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Conflict Analysis Shan State of Myanmar: The Kokang-Incident 2009-2010

Lena Zimmer NOHA- Joint European Masters in international Humanitarian Action Uppsala University March 2010

Conflict Regions in Eastern Myanmar

Source: Reliefweb

Table of Contents

Introduction A. History and Context B. Phases 1. Parties and Actors Involved

1.1 Primary Actors 1.2 Secondary Actors

4 5 9 12
12 16

Emergency Dimension 3. Incompatibilities Symptoms 5. Power Relations 6. Dynamics 7. International Humanitarian Response 8. Settlement Proposal 9. References Appendix Endnotes

17 18 19 20 21 22 22 24 30 33

The Kokang-Incident was a sequence of armed fight that occurred in the Special Region No. 1 (the Kokang-Region) in August 2009, near the border between the Shan-State of Myanmar1 and Yunnan Province. It is one symptomatic sequence in the overall protracted conflict-situation of the country, in which the totalitarian military government opposes the population, which aims for democratization and self-determination. The parties involved were Myanmars state army Tatmadaw and several ethnic armed groups (socalled "cease-fire groups"), among them the Kokang-Army MNDAA (Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army), the SSA-S (Shan State Army South), the UWSA (United Wa State Army) and the KIA (Kachin Independence Army). The fighting started in early August, three months after the referendum for the new constitution, which foresees that the cease-fire groups become incorporated into the national army, when the government police force inspected an alleged gun-factory in the region controlled by the MNDAA. This inspection is interpreted as a pretext to crackdown on the MNDAA, which, with 1500 soldiers, is the weakest of the regions ethnic armed groups. The offensive against the MNDAA is seen as a prelude of the government to take action against all the cease-fire groups that refuse the governments requirement to transform into Border Guard Forces (BGFs) and be incorporate in the stateforce Tatmadaw, in the run-up to the elections that are announced for 2010 2. Other ethnic military groups therefore joined the fighting, assisting the MNDAA on the basis of the agreement of the Myanmar Peace and Democracy Front - a military alliance that guarantees assistance to the members in case of an outside attack -, and in order to defend against the governments plan to subjugate the groups under the state military. The ceasefire-agreements that were relatively stable for 20 years were thereby broken by all parties. The clash and the subsequent seizure of the Kokang-capital Laokkai (Laogai/ Laokai) by the Tatmadaw triggered 30 000 to 40 000 persons to flee, many of them across the border into Yunnan province of China. Bejing was not pre-warned about the maneuver and reacted furiously to the spill-over of the conflicts effects to its territory 3. The incident is one of the many episodes in the struggle of the Shan-State against the central government, which has been ongoing ever since the country (then named Burma) gained its independence from Britain in 1948. I would argue that the Kokang-Incident is an event of exemplary qual4

ity - one that simultaneously features the symptoms of a whole range of socio-political topics, which are urging and prominent during these months that lead up to the 2010-elections. It is a foreshadow of the allegedly democratic elections scheduled this year. Its expected negative effects on the dynamics between Myanmar and its influential neighbor China, are on one side cause for new hope for changes in the protracted deadlock of international politics, and are on the other side a reason for concern about the regions security 4.

A. History and Context

The Shan State is the largest union state of Myanmar; it is located in the very East of the country, sharing its border with China, Laos and Thailand. Consisting in large parts of a mountain-plateau, the rural area is naturally segregated from the countrys fertile center in the delta-region. It is culturally as well as economically rather faced towards the neighbors: the largest ethnic group, the Shan (or Tai Yai, as they name themselves), is culturally closely linked to the ethnic Thai (Tai Muang) and Lao (Tai Lao), and the region is inhibited by many ethnic Chinese (especially Han-Chinese/ Kokang), who dominate trade and business in the border towns 5. There are three larger towns in the Shan State, namely Lashio, Taungyii and Kyaingtung, the latter is located in the Southeast and was the capital of pre-colonial Shanland. The border towns Tachileik (at the Thai border), Mong-La (bordering China) and Laogai (in the Kokang-region, bordering China) are lively market spots, which are characterized by cross-border trade and shadow economy. The border area between China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand is one of the worlds hubs of drug production, famous for poppy cultivation and heroin production. During the last decade, however, with a shift in consumer-demands and increasing pressure from anti-narcotics campaigns, metamphetamines have become dominant - much cheaper and efficient in production. The Shanland used to be a system of duke-ships (Sabwas) in pre-colonial times, and under British rule the remote region was granted a high degree of autonomy 6. Condition for the independence from its colonial master was the integrity of the union, as assembled under the British. However, certain union-states - among them the Shan State - were granted the right to secede ten years after independence in 1948. Thus, in 1958, as the government refused to comply with the agreement, a Shan national movement emerged - initially among students of the universities of Yangon and Mandalay -, and the resistance group Noom Suik Harn (Young Warriors) was formed with the aim of establishing an independent

Shan State. Fighting soon broke out and has continued ever since at different levels of intensity. The insurgent movement, which was split into several factions, had brought the drug trade under its control, and used it as a means of financing its activities already at that early stage. With the military coup in 1962, the Shan State, which before had been under Shan-administration, came under the direct central administration of Yangon 7. By 1964 the three largest Shan rebel organizations SSIA (Shan State Independence Army), SNUF (Shan National United Front) and KRF (Kokang Resistance Force) united as SSA (Shan-State Army). By 1969 the Shan United Army (SUA) was found by Khun Sa, a famous drug-lord, and later merged with the Tai Resistance Army (TRA), led by Mo Heing, to form the Mong Tai Army, which was one of the main actors in the Shan State until the mid-1990s and had built up an infamous drug imperium. The MTA had included other Shan insurgence groups after the collapse of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) 1989. By 1995 all of the Shan-rebel groups had signed cease-fire agreements, which were relatively stable, but in 1996 the Shan State Army South (SSA-S) formed to continue the armed fight 8. The United Wa State Army (UWSA), led by Bao You-Xiang, is with estimated 20000-30000 troops is the biggest ethnic army in Myanmar, and the armed wing of the UWSP (United Wa State Party). It emerged from the Communist Party of Burma and was formed in 1989. Its headquarters are close to the Kokang Region in the Wa capital Panghsang - in the Special Region No. 2, which Wa themselves refer to as the Wa-state. In 1989 the UWSA had come to a cease-fire agreement with the government, according to which it has to support the Tatmadaw in its struggle against the other ethnic insurgents, but may its weapons and keep relative autonomy in return. In 1990, however, the UWSA refused to fight against the Kachin, as there is no grieve between these groups, they said 9. By 1995 Khun Sa, the leader of the MTA, who was known as the Opium King of the Golden Triangle10, had come under severe pressure exerted by the government, and acceded to negotiations. The result was the agreement that he officially surrendered, but granted freedom to pursue his other business-interests in Yangon. The MTA subsequently dissolved - some of the succeeding groups, such as the Shan State National Army (SSNA) joined the SSA-South, which until this date keeps the armed fight going on. The drug-trade, formerly primarily controlled by Khun Sa, was consequently taken over by the UWSA. Today, the UWSA is the dominant actor in the Eastern and Southern Shan State, and continuos an armed struggle with the SSA-South over the control of territories. However, the relationship seems to have improved lately: The territory-conflicts, which erupted several times during the

