[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]



/* Written Sat 14 Nov 11:00am 1998 by

                                  in igc:reg.burma,
maykha-l */
/* --------" Comment on SPDC's Political Committee
"-------- */


Recently, there have been analyses posted by various
pro-democracy groups on the SPDC's new political
committee. Here, I share my views on this subject
with all our netters.

First, whether General Khin Nyunt and the military
intelligence group, in form of OSS, will become
cooperating faction in Burma's democratic transition.
My conclusion is that there is slight possibility of
General Khin Nyunt and his intelligence group
cooperating with pro-democracy forces in transition.
The greater tendency by Gen. Khin Nyunt, however, is
to maintain SPDC's status quo and, as the opportunity
arises, trying to wear-down the pro-democracy movement
by co-option and intimidation. Notwithstanding such
tendency and provocations, the NLD should, as their
best, continue their work for reconciliation and
reconstruction of the country.

Although Gen Khin Nyunt himself said something
favourably about reconciliation at the 18 August
1998 meeting with the NLD, my concern since that
time has been the continuing attacks and vilification
of Aung San Suu Kyi by the Burmese press. The Burmese
press simply does not toned down its rhetoric against
ASSK and NLD. To my way of thinking, if SPDC/SLORC
were to take a proper path to reconciliation, such
public attacks must simply be stopped. Since General
Khin Nyunt controls the press, it is to be concluded
that the attempts to marginalise ASSK's role in
politics are still being made by SPDC/SLORC.

It is eveident that the Burmese military intelligence
is solely responsible for the recent mass detention
of MPs and NLD members. The method of interrogating
the NLD MPs and all other evidences indicate that
the military intelligence is the principle actor
in recent crackdown. It can therefore be concluded that
General Khin Nyunt and his intelligence faction,
in spite of claims of being more morderate, are
resisting to make reconciliation.

Our own experience tell us that we cannot expect
Burmese generals to simply open their heart and
mind and to voluntarily enter dialogue with
opposition. As both sides, opposition and military
junta, now have the knowledge of the countries'
economic and political problems which can be solved
by means of negotiations. The object of solving
countries' dire problems, noble in its aims, however
are not quite attractive to the Burmese generals. It is
also true, even in countries with strong democratic
tradition, the people at the highest-position do
not  surrender their power without a struggle
if the leadership position is challenged. The sure
way towords political negotiation seems to be to
enhance the legitimacy of democratic opposition and
allow the NLD to consolidate some political space.

Second, the principle objects of the formation of
new political committee by SPDC can be two fold:
(1) SPDC is creating a softer image of itself
internationally, therefore would be spared of
more serious political attacks.(2) In the event
of SPDC have to enter negotiation --we are making
sure that to happen--an escape route is needed
especially for General Khin Nyunt and his
intelligence group.

As things stand, if an interim government is
formed, the current Cabinet will retain their
posts and the NLD will run the legislature.
Hence, General Khin Nyunt and OSS will be
missing-out on the opportunity to have role
in new government. Therefore, the political
affairs committee has to be created.

Personally speaking, I view positively about the
creation of political affairs committee by
General Khin Nyunt, given that initiative is not by
SPDC/SLORC trying to confuse international community.
This political affairs committee can be further
absorbed into forming various committees of the
legislature to promote policies for the government.
The political affairs committee can also be
charged to the tasks of verifying policy
implementations of the executive branch. It is
nothing wrong to suggest General Khin Nyunt,
as the head of the new political affairs
committee, to become the Secretary One of
Executive Branch(Deputy Prime Ministership).
Never the less, the open mindedness is still
much needed to exercise from the part of

Third, it IS NOT the reported division within
SPDC, but the personal-traits of General Khin
Nyunt is responsible largely for the current
impasse. It is true that in comparison to other
generals among the ranks, Gen. Khin Nyunt uses
more intelligent approach to the opponents, i.e.
ethnic minorities and civilian opposition.
Unfortunately, I do not find a necessary
political understanding within Burmese military
clique including Gen. Khin Nyunt for such
negotiation. Should the Burmese generals had a
good grasps of politics, we would have been achieving
the negotiations long time ago. Factors influencing
the impasse also include (1) General Khin Nyunt's
personal grudge against Aung San Suu Kyi (2) the
illusion about his political success, i.e. ceasefire
agreements and ASEAN membership.

General Khin Nyunt's personal grudge against Aung
San Suu Kyi appears to have developed since of
1988 uprising. In subsequent years, serious personal
attacks were made, especially through Burmese press,
on the subject of Suu Kyi's marriage to a Briton.
The case of Gen Khin Nyunt disowning of his son,
who married to a Singaporian lady, is to be
interpreted as the reflection of such personal
grudge. Some reports alleged, of course, Gen.
Khin Nyunt attempting to distance himself from
his son's business dealings. It is evident, however,
that Gen Khin Nyunt trying to project a 'nationalistic'
image of himself in this case.

The SPDC/SLORC's simplistic views about Aung San
Suu Kyi also need examining. To the Burmese
Generals ways of thinking,  ASSK, with this kind
of popularity, will be taking a prominent role in
the leadership of NLD. We have seen, however, in
the formation of CRPP, Aung San Suu Kyi does not
take a prominent role. I think this is a very wise
arrangement by the NLD leadership. By avoiding the
top leadership position, ASSK can, to some degree,
be escaped from political attacks whilst the
supporters of ASSK and NLD, both at home and abroad,
can still be satisfied with the arrangement.

To my view, Burma gaining ASEAN membership cannot
be considered as a triumph for the Burmese junta.
The history of ASEAN membership for Burma may
went back to May 1993 when ASEAN brokered a deal
for certain humanitarian concession from Burma.
There is no doubt SPDC/SLORC have some expectation
of gaining political clout by joining ASEAN. This
expectation, in itself, present a form of delusion
because ASEAN grouping doesn't wield much clout
in international politics, like European Union
for example. Noting also the ASEAN leadership
doesn't appears to stick to strict humanitarian
policy line with Burma after granting their
membership. Certain tendency by some ASEAN
member countries to favour some form of
dictatorial leadership in Burma was observed.
Never the less, the ASEAN political landscape
has dramatically changed since last year and
more reformist tendency can now be seen amongst
ASEAN governments.

It is evident that there are no obstacles currently
in place for SPDC/SLORC to enter negotiation with
the opposition NLD. All decisions rests with the
SPDC/SLORC leadership, especially General Khin Nyunt.
As one recent article suggests, the Burmese military
generals are preparing to grow their own vegetables
for 'self-sufficiency' in case of international
condemnation and sanctions. Of failing to suppress
these personal grudges and refusing to enter dialogue,
we might as well advise Burmese generals to better
grow their vegetables of organic ones.

With best regards, U Ne Oo.

/* Endreport */