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Asean Affairs  11 November 2010

Myanmar drama continues

By  David Swartzentruber
AseanAffairs     11 November 2010

If war is the continuation of politics by other means, as von Clausewitz said, Burma stands to be a good candidate for this after an internationally condemned election.

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The recent elections in Myanmar were anti-climatic, the outcome was predetermined that the government through its pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) would sweep to victory and it did with 80 percent of the votes, although the validity of the whole election dictated by the junta is subject to question. However, four days after the election there is a growing sense of uncertainty about what may happen next .

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest term ends Saturday and the headlines read, “Burma is bracing for Suu Kyi’s release.” Meanwhile, the iconic leader has grabbed headlines by stating that she will accept “no conditions” upon her release if in fact, the release actually occurs.

Another issue is the news as carried in our News Updates section, that the armies of six of the ethnic groups have formed an alliance and promise to carry their anti-junta fight into the cities. It has been reported that many of the ethnic groups were prohibited from voting. Etnic groups comprise 40 percent of Myanmar’s population.

Refugees displaced by earlier violence

Media are often criticized for emphasizing negative events and this report should not be interpreted as negative, however, there is truly a sense of uneasiness about developments in Myanmar this weekend and beyond.

Depending on the mindset and resources of the new ethnic alliance, the stage could be set for increased conflict with Myanmar’s very large army.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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