early 2000s seem to have been settled in general, and agreements over who is in control of which territories, seem to have been reached11. Furthermore, there are signs for a possible unification of the ethnic armed groups against the common enemy SPDC12 . Neither the UNSW nor any of the Shan-actors or the MNDAA have accepted the governments proposal to transform into state-led Border Guard Forces so far. Only the Kachin-Group New Democratic Army-Kachin, and the Baifaction of the MNDAA have agreed upon the transformation. The cease-fires between the Myanmar government and the ethnic armed groups are no peaceagreements. They are unwritten and rather militarily Gentlemens Agreements 13, that include the following agreements: (1) to stop the fighting; (2) to respect the others control over territory; (3) to ask for permission before entering the others territory; (4) to acknowledge the leadership of the Union of Myanmar, meaning to refrain from demanding independence; and (5) to bring forward an anti-narcotics program in their territory. In return the government promises to assist the regions under control in developing the sectors of health, education and agriculture14. The authoritarian rule of the countrys military government (State Peace and Development Council - SPDC) - which came into power in a coup in 1962 and violently cracked down upon the student protests for democracy in 1988 - is under harsh critique. It keeps the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who won a landslide in the 1990-elections and the Nobel Peace Price in 1991, continuously under house-arrest. With the argument, a new constitution had first to be drafted, the election-result was not put into practice since, and on the basis of a new election-law annulated in March 201015 . The new constitution was ratified in a referendum in 2008. It foresees a bicameral national parliament and state, and local legislatures, and it promises the USWA a status of relative autonomy. However, the constitution is criticized not allowing for any significant steps towards real democratization and the procedure for the elections are anticipated to be anything but free and fair16. Part of the constitution - apparently with the agenda to neutralize and disarm the cease-fire groups17 - the SPDC requests the ethnic cease-fire groups to transform into so-called Border Guard Forces (BGFs) with the argumentation: Since there should be only one military in one country, all armed groups should either dissolve or become part of the Tatmadaw (Shanland 19.02.2010). The Border Guard Forces are planned to consist of units of 326 soldiers - meaning that that the armed groups would be broken up into smaller units and detached from their ethnic leadership -, 35 of whom, including those in the top-ranks, are to be Tatmadaw personnel. The government argues the

transition would enhance the groups adherence to the 'legal fold' and strengthen the Myanmar army's presence in the fragile border regions 18. The Kokang-region, the Special Region no. 2, is mainly inhabited by Han-Chinese (Kokang), who speak Mandarin and have been living in the region for many decades. Laogai, its main city - a lively border-town, is mainly populated by Chinese nationals - business-people, of whom thousands had migrated there during the last decade to conduct business. It is one of the regions economic hubs, mainly due to its facilities of gambling and prostitution 19.
The military clash - the Kokang-Incident - occurred in the immediate proximity of the border to the

Chinese province of Yunnan, just before Chinas 60th anniversary of communist rule, and as a surprise to the Chinese government. The furious reaction of Bejing was met with an apology on the side of Myanmars ruling generals, however, it seems that the benevolence of China was further strained by publishing an article about the Dalai Lama in the government run newspaper Myanmar Times 20. Observers are puzzled and discordant about this move, which looks like the deliberate attempt of Myanmar to spoil the relationship with its influential and important neighbor. Besides the ongoing disputes between local militias and government forces, and the normality of crime in the drug-business, there are other social vulnerabilities to be identified in the region: It has featured a protracted humanitarian crisis for decades and is scene for ongoing human rights violations. The continued hostilities as well as forced relocations, driven both by government forces and the USWA21, are adding to other factors, which together are causing human suffering. A lack of basic health services and educational institutions; cultural uprooting due to rapid societal transition in the context of urbanization and environmental; anti-narcotics schemes that prohibit traditional ways of agriculture; impact severely on the well-being of the civilian population ad lead to poverty and drug abuse. Child malnutrition and infant mortality-rates are high, and so is the percentage of stateless people. The area is one of the worlds hub for human trafficking, catering Chinese, Thai and international markets. Diseases like TB, malaria and dengue fever are widely spread22, and only few humanitarian actors are granted access to these parts of the country, to address the situation. Especially the so called Four Cuts-strategy of the military government (seeking to cut off the insurgents access to food, money, intelligence and fighting personnel) continuous to cause great suffering, as burning villages, mass-rape and shooting villagers who fail to follow the request to resettle, are part of this military-practice.. The ongoing presence of armed groups, and the disputes over territorial hegemony in the rural area, have continuously made the civilian population victims to looting, extortion, land mines and mass-rape23 .

B. Phases
The conflict in the Shan State can be divided into several phases, of which only the latest one shall be under close consideration in this analysis. The first conflict-phase would be the Shan State under colonial rule, when it retained its relative autonomy. The second phase would be the time of the early independence movement in the early 1960s, and the third one the time when the actors were clearly divided in pro- and anti-communist forces. The fourth phase is the time after 1988/1989, when the communist party had collapsed, the regime demonstrated its power with unexpected brutality in the 1988-uprising in Yangon - thus provoking radicalization -, and when the ethnic insurgency groups gained more and more formal control over the border-regions (legitimized by cease-fire agreements and the formalization of controlled territories, the special regions). The initial quality of the conflict after independence, in the second phase, - the striving for independence and secession - has been largely changed over time: none of the groups today seriously demands an independent state any more -, the political aim has rather shifted to political participation and inclusion on a national level, and a certain level of autonomy for the ethnic territories. What once had started as an idealistic movement for ethnic self-determination that had resorted to arms, has meanwhile split into many factions: The political ones fight their battles non-violently in Yangon and Naypyidaw, their armed counterparts in the mountains of the borderlands. The dynamics on the ground, however, seem to have developed different driving-forces, and their objectives have become rather detached from the initial and political goals. During the 1960s and 1970s, during the third conflict-phase, the scene had been divided along clear cut lines: The Communist Party of Burma (CPB), on one side, had included many of the forces that later formed todays insurgent-groups (such as the UWSA and the MNDAA). On the other side General Ne Win had mobilized the remaining groups (such as Khun Sas militia) for his anticommunist Ka-Kwe-Ye-Program24. But since the dissolution of the communist party, which introduced the fourth phase, the conflict has apparently shifted to be more and more about resources than about political grievances, and has developed some of the characteristic features of so-called new wars25: the structures of the globalized economy - in which people and goods easily transgress boundaries, and the local structures are embedded in a global web of interdependencies - became the financial basis for the conflict in this phase (drugs, arms and human trafficking). By today the various groups have different regions of the border-lands under their rule: the Kachin control the

Shan State Special Region no. 5, the Kokang the Special Region no. 1, the Wa the Special Region no. 3, and the Mongla-Group (NDAA-ESS) the Special Region no 2. The surrender of Khun Sa brought significant changes in the distribution of power and competencies - and gave way to the raise of the UNSW, which became a central figure in the scene, especially prominent in the narcotics-business. Furthermore, it can be observed that something like an accommodation of war into everyday life and an attitude of insurgency as way of life (Smith 1999) established: a sense of normality in the omnipresent practices of violence, and an socio-economic system that is genuinely related to the war-economy. The ethnic armies are in most cases not comprised of professional soldiers, but of ordinary people, including children, as described in the following:
They're peasants and teachers [...]. Every man in the village owns a machete, but they're still just school teachers and skinny farmers in uniform26.

