At the gates of Burma, support for the junta is crumbling

Three years after the coup from 1er February 2021, military setbacks wiped out by the Burmese junta stunned Burma’s big neighbors which are China, India and Thailand. It is on their borders with Myanmar, along this ethnic periphery which entered into armed conflict after bringing together opponents from all over the country, that most of the fighting is taking place today, while it is increasing on their territories the incursions of routed Burmese soldiers.

These states had chosen, if not to support, not to upset the putschist general Min Aung Hlaing. But the speed with which the Burmese army, the Tatmadaw, is losing ground is upsetting this status quo. Its support, ambiguous but essential, are crumbling, without the military and diplomatic aid provided by Russia appearing to be able to change the situation.

An alliance of ethnic guerrillas won a highly symbolic victory on January 5 by seizing Laukkai, a junta stronghold located in the borders of Shan State, at the gates of China. Beijing, always keen to preserve the stability of its border, convinced the belligerents to sign a third ceasefire on January 11. But nothing indicates that the latter will be more successful than the previous ones. And the rebels are now heading inland: they have taken up positions around the town of Lashio and on an axis leading to Taunggyi, the capital of Shan.

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Ironically, China – until recently considered a supporter of the junta – is no stranger to the fall of this state and a portion of the country (35 cities) under the control of the armed opposition. In February 2021, she took note of the “cabinet reshuffle” occurred in Burma, taking care not to denounce a coup d’état. Two and a half years later, and when the guerrillas were already threatening Laukkai, the tone changed. Beijing did not bother with any precautions in issuing arrest warrants, in November and December 2023, against leaders of the region accused of links to organized crime. The message is then unequivocal: Chinese patience has its limits. For months now, the junta has been summoned, in vain, to eradicate the online scam centers that proliferate along its border, enrich Chinese mafias and ruin the lives of thousands of their compatriots by engaging in fraud. , kidnappings, assaults and murders.

Lax attitude towards “criminal gangs”

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