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04RANGOON1445 2004-11-09 09:25:00 SECRET Embassy Rangoon
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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 001445 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2014

Classified By: CDA, a.i. Ronald K. McMullen 1.4 (b,d)

1. (S) SUMMARY: In the course of travel to visit an
INL-funded project in Shan State, Emboff encountered the
leadership of the Shan State Army (SSA), a former insurgent
group that has concluded a cease-fire agreement with the GOB.
Shan leaders are concerned that the post-Khin Nyunt regime
will move against the cease-fire groups and other ethnic
minority groups in Shan State and thwart progress toward the
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and SSA's
stated objective of a federated, democratic Burma. Among
other things, the Shan leaders told Emboff the GOB intends
"to crush the Wa" (i.e., the United Wa State Army -
Burma's leading narcotics producers and drug traffickers).

2. (C) Encounter with SSA Leaders:

Emboff stopped in Hsipaw, the former capital of a major
princely state in northeastern Burma November 1st while
traveling in the region. He called on "Donald," the nephew
and heir of a powerful Shan noble abducted and killed by the
Burmese army in its 1962 coup. Donald is the
"brother/cousin" of Hkun Htun Oo, leader of the SNLD,
Burma's second largest democratic party. He also is the
spokesman for the Shan State Peace Council, a grouping of the
SSA and another Shan cease-fire group. When Emboff arrived
at the former princely estate, East Haw, he found it guarded
by heavily armed SSA troops sporting M-79 grenade launchers
and a variety of assault rifles. He was welcomed by Donald
and his wife, and found that three other individuals, the
political and military leaders of the 9,000-strong Shan State
Army, were also calling at East Haw.

3. (S) Regime Planning to "Crush" the UWSA?

The Shan leaders claimed they had recently "intercepted" a
regime message laying out plans to deal with the multi-ethnic
Shan State. First, the GOB would require cease-fire groups
to transform themselves from ethnic militias running
semi-autonomous regions into regular political parties.
Second, the regime intended to "crush the Wa." Third, with
the Wa crushed, the GOB would divide and impose its direct
rule on the mosaic of other ethnic, military, and political
groups in Shan State. In reaction, the Shan leaders
continued, the SSA and the SNLD (which often closely
coordinate their activities) had called all Shan State groups
to a large gathering November 3rd to see if they could find
common ground for a joint response to the SPDC's supposed

4. (S) Shans Seek Help:

As is often the case when traveling Emboffs meet ethic
minority representatives, the Shan leaders asked for
financial assistance. They said they hoped to form a Shan
State Consultative Committee as an outgrowth of the November
3rd meeting, adding that they needed money for social welfare
programs, as health and education infrastructures in Shan
State "had been ignored for four decades." HIV/AID
information in the Shan language was badly needed, they
added. One SSA leader, who attended the now-adjourned
National Convention, said, "If we decide not to go back to
the National Convention when it reconvenes, we will need more

5. (S) COMMENT: There is a palpable skittishness among
ethnic cease-fire groups in Shan State arising from fears
that the concessions and agreements they concluded with
former PM Khin Nyunt may no longer be honored. The UWSA,
with its relatively large and well-armed militia, its
continuing close relations with the PRC, and with its coffers
full of money from its heroin and meth business, is probably
the key to GOB relations with ethnic minority groups in Shan
State. None of the ethnic Shan leaders we have spoken to,
either in Rangoon or in Shan State, are very clear or
optimistic about the regime's intentions, given the
continuing confusion and fallout of the demise of Khin Nyunt
and his Military Intelligence apparatus. Post has and will
continue to reiterate our support for a peaceful transition
to democracy in a united Burma. END COMMENT.