Post-coup Myanmar and international aid agencies

These 15-minute videos contain the highlights of talks delivered in the Myanmar Dialogue Series, a platform enabling public debate about the pressing political and social conditions in Myanmar since the 2021 military coup. Where Dialogue Series speakers give their permission, we will create a Dialogue Short which condenses the core points of their presentation.

The Shorts are perfect for undergraduate classes and other educational settings where students need concise information on current pressing political and social issues in Myanmar. Policymakers and people working in settings with a lot of time constraints might also find that they usefully summarize issues about which they need to be abreast in order do plan and make decisions on Myanmar — and that they draw attention to the many promising new scholars of Myanmar emerging both from within the country and abroad.

Title: Post-coup Myanmar and international aid agencies

Speaker: Tamas Wells

Tamas Wells is Coordinator of the Myanmar Research Network at the University of Melbourne and writes on politics and development in Southeast Asia.

Date: 21 October 2022

Chair: Hunter Marston

Before the 2021 coup, power sharing in Myanmar focussed on interaction between the National League for Democracy, military (Tatmadaw), and Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs)/political parties. These different actors had different preferences for the dynamics of power sharing between inclusive, dispersive, and constraining approaches. Since the coup, political and conflict dynamics have shifted significantly, especially with the emergence of a new phenomenon known as People Defense Forces/Local Defense Forces (PDFs/LDFs). In more than a year after the coup, over 300 groups have identified themselves as defense forces on social media and many of them are actively engaged in armed conflict, posting an unprecedented threat to the military’s consolidation of its grip in post-coup era. This paper examines the phenomenon of PDF/LDFs and their impact on positions and preferences of the country’s long-established elite political actors.