Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Myanmar army kills 'reporter' in custody: press body 10/25 Burma army clashes with KIO and its allies in Shan state 10/25 Interview: The Stateless Rohingya 10/25 Journalist killed in military custody in Burma 10/24 Detained Myanmar reporter shot dead 10/24 Parliament peace chief visits Mongla 10/24 Shan Human Rights Foundation: Burma Army Commit Human Rights Abuses in Ke See Township 10/24 Democratic Voice of Burma: UNFC questions Burmese military commitment to peace – Naw Noreen 10/24 The Irrawaddy: Missing reporter killed in custody of Burma Army: Report 10/24 Myanmar army kills journalist it calls Karen rebel 10/24 The Myanmar Times: UEC extends campaign period but no let-up on event restrictions – Ei Ei Toe Lwin and Ye Mon 10/24 The Myanmar Times: Anger as minister links aid to ceasefire – Ei Ei Toe Lwin and Pyae Thet Phyo 10/24 Casinos in Cambodia : When the luck runs out 10/23 Burma Army continues troop deployment to SSPP/SSA areas, despite promising to withdraw 10/22 The Irrawaddy: Karen leaders prepare for divisive assembly 10/22 Journalist detained for nearly a month in Burma 10/22 Democratic Voice of Burma: Burma government tables liaison body proposal to SSA-N – Nang Mya Nadi 10/22 Democratic Voice of Burma: Ye Htut meets with journalists to discuss press freedom – Jacob Robinson 10/22 The Irrawaddy: Army detains journalist who covered fighting with rebels, wife alleges – Lawi Weng 10/21 Ex-Servicemen and Retired Officials Call for Ethnically Diverse 'Union Army' 10/21 The Irrawaddy: Women’s activists call for unity among Karen rebel groups – Nyein Nyein 10/20 Armed Groups Must Be Held to Account in Latest Fighting, Says Karen Human Rights Group 10/20 Peace process in limbo, when ceasefire is a joke 10/20 UNFC Urges Gov’t to Stop Offensives 10/20 Government troops reinforced while SSPP representatives meet U Thein Zaw 10/19 Women’s political party founded in Myanmar’s Mon State 10/18 Myanmar rebels say military operations could end peace talks 10/17 Myanmar jails journalists over 'public alarm' 10/17 Burma Army Orders 1,000 from Their Land in Hpakant, Fighting Expected 10/17 The Irrawaddy: Fighting escalates between government, rebel alliance in Shan State – Lawi Weng 10/17 Ke See Township: Mortar Shelling Forces Villagers to Flee 10/17 First Women Only Party Formed in Mon State 10/17 Five journalists sentenced to jail in Burma 10/17 Villagers flee due to firing of over 20 mortar shells in Ke See township 10/16 Fighting May Delay Political Talks, Says NCCT Leader Nai Hongsar 10/16 Mizzima News: Analysts, political parties fear postponement of 2015 election – Nan Myint 10/16 The Irrawaddy: After Karen groups pledge military cooperation, leadership divisions appear – Nyein Nyein 10/16 The Myanmar Times: SSA-North defies order to withdraw – Hlaing Kyaw Soe 10/16 The Irrawaddy: New political party aims to put Burma’s women in power – Lawi Weng 10/16 Burma army orders 1,000 from their land in Hpakant, fighting expected 10/16 ANP Say Election Date Not Dependent on Peace Process 10/16 The Irrawaddy: Army orders 1,000 villagers to leave, as tensions rise near Hpakant – Lawi Weng & May Kha 10/15 The Irrawaddy: ‘The more people talk about HIV, the less discrimination we will see’ – Myat Hsu Mon 10/15 Demonstration Planned in New York to Demand Justice for two Myanmar Workers 10/15 The Irrawaddy: Chin farmers who alleged army torture return to village – Nobel Zaw 10/15 The Irrawaddy: Controversial Hat Gyi dam blamed for Karen conflict – Saw Yan Naing 10/14 Two Thais arrested for trafficking of Bangladeshis, Rohingya 10/14 Myanmar Parliament's headgear, from flowers to bear claws, reflect diversity and divisions 10/13 Col Aung Thu orderes the SSPP/SSA to withdraw from Salween river 10/13 Myanmar Parliament's hats reveal much