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In a test of how much actual control Burma's newly democratized government effectively has over a long dominant military, the parliament called a couple weeks ago for an immediate cease fire in the endless war between the Kachin Independent Army (KIA) and the "Union Peace Making Central Committee" (which I'd assume means those crusty old generals that run the place).

The army has been making a dry season offensive against the Kachins using fighter bombers, helicopter gunships, and artillery. The war is made against civilians as well as combatants. There are no foreign reporters, no photographers, no UN observers.

From the news article this quote struck me.

The intensity of the air strikes with the threat of a ground invasion of Kachin administrative capital Laiza further complicated relations between the Burmese government and the Kachin Independence Organization.

Ya, that sure would make things complicated.

Under a hundred thousand refugees, sixty thousand refugees bunched along the Chinese border. No doubt they are being kept from crossing into China, but in the event that the Burmese army defeats the KIA it would be better to suffer the abuse of the Chinese than what the battle hardened Burmese would do.

It's a bad place to be a refugee this time of year. The valleys are usually without snow but just above the bottoms of the valleys can see significant weather. It's a sparse dry country, markets this time of year have root vegetables and meat, greens are just the pickled ones left from the summer. I can't see how 60,000 refugees would be fed. Probably a lot of kids and old folks dying.

Back in the day (early md 90s) I lived about a hundred miles from here in Dali China. It's an area of many minority peoples. It's not on anybody's radar. It sure would be nice if that was the end of the fighting but I can't see the Burmese stopping since they have the weapons and the KIAs back is to the Chinese, an ally and business associate of the Burmese Generals.

I pulled these two pictures off of Panoramio, the google feature that links photos with a geographic location. The photographers name is in Chinese or I'd credit him/her. These are wet season photos.

The border runs through the center of town as best I can tell. A pretty good place to set up a rebel army headquarters if you were thinking of being overrun. Not great though to be bombed with artillery and aircraft. People of the town probably don't like it much either.

On this cold winter's night I'm glad I live in the boring Colorado town I do. Kids are asleep upstairs.


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