The Burmese military junta has obviously been focusing more on the elections than planning to launch military operations against recalcitrant ceasefire groups, said observers on the Sino-Burma border.
At the latest tri-annual meeting of senior officers, from 26 to 28 May, in Naypyidaw, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Chairman Senior General Than Shwe was said to have ordered all the participants to support former Prime Minister Thein Sein led Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), according to a source close to junta officers.
“Than Shwe said everyone has the responsibility to help the USDP win the elections,” he said.
Aung Kyaw Zaw, well-known Burma watcher, says, “They will use all means available to make the USDP win as they did before in the 1960 elections (where the Army had canvassed support for the pro-military “Stable” Party against “Clean” Party).”
The Anti-Fasicist Peoples Freedom League, that had governed Burma since Independence, had split into two factions, which later became two separate parties.
Another border watcher says unlike previous tri-annual meetings, there has been no reports of reshuffle among junta officers.
“There were at least two or three officers being replaced before,” he said. “But this time, no one was reported changed. It seems they want to make sure of the border stability.”
He added, regarding junta’s silence on the ethnic groups, the junta may have learnt a lesson from the Kokang attack in August 2009. Because it had to use many units in that period and it cannot pull out its forces, the Light Infantry Division (LID)#33 up to this day.
“They know that they will have to use all their men if they are going to launch military operations on all ethnic groups,” he said. “They are not also sure that they can win or not.”
Nevertheless, the junta military seems to have decided to consider the ethnic groups only after the elections, according to him.
Up till now, there are the United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the bulk of Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ that still remain defiant of the BGF programme.
According to some media reports, the elections will take place on 10 October 2010.
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