US policy shift: The generals are dancing well

by Nyo Ohn Myint
Saturday, 26 September 2009 13:17

Mizzima News – Many observers, political activists and interested parties are wondering why the United States has finally decided to engage with Burma’s military regime. Obviously, Burma policy is part of United States foreign policy under President Obama’s new era of global engagement. However, whether Burma becomes a special case for the State Department, only time will tell.

“Burma’s political development is very complicated and the US government has taken this position with a hope of promoting stability,” recently speculated a Yunnan University researcher who does not wish to be named.

“Strengthening bilateral relations between the US and Myanmar [Burma] government more or less impacts ceasefire groups that live along the Sino-Burma border,” he continued. To date, ceasefire groups have enjoyed various favors and commercial prosperity in balancing relations between China and the Burmese military regime for two decades.

With the Burmese military’s recent offensives against ceasefire groups along the Chinese border, Senior General Than Shwe urgently needs US government backing. He needs to realize the fruition of the seven-step roadmap to democracy for his own personal security – consolidating the military rank and file and washing his hands of an alleged pro-China sentiment. For better or worse, he has to get out from under the shadow of China to deal with major ceasefire groups. He was not able to aggressively deal with ceasefire groups as long as he was getting diplomatic, economic and political support from China. He needs the US government on his side. Continue reading “US policy shift: The generals are dancing well”

Amnesty International Urges Secretary Clinton to Act on Behalf of U.S. Citizen Arrested and Tortured in Burma

Amnesty International Press Statement
Friday, September 25, 2009

Amnesty International Urges Secretary Clinton to Act on Behalf of U.S. Citizen Arrested and Tortured in Burma
(Washington) – Amnesty International reported today that activist Kyaw Zaw Lwin, who was arrested on September 3, has suffered torture and other ill-treatment while in detention in Insein Prison in Yangon, Burma. According to reliable sources, he has been denied medical treatment for the injuries he sustained from the torture he endured during interrogation. Amnesty International has grave concerns about his health.

Burma’s state newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, recently reported that Kyaw Zaw Lwin had entered Burma to “create unrests within the country.” The newspaper reported details of the activities that Kyaw Zaw Lwin and other Burmese pro-democracy exiles allegedly undertook in collaboration with “internal anti-government elements” in Myanmar.

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should immediately take steps to stop the torture and ill-treatment of a U.S. citizen arrested in Burma,” said T. Kumar, Amnesty International USA advocacy director for international issues. “In addition to his injuries and lack of treatment, Kyaw Zaw Lwin has also been deprived food for seven days.”

Secretary Clinton announced yesterday that the United States will begin to engage with high-level Burmese leaders to bring democracy to the nation and the release of the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has been declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

“This is the first test for the United States’ new policy of engagement,” said Kumar. “Amnesty International hopes that this new engagement also covers protecting human rights in Burma. If Secretary Clinton fails to act, there will be many questions about the United States’ latest strategy to end the oppression of the Burmese people.”