An Evaluation of Myanmar’s Parallel Civilian Govt After Virtually 2 Years of Revolution


Protesters maintain indicators supporting the Nationwide Unity Authorities (NUG) throughout an indication towards the army coup in Taunggyi, Shan State, on Might 2, 2021. / AFP

By Banyar Aung 24 November 2022

In Myanmar’s Spring Revolution towards the army regime, it’s indeniable that the civilian Nationwide Unity Authorities (NUG) has emerged as the primary power driving the resistance – regardless that some may not just like the parallel authorities.

Because it confronts varied challenges aside from the junta’s army crackdown, the NUG has additionally confronted criticism from different forces and people.

The parallel authorities was shaped on April 16 final 12 months and is now over 19 months outdated. Its armed wing, the Folks’s Protection Forces (PDF), was shaped only a month later in Might.

The NUG differs from a political occasion shaped by folks with widespread political opinions and particular targets.

It emerged as a political grouping entrusted by the folks to guide the armed resistance towards a junta utilizing army violence towards residents who oppose the coup.

The NUG is targeted on armed resistance and armaments. It known as for the institution of the PDF and was in a position to type armed teams at a primary stage. It managed to carry collectively the scattered resistance forces. If we’re to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the NUG, our focus must be on its armed wing, the PDF.

When the army seized energy in February final 12 months, folks peacefully demanded that democracy be restored. However after their family members and buddies had been brutally killed within the junta’s crackdown on peaceable protests, protesters took up no matter weapons had been out there to guard themselves and others, thereby resulting in the beginning of PDFs.

Whereas some PDFs had been straight shaped by the NUG, others had been shaped independently by native folks. Resistance teams may be broadly divided into PDFs, Native Protection Forces (LDFs), and Folks’s Protection Groups (PDTs). PDFs are the most important in quantity and are acknowledged by the NUG.

In different phrases, PDFs are native resistance teams working in their very own areas with recognition from the NUG, and are below the command of the NUG and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs).

EAOs have fight expertise, having fought the Myanmar army both militarily or politically for many years. They’ve sturdy armies and huge territories below their management. The Spring Revolution has seen the mixture of skilled ethnic armed teams and novice PDFs.

LDFs are preventing a guerrilla warfare towards the regime, exterior the command of the NUG. PDTs are primarily supposed for the safety and security of native folks. Typically talking, PDFs are a part of the revolutionary military, whereas LDFs and PDTs are native protection forces shaped independently by residents to guard their communities.


As we speak, there are 221 PDF battalions below the command of the NUG throughout the nation. If mixed with battalions of Karenni Nationalities Protection Pressure (KNDF) and Chinland Protection Pressure (CDF), there are some 300 battalions nationwide. Some 63 PDF battalions are reportedly nonetheless ready for recognition by the NUG’s Protection Ministry.

PDFs comprise roughly 65,000 members. About 25 % of them have been armed like a daily military whereas some 40 % have home-made weapons.

Every PDF battalion has round 200 to 500 members, organized in sections, platoons, and corporations in line with the construction of a daily military.


The NUG estimates that there have been round 401 LDFs as of April this 12 months. LDFs outnumber PDFs and PDTs.

Although not below the command of the NUG or EAOs, some 354 LDFs cooperate with them informally.

Some 100 LDF teams have reportedly reworked into PDFs. LDFs fluctuate in dimension, however it’s estimated that there are some 30,000 LDF members. About 25 % of LDFs have reworked into PDFs up to now six months.

Lots of the LDFs are financially unbiased, and a few are geared up and educated by highly effective EAOs. LDFs are primarily engaged in landmine assaults, ambush and sneak assaults, and operations to hamper junta administrative capabilities of their areas.


PDTs had been shaped by the NUG to hold out guerrilla assaults in cities, assist PDFs, rally folks, present logistical help, and provide primary army coaching for brand spanking new resistance members.

In response to the NUG, there are some 250 PDTs in 330 townships throughout Myanmar. Lots of them had been shaped at village ranges following final 12 months’s coup, particularly within the resistance strongholds of Sagaing and Magwe areas.

Fashioned as village-level items, PDTs additionally work collectively at township stage. They’re primarily geared up with home-made weapons and are the essential basis that connects communities with the nationwide revolution.

Three Army Division Instructions (MDCs) have been shaped to command PDFs. Some 200 PDF battalions are below the command of MDC 1, which oversees operations in Kachin and Chin states and Sagaing, Magwe and Mandalay areas; some 50 PDF battalions are below the command of MDC 2 and three, which oversee operations in Karen, Mon and Kayah (Karenni) states.

Resistance forces have reportedly arrange some 70 workshops to fabricate weapons. The NUG Protection Ministry can be making a warfare workplace to enhance the chain of command. Nevertheless, with solely 60 % of PDFs armed up to now, way more must be finished to arm the remaining and provide ammunition.

Nonetheless, the NUG has mainly shaped and geared up a military to combat the defensive warfare it has declared towards Myanmar’s army regime. That is the core power of the NUG.

But regardless of being acknowledged by most individuals in Myanmar because the authentic authorities, the NUG nonetheless can’t procure arms from any nation by way of official channels. And no nation has provided arms to the NUG. Underneath such circumstances, the shadow authorities can’t arm some 60,000 PDF fighters rapidly, although extra weapons than anticipated had been provided because the NUG has spent a big proportion of its funds on armaments.

