Listen to Today's Edition
Ye Htut is a 64-year-old retired lieutenant colonel in the Myanmarese army, who also served as a spokesperson and information minister in the military-backed government of President Thein Sein from 2013 to 2016. Recently, he was arrested on charges of corruption and sedition due to his Facebook posts that offended military officials who ousted the elected government of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi almost two years ago.
As the Associated Press reported, Ye was among a “deluge” of such legal actions against critics of the military junta that runs the Southeast Asian country. But the prosecution of a preeminent military officer and public servant might also indicate serious division within Myanmar’s military leadership as they face increasing pressure from their opponents.
“Ye Htut’s downfall may be a hint of labyrinthine power struggles within the upper echelons of the military administration, as it suffers continued battlefield reversals,” wrote the Diplomat.
A civil war has broken out in Myanmar since the military junta took over in 2021. Public protests followed the military’s action. The crackdown in response escalated in violence. Now an armed rebel movement has gained significant momentum against the generals – potentially enough to topple them, according to the Globe and Mail. More than 6,300 civilians have been killed and 2,600 wounded since the coup, Deutsche Welle added.
Zin Mar Aung, the foreign minister of Myanmar’s shadow civilian government, recently told Nikkei Asia that the army was on the “brink of collapse.” She vowed that more attacks would be coming soon. The Washington Post editorial board agreed.
Armed ethnic militias – who have been battling the oppressive central government for years – and resistance forces united to oppose the junta. They have defeated the army in numerous engagements, seizing key border towns, strategic positions, and trade routes, chipping away at the junta’s authority.
The so-called Three Brotherhood Alliance has also pledged to stop the online fraud and illegal gambling that plagues the China-Myanmar border, where human traffickers run junta-sanctioned, Chinese-run bookmaking, hacking and online scamming operations, added CNN.
Chinese leaders appear to be ready to support the rebels, who have vowed to uphold trade ties with China, as much as they would the government, however. As the Diplomat explained, for example, Chinese authorities recently issued arrest warrants for members of a crime family with links to the junta. This family was involved in the online scamming mills on the border.
The junta, some say, is facing the bully’s comeuppance.