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SRI LANKAN LAWMAKERS APPROVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMMENDMENT AND MYANMAR MINORITY GROUP LAUNCHES OFFENSIVE

October 21-26, 2022 | Issue 24 - PACOM

Alison Ward, Julia Pereira, PACOM Team

John Smith, Editor; Demetrios Giannakaris, Senior Editor



Anti-government Protest in Sri Lanka[1]


Date: October 21, 2022

Location: Sri Lanka

Parties involved: Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe; Sri Lankan government; Sri Lankan military; Sri Lankan police forces; Sri Lankan population

The event: Sri Lankan lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment limiting presidential powers, including appointing officials, establishing a constitutional council responsible for recommending presidential candidates to the president, and not allowing the president to hold any Cabinet positions except defense. The government claimed that the amendment reinstates democratic reforms and would help ensure the independence of the public service and judiciary. Despite the government’s efforts to reduce corruption, mass public protests continue to occur due to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and discontent with Sri Lanka’s lack of government transparency.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Demonstrators will very likely remain skeptical of Wickremesinghe’s corruption reform efforts due to the continued attacks against demonstrators by Sri Lanka’s military and security forces. Anti-government protests will very likely continue to hold Sri Lanka’s government accountable for essential goods shortages, such as food, fuel, and medicine. Sri Lanka’s military will likely continue to raid and remove protest camps arresting demonstrators, likely causing violent clashes and injuries. Sri Lanka’s government will likely order the arrests and charge demonstrators with criminal offenses despite unlawful arrests by security forces.

  • Despite the government’s renewed commitment to corruption reform, Sri Lanka’s economic crisis will very likely worsen due to the country’s failure to pay off international loans and lack of accountability for human rights violations, damaging its reputation and very likely preventing countries from providing additional resources to the country. The healthcare system will likely collapse due to shortages of internationally sourced medical supplies, likely causing hospital patients not to receive timely treatments and leaving the system vulnerable to sudden shocks like increased political violence, very likely requiring humanitarian aid from international organizations. Organizations and foreign governments will very likely be reluctant to extend investments, likely causing political and economic conditions to worsen.

Date: October 21, 2022

Location: Kawkareik Town, Kayin State, Myanmar

Parties involved: Karen National Liberation Army; Karen National Union; junta; Myanmar citizen; NGO

The event: On Friday, October 21, rebels from Myanmar's Karen ethnic minority launched an anti-government offensive to seize Kawkareik town in the east of the country. The fighting began with a surprise attack by at least five Karen rebel groups that claimed responsibility for attacks on military targets, administrative offices, government personnel housing, and police stations. Government forces retaliated with aerial and ground-based bombardment.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Due to the junta's increasing attacks, executions, and human rights violations, the rebels will almost certainly continue to target government facilities to inflict retaliatory damage on the junta. These actions will very likely cause worsening clashes between the junta and rebels, with the junta increasing its weapons purchase from Russia and Belarus, such as artillery, mines, and helicopters. The junta's weapons purchase will very likely destroy villages and facilities and will very likely result in increased attacks on innocent individuals mistaken for rebels. The rebels will almost certainly continue purchasing illegal weapons such as AK22 carbines and drones from neighboring countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos and will very likely manufacture improvised mortars to enable long-range attacks against the junta.

  • NGOs will likely continue to call for international assistance and demand to implement sanctions against Myanmar for the continued human rights violations, sexual violence, and extrajudicial executions and arrests of citizens. Local criminality is very likely to rise due to the conflict and a lack of essential resources and institutional assistance, very likely leading locals to take part in gang activity and causing an escalation of indiscriminate attacks, drug exchanges, and human trafficking very likely posing further threats to local communities. Myanmar citizens will very likely suffer from damage to their homes and a lack of resources such as food and medical supplies, very likely leading to internal and external displacement to nearby cities or border countries such as Bangladesh and Thailand.

 

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)


[1] “Anti-government protest in Sri Lanka 2022” by AntanO licenced under Public Domain

[2] Sri Lankan lawmakers vote to trim presidential powers, AP, October 2022, https://apnews.com/article/sri-lanka-government-and-politics-business-biden-cabinet-constitutions-61eaebea9453d1ce0b8a81b9c10c32e7

[3] Ethnic Karen rebels attack key town in eastern Myanmar, AP, October 2022, https://apnews.com/article/myanmar-government-and-politics-8e32224af90eea6a97e7c47ee126fa30



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