War in this context has long become a part of life to the inhabitants of the Shan State, and the distinction between combatants and civilians is anything but clear-cut. Until the government came up with its Border Guard Forces-proposal, which marks the beginning of the fifth phase, a system had prevailed that, according to the political scientist Wolfram Schaffar (2008), could be outlined as following: The region of what today constitutes the Union of Myanmar has always been an ethnically extremely diverse, and geographically in many parts hardly accessible. The ancient sovereigns had always had difficulties in controlling the outskirts of their territories - their empires have therefore been described with the allegory of a mandala or a candle-light: with a bright center, but with blurry, indefinite outskirts and a shifting scope of influence. This sense of relative autonomy of the Shan-State also prevailed under the British regime, which found it too costly and energy-consuming to take charge of the administration of this remote part of the country. The lack of control in border regions, however, is from a western scholarly perspective commonly interpreted as a symptom of the states failure. However, considered from an emic point of view, Schaffar argues, this condition is rather the norm than an exception for non-European states . A status of more or less peaceful co-existence between the central government and the rulers of the border-lands has long been established in Myanmar, and was formally supported by the peaceagreements between the military government and the ethnic armed groups, which virtually legitimated the distribution of responsibilities between the central government and the local actors in charge27 . In the marginal regions of the nation-state - in regions of so-called peripheral statehood 28


-, the power of the central state government diminishes and often becomes replaced by parallel structures. Equally authoritarian and hierarchical they assure a state-like order. Unlike theories of failed states suggest, this existence of proxi-statehood in Myanmar is not a temporary phenomenon, Schaffar suggests, but it has continuously lasted since 198829. It seems rather to be a recurrence of older, pre-colonial structures, that could re-emerge in the border-regions due to the power-vacuum after the communists decline30 . The end of the communist movement, thus, seems to have given way to the rise ethnically organized groups, which took charge of duties that are formally attributed to the part of the state. The informal (war-)economy, which supports this system in Myanmar, is furthermore genuinely intertwined with regional and global political and economic dynamics. On the other hand, the military-led state desperately attempts demonstrates its supremacy from time to time, and takes measures to gain control over the border-areas - according to its role as a modern nation-state from the point of view of state theory. It herein performs in a predatory manner, requesting forced labor, disappropriating, exploiting natural resources and demanding duties and taxes 31. Extremely violent against human rights is also its counter-insurgency strategy Four Cuts32. The latest, the fifth phase in this conflict started with the constitution-referendum in May 2008. Analysts dont agree about the question, how the juntas move to announce elections (however undemocratic they might be) can be understood. It seems, however, that in order to enhance the countrys image internationally, and because stability is threatened by a generational change in the military leadership, the new state-order might be meant to renew a state of order in the country and secure the militarys influence at all levels, however camouflaged33. The infiltration of Tatmadawmembers into the ethnic armies seems to be part of the strategy of gaining control over the militiacontrolled regions. In November 2009 several groups, including the UWSA and the MNDAA, have responded to Naypyidaws request with alternative proposals, in which they compromise on their initial categoric refusal, but foresee to restrict the juntas influence. Those proposals, however, have been turned down. The assassination of Min Ein, a central figure in the MNDAA, in January 2010 has increased the pressure on the Kokang-group, and also the Wa have been threatened repeatedly by the SPDC and urged to agree to the BGF-proposal34 . In February 2010 several meetings between the junta and representatives of the armed groups have been held, further discussing about the issues. The first


deadline for the Wa to ultimately decide upon the BFGs passed on 28th February. It was extended to the 10th of March, however tensions rise and new troops have been stepped up by all sides 35. How latest developments, including the violent incident in August last year, have to be interpreted as part of the big picture, however, is yet to be determined. It seems recommended to await the coming events before coming to a final conclusion: the outcomes of the current negotiation-process between the insurgent-groups and government about the border guard forces plan, the eventual inflammation of the armed fight, and the general course of events in the context of the upcoming elections. There are some voices that predict a full-scale civil war emerging from this issue36 and it is indeed likely that in comes to a new round of violent clashes after the 15th of March. At the time of writing, the forces in the Shan State prepare for war: the Tatmadaw has deployed 70 000 troops in the area37, the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLO) has stepped up its troops by 2 000 anti-aircraft armed soldiers along the border38, and the Wa-commander, predicting the likelihood of war at 80%, has ordered his troops to open fire, once hostile forces cross the boundary 39. The KIA resumed recruiting villagers of the region40. What is evident, however, is that the events unify the ethnic groups among each other against Naypyidaw - the possibility of an unprecedented alliance of the ethnic groups against the government troops has been mentioned by several sources 41.

1. Parties and Actors Involved

1.1 Primary Actors a. Government of Myanmar/ Tatmadaw The government of Burma/Myanmar is in power since 1962 (then named Law and Order Restoration Council - SLORC), in 1997 it was renamed into State Peace an Development Council (SPDC). The country is ruled by a council of military generals, the current head of state is General Than Shwe. Vice Chairman General Maung Aye is the commander of the Eastern Region - he assumed office in 1993. He is in charge of the military activities in the Shan State, and was commanding the Tatmadaw in the Kokang-Incident. The government apologized to China for the caused inconvenience and lack of warning, but published an article on the Dalai Lama in Myanmar Times - the first article that mentions the Dalai Lama in 20 years in the state-controlled media.


b. MNDAA (Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army) The MNDAA is the ethnic army of the Kokang. It was found by Peng Jiasheng (Pheung Kya-Shin), a former commander of the Burma Communist Party (BCP), after the collapse of the party in 1989. He established the first Shan State Special Region after a peace-agreement with the government in 1989. He is one of the most famous drug-lords of the region 42. It was him who was in command of the MNDAA during the incident in August 2009. However, his house was raided during the course of events on 8th of August too, and he is said to have fled to China, claiming that he is still in control of his troops from abroad. He was challenged in the lead-up to the events from within the MNDAA by his deputy Bai Suocheng, who became loyal to the government. The MDNAA subsequently split into two factions, one agreeing to become a Border Guard Force, the other refusing to renounce armed struggle43 . The MDNAA has 1000 to 1500 soldiers, its headquarters are in Laukkai - it is known as the weakest of the ethnic armies of the Shan State. In the incident it suffered heavy casualties, 700 soldiers are said to have fled soldiers fled across border and surrendered their arms to the Chinese authorities 44. The armed group is part of the alliance Myanmar Peace and Democracy Front. Even though the UNODC and the government claim the Kokang region (and the whole Shan State) was poppy-free since 2003, this may be doubted. Also Peng Jiasheng himself claims that in in the SPDC-controlled areas alone, there are more than 250,000 mu [Chinese land unit, equivalent to 667 square meters] of cultivated poppy 45. The Secretary General of MNDAA, Min Ein, was assassinated by unknown gunmen in January 2010 in Mongla46 . The background of the killing remaines unclear, some suspect the junta itself, some think he was killed because of a conflict over business interests, others suggest his killers were MNDAA-members themselves. Min Ein was the spokesperson of the organization, and was the one who negotiated with the government, which made him suspicious to certain factions within the MNDAA. In November 2009 the armed group had presented the government a counter-proposal in respond to the BGF-request, in which the idea in general was accepted, but it was refused to include the juntas officials in military ranks. Naypyidaw thus turned it down 47.