By comparability, it took 13 years for Rakhine State’s ethnic armed group, the Arakan Army, to type and equip its power of 30,000 troops. It additionally took some 13 years for the Myanmar Nationwide Democratic Alliance Army to revive and rearm after the preventing in 2009. And it took practically 12 years for the Ta’ang Nationwide Liberation Army to lift a military of 8,000 troops.

In contrast with these teams, the NUG has arguably finished effectively in serving the favored armed revolt.

One other power of the NUG is its capability to generate funds for the resistance motion. It has developed modern means, such because the Spring Lottery, bonds, sale of land plots and NUG-Pay, to lift funds.

It had raised US$55 million as of October this 12 months, and a few 4 billion kyats circulated in the course of the trial run of NUG-Pay. Its administrative networks are additionally offering public providers in PDF-controlled areas.

These achievements by the NUG have stunned native and worldwide observers. The army regime discovered it had badly miscalculated when it didn’t crush the resistance motion rapidly and simply.

Its achievements have earned NUG wider recognition on the worldwide stage. In the meantime the army regime has been shunned by the United Nations and ASEAN. The latest ASEAN Summit acknowledged the necessity to have interaction with the NUG in resolving Myanmar’s disaster, which got here as a severe blow to a regime that has declared the NUG and PDF as terrorist organizations.

A functioning military, monetary flexibility and functioning administrative mechanisms are what make the NUG completely different from the shadow authorities of the post-1988 pro-democracy rebellion, the Nationwide Coalition Authorities of the Union of Burma.

NUG weaknesses

The NUG been criticized for failing to take correct care of placing civil servants, who shaped the core of the Civil Disobedience Motion (CDM), and defectors from the regime’s army and police. There’s additionally criticism that some NUG leaders are disengaged from the state of affairs on the bottom, which is a typical shortcoming of organizations.

NUG has 4 severe weaknesses that it wants handle urgently.

The primary is giving false hope to the folks; the second is army miscalculation; the third is unrealistic reliance on overseas intervention; and the fourth is differing political opinions amongst NUG members.

NUG cupboard members, high row, from left: Prime Minister Mahn Win Khaing Than, NUG Performing President Duwa Lashi La, Overseas Affairs Minister Daw Zin Mar Aung, Protection Minister U Yee Mon, Federal Union Affairs Minister Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong. Backside row, from left: Well being and Training Minister Dr. Zaw Wai Moe, Planning, Finance and Funding Minister U Tin Tun Naing, Dwelling Affairs and Immigration Minister U Lwin Ko Latt, Human Rights Minister U Aung Myo Min, Humanitarian Affairs and Catastrophe Administration Minister Dr. Win Myat Aye

Politicians who later grew to become members of the NUG and Nationwide Unity Consultative Council had been providing false hope proper initially of anti-coup protests. They mentioned the coup may very well be overturned if civil servants maintained their strike for one month, and that there could be overseas intervention below the Duty to Defend (R2P) rule if the CDM lasted for 2 months.

A few of them proceed to present false hopes even now, although folks now perceive that their private views don’t signify NUG coverage.

The armed resistance is a marathon not a dash. For a dash you want power, for a marathon you want perseverance. So, folks want a powerful mentality and resilience to combat. The NUG should act to forestall its ministers from giving false hopes.

The second weak spot issues army affairs. The enemy appears to have weakened, however its brutality has not. The NUG must be taught from the folly of the Communist of Social gathering of Burma, which deliberate to win its combat in two years. It’s not possible to attain this armed revolution in two years. Observers with intensive information of Myanmar, like safety analyst Anthony Davis, warn {that a} rushed transition from guerrilla to semi-conventional techniques may spell defeat for the NUG.

Some 25 % of PDFs have been correctly armed, and to arm the remaining is a matter of utmost urgency, setting apart the necessity to provide them with ammunition.

We should keep in mind that armed revolution wants systematic planning, and fantasies is not going to win the combat.

Third, the NUG shouldn’t maintain unrealistic expectations about overseas intervention. The parallel authorities has lately received higher recognition from the worldwide neighborhood and ASEAN due to the efforts of individuals and PDFs bravely preventing the regime.

Some NUG personnel mentioned the higher recognition introduced higher chance of overseas intervention below R2P. They need to cease daydreaming. Worldwide recognition is the results of efforts made by folks within the nation. The NUG ought to subsequently focus its efforts contained in the nation. With out this, it is not going to win worldwide recognition.

The fourth weak spot is political variations throughout the NUG. To reiterate: the NUG just isn’t a political occasion. It’s a grouping of political forces with completely different ideologies who’ve gathered collectively to carry down a army dictatorship and set up a federal Union.

It’s a grouping of various ethnic and political teams that even have completely different interpretations of federalism. It includes varied teams which have taken up arms to implement their political targets.

It’s important for the NUG to settle its inner political variations. At current, it’s not possible for the army regime to destroy the NUG politically or militarily. However the NUG could collapse if a consensus can’t be reached amongst members with completely different political ideologies.

So, it’s key for the NUG to barter internally and construct consensus amongst members on political points, particularly on federalism, to maintain its efforts over the long run and obtain victory.

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