about owners 10/13 DKBA and Burma Army Fighting Spreads Throughout Karen State 10/13 UNODC defends poppy estimates for Kachin State after critical report 10/13 BBS – Wirathu Agreement: Declaration Of War On Muslims In Sri Lanka And South Asia 10/11 Burma Army Accused of Fuelling Drug ‘Crisis’ in Kachin and Shan State 10/10 The Myanmar Times Stability returns in Myawaddy after clashes – Zaw Htaik 10/10 Harder to win than war -Day 3 10/10 KIO closes Hukaung amber mines following tensions with Burma army forces 10/10 Myanmar Rohingya ‘tortured over alleged terror ties' 10/10 KIO closes Hukaung amber mines following tensions with Burma army forces 10/09 Myanmar army using child soldiers despite ban 10/09 Pro Myanmar government militias fighting KIO growing opium says rights group 10/09 Myanmar's embattled Palaung minority call for aid partners 10/08 Pro Myanmar government militias fighting KIO growing opium says rights group 10/08 Foreign Policy: We cannot go back to Myanmar – Henry Zwartz 10/08 Pilot of missing helicopter found alive in Myanmar 10/08 Thai coup leader visits Myanmar on 1st trip abroad 10/08 worsening drug crisis 10/08 Democratic Voice of Burma: War and drugs: a deadly combination 10/08 The Irrawaddy: Three blasts rock Taunggyi, injure 2 policemen –Nang Seng Nom 10/07 The Myanmar Times: Tensions ratchet up following skirmishes – Zaw Htike 10/07 Democratic Voice of Burma: Shan groups pledge common vision at Bangkok meeting – Shwe Aung 10/06 Democratic Voice of Burma: Karen delegates hold closed-door talks with government 10/06 Eleven Media: Myanmar tightens security in three main cities after Taunggyi bomb blasts 10/06 Earthly matters: Putting people last 10/05 Mizo ex-CM Zoramthanga meets Tony Blair's peace team 10/04 Shan armed groups and political parties to meet in Bangkok 10/03 Battles ‘not harmful to peace process’ 10/03 The Irrawaddy: Fighting in central Shan State reportedly kills 5 soldiers, 2 rebels – Lawi Weng & Nang Seng Nom 10/03 The Myanmar Times: President signs amendment to party registration law – Bill O’Toole 10/02 Myanmar/Burma: Armed Groups, Contested Legitimacy and Political Transition 10/02 Mizzima News: Shan armed groups and political parties to meet in Bangkok – Foe Soe Thu 10/02 The Irrawaddy: Heavy fighting in Shan State kills 17 government soldiers, rebels claim – Lawi Weng 10/02 Democratic Voice of Burma: Karen rebel killed as troops clash in Pegu – Naw Noreen 09/30 As losses mount; Pyithu Hluttaw questions management of state industry 09/29 The Irrawaddy: ‘I don’t think the NLD will win a landslide victory in 2015’ – Htet Naing Zaw 09/29 Latest round of Burma's peace talks end with little progress 09/29 Myanmar says sectarian violence challenges reforms 09/29 Deadly Fighting Breaks Out Between Burma Army and Karen Armed Groups – Border Crossing Closed 09/29 Lanka wins backing of 22 nations against UN rights probe 09/27 Sri Lanka Welcomes Terrorist, Spurns Saint 09/27 The Irrawaddy: DKBA rebels injure 2 soldiers, detain 8 in Mon State – Lawi Weng 09/26 Eleven Media: Ceasefire optimism rises ahead of meeting with political parties tomorrow 09/26 Myanmar: UN chief urges country to move beyond 'narrow agendas' and towards cooperation 09/26 The Irrawaddy: Chin farmers re-arrested after accusing Burma Army of torture – Yen Snaing 09/26 Burma army detains KIO officer in western Kachin State 09/25 Town Residents Receive Only Two ADSL Lines for Internet Connection 09/25 Myanmar’s nationwide ceasefire may face delays, says chief negotiator 09/25 The Irrawaddy: BGF arrests 5 soldiers for suspected involvement in KNU killing – Saw Yang Naing 09/25 Three KIO members detained by Govt. soldiers in Kar-maing Township 09/25 The Irrawaddy: Burmese Army Releases 108 Child Soldiers –Dani Patteran 09/25


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.