Has the Military Council Come to a Position of Defense?

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – September 02 Scenes

Published by MoeMaKa on September 03, 2023

Has the Military Council Come to a Position of Defense?

In the evolving landscape of Myanmar’s armed conflict, it appears that the military council may be shifting from an offensive posture to a more defensive one. Recent reports suggest that while the military council continues to launch offensives in certain areas, numerous camps, towns, and battalions remain under the control of opposing forces. Notably, police stations and military outposts have surrendered in some regions.

The areas currently witnessing military offensives include Ayadaw, Wetlet, and Kanbalu in Sagaing Region, as well as locations in the northern part of Magway Region and along the Myitkyina-Bhamo road in Kachin State. Conversely, the military council appears to be on the defensive in several areas across the country, including the fighting with the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in the Muse area, clashes in Tanintharyi, confrontations in Thantlang, Chin State, battles around Kalay Township in Sagaing State, engagements in Myawaddy, Hpa-pun, and Kawkareik in Karen State, and conflicts in Nyaunglebin District in Bago Region. In these regions, ethnic armed groups and People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) have gained prominence, taking control of military-occupied camps and police stations that previously supported the military council. They have also assumed administrative and law enforcement responsibilities.

The extent of the revolutionary forces’ capacity to seize control of these strategic locations remains uncertain, and it is premature to draw definitive conclusions. The revolutionary forces have, in some areas, disrupted the military council’s administration by issuing notifications, issuing severe warnings, or apprehending and even eliminating administrators, rendering these areas ungovernable. In these cases, administrative functions have been taken over by either ethnic armed organizations or the National Unity Government’s Public Administration and Security Council (PaKaFa). The practicalities and challenges associated with this transition have not been extensively covered in the news.

This process of replacing vacated administration is part of the broader picture on the military front. In general, the military council appears to be on the defensive, retreating in some areas and going on the offensive in others.

In situations resembling battles for control of towns, Mese in Karenni State stands out as a city firmly under the control of ethnic armed forces. Thantlang, Chin State, remains a contested town with neither side having a clear advantage.

On the military council’s side, they continue to possess air support and mechanized troops, equipped with the weaponry and mechanized power necessary for various levels of engagement. Their financial resources come from the country’s taxes and assets, making an overnight reversal of power unlikely. While the balance in the civil war seems to be tilting in favor of the revolutionary forces, achieving a decisive victory requires significant financial investments in stages, weapons, ammunition, and machinery. The extent of support from the Myanmar community, expatriate workers, and permanent migrants will also influence these needs.

For those affiliated with the military council or having vested interests and careers tied to them, recent shifts in the military situation and position have not gone unnoticed. Some individuals, even those with family in Nay Pyi Taw, now find themselves feeling less secure as fighting encroaches upon the border areas of states and regions neighboring Nay Pyi Taw and council areas.

Given these evolving dynamics, it would be unrealistic to expect decisive battles to transpire overnight. The political, military, and organizational capabilities of the armed groups poised to occupy and govern areas previously held by the military council are crucial factors. If these elements are weak or absent, it is imperative to consider the potential outcomes that may arise.