When Myanmar’s ruling military announced last week that it was issuing a partial pardon for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, it seemed a sign that the regime might be preparing to loosen its grip and perhaps even compromise with the opposition. That optimistic interpretation, however, is being rejected by many Myanmar observers.
When Myanmar’s junta responded to peaceful demonstrations against their 2021 coup with a bloody crackdown, the opposition turned to armed resistance. In recent months, the conflict has been escalating, and the ruthlessness of Myanmar’s military has greatly intensified. Still mostly below the world’s radar, Myanmar’s civil war is raging.
Almost two and a half years since the February 2021 coup, Myanmar’s military junta is losing control of much of the country. Having already lost large swathes of territory to ethnic militias and People’s Defense Militias, it now faces threats even in the biggest cities, where it had until recently maintained a degree of brutal control.