Myanmar: Quarterly update, February 2024

Date Posted: 11-Mar-2024
Author: 
Vaibhav Sharma, Bangalore Urmila Narzary, Bangalore Nidhi Dalal, Bangalore
Publication: 
Jane's Intelligence Review

Key points

  • The Brotherhood Alliance launched co-ordinated attacks on military positions in Shan State, leading to a deteriorating security situation, social instability, and the displacement of thousands in the region
  • On 12 January China brokered a ceasefire agreement between the Myanmar junta and the ethnic armed organisations, termed as ‘Haigeng Agreement' by the Brotherhood Alliance. However, the alliance accused the junta of ceasefire violation on 16 January
  • Janes assesses that the tension between the NSAGs and the military is highly likely to continue until June
  • Janes also assesses that the conflict has the potential to augment the refugee crisis in the region, as most of the Burmese try to flee to the neighbouring countries

Background

On 27 October 2023 a group of three ethnic armed organisations known as the ‘Brotherhood Alliance', consisting of the Arakan Army (AA), Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), conducted armed attacks against military positions in the northern parts of Shan State. The group launched ‘Operation 1027' to achieve its primary objective of safeguarding civilians, maintaining control over territory, and responding to ongoing artillery and airstrikes carried out by the military since February 2021. The operation also aimed to eradicate cyber-scam syndicates in the Kokang region, also known as Shan State Special Region 1, which are mainly operated by the Chinese-organised and allied militia groups based in Myanmar. Other militant groups, mainly the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the People's Defence Force (PDF), also joined the operation. The National Unity Government (NUG), the shadow government in Myanmar, welcomed the operation and vowed to collaborate with the Brotherhood Alliance to achieve its goal.

Between 30 October and 6 November 2023 clashes continued in 10 locations across Shan State, and the alliance, along with the PDF took control of 106 junta outposts, including the trade hub of Chinshwehaw. At least 100 soldiers were killed and many injured and arrested during this period. Large stocks of weapons and ammunition, including up to six tanks and armoured vehicles, were seized, according to a report by Irrawaddy, a local independent news website, on 11 November. At least 90,000 people have been displaced in northern Shan State and the Sagaing Region since the operation started on 27 October, according to a 9 November report by the United Nations' (UN's) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Myanmar: Quarterly update, February 2024


Attacks by NSAGs in Myanmar from 1 January 2023 to 14 February 2024. (Janes)

Outlook

Janes assesses that the clashes between the military junta and EAOs, especially the Brotherhood Alliance, are highly likely to continue until June 2024 as the EAOs try to gain more territorial control and the military junta tries to regain the lost territories. The conflict has the potential to augment the existing refugee crisis in the region, as most Burmese citizens try to flee to the neighbouring countries. This was evident after the announcement of mandatory military conscription; the embassies in Myanmar were crowded with people trying to flee the country. 

According to Stockholm International Peace Research Insititute (SIPRI), Russia was the major exporter of arms to Myanmar in 2022, followed by China. Along with arms exports, China has significant infrastructure investments in Myanmar and supports the EAOs with weapons supplies. While Western countries, including the UK, the US, and the EU member states continue to impose further sanctions on Burmese individuals and companies, Myanmar's proximity with China and Russia is likely to increase.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/myanmar-quarterly-update-february-2024?utm_campaign=Country_Intelligence&utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_content=Myanmar

On 27 October 2023 a group of three ethnic armed organisations known as the ‘Brotherhood Alliance', ...

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