Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Myanmar Times: Arakan National Party pushes penalties in citizenship scrutiny process – Nyan Lynn Aung 07/25 Larry Jagan: Myanmar's Lady cosies up to the General 07/23 NCA groups say they want inclusive peace process 07/23 The Irrawaddy: Burma Army defends soldier against Myitkyina murder accusation – Lawi Weng 07/22 Myanmar census data undercuts Buddhist hardliner claims 07/22 Karen Information Center: Political parties and CSOs omitted from ceasefire monitoring committee 07/21 Karen Information Center: UNFC urges for an inclusive peace conference – Saw Lin Tun 07/21 Myanmar army admits villagers killed during interrogation 07/21 The Irrawaddy: Burma Army claims responsibility for five civilian deaths in northern Shan State – Lawi Weng & Tun Tun 07/20 Xinhua: Myanmar military voices no objection to holding ethnic summit 07/20 Myanmar general: Soldiers killed 5 civilians, will be tried 07/20 The Irrawaddy: Martyrs’ Day openly commemorated by thousands nationwide – Zarni Mann, Tin Htet Paing, & Tun Tun 07/19 Myanmar Times: Shan State parliament urges government to intervene in conflict – Thu Thu Aung 07/19 Myanmar fighting undermines Suu Kyi peace talks: rebels 07/19 Myanmar’s Suu Kyi holds landmark rebel talks 07/18 Myanmar fighting undermines Suu Kyi peace talks: rebels 07/18 Myanmar rebels satisfied with preparatory peace talks 07/18 Myanmar's Suu Kyi Holds Landmark Rebel Talks 07/17 Myanmar government criticizes Buddhist nationalist group 07/15 After violence, Myanmar moves to curb religious extremism 07/15 Asian Correspondent: Malaysians hold mass rally calling for end to Burmese persecution of Rohingyas 07/15 The Irrawaddy: Aung Kyi to head government-linked peace think tank – Kyaw Kha 07/15 Frontier Myanmar: Colonel Hkun Okker- ‘We hope that now is the time to rebuild the nation’ – Nyan Hlaing Lynn 07/15 Is Myanmar's new government serious about curbing religious extremism? 07/15 The Irrawaddy: Arakanese activist sentenced to two years hard labor – Moe Myint 07/13 Myanmar: Army warned off extremist comment in Rakhine 07/13 Democratic Voice of Burma: 3 sentenced for connections to Arakan Army – Tun Naing 07/13 Mon News Agency: Inclusivity to be discussed during UNFC meeting with DASSK 07/13 The Irrawaddy: Min Aung Hlaing asks soldiers in Arakan not to be ‘extreme’ 07/13 Myanmar set to release data on religion next week 07/12 Democratic Voice of Burma: Suu Kyi to meet ethnic army leaders – Naw Noreen 07/11 The Irrawaddy: Ethnic armed groups invite ethnic political parties to summit – Saw Yan Naing 07/11 Karen Information Center: Refugee health workers strike over claims that French aid group denies their rights and refuses to pay 07/11 Will Myanmar’s Rohingya finally become citizens in their own country? 07/07 Conflict, Cultural Identity Challenge Myanmar's Education Reform 07/07 The Irrawaddy: Ethnic armed groups seek common ground: Sources – Saw Yan Naing 07/07 Myanmar Times: One dead, seven hurt in Shan State landmine blast – Thu Thu Aung 07/07 Shan Herald Agency for News: SNLD likely to attend 21st Century Panglong Conference – Phway Nwam 07/07 Khonumthung: Ex-Chief Minister Zoramthanga leaves to meet ethnic armed groups in Bangkok 07/07 Democratic Voice of Burma: Jade sales drop amid ongoing conflict – Aung Hla Tun 07/07 Myanmar Times: KNU creating jobs for Kayin refugee women – Maung Zaw 07/07 The Irrawaddy: Border checkpoint dispute settled between Burma Army, KNLA – Kyaw Kha 07/06 Ex-Chief Minister Zoramthanga leaves to meet ethnic armed groups in Bangkok 07/06 Democratic Voice of Burma: Former MP takes aim at politicians with new journal 07/06 Mon News Agency: New Mon State Party – Include all EAOs in 21st Century Panglong Conference 07/06 Myanmar Times: Reviving a jaded peace process: Why natural resources must be a top priority in efforts to end conflict in Kachin State – Mike Davis 07/06 Suu Kyi calls for all groups to be included in Union Peace Conference 07/06 The Irrawaddy: Suu Kyi pushes for inclusion of NCA non-signatories in peace conference – Saw Yan Naing & Htet Naing Zaw 07/05 The Irrawaddy: Chin party