Daily News- September 13- 2002-Friday

  • Burmese govt to buy TotalFinaElf gas to help end power shortage
  • September 11 and the Burmese Struggle

  • Burmese govt to buy TotalFinaElf gas to help end power shortage

    Source : Annanova

    The military junta said it will purchase gas from TotalFinaElf as a stop-gap measure to end Burma's chronic electricity shortages, while the junta aims to bring new generators on stream.

    No financial details were given.

    TotalFinaElf has a production-sharing contract with the military.

    Rangoon began experiencing acute power shortages when two of the three main gas turbines providing electricity shut down due to a depletion in offshore gas reserves, an energy ministry official said. Supply from the reserves should be resumed by November or December.

    Authorities are now constructing new generators to be brought on stream by 2006, deputy chief of military intelligence Major General Kyaw Win told reporters.

    "We estimate that by then, our generators will be providing over 1,900 megawatts of electricity, far more than enough for our needs," he said.

    Electricity supply currently available to the entire country is now less than 560 MW, well below demand of 800 MW, he said.

    Also, three power plants currently under construction are due to be completed and provide an added 475 MW by the year 2003.

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    September 11 and the Burmese Struggle

    Spource : Mizzima News
    The impact of September 11th last year attacks on US has transformed the international and regional thinking as it effects the national security of most countries including Burma. In the US the attacks and tragedy has a galvanizing and unifying effect on the American and much of the partisanship in the American and foreign and domestic policies were smoothed by both the Republican and Democrats as they rally around their President.

    As Taliban’s Afghanistan was pounded to dust, there is every possibility that these military operations could expand to terrorist governments or those who harbour terrorist on their soil. The clandestine involvement of the US military and intelligence operatives in its fight against Abu Sayyaf proves that a terrorist government as the Burmese Junta could well be in the target.

    The Burmese Generals or rather its intelligence wing and the Office of the Strategic Studies knew about it and have made every possibility to prove it otherwise. For example they have reduce the production of opium from 2,600 tons this year and is contended to take second place (first is Afghanistan) in the production of opium and goes beyond the normal procedure to defend that it is not using rape as an ethnic cleansing policy. Then they would hire an American DCI firm to lobby for them in the US senate, even though they would not relent their gross human rights violations on their own people by successive military operations.

    The polarizing rhetoric of President George W Bush that strictly classify nations into those that are for or those that are against the US compels the Junta to declare that they have no choice but must work hand in hand with the US in eliminating terrorist from Burma. Perhaps they could have save this trouble by disappearing from the scene as they themselves are worst than terrorist. What more prove is wanted when all the governments of the world quickly condemn the terrorist attacks of September 11 and not a single word was uttered from the Junta. Only after a month later U Ne Win and his family send some condolences proving that at that time he is still behind the Burmese Generals.

    But one of the consequences of the September 11 attacks is that the authoritarian governments such as Russia (constructing a nuclear reactor in Burma) and China (helping the Junta with arms and economic aid) and Burma have exploited the global concern over terrorism by lumping the autonomy and democracy fighters as terrorist. The ultimate effect could be an increase repression against political opposition as the US and the West became more concerned with the threats of terrorist cells and less sensitive on human rights violations. This will also indicate that the West could be more tolerant on human rights violations. The American emphasis on the need for military tribunal to try suspected terrorist indicates a departure from its normal procedure. This trend will weaken the Burmese cause.

    Perhaps a very illustrative of the new global security constellation is the change of attitude of the West towards Pakistan (that has been supplying arms to the Junta). General Pervez Musharraff was changed overnight from a military dictator to a bold and courageous friend of the US and the West as according to the Secretary State Colin Powell. Here the Burmese Generals are not intelligence enough to grab this golden chance and exploited in its favour.

    If this new security threat has created a new global security landscape and a new security approach as making dictators as friends of the West, the world might as well look on as the Burmese Junta continued its gross human rights violations. One can simply look at a rough facts and figures, three million Burmese in Diaspora, over one and half million are refugees while another million are internally displaced persons and the country is on the brink of starvation because of its four cut policy while HIV is running amok.

    Another daunting question is why should the UN response to this threat since the US and the West are responding with massive force to this threat. Perhaps the UN might as well rest on its laurels and in the case of Burma, the UN representative Razali Ismail should not go to Rangoon. The world’s hope that militarism and the use of force would die with the termination of the Cold War has now being shattered to pieces.

    It may appear that the US led coalition is scoring a quick victory but Osam bin Laden is still a free man and the world has forgotten that not a single Afghan participated in the September 11 attack. Justice is the word which the US led countries are afraid to utter.

    Under the Clinton administration, the US pushed hard for democratic reform and human rights. The Bush administration, which had greatly reduced this enthusiasm for pushing reformist visions, has confirmed the Republication reputation for pursuing interests rather than ideals. However, this global anti terrorist war compelled him to be an internationalist again. The changing global circumstances have made it imperative that the struggle against terrorism must be a genuinely multilateral one and the Burmese case must not be forgotten. Moreover, the struggle can only succeed if it is able to get at its root and eliminate the causes of terrorism. In Southeast Asia, which is the most densely populated part of the world the dictatorial regimes like the Burmese Junta should be eliminated because it serves as a source to terrorism.

    It seems to us that the world and international community must learn to understand or at least communicate with all the developing countries and the struggling lot including the Burmese. Otherwise the desperation of these people could goad them to acts of terror. The Burmese people both inside and outside the country has been patient enough to wait for one and half decades in its non-violent struggle against the military dictators with the hope and backing from the West. How long do we have to wait before the Burmese people became convinced that there is no feasible alternative to violence to fulfil our aspiration but to follow the way to martyr’s paradise?

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