Thursday, November 3, 2011

If … No Fly Zone over Burma - Part III: Airfields in western Burma protecting Burma military Defense Industries


An outcome on the dispute over maritime border between Burma and Bangladesh will come out in a couple of months.  The dispute originated from the locations of natural gas reserves offshore at kyaukphu, Arakan State, acclaimed by Burma, actually by Burmese military regime. Arakanese and elsewhere inside Burma were unpleasant about Burmese government’s deal of piping away the natural gas and oil from Arakan offshore to China.  So-called the Shwe Gas Project benefits China and Sr. Gen Than Shwe; not for Burma and starving people of Burma.  Chinese have already moved into Kyaukpyu.  Military has built up its forces at Ann.  For paving gas pipeline corridor at the Chinese border, military has, now, been waging war against Kachins who were living there for their whole lives.   Therefore, this presentation of Part III of “If.. No Fly Zone over Burma” begins with Burma’s latest air force base at Ann.

Massive Military Built Up at Ann Pass, Arakan State

Arakans have heard of massive Burma’s military built up on the Arakan Yoma  (Ranges) at Ann, but that whole area has been restricted to civilians.   Ann airport was upgraded to Burma’s latest air force  base, as reported by  
(all pictures can be enlarged to view by clicking on it) 

The changes in the landscape in and around Ann (town and airfield) can be seen by comparing 2005 and 2006 satellite photos posted on Google Earth™.   Note the circles in 2005 with no excavation on the slope of the hills.

The Burmese Western Military Command and Control Headquarters have been moved out from Sittwe (Akyab) to Ann.
(A)  Military establishments have been further extended to the south of airfield and the original Ann town.  
(B)  On 2006 photo, hill slopes at two large hills had been excavated.  Expansion of the establishments extended further south.
(C)  Extended area from the hills to the west bank of Ann creek has been potted with standard military structures with blue colored roofs. 
(D)  Original Ann airport was upgraded with longer runway and new tarmac.  The 2006 satellite photo was limited to see possible aircraft hangers, new taxi-ways, etc. 
(all pictures can be enlarged to view by clicking on it) 

(E)  Total population of original Ann town was 1,000.  The town is spreading along the east bank of Ann Creek.  The new military installations have been developed south and northeast of the old town.  In http://en.wikipedia.or/wild/Ann_Township, it  noted that "Ann Creek" Hydropower Project is being implemented by the Ministry of Electric Power No. 1 on Ann Creek, 3.5 miles northeast to Ann. The project can generate 44 million kilowatt hours yearly when it is finished. 
(F) Just on the western side of the hill across  from the air base, more military installations have been establishing.   (G)  The same way, more military  installations have been developed on the east of original Ann town. 

So, why has the Burmese military built up at Ann location then?

(A) The simplest reason is to keep nationalistic Arakanese (Rakhines) people under tight control of military powers.  At the lowest level, looting land and properties in rural areas abusing Naypyitaw directions. Arakanese are faced with land confiscation without compensation;  destruction of ancient cities, national heritage and Arakanese pride, for railroad construction; harass and arrest of individuals who express personal political belief.  To the extent, it is to thwart quickly any popular uprising in the future.

(B)  Militarily, this is the seat of control and command center to engage in ethnic armed-resistance such as Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) and Chin National Front (CNF) activities effectively.

(C)  Border Issues with Bangladesh
            (1)  Burmese Refugee Camps --  There are 28,000 Burmese Muslim refugees sheltering in two officially registered refugee camps, and an estimated 50,000 refugees are sheltering in two makeshift unregistered camps in Bangladesh. (
            (2)  Border Fencing -- Fencing 40 mile long border with barbed wire. ( (Who knows, the traditional Burma’s military tactic – the land mines, to be followed.)

(D) Air Force Rivalry:  Because of Burma’s military built up, Bangladesh established a new Air Force base on the opposite side of the border from Maungdaw, Arakan State on April 3, 2011, raising tensions between the two nations. (Naranjera News 04-06-2011)

     (E)  Maritime Border Dispute -- Two countries sent warships to the disputed waters in 2008.  The delimitation issue with Burma will be settled by ITLOS while the claim regarding the outer limit will be decided at the United Nations. (

(F)   Military Exercises  --  Recently, Bangladesh, US and Asian CARAT naval exercise was held near Chittagong.    (  (Oct 24, 2011)