condemns abuses by Burma Army, Arakan Army 07/05 Shan Herald Agency for News: SSPP/SSA asks President Htin Kyaw to release detainees 07/05 Myanmar must ‘urgently’ end abuses against Muslims: UN envoy 07/02 Kachin Church leaders tell US government about shooting death of Myitkyina student 07/01 Government pressure forces cancellation of Myanmar rights group report launch 07/01 Muivah plea to support rights 07/01 US downgrades Myanmar, raises Thailand in human trafficking report 06/30 Union spirit key to peace – Commander-in-Chief 06/30 UN Human Rights Council: High Commissioner’s reports on human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Burma/Myanmar and on Sri Lanka 06/30 Bodies of Five Slain Youths Found in Myanmar 06/30 KNU plan to use peaceful means to solve Htee Khee checkpoint tensions 06/29 Myanmar official says peace needed to curb drug problem 06/27 Attorney General visits the Yangon Rule of Law Centre, reaffirms cooperation 06/25 Suu Kyi vows to bring exiled countrymen home 06/25 NLD hands back 232 acres of confiscated farmlands – rightful owners not happy 06/24 Suu Kyi says trust must precede peace in Myanmar 06/24 Suu Kyi vows to bring Myanmar people home 06/24 Myanmar: Objections to new term for Rohingya build 06/23 Suu Kyi's trip to Thailand to tackle migrant workers' plight 06/23 The Irrawaddy: After shooting of Kachin teen, protesters dispute Burma Army claims – Saw Yan Naing 06/22 Democratic Voice of Burma: War of lexicon in Arakan State – Wunna Kwanyo 06/22 The Irrawaddy: UN Rapporteur avoids contentious terms with Arakan Chief Minister – Moe Myint 06/22 Myanmar: Nationalist party slams new term for Rohingya 06/21 Kachin News Group: KIA attack Burma Army camp in northern Shan State 06/21 The Irrawaddy: Government peace delegation asks ethnic groups to disarm – Saw Yan Naing & Lawi Weng 06/21 Eleven Myanmar: PNLO vows to work with all Myanmar people in peace process 06/21 Democratic Voice of Burma: Myitkyina student shot dead after argument at army checkpoint – Naw Noreen 06/21 Myanmar’s Rohingya may be victims of ‘crimes against humanity’: UN 06/21 KNPP to discuss all-inclusive ceasefire with government 06/21 Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya may be ‘crime against humanity’, as UN points to forced labour and sexual violence 06/20 Civil society must be part of peace process, says 88 generation leader 06/20 Cluster Bombs Used In Sri Lanka’s Civil War, Leaked Photos Suggest – The Guardian 06/19 Democratic Voice of Burma: 13 youths sentenced for ties to Arakan rebels – Wunna Kwanyo 06/17 The Irrawaddy: Burma Army raids Mon National Liberation Army base – Lawi Weng 06/17 What Turkey expects from Myanmar’s new government 06/17 Karen Information Center: Burma Army obstructs civilians transporting food 06/17 Asia Times: What Turkey expects from Myanmar’s new government – Altay Atli 06/16 The Irrawaddy:Army demands three ethnic allies disarm before joining peace process – Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 06/16 Shan Herald Agency for News: SSPP/SSA leader willing to broker talks between TNLA and Shan People 06/16 Myanmar censors ban movie at human rights film festival 06/16 Myanmar scraps screening of film critical of military's past 06/15 All-inclusive ceasefire needed for peace says CNF Chairman 06/15 Myanmar scraps screening of film critical of military’s excesses during its 49-year rule 06/15 Myanmar censors ban movie at human rights film festival 06/15 Dalai Lama urges Suu Kyi to ease Rohingya tension 06/14 Nationwide ceasefire needs for peace in Myanmar: CNF President 06/14 The Irrawaddy: UNFC proposes more negotiations prior to Suu Kyi meeting – Saw Yan Naing 06/14 Democratic Voice of Burma: Ma Ba Tha monk denounces anti-Rohingya protest 06/14 The Irrawaddy: ‘Twilight Over Burma’ to be reviewed by censorship board – Tin Htet Paing 06/14 Reuters: As Myanmar emerges from junta’s shadow, war veterans left behind – Timothy McLaughlin 06/14 Daily Sabah: Turkey will support Myanmar government solutions for Rohingyas, Foreign Minister says 06/14 As Myanmar emerges from junta's shadow, war veterans left behind 06/13