New Democratic Alliance Army - Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS) The NDAA-ESS is a wing of the MNDAA, based in Mongla, therefore also known as the Mongla. Until he was assassinated by Min Ein. It remains unclear in how far the NDAA-ESS is an independent group. Some sources speak of them as if the MNDAA and the NDAA-ESS were different groups48, however dont elaborate on their relationship.

c. United Wa State Army (UWSA) The United Wa State Army is the armed wing of the United Wa State Party (UWSP). It was started as a Ka-Kwe-Ye-militia loyal to General Ne Win, and formed as an independent group after the collapse of Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in 198949. It reached (at the same time as the Kokang) one of the earliest cease-fire agreements in May 1989. The group is known to be close to the Chinese government, its working language is Chinese. Part of its agreement with the government says that it has to support the counter-insurgency strategy of Tatmadaw. It thus fights against the SSA-S50, in exchange for a relatively free hand in the narcotics business and the permission to keep the weapons. The UWSA is Myanmars biggest ethnic army with 20000-30000 troops, its headquarters are at Panghsang, the capital of Wa-controlled Special Region no 2, near the Kokang-region. It is known as a key-player in Burma's narcotics trade - a role it has taken over from Khun Sas Mong Tai Army in 1995. Its leader is Bao You-Xiang, who is well connected with Myanmars business circles 51. He is on the 2008-list of the US of Special Designated and Blocked Persons52. The UWSAs main arms supplier is China, but it also produces weapons itself53. Despite the settled arrangement with the government, the UWSA refused the proposal to turn into border guard force at first, and proposed instead to declare the area under control as an autonomous region. In November 2009, however, it proposed a counter-propsal accepting the main points, but not the role of the Tatmadaw-representatives at the ground level of operations. This was not accepted by Naypyidaw54. During the days of writing, a deadline to definitely decide upon this passes, and increased pressure is posed onto the group, which raises tensions55. In general however, negotiations on this issues seem to be in process - Chinese government officials take a mediating role in this 56.


c. Shan State Army (SSA) South The Shan State Army South was formed in 1996, after the MTA had dissolved. It emerged as a fusion between SURA and a faction of the SSNA 57. After almost all Shan-groups had been incorporated in the MTA and signed ceasefire-agreements, the SAA-S remained the only group that would continue the armed fight. It is lead by Yawd Serk, formerly close to Khun Sa. The SSA-South is active in the South, East and far North of the Shan State, and had in the early 2000s been involved in fighting with the USWA over territorial issues in the southern Shan State, the region bordering Thailand58.

d. Kachin Independence Army (KIA) The Kachin Independence Army is one of the larger ethnic armies in East Myanmar with around 5,000 active soldiers and more at disposal. Its headquarters are in Laiza, the troops are stationed close to the Chinese border in Kachin State and northern Shan State Starts. The KIA receives it financial means from the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), which raises revenue through taxes and the exploitation of natural resources. It was formed in 1961, and fought a lossy fight against Burmese hegemony until 1994. Then it altered its objective to autonomy instead of independence, and signed a cease-fire agreement in 1994. Since that time it had stopped recruiting, but resumed recruiting villagers in beginning of March 201059. It refuses to give in in the border guard force issue60.

e. Myanmar Peace and Democracy Front (MPDF) - Peace and Democracy Front (PDF) The Myanmar Peace and Democracy Front (MPDF), also called Peace and Democracy Front (PDF), is an alliance of ethnic armed groups - Kokang (MDNAA), Wa (UWSA), Mongla (NDAAEES) and Kachin (NDA-K) are members -, that has adopted the principles to not shot first, and equally to not pursue secession from the Union of Myanmar. But it has the agenda to work towards achieving autonomy for the indigenous groups. An attack on any member of the PDF will be regarded as one against the grouping and as such will be reacted upon accordingly 61. The PDF was formed on 30 November 1989 by 4 former Communist Party of Burma (CPB) divisions62.


1.2 Secondary Actors a. China China, itself known as being a rough regime is widely believed to be one of Myanmars most important partners, both in business and in terms of international politics63, and the pillar of strength that makes Myanmar resilient enough to remain immune against international sanctions and intimidations. Bejing, however, was surprised and upset by the August-events in the Shan State, it deployed troops to stop fighting from spilling over to China, and had sent an envoy to Naypyidaw to express concern and to urge the government to protect Chinese citizens (in Kokang-region) in its territory. Around 40 000 refugees had crossed into Yunnan by the end of August 2009 and were provided with relief-items by Chinese authorities. Also 700 Kokang Soldiers had handed over their weapons and uniforms to Chinese army, and were provided shelter in camps that were separated from the civilian camps. The events lead some analysts to speculations about new windows of opportunity for the international community, in the case the relationship between the two states would substantially suffersfrom this episode64. Chinese officials, however, are quoted predicting that in the worst case the situation would hurt local businesses and border trade, but it would not impact on the ChinaMyanmar relations as such65.

b. Shan Nationalities Peoples Liberation Organisation (SNPLO) The SNPLO is a Pa-O Group that signed a cease-fore agreement in 1994. The agreement with the junta, however, prompted around 1000 of its 1500 members to leave the organization. Its base is in the Karenni state, near the Shan State border. Its troops have been fighting against the SSA-S. In 2007 it split into two factions: one, the Pa-O National Liberation Army (PNLA), broke the ceasefire66 and resumed combat.

c. Lahu militias Militias of the Lahu ethnic-group are fighting against the activities of both SSA-S and UWSA in the Shan State and have contributed to the violence during the Kokang-Incident.


The time period covered in this analysis is, as indicated above, the time-span between the so called Kokang-Incident and the present day (12.03.2010). The Tatmadaws maneuver raiding the gunfactory and seizing the Kokang-capital Laukkai has brought an unexpected revival to the armed conflict between the government forces and the ethnic militias. As argued above, this, and the subsequent developments in regards to the plan to subsume the groups under the state military, has brought an unprecedented quality to the relation between them and the state, and a significant rupture in the long-held containment of the power-struggles in the Shan State.

