Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


October 23, 2010

Please forward.

Dictator Watch has received information that the number two general in Burma's military junta, Vice Senior General Maung Aye, was placed under house arrest on August 27th. We have had this information for some weeks, but did not publish it earlier because there was no confirmation. While we still do not have confirmation, Maung Aye's absence from the SPDC's media since this date makes us increasingly inclined to believe that it is true. A silent purge has been conducted by Senior General Than Shwe of his subordinate officer, under the cover of a broad military reshuffle.

It is revealing how the reshuffle developed. First, it was reported on August 27th that both Than Shwe and Maung Aye would retire. Then, the next day it was reported that they had in fact retired. But, a list of personnel changes published on September 1st failed to confirm this. Instead, it was reported that Than Shwe would retire sometime in September, which event did not occur, and with no mention of Maung Aye. Now, in late October, it has been reported that some of the generals who were forced to resign are upset that the top two generals have not yet done so.

We have previously reported that there was a split at the top of the SPDC between Than Shwe and Maung Aye, over the latter's unwillingness to retire. As we understand it, Maung Aye was also more inclined to support negotiation with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and resisted attacking the ceasefire groups that refused to transform to Border Guard Forces. Such ideas are anathema to Than Shwe. He will never talk to Daw Suu, and he wants to attack the Wa and the Kachin, among others. Now, with Maung Aye out of the way, it appears that he has prevailed. Impending conflict is therefore much more likely, and may be funded by the new $4 billion dollar loan from China, notwithstanding Beijing's supposed reluctance to see conflict across its border.

Than Shwe's purging of Maung Aye and his refusal to retire also has significance for the upcoming election. He has no intention whatsoever of allowing any truly democratic developments in Burma, and will retain absolute control until he dies. Anyone who believes that good can come from the election is like a deer in a truck's headlights waiting to be run over and killed. The only appropriate response is to oppose the election: to boycott the vote.

It is essential that Burmese pro-democracy media, including DVB, Irrawaddy, Mizzima, BNI, etc., secretly monitor polling places and calculate how few people vote and therefore how the entire exercise, and the individuals supposedly elected to office, are frauds.