Fear Rising Among Myanmar Military Elite ミャンマー軍エリートの間で高まる恐怖

Although the people of Myanmar are still in a very very tough situation, we are also starting to hear news about the military losing momentum. This is an edited version of a column in The Irrawaddy (a Burmese and English news website based in Thailand).
ミャンマーの人々はまだまだ大変厳しい状況にありますが、軍の勢いが衰えたというニュースも耳にするようになりました。今回はThe Irrawaddy(タイに拠点を置くビルマ語・英語のニュースサイト)のコラムを短く編集したものです。

No one has seen such fear among the Myanmar military since it launched its first coup in 1962 under the late General Ne Win. The army and its followers have very good reasons to fear losing control of the country as the anti-coup resistance movement gains ground.


Crucially, the military’s takeover on February 1, 2021 has created a political convergence point among the people that no one has seen since the 1947 Panglong Agreement. And, the military’s violent response to the peaceful anti-coup protests nationwide has resulted in it waging war against its own people, creating terror and chaos.


Over the years, the military had retained an effective constitutional veto thanks to its holding a quarter of all seats in parliament. Previously, most had only heard of the junta’s atrocities against the ethnic minorities in the borderlands. But now the military’s slaughter of civilians has led to the people not wanting to return to the pre-coup years where At the same time, the military is struggling to cope with increasing armed resistance across the country.


Junta threatened by armed resistance groups 


In March, the Institute for Strategy and Policy Myanmar reported almost 300 clashes between the NUG’s People’s Defense Forces (PDF) and the Myanmar military in Sagaing Region from July 2021 through March 2022. Over 20,000 people were displaced by the fighting and junta raids and arson attacks. 


From Putao in the far north to Kawthoung in the far south, the regime is facing an unprecedented level of armed opposition. At the same time, there are increasing clashes with ethnic armed organizations in Kayah, Karen, Kachin and Chin states. Armed resistance against the illegitimate Myanmar military is growing across the country.    


Relocation of junta families to Naypyitaw


On April 22, Myanmar Now reported that families of people working for the State Administration Council (SAC) are relocating to the junta stronghold of Naypyitaw as attacks by urban resistance forces increase in Yangon. The report stated how fear was growing among the Yangon-based family members of junta personnel that the SAC may not be able to protect them from the increasing presence of guerilla groups in the city. 


Over 500 family members of army personnel have applied for long-stay visas in Thailand, according to a source close to a Myanmar military family in Yangon. Meanwhile, elite pro-military supporters such as Aye Ne Win, the grandson of former dictator Ne Win, seem to spend more time in Dubai than Myanmar. 


The recent shooting of the Deputy Governor of the junta-controlled Central Bank of Myanmar, Than Than Swe, is the most high-profile example of the over 1,000 junta personnel who have been targeted by Yangon resistance groups. Former navy lieutenant commander Thein Aung, the Chief Financial Officer of the military-owned Mytel Telecommunications Co, was gunned down in Yangon in late 2021, while more than 80 Mytel towers across the country have been bombed by PDFs. 

最近、軍事政権が支配するミャンマー中央銀行の副総裁Than Than Sweが銃撃されたことは、ヤンゴンの抵抗勢力に狙われた1000人を超える政権関係者の中で最も有名な例である。軍所有のMytel通信社の最高財務責任者であるテイン・アウン元海軍中佐は2021年末にヤンゴンで銃殺され、全国の80以上の通信塔がPDFによって爆破されている。

Rising casualties among the military elite creating cracks


The Spring Revolution led by Burmese youths born after 1988 is quite different from the anti-dictatorship movements led by former premier U Nu in the 1970s and the student-led uprising of 1988 and the subsequent armed resistance movement of the 1990s. Although many challenges remain before the opposition forces can put an end to military dictatorship, the junta is definitely weakened. The Myanmar military elite and their families have very good reasons to be scared.


Myanmar military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing in February 2020, one year before becoming coup leader. / The Irrawaddy 

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