Crackdown in Burma
June 9, 2003 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected and rightful leader of Burma (Myanmar,) and the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was arrested by Burma's military government 9 days ago after a premeditated attack on her motorcade. The U.N. representative visiting Burma has not been allowed to see her. There has been a crackdown on the democracy movement, and Suu Kyi's arrest may signal a split within the military government. [More inside.]
posted by homunculus (30 comments total)
Some U.S. lawmakers want to impose new sanctions on Burma, but some people argue that sanctions are ineffective. It will be interesting to see what actions the Bush administration takes, especially when Bush meets with the prime minister of Thailand. The administration's recent record on Burma has not been good: the Justice Department sided against Burmese victims of torture and forced labor in their case against Unocal in a U.S. court.

OxBlog has many more links on this story.

Here are previous MeFi threads on Suu Kyi's release last year, Burma's potential instability, child soldiers in Burma, and the Burmese villagers vs Unocal.
posted by homunculus at 12:50 PM on June 9, 2003

Well, that's it! To war! Free Burma!

Wait. What's that you say? No oil in Burma?


Tough luck, Burma. Sorry.
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:03 PM on June 9, 2003

homunculous, awesomely documented post. thanks
posted by donovan at 1:10 PM on June 9, 2003

Ya know, don't you think we've had enough Burmafilter by now? I mean, do we really need to have a new ffp every time there's some little new development in Burma.
= )
posted by Wingy at 1:37 PM on June 9, 2003

Too bad the military doesn't own the government, in Burma...

God Bless 'Merica
posted by zekinskia at 1:58 PM on June 9, 2003

Thanks, homunculus.

There are more links regarding this story over at WarFilter.
posted by Dunvegan at 2:07 PM on June 9, 2003

I'm generally of the opinion that the arrest *does* signal a split within the junta -- the regional commanders are pretty damn powerful, they've got a lot to lose in any settlement deal, and I could easily see how they might decide to gang up on Yangon.

It'll be interesting to see how Yangon deals with this, or if they just try to stall for time and hope that the rift goes away. My personal bet is that the Yangon generals will make a power play and try to shake up the provincial forces.

...which could be really bad news, if some of the local guys decide they don't want to go quietly and make arrangements with the various ethnic militias. Look for increased Shan and Wa activity, IMHO. I don't personally expect much out of the KNU, since Thailand won't stand for any craziness and Yangon knows it.
posted by aramaic at 2:27 PM on June 9, 2003

Ya know, don't you think we've had enough Burmafilter by now?

Yes. Please go to for your minute-by-minute Burma fix.
posted by Ayn Marx at 2:28 PM on June 9, 2003

Just in case you want to discuss this in the real world, her name is pronounced awn-sawn-soo-chee (with the main accent on the -soo.)
Got this straight from a former Burmese freedom fighter who snuck into Thailand and was able to be sponsored to come over here to the States.
posted by konolia at 2:42 PM on June 9, 2003

Excellent but worrisome post. She is someone I hold in the highest regard and I can only wish her well and pray she is released again. Thanks, homunculus.
posted by Lynsey at 2:58 PM on June 9, 2003

I don't know what this really means but when I clicked on this thread, I told myself that it would take two posts before somebody mentioned the US taking action in Burma.

eustacescrubb, the second poster, sorta freaked me out there.

No, I will not give lucky lotto numbers to you guys.

posted by RobbieFal at 3:26 PM on June 9, 2003

The "Aung San" part of her name is from her father, the nationalist leader U Aung San (with honorific U as in U Thant, U Nu, etc.).
He was instrumental in securing Burma's independence from Great Britain. Before World War II Aung San was actively anti-British; he then allied with the Japanese during World War II, but switched to the Allies before leading the Burmese drive for autonomy....

After conferring with the British prime minister Clement Attlee in London, he announced an agreement (Jan. 27, 1947) that provided for Burma's independence within one year. In the election for a constitutional assembly in April 1947, his AFPFL won 196 of 202 seats. Though communists had denounced him as a "tool of British imperialism," he supported a resolution for Burmese independence outside the British Commonwealth.

