24 May 2021

Arms proliferation amid heterogeneous resistance in Myanmar

Francesco Buscemi
24 May 2021

Arms proliferation amid heterogeneous resistance in Myanmar

Francesco Buscemi

Introduction

Myanmar continues to be characterized by intense political conflict. With the death toll among peaceful protesters moving past 800, tens of thousands displaced in the borderlands, aerial bombardments in Karen, Kachin, and Shan states, and the formal economy at a paralysis point, a specter lingers in the current Myanmar political landscape: Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) proliferation.

Since the February 1 coup d’état, in which the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) expanded its constitutional prerogatives beyond the already semi-democratic constitution it had drafted in 2008, questions related to SALW proliferation have emerged in all their relevance and multidimensionality. As people took to the streets and the regime started cracking down on demonstrators, assault rifles, shotguns, live and rubber rounds of ammunition, sniper rifles, air guns, artillery shells, grenades, and rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) became part of everyday reality throughout the country.

Although analogies with protests and rebellion in Syria have been advanced concerning the possibility that state repression will lead to more individuals taking up arms, [1] there is a central element to the impact that arms proliferation has or could have in Myanmar’s current political turbulences. That is the (historical) role of politico-armed rebel movements and civil society actors regulating SALW acquisition and use in Myanmar. While SALW proliferation has characterized armed conflicts and “insurgency as a way of life” in the country for more than seven decades, [2] that does not mean weapons are readily available wherever and whenever for whoever.

This paper discusses the proliferation of SALW amid the current context of resistance to military rule in Myanmar. Firstly, it provides a general contextualization of the struggles between the Tatmadaw and various socio-political movements. Secondly, against this background, it locates the contentious issue of forming a federal union army. It briefly highlights arms proliferation and control, which has a long and highly politicized history in Myanmar. Thirdly, departing from the recovery of Italian-manufactured cartridges shot by the Myanmar Police Force against peaceful protesters, the paper delves into the central dynamics of SALW proliferation in the country. Lastly, the two concluding sections touch upon the role of rebel movements and other civil society actors in arms control, stressing the significance of their involvement amid the current heterogeneous landscape of resistance.

The context

For populations living in the borderlands, the militarization that ensued after the coup could hardly be depicted as new. Myanmar’s border areas have been home to more than seven decades of armed conflict. Such conflicts have been characterized by two main overarching and intertwined lines. On the one hand, the state apparatuses and the economy have been under some form of military control since 1962. Another major disagreement concerns the conflation of nation-building and state-building projects. Since its independence from the British colonial rule in 1948, the military and political elites of the Bamar ethnic majority have been pursuing the so-called “Burmanization” policies aiming to assimilate ethnic minority populations living in the borderlands into a centralized Myanmar. [3] Ethnic minorities – which in border areas often constitute most of the population – have opposed such projects mobilizing civil society activism and political and armed movements (referred to now as Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs). [4]

In recent months, armed clashes have escalated between the Tatmadaw and two of the longest-running EAOs: the Karen National Union/ Karen National Liberation Army (KNU/KNLA) at the Thai-Myanmar border; and the Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/A) in the north. Moreover, in the northeaster borderlands with China, several attacks have been launched against the military and police by the Brotherhood Alliance (a politico-military coalition of EAOs). Here some clashes have also occurred between different EAOs. [5]

As security forces’ indiscriminate violence unfolded, [6] movements that engaged in peaceful protests against the regime were confronted with the question of how to protect themselves. Besides deploying peaceful tactics – such as, for example, turning marching protests into mass motorbike rides or establishing systems of neighborhood watchmen and information/intelligence sharing – people in some cases started armed resistance. [7] This was especially true in central areas of the country and zones not subject to a significant EAO presence, such a Chin State’s Mindat, Sagaing Region’s Kalay, and Tamu and Pinlebu townships.

 

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Myanmar, Nations Online Projects.

