As we have been reporting in the Trends Journal, since 1 February, tens of thousands of protesters in Myanmar have taken to the streets to fight for democracy after a military coup overturned recent election results and arrested the civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who reportedly won by a landslide this past November.
Protesters have been shot in the streets by military forces (about 875 have been killed) and on Thursday a coordinated rebel group called the People’s Defense Force declared war on the junta, the country’s first clear step to outright civil war.
“We have started and declared war,” Ko Tun Tauk Naing, a spokesman from the group, said. As reported in The New York Times, a clash broke out in the country’s second-largest city Mandalay that involved military forces and the rebel forces. The rebel group has appealed to the public for help and urged some of the citizens to burn tires in the streets to slow advancing tanks. It was the first time such a massive clash broke out in an urban center.
The clash started with a raid by security forces on a building where militia members were staying. At least eight were killed. The Associated Press reported that the junta has referred to members in the militia as “terrorists.”
The militia is comprised of several small forces, and Thursday’s clash involved the Mandal People’s Defense Force.
The Diplomat reported that the Tatmadaw has been effective in snuffing out protests, but the aggression has led to the growth of militia groups ready for a drawn-out fight. Many of these fighters have been receiving training in various parts of the country.
Mary Callahan, a University of Washington professor who studies the region, told NPR last month that militias from little towns in the western region of the country have been “fighting and killing soldiers for months.”
“So it’s hit and run, hit and run, and they’re getting better at it,” she said. She continued, “Some of the members of these militias are going off and getting a couple weeks of training in simple explosives and strategy and tactics, and coming back and wreaking havoc wherever they are.”
As we have reported, the supporters of Suu Kyi have worked on sabotaging the country’s economy to dismantle the military leadership, which has led to mixed results. There is a tremendous shortage of doctors showing up to work and much of the population is not receiving proper medical care.
The Diplomat said, “None of these recent developments suggest that the military coup is bound to fail. But it does suggest that it will almost certainly fail to succeed in its aim of stabilizing and pacifying the country, heralding an indefinite period of instability and turmoil for one of the world’s longest-suffering countries.”
The U.S. Embassy took to social media to announce that it was tracking reports on the ongoing fighting in Mandalay.
“We are disturbed by military escalation and urgently call for a cessation of violence,” the embassy said.
TRENDPOST: While nations such as the U.S., the U.K., and others condemn the military action taken against the citizens of Myanmar, most of these countries have slaughtered millions in their ongoing Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and other wars they have launched and/or supported.
Thus, their acts of murder are committed in the name of bringing freedom and democracy to regimes they wish to overthrow and whose countries they want to control, mostly to steal their natural resources. (See our report this week on how the U.S. is abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban.)
TREND FORECAST: We maintain our forecast that military rule will continue in Myanmar and threats by the UN, the United States, and other nations will achieve nothing in terms of bringing so-called “Democracy” to Myanmar.
Furthermore, the harder outside countries pressure the Myanmar government – be they in sanctions or supporting rebel movements – the greater the ruling government will strengthen its ties with its Chinese neighbor.
While the media reports on the current brutal conditions being imposed on the nation by its military, long forgotten and never mentioned is how the nation was savagely colonized by the British for over 100 years (1824-1948).