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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 11-Apr-2021
11-Apr-21 World View -- Myanmar ethnic groups in Shan State launch coordinated attack on Burmese military

Web Log - April, 2021

11-Apr-21 World View -- Myanmar ethnic groups in Shan State launch coordinated attack on Burmese military

Peaceful protests continue in cities across Myanmar, heading for catastrophe

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Myanmar ethnic groups in Shan State launch coordinated attack on Burmese military

Burmese soldiers in Shan State after an attack by ethnic groups in 2019 (AFP)
Burmese soldiers in Shan State after an attack by ethnic groups in 2019 (AFP)

An alliance of ethnic armies in Myanmar / Burma on Saturday attacked a military police station in Shan State, killing at least 10 policemen. The attackers were from an alliance that includes the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army. Normally, these ethnic groups oppose each other, and occasionally fight each other, but this is the first time that they've allied, in the face of the army coup, which makes this very significant.

As we've been expecting, the Myanmar / Burma military crackdown on peaceful civilian protesters, following the coup that replaced the democratically elected government with a dictatorial military junta, is rapidly turning into a full scale civil war, involving multiple ethnic groups.

This situation is growing into a repeat of Burma's last generational crisis war, an extremely bloody civil war (1948-1958) following independence, and involving multiple ethnic groups, along with intervention by the Chinese.

This attack on the police station outpost in Shan State seems to me to have special significance, in view of the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the ethnic Rohingyas in previous years.

Repeating the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslim Rohingyas

Starting in 2011, Buddhists began attacking Muslim Rohingyas in villages across Burma, particularly the 1.1 million ethnic Rohingyas in Rakhine State. Mobs of Buddhists attacked Muslims, conducting atrocities including torture and rape, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes to flee from the attacks. In some cases, the Buddhists burned down entire Rohingya villages to the ground.

However, the most horrific Buddhist violence against the Rohingyas began after August 25, 2017, when Rohingya insurgents carried out a series of coordinated attacks against 30 Burma police outposts and an army base. Using knives, some guns and homemade explosives they killed at least a dozen Burmese security force members.

The army responded with a sweep of violence against Rohingyas, causing thousands of them to flee their villages and head for the Bangladesh border, where they hoped to cross and reach a refugee camp. The Burmese army shot them as they were fleeing, including women and children, killing dozens. The attack on the police posts was the beginning of mass genocide and ethnic cleansing.

This is a standard pattern used by genocidal autocrats. I've described how this works in detail in "12-Jan-21 World View -- America and the standard Genocide Playbook". Autocratic regimes use an isolated terrorist incident as an excuse to conduct a massive overreaction against an entire group. In America, the Democrats are using the January 6 incident to declare that all 74 million Trump supporters are racists, white supremacists and terrorists, and are using that as an excuse for massive censorship and extrajucicial arrests.

So in Myanmar, we now have a situation similar to the one on August 25, 2017, when Rohingyas attacked police outposts. Saturday's attack by ethnic groups -- the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army -- could well bring about a repeat of what happened to the Rohingyas. We should know within the next few days.

The unifying of different ethnic groups is being described as highly significant by analysts. Over the decades, since the last crisis war, the Burmese military has been able to deal with the different ethnic groups separately, and after the February 1 coup, the military negotiated with each one to keep them out of the fighting. But now it's clear that has failed, and we can expect all out war with the ethnic groups.

These groups are on the border with China, and there are many people of Chinese ancestry living in Shan State. So this may be the trigger that leads to intervention by the Chinese, although the Chinese will not intervene unless events force them to.

War with the Karen ethnic group on the Myanmar / Thailand border

As a separate issue, Burmese regime fighter jets have been dropping bombs on ethnic Karens in territory controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU), as we reported last week. The Karens are the largest ethnic group in Burma. The bombing began on March 27 and has continued almost every day. It was triggered by an attack by the KNU on a military barracks outpost, killing 20.

Some 10,000 Karens have fled across the border into Thailand to escape the violence. This is not new. In the 1990s, a war between the preceding Burmese military junta and the Karens led to some 100,000 refugees in camps along the border between the two countries. This has caused a political problem for the Thai government, which is also led by a military junta that overthrew a democratically elected government in 2014. (See the following: "23-May-14 World View -- Thailand's army seizes power in major victory for 'yellow shirt' elites")

Thailand's last generational crisis war (the Cambodian Killing Fields war) climaxed in 1979, so Thailand is in a generational Unraveling era, with little chance of a new ethnic civil war at this time. (Burma, of course, is well into a generational Crisis era.) Therefore, Thailand's coup did not lead to civil war, but Burma's coup is doing so.

So the thousands of refugees pouring into Thailand present a problem for the Thai military junta, who basically are aligned with the Burmese military junta. So even though Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has assured that "human rights will be respected," the result is that many of the Karen civilians fleeing violence by crossing the border into Thailand are being pushed back into Myanmar by the Thai police.

There are also refugees pouring into India and China.

Peaceful protests continue in cities across Myanmar, heading for catastrophe

There were peaceful protests in multiple cities across Myanmar on Saturday, with large marches in Yangon and Mandalay.

This despite the fact that on Friday, 80 peaceful protesters were killed by the army in random gunfire in the city of Bago, near Yangon. The army had thought that escalating violence would cause the protests to fizzle out, as they did in 2007, during Burma's generational Unraveling era. But they're not going to fizzle out now, in a generational Crisis era.

News reports from Myanmar these days are just filled with more details about the army slaughtering innocent unarmed civiians. Analysts say that the solution is for the UN Security Council to pass a resolution, which is hilariously laughable. Others say that the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) should hold a meeting, which is also laughable. I heard one analyst say that the United States has to intervene militarily to stop the carnage. That guy must have been hopped up on some of the drugs currently pouring into the USA through the open southern border.

Both Russia and China are supplying weapons to the Burmese junta, and neither country would be willing to take any step to end the carnage.

So the bottom line is this: I cannot think of a scenario, nor have I read or heard of a scenario, that will stop the violence in Myanmar / Burma from escalating into a full-scale multi-ethnic civil war in the next few days, weeks and months. Like a Greek tragedy, the characters in this play are heading unstoppably into a catastrophe of their own making. After that, the only question is whether it will spread to other countries, and whether it will be the trigger that leads to a new world war.


Related articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Apr-2021) Permanent Link
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