 

Myanmar’s heterogeneous landscapes of resistance

Different movements and complex relations among them characterize a heterogeneous landscape of resistance, which has nonetheless expressed unanimous opposition to military rule like never before. [8] In February, after the Tatmadaw quickly established its junta governing body, the State Administration Council or SAC ousted members of the last parliament of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and started organizing a civilian government under the so-called Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH). [9] At the beginning of April, the CRPH abolished the 2008 constitution and drafted a new Federal Democracy Charter, under which an interim government was launched, [10] the National Unity Government (NUG). CRPH and the NUG maintain close ties with other important sets of actors. The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) represents a peaceful organization consisting of striking public employees, health and medical staff, and workers unions. On the other hand, the EAOs represent the politico-armed ethno-national movements struggling for ethnic minorities’ autonomy in a federal democracy since the decolonization process after the second world war. [11]

The relations among EAOs consist of about 20 organizations that are quite heterogeneous in size and do not necessarily share uniform political visions. The CRPH/NUG can hardly be seen in dyadic terms. Certain EAOs maintain bilateral ceasefires with the Tatmadaw while others have been engaged in the so-called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) signed in late 2015. Yet, others are not part of any truce. For EAOs, the stakes became immediately high as, on the one hand, they have to carefully calculate their position in a moment of turbulent political reshuffling inside state apparatuses. In contrast, they have to justify their legitimacy in a moment of tremendous pressure on the civilian communities they represent.

In addition, there exist conflictual relationships among some EAOs due to legacies of conflict, like, for example, in northern Shan state. Some EAOs, such as the (KIO/A) and the (KNU/KNLA), have positioned themselves close to the NUG, albeit not formally declaring any integration in such an interim constitutional scheme. Others have expressed solidarity toward NUG and openness to coalesce with other EAOs while maintaining a more neutral approach. [12]

Under the NUG’s Federal Democracy charter, a platform has been devised to include also EAOs and bring them in synergy with CDM and CRPH/NUG: the National Unity Consultative Committee (NUCC). This coordinating body would be supposed to direct war efforts in the future and spearhead the formation of a federal army scheme while possibly granting EAOs political and administrative inclusive roles.

Federal army schemes and arms control

The creation of a federal union army has historically been a particularly problematic dimension of the country’s ethnically framed political conflicts. This has been the case for at least two main interconnected reasons.

First, ethnic class-based recruitment logics rationalized during British colonial rule and reinforced after the 1945 Kandy Agreement – which formalized an ethnically framed Burma Army – have been exploited by the Tatmadaw to depict itself as the defender of national (Bamar) and state integrity, and to depict ethnic minorities’ armed organizations as collaborators of foreign oppressors disloyal to the Tatmadaw’s state-building project. [13]

Second, ethnic minority political organizations have also adopted ethnic class-based recruitment in the constitution of their armed forces in response to the monopolization of state institutions by the Bamar-led Tatmadaw. Resales concerning arms production, procurement and control – equally monopolized by the army, at least in their formal/legalized configurations – have become integral to EAOs’ self-determination claims (Sai Aung Tun 2009). [14]

Thus it has become difficult to conceive the possibility of inserting ethnic-based forces under a completely unitary command and control structure – both for what concerns people in arms and arms themselves. While forming a federal union army seems too complicated in this delicate moment, one solution being discussed entails the formation of more loosely coordinated EAOs military alliances along with the model of already existing ones.

Recent influxes of protesters into EAOs’ areas intend to obtain military training, and recent attacks by militants against Tatmadaw bases and weapon storage facilities located in Myanmar’s “heartland” towns of Magwe, Meiktila, and Bago seem to point in this direction. Such attacks were carried out using 107 mm rockets which are usually available to EAOs, [15] especially in northern Shan state and Kachin, but less so by civilian protesters.

In any case, the question of weapons availability and access remains far from straightforward, both for EAOs and for bottom-up self-defense formations and local “national defense forces” emerging in recent weeks. Let us hence look more closely at SALW proliferation and control in Myanmar.

