Commentary - The Irrawaddy
Min Aung Hlaing’s Putsch

Burma’s Commander-in-Chief is no stranger to conflict near the China border. Did he foresee recent clashes that would kill dozens of his own men?

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Peng Jiasheng’s Fall from Grace

Peng Jiasheng, the Kokang leader heavily involved in the drug trade, was once a darling of the military government—now he’s on its most wanted list.

Of Teachers and Tea Shops

A high school reunion in Rangoon sparks memories of life lessons from the classroom and on the streets.

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

There is no shortcut to a free and prosperous country, writes Irrawaddy founding editor Aung Zaw.

Burma’s Democracy: Just What the Generals Ordered

The international community must press the Burmese government to go further in its top-down program of democratic reform.

Walking the Walk

Whatever form the dialogue on constitutional change takes, what’s most important is that the discussion is substantive and its participants approach the matter genuinely.

Obama’s Second Burma Visit Falls Flat

As US President Barack Obama concludes his second visit to Burma, many in the pro-democracy movement slam his ringing endorsement of President Thein Sein.

Aung Thaung: Why Now, Why Him and Who’s Next?

Before receiving US President Barack Obama, Burmese pundits welcome his administration’s decision to blacklist one of the ruling party’s most powerful and notorious lawmakers.

From Top Brass to a Bureaucratic Class

Decades of military appointments to key positions in government have left Myanmar’s administrative apparatus in tatters.

Death of an Activist-Reporter

The killing of Aung Kyaw Naing in military custody in Mon State belies the government’s claim that “considerable progress” has been made on human rights.

Does Burma’s Army Still Hold a License to Kill?

The way Burma’s government handles the killing of journalist Aung Kyaw Naing by the military will be a telling indicator of its reformist credentials.

Of Monks and Military Men

The Saffron Revolution showcased Burma’s monks at their best, but that moral standing has been eroded by a manipulative old guard that still holds power.

26 Years After Coup, Military Still in the Driving Seat on Road to Reform

Exactly 26 years ago the military seized power, and to this day former and active generals control the pace and extent of Burma’s democratic reforms.

The Dangers of Reporting on Nepotism

After investigating a secret business deal between Rangoon’s chief minister and two relatively unknown Chinese cronies, The Irrawaddy finds itself on a new “blacklist.”

Rewriting the History of Late Prime Minister Soe Win

A new book on the late prime minister and top general Soe Win provides a misleading account of his career in Burma’s former military regime.

US Takes Steps to Restart Business Relations With Burma

A new investment in solar power and an initiative to improve labor conditions in Burma show the two countries are moving closer to each other.

Has the United States Forgotten Suu Kyi?

In the past, when the opposition leader said something, world leaders listened, but these days Washington seems to have shifted its priorities.

On Obama’s Foreign Policy Report Card, Burma Gets a Pass

As leader of the world’s sole superpower in tumultuous times, Barack Obama needs Burma as a foreign policy success story, but should it be?

Kerry Visits as Burma Backslides—What Will He Do?

US Secretary of State John Kerry faces difficult questions when he arrives in Burma this weekend amid negative media reports about backsliding on political reforms.

Burma Struggles to Ditch Its Military Masters

To democracy advocates’ chagrin, Burma’s record of martial leadership is likely to continue through the next presidential election.

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