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U.S. threatens sanctions against Myanmar after military stages coup

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The United States has criticized Myanmar’s military leaders after they staged a coup in the Southeast Asian country on Monday, while it was still Sunday in the U.S. On top of that, President Joe Biden threatened sanctions if the military doesn’t change course.

Early Monday morning in Myanmar, the military took over the government and detained senior politicians such as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing will be in charge of the nation for one year, according to an announcement read on military-owned Myawaddy TV, per the Associated Press.

In a Sunday statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the top U.S. diplomat said that the “United States expresses grave concern and alarm regarding reports that the Burmese military has detained multiple civilian government leaders, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and civil society leaders.”

Furthermore, the new secretary of state called on the military leaders to immediately “release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8,” adding that the U.S. “stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development.”

While the multi-ethnic country has preferred the name Myanmar over Burma in the English language since 1989, the U.S. government continues to refer to it as the latter. It should be noted, however, that the term to describe people or things from Myanmar is still “Burmese.”

President Biden in a separate statement Monday threatened sanctions if Myanmar’s military doesn’t reverse course.

“The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy,” Biden said. “The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Taliban Holds Parade for 250 Newly Trained Soldiers with American-Made Weapons Left Behind

As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

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On Sunday, Taliban forces held a very bone-chilling parade showing off their captured American-made armored military vehicles and Russian helicopters. The act was “a display that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army” writes CNN.

The Taliban are no longer terror insurgents fighting against American forces that had once freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

The parade was part of a graduation for 250 newly trained Taliban soldiers, said defense ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi. CNN reports, “The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.”

Tragically, much of the weaponry taunted in the parade by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the American-backed government in Kabul during the past two decades. The equipment was to aid an Afghan national force and make it capable of fighting the Taliban.

As forces fled Afghanistan, some of the military equipment provided by western forces was flown into Central Asian Countries in an attempt to avoid it landing in the hands of the Taliban. It remains unclear exactly how much of what did end up in Taliban control is still operational.

American troops destroyed over 70 aircraft and dozens of armored vehicles, as well as disabled air defenses before flying out of Kabul during the frenetic evacuation. CNN reports “Taliban officials have said that pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which has also started wearing conventional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.”

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