SALW proliferation

An insightful entry point into the dynamics of arms proliferation and control in Myanmar emerged in early March when journalists and bystanders recovered several 12-gauge cartridge cases manufactured by the Franco-Italian ammunition producer Cheddite throughout the country. Security forces opened fire on protesters and civil emergency medical providers. [16] The case sparked considerable interest in Italy, with a parliamentary inquiry request promoted by the de-militarization and disarmament association Rete Italiana Pace e Disarmo. [17]

While no clear-cut chain of supply could be identified, it remains plausible that the cartridges produced by Cheddite landed in Myanmar via Turkish arms manufacturers. [18] In fact, the Italian company maintains trading partners in Turkey, where either manufacturers assemble full rounds using Cheddite cases and components or operate as contractors. According to the UN Comtrade – a UN repository of official international trade data – in 2014, 2015, and 2018 legal arms and ammunition transfers occurred between Turkey and Myanmar.

In 2014, in particular, the dataset reported a transfer of approximately US$ 1,690,712. In the subsequent years, transfers have amounted to 4,941 and US$ 3,279, respectively. It is possible that the commercial transactions in 2014 also entailed the transfer of Retay shotguns – Turkish-manufactured shotgun rifles supplied to the Myanmar Police and Tatmadaw – together with 12-gauge shotgun ammunition either imported in Turkey from Cheddite or assembled in Turkey with Cheddite components.

The recovery of imported ammunition could be considered a slightly unusual dynamic since the quasi-entirety of Tatmadaw and Police forces’ small arms and light weapons, including ammunition, is usually produced in Myanmar. However, there are exceptions. In the ambit of crowd control and so-called “less-lethal” weapons, some items are acquired via commercial transfers of a different nature. Moreover, other small arms – such as those in service with Police units or local community defense militias linked to the Tatmadaw in the borderlands – are often re-cycled from Tatmadaw battle seizures vis-à-vis EAOs.

In this sense, the 12-gauge cartridges illuminated the two major dimensions of SALW proliferation and arms control in Myanmar at the same time. The capture of state institutions by the Tatmadaw since 1948 and the mobilization of armed movements to pursue political conflict against the military regime. [19]

Tatmadaw’s Ka-Pa-Sa production

Established after independence in 1948, the Tatmadaw’s Directorate of Defence Industries (DDI) Ka-Pa-Sa) started manufacturing small arms with licensed production of Italian-designed sub-machine guns. Most importantly, for the development of production capacity, the Tatmadaw and the Ne Win’s military regime consolidated partnerships with German arms manufacturers and technical corporation agencies to both import weaponry and set up industrial licensed production throughout the 50s and 60s. [20] While the connections with German defense industries continued at least up to the first decade of the 2000s with the transfer of dual-use goods such as machinery and raw materials, since after the brutal crackdown of pro-democracy protests in 1988 and the European Communities’ arms embargo on Myanmar, the Tatmadaw commenced an import-substitution process.

Such a process entailed forming partnerships with Singaporean and Israeli companies to build up Ka-Pa-Sa’s SALW design and production capabilities. [21] During the last three decades, the Ka-Pa-Sa has managed to make the Armed and Police Forces self-sufficient when it comes to SALW production, also relying on raw materials, machinery, and components imported from China. The Tatmadaw has practically monopolized SALW production in Myanmar via import substitution programs that have led to the concentration of manufacturing sites and industrial manufacturing capacity, and weapon stockpiles in the country’s central areas.

Diversion, grey, and black transfers

For politico-armed rebel movements in Myanmar, the proliferation of SALW has been linked to several dynamics. [22] Legacies of conflict in Southeast Asia, particularly in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and northern Thailand, have been closely tied to structured dynamics of arms proliferation. SALW would be transferred by different international sponsors, such as the United States, China, and the USSR, to parties to the conflicts. In addition, in recent decades, security policies and practices of state authorities in Thailand concerning border security and management have also played a relevant role in facilitating the arming of rebel movements and other armed actors. Diversion and leakage from stockpiles from intermediaries, especially Thai and Cambodian authorities and armed actors, have sustained arms circulation well into the early 2000s.

