October 26-November 1, 2023 | Issue 38 - PACOM & Extremism Teams
Hae Lim Park, Maria M Laka, Martina Pagani, Ektoras Papadimitriou, William Bos, Ignacio Minuesa
Christina Valdez, Editor; Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam, Senior Editor
Shan State in Myanmar
Date: October 27, 2023
Location: Northern Shan State, Myanmar
Parties involved: Myanmar; the ethnic armed organization based in Rakhine State, Arakan Army (AA); the armed wing of the Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA); the ethnic Kokang armed group, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA); Myanmar Junta (Tatmadaw); National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG); armed wing of the NUG, People’s Defense Force (PDF); ethnic armed groups across the country
The event: The Brotherhood Alliance, comprised of the AA, MNDAA, and TNLA ethnic armed groups, launched simultaneous attacks against the Myanmar regime army and pro-junta militias in the northern area of the Shan State, Myanmar. Their goal is to eliminate the military dictatorship and establish democracy.
Analysis & Implications:
The attacks will likely divert the junta's military and financial resources from other priorities, likely deploying more troops and investing in additional military equipment to counter the threat posed by the Brotherhood Alliance. Resource allocation to the conflict in northern Shan will likely weaken the junta's capacity to address other internal challenges, including maintaining control in other regions where opposition forces may be active, addressing economic issues, and providing basic services to the population. A disgruntled population may be very unlikely to support the junta, likely resulting in increased domestic opposition and resistance.
The junta is unlikely to militarily defeat the Brotherhood Alliance due to strained resources and prioritization of other threats such as the PDF. The junta will likely employ additional counterinsurgency tactics to suppress Alliance activities, very likely relying on local allied militia for operations such as raids on rebel bases and assassinations of members to hinder the insurgent groups' ability for large-scale coordinated action. The junta will likely try to foment infighting between Alliance members by co-opting armed groups to change sides, very likely through material incentives and political concessions.
Date: October 29, 2023
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Parties involved: Bangladesh; Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina; Bangladesh’s main opposition party, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP); BNP leader Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir; BNP former leader Khaled Zia; Bangladesh police and law enforcement officials; ruling political party in Bangladesh, Awami League; journalists in Bangladesh
The event: Alamgir and at least 164 high-ranking BNP members have been arrested and charged with the murder of a police officer killed on Saturday during violent anti-government protests in Dhaka. Alamgir assumed the party’s leadership after Zia was jailed on corruption charges. The rivalry between Zia and Hasina has held a prominent role in Bangladeshi politics for several years. Hasina has ruled since 2009 and has been criticized by the opposition for allegedly persecuting activists and political opponents. The BNP has held frequent protests calling for her resignation ahead of elections scheduled for January 2024.
Analysis & Implications:
The arrests of BNP’s leadership are unlikely to dissuade BNP supporters from demonstrating against the government, almost certainly leading to renewed protests decrying what they perceive as politically motivated prosecutions. Protesters will very likely engage in vandalism, riots with security forces, and clashes with Awami League supporters. BNP activists will likely target individuals perceived as colluding with the government to imprison the party’s leaders, such as high-ranking police officers, judges, and prosecutors.
The government will almost certainly use various methods to suppress the political opposition as thousands of activists and supporters have been detained and arrested, likely leading to human rights abuses. The police will very likely employ force to disperse future protests, very likely increasing the chances of additional demonstrators being killed. Security personnel will likely harass and arrest journalists unsupportive of the government to suppress the press and control the circulation of information against the ruling party in the media. Other elements of internal security will likely engage in arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances of opposition activists.
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 Shan State in Myanmar by TUBS licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
 Ethnic Alliance Attacks Myanmar Junta Targets Across Northern Shan, Irrawaddy, October 2023, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/war-against-the-junta/ethnic-alliance-attacks-myanmar-junta-targets-across-northern-shan.html
 Bangladesh Charges Opposition Party Leadership With Murder, Voice of America, October 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/bangladesh-charges-opposition-party-leadership-with-murder/7332485.html
 Bangladesh opposition chief Alamgir arrested after clashes, BBC, October 2023, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-67257142.amp