Cease-Fires


Cease-Fires
   (1989- )
   An important development in relations between the central government and ethnic minority armed groups in the Border Areas occurred in 1989 with the signing of cease-fire agreements between the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and four ethnic components of the former Communist Party of Burma (CPB), which had split in the spring of that year. The cease-fires, which were tentative arrangements rather than permanent treaties, gave government recognition to the United Wa State Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the National Democratic Alliance Army-East Shan State, and the New Democratic Army, which with the exception of the last were based in Shan State. Between 1989 and 1997, cease-fires were concluded with about 18 other major and minor groups, including the Kachin Independence Organization/ Army, the New Mon State Party, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, and the Mong Tai Army of Khun Sa (the latter breaking up into smaller groups). In exchange for cooperating with, or at least not resisting, the Tatmadaw, the SLORC recognized the armed groups' freedom to control their own territory, keep their arms, and engage in business, including the lucrative trade in opium and other narcotics. Some cease-fire groups, especially the United Wa State Army, have become extremely powerful and control extensive territory and drug-related business enterprises. The SLORC adopted the cease-fire strategy, which resembles the Ka Kwe Ye policy of the early 1960s, to prevent the emergence of a strong ethnic minority alliance; neutralize the effectiveness of Burman (Bamar) "student armies," such as the All Burma Students' Democratic Front, which cooperate closely with the minorities; and put increased pressure on recalcitrant groups, such as the Karen National Union, that still have not signed a cease-fire. The cease-fires also opened up money pipelines to Rangoon (Yangon), especially after retired drug warlords Khun Sa and Lo Hsing-han settled in the capital and invested in business conglomerates. SLORC Secretary-1 Khin Nyunt, head of Military Intelligence, negotiated the ceasefires and remained responsible for border area development, an important factor in his struggle with factional rivals within the State Peace and Development Council. The future of the cease-fires was cast into doubt, however, when Khin Nyunt was ousted as prime minister and arrested in October 2004.
   See also Democratic Alliance of Burma; State Peace and Development Council, Internal Dynamics.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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