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PacNet #32A – The Kachin Conflict: Are Chinese Dams to Blame?

More than 10 days have passed since the breakout of armed conflict between the Burmese military (tatmadaw) and the Kachin rebel group – the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). Many believe the fighting directly resulted from their struggle over the area where the Dapein dam is built, and blame the Chinese project for triggering the fight. Some speculate that Beijing’s pressure pushed Naypyidaw to use force against the KIA. This analysis is oversimplified, ignores the longstanding hostility and complicated relations between Naypyidaw and the KIA, and will mislead key parties as they work toward a solution to the current quagmire.