Death throes of a dictatorship? (William Fear, 26 February, 2024, The Critic)

Since it seized power in February 2021, Myanmar’s military — known as the Tatmadaw — has been facing heavy armed resistance from an array of ethnic-minority and pro-democracy militant groups. The coup was mounted following a landslide election victory by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy in November of 2020. Much like they did in 1990, the Tatmadaw declared the result false, threw Aung San Suu Kyi back under house arrest, and assumed power themselves.

At first, the people of Myanmar protested against the coup peacefully, but the situation quickly degenerated into violent clashes between protestors and police. A civil war quickly followed, as the military attempted to suppress the numerous militant groups that emerged in opposition to the junta.

Although the military still controls most major population centres, they are losing ground. The reason why is not entirely military-related: Myanmar’s army is well supplied with Russian and Chinese materiel. A more fundamental problem is afflicting the Tatmadaw: collapsing morale, and an inability to recruit new soldiers.