Mr. Beard Breaks Away
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Mr. Beard Breaks Away


By SAW YAN NAING AUGUST, 2010 - VOL.18 NO.8


KIA standing committee briefs the peace delegation before the trip to Ruili. (Photo: Irrawaddy)
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“But, we don’t know how much they can resist the regime as they are under the regime’s control.”  

Since October 2009, some DKBA members have reportedly been engaged in attempts to make peace with the KNU. There have been several meetings between members of the two groups, reportedly to discuss an official cease-fire. And the lack of fighting since last year has led some observers to speculate that an unofficial cease-fire already exists.

The most recent round of secret peace talks was held in Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand, in June, according to sources close to the KNU. Speaking to The Irrawaddy, a KNU source in the Three Pagodas Pass area said, “The peace talks were held from June 17 to 23 in Kanchanaburi. Three leaders from the DKBA and two from the KNU took part.”

The three DKBA leaders reportedly were U Thuzana, Saw Lah Pwe and Saw Naw Tayar, a military official. The two KNU leaders were Gen Mu Tu, the commander-in-chief of the KNLA, and a KNU military officer known as Oliver.

Anticipating an attack by government forces after he and his Brigade 5 broke away from the DKBA, Saw Lah Pwe points out junta military posts.(Photo:ALEX ELLGEE /THE IRRAWADDY)
The outcome of the June discussions is unclear, and the parties involved have not commented. David Takapaw, the KNU deputy chairman, told The Irrawaddy that he had no information about the talks. He said that the KNU district administration may have initiated the talks, and they did not have to report to headquarters until a substantive agreement had been achieved.

The haze surrounding the DKBA-KNU relationship has existed since Oct. 19, 2009, when the first significant talks between the DKBA and the KNU since late 1994 took place. At the time, the Karen news organization Kwekalu quoted Aung Maung as saying that U Thuzana brought with him a document and an inkpad to mark thumbprints to confirm a cease-fire agreement between the KNU and DKBA. The KNU delegation didn’t sign it because they did not think the monk represented the entire DKBA, but agreed to further talks.

For the KNU’s part, they appear to have little to lose by pursuing a cease-fire, or even a peace agreement, with the DKBA. But observers say they have to be careful that whatever is negotiated is a legitimate deal and not a secret ploy.

After a peace deal apparently struck at the end of April  did not materialize, a KNLA source in southern Karen state said: “It appears the DKBA have gone back to their old ways. It’s very difficult to trust them 100 percent when they are still working for the junta, but we can see a part of them wants to leave the DKBA.”

The regime may swerve once again and delay the BGF deadline until after the elections. But a time will come when the DKBA leadership will be forced to choose between officially joining the Burmese regime or reuniting with their Karen brethren. If the DKBA does join the BGF, it may end up battling many of its own former members, including Mr. Beard, who have switched sides to join forces with the KNLA.  

Irrawaddy reporters Alex Ellgee and Lawi Weng contributed to this article.



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Keinhteet Wrote:
11/08/2010
Ti Law Pwe,

I really respect your standpoint and will pray for you everynight even though I haven't met you in real life.

Take a good care of yourself.


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