Myanmar Spring Chronicle – April 16 Scenes
MoeMaKa, April 17, 2023
A look back at the 2 years of the National Unity Government’s establishment
There is only one day left for the Thingyan occasion of 2023. According to the tradition of Myanmar, it is considered the occasion of the transition to the new year, and it means that people wash away the dirt and transit to the new year with a new attitude. Since the military coup in 2021, Myanmar’s Thingyan is no longer a time to transition from the old year to the new year, to rest on holidays, spend happily, and welcome the transition to the new year according to the Myanmar calendar. It was overshadowed by massive political dissent, escalating wars, loss of life, people fleeing the war, destruction of houses and property, killings, arrests, torture, and an unprecedented rise in crimes.
Myanmar’s Traditional New Year Day of 2021 is also the day that the formation of the National Unity Government, abbreviated as NUG, was announced. During the Thingyan period of 2021, the civil war was still in the same state as it was before the previous election, and it was during the period when the armed forces were preparing to form. It was also the time when the strikes and protests in the cities decreased, and they started to escape to the ethnically armed areas or liberated areas and attend armed combat training and explosives training.
The Thingyan period of 2021 is also a time of mourning for the protestors who lost their lives in February, March, and early April, and preparation for the emergence of the armed forces, which will be another new page. It should be said that this is the time when the protesters and young people in the cities join the regional alliance organizations for the next stage of the battle. In Karen State, Kachin State, and Chin State, they contacted the ethnic armed groups to fight in the spring revolution. In Magway and Sagaing Divisions, they began to prepare and form independent armed groups in their own regions. It can be seen that regions such as Yinmarbin and Pale are the regions where the earliest armed groups emerged in Sagaing Division.
It has been 2 years since they began to prepare for the opening of such a civil war. After that period, many armed forces emerged in many parts of the country. In regions where ethnic armed groups are not based, such as Sagaing and Magway Divisions, they have emerged as armed groups with the names of towns and villages or armed groups named after themselves. Until NUG announced the name of the PDF in May 2021, the general name of the armed movement against the military council was not yet known as the PDF (People’s Defense Force). After 2 years of revolution, the name People’s Defense Force PDF has been used as a general name for armed forces.
Two years after the PDFs first emerged, how much of a threat they are to the military council and whether they were able to defeat the armed troops of the military council are questions that need to be reviewed now. As for the strength, the permanent military force of the military council has been reduced due to the casualties in the battles in the last 2 years, and it will be seen that there are difficulties in replenishing the reduced strength. On the PDF side, it can be said that the manpower is more than necessary. There is still difficulty arming all of them, because weapons and ammunition are still being bought and sold at exorbitant prices because they rely on the black market, and because they are not in a position to manage and use the country’s resources, they are having limited financial difficulties. Another point is that the PDFs and the armed forces are not yet under a single command system, a supply system, or central arms and food aid. There is still no condition to bring the PDFs formed in various regions under a single command system in a situation where the center is still unable to provide sufficient weapons and food.
As PDFs and ethnic armed groups, there are also needs for strategic weapons and financial resources, such as mechanized units, to fight strategic battles. In such a situation where it is not able to equip yet, the battles can only be described as guerrilla warfare, and strategic weapons and troops will be needed in order to reach the level where the territories can be controlled, and where the cities will be seized and controlled.
For the NUG government, the needs to use the advantage of manpower are finance, strategic weapons, military leaders with military experience, full understanding and military cooperation with the ethnic armed groups already based in the area.
If we can objectively review where we are after a 2-year period, what the next goal is, what needs to be fulfilled, and meet the requirements, the victory will be achieved as soon as possible. If it is still not reviewed or fulfilled, it is true that the battle will continue for a long time.