China, Russia backing Tatmadaw Coup to annoy US or fell in a hole?

“The recent military weapon supplies and logistics support to the Myanmar Army (a.k.a ‘Tatmadaw’) from China and Russia beg serious questions.  The context for those questions is the Tatmadaw slaughtering its civilians—over 300 this weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to sources on the ground— as part of a military coup that began 1 February,” suggested  Moshe Karem, a respected military analyst in an interview from Jerusalem, Israel.

by Melissa Hemingway


“In my view, shared by many other military and foreign affairs analysts, this coup is all about the Generals of the Tatmadaw, led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing,  looking for a twisted impunity from International Criminal Court life sentences for up to a dozen senior ranks and up to a hundred of the lower ranks for their ethnic crimes and genocide, since 2016,” said the analyst.

“I do not believe that allies Russia and China, with the Tatmadaw will come to the negotiating table with any kind of sincerity. The Generals are fighting to keep their freedom and stay in control of their ill-gotten power, status, money and properties. But these are my questions,” said Mr. Karem.

1. “Could China and Russia actually believe that the bloody ongoing coup in Myanmar has the color of right?” suggests Mr. Karem. “Or are they polarized so strongly against the USA they are willing to throw common values out the window and jump on a mass murder bandwagon that gets them implicated as co-sponsors of mass murder?”

2. “Clearly Russia has danced around the issue, and its interests have been clear, a breadcrumb path into ASEAN nations via Myanmar in the hope that Russia can sell enough weapons to create a commonality and interoperability regime for its export military products within the ASEAN nations. (See “Russia obfuscates role in Myanmar mass murder, confusing nobody’)  But China shares a border and a lot of risk if Myanmar becomes a failed state. Is that worth the risk just for a chance to throw salt in US President Biden’s eyes?” Mr. Karem added.

These are questions may not get truthful answers from China and Russia, both of whom seem to be squirming at the top of their leadership according to their mixed messages at the UN security Council discussions.  But here is what we do know.

In a statement of 14 November 2019, the ICC said, “Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court authorized the ICC Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction in the Situation in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh/Republic of the Union of Myanmar (“the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar”).” Photo Credit: ICC Handout

The following persons, Tatmadaw Generals, plus many more military personnel, have been named as criminals against humanity in various complaints to the International Criminal Court which is now authorized to proceed with a detailed investigation and charges.

  1. Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing;
  2. Brigadier-General Aung Aung, commander of the 33rd Light Infantry Division;
  3. Vice Senior-General Soe Win; the commander of the Bureau of Special Operations-3;
  4. Lieutenant-General Aung Kyaw Zaw; the commander of Western Regional Military Command;
  5. Major-General Maung Maung Soe; and
  6.  Brigadier-General Than Oo, the commander of 99th Light Infantry Division.

Hours ago, Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (also Vice-President of the European Commission) released a statement in his blog, offering sage advice:

“We have been pursuing a robust diplomatic initiative, reaching out to all key stakeholders (ASEAN, China, Japan, India), in close coordination with our like-minded partners, notably the US and UK. We advocate a domestic solution, supported by the region and the wider international community. This should begin with de-escalation and the release of detainees.

“Sanctions in itself are not a policy,” said Mr. Josep Borrell.

“We need to create a shared diplomatic platform,” he added,  “to kick-start a process of dialogue aimed at restoring democracy in Myanmar, in accordance with the clear will of its brave people.”

“While our action is relentless, our expectations need to be realistic. Geopolitical competition in Myanmar will make it very difficult to find common ground, as we have witnessed again and again at the UN Security Council. The Myanmar military is used to international isolation and has a decade-long record of ignoring the needs and the will of the country’s citizens,” Mr. Borrell wrote.

“We have the duty to Try,” says senior EU Official

“But we have a duty to try. First, to make sure that the will of Myanmar’s people, as expressed at the November 2020 elections, is respected. But also to defend the country’s experiment in democracy, which – notwithstanding its limitations – made it an important example, as we are increasingly facing challenges to fundamental freedoms and democracy across the world.”

But according to Mr. Karem and now a growing number of experts, the 1 February Coup is a desperation measure to take control of the country and buy impunity from the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity by imprisoning the democratically elected civilian government which would, they might anticipate, hand the Tatmadaw  over to the ICC. That’s what a growing number of sources are saying as families in Myanmar are losing members to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s continuing mass murders.

Among the many hundreds of journalists, medical workers and peaceful demonstrators murdered in Myanmar, thought to be in excess of 800 by now, FPMag publisher RINJ Women confirm 3 Medical Worker deaths in Myanmar.