US Unveils New Sanctions on Myanmar Military Regime Leaders, Associates

By The Irrawaddy 12 February 2021

YANGON—The US government slapped new sanctions on the top members of Myanmar’s military regime on Thursday for staging a coup against the democratically elected civilian government of the country last week.

It also warned the regime that there would be more sanctions to come if it continued to use violence against peaceful protestors, referring to police crackdowns on anti-coup protests early this week.  

The move by the Biden administration targeted 10 members of the regime, including six from the governing body, the State Administration Council (SAC), and other high-ranking officials in the military as well as three entities connected to the military.

The US Department of the Treasury said “these sanctions specifically target those who played a leading role in the overthrow of Burma’s [Myanmar’s] democratically elected government. The sanctions are not directed at the people of Burma.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US was also prepared to take additional action should the military not change course.

“If there is more violence against peaceful protesters, the Burmese military will find that today’s sanctions are just the first,” she said.

Members affected by the sanctions are coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing; Deputy commander-in-chief of the Myanmar military Vice Senior General Soe Win; General Mya Tun Oo; Admiral Tin Aung San; Lieutenant General Aung Lin Dwe; and Lieutenant General Ye Win Oo. All are SAC members.

However, SAC members General Maung Maung Kyaw and Lieutenant General Moe Myint Tun are not on the new sanctions list.  

Four others on the new sanctions list who are not SAC members are acting Myanmar President and retired Lieutenant General Myint Swe; Lieutenant General Sein Win; Lieutenant General Soe Htut; and Lieutenant General Ye Aung.

The three entities affected by the latest sanctions are Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade Co. Ltd. and Cancri (Gems and Jewellery) Co. Ltd. They are owned or controlled by, or have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the military.

The US government said in a statement: “As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC [the Office of Foreign Assets Control].”

The military staged a takeover last week, claiming that the general election late last year that brought a landslide victory to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s then-ruling National League for Democracy was stolen, contrary to the assertions of local and international election observers. The military proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party did very poorly in the election. While seizing power, the military arrested the country’s elected leaders, President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since Saturday last week, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets to oppose the coup and call for the immediate release of their elected leaders.

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