Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Myanmar resumes ceasefire talks with rebels 12/22 Delay in Permits behind Kachin Aid Convoy Halt Says UN 12/22 Harvard Report Finds Burma Army Guilty of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ in Karen State 12/22 Meeting between UNFC and UNA Members 12/19 Delay in permits behind Kachin aid convoy halt says UN 12/19 The Irrawaddy: Rights groups call on president to drop charges against slain schoolgirl’s father – Sean Gleeson   12/18 Opium Output and Prices Drop 12/18 Thai seminar on Burma in Pitsanulok Starts 18th December 12/18 Reuters: Fight against malaria unites old foes in Myanmar – Astrid Zweynert   12/18 The Irrawaddy: Election chief under fire for raising prospect of coup – Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint & Zu Zu 12/18 Thai seminar on Burma in Pitsanulok tomorrow 12/17 Mizzima News: Karen groups call for action over war crimes report 12/17 The Irrawaddy: Government delays aid distribution in northern Burma: UN – Lawi Weng     12/17 Democratic Voice of Burma: Kachin villagers isolated as military tensions escalate – Nang Mya Nadi   12/16 Opium output down, so are prices 12/16 Myanmar army says ethnic rebels kill 7 govt troops 12/15 Three Preemptive Steps to Derail the Next Global Wave of Terrorism: Buddhist Militancy 12/15 Myanmar Rebels Kill 7 Soldiers, Wound 20 Near China Border 12/15 NLD not expecting proportional representation to be used in 2015 election 12/15 Myanmar army says 7 of its troops killed in ethnic rebel attack on outpost in northeast 12/15 Mizzima News: The year of talking fruitlessly – Mizzima editorial board   12/15 The Irrawaddy: Ethnic alliance to meet with government to discuss attack, ceasefire -Lawi Weng   12/15 Creativity key to peace dividends in Myanmar 12/14 For Syrian refugees, it’s shame Canada: Burman 12/13 Karenni Community Organisations Hit out at Norwegian Led Peace Program 12/12 KIO Says It Will Boycott Meeting with Army in Myitkyina 12/12 Kachin in Thailand Celebrate King's Birthday with Manau Festival 12/12  Mizzima News: NDF hopes to win 100 seats in the 2015 elections – Hein Ko Soe   12/12 Burma Army Chief Tells KNU That It Will Revise the 2008 Constitution, but in Its Own Time 12/12 Karen People's Party Will Run in More than 60 Irrawaddy Division Constituencies in the 2015 Election 12/12 The Elders to meet Myanmar ceasefire team, women’s group in Thailand 12/12 KIO says it will boycott meeting with Army in Myitkyina 12/11 Dam projects risk re-igniting Myanmar's civil war 12/11 Kachin rebels suspend monthly talks with Myanmar gov’t 12/11 Eleven Media: National ceasefire depends on government response to shelling of Laiza military academy, says NCCT   12/11 Despite threats Kachin family maintains Tatmadaw killed daughter 12/10 Training for women empowerment in Chin state 12/09 Probe demanded into 2012 Myanmar ‘army killing’ of Kachin school girl 12/08 EU announces nearly 700 mn euros in aid for Myanmar over 7 years 12/08 Reuters: Government should investigate girl’s killing by army, say rights groups – Jared Ferrie 12/08 UN Requests Record $16.4Bln to Help Syria, Other War-Torn Countries 12/08 Kachin in Thailand celebrate King's birthday with Manau festival 12/08 Mizzima News: President not yet decided on ‘six-party talks’ – Phyu Phyu Zin  12/08 Nearly $900 million in aid for Myanmar over 7 years announces EU 12/08 Mizzima News: Grandson of late dictator Ne Win blames ethnic groups for lack of peace – Zayar Chan Aye 12/08 PEACEKEEPING: Strife Over The Stateless 12/07 AP Interview: Myanmar rebels say trust is low 12/05 The Irrawaddy: Thai, Burmese villagers fear secretive Salween Dam Project – Thin Lei Win   12/05 Democratic Voice of Burma: Landmine victims down, but Burma still produces: ICBL – Colin Hinshelwood 12/05 The Irrawaddy: Norway’s changing role in Burma: Drive by peace or business? – Mon Mon Myat 12/05 The Associated Press: Myanmar rebels say trust is low –Todd Pitman   12/05 The Irrawaddy: Government blocking aid to Kachin IDP camps: KIO – Yen Snaing & Nang Seng Nom   12/05 Myanmar rebel leader says trust in government at all-time low despite years of peace talks 12/05 Myanmar should investigate girl's killing, say rights groups 12/05 Kachin Civil Society Groups Call for Army to Withdraw 12/04 Migrant Resource Center Opens in Mon State 12/04 The Irrawaddy: Playing ball in Burma’s big leagues – Cheery Zahau   12/04 Ethnic Armed Groups Ask Norwegian Foreign Minister to Provide Humanitarian Aid Directly to Refugees 12/04 The Irrawaddy: NGOs, political parties condemn army shelling of KIA training school – Yen Snaing 12/04 Digging into Myanmar's illegal jade trade 12/04 Court 'must hear Myanmar death case' 12/03 Myanmar Ethnic Rebels Form Combined Federal Army 12/03 MPC wants Single Text finished by NY 12/03 Myanmar's Suu Kyi woos military lawmakers ahead of talks on constitution 12/03 The Irrawaddy: New peace talks before Christmas: Negotiators – Saw Yan Naing 12/03 The Irrawaddy: ‘The report was fabricated’ – Kyaw Hsu Mon 12/03 Mizzima News: Reports of minority ethnic groups to form their own federal army 12/03 Kachin civil society groups call for army to withdraw 12/02 Myanmar Ethnic Rebels Form Combined Federal Army 12/02 The Irrawaddy: Naga move to expand self-administered zone – Hnin Yadana Zaw   12/02 The Irrawaddy: Economists say political stability key to growth – Kyaw Hsu Mon 12/02 The Myanmar Times: Kayan New Land Party plots USDP downfall – Maung Zaw   12/02 Six-Sector Talk to Be Held in Efforts to Resolve Issues Surrounding Constitutional Amendment 12/01 Kachin Women's Group Condemns Latest Military Attacks as Kachin Conflict Rages On 12/01  The Irrawaddy: Army chief meets KNU, says he supports stalled ceasefire process – Saw Yan Naing 12/01 Mizzima News: No need for ‘federal’ army, says Myanmar Minister – Theingi Tun, Phanida 12/01 REVIEW: Children of the Revolution by Feroze Dada 12/01 The Myanmar Times: Kayan New Land Party plots USDP downfall – Maung Zaw 12/01 The Myanmar Times: Parties wrap up peace dialogue framework –Wa Lone 12/01 Mon State Suffers Some of the Highest Rates of Sexual Abuse by Burma Army 11/28 UWSA, SSPP and NDAA Say Burma Army attack has damaged peace prospects 11/28 Youths from Various Religious Backgrounds Demand Peace 11/27 Myanmar armed group signs commitment on human rights in conflict 11/27 Myanmar's Suu Kyi woos military lawmakers ahead of talks on constitution 11/27 Aung San Suu Kyi Party Expects New Myanmar Constitution Talks in Days 11/26 Ethnic Youths Protest at MPC over Army Attack on KIO 11/26 Parliament approves six-way talks for political reform process 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 MPC Want to Start Political Dialogue during Current Government's Term 11/26 KNO condemns cadet killings, stresses not an isolated incident 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


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.