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China goes all in with support for Myanmar’s military regime

27 4 19

More than a year after Myanmar’s military took power in a coup, the civil conflict in the country shows no signs of easing.

In fact, with opposition forces — ethnic armed militias with experience fighting the regime and more recently formed people’s militias composed of newly trained recruits — enjoying some success in encouraging military defections, targeting military units and utilizing urban guerilla tactics, the hostilities look likely to continue for a long time.

The Myanmar junta has been accused of a wide range of atrocities since the coup, and the death toll and prison count since Feb. 1, 2021, is mounting. According to Reuters, “at least 1,500 people are known to have been killed in yearlong protests against the coup in Myanmar, with thousands more possibly killed in the armed conflict, the United Nations human rights office said … (and) at least 11,787 people were unlawfully detained in Myanmar in that period.”

Yet the armed forces seem determined, even in the face of defections and some setbacks, to escalate the conflict. Veteran Myanmar journalist Bertil Lintner believes the army has committed itself to a strategy of “annihilating” opposition forces across the country. This strategy will likely involve massacres of civilians, the increasing use of artillery on villages and towns and other extreme tactics.

The military, Lintner writes, has no interest in any dialogue with opposition forces. It also has essentially avoided any real dialogue with ASEAN interlocutors who have visited the country this year seeking to meet with both military officials and opposition leaders.

In the early and middle part of 2021, the most powerful external actor in........

© The Japan Times

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