Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: The Diplomat: U.K. Minister of State Hugo Swire on Burma – Hugo Swire 07/21 The Women’s League of Burma Accuses Burma Army Of Protecting Rapists In Its Ranks 07/21 Resume fighting between Burma Army and Shan State Army-North affects six villages 07/21 The Myanmar Times: SSA-N to blame for fighting, says vice minister 07/21 CNF will attend NCCT members meet 07/20 NCCT to meet and finalize presentation for Laiza summit 07/19 Thai government defends refugee repatriation 07/18 U.K. Minister of State Hugo Swire on Burma 07/18 New political party to represent Chin people 07/18 NCCT to meet and finalize presentation for Laiza summit 07/18 The KNU has appointed five delegates including the KNU chairman to attend national peace talks in Laiza in late July. 07/17 KIC: China backed dam projects “fuelling” conflict in Shan State 07/17 Democratic Voice of Burma: Shwe Mann objects to MP calling ethnic armies ‘revolutionaries’ 07/17 Democratic Voice of Burma: Women activists stand trial in Chin State for protesting against army rape 07/16 The Irrawaddy: Shan MP asks government to cease army operations in Northern Shan State 07/16 Mizzima News: Armed groups in Kayin State to help resettle returned refugees 07/16 Democratic Voice of Burma: Ceasefire language must be ‘simple and coherent’, says Thein Sein 07/15 The Irrawaddy: UN rights body says government detention of Kachin farmer illegal 07/15 New political party to represent Chin people 07/15 Mon Negotiating Team to Hold a Conference 07/15 KIC: State authorities harass women’s activists following anti-rape protests 07/14 Thai junta to send back Myanmar refugees 07/14 Democratic Voice of Burma: Karen armed groups united to combat illicit drugs 07/14 Concern at Thailand's planned deportation of refugees to Myanmar 07/14 Crude bomb blast wounds 6 in India; 4 men abducted 07/12 Myanmar: Displaced Kachin Face Bleak Future 07/10 Myanmar reporters sentenced to jail 07/10 ‘Bi Mon Te Nay’ reporter’s whereabouts unknown, says family 07/10 State Authorities Harass Women’s Activists Following Anti-Rape Protests 07/09 Peace Process: Both sides ready to make “further compromise” 07/09 Thai Raid Exposes Trafficking Ring, Systemic Problems 07/09 Burma Football Friendly Brings Together Battlefield Opponents 07/08 Over 100 Villagers Flee Burmese Army amid Mounting Tension in Shan State 07/08 Myanmar Football Friendly Brings Together Battlefield Opponents 07/08 Battling to Survive – “I Remember Carrying Their Rations and Crying…” 07/07 Over 100 villagers flee Burma Army abuses amid mounting tension in central Shan State 07/07 Fighting Between KNLA and Burma Army – Kills One, Wounds One… 07/07 Dalai Lama issues plea to Buddhists in Myanmar, Sri Lanka 07/07 Democratic Voice of Burma: Karens hold funeral for ‘strong and fearless leader’ Gen. Tamla Baw 07/01 Myanmar Times: Ethnic armed groups, opposition parties to meet in Mae Sot 07/01 The Irrawaddy: Burma Election Commission begins compiling voter lists 07/01 NLD’s Signature Campaign For Constitution Change In Three Pagoda Pass Hits a High 07/01 England left-back Luke Shaw has completed a £31.5m move to Man Utd from Southampton to become most expensive teenager in football history. 06/28 R.I.P – General Tamla Baw – Karen Leader 06/27 Karen State Based Political Parties Back Election Commission Proposal for Land and Tax-Free Car Import Permits 06/26 Democratic Voice of Burma: Kachin IDPs lose hope of returning home 06/26 The Irrawaddy: Four killed as fighting flares in northern Burma: Kachin rebels 06/26 Retired KNU General Saw Tar Malar Bal, age 94, passed away June 26 at 9:23 p.m. near the Thai-Myanmar border. 