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RECHARDSON'S REMARKS ON GEN KHIN NY
Subject: RECHARDSON'S REMARKS ON GEN KHIN NYUNT (REPOST).
/* Written June 8 6:00am 1995 by uneoo@ on igc:reg.burma */
/* -------------" Richardson's remarks on General Khin Nyunt "------------ */
The U.S. Congressman Bill Richardson's May 30 Press statement which
described Lt General Khin Nyunt as "morderate element" within SLORC
certainly coincides with the following analysis from the D.A.B. newsletter
in January 1995. The analysis does indicate the existance of different
factions regarding Aung San Suu Kyi. It still remained, however, to be seen
General Khin Nyunt as one of the moderate element within SLORC.
Although the General usually said that the division is within the army
ranks and file and, is about the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, from my
own ovservations, the division is between the apparatus of DDSI and the
traditional army. The General is manipulating the "fear of unknown" of
SLORC rank and file about the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, while
portraying as if he has the support from the whole army. It is quite
apparent that the General fears for his survival on and after an event of
change. This may be the reason to oppose the negotiations.
One major factor which held the SLORC rank and file together since its
formation in 1988 has been the fear of retribution by the population.
"A guarantee for peace and tranquility" usually referred by SLORC's
generals may be interpreted as the forgiveness for their crimes. It is
essential that the democratic forces promise not to make retribution upon
the change or the transfer of power.
Since the SLORC is so much a centralised administration, the personalities
of the top leaders can shape the general response to the situations. When
one look at a generally broader view on political developments in Burma,
there are differing features of SLORC in (1988-1991) and that of
(1992-1995). In General Saw Maung era, a visibly violent oppressions upon
political dissidents and minorities was observed. The SLORC leadership
changes in 1992 April seems to have shaped a more moderate form for SLORC.
Although there has been such display of softening stance towards some
political prisoners, the general policy towards the ethnic federal issues
doesn't seems to be changing. It is reasonable to assume that the perceived
concessions from the ethnic minorities issues, i.e. the granting of
self-administered zones for minority rebels, can be a mere ploy of SLORC
for a quick fix to its crisis, and in order to prolong the process of
writing constitution. There are still questions to be asked who is
responsible for the attack on Manerplaw and Karen National Union. Was it
the opportunistic move on KNU's weakness by DDSI or, rather, it was the
move by the military hardliners ?
Apparently, there is no lack of will from the international community to
implement peaceful settlements of political problems in Burma. The
refugee problems in Thailand may force SLORC to contemplate how to make
negotiations with the KNU and pro-democracy forces that they just been able
to driven out from Manerplaw. As for the General Khin Nyunt, there is still
remains to be seen whether he will live up to the international community's
expectation as a possible peace negotiator. -- U Ne Oo.
D.A.B. newsletter, January 1995.
SLORC POWER STRUGGLE INTENSIFIES
An analysis by Soe Win Nyo
On October 28, 1994, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
Secretary 1, Lt. General Khin Nyunt met with Aung San Suu Kyi for the
second time. Together with him were Judge Advocate General Brig-Gen. Than
Oo and Inspector-General Brig-Gen Tin Aye. According to the announcement
from the Burma Broadcasting Service(BBS) they talked for about three hours
and discussed the current political and economic conditions in the country,
changes the SLORC were implementing, and what should be done for the
country's long term benefit.
In the first meeting between the SLORC and Aung San Suu Kyi on September
20, SLORC Chairman Gen. Than Shwe had been included. At that time, it
seemed that no serious matters were discussed, and the event was little
more than a brief tea-party.
However, in the second meeting, which was so much more substantial than the
first, many were surprised to see that there were no other senior SLORC
generals present besides Khin Nyunt. There were only the two
For observers in Rangoon, this was clear proof of the existing split
between Khin Nyunt and other SLORC leaders.
According to reliable sources, there are two rival groups within the SLORC.
One faction is from the intellignece branch, and the other consists of
battle-hardened military officers. This latter faction includes Lt. Gen .
Tun Kyi, Lt. Gen Maung Thint, Lt. Gen Kyaw Min, Lt. Gen Aye Thaung, Lt. Gen
Kyaw BA and Lt Gen Myint Aung.
The existence of the two factions has even been acknowledged by Khin Nyunt
himself. A Burmese expatriate residing in Britain recently went to Rangoon
and met with Khin Nyunt. When he suggested to him that Aung San Suu Kyi
should be released, Khin Myunt replied:"I would like to release her, but if
she was released then the army would split in two. That is why we have to
keep her under house arrest."
