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Commentary: “To influence the Myanmar military, we need to undermine their finances through sanctions & by targeting key industries”

"Myanmar: It’s time to bring back sanctions", 20 Oct 2017

...To make a real impact, we should focus our leverage on Myanmar’s powerful army, who not only hold a strong grip over the country’s economy, but also make many key political appointments and reserve 110 seats in parliament for unelected soldiers.

Council conclusions refer to suspending invitations to the military, but to influence the military, we also need to undermine their finances: both through more punitive sanctions and by targeting key industries like jade production, which have helped to finance the conflict.  

When Parliament elected Htin Kyaw – a close confidant of State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi – as president in February of last year, we welcomed the end to five decades of military rule. As a result, it is understandable that a lot of the anger in the international community has been directed at the inaction of Aung San Suu Kyi. 

However, given that unelected soldiers still make up a quarter of the assembly and hold veto power, it is clear that she is not in total control. We must not let our disappointment in Aung San Suu Kyi cloud our impetus to act to undermine Myanmar’s army...