Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Slave boat owners in govt sights 03/26 Business, military, government seize land for rubber in Myanmar: rights group 03/26 Japan city officials block 'one-sided' exhibit on 'comfort women' 03/26 Myanmar military claims total control of Kokang region 03/26 Searching for safety 03/25 ‘Chinese mercenaries’ recruited by Kokang rebels: recruiter 03/25 PLA holds night live-fire drills near border with Myanmar 03/25 Burma army uses air strikes on KIO days after historic Naypyidaw meeting 03/24 Kachin offensive expands, despite peace talks 03/23 Despite Peace Talks, Myanmar Expands Kachin Offensive 03/23 Ceasefire talks to resume on March 30 03/23 ‘Outstanding issues’ extend cease-fire talks in Myanmar 03/22 Myanmar gov't troops capture stronghold as heavy fighting continues in Kokang 03/22 'Myanmar ceasefire deal should include Kokang armed group' 03/21 '100 dead' in Myanmar fighting 03/20 Fighting continues in Myanmar Kokang region 03/19 Heavy fighting goes on in Myanmar's Kokang region amid peace negotiation 03/18 Myanmar border conflict riles neighbouring China 03/18 Joint probe crucial to ease tension at Myanmar border 03/18 Fighting between rebels, Myanmar government forces 'intensifying' on border with China, Chinese state-run newspaper reports 03/18 Chinese FM visits border province after bombing 03/18 Mizzima News: Making peace, buying time – Nicholas Farrelly 03/18 Myanmar Post journalists jailed for two months 03/18 Myanmar gov't vows to strive for draft ceasefire accord 03/17 Radio Free Asia: Myanmar government bombs fall in China’s Yunnan, sparking forest fires 03/17 Myanmar gov't, armed groups resume peace talks 03/17 Mizzima News: Call to end human rights abuse in ethnic areas 03/17 Myanmar gov't, ethnic armed groups agree to seek ways for conflict reduction 03/17 Myanmar military convoy ambushed by Kokang ethnic army 03/16 Serious Tensions Brewing Between China, Myanmar 03/16 700 Kachin civilians flee from home after clashes in Shan state last month 03/16 KIO meets with President and Commander-in-Chief 03/16 Myanmar expresses 'sorrow' for China border deaths 03/16 Eleven News: Travel ban hinders ceasefire talk 03/16 Myanmar president, defense chief meet Kachin ethnic armed group on peace efforts 03/16 Mizzima News: Karen women’s group ‘shocked’ by UK help for Myanmar army 03/16 China sends jets to Myanmar border after stray bombing 03/14 China scrambles jets after deadly Burma bomb attack 03/14 Myanmar government bombs 'fall in China' 03/13 Myanmar Troops Shell Hills Near China Border 03/13 China protests Myanmar border air raid that kills 4 Chinese 03/13 Sieren’s China: Business is thicker than blood 03/11 Karen women’s group ‘shocked’ by UK help for Myanmar army 03/11 The Irrawaddy: TitleBurma Army shot, tortured Kokang civilians during conflict: Rights group — Lawi Weng 03/10 India to play role in Myanmar ethnic peace process 03/10 The Irrawaddy: Army says 8 soldiers dead, 51 injured fighting Kokang rebels 03/10 The Irrawaddy: KIA plans to meet with government, discuss deadly shelling – Lawi Weng 03/10 Reuters: China angered as Myanmar fighting spills over border 03/10 The Irrawaddy: Supply shortage for Kokang refugees in China: local lawmakers – Nyein Nyein 03/10 The Irrawaddy: Group alleges Burma Army rights abuses in Kokang – Nang Seng Nom 03/10 Shan Herald Agency for News: Burma army commander wants to attack UWSA, NDAA and RCSS/SSA 03/10 Myanamar Times: Press council calls for clarity on Kokang reporting — Wa Kibe 03/10 Reuters: China border province says did not host Myanmar rebel leader – Ben Blanchard 03/10 Burma's Armed groups and government to meet again soon 03/09 MYANMAR: Yet Another Major Tribal Uprising 03/07 China border province says did not host Myanmar rebel leader 03/07 Reuters: China asks Myanmar to “lower temperature” on border 03/06 Mizzima News: China and the politics of the back door — Mizzima Weekly 03/06 Rights groups claims Army is targeting Kokang civilians 03/06 China calls for ‘restraint’ amid rebel, government forces clashes in Myanmar 03/05 PLA military strategist ‘leaked state secrets, helped Myanmar rebels’ 03/05 Kokang commander says KIA helping in the fight 03/04 Mizzima News: Army shelling ‘forces farmers off land’ in Kayin State 03/04 Kokang rebels urge China mediation to end clashes with Myanmar soldiers 03/04 The New York Times: How China fuels Myanmar’s wars – Matthew Smithmarch 03/04 China asks Myanmar to 'lower temperature' on border 03/04 Kokang Implicate Fellow Rebel Group in Myanmar Fighting 03/03 The Irrawaddy: Burma Army, Shan Rebel peace pledge signatory clash – Lawi Weng   03/03 Shan Herald Agency for News: Burma Army attacked three times in a day 03/03 The Irrawaddy: US honors Kachin activist with prestigious Women of Courage Award – Nyein Nyein 03/03 Karen Information Center: British Parliament asked to help refugees on Thai Burma border 03/02 Democratic Voice of Burma: Is peace process in its death throes? – Pangmu Shayi 03/02 The Irrawaddy: ‘We need to enter political dialogue’ – Kyaw Kha & Nyein Nyein 03/02 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


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.