Ceasefire armed groups that have refused to disarm to Burma’s ruling military, during their recent informal meetings at Mongla, where the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) Headquarters is located, said they should be grateful to the Burma Army because its pressure on the groups to transform themselves into Border Guard Forces (BGFs) and later to disarm had brought them back to the struggle for their rights as enshrined in the 1947 Panglong Agreement, according to sources from the Sino-Burma border said.
Former allies of the Burma’s ruling military, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), NDAA better known as Mongla group and Shan State Army (SSA) North took opportunity from Mongla’s Shan New Year celebrations (held from 30 November to 7 December) to discuss their future strategies, an informed source said.
The groups said without the Burma Army’s BGF program, they would not have woken up from their “Rip Van Winkle” sleep to resume their fight because they had been too busy with their day to day affairs.
“The junta might achieve its goal well within another 20 years, had they left us alone as in the past,” a source quoted a Wa officer as saying.
According to one discussant, the ruling military is putting pressure on them on three fronts, 1) Militarily, the Burma Army is laying them under siege in an attempt to wear them down “If there is a chance to gain a quick victory, like in Kokang, they’ll even attack”. 2) Economically, the Burma Army is cutting off their revenue “Now only the militias that are backed by the Burma Army can engage in the drug trade freely” and 3) Politically, Naypyitaw is trying to “paint us with drugs” to isolate the groups from the international community; it might even place the issue of the groups in the parliamentary agenda in an attempt to legally designating them as unlawful organizations.
In response, the alliance cannot shoot first which is an action that may offend China. What they could do, obviously, is on the political front, according to another discussant. The Shans, as former rulers of Shan State and being the majority, should assume a major role. “The first thing is for the SSA-North and the (non-ceasefire) SSA-South to reach an agreement,” he said. “The rest of us can then follow suit.”
Meanwhile, the Shan State Army (SSA) South of Lt-Gen Yawd Serk was also reportedly holding meetings with representatives from the Six-State Military Alliance formed since 2002. Members include SSA South, Karen National Union, Karenni National Progressive Party, Kachin Independence Army, China National Front and Arakan Liberation Party.