Post-coup Myanmar in six warscapes
The ongoing conflict in Myanmar is best understood according to six warscapes, each with distinct power dynamics. The coup introduced new actors and alliances, bringing war to places previously untouched by it while intensifying protracted armed struggles in others.
The Dry Zone
The Dry Zone demonstrates how the coup has mobilised civilians untouched by armed insurgencies in recent decades. The emergence of People’s Defence Force (PDF) units and Pyusawhti militia are fundamentally reshaping social dynamics in Myanmar’s historic heartland.
A brutal conflict may return to Rakhine if a fragile truce between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army falls apart — further straining the junta’s thinning capacity to beat back challenges to its rule.
In northeast Myanmar, the coup has transformed protracted armed conflicts and the war economies they have produced. The conflict in this part of Myanmar is not simply between the Tatmadaw and its opponents, as the coup has reignited tensions between ethnic armed organisations (EAOs).
Conflict in southeast Myanmar is shaped by a convergence between the goals of longstanding ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) and newer groups formed in response to the coup.
Northwest Myanmar features a high degree of activity by People’s Defence Force (PDF) units, which revitalised ethnic armed organisations (EAOs). Despite the prevalence of ethnonational sentiment, this warscape was relatively calm in decades past. The coup tipped the balance towards armed conflict.