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Who is the grand-master of civil war in Burma?

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Burma's current political scenario is more blurred than its external phenomena. Despite the obscurity of its politics, Burma is known that there are rivalries within the current cabinet. While soft-liners stand with President Thein Sein, the hardliners are challenging Thein Sein's new approach, primarily his risk at mutual understanding with Aung San Suu Kyi and the pro-democracy factions.

These hardliners favor continued supporting strong military dominance throughout the country and the purging of any opposition. Burma's armed forces have been fantastically faithful and unified shielding the military dictatorship since 1962. For more than fifty years, there was no threat of split in the ruling chain of military command. But if measures are expected to be getting out of control, there cannot be forget about coup d'e'tat in order to replace direct military ruling.

Thein Sein and his cabinet members have taken a number of steps that seem intended to meet the constant calls of the international community. For example, the president has met with Burma's Nobel laureate and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. Besides, he agreed to stop the controversial Myitsone dam project financed by China, as a sign of respect towards people's desire.

Even though, he cannot make a decision to stop the ongoing civil war with Kachin, Karen and Shan ethnic armed groups. If the president could not manage to end civil war, his dream of good governance and poverty alleviation may be a castle in the wind.

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Who is the decision-maker of the war against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA)? Although, President Thein Sein has been speaking about the national unity for many times, the wars with ethnic groups continue. If these wars are not launched by the government, then the person responsible for this war may be the present military boss General Min Aung Hlaing.

Then, another question arises. Does the military boss comply with the defense minister of the new government? The President Thein Sein government used to say that it has been trying to build a peaceful and developed country; on the other hand the momentum of civil war is increasing. So, the words of the government are not in harmony with the acts of the armed forces.

Keeping political dissidents in prison and attacking ethnic armed groups is the policy of the previous junta's boss, Sen. Gen Than Shwe. Hence, it is to be considered that the new military boss is going along with Than Shwe's policy rather than President Thein Sein's guidelines. Then, there is another question: Is Than Shwe still powerful in Burma's politics?

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The war in Kachin State seems to be the outcome of the policy divergence between the Burmese government and the Burma Army. It means the military is standing together with the hardliners of the existing cabinet led by the vice president Tin Aung Myin Oo. Moreover, the hardliners are also a pro-China faction. Hardliners have decided to protect the Chinese development projects in Kachin State in addition to their power structure and business profits.

Because of the China factor, some observers think, the soft-liners led by President Thein Sein cannot stop simply the war against KIA and they cannot afford to free all political prisoners in favor of change. People believe that China is pulling the strings in Burma's politics in order to establish its regional strategic power.

Meanwhile, over 2,000 Chinese soldiers have deployed along the Sino-Burma border in its south-western Yunnan province, as civil war escalates in northern Burma between government troops and Kachin resistance forces, Kachin News Group said.

Bum Htoi, a border-based military analyst and former officer of the Chinese-backed Communist Party of Burma (CPB), said more Chinese People's Liberation Army troops have been deployed on the lengthy border with Burma in Kachin State and Shan State since early October.

According to eyewitnesses, Chinese troops are mainly deploying at Jang Hkawng, La Ying, Manghai (former CPB headquarters) and Xiao Zhai. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) also confirmed Chinese combat troops are currently deploying near KIA strongholds close to the China border, KNG said.

Over 300 Chinese troops are currently stationed at the newly constructed military post in the Chinese town of Manghai, opposite Mongkoe in Burma, according to residents of Mongkoe. Over a hundred Chinese PLA troops have been deployed at Manghai since Burmese troops began a new offensive against the KIA on June 9, Bum Htoi added.

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He said, "It is unusual that over 2,000 Chinese troops are deployed near the Burma border. It is aimed at blocking Kachin refugees from crossing into Chinese soil."

According to IDP aid groups, at present Chinese border authorities have been not only preventing Kachin refugees from entering China but also barring the cross-border food and medicine supplies from China to KIA-controlled areas where over 20,000 Kachin internally displaced persons take shelter, KNG reported.

Increasingly, Kachin people in battle-zones are escaping to temporary camps in the KIA controlled areas and Burmese government-controlled areas in Kachin State and Shan State, aid groups in Laiza said.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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