Friday, July 31, 2009

End of the old man

by Mizzima News

The kangaroo court pretends there’s no problem in tackling the case of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi but it had to postpone hearing dates without coming up with a sound reason. This reveals, though they have the upper hand, they are in a crisis as well.

The court fixed July 31 for pronouncing its judgment on the ‘National League for Democracy’ (NLD) party General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi’s case in which she has been charged with violating her house arrest term by the police as the prosecutor. However, they had to postpone the hearing again on the orders of Naypyitaw, fixing the date for August 11.

The special court inside the Insein prison made similar postponements without prior notice four times since the trial started on May 18. The judges themselves might not know the reason behind these postponements.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had to intervene in this case, compelling him to visit Burma. Moreover, there has been a chorus of calls for the release of the Nobel Laureate globally. Though there is a debate on the effectiveness of international pressure these days, as for the isolated, self-conceited and aggressive junta leaders, such intervention is unbearable and intolerable.

It is not a coincidence that the junta requested Thailand’s Prime Minister to postpone his planned visit to Burma on July 31, on the pretext of dealing with internal politics, to two or three weeks later, through its ambassador in Bangkok.

The State Peace and Development Council is all too aware that supporters of Suu Kyi and hardcore activists will not stay passive with folded hands. They are not averse to arresting all of them, if necessary, over and above the 2100 political prisoners already languishing across jails in Burma, since it contrasts with the junta’s so-called seven-step roadmap to democracy.

In the meantime, the deterioration of the current situation for the paranoid and skeptical junta, ensconced behind the iron curtain, the classified report with the word ‘Secret’ on top of the paper, is being circulated wildly on the internet, which reveals there are loopholes in their inner security circle. These reports range from the visit of the third strongman of the junta’s military hierarchy Gen. Shwe Mann to communist North Korea, which is defying the international community with its nuclear arms race, to the meeting minutes between leaders of the junta and foreign countries.

In a quick response to these leaks, the junta retaliated with a combing operation in the Defence and Foreign Ministries besides resorting to cyber tracking and counter espionage.

On the other hand, the junta’s plan to transform ceasefire ethnic armed groups into the Border Guard Force (BGF) under the total control of their Armed Forces and disarming them is facing serious resistance and has been unsuccessful so far, as this plan lacks political guarantee and lack of mutual confidence.

The country’s economy is on the collapse mode in the face of the global economic crisis and the devastating Cyclone Nargis which left over 130,000 people dead. The economists estimate the country’s growth rate at zero percent.

Most of the generals in the top echelons of the junta whisper that dear leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe’s days are numbered and his fate is at its lowest ebb. To the superstitious and black magic believers among the generals, the collapse of ‘Danoke’ pagoda in Dala Township, which was repaired by first lady Kyaing Kyaing and her family, is a bad omen for this family.

The ‘Grand Strategy’ of transition to a puppet mixed administration of civilian and the military from the current military regime is uncertain and insecure.

It will be interesting to see how the psychological warfare savvy old man Than Shwe copes with the challenges faced on all fronts.

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