Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Kachin News Group: Burma Army raids Sar Maw IDP camp – Kachin News Group 09/26 The Irrawaddy: Eyewitness on the front line – Lawi Weng 09/26 Villagers flee as fighting intensifies in Kachin State 09/24 Myanmar Soldiers Sentenced to Hard Labor for Village Killings 09/22 Myanmar Times: Peace envoy urges religious, ethnic harmony – Lun Min Mang 09/22 Network Media Group: Burma Army becomes more active in PSLF/TNLA areas 09/22 The Irrawaddy: AmCham urges US companies to practice CSR in Burma – Kyaw Hsu Mon 09/22 Myanmar refugees, including Muslim Rohingya, outpace Syrian arrivals in United States 09/21 Villagers unsatisfied with punishment for Myanmar soldiers 09/20 Deadly clashes in Myanmar threaten rebel peace bid 09/20 Frontier Myanmar: Months after conflict, hundreds of students still out of school in Kyaukme – Mratt Kyaw Thu 09/20 Network Media Group: Burma Army launches attacks against KIA 09/20 Myanmar Refugees, Including Muslim Rohingya, Outpace Syrian Arrivals in US 09/20 Kayin IDPs flee to Thailand 09/19 Seven soldiers sentenced for civilian killings in Myanmar 09/19 Deadly clashes in Myanmar threaten rebel peace bid 09/19 Myanmar Times: No end in sight to deadly Kayin State clashes – Ye Mon 09/19 Myanmar Times: Political parties rail against Rakhine State commission – Ye Mon 09/19 1,000 Karen refugees flee fighting in areas across from Tak province 09/19 The Nation:1,000 Karen refugees flee 09/19 Democratic Voice of Burma: Thousands of Red Shan march for self-rule – Aung Ko Latt 09/19 Myanmar Times: After guilty verdict, families of killed Mong Yaw villagers await compensation – Lun Min Mang 09/19 300 Burma Army Soldiers Enter China Disguised as Civilians 09/19 The Irrawaddy: Lifting Burma’s sanctions- Who is the real winner? – Aung Zaw 09/19 Burma Army Stops WFP Rice from Reaching Kachin IDP Camp 09/17 Myanmar soldiers jailed with hard labour for village killings 09/17 Myanmar soldiers jailed with hard labour for murdering villagers 09/16 Why US is no match for China’s carrot and stick in Myanmar 09/16 Myanmar soldiers jailed for five Shan deaths 09/16 Myanmar soldiers jailed for village murders in rare case 09/16 Myanmar soldiers jailed for killing villagers 09/16 Myanmar soldiers jailed for killing villagers 09/16 Myanmar Times: Rejection of Rakhine advisory body approved by state hluttaw 09/15 Kachin News Group:Burma Army stops WFP rice from reaching Kachin IDP camp 09/15 Myanmar Times: TNP offers to negotiate peace between rival groups in Shan State – Thu Thu Aung 09/14 Democratic Voice of Burma: Upper house votes against ethnic literacy proposal – Nay Phyo Win 09/14 Myanmar Times: KNU urges end to Kayin State fighting – Ye Mon 09/14 Democratic Voice of Burma: Burmese government launches aid effort for IDPs in Karen State 09/14 Thousands flee Methawaw as clashes intensify 09/14 Myanmar Times: Rakhine org mounts call for resource control – Kyi Kyi Sway 09/14 Myanmar Times: Tatmadaw insists landmine use kept within reasonable minimum – Htoo Thant 09/13 Democratic Voice of Burma: Kachin exiles call for continued sanctions – Seamus Martov 09/13 Myanmar Times: Kachin parties object to ethnic minorities’ calls for separate state – Thu Thu Aung 09/13 Myanmar Times: Rakhine hluttaw to debate state advisory commission – Yi Ywal Myint 09/13 Democratic Voice of Burma: Ta’ang, SSA-S meet for talks aimed at reducing hostilities – Nang Mya Nadi 09/13 Mizzima: KNU and NMSP clash after 27 years of ceasefire 09/12 The Irrawaddy: More than 3,000 villagers flee escalating conflict in Karen State – Saw Yan Naing 09/12 The Irrawaddy: Bertil Lintner-“There is a new Cold War in Asia” 09/12 Militias excluded from Panglong conference voice support for Wa 09/10 The Economist: Ending Myanmar’s