USA imposes sanctions against Myanmar's military leaders, entities

Buddhist monks hold placards featuring images of Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon.

The coup in Myanmar is an early test of the extent to which the Biden administration will respond to an authoritarian reversal of democracy overseas.

Myanmar's military (Tatmadaw) seized power from the elected National League for Democracy government hours before a new parliament was set to begin on February 1, saying the ousted government failed to act on its claims of voter list irregularities.

Spontaneous neighbourhood watch groups mobilised to thwart arrests of anti-coup activists and the United Nations demanded the release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Members of civil society organisations and the media should be able to operate freely and without fear of violence, harassment or intimidation, it said, and restrictions on the Internet, telecommunications and social media should be lifted immediately in accordance with the worldwide human rights law.

On Thursday, people from Myanmar's ethnic minority groups, who are concentrated in far-flung, border states, joined in - a striking show of unity in a country where some groups have resented the Burman majority's control and have also had their differences with Suu Kyi.

United Nations warned that any sanctions imposed over the coup in Myanmar must be "carefully targeted". Sanctions should also involve re-imposing sanctions on North Korea-related targets, given prior military-to-military engagement between the two countries.

Human rights: The administration should call the military's abuses against the Rohingya what they are: genocide.

Arbitrary detentions and intimidation also are on the rise, he said, adding that the military junta reportedly has detained 220 government officials and members of civil society since the coup. But it would be harder to unwind these designations should military leaders in Myanmar take appropriate steps toward a resolution of the democratic crisis. They also live-stream the entire process.

On Thursday, President Biden called for a return to democracy in Myanmar, and said the US would impose sanctions against the military leaders engaged in the coup.

Diplomacy: One key to success is for the United States to enlist Japan, India, and Singapore, all top foreign investors in Myanmar, in its efforts to respond to the coup.

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"We urge the military leaders to consider the potentially devastating consequences of these proposed laws on Myanmar's people and economy", said Asia Internet Coalition's managing director Jeff Paine.

"The military government has been damaged quite extensively by the CDM".

On Facebook, Dr Ye Lwin uploaded a profile picture of himself doing a three-finger salute, a symbol now widely adopted by Myanmar nationals denouncing the military regime.

Limiting Myanmar military involvement: Washington should continue to encourage responsible investment in Myanmar.

Human rights groups have hit out at the Malaysian government for agreeing to return 1,200 Myanmar nationals in detention centres to their country, now ruled by a military junta.

The current military-civilian power-sharing arrangement under the Myanmar constitution, where a quarter of the seats in parliament are reserved for military officials, complicates efforts toward a peaceful resolution in the country, but such an outcome is not impossible.

Both China and Russian Federation, which have long histories of good relations with the Myanmar military.

However, civilians have reacted by defying night curfews and gathering in the streets to protect those targeted.

Andrea R. Mihailescu is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council's GeoEconomics Center.

Journalist Shwe Yee Win, who had reported on opposition to the coup in the western town of Pathein, was taken away by police and soldiers on Thursday and has not been heard from sinc. her TimeAyeyar news website and her mother said. The views and opinions expressed in this paper are exclusively those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the State Department or any other agency.

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