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BurmaNet News: November 15, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
________November 15, 2000   Issue # 1662__________

*Czech Press:  Rise and Fall of God's Army

*AP: Myanmar withdraws from World Cup qualification
*Asian Age: George's Little rangoon in uproar over general's visit 
George?s Little Rangoon in uproar over general?s visit 
*India Abroad News Service: Myanmarese leader's visit exposes divisions 
in Indian policy 

*The Star: Dialog plans to tap Myanmar oil and gas sector
*Mizzima: India prefers to be silent on democracy while dealing with 
Burmese Generals

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Czech Press:  Rise and Fall of God's Army

By Maxmilian Wechsler
November 15, 2000

After almost three years of armed resistance against the SPDC the 
exhausted and desperate remnants of the God?s Army had no choice but to 
surrender to the 4th brigade of the Karen National Liberation Army 

The group gave up in October 2000 and consisted of 22 mainly teenage 
soldiers, including the legendary twin teenage leaders, Johnny Htoo and 
his elder brother Luther.  
All God?s army soldiers will receive all necessary assistance from the 
4th brigade of KNLA and they will be gradually incorporated into the 
KNLA structure and participate in the operation against the SPDC.  
A small remaining group of 8 God?s Army soldiers who refused to join the 
KNLA currently facing an uncertain future, abandoned in the jungles of 
Tenasserim Division. The group is led by Dah Moo. The KNLA will continue 
to persuade them to give up.  

The God?s Army was formed on 3 March 1997 at Htaw Ma Pyo after over 200 
deeply religious Karen Christian families abandoned villages they lived 
for centuries and fled to Thailand in February 1997.  

The twin brothers, 8 years old at that time had a vision from the God 
who command them to lead their people against the SPDC. Both saw with 
their own eyes the looting and harassment committed by the advancing 
SPDC soldiers against their people and couldn?t let it go on.  

The formation of the God?s Army was discussed with a high ranking 
official of the Karen National Union (KNU) who promised to assist them 
on every possible way sympathize with their plight. Unfortunately, the 
KNLA was unable to protect the Karen religious families from the SPDC 

The God?s Army proved to be a formidable force from the beginning and 
their remarkable battlefield victories against the SPDC made them famous 
and feared force.  

The God?s Army had between 1997-1998 about 200 young soldiers, 100 
armed.. They were supervised by battle hardened and experienced KNLA 
officers who were sometimes frustrated because the God?s Army followed 
orders of the twin brothers instead.  

The God?s Army inflicted heavy casualty upon the SPDC troops and rarely 
suffered death or injury. This phenomenon led the Karen people to 
believe the twin brothers really possessing a supernatural powers. The 
rumors about their powers also reach the SPDC soldiers who attempted to 
avoid encounter with the God?s Army fearing of their mysterious powers.  

In reality, the early successes of the God?s Army against the SPDC can 
be attributed to their determination, bravery and knowledge of the 

The God?s Army engaged in average 10 battles a week with the SPDC troops 
between 1997-1998 inflicting a heavy casualties on them. In one battle 
the God?s Army killed 23 enemy soldiers without losing a single man.  

As the news of the God?s Army brave deeds spread around the world a 
financial aid started to coming in from abroad, especially from the 
South Korean and Japanese NGOs. The Koreans gave money to build a church 
for the God?s Army at Takolan, Suan Phung district of Ratchaburi 

In the height of the God?s Army successes in early 1999 some 
opportunists within the God?s Army and the Karen Solidarity Organization 
(KSO) attempted to wrestle the control over the group and from this 
moment the fortune of the God?s Army started to decline. The internal 
squabbling led to the sharp reduction in the combat readiness and 

A founding member of the God?s Army and KSO executive Saw Toe Toe guided 
12 Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors (VBSW) to the God?s Army camp in 
early September 1999. The VBSW took the full advantage of the God?s Army 
innocence and naivety convincing that they will be better off by joining 
in the future operations.  

Unfortunately, the God?s Army swallowed the bait because of some greedy 
people who among them controlled Johnny Htoo and Luther.  

