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Can elections and a newly minted ceasefire lay the foundation for peace?

Soldiers with the Ta'ang National Liberation Army in Tosan village, Shan State
Soldiers with the Ta'ang National Liberation Army in Tosan village, Shan State (Htoo Tay Zar/IRIN)

Myanmar has been at war since independence from Britain in 1948. For most of that time, the country was ruled by the military, but a quasi-civilian government took power in 2011, ushering in sweeping political and economic reforms.

For ethnic minorities, however, little has changed. The military is battling an array of ethnic armed groups on Myanmar’s frontiers, where lucrative trades in drugs and natural resources fuel fighting. Can elections and a newly minted ceasefire lay the foundation for peace?

The drug war in Myanmar’s mountains
Myanmar’s ceasefire accord: progress or propaganda?
Reasons behind Myanmar’s six decades of ethnic warfare are many, but General “Robert” Ar Nyun can tell you in a word why his group began fighting the government: drugs. Read more. A quasi-civilian government took power in 2011 after half a century of unbroken military rule, bringing with it hopes of peace. But the violence has only increased. Read more.

 

SLIDESHOW: AN ABUNDANCE OF RICHES FUELS ETHNIC WARS

From gemstones to jade and hydropower to petroleum, Myanmar is almost embarrassingly rich in natural resources. So how did it end up one of the poorest countries in Asia? Read more and see the slideshow:

MYANMAR TIMELINE

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