Joint forces synchronized attacks across the northern Shan state on 27th October 2023. At least 6 townships, overall ten towns were under attack. Armed attacks against Myanmar military authorities aim to disrupt the sending of reinforcements to the northern border region with China. The need to understand the attacks behind the motives, in the context of considering facts, and underlying factors is unclear when we look into popular news departments mentioned about it.
There are several factors as follows:
- MNDAA Kokang is one of among groups who vow to retake Kokang Land. They lost their land over a decade ago. In 2009 August, the Army launched a brief incursion into Kokang and Peng Jiasheng and his army were forced to flee into the Golden Triangle. At first, he tried to refuge in Thailand approaching General Yerk Serk, the RCSS/SSA pro-Thai Shan rebel group. But it didn’t get through. Later on, he settled on the China-Burma Border and Laos came and went. 2015 Kokang resumed war causing much surprise for the people across the country. Reemerging MNDAA Kokang rebels soon after, they inflicted heavy casualties on the Army.
- The late Kokang leader Peng Jia Sheng has been urged to form an ethnic front comprised of ethnic armed groups. This time MNDAA reidentified and promoted this issue as a prior task work to annihilate the military dictator. This time isn’t the first time MNDAA urging to form a coalition front to fight back against the Junta.
- Fortuitous, post-coup Myanmar situations are rather chaotic and the central government’s centrality is plunging down. They managed to capitalize post-coup security vacuum and recruit new combatants based on the youths who were the animosity of the Junta. PLA (People Liberation Army founded by Leftist youths), BPLA (Burma People Liberation Army), Several PDF forces, and KNDF (Karenni Nationalities Defence Force) altogether over a thousand guerillas were trained by the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA Kokang). Besides, they would expand up to four military divisions. Roughly estimated, their strengths reach about Five thousand and three of Arakan Army’s infantry co-attach with under military division 611 brigade. Since over the NUG declared people defense war in 2021, some battalions of MNDAA have tried to capture Mong Koe, a border Town of the China-Shan State border and a former Communist rebel’s headquarter. Their attacks in 2021 had 7 infantries of 77 light infantry divisions of the Myanmar army decimated.
- It is on the contrary, when we compare current circumstances and 2015 resume Kokang battles. At that time of 2015, the Myanmar army got the cheerful support of the majority of Burmese people stem of Burmese chauvinism and Nationalism due to they have anti-Chinese sentiments. Now, the people of Burma have deafening applause on MDAA led alliance forces’ attacks. PDF guerillas become major forces in current battles.
- Kokang MNDAA is among groups who are savvy about the People Republic of China’s policy. They are justifying this time attack to rout the online scammers who are based in the Kokang Autonomous area. It’s been a long China authorities dissatisfied the presence of illicit activities especially over online scammers and frauds.
The first and foremost is the failure of the Kokang BGF to end the scamming and trafficking of Chinese nationals. The MNDAA is framing the operation around this for that reason. It would become a stone-kill-two-birds method to meet their goal. The PRC authority of Yunnan put on pressure the Kokang autonomous region ‘s ruling classes, who are backing border guard forces bloc, to relinquish power.
In the 2009 Kokang incident, owing to getting the green light from China before the operation upon MNDAA, so, the Myanmar army easily captured the entire Kokang Region. The current situation is much different, Kokang Special autonomous region’s major tycoons are being detained in China. The MNDAA grasped the opportunity. Otherwise, MNDAA leaders’ relatives ruling the Mongla region is a good exemplification to the China PRC. There are plenty of Gambling businesses in Mongla, but no online scammers are there and they don’t need any extraditions to China regarding Online scammer cases.
“China is indignant and intolerant of online scammers issues significantly, but they realize the SAC regime can’t tackle this issue well and feel the SAC doing phlegmatic. So, they decide to do more harsh means or accelerate pressure either directly or indirectly. If happen to need, they will be heedless to use by-hook by-crook means”, a scholar of Yunnan University remark.
- In the context of China’s policy to be reset about the Myanmar affair, an ethnic Chinese rebel group could be involved as their bit anytime. Denial of China’s agenda to form an interim government led by former President Thein Sein would lead to more emphasis on pushing pressure on the SAC regime. Even the China special envoy have taken part recent show-off peace conference initiated by the SAC regime, but they didn’t put any pressure on northern Burma rebels who are from the China-Myanmar Border.
A new front emerging in the northeast Myanmar region, the SAC gaining more dilemmas than ever. Using its’ mediation role, the PRC China could frame its’ reset agenda to get a breakthrough and settle the post-coup turmoil of Myanmar as its framework which is politically not popular among Myanmar people.
- MNDAA using tactics are rather exquisites and techniques too. They can use much of drones and night vision spectacles too. It should take suspect fact without China’s backdoor support whether they can afford to attack such a costliest war. Ostensibly, Troops were sent and multiple attacks of a swathe of Northern Shan state’s townships__ but their target is quite clear; so that they may get to seize the entire Kokang region. They managed to simultaneously cut and control a major road connecting with China border and the Kokang Area as well as crossroad towns and overrun the Kokang region to be recaptured.
Much of the Roads connecting with the Kokang region are under the control of the MNDAA-led alliance force, and MNDAA claimed it seized several important strategic positions. Fortunately for them, the SAC relies on ramshackle militia blocs as major security roles in the regions and most of the military personnel of militia groups are likely to become defectors when it comes to proper battles to be faced.
Besides, the Kokang region is located eastern part of the Salween River, and the ranges and river are surrounded as a fence of the entire region. If that happens control of Lauk Kai, the capital of the Kokang region fall into MNDAA forces and rebel allies force continue to have the capability of deterring and threatening major roads as it were, the Kokang rebel will retake and control the whole Kokang region. Their tactic is first stage is to cut out, the second stage for operation and seizing on major bases or strategic infantries, and the third one is to seize a major base such as Lauk Kai.
These multiple joint attacks throwback to the 1960s’ the Communist Party of Burma made incursion into Northern Shan. At the time they had quickly seized the current battle field of Kutkai and Muse townships area, and then they occupied the entire Kokang area led by current MNDAA’s founders Peng Jiasheng and Peng JiaPhu brothers.
Including Kokang region and current Fighting areas set along China’s strategic projects area too.
Note* The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.