“two years on, 3,000 civilians have reportedly been killed by the Tatmadaw, though the number of civilian deaths caused by both the junta and the resistance is likely higher. The airstrike is also indicative of the junta’s determination to retain power no matter the cost, despite its inability to maintain territorial control.
Though Myanmar has a long history of brutal and repressive military rule, the stunning violence of the current regime has made it “the worst regime in Southeast Asia since the Khmer Rouge,” according to former US Ambassador to Myanmar Scot Marciel, referring to Pol Pot’s murderous dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s.
The junta, or Tatmadaw as it’s called in Myanmar, has solidified the country’s status as a pariah state with its repressive tactics and scorched-earth military attacks. Yet it has stated its plans to hold elections this year in order to legitimize its control of the government on the international stage — or at least make an attempt to do so.”
“opposition to military rule has morphed from protests to outright conflict, as armed factions aligned with Myanmar’s many ethnic groups battle government forces for territorial control. Though many groups fight under the banner of the shadow government, the National Unity Government (NUG), the opposition has thus far proven ineffective at — and perhaps uninterested in — building the coalitions necessary to create a future democratic government, according to David Scott Mathieson, an independent analyst.”
“Given that the Tatmadaw controls all of Myanmar’s state enterprises, including the oil, mining, and timber industries, it can — and will — continue its horrific campaign as long as those resources hold out, even as that battle plunges the country into extreme poverty.
According to a 2022 report from the UN OHCHR, the Tatmadaw government “has collapsed in many areas nationwide, the public health system has effectively broken down, and more than half of all school-aged children have not accessed education for two academic years.” Ye Myo Hein, a global fellow at the Wilson Center and visiting fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, tweeted in late March regarding the fuel cuts and energy crisis affecting Myanmar, noting that, “The country has been experiencing increasingly frequent and disruptive power cuts — up to 14 and 15 hours a day in some areas.”
But neither side has the impetus to negotiate a solution so that Myanmar can rebuild its society and economy, nor does either have a particularly convincing vision for the future. If the Tatmadaw does manage to hold elections, they will be a sham and will convince few besides themselves of their mandate to govern.
Should the resistance somehow outlast or defeat the regime, it will have to grow from a symbolic government-in-exile to a unifying political force capable of not only rebuilding the nation and its economy, but also establishing a diverse governing coalition that reflects the Burmese people’s interests.”
“The scale of the destruction makes quick repairs impossible. Replacement parts are not often readily available. Energy infrastructure also remains vulnerable: A lot of it is big and out in the open; once hit by a missile and fixed, it can be hit again. “It’s not possible to repair quickly after it’s been damaged,” said Volodymyr Shulmeister, founder of the Infrastructure Council NGO and former first deputy minister of infrastructure of Ukraine from 2014 to 2015. “There were some spare parts, some electric power stations has been repaired, but there will be new problems coming from the air.”
That is on top of all the other destruction Ukraine accumulated in months and months of war: houses and apartment buildings, bridges, roads, railways. There is always collateral damage in conflict, but Russia’s attacks on non-military critical and energy infrastructure are intentional. “This is not a new tactic for Russia,” said John Spencer, a retired Army officer and chair of urban warfare studies at the Madison Policy Forum. “If you think about what they did in Chechnya, and in Syria, to basically bring the civilian population to such despair that they’re willing to capitulate.”
Moscow’s targeting of infrastructure, which some have argued amounts to war crimes, is an effort to undermine Ukraine’s economy and deprive people of essential services — heat, water, electricity — as winter approaches. Russia is struggling against Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the east and south, and so Moscow is trying to extend the war and spread out that pain across Ukraine, not just in war zones. All of it will make Ukraine even more reliant on aid from the West, which is dealing with its own inflation and energy crises. “Russians are actually now acting very cruel, but also in a very well-thought-through way,” said Andriy Kobolyev, former chief executive officer of Ukraine’s largest national oil and gas company Naftogaz.
In areas closer to the fighting, the infrastructure destruction is even more extreme, but also harder to fully assess. Zelenskyy accused Russian troops of destroying “all the critical infrastructure: communications, water, heat, electricity,” before retreating from Kherson last week. In Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine, Russia cut off the city’s water supply months ago; salt water had run through the taps for months, and potable water is now just being restored. Zelenskyy said in early November, before the latest round of air strikes, that Russian attacks damaged about 40 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure; precise data on how badly and where is hard to get, in part because Ukraine is closely guarding that information as a matter of national security.”
“Israeli forces launched a preemptive strike against PIJ targets on August 5, Reuters reported, after one of the group’s leaders, Bassam al-Saadi, was arrested in the Occupied West Bank. Israel claims to have hit a number of PIJ targets. However, several civilians, including 17 children, were killed in the clashes, both by Israeli weapons and possibly by errant PIJ rockets intended for Israeli targets. A ceasefire brokered by Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, the US, the UN, and the Palestinian Authority between Israel and the PIJ last Sunday has thus far held; however, an attack on worshipers in Jerusalem’s Old City late on Sunday could portend more violence. At least eight people, including US citizens, were injured in the attack, which was allegedly carried out by a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, according to Israeli authorities. They have not yet released his name, and there is no indication that he is affiliated with any larger group, according to Reuters.
Despite the ceasefire, the aftermath of even short-term hostilities in Gaza goes far beyond active bombardments and shelling; the combination of years of violence, a brutal blockade, and state repression has created an enduring crisis. What’s more, there’s little chance to recover before violence breaks out again.
According to initial UN reporting, 360 Palestinians have been injured in the fighting, and Gazans experienced a tightened Israeli blockade of goods and services that led to 20-plus-hour rolling blackouts each day. There were no Israeli deaths or serious injuries, the Associated Press reported”
“The Gaza strip is home to around 2 million Palestinians and has been governed by Hamas since 2007, when the group took control from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank. The two groups have had no success in creating a unity government over the past 15 years, despite repeated attempts, weakening the Palestinian resistance and further disenfranchising ordinary Palestinians. Although Fatah and Hamas agreed to hold elections in 2021, which would be the first since 2006, those elections have been postponed indefinitely.”
“U.S. special forces carried out what the Pentagon said was a large-scale counterterrorism raid in northwestern Syria early Thursday. First responders at the scene reported 13 people were killed, including six children and four women.
Residents said helicopters flew overhead and U.S. forces clashed with gunmen for more than two hours around a two-story house surrounded by olive trees. They described continuous gunfire and explosions that jolted the sleepy village of Atmeh near the Turkish border, an area dotted with camps for internally displaced people from Syria’s civil war.
The Pentagon did not identify the target of the raid. “The mission was successful,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a brief statement. “There were no U.S. casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”
A journalist on assignment for The Associated Press and several residents said they saw body parts scattered near the site of the raid, a house in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province. Most residents spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
It was the largest raid in the province since the 2019 Trump-era U.S. assault that killed the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”