“It can be said that the standpoint of MSDF is similar to that of NUG.”

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With the reason of lacking stability in the country, the military council extended the state of emergency another six months from 1 August to 31 January. Civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was moved from her solitary confinement to house arrest.

The National Unity Government has confirmed they will not change their objectives of revolution even if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was released.

This interview with Dr Thiri Mon Chan, the chairman of Military and Political Leadership Committee of Mon State Defence Force, is about the military’s emergency ruling extension, possible use of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and standpoint of Mon ethnic armed groups.

TLT: What is your view on the six-months extension of National Defence and Security Council at the order of military council?

Dr Thiri Mon Chan: It is not a surprise  as we have already imagined it. They will try to control power through all possible means. In the past, they referred the state constitution for the extension. But at present, they give the reason of security for the extension. It is to maintain their power, and they will extend it more and more in the future.

TLT: After nearly two and half years of coup, the military council partially reduced prison sentence of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. How will the military use Daw Aung Sann Suu Kyi for their survivability?

Dr Thiri Mon Chan: It is also not surprising that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint were granted for partial pardon. It is the practice of successive military regimes. They normally used this way. In the past, Daw Aung Sann Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. It is their psy-war. It is their trick in international relations.

However, both international community and Myanmar people have noticed all of their trick which has been used since the coup after 1988 Uprising.  Although the coup regime organized elections after 1988 uprising, they did not transfer power to the winning party. They worked  over 10 years to draft state constitution. So, the psy-war and tricks of military regime is not strange to people and armed organizations.

TLT: NUG has said that their policy will not change even if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is released. What is the remark of your organization on this as a Mon armed group that is participating in anti-dictatorship struggle?

Dr Thiri Mon Chan: It can be said that the standpoint of MSDF is similar to that of NUG. The military is using deceitful tactics. Until the military is involving in politics, we will not see any changes for the expected federal union. We have determined to remove the existing military organization. We, all the armed resistance groups, and NUG has believed that our Spring Revolution will succeed. Even the military used Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a card in politics, no one believes deceitful strategy of successive military regimes. All the resistance forces in Spring Revolution have realized that armed struggle is the only option for them.

Ethnic armed groups took part in political dialogues with the successive military regimes through Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in the past. Democratic leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi tried to negotiate with stratocracies in the past. However, she could not change the military politically. Resistance groups such as PDFs and other ethnic armed groups such as  ourMon defence force will continue our armed struggles in coordination with other alliances and NUG although the junta is using Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Only then, we could remove junta regime and establish a democracy federal union.

TLT: The military chief hinted to increase their offensives during the state of emergency to control more areas for holding elections there. What do you think?

Dr Thiri Mon Chan: The military may increase their offensives any time with their utmost strength. Although they are carrying out attacks in different regions and state, they are not getting success in battlefields. Motivation of their ground forces is declining. So, the military is taking advantages in superiority of air force, with bombing and heavy artillery regardless of civilian causalities and property. They randomly fire from the distance. Although they are making deliberate attempts, they will not get success in political and diplomatic aspects. They cannot easily mobilize their troops for reinforcement to the battles. They have to largely rely on artilleries. Our resistance forces will not suffer significant losses. However, we are prepared both for the best and the worst.

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