2. Emergency Dimension
The armed confrontation has added to the already alarming humanitarian situation in the region. Due to the social and physical vulnerability of the population, the impact of the fighting has been especially severe. The outbreak of hostilities in Kokang-region especially had humanitarian impacts: it prompted around 40 000 people to flee across the border to China, IDMC estimates the total number of newly displaced people between August 2008 and July 2009 at 75 000, adding the total number of IDPs in the Shan State to 135 00067. Many of the ones uprooted by the Kokang-Incident were Chinese nationals - businesspeople who own shops in Laukkai. 13 000 refugees were hosted in refugee camps set up by Chinese authorities, the others went to stay with family members or friends. 700 Kokang soldiers, surrendered their weapons to the Chinese authorities and stayed at camps that were separated from the ones of the civilians. In the beginning of September 2009 many started to return, finding their assets plundered or demolished. There are no independently confirmed numbers about the casualties resulting from the clash, but according to Pheung Kya-shin, 14 Kokang-soldiers were killed, and 27 Kokang youth, who were forced to join his rival Bais faction were disarmed and killed when they refused68 . On the side of the Tatmadaw 11 soldiers and 15 policemen are said to were killed, and 34 soldiers and 13 policemen wounded. Around 200 civilians have reportedly been killed in different parts of the Kokang region69. Also one Chinese citizen was killed and two wounded by bombs that went over to the Chines side70 . The social impact of the incident was thus a increase in the already high number of IDPs and a worsening of the already bad overall social situation. The peopless lives were sudden interrupted, resulting in uprootedness, and a stop of schooling and harvest-activities.


Laukkai, which normally is a busy-town has suffered a breakdown of the border-economy, severely affecting the lives of the many who made their living here. The looting of shops and the destruction of houses, is one of the direct physical impacts of the incident.

3. Incompatibilities
As indicated above, the initial subjectively defined incompatibilities between the related parties were rather general: the governments aim to keep control of the entire territory of the Union of Myanmar as inherited from the British on one side, and the striving of the Shan movement for independence on the other. Meanwhile the latters subjective aim, however, has transformed to a demand for increased autonomy and political inclusion. Non-party defined, the current incompatibilities seem to be a mix of greed and grievance. At this point it is useful to distinguish between the different conflict-dyads: (1) the quarrel of the ethnic militia groups among each other over territorial control; (2) the Wa acting as proxies to the government forces in the anti-insurgent battle against the SSA-S; and (3) the overarching conflict between the ethnic armies and the government of the country. The struggle for control over territories and the territorys resources (especially the potential for narcotics-production) seems to be a significant motivation to at least for some of the groups, like the USWA and the MNDAA, in both the struggle with the other militant ethnic groups and the government 71 . The question whether they use armed force in order to loot or loot in order to wage war would have to be answered in favor for the first option, in this case. For other groups that are not so heavily involved in the drug-business, such as the Kachin and the Shan, however, the motivation might be more on the side of grievance. Yet, as noted above, an attitude to war as a way of life seems to have developed, resulting in a normalization of warfare and its integration in everyday-life experience of whole generations. The disputes over the domination over territories have developed protracted dynamics, yet, the conflict has been contained for the last 20 years:, as the distribution of territories and power had been largely settled, apart from some exceptions of quarrel between the USWA and the SSA-S in the South. The second dyad consists of the government on one side and the ethnic groups, here regarded asa a single party. Also here the resource- and power-issues have to be considered. The USWA has established a virtually independent state, and there are speculations that it is actually the strongest actor of all on the stage, and could easily become a serious threat to the government itself. However, the


argument goes, the Wa have to interest in taking over the country, as their mere aim is to stay in control of the drug-business - about this there seems to be a silent agreement with the junta72 . Now the constitution and the subsequent plan for incorporating the ethnic armies at state-level, recently brought a new variable into the game, and created a dilemma for the ethnic groups. On a formal political level their representatives are fighting for more participation - and generally the armed forces support this aim. Thus the battle takes place at two levels. On one level the groups try to be cooperative in hope for the chance to progress towards a more democratic state-system with a fair representation of the minorities, on the other level the BGF-demand came as a severe threat to the groups sovereignty - they are not ready to give up or share the control over their territories, not at least because the juntas promise to share power can not be trusted. Giving in at this stage would imply an unpredictable risk for the ethnic armies. This is the reasons, analysts say, that the decision upon the BFG-proposal has been repeatedly postponed by the Wa and Kokang. The thereby caused delay, however, may lead (or serve as an excuse for) the postponement of the elections altogether and might be behind the abstention of the government to announce the actual date for the polls73. In the conflict-phase under consideration, thus, the front-line runs between the ethnic groups on one side, and the government on the other. As the government-troops would be capable to defeat most of the groups, taken separately, a unification of the ethnic groups to an unprecedented alliance seems possible at this stage74 . The grievance against and rivalry with the government seem to be more significant and deep-seated than the grievances and rivalries between the groups themselves

4. Symptoms
As for symptoms of the latent conflict, the attitudes of the conflict parties towards each other can be understood when looking at the attributions they give each other in media-representations: The ethnic groups on one side, are portrayed as drug dealers, insurgents, producer of explosive, and evil warlords, 75 in the state-media, such as in the English-language newspapers New Light of Myanmar and Myanmar Times. On the other side, the various ethnic media-platforms - mostly operated from outside the country are to different grades offensive in their jargon when addressing the SPDC. Among the attributes given are monks killers, liars, cheating and corrupt, not human anymore but evil76. In video-games, which are available on such websites, recipients can relief their anger by virtually killing the military generals 77, thus expressing these attitudes in a rather symbolic behavior. On the


other side, more powerful, the government publicly denounces the ethnic population as a whole as drug-producers, and put correspondingly its violent Four-Cut-anti-insurgency strategy into action.

5. Power Relations
The power relations among the primary actors seem clearly asymmetric at first sight, with the government on the side of the power. However, as noted above, the actual power of the UWSA is difficult to estimate, and an alliance of the ethnic armies would possibly change the picture significantly 78. An important secondary actor is China. It wants a stable Myanmar, and the Myanmar regime cannot afford to upset its powerful neighbor, analysts agree, because thus would risk to spoil the economic-relationship, and the diplomatic assistance and protection China provides for Myanmar in the international political arena 79 . Currently there is also a gas-pipeline built between the states - a project that non of the two powers would like to see fail. Beijing has called on Myanmar to ensure stability along the border, urging the regime to negotiate with the ethnic groups, and to safeguard the security of Chinese citizens there. Naypyidaw has subsequently apologized for the clash in August 2009, but still provoked China by publishing the article on the Dalai Lama. Being closely affiliated with (some of) the ethnic insurgency groups, China plays a supportive role in their striving, and seems to have some influence on the governments approach to this issue, how limited it is, is difficult to estimate.

5.1 Gender Dimensions

Regarding the gender dimensions in the immediate participation in hostilities, it is notable that ethnic armies as well as the Tatmadaw recruit predominantly men and boys 80. However, on the victims-side to the conflict there are many women. Especially the SPDCs Four-Cut-strategy, that includes rape, looting and killing of civilians, has impacted severely on development issues regarding of women and children in the Shan State81. To my knowledge, gender dimensions are not considered at all in the negotiation- and conflict settlement process, just as women, children and elderly stay in general largely invisible in the political discussion on these issues. Women, however, do play a significant role in the process of waging war, as they provide support to the insurgents, hosting them and providing for food. Most of the soldiers are not professionals, but family-fathers and civilian villagers, who take up arms from time to time, when requested82. Due to their husbands participation in warfare and the common drug abuse among men women and chil20

dren often take on the lead role in generating the households income83. Children, furthermore, become recruited as active soldiers as well as as troop-supporters, mainly by the Wa-Army (which also recruits women), but also by the governments army and the other ethnic insurgent groups 84.