insurgencies- A long road 09/09 Ethnic leader says now is not the time to lay down arms 09/09 The Irrawaddy: Mon and Karen forces clash in Dawei District – Lawi Weng 09/09 The Irrawaddy: Regional parliamentarians lament continued government centralization – Moe Myint 09/09 Myanmar Times: Ceasefire signatory Karen National Union to hold leadership election in November – Ye Mon 09/09 The Irrawaddy: Is it time for the US to lift sanctions? – Aung Zaw 09/08 Myanmar Times: Tatmadaw denies India is providing ‘weaponry and gadgets’ – Shoon Naing & Ye Mon 09/08 Kachin News Group: Burma Army seizes medicines meant for IDPs 09/08 UNFC to Continue with Tripartite NCA Discussions 09/08 Nikkei Asian Review: After Myanmar’s peace conference, what next? – Richard Horsey 09/08 The Irrawaddy: Wa tin mining boom may have peaked – Seamus Martov 09/07 Frontier Myanmar: ANP files police case against immigration official over citizenship project – Su Myat Mon 09/07 Mon News Agency: Union Ethnic Affairs Minister calls for nationwide ceasefire and political dialogue – Thida Linn 09/07 Myanmar MPs reject 'Rakhine proposal' 09/07 Myanmar: Annan faces anger as he probes plight of Rohingya Muslims 09/06 Peace Conference Offered Myanmar Great Promise, but Huge Obstacles Remain 09/06 Southern ISOC condemns Narathiwat school blast 09/06 1,000 in Myanmar protest Annan examining religious conflict 09/06 Myanmar Leader says Rakhine Commission Will Help Heal Wounds 09/05 1,000 in Myanmar protest Annan's role on Rohingya commission 09/05 Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi says Rakhine commission will help heal wounds 09/05 Violence in northern Myanmar overshadows peace process 09/04 Myanmar’s Suu Kyi urges all sides to ‘look forward’ as peace summit ends 09/03 Peace summit in Myanmar draws to a close without resolution 09/03 Myanmar’s 21st Panglong Peace Conference ends with long road ahead 09/03 Aung San Suu Kyi faces first test of leadership: bringing Burma's warring factions together 09/02 China says it will play constructive role in Myanmar peace talks 09/02 Powerful militia storms out of Myanmar peace talks 09/02 NMSP Vice-chairperson criticizes Commander-in-Chief’s speech 09/02 Clinging to armed struggle is contrary to democracy, says Armed Forces chief 09/01 Same old wine, brand new bottle 09/01 Myanmar's promising path to reconciliation to require compromise, Ban tells peace conference 09/01 Powerful militia storms out of Myanmar peace talks 09/01 Myanmar’s delicate peace process: four things to know 09/01 SNLD leader boycotts peace conference 09/01 Myanmar: Ethnic group storms out of peace talks 09/01 Powerful militia storms out of Myanmar’s landmark peace talks after ‘misunderstanding’ 09/01 Myanmar makes a new attempt at unity 08/31 Myanmar’s promising path to reconciliation to require compromise, Ban tells peace conference 08/31 Aung San Suu Kyi opens peace talks to end decades of fighting in Myanmar 08/31 Myanmar to hold historic peace talks with ethnic armies 08/30 Union Peace Conference marks an important milestone: EU 08/30 UN chief urges Myanmar to respect human rights 08/30 A conference and conflict in Myanmar 08/29 Workshop discusses resettling displaced populations 08/26 Myanmar Times: Security questions linger ahead of peace summit – Pyae Thet Phyo 08/26 The Irrawaddy: ANP demands cancellation of Kofi Annan-led Arakan State Commission – Moe Myint 08/26 Mizzima: NGO condemns decision to deny bail to human rights activist 08/26 Myanmar Times: UNFC commits to Panglong Conference – Lun Min Mang 08/26 Frontier Myanmar: Radical proposal to redraw Myanmar gets lukewarm reception – Hein Ko Soe 08/26 Democratic Voice of Burma: Everybody should be part of Panglong – Yanghee Lee 08/26


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.