Instead of focusing their military efforts against the SPDC, the VBSW 
attacked two targets inside Thailand: The Burmese embassy in Bangkok and 
the Ratchaburi hospital. The God?s Army blindly participated. Both 
events had a catastrophic consequence for both groups because they made 
Thailand the second enemy.  

Because of disagreements within the God?s Army leadership the acting 
commander Shwe Bya left in March 2000 and formed the Democratic God?s 
Army (DGA). He was joined by his close associate Kyaw Ni a.k.a. Johnny 
who played a major part in the seizure of the Burmese embassy in 
Bangkok. Instead of fighting the SPDC, the DGA concentrated to make 
money by kidnappings and extortion.  

Soe Toe Toe was more lucky than his colleagues. He and his family were 
granted a refugee status in the United States.  

Unfortunately, most of Saw Toe Toe?s Karen countrymen weren?t so lucky. 
Around 418 God?s Army soldiers and relatives crossed to Thailand from 
Burma between 2-3 February, 2000, after the SPDC mounted an offensive 
against them. They ended at refugee camp in Thailand.  

The Thai authorities also retaliated against the God?s Army evicting 
some of their relatives from Takolan and detaining them at refugee camp 
in Sangkhlaburi.
Rumors spread Sangkhlaburi during March 2000 connecting the Thai forces 
to the alleged disappearance of 44 God?s Army men. A high level inquiry 
was ordered by the Thai government after a complaint was lodged by the 
Thai NGO. An exhaustive investigation conducted by the top Thai 
government officials, which went on for several months, completely 
cleared the Thai security authorities from any complicity as no evidence 
of any wrong doings was discovered.  

After the Ratchaburi hospital fiasco, the faith of the God?s Army was 
sealed as all sponsors abandoned them, including the 4th brigade of KNLA 
who tried desperately and unsuccessfully to convince their leaders and 
the twins not to believe the VBSW promises and instead to listen to 
their Karen brothers in the KNLA.  

In the middle of 2000, the 4th brigade of KNLA decided to give a 
humanitarian food aid to the suffering God?s Army soldiers and their 
families pleading them again to give up and join the KNLA.  

Finally, the God?s Army agreed to give up for the good of themselves and 
the entire opposition movement. 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AP: Myanmar withdraws from World Cup qualification

November 14, 2000; Tuesday 

ZURICH, Switzerland 

Myanmar has withdrawn from the qualification stages of the 2002 World 
Cup, FIFA said Tuesday. 

World soccer's governing body said it had received a fax from the 
national association of Myanmar stating that the country, also known as 
Burma, would not compete in the preliminary competition between members 
of the Asian Football Confederation. 

FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren said the fax did not give a reason for the 

Myanmar's first match was to have been against Tajikistan in Iran on 
Nov. 24. Group 2 of the event now only has three teams in it Iran, 
Tajikistan and Guam. 

FIFA said the case would be submitted to the World Cup organizing 
committee for ''appropriate action according to the regulations.'' 

Under the regulations governing the event, a team which withdraws after 
March 1, 2000, loses its entry fee of 3,000 Swiss francs (dlrs 1,700) 
and can be fined up to 40,000 francs (dlrs 22,600). 

The World Cup finals will be in Japan and South Korea, May 31-June 30, 


Asian Age: George's Little rangoon in uproar over general's visit 
George?s Little Rangoon in uproar over general?s visit 


New Delhi, Nov. 15: ôYou want to speak to the Burmese students,ö asked 
the obliging member of defence minister George FernandesÆ staff at his 
official residence, and promptly connected the line to the president of 
the All Burma StudentsÆ League, Mr Kyaw Than, who attacked the Vajpayee 
government for playing host to the second-most powerful man in the 
Burmese military junta. Mr. Kyaw Than, who lives with Mr. Fernandes 
along with several other students, did not mince words in questioning 
the Indian governmentÆs decision to ôjoin hands with the oppressorsö in 
laying out the red carpet for the vice-chairman of BurmaÆs ruling State 
Peace and Development Council and chief of the armed forces, General 
Maung Aye. ôWe are worried, we are very concerned,ö said the student 
leader, adding, ôWe are very disturbed to see democratic India joining 
hands with the military junta as this will not be fruitful in the 
long-term interests of both countries.ö  