6. Dynamics
The dynamics during this latest conflict-phase, which is under consideration, can be described in two waves - leading up two tips where violence escalated (or may escalate). Starting with the referendum in May 2008, and the subsequently increasing pressure upon the ethnic armies to re-form into Border Guard Forces, tensions built up. If the formerly have been conflict dyads between the ethnic armies as well - with the UWSA fighting on the side of the government, the composition of parties in the current conflict more and more shifted to a unification of the ethnic armies against their common opponent, the government. he inspection of the arms-factory on 4th of August 2009 was perceived as a provocation directed towards all of the militias, and their reaction was accordingly violent. In the following months, a phase of de-escalation could be observed including an attempt to solve the dispute at the negotiation-table: The defeat of the Kokang-Army and the siege of Laukkai - together with Chinas reprehension - contained the situation for a while. The insurgent groups, with their alternative proposals offered in November 2009 signaled a will to negotiate, however, they were turned down by the government, which was not willing to compromise at all. The assassination of Min Ein in January 2010 fueled the tensions once again, starting a process of renewed escalation. In February 2010 several meetings between government representatives and members of the ethnic armies took place, apparently as an attempt of Naypyidaw to open dialogue. China, as a third party, was involved in this in a mediator-role. However, this didnt evoke great enthusiasm on the side of the ethnic leaders85. The deadline of February 28 for the Wa to decide on the proposal86, and its subsequent postponement to 10th of March, increased the tension once again. The current step up of troops in the region and Naypyidaws threat to open fire if there is no answer from the Wa until the 15th of March, leads to the anticipation that a new round of escalated violence, of open warfare in the Shan State is in the offing. The governments announcement on 10th March, which stated that, firstly, Aung San Suu Kyi, the icon of the democracy movement, has to be expelled from her party, NLD (National League for Democracy), on the grounds of the new election law, just as many other NLD-members, and, secondly, that no election will take place in regions of military conflict 87, comes as an additional slap in the face of the ethnic groups.``

With the state as actor on one side and insurgent-groups on the other, the power relations seemed clearly asymmetric in favor for the government. However, due to the significant economic force deriving from the Wa-controlled drug-business, the actual power-distribution is not clear. In the case that the ethnic groups unite and stand together as one common force, there would be a remarkable shift in the power-relations.

7. International Humanitarian Response

Humanitarian assistance in the Kokang-Incident has been provided, apparently almost exclusively by one actor: the provincial government of Yunnan. Only one western humanitarian actor has been mentioned in this context, namely Health Unlimited, a British NGO. Even though since Cyclone Nargis an increasing number of international humanitarian organizations are operating in Myanmar, their access to remote regions - especially to the border-regions - is restricted. To my knowledge there are only few international organizations working directly in the Shan State (UNODC is one example), but they rather work through local partner organizations (like UNICEF), or through their national branches (Worldvision, for instance). Chinas response, however, was perceived very positively by international media-reports. Its target groups were mainly civilians, disregarding nationality, and Kokang soldiers, who had surrendered. Relief items got distributed to around 37 000 people who had fled across the border into Yunnan, 13 000 of whom were provided shelter in tents, the others stayed with family-members or friends in China. Furthermore, 700 Kokang-soldiers, who had handed over their arms to Chinese officials, were hosted in a separate camp and provided for basic needs.

8. Settlement Proposal
The complete settlement of this conflict would be possible as part of a broader socio-political change in Myanmar - as part of a process of overall reconciliation. As noted above, the KokangIncident is only one of many examples and symptomatic for the political dynamics in Myanmar. It illustrates the double-standard that is prevalent in the discourse about political issues in Myanmar. The regimes official rhetoric,on one hand, legitimatizes all actions by portraying them as part of a democratic process - a Roadmap to Democracy -, striving only for the benefit of its citizens. In the tone of this rhetoric the border guard proposal appears as an innocuous intention to unify the countrys army. In a sober way, however, it rather appears an unthinkable maneuver, an endeavor that it completely out of way of on what the ethnic armies could be expected to agree upon. It thus rather

emerges as a threat, as a dishonest proposal, which indeed is a hidden attempt to create a dilemma situation in which the ethnic armies would be unable to act - so that the next actions can be legitimized in accordance with the democratization-narrative (the criminalization of the armed forces and the exclusion of the whole region from elections, if not the postponement of the elections altogether). What is needed in Myanmar is a process towards comprehensive participation and democracy - a fair procedure of government-building, which allows for representation of ethnic groups and political parties. Therefore the constitution-building should have been more inclusive and the referendum free and fair. Even having agreed only under force to this constitution the process could become a positive one if the elections would be held free and fair, with a multiplicity of political parties, and if after the elections a process of re-building a democratic civil society would be allowed. Even if the greed-component in the Shan State would remain an ongoing issue and cause of conflict, this conflict would have a chance to be solved by peaceful means if there was a government representative of its citizens. As there is no deep grievance between the civil members of ethnic groups in the country, a scenario like in the Balkan is highly improbable to happen in Myanmar The new constitution (however not envisaging true power-sharing) is seen as a cause for hope for a piecemeal-process of democratization by optimists, however, sceptics predict the elections to be a purely cosmetic enterprise, with the sole objective to enhance the international image88. As a sudden change towards democratization is not to be expected realistically spoken, he settlement of this conflict is rather to be expected to be a piecemeal-process. For the moment, the negotiations between the government and the armed groups, which are facilitated by Chinese mediators, are a realistic possibility to settle the Border Guard issue in a short term, however it is likely that the government doesnt give in in many points, but will rather increase the pressure on the groups in order to reach its aim. The scenarios are either war - in the case of an association of militias the outcome would be really unpredictable - or a concession on the side of the ethnic groups. As long as no third party substantially steps into the process of conflict solution, the internal negotiations about the Myanmars future will most likely be a piecemeal process, with small achievements many moments of frustration in the quest for democracy.


9. References
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Articles on the Internet "North-South Economic Corridor", Source: Asian Development Bank, retrieved at on 08.03.10 "Regarding the events in Kokang Region or Shan State Special Region-1", Source: Asia Observer (01.09.2009), retrieved at,com_fireboard/Itemid,453/id,11136/catid,2/f unc,fb_pdf/ on 03.03.2010 "Foreign nations question support for Myanmar's opium battle", Source: Associated Press: Peck, Grant (5 March 1999), cited after Wikipedia, retrieved at "Should it be Burma or Myanmar?" Source: BBC News, Date: 26.09.07, retrieved at 13943.stm on 06.03.2010. "Living Ghosts - The spiraling repression of the Karenni population by the Burmese military junta", Source: Burma Issues, retrieved at on 09.03.2010 Top Chinese and Burmese military officers in one-day meet", Source: Burma News International (02.09.2009), retrieved at ay-meet.html on 09.03.2010 "Chinatouristmaps" Source:, retrieved on 02.03.2010. "One of the questions posed by SHAN was about the Peace and Democracy Front (PDF) aka Myanmar Peace and Democracy Front (MPDF) to find out whether non-ceasefire groups could apply for membership." Source: Democracy for Burma, Date: 02.10.2009, retrieved at as-about-the-peace-and-democracy-front-pdf-aka-myanmar-peace-and-democracy-front-mpdf -to-find-out-whether-non-ceasefire-groups-could-apply-for-membership/ "Latest reports of the Burma Armys four-cut campaign said that a Shan woman from Shan State Souths Laikha township was gang raped in front of her husband by the Burma Army that has been waging a four-cut campaign since late July", Source: Democracy for Burma (10.08.2009), retrieved at on 06.03.2010 "A fix in the making", Source: Far Eastern Economic Review (28 June 1990), retrieved at on 05.03.2010 "Financial Institution Letter", Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (25.11.2008), retrieved at on 01.03.2010 Child Soldiers a Problem in Myanmar (5 Dec 2007), Source: Human Rights Watch, retrieved at on 08.03.2010

