Myanmar general lauds army's democratic role as troops patrol

YANGON Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:57am EDT

Myanmar's army chief General Min Aung Hlaing salutes during a ceremony to mark the 67th anniversary of Armed Forces Day in Myanmar's capital Naypyitaw March 27, 2012. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Myanmar's army chief General Min Aung Hlaing salutes during a ceremony to mark the 67th anniversary of Armed Forces Day in Myanmar's capital Naypyitaw March 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

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YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar's military will retain its key role in the country's fledgling democracy, the armed forces chief said on Wednesday at an annual parade attended for the first time by democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing spoke as his soldiers enforced an uneasy peace in central Myanmar, where martial law was declared in four townships last week to quell anti-Muslim riots that officially killed 40 people.

The unrest between Buddhists and Muslims is spreading, posing the biggest challenge yet to a reformist government that took office in 2011 after nearly half a century of military rule.

Min Aung Hlaing said the military would continue to play a "leading political role" in accordance with Myanmar's constitution, which was drafted by the former junta and reserves a quarter of parliamentary seats for military officers.

Early on Wednesday a mob in Nattalin, about 130 miles northwest of the commercial capital, Yangon, tried to destroy three houses and a mosque but were stopped by soldiers, a local government official told Reuters.

"So far as I know, nobody was injured and nothing burnt down," he said. Dusk-to-dawn curfews are now in place in Nattalin and five nearby townships.

President Thein Sein has won praise for freeing jailed dissidents, relaxing media censorship and trying to fix Myanmar's dysfunctional economy.

But his government has also been criticized for failing to stem last year's violence in Rakhine State in western Myanmar, where officials say 110 people were killed and 120,000 were left homeless, most of them Rohingya Muslims.

In his speech at the Armed Forces Day parade in the capital, Naypyitaw, Min Aung Hlaing expressed the military's loyalty to Thein Sein, himself a former general, before watching a procession of troops and military hardware, including truck-borne missiles.

The military was helping to build "an eternally peaceful and developing nation", he said.

Human rights groups have long accused Myanmar's military of war crimes and crimes against humanity in its campaigns against armed rebels from ethnic groups such as the Kachin and Shan.

"All our members are being trained in the provisions of the Geneva Convention so our Tatmadaw do not commit any war crimes," said Min Aung Hlaing, referring to the military by a Burmese word meaning "Royal Force". "There is no such thing as genocide in the history of our Tatmadaw."


Among the guests was Suu Kyi, who spent a total of 15 years in prison or under house arrest under the former junta. She is the daughter of independence hero General Aung San, who founded the modern Myanmar army.

Suu Kyi upset some supporters in January by expressing her "fondness" for the military, which still refuses to acknowledge its well-documented human rights abuses.

In a statement on Wednesday, her National League for Democracy party called on the armed forces "to take part in working for the rule of law, the emergence of peace and amending the constitution".

Anti-Muslim unrest promises to further expand the military's role, however. Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country, but about 5 percent of its 60 million people are Muslims. There are large communities in Yangon, Mandalay and towns across Myanmar's heartland, which is dominated by the majority Burmans, who are Buddhists.

Yangon remains tense, with the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday advising its citizens to avoid the downtown Mingalar Market area after a fight there led to a heavy police presence.

Myanmar's government "would not hesitate to push the army in" to prevent further unrest, Vijay Nambiar, U.N. Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Myanmar, has told Reuters.

Communal tension, stifled under military rule, exploded to the surface last June, after 10 Muslims were beaten to death by a Buddhist mob in Taungop town in Rakhine State.

Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday the Muslims displaced in Rakhine State had effectively been segregated, living in squalid camps that security forces stopped them leaving. The government was restricting aid, it added, warning of a humanitarian crisis when the rainy season comes in May.

(This story corrects title in paragraph 2 to Senior General from Vice Senior General)

(Writing by Andrew R.C. Marshall; Editing by Alan Raybould and Alex Richardson)

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Comments (3)
sampang wrote:
Burma’s history in regard to the ethnic conflict has been too old and partial .Immediate after ww-2 ,with its govt. sponsored ethnic -cleansing of the Nepalese who were traditionally farmers ,had seen/experienced cruelest violence at hands of their neighbors .Though they follow a religion of non-violence ‘Buddhism” but their deeds have been unspeakable violent in nature not only theirs if you study case history of Vietnam ,Cambodia and Sri-Lanka .

