Since its coup over a year and a half ago, the Myanmar military has ruled the country with extreme brutality, while also driving its economy into the ground and creating a public health and refugee nightmare. The army has been accused of widespread massacres and has jailed thousands, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. It has shown no mercy, recently executing four democracy activists, including one former member of parliament.
The military—which has ruled directly or indirectly since 1962—has killed large numbers in battles against ethnic armed organizations, as well as ethnic minorities like the Kachin and Rohingya to expropriate land and resources or to drive groups abroad. However, these recent executions were the first official death sentences carried out in Myanmar in more than thirty years.
But Myanmar’s army may actually be triggering more intense urban warfare with these tactics, and the military is showing signs of weakening across the country, raising the possibility that it could actually eventually collapse. For more on the military’s status, see my new article in the Japan Times, available here.