Wall Street Journal: “Aung San Suu Kyi’s Ascent Frays Ties With Myanmar’s Military”
By MYO MYO and SHIBANI MAHTANI | April 7, 2016
YANGON, Myanmar—The creation of a new leadership role for ruling party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which she began exercising on Thursday by pledging to release political prisoners, has blindsided the military and inflamed her fraught ties with Myanmar’s powerful generals.
Members of Ms. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy cheered the new law elevating her to “state counselor,” signed Wednesday, as a major victory in their first days of leading the government. But many who are aligned with the military characterized the strategy as dangerous for the first civilian-led administrationin half a century.
Nyantha Maw Lin, managing director of Vriens & Partners in Myanmar, said such a response is unlikely. “The NLD and the military are joined at the hip, even as unlikely partners in power,” he said. “Neither side is particularly eager to go back to the way things were.”
But the military’s cooperation is needed on a whole range of issues, including Myanmar’s most intractable problems like that of armed ethnic conflict. The military controls the important ministries of defense, home affairs and border affairs, and plays an integral role in forging a peace deal. The armed forces also control large swaths of the economy.
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