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CrisisWatch Myanmar

Unchanged Situation

Acts of resistance and deadly clashes between regime and insurgents continued amid deadly COVID-19 wave; regional bloc ASEAN appointed special envoy for Myanmar. Bombings in urban areas increased, notably around anniversary of 8 Aug 1988 (“four eights”) uprising, which activists across country marked with flash demonstrations. Targeted assassinations of military personnel, alleged informants and members of paramilitary Pyusawhti network continued; notably, series of bombs and shootings 7-9 Aug targeted junta officials and military officers chiefly in Yangon city. During raid in Yangon, regime forces 10 Aug arrested three and seized homemade bombs, while five activists jumped from building to avoid arrest, killing two and sparking widespread shock on social media. Security forces next day arrested over 30 youths in Yangon amid parallel administration National Unity Govt’s talk of so-called “D-Day” operation to unseat junta. Series of explosions 26-27 Aug hit several locations in Yangon and Mandalay regions. Elsewhere, civil resistance group Yaw Defense Force 23 Aug ambushed military convoy on Gangaw-Kale highway, Magwe region, reportedly killing some 30 soldiers. COVID-19 crisis worsened, with hundreds dying daily in Yangon. On diplomatic front, South East Asia regional body ASEAN 4 Aug confirmed Brunei’s second FM Erywan Yusof as bloc’s special envoy to Myanmar. During virtual ASEAN-European Union (EU) Ministerial Meeting, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borell 6 Aug called for “meaningful dialogue” between regime and parliamentary committee in exile, National Unity Govt, ethnic minority groups and pro-democracy forces. In response, State Administration Council FM Wunna Maung Lwin expressed opposition to contact between ASEAN special envoy and aforementioned entities, rejected ASEAN-mediated dialogue with opposition. In first official contact, U.S. Deputy Sec State Wendy Sherman 4 Aug called National Unity Govt FM Zin Mar Aung; U.S. 10 Aug announced provision of $50mn for Myanmar people in humanitarian assistance. Separately, U.S. 6 Aug announced charges against two Myanmar nationals detained on U.S. soil for allegedly organising attack on Myanmar’s Permanent Representative to UN who had aligned with National Unity govt. In sign of gradual recognition of military-backed State Administration Council, China 11 Aug transferred $6mn to junta under regional cooperation fund.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

17 Sep 2021
Many people in Myanmar struggle to see how nonviolence can be effective in a situation where the regime is willing to unleash extraordinary levels of violence against ordinary people. LA Times

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
7 Aug 2021
This is a deep, deep economic crisis [in Myanmar]. It’s a confidence issue — confidence in the regime, the banks and the economy. The New York Times

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
7 Jul 2021
The vast majority of people in Myanmar from all walks of life are opposed to the coup and angry at the regime’s violence against the population. VICE News

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
23 Apr 2021
It’s hard to downplay the risks in [Myanmar,] a very ethnically diverse country populated with a variety of armed movements and armed actors. Bloomberg

Ashish Pradhan

Senior Analyst, UN Advocacy and Research
5 Mar 2021
There will inevitably be calls for UN sanctions [against Myanmar], but I don’t think China and Russia are ready to go that far. Bloomberg

Richard Gowan

UN Director
13 Aug 2020
As Myanmar starts to consolidate a system of electoral democracy after so many decades of authoritarianism, observers play a key role in giving the elections credibility. The New York Times

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar

Latest Updates

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2021 – Spring Update

Every year Crisis Group publishes two additional Watch List updates that complement its annual Watch List for the EU, most recently published in January 2021. These publications identify major crises and conflict situations where the European Union and its member states can generate stronger prospects for peace. The Spring Update of the Watch List 2021 includes entries on Bolivia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Ukraine and Yemen.

Speech / Asia

Myanmar on the Brink of State Failure

In a briefing to the UN Security Council’s 9 April 2021 'Arria-Formula' Meeting on the situation in Myanmar, Crisis Group’s Myanmar expert Richard Horsey warned that the country stands on the brink of state failure, and argued that there is every justification for the Council to impose an arms embargo on the regime.

Briefing / Asia

The Cost of the Coup: Myanmar Edges Toward State Collapse

Two months after the 1 February coup, Myanmar is in a deep crisis. The military seems bent on imposing its will, using draconian tactics that are only strengthening demonstrators’ will to resist. International actors should stay united in urging the junta to change course. 

Q&A / Asia

A Close-up View of Myanmar’s Leaderless Mass Protests

Engineers, doctors and even exotic pet owners have come together in opposition to the military coup for what are now Myanmar’s widest protests in three decades. We asked Crisis Group’s senior adviser on Myanmar, Richard Horsey, to talk about what's happening and why.

Our People

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar