US Sanctions Burmese Arms Dealers Supplying Myanmar’s Junta

Published: 12 October 2022

Protest in Myanmar HopeNope

Following the military takeover of Myanmar’s democratically elected government widespread protests, known locally as “Spring Revolution,” broke out in the Southeast Asian nation, which were violently suppressed by the military junta - resulting in the death of over 2,000 civilians. (Photo: MgHla (aka) Htin Linn Aye, Wikimedia, License)

By Inci Sayki

The U.S. Treasury imposed on Tuesday sanctions on three Burmese businessmen and their company for allegedly supplying Russian-produced arms to Myanmar's military, which seized power following last year’s coup.

“Today we are targeting the support networks and war profiteers that enable weapons procurement for Burma’s military regime,” said Brian E. Nelson, an official of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Since the February 1, 2021 coup d’etat ended the Southeast Asian nation’s fragile democracy, toppling the elected government, and vested power in the country’s military junta; the armed forces committed numerous atrocities against their own nationals.

In fact, the military junta just sentenced Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was ousted and detained alongside other democratic leaders since the coup, to an additional six years of imprisonment for corruption - upping her sentence to 26 years, France24 reported.

The military’s violent crackdowns against peaceful protestors opposing the coup resulted in the killing of over 2,300 civilians and displacement of more than 900,000 people, according to the U.S. Treasury’s statement designating the Burmese arms brokers.

The U.S. Treasury said it was imposing sanctions on Aung Moe Myint, the son of a Burmese military official who facilitated various weaponry purchases including armament, missiles, and aircraft on behalf of the military, as well as his company Dynasty International Company Limited, which carried out the arms deals.

Two of the company’s associates, Myint’s brother Hlaing Moe Myint and their partner Myo Thitsar, were among those designated.

Aung Moe Myint and his company had already been the target of sanctions imposed by the United Kingdom and Canada in March.

The military arms meant for Myanmar’s regime, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, were Russian-produced and from Belarus.

“These designations also implicate the Burmese military’s long-time ties to the Russian and Belarusian militaries,” Blinken said.

“We will continue to use our sanctions authorities to target those in Burma and elsewhere supporting Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine, as well as Russia and Belarus’ facilitation of the Burmese regime’s violence against its own people,” he continued.

Myanmar’s junta leader visited Russia twice in recent months, establishing friendly ties with its regime, as both governments face diplomatic isolation over their militaristic moves.

According to activist group Justice For Myanmar, Aung Moe Myint was the Belarus Honorary Consul to Myanmar.

Simultaneously with the U.S. Treasury’s statement release, the U.S. State Department also designated former Burma police chief and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Than Hlaing for his human rights violations - namely his involvement in the extrajudicial killings of peaceful protestors in February 2021.

“We will continue to work with our partners to promote justice and accountability for atrocities and human rights violations and abuses in Burma, including in connection with the military coup and the ongoing violence perpetrated by the regime,” Blinken said, calling for the protection of human rights and return to a multiparty democracy in the Southeast Asian country.