Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Ethnic Youths Protest at MPC over Army Attack on KIO 11/26 MPC Want to Start Political Dialogue during Current Government's Term 11/26 Parliament approves six-way talks for political reform process 11/26 Aung San Suu Kyi Party Expects New Myanmar Constitution Talks in Days 11/26 Al Jazeera: Bangladesh proposes interning, repatriating up to 270K Rohingya to Myanmar – Nigel O’Connor   11/26 The Irrawaddy: Slain cadets remembered during Rangoon, Sittwe services – Yen Snaing   11/26 Mizzima News: Nationwide Myanmar ceasefire agreement meet postponed following Kachin deaths – Phanida   11/26 Myitkyina Residents Defy Authorities to Mourn 23 Laiza Cadets 11/25 Burma's CBO, CSOs Not Able to Participate Fully in the Peace Process 11/25 Ethnic Civil Groups Found Ethnic Nationalities for Peace 11/25 Two Shan Political Parties Oppose Changing of State Names 11/25 Mizzima News: Ethnic groups should not be left out of talks: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi – Aung Thura Tun   11/25 Agence France Presse: UN ‘concerned’ at heavy fighting in Myanmar’s Kachin state   11/25 The Irrawaddy: Parliament proposes high-level charter talks – Zarni Mann   11/25 The Irrawaddy: Upper House adopts nationwide PR system – San Yamin Aung   11/25 The Guardian: Burma’s army uses rape to demoralise ethnic minorities, report says – Kate Hodal 11/25 Military officials release 80 child soldiers 11/25 Ethnic groups, political analysts oppose block on constitution change 11/25 Burma army shells land near Kachin IDP camps 11/25 Government claims Laiza shelling was a “warning shot” 11/25 Myanmar gov't accuses ethnic armed group of launching more attacks 11/25 Calls for peace in Myanmar following deadly attack 11/24 Burma Army Attack Kills 23 Cadets – “Unprovoked,” says Kachin Group 11/24 Mystery Of Burma Army Murder Picture Solved 11/24 The Irrawaddy: Civil society pushes for transitional justice – Saw Yan Naing 11/24 The Myanmar Times: White card-holders cut from voting in referendum – Ei Ei Toe Lwin 11/24 Mizzima News: Indonesian Muslim, Buddhist team seeks to ‘bring peace for Rohingya’ 11/24 Two Shan political parties in northern Shan State release joint statement opposing changing state names 11/24 Myitkyina residents defy authorities to mourn 23 Laiza cadets 11/24 Myanmar regime in test of solidarity 11/24 Eleven Media: Four party-talks should come before more inclusive dialogue, say ethnic leaders 11/24 UN 'concerned' at heavy fighting in Myanmar's Kachin state 11/24 Muslims, Buddhists team up to bring about peace for Rohingya 11/23 Indonesian Muslim, Buddhist team seeks to ‘bring peace for Rohingya’ 11/23 Laiza shelling fatalities were from KIO allies, ABSDF, AA, CNF, TNLA 11/22 Media, NGOs discuss reporting the peace process 11/22 Nong Khio-based government troops slit throats of 2 Shan villagers 11/22 Myanmar’s military should change their political stance: U Ko Ko Gyi 11/22 Kachin killings condemned by ethnic groups 11/21 KIO, UNFC condemn Laiza shelling 11/21 Two more armed groups cry foul over Kachin killings 11/21 Shan New Year heralds year of peace 11/21 Myanmar army says deadly strike against rebels meant only as 'warning' 11/21 UNFC Ethnic Alliance Clears Up "Misunderstanding" with Naypyidaw 11/21 The Myanmar Times: Naypyitaw boosts Rakhine border budget amid security, abuse fears – Bill O’Toole 11/21 Myanmar Stages Surprise Attack on Kachin; 20 Dead 11/20 Rebels say Myanmar army killed 23 11/20 Burma Army shelling of Laiza training ground was deliberate says KIO 11/20 Two Villagers Wearing SSA Golden Jubilee Shirts Detained by Burma Army 11/20 Myanmar army attack kills 23 rebel force cadets 11/20 The Irrawaddy: United Wa State Army denies anti-aircraft purchase – May Kha & Lawi Weng 11/20 The Irrawaddy: Burma