Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Where there is sunshine, there are also shadows 11/24 Bleak outlook for Nepal's urban refugees 11/24 New Myanmar government to tighten safety after jade mine disaster 11/24 Grim search for bodies after Myanmar mine disaster 11/24 Grim search for bodies after Myanmar jade mine disaster as hope for survivors abandoned 11/24 Searchers pull bodies from rubble after Myanmar landslide 11/23 Fears Myanmar's unregulated jade industry could destabilise democratic transition 11/23 Obama visits Rohingya refugees in Malaysia on sideline of ASEAN summit 11/23 Landslide Kills At Least 90 People In Myanmar 11/22 Landslide in Myanmar kills about 100; many others missing 11/22 At Least 100 Killed in Landslide at Myanmar Jade Mine 11/22 Scores killed in Myanmar jade mine landslide 11/22 Myanmar landslide kills at least 60 11/22 Landslide at Myanmar jade mine kills at least 90 11/22 Dozens killed in Myanmar mine landslide 11/22 Burma Power Transfer Thornier Than Lanka 11/21 In Asia, Obama takes softer tone on human rights, corruption 11/21 Martial law lifted in conflict-ridden Myanmar state 11/19 Moody’s views NLD landslide as credit positive 11/18 Myanmar lifts martial law in key rebel area 11/18 Drafting of framework for political dialogue begins 11/18 Attacks continue in Shan State 11/18 Myanmar military launches fresh attacks against KIO 11/17 Myanmar Military Continues Attacks Against Ethnic Rebels 11/17 Myanmar Refugees in Thailand Hopeful, Cautious, After Election 11/17 Myanmar Military Launches Fresh Attacks Against Ethnic Rebels 11/16 Sri Lankan president reiterates Buddhist links with Aung San Suu Kyi 11/16 Democracy or not, war with ethnic groups continues 11/16 Myanmar president assures peaceful power transfer 11/15 Uphill battle looms after the honeymoon 11/14 Suu Kyi landslide leaves Myanmar ethnic parties behind 11/14 Myanmar's opposition wins right to independently form new government 11/13 Government committed to implementation of NCA during remaining term 11/13 By the Numbers: Myanmar's Historic Election 11/13 Major Myanmar Opposition Party Wins Clear Victory in General Election 11/13 8 countries where children are still forced to fight wars 11/13 Myanmar opposition wins right to independently form new gov't 11/13 Myanmar ethnic parties win nearly 100 seats 11/13 Weekend Roundup: Victory in Myanmar for Democracy -- On a Leash 11/13 Obama congratulates Myanmar on polls, as army vows smooth power shift 11/12 World's longest running war 11/12 UN chief praises Myanmar's Suu Kyi, regrets not all could vote 11/12 US concerned about Muslims barred from Myanmar elections 11/11 NLD wins another 47 seats 11/11 SNLD hints at preliminary Shan State election victories 11/11 Myanmar opposition secures 490 seats in parliament: election body 11/11 Myanmar's USDP vice president safe 11/11 Pummelled in polls, Myanmar ruler agree to 'reconciliation' talks 11/11 Myanmar army bombs SSPP H.Q. 11/11 Statement by Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Kristian Jensen on Myanmar’s election 11/11 Bullets fly on the front lines of the 'world's longest-running civil war' 11/11 China vows backing as Myanmar decides 11/10 Thailand begins trial of 88 human trafficking suspects 11/10 Nearly 90 Suspects Face Human Trafficking Charges in Thailand 11/10 Thai people smuggling hearing begins 11/10 Trial of 88 human trafficking suspects begins 11/10 Pre-trial of Manas, 87 others kicks off 11/10 NLD secures another 56 seats 11/10 Myanmar moves forward 11/10 Many Chin people cannot give vote for ethnic group hluttaw 11/09 Betrayal in Burma 11/09 Aung San Suu Kyi's Party Heads For Landslide Win In Myanmar Elections 11/09 Myanmar's opposition party heads for landslide victory 11/09 US hails Myanmar vote as ‘important step forward’ 11/09 Myanmar elections: Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD heads for landslide win 11/09 Aung San Suu Kyi party says they're on track for win in Myanmar poll 11/09 The Rohingya Are Suu Kyi's Litmus Test for a Legitimate Democracy 11/09 Myanmar's ruling party concedes defeat in parliamentary polls 11/09 Suu Kyi's party claims victory in Myanmar's historic vote 11/09 Aung San Suu Kyi’s party heading for landslide victory in Burma election 11/09 Myanmar election: Suu Kyi-led opposition confident of victory : November 10, 2015, 4:48 am 11/09 Myanmar’s Opposition confident of victory in first contested election in 25 years 11/09 Voting smooth in Myanmar's first free election for 25 years 11/08 Decision day in Myanmar 11/08 Millions Vote In Myanmar, Easy Victory Expected For Aung San Suu Kyi 11/08 Myanmar elections: Even if they bring democracy, we are not going home, say Burmese refugees in India 11/08 Myanmar awaits result of landmark poll 11/08 Polls close in Myanmar's landmark free election 11/08 Polls Close In Burma's Landmark Elections 11/08 ‘We will respect the outcome’: Myanmar’s president Thein Sein insists junta will abide by the results of landmark elections 11/07 Myanmar Votes 2015: Voices from the heartland 11/07 Ethnic conflict and the vote 11/07 The Arab Spring and the vote 11/07 Voting set to open in Myanmar's historic election 11/07 Optimism And Excitement For Myanmar Voters 11/07 After the vote 11/07 A new era in Myanmar? 11/07 Unease and expectation as Myanmar prepares to vote 11/07 Myanmar Holds First Free Election In 25 Years 11/07 Historic election underway in Myanmar 11/07 Myanmar voters go to polls in historic election 11/07 Myanmar election elicits global interest, concerns 11/06 Arakan National Party chairman confident a strong win will bring security for Buddhist Rakhines 11/06 In West, Calls for Fair, Free Myanmar Vote 11/06 We Need to Prevent Genocide of Rohingya Muslims -- Before It's Too Late 11/06 When is the Burmese election and why does it matter? 11/06 Jimmy Carter watches from afar as his center monitors Myanmar vote, group's 101st poll mission 11/06 Strange bedfellows in Burmese politics 11/06 Myanmar’s Suu Kyi says don’t ‘exaggerate’ Rohingya plight 11/05 Myanmar: Suu Kyi asks Rohingya plight not be exaggerated 11/05


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.