Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Displaced people start to return to Myanmar Kokang region as security improves: official 03/01 Photographer Nabbed for Myanmar Facebook Parody 02/28 The Irrawaddy: Let us stick to humanitarian work: Red Cross – Zu Zu 02/27 Clarity Over North Myanmar Fighting Lost in Fog of Conflict 02/27 State of Emergency Complicates the Peace Process in Myanmar 02/27 Kantarawaddy Times: Army kidnaps and conscripts under age youth 02/27 The Irrawaddy: Kokang rebels warn refugees in China not to return as Shan State fighting continues – Lawi Weng 02/27 Myanmar refugees visit on lobbying trip 02/27 Myanmar-Thai cooperation, migrant workers discussed on Bangkok visit 02/27 Khonumthung: Burma Army commander demands money from missionaries 02/27 Democratic Voice of Burma: Shan mining protestors block trucks – Nang Mya Nadi 02/27 The Irrawaddy: Government wrong to suggest Wa, China involvement in Kokang conflict: UWSA – Lawi Weng   02/27 Kantarawaddy Times: Army and companies own most of the land in Kayah State – Sun Phyo Tun 02/27 Wa and Mongla forces deny helping Kokang rebels 02/27 Narinjara News: Farmers demanding compensation for farmland destroyed by gas pipeline 02/26 The Irrawaddy: Fighting spreads through northern Shan State, displacing hundreds of civilians – Lawi Weng 02/26 Myanmar government urged to stop misusing volunteers 02/26 Democratic Voice of Burma: Yawd Serk dampens ceasefire ambitions – Nang Mya Nadi 02/26 Myanmar military wins rare praise in war with ethnic Chinese rebels 02/26 Reuters: Myanmar rebel leader denies Chinese citizens fighting with him 02/26 Myanmar Times: Kokang needs a political solution – Sithu Aung Myint 02/26 Council on Foreign Relations: Is Myanmar’s peace process unraveling? – Joshua Kurlantzick     02/26 Xinhua: Commentary: N. Myanmar unrest detrimental to Chinese interests – Editorial 02/26 Shan Herald Agency for News: Two villages injured when Burma Army ambushed 02/26 Myanmar Times: Federalism conference to open in Loikaw – Aung Kyaw Min 02/26 Myanmar Rebel Leader Denies Receiving Chinese Help 02/25 Myanmar Rebel Leader Denies Receiving Chinese Aid 02/25 Rakhine farmers protest over gas pipeline compensation 02/25 Clashes between Myanmar army and Kokang rebels continue, amidst human rights chief warning 02/25 Sporadic clashes continue in Myanmar Kokang region 02/25 No links to clashes in Myanmar, China says 02/25 Myanmar rebel leader denies Chinese citizens fighting with him 02/24 Myanmar rebel commander denies Chinese mercenaries fighting with his forces 02/24 Mizzima News: Kunlong Township Red Cross rescues 3,000 war refugees – Yu Wai 02/23 Facebook stickers counter Myanmar hate speech 02/23 News Guide: Myanmar troops, ethnic rebels in fierce fighting 02/23 Democratic Voice of Burma: Government rules out negotiating with Kokang rebels 02/23 Security transition in Afghanistan 'has not gone smoothly': US activist 02/22 Five wounded in 2nd attack on aid vehicle in Kokang 02/22 Red Cross says volunteer wounded in second attack on Myanmar convoy 02/22 Reports of shelling in northern Myanmar 02/22 Reports of shelling in northern Myanmar 02/21 Myanmar says more than 130 dead in fighting near China border 02/21 Myanmar's ethnic rebels backed by former Chinese soldiers 02/21 Over 130 dead in battle with rebels: Myanmar 02/21 Aid workers, journalist injured in ambush in northern Myanmar 02/21 Myanmar army keeps offensive against ethnic rebels 02/20 Myanmar Reinforces Attacks on Ethnic Rebels Near China 02/20 Progress Seen in Building a Healthcare System in Rural Myanmar 02/20 Myanmar Border Conflict Tests China 02/20 Mizzima News: Accusations traded over Red Cross convoy attack 02/20 The Irrawaddy: Two dead, several