Army says deadly shelling of rebels was ‘unintentional’ – Hnin Yadana Zaw & Nyein Nyein 11/20 The Irrawaddy: Thai army to observe Burma ceasefire meetings in Thailand – Saw Yan Naing 11/20 Creativity key to peace dividends in Myanmar 11/20 'Mistaken' shell attack leaves Kachin peace talks in jeopardy 11/20 Myanmar army attack kills over 20 Kachin fighters 11/20 Myanmar's Kachin rebels say 22 dead, 15 injured in attack by army near northern headquarters 11/19 KIA Fight with Burma Army in Kachin State 11/19 Myanmar's Kachin rebels say 22 dead in fighting 11/19 Mon M.P. Tells Obama Peace Process Will Be Faster under a Federalist System 11/19 The Irrawaddy: Arakan State government ‘condemns’ UN Rohingya statement – Lawi Weng 11/19 Democratic Voice of Burma: MPs pass bill to pay themselves higher salaries – Ko Htwe 11/19 Kachin rebels say 23 cadets killed by Myanmar army shell 11/19 Myanmar Stages Surprise Attack on Kachin; 20 Dead 11/19 Thai authorities demand monitoring of EAO meetings 11/18 The Irrawaddy: Students seek four-party dialogue on education law – Nobel Zaw 11/18 The Irrawaddy: Queensland Rohingyas appeal to G-20 Summit world leaders 11/18 KIA fight with Burma Army in Kachin state 11/18 Myanmar national's arrest from Hyderabad takes al Qaeda threat to next level 11/18 'Campaign to create fear' sends Rohingya fleeing Myanmar in larger numbers, activist says 11/17 Queensland Rohingyas Appeal to G-20 Summit World Leaders 11/17 Shan Community Calls on US President Obama to Condemn Government Attacks in Ethnic Areas during His Burma Visit 11/17 The Irrawaddy: Burma military should have less power: Obama – Lawi Weng 11/14 The Irrawaddy: Students protest education law in downtown Rangoon – Nobel Zaw 11/14 The Irrawaddy: Lower House chairman rejects PR system proposal – Hnin Yadana Zaw 11/14 Shan groups plea to Obama over stalled peace process 11/13   Kachin groups send letter to US President calling for constitution redraft   11/13 ‘People support our wish to amend the constitution,’ says Suu Kyi 11/13 Obama Warns Myanmar's Celebrated Reforms Going Backwards 11/13 Despite Obama outreach, Myanmar’s transition to democracy remains troubled 11/12 Burma's Authorities Involved in Human Trafficking, Says Human Rights Group 11/12 Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi: A pragmatic US shift on 'the Lady'? (+video) 11/12 NGOs fear international community has been duped by the ‘peace message’ 11/12 Myanmar 'backsliding' on reforms in some areas, Obama says 11/12 Four Civilians in Hsipaw Arrested and Beaten on Suspicion of Having Contact with Shan State Army 11/11 Wa discuss reopening of Thai-Myanmar border checkpoint 11/11 Phophtaw News Association: Kachin Independence Army called on to free forced Shan conscripts 11/11 The Associated Press: Ethnic rebel armies an unsolved Myanmar puzzle –Todd Pitman 11/11 Stalled reforms, South China Sea to dominate Myanmar's ASEAN party 11/11 Myanmar's Child Refugees Share Their Stories Through Visual Art 11/11 About 1,000 Militia Forces Involved in Attacks against SSPP/SSA 11/11 The Irrawaddy: Police search for ‘Terrorist’ Rohingya suspects in Mon, Pegu states – Nyein Nyein 11/11 The Irrawaddy: Ethnic leaders meet Burma government ahead of regional summits – Saw Yan Naing 11/11 UNFC: No deal made with ‘The Lady’ 11/10 Burma Army 'Targeting, Attacking and Killing' Civilians in Conflict Areas 11/10 The Associated Press: Myanmar parliament denounces US blacklisting 11/10 KIO Must Free 200 Forcibly Recruited Shans 11/10 About 1,000 militia forces involved in attacks against SSPP/SSA 11/10 Four civilians in Hsipaw arrested and beaten on suspicion of having contact with Shan State Army 11/10 Wa, Naypyitaw Discuss Opening of Thai-Burmese Border Checkpoint 11/10


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.