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Feeding The Beast: The Role of Myanmar's Illicit Economies in Continued State Instability Open Access Deposited

This paper examines the role of Myanmar’s military junta, the Tatmadaw, in the expansive transnational organized crime network of the country. These criminal activities facilitated by the Tatmadaw contribute to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar. Illicit finance fuels the hostile power of the military junta, undermines democracy, and exploits Myanmar’s Muslim community. As acts of violence, genocide, and torture continue to plague the country’s ethnic minorities, this paper seeks to explore the dismantling of organized crime networks as a means of mitigating violence and incentivizing the Tatmadaw to end its reign of terror against the Rohingya and other innocent civilians. This paper will provide a series of policy recommendations that promote transparency and cohesive efforts between the United States government and the National League for Democracy. Ending genocide and empowering democracy in Myanmar requires a new approach that emboldens democratic institutions, undermines illicit activities, and mobilizes the legitimate economy.

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