Although this group has “democratic” in their name, I would not consider them part of the modern PDF and there is zero percent likelihood they would bend the knee and act on NUG’s behalf. The Wikipedia read on MNDAA is awesome. It’s ironic that the acronym sounds like something out of a drug lab.
…The rebels soon became the first group to agree to a ceasefire with the government troops. Thus the Burmese government refers to the Kokang region controlled by the MNDAA as “Shan State Special Region 1”, indicating the MNDAA was the first group in the area of Shan State to sign a ceasefire agreement. After the ceasefire, the area underwent an economic boom, with both the MNDAA and regional Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) troops profiting from increased opium harvests and heroin-refining. The area also produces methamphetamine. The MNDAA and other paramilitary groups control the cultivation areas, making them an easy target for drug trafficking and organised crime groups. The Peace Myanmar Group allegedly launders and reinvests MNDAA’s drug profits into the legal economy.
In short, this is likely a drug war with both sides competing for control of the crop yield and the three major ethnic armies in that area taking as much advantage as possible to expand in this window of time in which the tatmadaw troops are spread like butter.
The British Museum’s exhibition Burma to Myanmar is now open and closes on 11th February.
There’s a huge uptick in violence in Rakhine State.
Meanwhile in Northwestern Myanmar, the regime attacked a refugee camp occupied by Christian Kachins. They’re facing criticism (for whatever good it will do).
Good of The Diplomat to point out the vital roles played by non combatant women supporting the anti-coup. Clarifying this in the headline was correct - women are also taking up arms.
More context was provided on Shan State in the “big losses” BBC article posted by @vermes82. This both supports the “this is significant” contention other pieces and what I mentioned about territory expansion & narcotics interests. But now…scam centers.
What makes this attack even more significant is that it marks the first time that the well-armed insurgents operating in Shan State have explicitly aligned themselves and their military operations with the wider campaign to overthrow the junta and restore democratic rule.
However, there are other factors at play. These three insurgent groups have long-held ambitions to expand the territory they hold. And crucially China, which normally acts as a restraining influence on all the groups along its border with Myanmar, has not prevented this operation from going ahead.
That is probably because of its frustration over the military government’s inaction over the scam centres which have proliferated in Shan State. Thousands of Chinese citizens and other foreigners have been forced to work in these scam centres. The insurgents say one of their aims is to close them down.
The piece gets better. Re-shared link. Terrific read!
Edit: Something I hadn’t gotten wind of this summer is that a person charged in the plot to assassinate Kyaw Moe Tun (the UN Ambassador) was convicted in July after an 8 day trial. He faces up to 5 years in prison and will be sentenced in March 2024.