One of the Burma Army’s objectives in the ongoing Zwe Man Hein campaign against the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ is to occupy the border areas between it and the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and it has been successful in that respect, according to a veteran Burma watcher in Thailand.
The Burma Army units, supported by local militias, have occupied the crossing points on the western bank of the Salween which had until lately served as the link between the UWSA and the SSA North, during its campaign that began on 13 March.
“The current pressure on Mongla (National Democratic Alliance Army) to pull out its forces south of the Lwe river (a tributary of the Mekong) also appears to be an attempt to drive a wedge between the (non-ceasefire) SSA South and the NDAA,” he added.
“It is all part of the 4 cut policy that has been reactivated since the tensions with the ceasefire groups (over the Border Guard Force program) started in 2009,” he said.
The 4 cut campaign, according to him, includes:
- Cutting and blockading of communications between rebel armed groups
- Embargo of people and consumer goods entering rebel territories
- Search and destruction of core members responsible for supply, information, funds and recruits
- Embargo on trade to reduce rebel revenue
The 4 cuts campaign launched 1996-98 had laid waste 11 townships in Shan State, displacing more than 300,000 people in 1,500 villages.