Myanmar (aka Burma) has been in a state of constant civil war since independence in 1948. Powerful elements within the Burman (or Bamar) ethnic group, who constitute about 60% of the population and 40% of the land mass, have felt that they should dominate the country’s social, economic, and political realms. However, Myanmar is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world with key non-Burman ethnic groups demanding equality with the Burmans in the three public realms, specifically the protection of ethnic culture, language, and religion, the devolution of tangible executive, legislative, and judicial power to the ethnic states within a true federal union, and a democratic form of government. With their demands unmet, the ethnic groups turned to armed insurgency. Despite many political and military alliances among them, they have been unable to use these alliances to best advantage because of cultural differences and diverse agendas.

The civil war and the perceived threat of secession by ethnic states from Myanmar led in 1962 to a military coup. Since then, the military has dominated the affairs of the country seeing itself as the sole force capable of holding the country together. The military’s dictum is “one country – one army.”

The major non-Burman ethnic groups are the Arakanese, Chin, Kachin, Shan, Karenni, Karen, and Mon, all of which have their own states in which they are the dominant ethnic group. All these states have ethnic insurgent activities of varying intensities against the Myanmar military (aka Tatmadaw). The Tatmadaw has been employing a “Four Cuts” counterinsurgency strategy which attempts to deny the ethnic insurgents access to food, funding, information, and recruits. Also the Myanmar regime policies have led to the impoverishment of and human rights abuses toward the ethnic peoples leading hundreds of thousands of them to seek safety in adjacent countries – Thailand, China, India, and Bangladesh, through resettlement in other countries, and as internally displaced persons in the jungle inside Myanmar.

The following are the current most active ethnic armed groups fighting against the Myanmar regime for ethnic rights, federalism, and democracy and to stop human rights abuses against their respective ethnic groups:
Arakan (aka Rahkine) State: Arakan Liberation Army (ALA) and the Arakan Army (AA).
Chin State: Chin National Army (CNA).
Kachin State: Kachin Independence Army (KIA)
Shan State: Kachin Independence Army (KIA), United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA Mongla), Shan State Army - South (SSA - S), Shan State Army - North (SSA - N), Wa National Army (WNA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Lahu Democratic Front (LDF), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), and the Pa’O Peoples Liberation Army (PPLA).
Karenni (aka Kayah) State: Karenni Army (KnA) and the Kayan New Land Party (KNLP).
Karen (aka Kayin) State: Karen National Defense Organization/Karen National Liberation Army (KNDO/KNLA) and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).
Mon State: Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA).

Additionally in Arakan State, the Rohingya National Army (RNA), is fighting against the regime for religious rights and the recognition of the Rohingya people as an ethnic group with special geographic areas set aside in Arakan State for them to institute Islamic laws and practice their culture as Muslims. These aspirations are a source of conflict between them and the Arakan Buddhists who consider the Rohingya as migrant Bengali Muslims with no legitimate claim to ethnicity in Myanmar.