Mr. Kyaw Than did try to defend his long-tern host, Mr. Fernandes, 
saying, ôHe is personally supporting our cause but what can he do about 
the governmentÆs policy? He has to accept it even though he has said he 
is extending us his fullest support.ö He said, however, that the 
students and the ôdemocratic forcesö were very worried about the 
possibility of arms sales by India to Burma. 
The studentsÆ league leader, however, laughed in embarrassment when it 
was pointed out that he should take up the matter with the defence 
minister at home as the defence deals would go through his office. The 
same argument was offered by Samata Party spokesperson Shambu 
Srivastava, who insisted that Mr Fernandes had to officially welcome 
Gen. Aye but, politically, ôwe are all opposed to the military regime.ö 
The defence minister obviously has carved out a dual role for himself: 
officially he does what is required for him as a minister of the 
government, unofficially he continues to support causes, even those 
which his government is working against.  
Significantly, it was left to Mr. Kyaw Than to speak of late Prime 
Minister Jawaharlal NehruÆs foreign policy wherein India had decided to 
support the cause of the oppressed and victimized in the world. It is 
perhaps a coincidence that the visit by the military chief of Burma has 
coincided with NehruÆs birth anniversary. The foreign office maintained 
its usual stoic silence on the brewing controversy. When contacted by 
The Asian Age, MEA spokesperson Raminder Jassal remained unavailable for 
comment. The Burmese studentsÆ leader pointed out that there had been a 
distinct shift in policy with the government diluting its full support 
of the Palestine issue to a neutral stand in the present 
Palestine-Israel crisis. He said, after persistent questioning, that 
they might take up the matter with Mr Fernandes ôat the appropriate 
The Burmese students will hold a demonstration in New Delhi on Thursday 
to protest against IndiaÆs decision to welcome BurmaÆs military chief. 
General Aye has arrived with a high-profile delegation and will be 
accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He will also 
address Indian industrialists at the CII in a bid to further economic 
ties between New Delhi and Rangoon, apart from meeting government 
leaders and attending banquets in his honour. Officially, however, India 
continues to oppose the military regime. The decision has drawn flak 
from political parties, with CPI leader D. Raja pointing out that the 
government was obviously trying to cultivate relations with the military 
junta in a complete reversal of foreign policy. There is concern in 
foreign policy circles about the undeclared shift, with experts 
wondering at the governmentÆs refusal to articulate its policy on Burma. 



India Abroad News Service: Myanmarese leader's visit exposes divisions 
in Indian policy 

Wednesday November 15, 1:25 PM

 By P. Jayaram,

New Delhi, Nov 15 - The visit of a top leader of the Myanmarese military 
regime has brought out to the surface differences within and outside the 
Indian government over New Delhi's policy towards its eastern neighbor
Opinion is divided on whether New Delhi should do business with the 
totalitarian regime there or support the pro-democracy forces led by 
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who continues to be kept in house 
detention by the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SDPC).  
SDPC Vice-Chairman, Gen. Maung Aye, who is on a weeklong visit to India, 
is the senior-most Myanmarese leader to visit this country in a decade, 
a reflection of the warming ties between the two countries. But certain 
government leaders and opinion-makers feel that New Delhi's bonhomie 
with the Yangon regime has been at the cost of its democratic ideals.  

An indication of this schism may be available as President K.R. 
Narayanan rolls out the red carpet to receive the visiting dignitary in 
the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, on 
November 17, when Aye arrives here after a visit to the Buddhist pilgrim 
town of Bodhgaya. Narayanan's Burma-born wife, Usha, is reported to have 
refused to receive Aye and his high-powered delegation that includes his 
wife Daw Mya Mya and daughter Daw Nander Aye.  

Rashtrapati Bhavan officials, when contacted, however declined to 
confirm or deny these reports. Defence Minister George Fernandes, who as 
an opposition leader was a strong supporter of the pro-democracy forces 
in Myanmar, would also not be attending any function hosted in 
connection with the Myanmarese leader's visit, sources close to him 

But others, like former foreign secretary J.N. Dixit, who was 
instrumental in normalization of ties with the SPDC regime under then 
prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's government, strongly support the 
government's policy towards Myanmar and feel that it was not for India 
to decide what sort of government another country should have.
"India cannot be the contractor for democracy in other countries. If the 
people of Burma (Myanmar's earlier name) cannot generate sufficient 
pressure for the restoration of democracy in their country, how are we 
supposed to do it?" he asked. "Our major concern should be that our 
relations with Burma are maintained so that our national interests are 
served," he told IANS, adding that these included cooperation in 
controlling narcotic smuggling and preventing insurgent activities in 
the northeastern states.  