"Increasing displacement as fighting resumes in the east", Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) (29.01.2010), retrieved at: 8BD35BD2F1C12576B8002EDEB0?OpenDocument&count=10000 on 10.02.2010 "China's Myanmar Dilemma", Source: International Crisis Group, Asia Report N177 14 September 2009, retrieved at on 02.01.2010 "Myanmar: Towards the Elections" , Source: International Crisis Group, Asia Report N174 20. August 2009, retrieved at on 10.11.2009 "With mounting tension KIA makes fresh recruitment", Source: Kachin News Group (KNG) (04.03.10), retrieved at l on 05.03.2010 "Burmese Army in north told to be ready for combat", Source: Kachin News Group (KNG) (19.02.10), retrieved at on 05.03.2010 "Burma junta and KIO meet to resolve standoff over Border Guard Force", Source: Kachin News Group (KNG) (29.01.2010), retrieved at der-Guard-Force.html on 09.03.2010 Distinct possibility of renewed civil war, Source: Mizzima (31.12.2009), retrieved at tml on 08.03.2010 "A Shrunken World", Source: New Internationalist, Issue 411(May 2008), (Retrieved at on 06.03.2010 "Ethnic Groups in Myanmar Hope for Peace, but Gird for Fight", Source: New York Times, by Thomas Fuller (10.05.2009), retrieved at on 09.03.2010 "Myanmar Bars Democracy Advocate From Election", Source: Reuters (09.03.2010), retrieved at se on 11.03.2010 "Q+A: Will the conflict in northern Myanmar intensify?", Reuters (09.09.2009), retrieved at on 07.03.2010 "Q+A - Will Myanmar's ethnic groups agree to junta-deal?" (10.02.2010), Source: Reliefweb, retrieved at %20state on 09.03.2010 "Ethnic Kokang Flee to China" Source: Shaneabraham blog, retrieved at on 03.03.2010. "Junta continues deploying more forces to ceasefire regions", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (12.03.2009), retrieved at
26 nues-deploying-more-forces-to-ceasefire-regions-&catid=86:war&Itemid=284 "War looms as junta sets latest deadline", Source Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.)(09.03.2010), retrieved at on 09.03.2010 "Number of Shan delegates shrinks", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (05.03.10), retrieved at on 05.03.2010 "More Chinese troops on the border", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (03.03.10), retrieved at on 05.03.2010 "Mongla calls for acceptance of 6 point proposal", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (03.03.2010), retrieved at ls-for-acceptance-of-6-point-proposal&catid=86:war&Itemid=284on 09.03.2010 "War looms as junta sets latest deadline", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (03.03.2010), retrieved at on 09.03.2010 "Mongla Killing A Blow To Ethnic Cease-fire Groups", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (28.02.10), retrieved at on 10.03.2010 "Who killed Min Ein?", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (05.02.10), retrieved at on 03.03.2010 "Mongla assassination strengthens unity of Shan armed group", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (02.02.2010), retrieved at med-group-.html on 09.03.2010 Propaganda war of Burmese junta on ethnic resistance forces", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (08.09.2009), retrieved at -war-of-burmese-junta-on-ethnic-resistance-forces&catid=102:mailbox&Itemid=279 "Kokang capital falls: "Not shoot first" policy under fire", Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) (26.08.2009), retrieved at ital-falls-not-shoot-first-policy-under-fire&catid=86:war&Itemid=284 on 03.03.2010 "Myanmar: Elections 2010 - A curtain raiser", Source: South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG) (28.12.2009): Paper no. 3570. By C. S. Kuppuswamy. Retrieved at on 10.03.2010

"Divisons of Myanmar" , Source: Statoids, reteived at on 07.03.2010 "Shan State Army 1", Source: Suzy Thomson Blog (18.02.2009), retrieved at on 03.03.2010 "Suu Kyi von Parlamentswahl ausgeschlossen", Source: Tagesschau (11.03.2010), retrieved at on 12.03.2010 Wa seeks extension of deadline" (01.03.2010), Source: Taungzalat News, retrieved at on 01.03.2010 "Protracted Displacement and Militarization in Burma", Source: Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) (2009). Bangkok, retrieved at on 10.02.2010 "Military Moves to Crush Kokang Chinese", Source: The Earth Times (27.08.2009), retrieved at,myanmar-military-moves-to-crush-kokang-c hinese.html on 02.03.2010 "Bao Youxiang Meets Junta for BGF Talks", Source: The Irrawaddy (25.02.2010), retrieved at on 09.03.2010 "Chinese Blood on Burmese Soil", Source: The Irrawaddy (14.09.2009), retrieved at on 03.03.2010 "Peng Jiasheng Breaks His Silence", Source: The Irrawaddy (14.09.2009), retrieved at on 28.02.2010 "Laogai is a Silent Capital", Source: The Irrawaddy (01.09.2009), retrieved at on 09.03.2010 "Junta Renews Divide-and-Rule Tactic in Shan State", Source: The Irrawaddy (28.08.2009), retrieved at on 02.03.2010) UWSP Proposes Wa Autonomous Region, Souce: The Irrawaddy (05.01.2009), retrieved at on 03.03.2010 "AK-47sMade in Wa State", Source: The Irrawaddy (16.12.2008), retrieved at on 03.03.2010 "King of the Highlands", Source: The Irrawaddy (July 2007), retrieved at on 09.03.10 "General Maung Ayes Putsch?", Source: The Irrawaddy (20.10.2004), retrieved at on 10.03.2010 "Burma claims Chinese intelligence led to Kokang conflict' Source: The Nation, Date: 10.09.2009, retrieved at on 08.03.2010. "Licence to Rape - The Burmese military regime's use of sexual violence in the ongoing war in Shan State", Source: The Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) & The Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN) (May 2002), retrieved at on 07.03.2010

Inside Burma's war, by Hannah Beech, Source: Time (21.09.2009), retrieved at,9171,1921485,00.html on 07.03.2010 "Burmas Cease-fires at Risk - Consequences of the Kokang Crisis for Peace and Democracy", by Tom Kramer. (September 2009), Source: Transnational Institute (TNI), retrieved at -full_report.pdf/$File/full_report.pdf on 09.03.2010 "Drugs and Conflict in Burma (Myanmar). Dilemmas for Policy Responses", Source: Transnational Institute (TNI) (2003), retrieved at: on 02.03.2010 "At a Glance:Myanmar", Source: UNICEF, retrieved at on 09.03.2009 "Myanmar (Burma)", Source: Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), Uppsala University, retrieved at on 28.02.2010 "The Trafficking Situation in Myanmar", Source: UNIAP, retrieved at on 10.03.2010

Images: Map - Regions Under Ceasefire-Group Control, Source: Reliefweb UWSA-Army - Source: The Irrawaddy (05.01.2009), photo: Thierry Falise The Peace-Process - Source: Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.)