injured during battle in Kokang village – Kyaw Hsu Mon 02/20 The Irrawaddy: Murky picture emerges of Kokang conflict’s actors – Nyein Nyein 02/20 The Hill Tribe People of Myanmar 02/20 Myanmar army hits back at rebels along Chinese border 02/20 Myanmar Times: Government rejects Kokang request for ceasefire talks – Ye Mon and Lun Min Mang   02/20 Shan Herald Agency for News: Over 4,000 refugees pass through Lashio in eight days 02/20 Shan Herald Agency for News: All groups fighting in Laukkai need to take responsibility says army chief 02/20 Eleven Myanmar: Kokang martial law responsibilities outlined 02/20 Mizzima News: Democracy and Human Rights Party expels 1,000 white card holders – Hein Ko Soe 02/20 Myanmar aid group urges ceasefire 02/19 Crisis crossing borders - Unrest in Myanmar's Kokang region 02/19 Thousands flee clashes in Myanmar 02/19 Myanmar seeks China aid on 'terror' 02/19 Myanmar requests help from China to prevent 'terrorist attacks' 02/19 A day in photos 02/19 The New York Times: Conflict in Myanmar reverberates across the border in China – Patrick Boehler 02/19 The Economist: More process than peace – The Economist 02/19 Myanmar, Kokang rebels spar over Red Cross attack 02/19 Myanmar declares state of emergency in Kokang region over armed clashes 02/18 Red Cross volunteers wounded in Myanmar 02/18 Associated Press: Myanmar government says 3 more groups involved in North fighting – Aye Aye Win 02/18 Myanmar declares martial law in troubled Kokang region 02/18 Thousands flee Myanmar conflict as state of emergency imposed in Kokang 02/18 Myanmar, Kokang Rebels Trade Accusations Over Red Cross Attack 02/18 Martial law declared in Kokang region of Myanmar 02/18 Tensions between KIO and government high after army shelling 02/18 The Washington Post: Beyond Myanmar’s embattled Muslims, Christians say they face their own persecution – Mang Suan Kim 02/18 The Irrawaddy: Kachin man accusing Army of killing daughter found guilty of defamation – Saw Yan Naing &  Andrew D. Kaspar   02/18 The Irrawaddy: Wa, Mongla rebels deny involvement in Kokang conflict – Paul Vrieze 02/18 The Irrawaddy: Red Cross convoy ambushed near Laukkai 02/18 Democratic Voice of Burma: KNU rejects Union Day commitment – Naw Noreen 02/18 Shan Herald Agency for News: Kokang Party calls for negotiation instead of fighting 02/18 Agence France-Presse: Tens of thousands flee Myanmar conflict as aid curbed 02/18 Myanmar's renewed ethnic troubles 02/18 Myanmar puts army in charge in troubled region 02/18 The Irrawaddy: Parliament condemns Kokang supporters in Northeast Burma – Bone Myat 02/18 Mizzima News: Constitutional Tribunal says ‘white card’ voting unconstitutional – Win Ko Ko Latt 02/18 The Irrawaddy: KNU plans ceasefire meetings with government, criticizes other rebel groups – Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 02/18 Agence France-Presse: President vows not to ‘lose an inch’ of land to rebels 02/18 The Irrawaddy: State broadcaster staff kidnapped in Muse, still missing – Nobel Zaw 02/18 Democratic Voice of Burma: SNDP sets sights on 50% election success rate – Nang Mya Nad 02/18 The Irrawaddy: The Kokang conflict: how will China respond? – Yun Sun 02/18 The Irrawaddy: Burma Red Cross condemns convoy attack, rebels deny responsibility – Nyein Nyein 02/18 Northern Myanmar clashes reveal fault lines in troubled region 02/18 Accusations traded over Red Cross convoy attack 02/18 Myanmar declares martial law in troubled Kokang region 02/17 Two shot in first ever attack on Red Cross in Myanmar: witness 02/17 Myanmar declares state of emergency, imposes martial law in Kokang 02/17 Thousands Fleeing Myanmar Fighting Cross Into China 02/17


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.