Knowing that, the group, regarded as the strongest armed force apart from the Burma Army, has been cultivating friendly relations with all anti-Naypyitaw rebel movements, short of joining their alliances, particularly the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) formed in February.
“We have nothing against the federal principle,” one of the top members of the Central Committee of the United Wa State Party (UWSP), the UWSA’s political arm, was quoted as saying. “In fact, we wish to be a constituent state under the federal system. We are only biding our time before we can make an official announcement.”
The recent analysis paper by the Euro Burma Office (EBO) has commented on the situation this way: “Despite the formation of such alliances, there appear to be little to suggest that there will be any effective coordinated front in the future. As attacks on the Kokang and the SSPP/SSA (SSA North) demonstrate, no member of the alliances is prepared to risk its own bargaining position with the regime to support other members. Consequently, the Burma Army will be able to gradually erode individual ethnic forces until they can either be defeated or pose no major threat.”
One Burma watcher based in Thailand has also observed, “It doesn’t look like an alliance formed to fight against Naypyitaw. It is more like an alliance formed to negotiate with Naypyitaw. The fact is no group wants to fight, not even those who are already fighting.”
The UNFC’s declared aim is to set up a Federal Union Army which is yet to materialize.
“One other reason we are unable to join the UNFC,” the Central Committee member added, “is because China sees it as a pro-west grouping. That doesn’t mean we are not doing what we must. However one must remember that some things can be said but not done, while other things can be done but not said.”
The UWSA and its closest ally, Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) are entrenched along the Chinese border. Beside the two, Naypyitaw has yet to launch an offensive also against Thai-Burma border based New Mon State Party (NMSP), one of the leading members of the UNFC.
According to one of the old Chinese military sayings: An army that does not wish to fight must always be ready to fight. On the contrary, an army that is not always ready to fight will have to fight all the time.