06/26 President to celebrate peaceful coexistence with China and India 06/26 Brides for Sale: Vietnamese Women Trafficked to China 06/25 CNDP Finds Religious Conversion Bill Unacceptable 06/25 The Irrawaddy: General appointed Arakan Chief Minister, government tells local MPs 06/25 CNDP finds Religious Conversion Bill unacceptable 06/24 Burmese troops and KIA repeatedly clash in southern Kachin state 06/24 Al Jazeera: Border Prosthetics 06/24 Democratic Voice of Burma: NDF about-face on PR in ethnic states 06/24 Democratic Voice of Burma: Ethnic political parties promise mass protest if PR system passes 06/23 Chinland Guardian: Chin party slams Religious Law proposals 06/23 Karen Political Party Voice Concerns over Proportional Representation Voting System 06/23 The Irrawaddy: Aung Min apologizes to military for ‘aggravating’ remarks 06/23 Rakhine State Chief Minister resigns 06/20 CNF Ceasefire Monitoring Team Office opens in Thantlang Township 06/20 SSA-North Loses Mongsu Camp to Burmese Army 06/20 Global refugees highest since WWII, pointing to lack of political solutions 06/20 Karen National Party Members Undergo Government Vetting Process 06/19 SSA-North loses Mongsu camp to Burma Army 06/19 Rohingya camp conditions in Myanmar 'appalling', says UN official 06/18 As Myanmar's Rakhine Buddhists gain strength, so does anti-Muslim apartheid 06/18 Prayer to boycott “Religious Conversion Law” draft 06/17 Ceasefire Under Threat as Burma Army’s Attack on Karen Army Kills One and Wounds One 06/17 CNF Given Permission to Open Business Offices in Falam and Mindat 06/16 Myanmar women expect concrete outcomes from Global Summit on Sexual Violence 06/16 Three killed, 75 injured, houses set ablaze in Sri Lanka ethnic clashes 06/16 An exhibition featuring the traditional dress of Myanmar’s ethnic women will be held at the National Theatre on June 28 and 29. 06/15 New ceasefire agreement to be signed in three months, says KNU 06/06 Burma’s Army Deploys Troops Closer to Wa Territory 06/06 Burma Army deploys troops closer to Wa 06/05 Rohingya Muslims thank Turkey 06/05   New ceasefire agreement to be signed in three months, says KNU   06/05 Dr. Tu Ja says Burma constitution must be amended but not on Thein Sein's terms 06/04 Dr. Tu Ja says Burma’s constitution must be amended—but not on Thein Sein's terms 06/04 Outgoing UN Human Rights Envoy to Burma Concerned about Kachin Conflict 06/03 Mahn Robert Zan: Ceasefire Must Include a Timeframe 06/03 Karen General – Constitutional Reform is "Our Greatest Concern" 06/03 Outgoing UN rights Envoy to Burma concerned about Kachin situation 06/02 MYANMAR: The Heavy Shadow Of China 06/02 Chin leader says Nation-Wide Ceasefire Talks are like a Game of Polo 05/30 Democratic Voice of Burma: Charges dropped against detained Shan politician 05/30 Karen State: Landmine Kills Six-Year-Old Girl And Critically Injures Five Villagers 05/29 Karen Women’s Group Condemns Aid Cuts to Refugees on Thai-Burma Border 05/28 Armed ethnic groups to discuss latest ceasefire draft in June 05/26 5.6-magnitude quake strikes Myanmar-China border: USGS 05/23 Japanese-American soldier kept quiet about World War II heroics 05/23 Xinhua: Myanmar gov’t, armed groups pan out second draft of peace agreement 05/23 NGO’s say Aid Cuts Pressure Refugees on Thai-Burma Border to Return Home Prematurely 05/23 Why Thailand's coup must be its last 05/22 Mon National Representatives Attend UN Forum on Indigenous Issues 05/22 Shan Herald Agency for News: Taunggyi to hold constitutional workshop 05/21 Democratic Voice of Burma: Ceasefire talks underway in Rangoon 05/21 Democratic Voice of Burma: KNU constructs housing in preparation for peace 05/20


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.