Burma-Myanmar: Competition for gas, oil, and pipeline rights is behind various nations’ interest

 Burma-Myanmar: Competition for gas, oil, and pipeline rights is behind various nations’ interest

See Real News Broacast of Pepe Escobar on Burma-Myanmar.

See Pepe Escobar, Asia Times Correspondent, “Buddha vs the barrel of a gun”

These are excepts from the article and the video unless otherwise noted:

The connection is clear: the Bush conception of “human rights” means “oil and gas”. Bush also claimed at the UN that Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq had “asked for our help”. Given the precedents, even the isolated people in Myanmar should be afraid, very afraid. …

India coddles the generals to get natural-gas deals – like a recent agreement to invest US$150 million in gas exploitation in the west of the country.  India recently transferred naval surveillance aircraft and anti-aircraft guns to Burma-Myanmar.

otal, the French oil giant, with Chevron as 20% partner, is the biggest western investor, $2 billion, in Burma to expoloit oil and gas.

But Myanmar is above all a key strategic pawn for China. Not only as a captive market for civilian goods in addition to weapons, but as a pawn to keep India in check and assure China of key strategic access to the Indian Ocean. Just like Britain – which twice invaded Burma, as Myanmar was known until 1989 – China’s utmost interest is natural resources. Oil and gas, of course, but also gems and timber: the once-pristine forests at the Myanmar-China border have been practically wiped out. According to the rights group Global Witness, Myanmar exported no less than $350 million in timber to China in 2005 alone, and the bulk of it was illegal.

According to EarthRights International, a crucial project of Chinese multinationals established in Myanmar has been the construction of a 2,380-kilometer oil-and-gas pipeline from the Arakan coast to Yunnan province in China. China needs this pipeline and a vital port in Myanmar for its growing energy imports from the Middle East, Africa and Venezuela.

Myanmar and China are also intimately linked by a $1.5 billion, high-tech electronic-warfare pet project of the junta’s leader, psychological-warfare specialist General Than Shwe, 74, very much appreciated in Beijing. It deals with surveillance of ethnic-minority guerrillas in Myanmar – the Karen, the Chan, the Wa, among others. It deals with surveillance of strategic competitor India. And it deals with surveillance of all naval traffic in the Indian Ocean, US warships included, not to mention the crucial Strait of Malacca. Precious information on the matter can be found in Australian Desmond Ball’s book Burma’s Military Secrets (White Lotus Press, Bangkok).


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