Burma move their capital city for no apparent reason

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jimmys_best_mate, Jan 30, 2006.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Burma's decision to shift its seat of government has left many analysts at a loss to explain the move.

    After all, why go to the huge trouble and expense of relocating thousands of officials to a remote mountainous region, when there is a well-established political infrastructure in the port city of Rangoon?

    Information Minister Kyaw Hsan said the site of the new capital, near the town of Pyinmana, was a more strategic location for Burma's military rulers.

    "It is centrally located, and has quick access to all parts of the country," he told reporters on Monday.

    But analysts outside the country were unconvinced.

    They said the real reason was probably still a mystery, but it was possible the country's hard-line military rulers were worried about foreign invasion, or wanted more control over ethnic minorities in the border regions, or were even following the advice of fortune tellers.

    "I'm Burmese, and sometimes even I don't understand what the government is thinking," said Aung Zaw, the editor of Irrawaddy, a publication run by Burmese journalists in exile.

    Joseph Silverstein, a Burma specialist and Emeritus Professor of Rutgers University, described the plan as "totally irrational".

    Fear of attack

    The military junta's liking for secrecy, coupled with its suspicion of the outside world, has led many people to speculate that the move is due to some generals' fear of being attacked by the United States.

    According to Aung Kin, a Burmese historian based in London, the country's army is much stronger than its navy.

    It is "more comfortable defending a land perimeter" such as Pyinmana than a coastal city such as Rangoon, he said.

    But according to Christian Lemiere, Asia editor of Jane's Country Risk, any potential enemy is much more likely to attack by air than by sea - and therefore moving location will make little difference.

    In fact, if anything, a smaller centre of government will be easier to target from the air, Mr Lemiere said.

    All this is of course assuming someone is actually planning to attack Burma in the first place - a move which analysts agree is extremely unlikely.

    It is true that Burma's poor human rights record has done little to ingratiate its senior generals to the international community. But analysts say there has been no suggestion of a foreign attack.

    "Rumours of an American invasion are just a joke - but the military is extremely paranoid," said Aung Zaw.

    'Rat hole'

    Diplomats have speculated that another possible reason for the move to Pyinmana is that its central location will make the government better able to monitor the lawless border regions of the ethnic Shan, Chin and Karen states.

    Aung Zaw said that to a certain extent this may be true, but he doubted it would make much difference in terms of military control.

    Saw Sarki, from the Karen National Union (KNU), agreed.

    "The army is quite decentralised anyway, and it is spread throughout Burma already," he said.

    Others say the move may simply be about the government's need to increase its own security.

    "Pyinmana is much less populated, so it can build a fortress from scratch," said Saw Sarki.

    Reports from inside Burma talk of a maze of underground tunnels being built, and Aung Zaw described the new location as the government's "rat hole".

    The isolated new site will also provide the authorities with increased secrecy from the outside world.

    Many ministries - including the foreign ministry - are in the process of moving to Pyinmana. But foreign and UN embassies have been told there are currently no plans for them to follow.

    "If you need to communicate on urgent matters, you can send a fax to Pyinmana," the foreign ministry said in its statement on Monday.

    A British diplomat told the BBC that she could not predict what impact the move would have on relations with embassies and the government.

    But analysts say it will almost certainly make contact with the Burmese leadership - already one of the world's most secretive governments - even more difficult.

    Joseph Silverstein believes the most likely explanation for the relocation is advice by traditional Burmese fortune-tellers.

    "Everybody listens to fortune-tellers in Burma," he said.

    General Ne Win, who came to power in 1962, was totally dependent on their advice, Mr Silverstein added.

    "He is once said to have decided to change the direction of traffic overnight [as a result of a fortune teller]. It caused a huge number of accidents," he said.

  2. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    George Orwell described the Burmese as <<The Irish of the Orient>>....er...thus pi77ing off both groups in one fell swoop... :)

    A few years ago, when I had to do with Burma, the country's rulers arbitrarily changed the currency overnight - thus wiping out thousands of peasants life savings at a stroke.....the pro democracy movement headed by Aung San's daughter ( the one who's been under house arrest in Rangoon for twenty years) launched a major anti government campaign on the 8th of August 1988 - because the number '8' is thought to be lucky in Burma...perplexing people .....occupying a country the size of France, awash with mineral wealth and natural resources , beauty and culture that would make it a tourist Mecca - and run by a paranoid military junta....if ever there was country crying out for the Pax Americana it is Burma.....(whispers) they even have OIL..........
  3. My guess is that the head boys' wife is behind it. "No dear, I think it would look better over there just under the curtains, no along a bit more. Yes, right there."
  4. Apparently the new city's one big f*ck off fortress. Like it has only one entrance and is surrounded by AT stuff..

  5. One entrance is the same a one way out.

    A few questions

    Will that AT stuff be much good against USAF fast air?

    Is the fortress cruise missile proof?

