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12 Jan, 2013

Asia Times Online : A wider war looms in Myanmar

CHIANG MAI – Recent weeks have seen some of the heaviest fighting in Myanmar’s decades-long civil war with government forces launching determined attacks against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), an ethnic guerrilla force in the far north of the country.

For the first time ever, the government has used helicopter gunships and modern, sophisticated attack aircraft against the ethnic rebels, an escalation that has earned condemnation from human-rights groups and undermined President Thein Sein’s credibility as a national peacemaker.

The Kachins have become even more antagonized because of pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s refusal to intervene in the crisis. Despite several appeals to the former Nobel Peace Prize laureate to act in a war in her own country, Suu Kyi has steadfastly refused to take a stand. On January 6, she told Agence France-Presse that she would not step in to help end the worsening conflict without official approval.

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