SALW proliferation has also been linked to the trajectories of un/regulated economic practices and in/formal economies (among which opium smuggling in particular, but not only) boosted by dramatic economic policies of successive military regimes. [23] In particular, since the 1990s and early 2000s, a series of capitalist economic reforms launched by the Tatmadaw led to the co-optation of some ethnic minorities’ elites into resource extraction and agri-business activities. Profiting from such arrangements and strengthening relations with the PRC, the Tatmadaw sustained its above-mentioned military modernization process. Meanwhile, some EAOs and Tatmadaw-related militias involved in the re-styled capitalist environment could consolidate their channels of arms access, even though at the Thai-Burma border, weapons acquisition became more difficult due to the scaling down of regional conflicts in Cambodia. Since the second half of the 2000s, the United Wa State Party/Army became a privileged political and economic partner for Chinese regional authorities, securing weapon supplies through grey and black transfers. [24]

Moreover, SALW has continued to circulate via grey transfers from regional manufacturing in China and imports into Thailand and via diversion from armed and security forces stocks. Tatmadaw supplies and stocks in borderland areas have also constituted a potential proliferation source due to diversion through sales by military officials (although not as common) or seizures by rebel movements (more commonly). Nonetheless, Ka-Pa-Sa manufactured weaponry is often not fungible for rebel movements due to reliability, ammunition, and spare components compatibility/availability. Yet, such dynamics are becoming more and more relevant, especially due to recent episodes of defections from Tatmadaw ranks that could make the opening up of weapon storage facilities more plausible or facilitate the setup forms of SALW manufacturing through skills or infrastructures. [25]

Gunsmithing, production, and craft-manufacture

Over the years, rebel movements have also consolidated gunsmithing practices and craft-manufacturing capacities and workshops for small arms refurbishment, assemblage, or modification located in border areas. In the last few decades, few EAOs – the Kachin Independence Organization/Army and the United Wa State Party/Army – also reportedly set up some form of industrial production capacity, [26] with production sites where variants of SALW are manufactured and in some circumstances further circulated to politically and militarily aligned EAOs.

The various forms of resistance that have confronted the Tatmadaw military regime in the last weeks of protesting have illuminated other relevant dynamics of SALW proliferation in Myanmar. While the first weeks after the coup saw people starting to organize the formation of bottom-up self-defenses groups in relation to street protests or neighborhood security arming with sticks, sword, slingshots, and craft manufactured pre-charged pneumatic guns, [27] in March and April, anti-coup movements have progressively articulated “national defense forces” mobilizing especially craft produced weapons. [28] This occurred primarily in areas of Sagaing Region, Chin, and Mon states where there is no presence of EAOs. At the same time, resistance groups were able to count on local craft-manufactured hunting rifles. Craft weapons production represents a considerable source of arms proliferation especially in borderland areas of Karen, Shan, Sagaing, Chin and northern Rakhine states where local gunsmiths manufacture wooden components and rifle barrels into hunting muskets variously referred to as “hunting shotguns,” Tumi guns, or other vernacular. [29]

Trafficking and militia formations

Some of these bottom-up armed resistance formations acquired a small number of automatic firearms via small-scale trafficking. [30] SALW proliferation is connected to narcotics trafficking and informal economic activities flowing both throughout the borderlands and networked central nodes like Mandalay and Yangon, which often become hubs for weapons “transshipment” toward borderland areas. For instance, the recently formed Chinland Defence Force and the Kalay Civil Army in Chin State and Sagaing region, respectively, managed to acquire some automatic firearms in their early days. In particular, the extended tri-border area between Bangladesh, India’s Mizoram, and northern Rakhine constitutes one of the major crossroads of arms proliferation. [31]