Khin Nyunt is definitely of a more intellectual breed than the other SLORC
leaders, who are clearly mustrustful of his relative liberalism. His wife,
a doctor, is the sister of Dr. Than Nyain, and elected NLD representative.
Lt. Gen Tun Kyi, who is in the faction opposed to Khin Nyunt, if from the
first batch of Defence Serice Academy(DSA) graduates. Sources have said
that he is unhapppy to be serving under the younger Lt. Gen. Khin NYunt,
who was from the 25th batch of Officer Training School(OTS) graduates, but
who gained rapid promotion thanks to Ne Win.
Aware of the resentment against him, Khin Nyunt arranged for all of the
powerful Division Commanders to be promoted to ministers on September 24,
1992, so that they could be kept under close watch in Rangoon. This
included Tun Kyi (former Central Division commander), Kyaw Ba(former
Northern Division Commander), Maung Thint (former Northeast Division
Commander), Kyaw Min(former Northwest Division Commander), Aye Thaung
(former Southern Division Connander) and Myint Aung (former Southeast
Clearly, Khin Nyunt wanted to separate these connanders from the armed
forces under their control. He was then quick to replace them with army
officers from the same OTS Class as himself.
A further indication of the split in the SLORC was over the appointment of
the Vice Commander-in-Chief of the Army. When General Saw Maung retired as
ARmy Commander-in-Chief in 1992, Than Shwe succeeded him. However, the post
of Vice Commander-in-Chief remained vacant for nearly a year owing to
fierce competition between Khin Nyunt's faction and that of Tun Kyi to to
gain the post. Finallly, the latter faction won out, and Maung Aye was
elected. However, the dislike between Maung Aye and Khin Nyunt is so
intense that it is rare to see the two officers together at public events.
Significantly, at both the important meetings between Aung San Suu Kyi and
the SLORC, Maung Aye, who is also SLORC Vice-Chairman, was not present.
According to the rank, the position of SLORC Secretary 1 is lower than that
of SLORC Vice Chairman and also Army Commander-in-Chief. However, it is
evident that KHin Nyunt has more power than Maung Aye, a fact which must
cause bitter resentment.
Khin Nyunt is clearly aware of the growing discontent, and of the
tenuousness of his own position once Ne Win dies. According to inside
sources, it is the need to safe guard his power that is driving Khin
Nyunt's current moves to negotiate with Aung San Suu Kyi. He is keen to
forge a leading role in the political arena in order to pre-empt any moves
by his rivals in the SLORC to oust him.
This is clearly why Khin Nyunt included no military hardliners in the
second meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi. Instead, he chose the two younger
officers, Brig-Gen. Than Oo and Brig-Gen. Tin Aye, who are well-educated
and regarede as relatively liberal. Brig-Gen. Than Oo graduated from
Sandhurst Military Academy in England, and is known for having supported
Aung San suu Kyi in the past.
Khin Nyunt's approach differs markedly from that of the hardliners. Du4ing
the recent meeting with U.S.Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and
Pacific Affairs Thomas Hubbard, Khin Nyunt even went so far as to admit
that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was a respected leader and that the people
supported her. This is in marked contrast to the words of Tun Kyi, who said
"Aung San Suu Kyi is like an ant, who can be swept away by a broom."
The question, however, is how far Khin Nyunt's rivals in the SLORC will
tolerate his namoeuvers. One major cause of resentment is that Khin NYunt
is making propaganda gains over the signing of peace agreements with
various armed revolutionary groups. For military commanders who have spent
years in the battlefields this is a bitter pill to swallow.
Signs of this ideological rift in the SLORC were evident earlier this year,
when the SLORC was in the process of wooing the New Mon State Party to the
negotiating table. At the same time that SLORC Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw
was claiming at the ASEAN meeting in Bangkok that there were no human
rights abuses in Burma, SLORC Army Regiment 62 attacked the Mon refugee
camp of Halockani at the Thai border. Not only did this help sabotage the
negotiations between the Mons and the SLORC, but it meant a huge loss of
face for the Rangoon regime.
The international community would thus do well to keep an eye on these
conflicting signals from the SLORC. Khin Nyunt's current political
manoeuvering may appear to signal positive developments, but the backlash
from the hardliners is sure to come.
/* Endreport */