Myanmar is facing an exceptional challenge with sanctions by the West as well as restrictions faced from regional countries after the coup in February 2021.
There is also a crunch in the economy amidst rising unrest in the country as factories and shops have been closed and even government offices impacted by the civil disobedience movement.
While Russia and China are supporting Myanmar politically and diplomatically it is apparent that there are limitations in terms of supply of munitions and weapons.
Thus, possibly Myanmar has turned to Iran’s IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) which seems to have provided at least two planeloads of ammunition and other supplies including paper for printing currency as per reports in the Asia Times.
David Hutt a political correspondent quoting a well placed source in Myanmar reported for Asia Times that on February 15, an Iranian plane was to land and deliver a cargo of 21 boxes thought to contain military hardware.
Hutt Reports that in January a similar cargo was delivered which could include guided missiles even as the military regime is battling on multiple fronts from the ethnic armed organisations (EAO) traditional rivals of the Tatmadaw to the newly formed People’s Defence Forces (PDF) spread now in all states and regions.
Hutt claimed that the source had indicated that the Iranian plane, “will carry some drones and chemical weapons used and tested in Syria’s war…. In addition, this Iranian plane will stop over Uzbekistan and will bring in paper and other stuff to print more money in [Myanmar].” But did not confirm the same.
This would be in return for hard cash in US Dollars which Iran is looking for in the wake of continued US sanctions. Myanmar regime is thus able to sustain itself through such clandestine means which are mutually beneficial.
In case reports of the IRGC supplying drones and chemical weapons to the Tatmadaw are true than the military is planning to considerably escalate the ongoing onslaught against the poorly armed PDF who are essentially using their knowledge of the ground to tactical advantage.
The Army is using air strikes and following a scorched earth policy burning down villages.
With the use of drones – surveillance and armed this capability will be considerably enhanced while preserving the Air Force strike component which has suffered some setbacks.
Recent reports indicate that Russian air force personnel are on the ground to advise the Myanmar Air Force, whose Air Chief was forcibly retired recently.
In case chemical weapons are supplied by Iran though this will have to be substantiated as Iranian experience of chemical warfare in the Iran Iraq war in the 1980’s has led the group to be extremely wary on this issue, however Syria is reported to have used the same in the past decade, the source for which is not clear for now.
The dollars for arms deal between Myanmar Army and the IRGC however could be seen as for mutual profit?