Recently the Tatmadaw has attempted to strengthen its relations with different militia formations in areas of EAOs presence amid escalating hostilities, [32] especially in Karen, Shan, and Kachin states. Some of these are militias not integrated into the Tatmadaw structure but remain nominally under its control.  The regime normally supports these groups, but they are left to fend for themselves when it comes to arms acquisition. Given the considerable degree of autonomy they enjoy in terms of revenue generation and in-/formal economic activity, non-integrated militias play an important role in arms circulation, acquiring weaponry on their own and at times operating as “brokers” for certain EAOs.

Borderland areas witness the presence of another form, the community defense militias. Although usually smaller in size, these militias are normally armed by the Tatmadaw through re-circulating firearms seized in military or police operations. Similarly, many EAOs maintain their own community defense militia forces that are periodically supplied with weapons.

SALW acquisition and ‘bottom-up’ control in a heterogeneous landscape of resistance

Peculiar dynamics have characterized the proliferation of SALW in Myanmar in terms of how arms acquisition is organized and regulated. [33] Besides the Tatmadaw military regimes – which have enforced strict measures of arms acquisition and possession and, as mentioned above, have “monopolized” arms production –EAOs have regulated SALW proliferation. Most EAOs have maintained centralized control over weapons acquisition, through established mechanisms and dedicated departments or brigade/unit commandership. The lack of regular external support by sponsors or access to Tatmadaw stockpiles has made the acquisition of weapons contingent upon “internal” relations within EAOs as well as networked relations among EAOs and other armed actors such as paramilitary forces and, in particular, militias in some form of a collaborative relationship with the Tatmadaw regimes.

Moreover, SALW control has also been articulated via the integration and relationships between EAOs and armed actors together with “local” forms of authority. Both for what concerns, for example, the regulation of craft-manufactured hunting weapons and other arms possessed by civilian communities as well as (at least in part) the hiding of rebel-held weaponry in areas of overlapping EAOs and Tatmadaw authority. In recent decades, civil society organizations have also been especially active, particularly in the ambit of mine action and arms control broadly understood as including armed violence restraint or negotiations with armed actors.

Conclusion

Although available, SALW is not necessarily easy to access and acquire in Myanmar. Rather than a proliferation of different armed formations and a fragmented and volatile landscape of rebellion, perhaps it is more likely that we will witness the emergence of politico-armed structures linked to EAOs, especially for what concerns weapons acquisition.

Instead of focusing on creating a full-fledged Federal Army structure per se, which seems unlikely to materialize at this stage due to logistical reasons among many others, it could be easier for the various resistance movements struggling against the Tatmadaw to ally and cooperate more effectively. To do so, some form of coordination in terms of weapons acquisition, distribution, and particularly control may also be required.

In this sense, SALW control emerges as an inherently political issue, one that is at one time ripe with potential to support bottom-up peacebuilding actions but also highly contested. [34] Identifying and agreeing upon common norms and standards of arms control, both in inter-EAOs relations as well in the relations between EAOs and civil society institutions and entities, can help build trust and unity among different armed actors while also establishing civilian safety in relation to SALW as a paramount, underlying standard across ethnic lines.

This could occur by harmonizing SALW control measures, criminalizing unauthorized possession, trafficking, and diversion, bottom-up work on record-keeping and stockpile management, or the regularization of different arms production practices (craftsmanship, refurbishment workshops, and production sites). Moreover, SALW and mine control initiatives and campaigns could be a vehicle for creating a platform for dialogue on arms and armed violence control among civil society organizations and EAOs to boost inter-ethnic cohesion. SALW control has historically been at the heart of political struggles concerning nation and state-building and could possibly provide venues for re-thinking and transforming the relations between societies and (state and non-state) institutions beyond ethnic lines.

