Troops from the military wing of the Restoration Council of Shan State parade for Shan National Day in the Thai border base of Loi Tai Leng, in Myanmar's northeastern Shan State.
(KC ORITZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Myanmar's President Thein Sein has spent his four-year term trying to negotiate peace with the numerous ethnic armed groups on the periphery of the geographically fractured country. The strategy was meant to unfold in three stages: negotiated cease-fires with individual groups, a nationwide cease-fire agreement and, finally, an inclusive political dialogue. But the strategy did not unfold as planned, and now, with elections weeks away, the government has opted for a compromise.
On Oct. 15, eight armed groups will sign the nationwide cease-fire agreement, down from the 15 militias initially meant to sign. After elections, negotiations will resume both with signatories and holdout groups. After elections, negotiations will resume both with signatories and holdout groups. But, though these agreements may stand temporarily, negotiating the end of a deeply divided, multi-generational insurgency is no small task and will be beset by divisions, backsliding and delays....