Thursday, September 27, 2007

Is Myanmar's Junta Losing Its Grip?

As juntas go, they've had a good run. Myanmar's top generals have been running the place since 1962 thanks to iron fist rule.

The current, three-man military junta is led by 74-year old General Than Shwe. He's reputed to be superstitious and to consult astrologers. The regime is said to be so paranoid that they moved the capital from Rangoon deep into the jungle to a place called Naypyidaw, a 6-square mile enclave pictured above.

Any sign of dissent within the ranks would be a cause for alarm for the three-man military junta.

But their iron fist days may be numbered. Burmese exiles in Thailand are ecstatic about a letter, supposedly from military officers, supporting the pro-democracy protesters:

"On behalf of the armed forces, we declare our support for the non-violent action of the Buddhist monks and members of the public and their peaceful expression," it said.

"We are all encountering crisis in the economy and in society, political difficulties of various kinds of oppression. Those realities not only affect the public and Buddhist monks. We in the military are also affected."

There's been no proof the letter is legitimate but it is said the junta is worried about the reliability of its own military.

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