Dynamics of Cooperation, Competition, and Opposition within the Spring Revolution Forces

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – December 21

Dynamics of Cooperation, Competition, and Opposition within the Spring Revolution Forces

In the evolving landscape of Myanmar’s Spring Revolution, recent military developments showcase a complex interplay of forces, featuring cooperation, competition, and opposition among various factions. As local armed resistance groups intensify their threats to major cities like Yangon, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw, the dynamics of these engagements are becoming increasingly intricate.

In the early hours of December 21, reports surfaced of six 107-mm shock missiles launched at strategic targets, including the Central Military Command (LaPaKha) Special Office, military barracks, and residences of high-ranking LaPaKha Division officials in Mandalay. Orchestrated by the Brave Warriors for Myanmar (BWM) group, this operation enlisted support from allied groups under the Urban Special Operation (U.S.O.), Mandalay Security and Special Task Force (MDY-SSTF), Pyin Oo Lwin District PaKaFa, and the No More Dictatorship NMD-PDF group. Notably, this operation involved local defense forces and their allied counterparts rather than battalions under the structure of the NUG Ministry of Defense.

The ethnic armed alliances, leading Operation 1027, witnessed the participation of PDFs and other armed groups affiliated with the Spring Revolution. Media coverage predominantly highlighted the Ta’ang Army TNLA, the Arakan Army AA, and the Kokang MNDAA Army. While the involvement of groups such as PDF armed group and BPLA remained less visible in public reports, their contributions were evident from their own statements.

China’s intervention for a ceasefire and peace-building between the Northern Alliances and the military council following Operation 1027 has prompted keen observation of the Northern Alliances’ stance, contrasting with the responses from the NUG and its Ministry of Defense. The alliance forces, including the NUG, PDF, and armed forces of the Spring Revolution, are perceived as supporting groups while the primary responsibility for operations rests with the alliance forces.

Simultaneously, PDF columns led by the KIA alliance and the KNU alliance joined local armed groups in Sagaing Division and the southern part of Myanmar during Operation 1027. Post-occupation battles saw some cities handed over to NUG’s PaKaFa, PaAFa, and interim administration groups. In Karenni State, news reports highlighted offensive attacks and operations by Karenni armed groups under the Karenni Federal Unit established in 2023.

Chin ethnic groups in Chin State demonstrated a commitment to strengthening their military and political development by forming the Chin State Council, Chin Land Federal Unit, and aligning with the CNF, CDF, and local forces. The conflict between the military council and the Arakan Army AA for the restoration of Rakhine State remains a focal point of public interest.

While the general populace is limited to information from standard news reports, interpreting the events of the revolution in parallel with the battles of the Spring Revolution and understanding their connection with the NUG’s PDFs proves challenging. The ethnic armed organizations in Shan State and their union or separation with other groups amid the 70-year civil war and the coalition of political and military groups within the Spring Revolution present an unpredictable narrative.

Conflicts and discontent among groups in regions where the majority of the Burmans reside add to the complexity. Recent incidents, such as the arrests by Kanbalu District People’s Defense Force (PaKaFa) and the competition between CRPH’s regional parliamentary units and local Spring Revolution’s political and military forces, underscore the challenges within these alliances.

Amid these complexities, public attention remains on the response, opinions, and guidance from the NUG leadership. U Kyaw Zaw, spokesperson for the NUG president’s office, emphasized in a meeting with TM Media that the NUG leadership is diligently working to maintain alliances and friendships. Stressing the importance of unity in defeating the military council, he urged against divisions, emphasizing that internal differences could play into the hands of the military group. As Myanmar approaches the transition from 2023 to 2024, the leaders, alliances, and forces of the Spring Revolution continue to navigate competition within their ranks and counterattacks from the enemy. The unfolding developments will determine the trajectory of Myanmar’s complex and dynamic political landscape.