10. Appendix
1. Abbrevations BGF - Border Guard Force CPB - Communist Party of Burma ESSA - Eastern Shan State Army KIA - Kachin Independence Army KIO - Kachin Independence Organization KRF - Kokang Resistance Force MNDAA - Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army MPDF - Myanmar Peace and Democracy Front MTA - Mong Tai Army NDA-K - New Democratic Army Kachin NDAA-ESS - New Democratic Alliance Army - Eastern Shan State NLD - National League for Democracy PDF - Peace and Democracy Front PNLA - Pa-O National Liberation Army PNO - Pa-O National Organization RCSS - Restoration Council of the Shan State SNUF - Shan National United Front SPDC - State Peace and Development Council SSA - Shan State Army SSA-N - Shan State Army North SSA-S - Shan State Army South SSIA - Shan State Independence Army SSPP - Shan State Progressive Party SUA - Shan United Army SURA - Shan United Resistance Army TRA - Tai Revolutionary Army RCSS - Restoration Council of the Shan State






SUA (1969) Khun Sa

SSA (1960/64) SURA Mo Heing


TRA (1982)

defeat defeat



MTA (Khun Sa) surrendered in 1995 SURA

led by Yawd Serk

led by Yawd Serk political arm

Abbrevations: ESSA - Eastern Shan State Army KRF - Kokang Resistance Force MTA - Mong Tai Army PNO - Pa-O National Organization SNUF - Shan National United Front SSA - Shan State Army SSA-N - Shan State Army North SSA-S - Shan State Army South (no ceasefire) SSIA - Shan State Independence Army SSNA - Shan State National Army SSPP - Shan State Progressive Party SUA - Shan United Army SURA - Shan United Resistance Army TRA - Tai Revolutionary Army RCSS - Restoration Council of the Shan State

faction formerly UNSSA led by Yawd Serk

joined in 2005


The Shan rebel armies, according to information given by Ivan Sache (1999), at mm-shan.html and UCDP

Lena Zimmer

2. Shan Armies

3. The United Wa State Army (UWSA)

Source: The Irrawaddy

4. The Peace-Process

Source: S.H.A.N.



The name of the country is disputed and sometimes interpreted as a political statement - Burma, the name introduced by the British colonial power refers to the whole country by using the name of the unions largest Ethnic group (the Bamar, who make approximately two thirds of the population) was changed by the military government into Myanmar, one year after the violent abolition of the democracy movement. Many refuse to acknowledge the new name and explicitly stick to Burma. I use the name Myanmar because it is the countrys official name, recognized by the UN, and because most of the countrys nationals themselves (unless they are members of an opposition movement) refer to their country by that name, to my knowledge. This terminology is by no means meant as a political statement benevolent towards the current regime (also see BBC News (26.09.07) for this discussion).

Earthtime (27.08.2009) Times (01.09.2009)

3 Asia 4

See Will/ Lorch 2009, ICG 2009 and Will 2010 for a discussion of the disputed significance of China in international politics towards Myanmar.

The trade route between China and Thailand leads through the eastern and southern Shan State. Compare North South Economic Corridor - Asian Development Bank.

In 1922 the Karenni-States and Shan-States were merged to what today constitutes the Shan-State (Statoids).
7 8 9

UCDP For an overview see appendix 2 UCDP The Irrawaddy July 2007 UCDP Reliefweb (10.02.2010) Will/ Lorch 2009 Observer (01.09.2009)

10 11 12 13

14 Asia 15 16

Reuters 09.03.2010

TBBC 2009; ICG August 2009; The UN General Assembly resolution of 19 November 2009 called on the Myanmar government to review the constitution to ensure compliance with international human rights law, noted the exclusion of the democratic opposition and ethnic groups from the democratization program and called on the SPDC to ensure a free, fair, transparent and inclusive electoral process (UNGA, 19 November 2009; also see IDMC 2010).
17 18

Reuters (09.09.2009) Shanland (19.02.2010) Times 01.09.2009 Times (01.09.2009)

19 Asia 20 Asia 21 22 23


21 Lintner 1990

25 26 27 28

Kaldor 2001 Suzy Thompson blog (18.02.2009) Schaffar 2008 Schaffar 2008; transl. L.Z. Schaffar 2008 Cowell 2005 Callahan 2007 IDMC (29.01.2010) International Crisis Group - September 2009 S.H.A.N. (05.03.2010) S.H.A.N. (12.03.2009/ 09.03.2009/ 03.03.2010) Mizzima (31.12.2009); S.H.A.N. (02.02.2010) S.H.A.N. (12.03.2010)

30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

This coincided with the Tatmadaws aerial exercises with newly purchased MiG29 fighters in the region. (S.H.A.N. 03.03.2010)
39 40 41 42 43

S.H.A.N. (09.03.2010) KNG 04.03.10 Earthtime (27.08.2009); Reliefweb (10.02.2010) Peck 1999 The Irrawaddy (28.08.2009); S.H.A.N. (26.08.2010); Earth Times (27.08.2009) Times (01.09.2009)

44 Asia 45 46 47 48 49 50 51

The Irrawaddy (14.09.2009) Shan Herald (05.03.10) S.H.A.N. 05.03.10 Such as Burma International News (02.09.2009) Chouvy (2004) The Irrawaddy (16.12.2008)

His son in law, Ho Chun Ting (Aik Jaw) is the owner and managing director of Yangon Airways. (The Irrawaddy 18.02.2009)
52 53 54 55 56

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (25.11.2008) The Irrawaddy (16.12.2008) Taungzalat News (01.03.2010), (S.H.A.N. 02.02.2010) S.H.A.N. (03.03.2010) Taungzalat News (01.03.2010)

57 58

See chart appendix 2. UCDP 04.03.2010)

59 (KNG 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77

New York Times (10.05.2009); KNG (19.02.2010) S.H.A.N. 14.08.09 Democracy for Burma (02.10.2009) However, the total validity of this statement has been doubted recently (Will 2010) International Crisis Group, September 2009 China Tourists Maps IDMC Jan 2010 TBBC (October 2009) The Irrawaddy (14.09.2009) Time (21.09.2009) Transnational Institute (September 2009) Kalyvas 2001 also see Reliefweb (10.02.2010) Reliefweb (10.02.2010) Reliefweb (10.02.2010); The Earthtimes (27.08.2009) S.H.A.N. (08.09.2010) Commentaries on KNG-article (29.01.2010)

See (accessed on 09.03.2010)

78 79 80 81 82

Earthtime 27.08.09 Reliefweb (10.02.2010); International Crisis Group (September 2009) Except the Tatmadaws Navy, which consists of men and women. SHRF & SWAN (May 2002) Suzy Thomson Blog (18.02.2009)
Zimmer 2009

84 Human Rights Watch (5 Dec 2007); Zimmer 2009

85 86 87

The Irrawaddy (25.02.2010) Taungzalat News (01.03.2010) Tagesschau (11.03.2010)

ICG (August 2009)