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If Laiza Falls, The Union of Burma is Finished

If Laiza Falls, The Union of Burma is Finished

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Published by Thaw Thi Kho

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Published by: Thaw Thi Kho on Jan 22, 2013
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01/23/2013

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If Laiza falls, the Union of Burma is finished?
Sun, 2013-01-20 08:18 — adminBy Kanbawza Win
There cannot be the Union of Burma but only the Union of Myanmar, with the imperial Mahar Myanmar racelording perpetuity over the ethnic nationalities was authentically proven to the world when “The decision to use airpower against ethnic militias, a tactic unheard of even under military rule, runs counter to reformist President TheinSein’s assurances that troops were acting only in self defense,” wrote Martin Petty of Reuters. Very lately there wasindiscriminate shelling kills some civilians including some women and children in Laiza.Most of the international communities tactically approve this by staying numb in this inhuman atrocities because of Burma’s rich natural and human resources couple with a potential virgin market, dubbed as the last frontier, whichthey have set their hearts to exploit.It was only yesterday that EU Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashlon announced EU position as it was dominated by theNazi ancestors just like in the southern hemisphere led by the ancestors of the former prisoners are out and out toexploit the former colony.. The hypocrisy of these Western nations were matched by the ancestors of fascist couplewith the ancestors of the dictatorships of the proletariat whose Asian values pale miserably in the universaldeclaration of human rights, not to mention the ASEAN values that has been encouraging the Burmese Generals allthese years with its
Constructive Engagement.
It was only US, UK and the UN that have the moral courage toprotest.When the modern Union of Burma was born in 1948, the different nationalities of Shan, Chin, and Kachin hadwillingly joined the Union led by Myanmar leader
 Bogyoke Aung San
(father of Aung San Suu Kyi) with thepromise that they will run on federal lines but after his assassination the concordat was broken and the centralgovernment spearheaded by the
 Imperial Myanmar Tatmadaw
dominated by the Myanmar embarked on a
divideand rule policy
in their ethnic cleansing policy. The Karen had experienced the atrocities of the Burmese army inWorld War II. at that time under the name of BIA (Burma Independence Army) wanted to stay clean and was aboutto overthrow the government, when the Chin and the Kachin rally behind the Union and resolutely defended theUnion of Burma where thousands of their sons made supreme sacrifices and now this very
Myanmar Tatmadaw
isusing modern weaponry coordinating aerial attack and heavy artillery fire indiscriminately using 81mm, 105mm and120mm mortar shells and occasionally using chemical weapons in killing Caching and injuring several innocentcitizens.. What an irony that the patriotic Union Burmese army has become and
 Imperial Myanmar Tamadaw
underthe guidance of the Myanmar Generals?No doubt the Kachin had made a mistake when it broke away from the other ethnic nationalities and signed a trucein 1994 leaving the other ethnic nationalities at the mercy of the Junta and now it is vice versa as the other ethnicnationalities have signed ceasefires and the Imperial Myanmar Tatmadaw has turned their wrath on the Kachin.Taking a leaf out of the Fascist Japanese, the
 Imperial Myanmar Tatmadaw
has chosen to mount a major militaryoffensive on Christmas season. The weakness of the unity of the ethnic nationalities, now under UNFC (UnitedNationalities Federal Council) this divide and rule policy worked admirably for the Myanmar dominatedgovernment. It was perfectly timed because on December 14, just the day after the government offered a new roundof peace talks it launched a major offensive. Since then, in an all out effort to capture the KIO administration centerof Laiza has begun after 1,360 skirmishes with the Kachin Independence Army.The government’s ceasefire announcement, came only hours after Parliament approved a resolution calling for anend to a year and a half of fighting as the
 Imperial Myanmar 
Tatmadaw actions have come under increasedinternational scrutiny. But it is unclear whether the military will comply with the order because the Burmese Army isa state within a state as the 2008 Nargis Constitution has stipulated that it have its own tribunal and will listen to itonly, and not to the President who had ordered several ceasefires. Rev. Samson Hkalam, the General Secretary of the Kachin Baptist Convention, said
“According to our experience, the declarations by the government are onething, What the army does is another.”
This was proven to be true when the fighting stop in Lajayang area only butintensifies in Hka Pot and Hka Ya Bhum, both rebel-held hilltop posts located to the north and west of Laiza,respectively. However, the announcement can be influenced by a UN donor Conference in
 Naypyidaw
which couldresult in a multimillion dollars aid package for Burma. The disturbing image of civilian causalities and fresh
 