New Delhi is also keen that Yangon does not become too closely involved 
with China strategically and militarily, he said but added: "That does 
not mean that we are in favor of military dictatorship."  

G. Parthasarathy, who was India's envoy to Myanmar during 1992-95, said 
while there was sympathy and support for the pro-democracy forces in 
Myanmar, "as a government we have to develop good neighborly relations 
with Myanmar like any other country."  

He noted that the northeastern states of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and 
Arunachal Pradesh all shared borders with Myanmar and it was important 
for India to ensure the stability of the border areas. "We were also 
concerned about the growing Chinese influence and did not want it to 
spread to our borders," he told IANS.  

Since the normalization of bilateral relations, the two countries have 
signed a series of agreements to enhance cooperation in a wide range of 
fields, including border trade and cooperation in combating terrorism.  

India also sees Myanmar as its land-bridge to the rest of Southeast Asia 
and had funded the construction of the 160-km Tamu-Kalemyo road across 
the border in that country that is expected to ultimately become part of 
the proposed Trans-Asian Highway. The two countries are also exploring 
cooperation in building hydroelectric projects, utilizing Myanmar's 
tremendous potential, particularly in the border areas.  

Senior officials noted that the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation project, 
inaugurated in the Laotian capital of Vientiane last week by India and 
five Southeast Asian nations, would have been a non-starter without 
Myanmar's participation.  

Asked about criticism about India's Myanmar policy, Parthasarathy said: 
"I wish these same democrats will be as strong in their criticism when 
they visit China."  

Ravi Nair, of the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre here, 
criticizing New Delhi's policy of engagement with Yangon, said: "We seem 
to have given a good-bye to issues of human rights and democracy. If 
India feels that its interests are best served by consorting with 
undemocratic neighbors, then it is myopic."  

He said India's entire "Look East" policy seems to be based on Myanmar, 
which had come to assume a pivotal role, whether it is the Mekong-Ganga 
Cooperation initiative, the East-West corridor or the proposed 
transportation network. "It will be interesting to see if the Indian 
government discusses (with Aye) compensation for the property seized 
when thousands of Indians were thrown out of the country in the 1960s 
and 1970s or a whole range of other issues of rights of Indian 
minorities in Burma, who are treated as second class citizens," he said. 

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

The Star: Dialog plans to tap Myanmar oil and gas sector

Wednesday, November 15, 2000

By Ahmad Zuber Ibrahim 

Dialog Group Bhd, which provides support services for the petroleum and 
petrochemical industry, plans to tap into Myanmar's oil and gas industry 
as part of its expansion into the Asean region.
According to Dialog chairman and group managing director Ngau Boon Keat, 
Myanmar will turn out to be a good market in the long term.  

"We are still at the initial stage of exploring the Myanmar market, 
looking for opportunities through our agent over there. Our people 
actually went over to Myanmar only two weeks ago,'' Ngau told reporters 
after Dialog AGM in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. 
He said, however, that the company was not setting any specific targets 
for Myanmar, stressing that the recent trip was more of a fact-finding 
mission to identify the business opportunities and potential customers, 
especially the foreign oil companies, in Myanmar.  

"Myanmar, which produces some 50,000 barrels of petroleum daily, offers 
many business opportunities. Petronas Carigali and oil companies from 
the US and Britain are already there,'' he said.  

Ngau said that the venture would only see returns over a long period.  

He said that as in China, it would probably take the company five years 
to land its first contract in Myanmar.  

Dialog's core business lies in marketing and technical services. In 
addition to being an engineering, procurement, construction and 
commissioning (EPCC) service provider, it also provides plant 
maintenance services, centralised tankage facility services and 
petroleum retail services in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry.  

Currently, Dialog has offices in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. It 
also has done business in Brunei and the Philippines.  

