An alliance of guerrillas in Myanmar gains ground against the coup junta's army in several parts of the country | International

An alliance of guerrillas in Myanmar gains ground against the
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In recent weeks and in various parts of Myanmar, the offensive launched by an alliance of ethnic minority guerrillas, which has also been joined by pro-democracy militias, has deteriorated the military superiority of the Burmese army. This offensive, named Operation 1027 — on October 27, when it was launched — is described by several international analysts as the main threat to the Armed Forces since the coup d'état of February 1, 2021. With that coup the military put an end to the transition attempts democratic process initiated a decade earlier. Tension is rising by the minute: the ruling military junta has admitted that there have been “strong attacks by a significant number of armed rebels” in the north, east and west of the former Burma, and has called for all those with military training basic training are ready to be called up in case of emergency.

Myanmar has been plunged into the deepest political, economic and social chaos for almost three years. But the internal conflict has intensified since last October 27, when the Alliance of the Three Brotherhoods, a coalition made up of several of the most powerful armed ethnic groups in the country (the Arakan Army, the Ta'ang National Liberation Army and the Army for the Democratic Alliance of Burma) launched an unprecedented coordinated attack against several military posts in the northeastern state of Shan, bordering China. The Operation 1027 It aims to “defend the region from the military incursions of the junta” and eradicate “the oppressive military dictatorship,” say its organizers, after, since July, the army intensified its attacks against some of the guerrillas. So far, the alliance has managed to take control of at least four key cities on the border with the Asian giant and almost 150 surveillance posts.

The popular defense forces have joined the offensive, made up mainly of young people with no previous war experience who took up arms after the aggressive campaign of repression that the junta began against the opposition in 2021. Now they have become the armed arm of the Government of National Unity (NUG), an organization that operates semi-clandestinely and declares itself a legitimate authority of the country. The NUG is made up of many former deputies of the deposed government of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest since the uprising. Democratic groups have started a campaign called The route to Naypyidaw, with which they aspire to take the capital, reports Reuters.

Refugees from the Rohingya Muslim minority return to a boat in Ulee Madon, Aceh province, Indonesia, after the local community decided to allow them to disembark temporarily to get water and food, on November 16, 2023.AMANDA JUFRIAN (AFP)

In the last two weeks, more than 90,000 people have been forced to leave their homes due to the intensification of the conflict in Shan (east) and the neighboring regions of Mandalay (center) and Kachin (northeast), according to the United Nations, which figures The number of Burmese who have been displaced since the 2021 uprising has increased to more than two million.

In the midst of the spiral of violence in recent days, the fighting has spread to the western end of the country. In the state of Chin (northwest), the rebels have captured two military camps and aim to consolidate their power along the border with India, where the Burmese Army controls two more bases. In neighboring Rakhine (west), the military junta has imposed a curfew in the regional capital and blocked the main access roads, after the Arakan Army managed to occupy two surveillance posts on the border with India. The opposition group claims that almost fifty regime agents have given in to the advance of their forces, and the Indian police have confirmed that at least 72 Burmese soldiers have taken refuge in their country. Wounded junta troops have also surrendered to the insurgents in the eastern state of Kayah, Reuters has verified.

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The spokesman for the military junta, Zaw Min Tun, accused the rebel groups on Tuesday of “destroying the entire country” and on Thursday assured that they are implementing “urgent measures to protect us from serious attacks” in the States of Shan, Kayah and Rakhine. Last week, Burmese acting president Myint Swe already warned that the nation risked “being divided into several parts” if the government “does not effectively manage the incidents that are occurring in border areas.”

Beijing closely monitors the situation in the northeast

Although China has supported the military junta on the international stage since the coup and, along with Russia, is the main supplier of weapons to the Burmese Army, its relationship with the military is complex, as it maintains a long history of ethnic alliance with some guerrillas. , economic and military. Beijing, which has repeatedly called for a ceasefire, reiterated this week its “deep concern about the conflict in northern Myanmar” and urged “to take effective measures to ensure security and stability on the border.”

Various armed ethnic groups have been fighting for years over the territories that the alliance has recently conquered in Shan State. Until last week, militias loyal to the junta controlled key trading posts in the China-Myanmar economic corridor, which includes oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing the country from the Bay of Bengal to where the alliance launched its offensive, as well as a highway. and a railway through which hundreds of millions of dollars in goods transit to China.

Several centers controlled by Chinese mafias are also located in the region, where thousands of Southeast Asian workers (120,000, according to the United Nations) have been deceived and forced to carry out cyber scams. Beijing has been pressuring the army for months to crack down on crime in the area and, since August, has launched several campaigns to dismantle some of these trafficking networks. Some analysts consider that the Chinese operation, which according to official media has reduced crime by 24% in just three months, has triggered a chain reaction that has reconfigured power in the border area.

With the Operation 1027the resistance has wrested control from the military junta of a stretch of land through which 40% of border trade with China passes, at a time when Myanmar is more dependent than ever on its neighbor. The rest runs through other areas in the far north of the country, controlled or contested by other rebel groups, including the Kachin Independence Army.

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