Commentary - The Irrawaddy
Post-Coup Ties Firm across the Burma-Thai Divide

With both countries’ armed forces politically ascendant, Burma-Thai relations appear—as officials on both sides are at pains to point out—better than ever.

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Thein Sein has played the game well, guiding a “reform” process that keeps the establishment powers on side. Will this count in his favor post-November?

Unity Falters as Ethnic Groups Mull Peace Prospects

Ethnic armed groups negotiating a nationwide ceasefire with Burma’s government since 2013 have largely presented a united front, but divisions are growing.

Shadows of the Past in Shwe Mann’s Sudden Fall from Grace

The infamous political purges of Burma’s junta-era were recalled on Wednesday night, as parliamentary speaker Shwe Mann was purged from the ruling party.

In Burma, a House Divided Against Itself

The opposition National League for Democracy’s handling of candidate selections for Burma’s upcoming general election risks fracturing the country’s democracy movement.

Many locals are not pleased by the release of 155 Chinese loggers, claiming that while the sentence was extreme, so is exoneration.

Another Sordid Chapter in the History of Karen Factional Conflict

Violence once again flared between rival Karen groups this month, adding another chapter to an ignominious history of factional strife and power struggles.

An Appeal to the Keepers of the Keys in Burma’s Drive to Democracy

Burma’s upcoming election must be different, in that unlike the country’s previous two nationwide votes, it must respect the will of the people.

Love of the Union or Love of the Party? The USDP Must Decide

While the USDP is intrinsically linked to the objectives of the Burmese Armed Forces, a faction within the party tries to form a distinct agenda.

Speaking Out Against the Shwedagon Highrise Projects

The president’s decision to terminate the controversial highrise projects near Shwedagon Pagoda offered relief for many Burmese who treasure their cultural heritage.

The Rise and Rise of the Ma Ba Tha Lobby

The Buddhist nationalist organization is proving to be one of the most effective groups in Burma at extracting concessions from the quasi-civilian government.

Military Opposition to Charter Change Could Entrench Public Trust Deficit

The military’s opposition to constitutional amendments may harm efforts to conclude a nationwide ceasefire and undermine trust at home and abroad.

A Golden Chance for the Golden Land

The under-23 football team’s surprise run to the Southeast Asia Games gold medal game has been a lift to the collective conscience of Burma’s people.

Will She or Won’t She?

As Burma’s opposition leader travels to China, we’ll all be watching to see if she takes a stand for human rights

The Great Game Over Burma

With Aung San Suu Kyi visiting China, this story from 2013 looks at the changing dynamics of Naypyidaw’s relationship with Beijing and the wider world.

Suu Kyi’s Mission to China: It’s Complicated

Suu Kyi has taken on a variety of roles in decades past, but it’s the popular political figure—not the face of democracy—that Beijing wants to see.

Behind the Ban: What is Parliament Afraid of?

Mr. Speaker, surely a pen, a notebook, a recording device or a camera couldn’t do that much harm, could it?

Disquiet on the Western Front

Tensions between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine State have long existed, stoked by a complex legacy dating back to British colonial rule.

A Burmese Reggae Album for Love and Country

Burma’s leaders would do well to pick up a copy of reggae artist Saw Poe Kwar’s newest album, a musical manifesto in defense of love.

Saving the Spirit of Shwedagon

Numerous critics have expressed concern about five development projects in the vicinity of the country’s most famous religious icon. Planning reform in Rangoon is long overdue.

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