    If the oil rumour prove to be true and worth the effort can I start packing for Op Burma freedom 06?
  6. Quote
    were even following the advice of fortune tellers.
    Joseph Silverstein believes the most likely explanation for the relocation is advice by traditional Burmese fortune-tellers.

    "Everybody listens to fortune-tellers in Burma," he said.

    General Ne Win, who came to power in 1962, was totally dependent on their advice, Mr Silverstein added.

    "He is once said to have decided to change the direction of traffic overnight [as a result of a fortune teller]. It caused a huge number of accidents," he said.
    End of Quote

    Not good to take selective lines out of a post but, local opionin is that so much of the above is how life is run in Burma. The government policy comes from the advice of witchdoctors.
    China is their big buddy and yes OIL is the name of the game.
    The Frog has Petrochemical investments and that so much of it was built by SLAVE LABOUR is convieantly swept aside.
    Irrawadei Magazine is published just around the corrner from my watering hole.
  7. Oil? Oil, you say? Hold on a few, I have a few phone calls to make... :D
  8. Tuesday, January 31, 2006
    Builders Under Pressure to Complete Pyinmana Parade Ground
    By The Irrawaddy
    January 30, 2006
    Burmese government engineers and private contractors are reportedly under pressure to complete work on a military parade ground in Pyinmana, the country’s new administrative capital, before the next Armed Forces Day, in late March.
    Local sources and engineers working on the project told The Irrawaddy that the parade ground will be the size of three or four football pitches. One unconfirmed report said the parade ground project will cost the equivalent of about US $9 million.
    Armed Forces Day has traditionally been marked by a grand military parade in Rangoon. Last year, the 60th anniversary of Armed Forces Day, more than 7,000 military personnel took part in the parade, through Rangoon’s Resistance Park.
    The parades are usually attended by Burma’s ruling military junta, including supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe, who is rumored to be demanding that this year’s event, the 61st anniversary, be held in Pyinmana.
    The order to move government ministries from Rangoon to Pyinmana, 320 km to the north, came last November, and since December hundreds of trucks and cement-mixers have arrived in Pyinmana to work on the parade ground.
    The pressure is also on to finish work on Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s new home on a hilltop site in Pyinmana. The huge house, with a floor
    space of about 4,000 sqm, is said to be almost complete.

  9. At least if its that isolated when we do the decent thing and lend lease the karen a tac nuke not too much colateral :lol: . And we get to negotiate a good deal on oil minerals etc :) .
    It will piss of french asians etc and the spams (as we win once again in asia :) ) and we repay a debt long overdue.
  10. An RSM's wet dream :D
  11. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer


    Ever heard of Denis Thatcher ? Used to be married to one Margaret Thatcher, late spinster of Grantham ?

    Our former PM's hubby was Chairman of a small concern called Burmah Oil - which later became BP.

    When the Japanese invaded Burma in 1941 one of the key things that DIDN'T happen was the destruction of the oil refining capability - which is EXACTLY what the Nips were being starved of (in their view).

    Little bit of history -

    Oh and since oil is so old hat these days - 'cos Natural gas is the big thing everybody wants a piece of it seems - then you should tell that nice Mister Rumsfeld that Burma has been exploring (partnered with a FRENCH state petrochemical company) the ENORMOUS gas reserves in its offshore Gulf of Martaban field since the early 90s......

    If you work at Asprey's or Garrard's - a Burmese General is QUITE a find....... 8)

    Le Chevre
  12. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Concur....the Karen were the ONLY locals to stand by British Forces during the Japanese invasion, the Long Retreat into India and the subsequent brutal occupation of Burma.

    Karen troops fought loyally with retreating British forces and were a mainstay of resistance to the occupation. They also assisted Force 136 in country
    (cf www.burmastar.org.uk/hayton.htmForce 136 )

    Since 1962, the Karen (and Kachin, Shan and Mon peoples to a lesser extent) have fought the Burmese central government from a steadily shrinking enclave on the Thai border. The Thai government colluded with Burmese forces recently in an effort to eradicate the remaining Karen camps.

    The Karen, unlike their Shan and Kachin colleagues, are largely Christians - the legacy of Baptist and Methodist missionaries.

    The attached gives a bit more on the involvement of the French (state) petrochemical company...source is an anti -junta website so pinch of salt may be required:

    ( Where's feckin' Max Hastings now then ? )

    Le Chevre

    << En avant - a bas les financiers ! >>
  13. Can we use the same methods to get Wembly done on time? I just hope they aren't using the same roofing contractors that got blasted in yesterday's Times.
  14. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Umm...can you imagine the Bliar govt INVITING 7,000 members of the Armed Forces to London.......don't think so ! :lol:
  15. Maybe the Burmese used the same Witchdoktors that counselled the German Government to move from homely Bonn to Mega-expensive Berlin for Billions,built of course by cheap Polish labour. :lol:

    P.S.Please don´t use their example of near-slavelabour to build your new home,you´ll go too jail. :cry: