening a front against the military in its base in Rakhine State, despite a ceasefire agreed a year ago, by attacks by rebels in Kayah State bordering Thailand, and the Sagaing region and Chin State, which borders the state. India.
3. Myanmar’s military is in decline
It is too early to predict the extent to which military rule in other countries will be threatened, analysts say.
The generals have ruled Myanmar for five of the past six decades and have a track record of combining battlefield power with a divide-and-rule strategy to control from the center and rein in major insurgencies on the borders.