Background: Pakistan is not as bad as Burma, or is it?

Asif Ali Zardari

With the world still tut-tutting and trying to figure out what the most recent election in Burma portends, there seem renewed worries about Pakistan’s military taking charge again.  Most of this is, rightly, due to the venal incompetence of its President Asif Ali Zardari.  According to Maria Kuusisto of the Eurasia Group, Continue reading “Background: Pakistan is not as bad as Burma, or is it?”

Background: Burma’s “Election” and Possible Military Noise

Burma’s military government has slated nationwide parliamentary elections for November 7.  Well, nationwide except for the

more than 3,300 villages located near conflict zones where the lumbering civil wars between the state forces and ethnic armies have never ceased. At least 110,000 internally displaced people live in these regions, many of them in hiding and on the run from the Burmese army. Another 140,000 subsist in refugee camps up and down the Thai-Myanmar border. Continue reading “Background: Burma’s “Election” and Possible Military Noise”

Background [The Economist]: Kashmir: The China Connection

An abiding worry for anyone trying to invest in India is what its relation will be with its near-non-state neighbor Pakistan and with the juggernaut that is China.  In military terms, India has great strategic depth:  girded by the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal while the Himalayas to the North provide a near-impassable barrier against the greatest strategic threat of China.  Only Pakistan on the Western flank remains a worry.  But that too is militarily less so as the wide open plains of Punjab provide perfect tank country (as proven by India’s armour more than once).  That leaves China and its machinations around India’s periphery.  China’s string of pearls strategy has seen it build a port in Srilanka, with similar moves in Burma, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.  The last is where Gwadar and this most recent blog post in the The Economist’s Banyan’s Notebook blog comes in.

What I find most troubling (if true) is Selig Harrison’s statement there that Pakistan may have handed over de-facto control of some of its Northern areas, with up to 11,000 troops there. Continue reading “Background [The Economist]: Kashmir: The China Connection”

Background [AFP]: Myanmar Chief Ensures Loyalty With Landmark Army Reshuffle

Picture taken on August 21, 2010 shows Myanmar labourers working to complete the country’s new parliament building in the new capital Naypyidaw. Myanmar’s feared junta has carried out a major military reshuffle ahead of rare elections, officials said on August 27, 2010, dismissing a report that ruler Than Shwe was among those shedding their uniforms. At least 15 senior leaders, including army number three Thura Shwe Mann, have retired from their military posts to stand in the November 7 poll — the first held in the country in two decades — an unnamed official said. Photo courtesy AFP. Continue reading “Background [AFP]: Myanmar Chief Ensures Loyalty With Landmark Army Reshuffle”

Background: Burma and its “election”

From The Economist’s Banyan blog there is an item on the Junta’s latest decision on elections, while there is a slightly older story on the Junta celebrating 65 glorious years of the military: Continue reading “Background: Burma and its “election””

The Misery of Burma and Pakistan


I’ve been watching Burma for a while now.  Essentially because of the untapped natural resources and a population desperately hungry for development (and democracy, and freedom, and — literally — rice) smack dab between the ASEAN Tigers, India, and Bangladesh.  Continue reading “The Misery of Burma and Pakistan”