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atrocities has compel the rights groups to call on an international investigation into possible commission of warcrimes against humanity and other serious human rights abuses in Burma. The quasi military government of TheinSein's can lose all its international legitimacy just as quickly as it has regained it in the last two years.If the Burmese government continues the fight to capture Laiza, it will be a pyrrhic victory, as there is everypossibility that the Kachin who are experts in guerilla warfare since 2nd World War will continue to fightrelentlessly and can easily became an urban warfare. The ongoing offensive may cripple the KIA militarily, but itwill likely not defeat the Kachin resistance. The outcome will be intense ethnic hatred on the Myanmar by the NonMyanmar, making it even more difficult to establish a lasting peace. Many Kachin now feel that there is no place forthem in Burma.According to the UNFC there will be no peace talk as long as the War in Kachin continues but more effective is thedeclaration of the WA communiqué which clearly says that there is every possibility that the other ethnicnationalities will have no choice but to follow the Kachin lead and take up arms again, maybe another 600 years of civil war as Burma has fought only 60 years. With the fall of Laiza it will prove that the
 Imperial Myanmar Tatmadaw
is not the people’s army to defend the country from outside enemies but an occupational armyimplementing the Myanmar imperialism over the Non Myanmar ethnic nationalities.
1. Neighboring Countries Reactions
 
(a) China
is the most responsible country in this Kachin crisis. It has sustain the Burmese Juntas all these years notonly militarily but also diplomatically not only for its strategic values but also to exploit its human and materialresources. Now that Burma has opened up and competition from the West has come in, it is forced to find a newstrategy to control
 Naypyidaw.
Clearly in the implementation of Myanmar imperialism over the non Myanmar it wasusing two way strategy somewhat a two edged sword which in Burmese we say
“Ye Mote Ta Phet Mee Sa Ta Phet” 
literally translated meaning a can of water in one hand and a fire in another to keep the crisis going as onlythen she can control the Burmese generals.When the KIO signed a cease-fire agreement with the Junta it did not result in disarmament, but give the KIOenough room to consolidate its regional hold and develop a working bureaucracy as well as relative economicautonomy. This allowed the KIO to establish a toll system on the roads linking Burma to China, providing theKachin with a secure source of income and making them the de facto intermediaries of cross-border trade. Thefundamental fact of Kachin state is that the Burmese government has very little real control over it. Historically,geographically, culturally and politically, the state is different, and that difference makes it restive and resistant toMyanmar's influence.China has taken advantage of that difference, positioning itself as moderator and in effect translator between theethnic opposition and the Burmese administrations.Since Burma's isolation from the West, China has been Burma’s only major ally, investor and trading partner.China's approach to Burma is grounded in its need for energy and alternate international trade routes to the SouthChina Sea. As Burma's value grows China eyes warily any domestic political shift that could affect those interests.This entails a two-fold tactic: build strong relations with the central government while maintaining a balance of power between the government and ethnic opposition groups. That is why it allow the Burma Air force planes to usethe Chinese airspace to attack the Kachin in view of the fact that this year that its oil and natural gas pipelines begincoastal port of 
Kyaukphyu
run through both Shan- and Kachin-dominated territories on their way to Kunming inYunnan province, leaving them open to sabotage from a variety of potential antagonists. On the other hand it hasprotested the falling of the shells into China’s territory and sent reinforcement to paint the picture that China isneutral in Burma’s internal affairs.For now, Burma is poised for greater openness boosting Burma's new democratic image, and outwardly Beijingencourages peace negotiations. But genuine reconciliation between Burma's ethnic opposition groups and the centralgovernment is not necessarily in China's immediate interest because China will likely suffer from Burma’s attemptsto improve its reputation on the international stage, as Thein Sein's move to halt the Chinese-financed
 Myitsone dam
projects. The relationship between China and Burma, which might look cozy from the outside, is not without tension.Because 'China is a partner of last resort the Burmese junta has to turn to China. They don't like it, but it helps themstay in power.
 
