ASEAN: The Burmese Situation & Thai Intel’s Forecast

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by Stingray, Thai Intel’s National Security journalist

On the macro picture, certain Burmese minorities, that have not co-operated with the Burmese junta, have grabbed hold of the day of the first Burmese election in 20 years to er-launch their rebellion for mainly to cut any positive momentum the election would give the Burmese junta-that would ultimately, through the consolidation by the emerging government, lead to a more severe crackdown on the minorities.

Globally, the move is meant to draw legitimation to their movement by contrasting their struggle with the Burmese illegitimate election.

Tactically, the move involves, first; spilling refugees into Thailand as is occurring with the about 30, 000 fresh refugees crossing into Thailand yesterday, second; the armed offensive in capturing new territories as the Burmese military have diverted troops to handle the election and potential fresh protest afterward of the election, third; impact the Burmese junta plans on the restructuring of the military as shifts are made to replace generals entering open politics, and fourth; to gain global support.

Already intelligence sources tells Thai Intel, that foreign government are asking the Thai government permission to send arms and supply to certain minorities in Burma-in support of their armed struggle.

“They are asking the Thai government to just pretend that they do not see it and let the process go forward,” said one intelligence source to Thai Intel.

The arms support is critical, because as foreign investments poured into Burma, the Burmese junta arms stack is getting more and more advance. Despite trade and investment restrictions on Burma, many countries even the USA have been making investments and/or potential trade exploration in Burma.

But perhaps the country with the closest business relationship with Burma is Thailand, to which Burma is supplying Thailand with gas and the Thai prime minister just signed an US$ 30-50 billion deal to develop a port area in Burma Thai area into an industrialize zone-to which according to Thai Intel’s intelligence source-will make the decision to allow arms to flow through Thailand to the Burmese minorities a very hard and tricky move to manage.

However, the internal Burmese war is expected to spill more and more refugees into Thailand and the arms conflict itself, has a history of also spilling into Thailand. In fact, Thailand, through its repelling tactics of such spill-over-have been drawn and forced into taking side in the Burmese internal affairs before.

The Thai military wise, no re-enforcement of the border area have been announced, however, sources tells Thai Intel that re-enforcement have quietly been going for about a month before the election date, and the expected and predicted outbreak of war in Burma-have resulted in Thailand’s units that is enforcing the emergency decree in Thailand, to make a statement that Thailand must re-evaluate the use of democracy to solve Thailand’s own internal problems-as the Thai protesters are demanding an election, claiming the current government is not legitimate as it is formed in a military camp with military pressure, and that the Thai political process is not-democratic with heavy military involvement in politics.

Overall, there appears to be some major strategic re-balance for many countries to consider.

The bottom-line however, are the situation inside Burma between the government and the Burmese minority groups. And also between the government, still very much a junta and the forces of Democracy inside Burma. The question of terrorism is also a consideration-as many minority groups have turned to sabotage tactics-that have killed innocent people.

Thai Intel forecast, on the armed struggle, is that at this point, the situation is highly still fluid-but the foundation is there for both area based competition and also increased insurgents activities-along with a certain amount of terrorism. The picture will complicate the foreign arms support to the minorities.

Thai Intel’s forecast, on the emerging government, is that emerging Burmese government will likely received little legitimacy globally, other than countries in the Chinese sphere of influences-with an ASEAN that will be highly embarassed-as Burma is a member of ASEAN and ASEAN have taken mostly a hand-off policy-with the above mentioned, Thailand, opting for a strong relations with the Burmese junta/government. Global diplomatic to pressure ASEAN will likely increase.

Thai Intel’s forecast, on the situation with the Burmese minority, is that if rebelling minorities succeed in their struggle and the emerging government/junta does not include the minorities that have allied themselves with the Burmese government/junta some will slowly drift towards open or under-ground rebellion.

Thai Intel forecast, on the global business involvement inside Burma point of view, is that the opportunities lies with countries that are flexible diplomatically.

The savior and hope for the entire Burma situation is Aung San, who was barred from participating in the election, but is expected to be free once the new government/junta is formed-however-this is still not a solid 100%. However, the current situation in Burma, being highly fluid and fractured-can only be put back together, by someone, like Aung San-who have demonstrated the ability to bridge the concerns of the Burmese people.

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