Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Clashes between SSA-S and TNLA force villagers to flee 02/11 ‘Lisu people want to be free from the threats of armed groups’ 02/11 Reuters: Myanmar’s Suu Kyi lauds choice of ethnic and army-backed parliamentary speakers – Hnin Yadana Zaw 02/10 Myanmar Now: Ethnic MPs sworn in for speaker positions in Upper House opening – Thin Lei Win Htet Khaung Linn 02/10 Associated Press: New democratic era dawning in Myanmar – Denis D. Gray and Esther Htusan 02/10 Mizzima: Water shortages hit Shan State 02/10 The Guardian: Poverty, ethnic tensions and China top agenda for Myanmar’s new politicians – Simon Tisdall 02/09 Mizzima: KNU commemorates 67th Resistance Day   02/09 The Irrawaddy: Shan IDPs face post-conflict hardships – Yen Snaing 02/09 Myanmar Now: ‘All levels of government administration are under authority of the military chief’ – Phyo Thiha Cho 02/08 Mercy for Myanmar's military? 02/08 Democratic Voice of Burma: Arakan MP-elect found guilty of trespass, intimidation – Shwe Aung 02/08 The Telegraph: Aung San Suu Kyi’s ‘clean politics’ under fire after controversial former militia head hired – Philip Sherwell,   02/08 Myanmar Now: Though few in number, ethnic MPs are hopeful about new Parliament – Connor Macdonald & Phyo Thiha Cho 02/08 The Irrawaddy: The military readies for Burma’s new politics – Aung Zaw 02/08 VIDEO: Life in Kokang a year on from conflict 02/08 Push on to unite the Zo tribes on Myanmar-India border 02/06 Shan IDPs Need Resettling 02/05 Myanmar's Suu Kyi lauds choice of ethnic and army-backed parliamentary speakers 02/03 Ethnic MPs sworn in for speaker positions in Upper House opening 02/03 Associated Press: Suu Kyi’s party names choices to lead Myanmar Parliament 02/03  Narinjara: Arakan IDPs can remain in monasteries 02/03 Upper House picks Speaker 02/03 The Irrawaddy: ANP riven by power politics as new government’s term approaches – Moe Myint 02/03 The Irrawaddy: Shan advisor ponders Burma’s ‘top-down system’ after Swiss exposure trip – Saw Yan Naing 02/02 New era dawning as Suu Kyi works to consolidate democracy 02/02 Burma News International: Minbya village administrator released in presidential amnesty 02/02 Water shortages hit Shan State 02/02 New democratic era dawning in Myanmar 02/02 KNU commemorates 67th Resistance Day 02/01 Narinjara: Arakanese men arrested by Burma Army 02/01 Myanmar new parliament elects speaker of House of Representatives 02/01 ‘All levels of government administration are under authority of the military chief’ 02/01 New era dawns as Suu Kyi's party takes over in Myanmar 02/01 Myanmar house begins new session dominated by Suu Kyi party 02/01 Shan Herald Agency for News: Red Shan form armed organisation   02/01 Myanmar’s future can be built in the interim 02/01 The Irrawaddy: DKBA splinter group, government army and allied BGF clash in Karen State – Lawi Weng 02/01 Narinjara: Arakan youths arrested for insurgency 02/01 Myanmar Times: Military appoints familiar faces to its incoming parliamentary bloc – Wa Lone   02/01 Democratic Voice of Burma: Next parliamentary speakers not yet chosen says NLD 02/01 Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party takes power in Myanmar 01/31 Karaoke songs ring in end to Thein Sein era 01/30 Ten dead, several missing as migrant boat sinks off Turkey 01/30 More than 30 dead, several missing as migrant boat sinks off Turkey 01/30 Karaoke heralds junta’s swansong as Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD prepares to take power amid calls for national unity 01/29 Though few in number, ethnic MPs are hopeful about new Parliament 01/29 The Irrawaddy: Arakan government to resettle villagers displaced by conflict – Moe Myint 01/28 The Irrawaddy: Deadly clashes reported between Ta’ang and SSA-S forces – Khin Oo Tha 01/28 Suu Kyi's party names choices to lead Myanmar parliament 01/28 The Irrawaddy: Verdict for Kachin aid worker jailed for Facebook post expected on Friday 01/28 Democratic Voice of Burma: Arakan nationalists demand control of state parliament – Naw Noreen 01/28 Myanmar Times: NLD pledges to reveal truth about Kachin teachers’ murder – Ye Mon 01/28 The Straits Times: Aung San Suu Kyi’s party names 3 ethnic minority MPs to Myanmar’s new Parliament 01/28 Eleven Myanmar: Military announces appointees to regional parliaments 01/28 Eleven Myanmar: Kyaukme IDPs flee to Mogok 01/28 Aung San Suu Kyi's party prepares to govern Myanmar: 5 questions 01/28 Shan villagers feel force of Burmese army anger 01/28 All about the PLA, the terror outfit active in Manipur 01/27 Red Shan form armed organisation 01/25 British-born bar manager is among 101 political prisoners released in Burma 01/22 Myanmar ethnic minority MPs receive Suu Kyi boost 01/21 Report released on rape-murder case and Myanmar Army 01/20 Obama and Kerry legacies hang in the balance on Iran 01/19 Myanmar memorial for murdered women 01/19 One year on, no justice for Kachin teachers murdered in Myanmar 01/19 New call issued for justice for murdered Myanmar teachers 01/19 Burma News International: Interim committee formed for Chin parties’ cooperation   01/18 Reuters: Myanmar’s Suu Kyi avoids ‘rocking boat’ with military ahead of handover – Hnin Yadana Zaw & Antoni Slodkowski   01/18 Myanmar Times: Court process still pending because of shift in judges – Si Thu Lwin   01/18 Myanmar Now: Kachin displaced pin their hopes on new NLD government – Thin Lei Win 01/18 The Irrawaddy: Talk of disarmament will not bring peace, ethnic leaders say – Moe Myint   01/18 The Irrawaddy: Burma Army clashes with Ta’ang rebels amid National Day celebrations – Nyein Nyein 01/18 Mizzima: Kachin Republic Party to be formed to seek an independent Kachinland – Phanida 01/18 Democratic Voice of Burma: Shan State battles rage in tandem with peace talks – Naw Noreen 01/18 Anadolu Agency: Myanmar at important juncture to end civil wars – Kyaw Ye Lynn   01/18 Reuters: Suu Kyi must be clear on peace policy: rebel leader – Timothy McLaughlin   01/18 The Irrawaddy: Constitution drives wedge into peace dialogue – Lawi Weng   01/18 Democratic Voice of Burma: Burma army pledges to cooperate with Suu Kyi on peace   01/18 Myanmar Times: Rakhine IDPs call for international aid – Ye Mon   01/18 In Myanmar’s Kachin, families uprooted by war pin hopes on new government : January 18, 2016, 4:45 am 01/17 Agence France-Presse: Suu Kyi vows to lead Myanmar peace efforts 01/17 Democratic Voice of Burma: Defence chief invites rebels to join Burma army   01/17 Burma News International: $21 million needed to monitor ceasefire   01/17 Reuters: Myanmar’s Suu Kyi calls for all insurgents to take part in talks – Hnin Yadana Zaw and Antoni Slodkowski   01/17 Agence France-Presse: Suu Kyi in the spotlight at Myanmar peace meeting   01/17 Democratic Voice of Burma: Peace summit begins without chief combatants or civil society 01/17 Myanmar Times: Tatmadaw rejects Arakan Army offer of talks – Wa Lone and Thu Thu Aung  01/15 Burma News International: Election commission to re-examine allegations against Zahkung Ting Ying 01/15 In Myanmar's Kachin, families uprooted by war pin hopes on new government 01/15 Kachin Republic Party to be formed to seek an independent Kachinland 01/15 Democratic Voice of Burma: Suu Kyi government must not continue state persecution of Rohingya – Maung Zarni   01/15 The Irrawaddy: New approach needed for genuine peace in Burma – Bertil Lintner   01/15 The New York Times: Myanmar’s Peace Prize winner and crimes against humanity – Nicholas Kristof Nicholas Kristof   01/15 Myanmar Times: Key players to miss peace conference – Lun Min Mang and Ye Mon,Guy Dinmore  01/15 Kachin displaced pin their hopes on new NLD government 01/14 Myanmar's Suu Kyi avoids 'rocking boat' with military ahead of handover 01/13 The Irrawaddy: Upcoming political dialogue ‘turns blind eye’ to conflict; CSOs – Zue Zue     01/13 The Irrawaddy: Locals protest ongoing skirmishes in Arakan State – Moe Myint   01/13 The Irrawaddy: UWSA will not attend ‘meaningless’ political dialogue – Lawi Weng   01/13


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.