April 27, 2013

Burma Army objective: “to cut off Wa support” for rebel alliance

The immediate objective of the ongoing Burma Army campaign against allied rebel armies in northern Shan State is to cut off Wa support for them, both moral and material, according to an informed source who requests anonymity from the Sino-Burmese border.
“The United Wa State Army (UWSA) sees the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Shan State Army (SSA) and the Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) as its western buffers,” he explained. “The Burma Army also suspects Panghsang (the Wa capital on the Chinese border) is likely to support the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) of Peng Jiasheng in his aim to return to Kokang in the north.”

Kokang, Wa’s northern neighbor, was taken after a brief offensive in August 2009 by the Burma Army.
The KIA, SSA and TNLA are members of the United National Federal Council (UNFC) formed by 11 armed movements in February 2011. “The Burma Army believes they are building bases along the western bank of the Salween in order to maintain their channels of communication with the Wa (in the eastern bank),” he continued.
One channel is between the Kangmong-Ta Teung Tan range in the west and the Wa’s Mongmai (also written Mong Mau) in the east. Kangmong is a Kachin community and Ta Teung Tan a Palaung (Ta-ang) community. Ta Teung Tan is just 60 miles east of Shan State’s northern capital Lashio.
Another is between the Loizay-Loilan range in the west and the Wa’s Pangyang in the east. The SSA’s refusal to move out from the area has prompted the Burma Army’s Lashio-based Northeastern Region Command to launch several assaults on the former. This is in spite of the fact that the SSA had concluded a ceasefire in 28 January 2012.
The Burma Army’s strategy is 3 fold, according to him:
  • To sever the channels of communication between the Wa in the east and the UNFC alliance in the west
  • To employ “territorial clearance” and “territorial control” tactics as well as political pressure against them
  • Not to allow rebels to set up bases, either temporary or permanent, west of the Salween
“There is no sign that the Burma Army is waiting for a political settlement in order to accomplish its military objectives,” he concluded.
The United Wa State Army (UWSA) meanwhile has reiterated that it has no aim to secede from the Union. It however continues to call for a separate statehood under Naypyitaw, with territorial claims over Mongpawk on the Chinese border and Wanhong on the Thai border.
The 2008 constitution has designated 6 townships for the Wa Self Administered Division: 4 currently under the UWSA control and 2 under the Burma Army control. Mongpawk and Wanhong are not included in the designation.

No comments:

Post a Comment