At the same time, the structured modes of weapon acquisition that characterize Myanmar`s armed rebellions may contribute to entrenching political divisions by tying local defense forces to one EAO or another or to CRPH/NUG, as well as by strengthening the position of Tatmadaw-affiliated militias. It remains key to continue working on a political platform that can bring together CRPH/NUG and EAOs in different areas of the country –particularly Kachin and northern Shan State, the Thai-Myanmar borders, and Rakhine.

This nonetheless constitutes a very difficult task due to long-standing unresolved political disputes on federalism and given the fact that these areas lie in the orbits of Chinese, Thai, and Indian political and economic constellations. Here, a shift in regional state authorities’ posture vis-a-vis the Tatmadaw regime is unlikely but could open unpredictable scenarios. Sticking to the question of weapons acquisition, for example, while the Tatmadaw is practically self-sufficient concerning SALW manufacture, to a certain extent, it still relies on imported raw or processed materials necessary for production. Moreover, border management processes in the extended Chinese, Thai, and Indian borderlands often contribute to shaping fluctuations in EAOs’ weapons access.

References:

[1] Reed, John. 2021. ‘Economic collapse amid escalating conflict’: is Myanmar becoming a failed state?,’ The Financial Times, https://www.ft.com/content/6189a752-6f68-4d61-99ea-9e83137a1d3d

[3] Sakhong, Liam and Keenan, Paul. 2014. ‘Ending Ethnic Armed Conflict in Burma. A Complicated Peace Process. A Collection of BCES Analysis and Briefing Papers,’ Chiang Mai: Wanida Press.

[4] Buscemi, Francesco. 2021. `The Art Of Arms (Not) Being Governed: Means of Violence and Shifting Territories in the Borderworlds of Myanmar,’ Geopolitics, DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2021.1901083

[5] Ibid.

[6] Irrawaddy. 2021. ‘KNU Calls for International Arms Embargo as Myanmar Regime Targets Civilians in Airstrike,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/knu-calls-intl-arms-embargo-myanmar-regime-targets-civilians-airstrike.html

[7] Irrawaddy. 2021. ‘Myanmar Villagers Take Up Homemade Weapons Against Regime’s Security Forces,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-villagers-take-homemade-weapons-regimes-security-forces.html

[8] Brenner, David. 2021. ‘Myanmar’s Diverse Revolution Digging in For the Long Haul,’ Postcolonial Politics, Myanmar’s Diverse Revolution Digging in For the Long Haul – Postcolonial Politics

[9] Irrawaddy. 2021. ‘Myanmar Coup Highlights in 90 Days,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-coup-highlights-90-days.html

[10] Annawitt, Philipp. 2021. ‘Parallel government taking firm shape in Myanmar,’ Asia Times, https://asiatimes.com/2021/04/parallel-government-taking-firm-shape-in-myanmar/

[11] Buscemi, Francesco. 2021. The Art Of Arms (Not) Being Governed: Means of Violence and Shifting Territories in the Borderworlds of Myanmar’, Geopolitics 0(0).

[12] Myanmar Now. 2021. ‘NCA-signatory EAOs take ‘initial step’ toward forming coalition with non-signatories,’ Myanmar Now, https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/nca-signatory-eaos-take-initial-step-toward-forming-coalition-with-non-signatories

[13] Sadan, Mandy. 2013. ‘Ethnic Armies and Ethnic Conflict in Burma,’ South East Asia Research 21(4), 601–626.

[14] Sakhong, Liam and Keenan, Paul. 2014. ‘Ending Ethnic Armed Conflict in Burma. A Complicated Peace Process. A Collection of BCES Analysis and Briefing Papers’, Chiang Mai: Wanida Press, 146-147; Sai Aung Tun. 2009. ‘History of the Shan State: From Its Origins to 1962,’ Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books.

