China Foments Trouble on Myanmar’s Border

China Foments Trouble on Myanmar’s BorderLast year it was the South China Sea and the contiguous waters of Vietnam and the Philippines which were the focus of Chinese hegemonist instincts. Those issues have quieted down for the time being as China has noted the damage done to some of its other interests, in particular through the strengthening of  Southeast Asian…

Drug Resistant Malaria in West Myanmar

Drug Resistant Malaria in West MyanmarConcern is rising in western Myanmar over the possibility that malaria has mutated and is now immune to the antimalarial drug artemisinin, the frontline treatment against the disease. In an article carried in the medical journal Lanset’s Infectuous Disease reports, the bigger concern is that the drug-resistent form of the disease is now 25 km…

Myanmar’s Ethnic Stew Will Determine Its Future

Myanmar’s Ethnic Stew Will Determine Its FutureMyanmar’s presidential elections, set to take place towards the end of this year, will be crucial in determining the country’s ultimate direction. Yet, in many ways, what matters for the future of a unified country depends on what happens in its ethnic areas. Without a lasting peace in the fringes, political stability in the rest…

Myanmar’s Reform Roller Coaster

Myanmar’s Reform Roller CoasterThe trials, tribulations and recent relative triumph of the international health charity Médecins Sans Frontières in Myanmar are a salutary reminder that the Southeast Asian nation’s much heralded transition from military dictatorship to quasi-civilian administration has not been an entirely smooth ride. No one with any understanding of the country ever believed it would be.…

Myanmar’s Military Still Hold the Purse Strings

Myanmar’s Military Still Hold the Purse StringsThe release of the official list of Myanmar’s 1,000 top taxpayers for 2013-2014 shows the wealthiest are still overwhelmingly tied to the old guard of military cronyism and elite government corruption. Many are on the US government’s blacklist. The list, released by the Internal Revenue Department (IRD) of the Ministry of Finance in December, is…

Myanmar’s Rohingya: The Roots of a Tragedy

Myanmar’s Rohingya:  The Roots of a TragedyEthnic violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state continues to keep the region’s Rohingya Muslim populations in a state of fear and misery. Since clashes between the Rohingya and Rakhine Buddhist populations broke out in 2012, more than 100,000 Rohingya have fled the country, mostly by boat.  Though the future of the refugees is often one of…

Burmese Reporter Dies in Army Hands

Burmese Reporter Dies in Army HandsConcern is growing about an increasing war on the press and human rights activists by Burmese authorities after Aung Kyaw Naing, a freelance journalist covering clashes between ethnic rebel and government forces in the country’s southeast was arrested by army officials and apparently murdered. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Naing had been…

Burma’s Failed Promise

Burma’s Failed PromiseBurma’s path to democracy, born in considerable hope when the generals’ junta agreed to political reforms in 2011 and released democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, is in depressing danger of failure.   While hundreds of political prisoners have been released over the intervening three years, the civilian government has returned to…

High Stakes in Myanmar’s Peace Process

High Stakes in Myanmar’s Peace ProcessThe Myanmar government has pursued more than a dozen rounds of cease-fire talks with the country’s major armed ethnic groups over the past three years but has missed the timetable for achieving a nationwide cease-fire agreement several times.  The government’s chief negotiator, Aung Min, recently said he hopes to conclude such an agreement in September…

Myanmar’s Military Goes Back to the Barracks

Myanmar’s Military Goes Back to the BarracksMyanmar’s feared military, the Tatmadaw, which dominated the country’s politics and economy for decades until democracy came in 2010, has been returning to the barracks much faster and more completely than anyone could have imagined, according to a new report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. The civilian government has won praise from government leaders…