Rebel leader: Generals' war lust sets back Thai peacemaking
Four months after Prime Minister Thaksin's return from Rangoon that had reportedly accepted his offer for mediation with the remaining non-Burman armed organizations, Thailand's mission has been stalled because peace is something not on the agenda of the military rulers, said Shan State Army leader Col Yawdserk.
"The refusal to talk to us plainly proves they don't want peace," he told S.H.A.N. "As long as they continue to act high and mighty that way, peace will continue to evade us and war, the kind we've never experienced before, will come instead."
Since last year's Pang Maisoong Battle that was fought on the border between the two sides, reportedly resulting in 1,000 causalities on the part of the junta-Wa alliance, all Burma watchers have agreed that the Burma Army is vigorously preparing for war and is in a state of high battle-readiness. "Reports of intensified recruiting, training, reinforcements of under-strength units, construction of roads to Shan bases, transportation of supplies and purchase of weapons and ammunition all point to one thing," said a Thai security officer. "They are only waiting for the right time to strike."
"Mr Thaksin means well," continued Yawdserk. "He wants a peaceful border and he wants it to be rid of drugs. But neither is going to happen if only he, and not the Burmese military, wants it. On our part, we are with him.
"He said he wanted us to keep our arms only for defense and to advocate a non-violent struggle and all of us consented to both propositions.
"The (5-party) alliance have even acceded to him the authority to organize peace talks without any pre-conditions. Regrettably, we have heard nothing from him since."
The other members of the military alliance are Karen National Union, Karenni National Progress Party, Arakan Liberation Party and Chin National Front.
On the SSA's part, it had also agreed to suspend its anti-narcotics activities, he added. "Except on one occasion, when our troops attacked a drug caravan (on 4 February) to hail Mr Thaksin's 3-month war against drugs, we have limited our activities to mere information collecting and intelligence gathering, so that there isn't any cause for another confrontation between the two countries."
Asked about bomb-blasts in Tachilek on 21 May that killed 4 and left the revered Burmese monarch Bayintnaung statue in tatters, he said, "I'm sure somebody is doing it to discredit us. For the Burmese (army), we know it had already mapped out plans for the Wa to launch cross border attacks. They must have known for sure if the bombs went off on 21 May, the anniversary of our resistance, every finger would be pointing at us. They believe it would certainly give them a valid excuse to wage tit-for-tat operations inside Thai territory by using the Wa."
The Burma Army is said to be behind cross-border raids by Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, an anti-KNU ceasefire group, downsouth in Tak Province.
Last Monday (9 June) Thai troops engaged in a clash with 20 intruders near a village between Thailand's Chiangrai and Burma's Monghsat. "Although newspaper reports had named the intruders as Wa, nobody really knew," said a military source. "For all we know, they might even be Burmese, because they really took the trouble to retrieve their dead and wounded back into their territory."