Potential Hot Spots: March 26, 2001


Myanmar (Burma) continues it's war against tribal rebels in the north and east. The tribes have been fighting the Burmese for centuries, but in recent years, the government has cut deals with most of the tribes. The main group that continues to resist is the Shan, which has some 10,000 men under arms as the Shan State Army (SSA). For decades, the Shan paid for their rebellion by producing opium. But of late they say they have abandoned the drug trade. Partially this is because other tribes, which have made peace with the government, have gotten into the business. The Shan are now being pushed towards the Thai border. As the only major tribe still resisting, the Shan are the primary target of army efforts. The government has also enlisted the help of the Wa State Army. So far, the Shan have refused to surrender. But at the same time, the military government running Burma are facing increasing resistance. This made more difficult because of economic difficulties. These problems threaten the military government, although a democratic government is unlikely to be friendlier towards the tribal groups.


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