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The anniversary of the Myanmar coup and sanctions against the junta

The UK, US and Canada have imposed new sanctions on the military of Myanmar (formerly Burma). Canadian sanctions prohibit the export, sale, supply or shipment of aviation fuel to Myanmar; British sanctions have focused on companies and individuals associated with the Asia Sun group, which “supplies the Myanmar Air Force with fuel”, while US sanctions mainly target the senior management of Myanmar’s Ministry of Energy, Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). The sanctions were announced two years after the February 2021 coup in which Myanmar’s military overthrew the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Air strikes have become a new, deadly and almost daily tactic in Myanmar’s civil war, where the military junta is trying to suppress determined opposition. Myanmar residents light candles in protest, calling for an end to operations. In September, the Special Advisory Council on Myanmar estimated that the junta has stable control over only 17% of the country – while opposition groups have effective authority over more than 52%. However, the junta’s ability to carry out air strikes and its proximity to Russia and China give it a serious advantage. Nevertheless, anti-military movements in Myanmar remain cautiously optimistic, claiming that the air strikes are a sign of the junta’s weakness rather than its strength.

While the regime has not come close to consolidating power in the country, it also does not appear to be close to collapsing. Some figures put the death toll – civilian and military – at more than 20,000 in 2022. A new analysis published by Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, found that there have been around 10,000 attacks and armed clashes between the military and opponents since the putsch. Between July and December 2022, violent incidents were reported in at least 78% of municipalities. (Outriders Podcast on the situation in Myanmar and the media).

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