Saturday, June 22, 2024

Entering into a crucial stage of Operation 1027, What’s next?

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It’s been over a month that came into Operation 1027 led by three ethnic rebel groups. Myanmar Junta still struggling to erect in northern Shan State. We quickly glance into news reports over the northern Shan Operation 1027 described as the junta losing in the ground a lightning speed as well as not substantiating wage counter-offensive so far.

Although the three brotherhoods’ success is exceeding the appropriate extent, _ some of the major towns where army garrisons are alive.

Army arranges to rendezvous and prepare in Lashio, the administrative capital and northeast command of the army is there, as Min Aung Hlaing admits his defeats swathe of the northern Shan State.

Major contestations for upcoming weeks. Muse, Nam Kham, Ho Pang, and Laukkai. The notwithstanding lists are currently the rebels trying to capture towns.

Hsi Paw and Hsenwi are hotly contested areas to control roads and cut off logistics and reinforcement routes.

(A) Muse 105-Mile and Nam Kham

Muse is a major border trade town not only for Shan State but for the entire country. The total trade volume of the border post stands at Multi-billion dollars for each year. As of coming into near a month after Operation 1027, the Muse area is still having as a major contested area for both sides.

On the November 23, morning, fighting dragged into Kyin San Kyawt Checkpoints, where in parade of vehicles, caused an outburst and destroyed over a hundred vehicles. A local from Muse said, that owing to the SAC’s regiment 99 forces being there days ago these incidents happened. Later on, Kokang forces declared their capture on that checkpoint. Another source of Muse affirmed these incidents of a convoy of trucks bringing goods into Myanmar from China that has gone up in flames were caused by both sides interactively shooting.

Where are the major points that dominate the whole region?

There are two major strategic outposts to be controlled in the entire Muse area as it is the present situation of the Shan-China border in the northernmost Shan parts.

One is located in Nam Kham Township, the so-called Sa Khan Thit outpost. It is located three miles away from Nam Kham and is set on a hillock. If that falls into rebels, the army will have to concede not only the entire Nam Kham’s urban area but also hand over the dominant position of the road connecting Nam Kham and Nam Phat Khar along the ranges which lies on as a fence of Muse and Nam Kham region.

Another significant development in Nam Kham is a Shan rebel group, Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP/SSA) showed off with his presence crackdown on cyber fraud and scammers in its controlled area in Nam Kham and handed over the captives that are a few dozen to China. It’s been for a couple of years they have been stationed along the China-Shan state border, especially controlling informal Border Gates such as Naung Ma, Mant Hawng villages in Nam Kham and, Mant Hyo town other side of the Ruili river. Mant Hyo is the former regional sub-headquarters of the Communist rebel (Communist Party of Burma). For long days consecutive fighting between both sides (the junta and TNLA) is wearing out. But continued fighting on November 30 and an air force bomb was dropped into Nam Kham.

The second one is located near the 105-mile trade zone of Muse. Since the second week of operation, the TNLA tried to capture this outpost. It is on the wayside of Muse- Lashio- Mandalay major border trade road and where it can take fire up to Kyukoke Pang Hsai, a border town of eastern Muse. The 105-mile trade zone has appeared abandoned since the operation started.

If the two major outposts and camps fall into rebels, the resuming border trade won’t be decided between the agreement of the PRC authority and the SAC regime. Rebel groups’ roles and their position are important to start.

(B) Hopang

Owing to TNLA capturing Mong Kyet base no. 567 light infantry battalion compound with artillery battalion near Salween river bank on November 25, early morning, it is paving the way to control Hopang and Panglong towns of Wa northern region seemingly. But two Light Infantries battalions and a regional operation command No. (1) base there. Among them, No. 145 LIB is precarious and ramshackle. Some of the deserters from the Kun Long battle merged into it. Only LIB 143 and ROC (1) could defense over the rebel allies’ attacks. LIB 145 didn’t make a long shoot to Kokang territory and, now became inactive infantry.

Mong Kyet is located as a defensive line to attack UWSA territory and where it can deter supply lines of rebels alliance connecting with UWSA control area. And then it is an important strategic base for backdoor logistics of Hopang and Panglong which are located eastern parts of the Salween River and enclaved territory under the SAC control adjacent to the Kokang area and UWSA control Wa area.

Fallen of Mong Kyet pan out more hard to retake Kun Lon town for the SAC sides too. Turns of Screws for the SAC is, Nant Sa Lup villages fallen into rebels.

If Ho Pang fallen, UWSA could expand its territory.

Laukkai

MNDAA has surrounded the Kokang administrative capital like the horseshoe. A recent development is the whole army battalion which is based in Kon Kyan township surrendered to the MNDAA Kokang rebel. As a rule, 1006 Border Guard Forces are there and apparently, BGF was being moved into Laukkai. It is not clear to know about BGF leader Yang Zhao Jin along with his troops. Yang is a key commander and the only one experienced player among current Kokang elites who are affiliated with the military junta.

So, the entire town possibly fell into rebels. Kon Kyan is located in the northwest part of Laukkai and is a fence of Kokang territory westward along the Salween River. Owing to flocks fleeing from Lauk Kai, the autonomous zone’s chief under the SAC regime urges people not to leave the town that swathe of conflicts across the region could suffer and meet danger easily.

Meanwhile, Bai Xuo Qiang, Liu Arr Bao, and Wei Sang are in Nay Pyi Daw, and some of their generations are still in Laukkai. Bai Ying Cheng the son of Bai Xuo Qiang will become a key bloc of militias allies.

