Friday, February 23, 2024

SSPP & RCSS: Two Shan armies issued statements in the midst of ongoing civil war

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Quite a lot has happened since the launching of the Operation 1027 by the Three Brotherhood Alliance (3BHA) which has energized the whole Spring Revolution following the military junta’s military coup in February 2021.

While it is arguably whether the Spring Revolution and Operation 1027 have a coordinated move with a planned strategy between the Nationa Unity Government (NUG) and the 3BHA, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) were definitely kept in the dark according to both organizations. In other words, the 3BHA has acted on its own.

KIA spokesman Col Naw Bu has confirmed that his organization has nothing to do with Operation 1027 to a reporter’s query, and likewise, the SSPP has also said the same. But the strange thing about it is that the 3BHA and SSPP, including the KIA, are members of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) headed by United Wa State Army (UWSA), which is said to be a political alliance.

To make the situation even more complex, the UWSA was handed over Hopang and Panlong towns from the 3BHA which it seized from the military junta. Although Hopang and Panlong were designated within the Wa Self-Administered Division the military junta actually controlled the towns, before the UWSA took over. The Wa officially incorporated the two towns on January 10, according to the Wa Channel social network page.

The UWSA stance in Operation 1027 is said to be neutral and still maintain it even after the takeover of two said towns.

SSPP Statement p 1
SSPP Statement p.1
SSPP Statement p 2
SSPP Statement p.2

RCSS and SSPP issue statements

Meanwhile, the two Shan armies issued statements on January 29, following their central committee members’ meetings.

The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) six-point statement emphasized negotiation to resolve the political issues of the country and vowed to reach out every organization for dialogue.

“Only when a federal democratic union can be established, the political crisis of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar can be resolved,” writes the third point statement.

Emphasizing on ASEAN’s mediator role, “ RCSS urges the ASEAN to make it (Myanmar issue) a responsibility and mediate in helping resolve the crisis,” the statement writes.

It further stressed to strive for lasting unity of the nationalities of Shan State.

In closing, the statement said it will strive for the eradication of drugs, prevention and prohibition of online fraud, and human trafficking in its controlled territories.

The SSPP on the other hand is heavy on domestic consumption outlining its anti-autocracy, anti-racial chauvinism, anti-territorial expansionism and anti-narrow nationalism.

However, it also has the same stance like the RCSS in wanting to establish federal democratic union, anti-narcotics and anti-cyberfraud.

RCSS Statement
RCSS Statement.

Analysis

But the two Shan armies statements have not satisfactorily answered to the aspirations of the Shan people or all the people of Shan State.

RCSS seems to be banking on ASEAN mediation to resolve the political and military conflicts which eventually will lead to federal union solution. According to its statement it will look after the people within its controlled territories, but said nothing about the situation in northern Shan State, where the majority Shans and other ethnic groups are forcibly incorporated into the domains of Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA )and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) or Kokang.

RCSS was routed out of northern Shan State at the end of 2021 by the combined force of SSPP and TNLA, including probably the UWSA, believed to be the directive from China. Since then it hasn’t venture back to the north anymore.

However, on November 29, 2023 RCSS and SSPP signed ceasefire officially after years of fighting each other and vowed to resolved the all the remaining issues eventually. Some said that this happened because of the 3BHA taking over Shan towns and they thought they have to counter it by banding together, but both parties denied this and said that the ceasefire talk process have been going on even before the Operation 1027 was launched by the 3BHA.

Looking at the SSPP recent statement, although it is not clear what it means by anti-territorial expansionism and to which parties it is directed at, it is quite clear that two of the 3BHA members TNLA and MNDAA are meant.

Anti-autocracy, anti-racial chauvinism are clearly addressed at the military junta, while narrow or blind nationalism may be aimed at the two members of 3BHA encroaching on Shan majority population areas.

Although SSPP said that it will work with any organization that adhere to anti-autocracy, anti-racial chauvinism, anti-territorial expansionism and anti-narrow nationalism, it is not clear which parties it has in mind.

To sum up, the inter-ethnic or inter-EAO conflict is brewing, and with the SSPP recent statement it is even becoming more intense. Only we don’t know when it will erupt or how it will pan out in the coming days and weeks ahead.

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