[15] Irrawaddy. 2021. ‘Myanmar Military Air Bases Attacked in Magwe and Meiktila,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-military-air-bases-attacked-magwe-meiktila.html

[16] Moser-Puangsuwan, Yeshua. 2021. ‘Italian Ammunition Used in Myanmar Police Assault on Ambulance Raises Questions,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/italian-ammunition-used-myanmar-police-assault-ambulance-raises-questions.html

[17] Rete Pace e Disarmo. 2021. ‘Rassegna stampa su presa di posizione relativa alle munizioni italiane in Myanmar,’ https://retepacedisarmo.org/2021/rassegna-stampa-munizioni-myanmar/

[18] Amnesty International. 2021. ‘Myanmar: Vast Arsenal and Notorious Troops Deployed During Nationwide ‘Killing Spree’ Protest Crackdown – New Research,’ Amnesty International, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/03/myanmar-arsenal-troops-deployed-crackdown/

[19] Buscemi, Francesco. 2019. ‘Armed Political Orders through the Prism of Arms: The Relation between Weapons and Insurgency in Myanmar and Ukraine,’ Interdisciplinary Political Studies 5(1), 189-231.

[20] Mahn Aung Lwin. 2014. ‘The Military Ties That Bind,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www.irrawaddy.com/from-the-archive/military-ties-bind.html

[21] Irrawaddy. 1998. ‘Burma Making Small Arms,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www2.irrawaddy.com/article.php?art_id=1173

[22] Buscemi, Francesco. 2019. ‘Armed Political Orders through the Prism of Arms: The Relation between Weapons and Insurgency in Myanmar and Ukraine,’ Interdisciplinary Political Studies 5(1), 189-231.

[23] Htun Htun. 2020. ‘Drug Squad Arrests Three, Seizes Assault Rifles, Narcotics in Myanmar’s Shan State,’ https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/drug-squad-arrests-three-seizes-assault-rifles-narcotics-myanmars-shan-state.html

[24] Buscemi, Francesco. 2019. ‘Armed Political Orders through the Prism of Arms: The Relation between Weapons and Insurgency in Myanmar and Ukraine,’ Interdisciplinary Political Studies 5(1), 189-231.

[25] Radio Free Asia. 2021. ‘Interview: ‘The Military Coup Was Not Supposed to Happen,’ Radio Free Asia, https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/military-officer-04282021135407.html

[26] Lawi Weng. 2008. ‘AK-47s—Made in Wa State,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www2.irrawaddy.com/article.php?art_id=14804

[27] Naing Khit. 2021. ‘The Junta Is Dragging Myanmar Into Full-Blown Civil War,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/commentary/junta-dragging-myanmar-full-blown-civil-war.html

[28] Frontier. 2021. ‘The ‘Tumi Revolution:’ Protesters Fight Back in Sagaing Region,’ Frontier, https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/the-tumi-revolution-protesters-fight-back-in-sagaing-region/

[29] Ibid.

[30] Irrawaddy. 2021. ‘Ammunition and Grenades Destined for Myanmar Seized on Thai Border,’ The Irrawaddy, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/ammunition-grenades-destined-myanmar-seized-thai-border.html

[31] Buscemi, Francesco. 2019. ‘Armed Political Orders through the Prism of Arms: The Relation between Weapons and Insurgency in Myanmar and Ukraine,’ Interdisciplinary Political Studies 5(1), 189-231.

[32] BNI. 2021. ‘Army Urges their Militias to Increase their Forces in Southern Shan State,’ BNI Multimedia Group, https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/army-urges-their-militias-increase-their-forces-southern-shan-state

[33] Buscemi, Francesco. 2021. ‘The Art Of Arms (Not) Being Governed: Means of Violence and Shifting Territories in the Borderworlds of Myanmar,’ Geopolitics, DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2021.1901083

[34] Tartir, Alaa and Florquin, Nicolas. 2021. ‘Urban Peace-Building through Community-Based Initiatives to Control SALWs in Libya,’ Journal of Illicit Economies and Development 2(2), 99–103.

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