Hsi-Paw and Hsenwi

Both the two are major contesting areas to control roads and have bridges. TNLA and allies are trying to cut a major highway road connecting to the China border between Lashio and Hsenwi, Hsipaw, and Kyaukme. Whenever the army tried to pave the bridge again, they managed to destroy it. Unfortunately, incidents three days ago, thirty TNLA soldiers were trapped and killed near Hsi Paw township, at Kyin Thi Bridge.

Hsenwi becomes under incessant bombardments and artillery shells dropping town.

Thousands of IDPs are still trapped and dragged as human shields at Kyaung Kham village adjacent to the Regional Operation command (16). Even some of the Prominent religious leaders appealed to Lashio’s base military northeast command to free IDPs but they denied access to them to leave for. Another potential battle town is Kutkai situated north of Hsenwi.

Impact of Operation 1027

The impact of Operation 1027 is too much for the people of Burma. Operation 1111 led by Karenni forces is still on the right track of success. Some observers speculate the projection war fire spread into southern Shan by the linkage of the Karenni Defense Force and Northern alliances. The SSPP/SSA is already in the northern part of Taunggyi, the state administrative capital.

As Sai Wansai points out that the expected speedy downfall of the General Min Aung Hlaing-led military junta or State Administration Council (SAC) may not be around the corner, but the tendency is definitely moving in that direction.

But one most important ingredient that is still missing to make the final push is none other than the solidified ethnic-democratic alliance, which at the moment can be termed as a loose alliance at best, without adequate cooperation and coordination, whose members are pitching at the junta on their initiatives. In other words, there isn’t a political pact and strategic common roadmap on how to end and defeat the military tyrannical rule.

The loose alliance is none other than the so-called Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), Karen National Union (KNU), and Chin National Front (CNF), dubbed (K3C), and the National Unity Government/People’s Defence Force (NUG/PDF). However, it should also be noted that the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) is also part of the ethnic-democratic loose alliance, especially in military operation matters.

Then Rebels have the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) made up of 7 members. The Arakan Army (AA), KIA, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) or Kokang, National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) or Mongla, Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and United Wa State Army (UWSA), of which some are in active combat conflict situation mode with the junta and the others remaining neutral, if not exactly to its definition.

In the lower Burma, KNU area no significant proper attacks have been seen so far except some attacks in Brigade 6 and another stint for the opposition is the growing discontent pace among NUG and its’ led PDF and Local Defense forces. It is accentuated Pha Kha Pha ( Local Defense forces who are not under the control of the NUG ) are more inactive in fighting against the Junta.

(C) Where’s been the stage of 1027?

It may be a crucial stage for both sides. I speculate within two weeks fighting results can change the conflict’s landscape.

Meanwhile, the SAC is preparing in Lashio and trying to attack Hsenwi town to get road access, they intend to defend from the inner circle of Laukkai, Nam Kham, and the 105-mile strategic outpost of Muse.

At the same time, the rebel allies were trying to capture those three cities’ major camps and garrisons.

If these attacks got through as their purpose, the SAC will suffer not only military and administrative losses; but economic problems too. For instance, new stakeholders inevitably emerge to resume the border trade deal. Even the SAC prepares to launch counterattacks but they are still being anticipated.

Considerations

Mediation standpoint, the SAC is poised to concede Mong Ko the border town handover to MNDAA. But it could spark tension between KIA and MNDAA (Kokang) because Mong Ko was the old Kachin sub-state of North-Hsenwi State and the demographic ratio is equal to Kokang (Chinese) and Kachin in the area.

In Nam Kham, the SAC is stoic to stand out for TNLA’s offensives. Both sides are wearing off. The junta trying to drive a wedge between the Shan people and the three brotherhood alliances. In Nam Kam, the Shan demographic is around 60,000 and Ta’ang is 40,000. But military and group survival needs, TNLA views to do the town to be dragged into their control. Some analysts point out that Operation 1027 could increase inter-ethnic tensions and conflicts. The shifting balance of power in northern Shan State is alarming Shan communities and armed groups, who see their ethnic rivals such as the Ta’ang and Kokang gaining strength and expanding their territory into Shan populated areas. The SAC attempt to wedge among MNDAA and local Kachin is likely to be failed because some local Kachin organizations met with MNDAA in Mong Ko and they appeal to them to rule not to discriminate among different communities.

As China takes on a mediation role, the Chinese government will retain its non-interference policy continue. It is a deniable fact China has already got Jackpot as it is not sure who are winners of the current Operation 1027 are. From anti-China sentiments dwindling among the people of Myanmar up to the SAC having to grovel over them. But many problems remain in China-Burma relations too.

Major rival two Shan armed groups taking cease-fire is early to take judgment because of this resistance groups don’t make decisions based on majority consent only a leader or leadership wish and whim. It seems both Shan armies are calculating the cost-benefit.

It is undeniable facts of the sleeping Shan people are awakened by laterally fierce battles crossing their homeland. The SAC regime wants to exploit Inter-Shan groups’ ceasefire announcement offsetting using Shan armed groups as proxies to balance their failures in Shan State.

In the regime’s military realms, some mechanism is becoming significantly dented and the morale of military personnel are low. But it doesn’t mean they are heading to completely collapse. From then November 28 to December 13 that length of time will determine North-East Burma’s conflict dynamic.

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