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Hardliners Tighten Grip in Myanmar

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October 24, 2004

Hardliners Tighten Grip in Myanmar

Prime Minister Khin Nyunt has been arrested on corruption charges in Myanmar, formerly Burma, and placed under close custody.

Widely regarded as a comparative moderate, General Khin Nyunt's removal suggests that Myanmar's military ruler, Senior General Than Shwe, thought him too soft on political opponents. In particular, the hardline junta is keen on preventing a political role for Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's main opposition leader. She remains under house arrest and is viewed as a danger to the junta's future. In 1990 she won a landslide election victory that has never been honoured. The new prime minister, General Soe Win, has been accused of organizing an attack on her convoy in 2003.

Myanmar is subject to numerous international economic sanctions, including a US embargo on trade imports and a ban on financial transactions. Critics have questioned the benefit of such sanctions which, in the absence of any meaningful dialogue, have been ineffective in bringing about government reforms and are deemed to have hindered economic opportunities for ordinary people.

Nathan Lepp

» Asia Times: Washington's Myanmar Bashing

» Bloomberg: Myanmar Prime Minister behind attack on Suu Kyi, U.S. Gov't Says

» The Independent: Fears for Aung Suu Kyi After Burmese Moderate is Ousted

» The Economist: An ugly regime becomes even uglier

» Asia Times: Now it's Three of a Kind

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