Follow-up news of the Battle of Kawkareik; The impact of FATF

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – October 22 Scenes 

MoeMaKa, October 23 2022 

The headline written by a major news agency, “The battle to seize the city of Kawkareik has begun,” is very encouraging for the readers and listeners that the armed struggle to overthrow the military council has reached the next stage, and the cities are about to be captured. 


However, about 24 hours later, the news reported that joint forces of KNU battalions and PDF had retreated from Kawkareik. The fact that they were able to attack some of the police stations, offices and the base battalion of the military council in Kawkareik was encouraging, but after the battle, the civilian casualties and the fleeing of the residents amidst the small arms and heavy weapons fire would be an unwanted consequence. 


It is still not clear whether the KNU/KNLA was directly involved in this case or whether the former DKBA, later known as the Klo Htoo Baw Group, including Bo Kyaw Thet and Bo Sa Lone, and the battalions known as the Albino Tiger Battalion, decided to attack on their own. 

The blockade of Myawaddy-Kawkareik Asia road, due to recent battles a few days before the capture of Kawkareik city, was also reopened yesterday. The Kawkareik-Myawaddy battle news not only has a political and military impact, but also affects trade, so it is getting more attention than the news of the battle in other areas, and it can be seen that the news dominates the news of battles in other areas and the news of arrests and killings. 


In the villages of Sagaing, thousands of people have been fleeing due to junta columns marching, and it seems that this news does not receive much attention compared to the battles in Karen State.
The next piece of news for today is that, due to the decision of the FATF, an international monitoring organization related to international money laundering, to put Myanmar on the blacklist, there are some signs of panic in the market and the prices of imported goods have risen. The news of an increase in the price of palm oil has caused some products in the market to be temporarily suspended without being sold, but the exchange rates and commodity prices have not risen as quickly as in August. 

It is also seen that the Central Bank of the military council has issued a statement saying not to worry too much because it is taking the necessary actions directed by the FATF. This kind of situation happened between 2011 and 2016, and it is said that foreign trade and economic activities were able to be carried out without any serious damage during that period. 


We cannot forget that the current situation is different from the background situation of 2011-2016. At a time when the military has seized power, armed conflicts are happening all over the country, drug production, drug transportation and arms smuggling are not under control and illegal financial transactions are widespread, there are a lot of difficulties in responding to FATF’s recommendations and warnings.