(G) (Than) Shwe Gas Project --  Seriously, Chinese government has gotten a rare economic and military opportunities at the most critical juncture of time in Burmese history.  As if acting as a Chinese warrior, dam construction contracts; copper mines for weaponry; and gemstone mines of jade, rubies and gold mines were granted by to China by general Than Shwe.  He offered naval ports at Coco island and Heingyikyun.  Then. he’s created special Chinese fortunes such as oil and gas from offshore (Shwe Gas) and inland (Yenangyaung)  reserves with an additional approval to create a deep sea harbor at Kyaukphu (Arakan) together with a new airport, and to build a dual oil and gas pipelines with a parallel rail road.  (See Video on China’s Kyaukpyu Economic and Technology Development Plan at   Than Shwe has cunningly setup against the United State’s concerns over China’s military access to Indian Ocean by-passing traditional shipping route through South China Sea-the Strait of Malacca.  (See illustrated map below)  

(all pictures can be enlarged to view by clicking on it)  
Just looking at the planned route (corridor) of gas and oil pipelines (See below) of Shwe Gas Project, and its associated plan for a rail road, Burma will be divided diagonally into two states with a corridor from Ruili (Chinese border) to Kyaukpyu (Arakan coast).   For a national security reason alone, no other government would usher a neighboring country who would grab every  resource to feed its exploding population, into its own land.  But brilliantly, Than Shwe’s offered  a flow of gas and oil to China as well as bringing back into Burma with a flow of population, machines, materials, money and military forces along this corridor.  Officially, the whole deal with China was Than Shwe’s personal interest; not merely any benefits for the nation. Thus, it’s been named as “(Than) Shwe Gas Project”.

(all pictures can be enlarged to view by clicking on it) 

Now, Than Shwe’s streamlined with current Burmese government who he has selected/elected, to wipe out Kachins who’ve lived there forever at the Chinese border region where the pipelines will be laid.   What a shame!  At Than Shwe’s command, current Burmese government and military is waging a war against Kachins, its own national ethnic minority for the Chinese favor.   It is also evident in Kyauklpyu, the Burmese government and military is assisting in land confiscations for Chinese who came to work for (Than) Shwe Gas Project.  One of the main reasons for military built up at Ann is for (Than) Shwe Gas Project too.  The military will use force as necessary to put the pipeline corridor inplace through the Ann Pass, and making sure of what Chinese needed in Kyaukphyu.  

As for all nationalities of Burma, present killings in Kachin hills, and land confiscations in Kyaukpyu (Arkan) cannot be considered as isolated local issues.  It is a national issue, no less serious than Myitson Dam issue.  It’s time to rise up to scrap the (Than) Shwe Gas Project.  

If the people of Burma would let go of this (Than) Shwe Gas Project by the government now, the next generations of Burma will become Chinese, and Burma will most likely become a province of the Republic of China.  Most chillingly, Chinese-Burma children in the next generations will be paying homage to Than Shwe’s statue as one of the loyal warriors of China in Beijing’s Tienanmen Square.  
Stop (Than) Shwe Gas Project immediately.    
/// end

Posted on November 2, 2011 by winners’ circle.
TO BE CONTINUED … with ‘airfield at Coco Island’

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Part II: Why Burma's Upgrading Airfields in Eastern Burma ...

Some news on the hidden Burmese military expansion plans have surfaced recently.  On August 4, 2011, the Moscow News reported that Russia has won a contract with Burmese regime to build a 50 kilometer (30 mile) long metro (underground rail) line deep underneath Naypyitaw, the new capital city.  It again indicates how Sr. Gen Than Shwe has been superbly paranoia about his military’s defeat.  (By the way, according to the military insiders, Mr. Than Shwe is still wearing his uniform.)  Just looking at the layout of his military establishments on the ground in the new capital as seen on the Google satellite images, his military establishments are all in a sitting duck (target) should there be an aerial offense by his enemies.  Probably in his mind, the only way to save his army is to put them in underground tunnels.  One of his secret project has been exposed to the world that he has built a large-size underground bunker for his military command center in his neighborhood. (See below)

 The “metro” must have made sense to the general the way Russia has used their metros for bomb shelters (bunkers) during the World War II.  For him, the metro could be a safe underground passage connecting the new airport, the places of his loyal elites, and the underground military bunker which is located approximately 6 miles away.  This underground facility is the same facility that the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) has been referring to as an underground facility Project 216 in its “Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions” investigative documentary.  Last week, DVB reported that the leaked document to DVB on Project 216 included a drawing which indicated a planned (underground) metro line next to the bunker. (See below)

Obviously, Mr. Than Shwe has penciled in the metro line development since the beginning.  The geological investigation and surveying have been underway by the Russians as the Voice of Russia reported.  Now, the world is witnessing again the Burmese dictator’s shameless and senseless expenses for the metro military project while the welfare of entire population has been ignored.  Burma’s combined education and health sectors have been allocated for less than three percent of national budget.