Ngau said the overseas market could contribute between 20% and 25% to 
the group's overall growth in the current financial year.  

In August, Dialog was awarded a RM170mil subcontract by Kvaerner 
Petrominco Engineering Sdn Bhd for construction and procurement services 
to the butanediol complex project in Gebeng, Kuantan, for BASF Petronas 
Chemicals Sdn Bhd. 


Mizzima: India prefers to be silent on democracy while dealing with 
Burmese Generals

New Delhi, November 14, 2000
Editorial, Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

Second-top Burmese military leader General Maung Aye, who is the 
Vice-President of the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) 
and chief of armed forces, is on an official visit to India from 
November 14 onwards. This is his second visit to India in this year. The 
first visit was in January to Shillong at the invitation of former 
Indian army chief General V.P. Malik.

Policy analysts in India maintain that India continues to support for 
the aspirations of Burmese people for democracy, despite official policy 
of Indian government for a closer relationship with the military regime 
in Burma.

ôThe government of India has been a host to various refugee groups from 
Myanmar (Burma) and members of the democracy movement. That has not been 
changed over the years. This itself shows IndiaÆs stand,ö said Sanjoy 
Hazarika, a senior fellow of the Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research 

He said that the people of India at large are with the Burmese peopleÆs 
struggle for democracy. ôThe civil society in India is completely at one 
on Myanmar issueàThat the regime in Myanmar is seen as very brutal and 
totally opposed to democratic practices and democratic rights,ö 
continued Sanjoy Hazarika.

India was the first neighboring country, which criticized the Burmese 
regime during and after the 1988 peopleÆs uprising. For some years, 
India practiced the policy of ôcomplete disengagementö with the military 
junta. However, since 1994, India has been establishing closer 
cooperation with Burma not only in economic field but also in military 
operations against the insurgent groups of both countries. 
During the past six years, senior government ministers of both have been 
visiting each other to cement the once-fragile relationship. ôThat a 
country should have a two-truck diplomacy. It cannot depend only on 
government or opposition,ö said Professor G.N. Jha from Jawaharlal Nehru 
University in Delhi.

Indian policy makers say that India has to establish a ôworking 
relationshipö with whatever government in power in Burma due to certain 
compelling factors, including to balance the strong Chinese presence and 
economic interests in Burma and the need of support from the Burmese 
regime in curbing IndiaÆs northeast insurgents which have bases in 

ôWhat has changed, however, is the government of IndiaÆs emphasis and 
public recognition of the importance of the regime in Rangoon both from 
the security point of view and in terms of economic relations with that 
country,ö said Sanjoy Hazarika.

Another factor is economic interest. While the Western countries are 
isolating the military regime with sanctions, Indian industry is keen to 
trade with Burma. ôMyanmar is not economically isolated in spite these 
economic sanctions. If Myanmar follows open-door economic policy and 
focuses on economic development, I think nobody can oppose it and India 
will be happy to support these efforts,ö said TK Bhaumik, Senior Advisor 
of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The present policy of Indian government towards military regime, 
however, has caused growing concern for the exiled Burmese community. 
While they understand the compulsion of a government, they canÆt 
understand why India has lately been silent on the political repression 
in Burma. ôWe thank Indian government and the people for giving us 
shelter. But that is not enough. India being the world biggest democracy 
has the responsibility to actively support the democratic movement in 
Burma,ö said a New Delhi-based Burmese democracy activist. 
There has been no official word from the Indian authorities on recent 
events inside Burma where Aung San Suu Kyi was not allowed freedom of 

On November 12, three days before the visit of General Maung Aye, India 
turned back a prominent exiled Burmese activist from Indira Gandhi 
International Airport despite the fact that he was holding a six-month 
valid visa to India, issued by Indian Consulate in Chinag Mai, Thailand. 

This entry denial of a leader of exiled movement seems to suggest that 
India will not allow anything, which will cause embarrassment to the 
visiting generals of Burma. For that case, Indian government is cautious 
about the annoyance of the Burmese government rather than listening to 
the cry of Burmese people for democracy. And it is unlikely that Indian 
government officials will raise the issue of democracy and human rights 
in the military-ruled country during their discussions with General 
Maung Aye.

A sad day for democracy!



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