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Therefore, it can be predicted that China will continue to openly support political stability in Burma, whilesimultaneously working to maintain a balance of power within the country. This way China reaffirms its importancefor Burma’s efforts to maintain stability without relinquishing its role as arbiter between Myanmar's center and theNon Myanmar periphery. As the only remaining major ethnic opposition group to have refused a peace agreementwith the government and China's closest cultural and historical link to the region, the Kachin crisis may be in thedoldrums for sometimes
(b) ASEAN’s
main aim of 
Constructive Engagement
was two fold, first to exploit Burma’s natural and humanresources as the architect of ASEAN leaders, especially those from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand knew thepotential of Burmese people and only by shoring up the dictators can they keep the people of Burma suppress andable to exploit the country and its people. In this aspect ASEAN is very successful as most of the workers in thesethree countries (both skilled and unskilled workers) are from Burma which they are able to exploit to their heart’sdesire. The second is to draw Burma from the Chinese orbit which they found it increasingly difficult and this ledthe Burmese government to operate freely in ASEAN without any restrictions for decades. It seems that ASEANleaders knows more about the West and Northeast Asia rather than Burma, misperceptions and miscalculations onthe various Burmese Juntas led the Burmese people to hate vehemently to these core ASEAN countries. When TheinSein suspended the
 Myitsone Dam
ASEAN heartedly applauded because most of the ASEAN members except Laosand Cambodia have been engage in a myriad of conflict with China, as even now they are trying to garland supportfrom Burma in the Spratly Island crisis vis a vis China. Now with Burma in the ASEAN Chair in 2014 it will havesome aspect to claim that their globally hated
Constructive Engagement
is bearing fruits in fulfilling the communitybuilding process and the quasi military government will get the legitimacy which they crave so much.But ASEAN has served Burma’s primary goal of gaining legitimacy from the international community and to ensurethat it would lead to the lifting of sanctions by the West, however with the determined attack on Kachin by the
Tatmadaw
ASEAN is at a loss of what to do and continue remain numb.
(3) India.
Burma’s relation with India is entirely different from China basically because India is a workingdemocracy. The different systems of political economy in China and India might also pull the two countries indivergent directions. Now that Burma is inching towards democracy, the Indian way of doing things may becomemore attractive than the Chinese provided the Burmese pro democracy groups prevail over the hardliners BurmeseGenerals.Instead of India and China helping their fellow Asian countries to identify common norms and values -- whichundergird other regional formations such as the European Union – and America the two countries are on differentstrategic ways. This became the core of the Asian values in the perspective of the Foreign Policy.After 1988, India with missionary zeal cut off all contact with the Burmese junta and gave the Nehru Award to DawAung San Suu Kyi, soon reverse its policy when India realized that it had lost Burma to China. So, this shift from amoral, value-based foreign policy to
realpolitik 
is typically the Indian mentality. After a radical change in 1992 Indiastarted supplying weaponry and equipment including 105 mm guns, T-55 tanks, light helicopters, transport planes,artillery ammunition and some naval craft. Swedish Carl Gustaf M-3 anti-tank rifles and related ammunitionoriginally exported to India have ended up in the hands of the Burmese Army using them in its operations againstthe KIA followed by a media coverage brought India in the bad light of the people of Burma and the world.One could not comprehend of why the biggest democratic country in the world is on the wrong side Burmese ethniccommunity and the NLD that represent the 55 million people Burma. Perhaps
realpolitik 
and greed which theBurmese label as Indian mentality compel India to be on the side of the
 Imperial Myanmar Tatmadaw
who is using260 out of 340 Army battalions in its ethnic cleansing policy.The competition between India and China for influence in Burma reflects a larger jockeying for power between thetwo Asian giants. Hence in Asia the two blocs could well emerge: a China-led coalition that values centralizeddomestic control and whose favorite institution is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and countries like Laos,Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc versus a constellation of democracies loosely tiedtogether by a web of strategic partnerships led by India and Japan and core ASEAN countries, Taiwan and the rest.Unlike India, China has real economic and security interests in Burma but is sensitive to international criticisms of its positions. Burma might evolve from a point of contention to an opportunity for even greater cooperation. A stable

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