Mar 27, 2013 6:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
DeanMJackson wrote:
The caption reads (in part), “Myanmar’s military will retain its key role in the country…”

The military sure will, since it never gave up power. The current ethnic strife in Burma is manufactured by the military for the purpose of maintaining its 51-year stranglehold on the nation. Talk about the need for British colonialism!

Why do you think Aung San Suu Kyi refused initiate an immediate de-Juntaization program to ferret out military Junta agents still in control of the government, media and other key institutions? The military Junta had decades of time to plan such moves, yet Aung San Suu Kyi and her advisers were incurious? Why would that be?

Why is General Thein Sein President? He’s the chap who kept Aung San Suu Kyi under the unspeakable condition of “house arrest”. Hmm…house arrest doesn’t sound so unspeakable when one considers others were tortured and murdered. Why wasn’t Aung San Suu Kyi likewise tortured and murdered back in 1988 when no one cared and few knew who she was? Oh yeah, the daughter of the founder of the Burmese Communist Party (I bet you didn’t know that about Aung San Suu Kyi, did you?) was being used for the purpose of her acting role as a fake “dissident”, so when the “collapse” of the Burmese military Junta occurred, she could give her blessing to the new “democratic” government, which is really the old Military Junta government. Well, can’t torture or murder such a person, you know!

Oh yeah, Aung San Suu Kyi said that the sociopath General Thein Sein was someone she could trust! Of course she could trust him. He, like her, are Communists.

For those not conversant with Communist strategy, here’s what Lenin said:

“Lenin advised the Communists that they must be prepared to “resort to all sorts of stratagems, maneuvers, illegal methods, evasions and subterfuge” to achieve their objectives. This advice was given on the eve of his reintroduction of limited capitalism in Russia, in his work Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder.

… Another speech of Lenin’s … in July 1921 is again highly relevant to understanding “perestroika.” “Our only strategy at present,” wrote Lenin, “is to become stronger and, therefore, wiser, more reasonable, more opportunistic. The more opportunistic, the sooner will you again assemble the masses round you. When we have won over the masses by our reasonable approach, we shall then apply offensive tactics in the strictest sense of the word.”

If you examine the backgrounds of prominent Russian figures, you will find that they have long Communist Party/ KGB or Komsomol pedigrees. Yet for some inexplicable reason, the Western media have accepted their sudden, orchestrated, mass “conversion” to Western-style norms of behavior, their endless talk of “democracy,” and their acceptance of “capitalism,” as genuine. “Scratch these new, instant Soviet “democrats,” “anti-Communists,” and “nationalists” who have sprouted out of nowhere, and underneath will be found secret Party members or KGB agents,” Golitsyn writes on page 123 of his new book [The Perestroika Deception]. In accepting at face value the “transformation” of these Leninist revolutionary Communists into “instant democrats,” the West automatically accepts as genuine the false “Break with the Past” — the single lie upon which the entire deception is based.

In short, the “former” Soviet Union — and the East European countries as well — are all run by people who are steeped in the dialectical modus operandi of Lenin. Without exception, they are all active Leninist revolutionaries, working collectively towards the establishment of a world Communist government, which, by definition, will be a world dictatorship.

It is difficult for the West to understand the Leninist Hegelian dialectical method — the creation of competing or successive opposites in order to achieve an intended outcome. Equally difficult for us to comprehend is the fact that these Leninist revolutionaries plan their strategies over decades and generations. This extraordinary behavior is naturally alien to Western politicians, who can see no further than the next election. Western politicians usually react to events. Leninist revolutionaries create events, in order to control reactions to them and manipulate their outcomes.” — William F Jasper, Senior Editor for The New American magazine.

You ask, what does Jasper mean when he says, “Leninist Hegelian dialectical method — the creation of competing or successive opposites in order to achieve an intended outcome”?

Simply explained, and on a tactical level, it’s called the “Scissors Strategy”, where one blade represents (for example) Putin & Company, however the other blade of the scissors–the leadership of the political “opposition” to Putin & Company–is actually controlled by Putin & Company*, which leaves the genuine opposition in the middle wondering why political change isn’t taking place. Understand this simple strategy?

On a strategic level, from 1960 – 1989 the USSR and China played the “Scissors Strategy”, by pretending to be enemies. This strategy allowed one side to play off against the other with the West, thereby gaining economic/political advantages from the West, which neither Communist giant could have achieved if it was believed they were united. Clever, huh?

Mar 27, 2013 9:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Nikland wrote:
Aung San Suu Kyi and the word democracy should not even mentioned in the same sentence. She is the kind who watches in criminal silence the genocide of Rohingyas. Shame on people who gave her the noble peace prize it time to take it back.

Mar 27, 2013 12:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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