War or Peace?
covering burma and southeast asia
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War or Peace?


By AUNG ZAW NOVEMBER, 2010 - VOL.18, NO.11


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(Page 2 of 3)

This is how we will be better prepared to counter their offensives,” said Bee Htoo, the army chief of the KNPP.

It remains to be seen, however, whether such an alliance between disparate ethnic groups can remain united and function as planned in the event of an attack by the regime.

While rebel armies in the northern region are restless in fear that they will be targeted first, Karen, Mon and Shan armies are also quietly preparing to defend their territories in the south and in Shan State.

The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the military wing of the KNU, has been fighting the Burmese military for six decades and has never signed a cease-fire agreement with the regime. However, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which broke away from the KNLA 15 years ago, is a proxy of the Burmese military that has often clashed with the KNLA, and a substantial number of DKBA troops have reportedly agreed to join the BGF.

A Russian MI-24 helicopter (Photo: www.allbestwallpaper.com)
Burmese troops stationed in Karen State have played down previous suggestions that an offensive in that region will be delayed due to the election or the regime’s concentration on the north. Some Karen army commanders also believe a junta offensive could come after the election and preparation is underway in case war breaks out.

In 1993-4, the regime used aircraft in an attack on KNLA Brigade 5 that caused many villagers to flee either to the jungle or the safety of Thai soil. Thai and Burmese military sources said that if fighting breaks out after the election, Burmese troops would likely once again use aircraft to attack Brigade 5 strongholds and KNLA bases on the banks of the Salween River.

There has also been increased friction between Mon rebels and the regime. In a letter to the NMSP on Aug. 23, the junta warned the Mon cease-fire group that it will be outlawed if it does not disarm, and the militia responded with a threat similar to that made by its Kachin counterparts in the north.

“If there is war in the future, we will not fight like we did in the past, and we will fight not only in the jungle. Our Mon people are everywhere, and we will take a clandestine guerrilla war to the enemy,” said Nai Hang Thar, the secretary of the NMSP. “We have traveled through the country for years now, and we now know where their important sites are.”

The Shan State Army (South) and Karenni militias have also positioned their troops for a junta offensive, but they are weaker and smaller. Their best chance to avoid being steamrollered by the regime is to hope that Thailand wants to maintain a buffer zone in the north and persuade the Thais to provide a safe haven that allows the ethnic militias to regroup and launch a counter-offensive. But these smaller groups also have voiced a willingness to fight back with unconventional warfare.

“We have formed special forces to prepare for guerrilla war when they [regime troops] come,” said Bee Htoo. “It is not good to kill each other. But, the military will still rule the country after the election.”

In addition, a Shan  State Army (South) officer recently told The Irrawaddy  his troops will drive the “colonialists” from Shan State. He added that the Burmese army was reinforcing its troops in southern Shan State.

With all of these potential post-election conflicts looming, Thailand and China are understandably concerned about instability along their borders with Burma.

Thailand has increased border security because it fears any ethnic conflict before or after the election could lead to an increase in refugees seeking safety in Thailand, army officers told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“We have stepped up security checks along the border to prevent any forces or people fleeing from the other side and also to prevent people and weapons crossing the border from our side,” Col. Padung Yingpaiboonsuk, a task force commander in the border province of Tak, told the AFP. He said the army would increase patrols along the border opposite Burma’s Karen State, where ethnic rebels continue to fight the government.



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Gam Seng Wrote:
02/11/2010
Dears Comrades
we don't want to embrace war in order to restore the Federal Union in Burma, but there is no other way to solve the political conflicts made by the elite ruling Burmese since 1962.

There is enough strength for both defensive and offensive battles against the the junta's army, which is the junta's mechanism to demolish the principle of Federalism upon which the Union Of Burma was formed by.

Amidst violation of political means, war is just.

Fortuner Wrote:
01/11/2010
I very much agree and since long ago have been waiting to see the ethincs groups work together to fight the SPDC.

Khurtai Kornkhaw Wrote:
01/11/2010
The situation now is that the cease-fire armies and resistance armies are without a clue on how to formulate a grand strategy for their survival and to deliver the peoples' aspirations, within their respective territory of influence or control areas.

The problem is that the non-Burman armed groups are at most only reactive and have never strived to become proactive.

It is alright that once the first shot is fired by the junta's troop, all possible war fronts would open and the junta would have to defend its positions in all directions. And that an urban guerrilla Warfare would be introduced.

But these measures are in nature just reactive and besides, they still need to be translated into real implementation when the time comes.

A more proactive approach would be to agree upon a strategy among the non-Burman armed groups on how to weaken the junta's power base, e.g. as soliciting alliance with dissatisfied junta's commanders and soldiers, before and during an uprising when it occurs.

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