On July 19, the prime minister and six colleagues, including his brother, were assassinated in the council chamber in Rangoon while the executive council was in session. His political rival, U Saw, interned in Uganda during the war, was later executed for his part in the killings.
An impressive heritage.
posted by languagehat at 4:01 PM on June 9, 2003

It's like deja vu happening all over again.

Interesting points aramaic.
posted by asok at 4:03 PM on June 9, 2003

homunculus - i'll say it here where it matters more. I like your posts.
posted by dabitch at 4:31 PM on June 9, 2003

ditto, dabitch...homunculus is not only a great poster, he also contributes great in-thread links to discussions, and he manages to keep a respectful, polite and good natured tone no matter how heated the issue. (He must be on meds, and I want some.) I really value his contributions both here and at warfilter.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:31 PM on June 9, 2003

Aww shucks. T'ain't nothin.

posted by homunculus at 6:07 PM on June 9, 2003

OxBlog wants bloggers to "flood the zone."
posted by homunculus at 6:10 PM on June 9, 2003

homumculus, is there an emoticon for "I worship you!"?
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:23 PM on June 9, 2003

I'm still amazed they haven't flat-out assassinated her yet.
posted by alumshubby at 9:45 PM on June 9, 2003

Here's a piece by Ka Hsaw Wa is co-founder and co-director of EarthRights International, which is co-counsel in Doe vs. Unocal: Court Is Villagers' Only Hope.
posted by homunculus at 10:39 PM on June 9, 2003

Er, replace ' is' with ', the'.
posted by homunculus at 10:58 PM on June 9, 2003

The UN special envoy has now been able to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, albeit very briefly.

It is now up to China, India, Japan, and Thailand to put pressure on the regime.
posted by jay at 4:27 AM on June 10, 2003

Actually, I was wrong. There is oil in Burma. Duh. But since Burma lets Unocal drill for it, we don't need to blow them up.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:15 AM on June 10, 2003

Actually it's natural gas. And it's not just Unocal, a subsidiary of Halliburton helped with the pipeline too. Halliburton isn't in the suit against Unocal, but if Unocal lost it could be a dangerous precedent for Halliburton. I wonder if Cheney and Ashcroft discussed the case before Ashcroft submited his amicus brief.
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on June 10, 2003

It is now up to China, India, Japan, and Thailand to put pressure on the regime.

From what I've read, Burma's neighbors are not keen on pressuring the junta. It's time for the U.S. to pressure them into putting pressure on Burma. This is a great chance for Bush to make up for the DOJ's terrible choice in Doe vs. Unocal, and to refute criticisms that the case of Burma proves that the U.S. doesn't apply its principals universaly.
posted by homunculus at 9:47 AM on June 10, 2003

I wonder if Cheney and Ashcroft discussed the case before Ashcroft submited his amicus brief.

Before anyone hands me a tinfoil hat, I'm not saying that this happened. But considering the potential conflicts of interest, it's hard not to wonder.
posted by homunculus at 10:13 AM on June 10, 2003

Myanmar's ruling military said Tuesday that pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi would soon be freed and a U.N. envoy who saw her in custody said the Nobel laureate was in good health.

"The safe custody measures instituted are temporary and they will be lifted as soon as the situation returns to normal,'' Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win said in a statement, referring to Suu Kyi's detention.

posted by homunculus at 10:37 AM on June 10, 2003

Burma visit's crumb of comfort
posted by homunculus at 4:50 PM on June 10, 2003

Colin Powell as a new piece in OpinionJournal: It's time to turn the tables on Burma's thugs.
posted by homunculus at 10:07 PM on June 11, 2003

And John McCain in NRO: Secretary Powell can send a lifeline to the suffering Burmese.
posted by homunculus at 10:26 PM on June 11, 2003

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