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TANVEER CHANDOK ECON 4415

PARTICIPATION ASSIGNMENT #3 03/04/2013

The two countries that will be considered are Sri Lanka and Burma. The Sri Lanka Civil War was a conflict that began on the 23rd of July, 1983. There was an intermittent insurgency against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE is/was a separatist militant organization which fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north and east of the island. After a 26 year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the LTTE in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end. The internal conflict within Burma shares some similarities with the one in Sri Lanka. It is the longest ongoing war in the world and began shortly after the countrys independence in 1948 from the United Kingdom. There have been many ethnic and political rebellions that the central government has had to fight for more than 50 years. The earliest insurgencies were instigated by the Burmese dominated multi-colored leftist and by the Karen National Union (KNU). The KNU fought for an independent Karen state from large swaths of Lower Burma. By the early 1980s, politically oriented armed insurgencies had largely withered away, but ethnic-based insurgencies continued. Both conflicts seem to have started due to a similar cause independence from the central government. In Sri Lanka, the LTTE, being ethnically different from the rest of Sri Lanka, wanted the northern and eastern parts of the country for themselves and the other Tamils. In Burma, the first few conflicts arose due to political goals, but since then have moved to a more ethnically driven idea. Burma has various ethnic groups that want political separation from the main government. The Kachin ethnic groups of Northern Burma have fought a political struggle against the central government for regional autonomy since 1961. The aim of the Karenni Army is to secure independence of the Karenni State (Kayeh State). The Karen are one of Burmas largest ethnic minority populations and have waged a struggle for independence since 1949. The aim of the Karen National Union at first was independence but since 1976 they have called for a federal system rather than an independent Karen State. The Shan State is the countrys largest state and home to several ethnic groups, including the majority Shan people. The Shan have fought for autonomy since the early 1960s. As it can be seen, the Burmese central government is fighting multiple internal conflicts at the same time. With almost every state wanting autonomy, the central government has relied on foreign involvement for economic and military help (China). Across all these scenarios, one constant exists: recruitment. Somehow, these insurgents have managed to attract fighters towards their cause. In Sri Lanka, the LTTE has been notorious for pressuring fellow Tamils to align with their cause. The Sri Lankan government divided the LTTE into three categories: hardcore, non-combatants and forceful recruitment (including child soldiers). The LTTE used intimidation, isolation and aggression tactics to forcefully recruit soldiers. In other cases, they made promises (economic) to the Tamils who joined their plight. In the Burmese situation, things were similar in some cases and different in others. Since whole regions wanted separation from the central government, it was easier for insurgents to convince

TANVEER CHANDOK ECON 4415

PARTICIPATION ASSIGNMENT #3 03/04/2013

people to take up arms. There were also various reports of underage recruitment in many regions of the country. Since the early 2000s, various reports have been coming out of Burma about an increase in child soldiers. These children are brainwashed from an early age about who the enemy is, and are never allowed to think for themselves. Using similar tactics of promising people a better life style after separation from the central government, the militant groups recruited various civilians. There are many similarities between these two conflicts that were analyzed. The use of aggression tactics, false promises and child soldiering seem to be common.