The Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army ( SSPP/SSA- Wanhai) and the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army ( RCSS/SSA- Loi Tai Leng) have been fighting against each other for the control of areas in northern Shan State since 2017. Thousands have lost their lives and livelihoods due to the fighting. I don’t think I’m the only one who is in tears thinking of the suffering of the people who have been undergoing the internecine war for so long.
The Sangha and the people’s appeal to place the sacred national cause: Unity at their forefront just went into one ear and came out of the other or fell on deaf ears.
The short and tall of the cause of the fighting is said to be the following:
One group said: “You withdraw to the south, then we’ll talk. No withdrawal, no talk.”
The other group: “You say you’re working for Shan State. So are we. We should therefore talk first. Once agreement is reached, withdrawal will no longer be a difficult issue to resolve.”
Due to the intervention of the monks, the fighting stopped for more than a year. But after last year’s water festival it started again — up to now and unabated.
I, like many others, have always thought: The two armies are Shan. Both speak Shan. Both aim to build a federal Union based on the 1947 Panglong Agreement. In the past, we had fought against each other due to political ideology, because one was on the side of communism and the other of democracy. But today we don’t have any quarrel on that.
However, since May a lot of news have emerged. And I began to wonder if what’s going on between the two brother armies is a proxy war.
Proxy wars, for most of our people, is a new word. But simply put it, they are wars that are fought not in one’s national interests but for others’. Sort of like a death sentence for us.
What follows here is true information. Not FBI ( Facebook Intelligence) reports as an old friend Khuensai likes to call them.
In early May, a Captain Hsai Nga Mong, SSPP, leading a large force, arrived in Manhio Sub township, also commonly known as “ 19 Villages”, north of the Mao-Shweli river which has been a base of RCSS Task Force 701 since 2005. He reportedly held a meeting with the local people to inform them: “ We are here because Chinese authorities across the border don’t want the RCSS to remain here,”
Late in May, an RCSS officer sought audience with a Yangon based Chinese embassy who told him quite frankly: “The RCSS originated from the late Bo Moe Hein’s SURA ( Shan United Revolutionary Army) which was staunchly anti communist. While the SSPP was an ally of the CPB ( Communist Party of Burma) and still regarded as a good friend. So when you say you are not an agent of the United States, and your forces in the north would protect the Chinese interests in northern Shan State, how can we believe in your words? If the SSPP can’t make you withdraw, we have other ways to make it happen.”
On 5 June, HE Ambassador Chen Hai met Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. A few days before the meeting, news came out that China did not want RCSS/SSA troops in the north.
When you add these three reports with all the other relevant but little known facts, it becomes hard to swallow that China, with tremendous advances in science and technology, and the country that had given birth to geniuses like Sun Zi of The Art of War, in which he also taught the use of spies, is still relying on chicken bone divining like calculations.
Therefore, senior leaders and scholars! Could you enlighten us ignorant yahoos what’s really going on in Shan State? Are the two SSAs fighting to their death in the interests of their beloved nation? Or for the benefit of others?