There were rumors about Burma Navy to build an air-craft carrier to rival against Thai’s HTMS Chakri Naruebet.  Since Burma knows nothing about the know-how, this appears nothing beyond the Burmese military’s propaganda.  However, Sr. Gen Than Shwe and his military have always considered that the Andaman Sea at the southern Burma is always venerable militarily in the event of invasion by the US and its allies.  For him, it makes sense to host his newly purchased jets on an aircraft carrier.  

The Irrawaddy reported in December 2009 that Burma has signed EUR 400 million ($571 million) deal with Russia for 20 MiG-29D jet fighters, and another deal for Mi-24 attack helicopters at EUR 450 million.  In last April, 2011,  The Power of Fraternity (The POF) reported that 12 new MiG-29D fighters arrived at Tadar-U airport, and would be temporarily kept in Shante (Meiktila) air force base.  Again, information on the formation of a new air force base at Ann in Arakan (Rakhine) state was leaked to The POF from the Burma Air force command’s first quarterly meeting in January 2011.  

According to a Burmese air force pilot’s “a historical account of Burma Military (Air)” that was posted in January 2011 in The POF, the Burmese military met a hard reality once that five of their most modernized (at that time) AT-33 jets couldn’t fly over a low mountain of Pegu Yoma (ranges) and crashed during a military operation in 1975.  Thus, the military purchased China’s F-5 fighters.  But, in an incident at Thai-Burma border in 2000-2001, Burma realized that their F-5 jets couldn’t combat against Thai’s F-16 and F5E jets; and its planes dared not to fly up to Tachelaik, a border checkpoint town.  Since then, rival against Thailand has been the primary trigger to expand Burma’s air force.  Burma spent chunks of its national budget for MiG-29D from Russia in 2001.  

Paranoia about possible aerial invasion of western allies has led himself to the Burmese dictator, Sr. Gen Than Shwe to expand the country’s air power in desperation that he bought substandard, and wastes from Russia and Chinese junkyards.  Burmese military considers itself obligated to China for recognizing its power during their 1988 coup de tat.  Gen.  Than Shwe believed that China, at that time, saved them from a possible invasion of the United States’ forces under the name of evacuating their embassy staff.  Knowing Burma’s desperation, China provided no interest loans to Burma to be able to purchase Chinese jet fighters and other arsenals which now turned out to be wastes from their junkyards; and helped itself with special favors for Burmese natural resources such as gems, minerals, natural gas, and teaks. In the same token, China took advantage of great favors from Burmese military with Heingyi Island and Coco Island of Burma for Chinese naval bases; with contracts to build a railroad from China’s Yunan Province to the sea port at Kyaukpyu in Arakan State, and with a deal to convert Kyaukpyu into an international seaport including an airport.  Geopolitically, China now has opportunities to gain influence over the Indian Ocean.  Many Burmese military personnel know well what Burma has gained from China were fleets of F-7 and A-5 Chinese jets most of which were either grounded or sub-par in their functionalities for combat. 

But at least, flyable aircrafts have been used to terrorize the people, especial in the ethic provisional homelands.  Air strikes against anti-government (resistance) forces have been common used since the late Gen. NeWin took over power in 1961.  The July 18, 2011 issue of The POF reported the air strikes took place using A-5 interceptors (jets) and MI-2 helicopters from Namsang air base during the ground battles between Burmese military and Shan State Army (SSA) at Wankaipha SSA headquarters in Shan State.  Burmese military has employed over 400,000 servicemen, approximately 10% of which are child-soldiers and invalids. 
Still, Burmese military forces hold upper hand by numbers, four or five times higher than the total number of resistance fighters throughout the entire country against the military.  “On top of that, the military has all the arsenals from locally manufactured bullets and weapons at various Defense Industry factories throughout the country, and imported armored vehicles, tanks, artilleries, helicopters to jet fighters,” according to a former Burmese military attaché at Washington, D.C., Major Aung Lynn Htut.  The Thai-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) reported in 2010 that 237 Burmese battalions have been stationed in eastern Burma.  
The following shows the locations of Burmese air force bases and airfields in eastern Burma.  (Airfields in alphabetic order)