Burma’s military says it will “stay away from China”
Since the political crisis erupted last month, the situation in Myanmar has become increasingly tense and uncertain. Recently, foreign media revealed that under the heavy stick of western sanctions, the Myanmar military, which once insisted that it was “not afraid of sanctions”, “gave in”. Through an international lobbyist, Myanmar’s military is “sending messages” to the United States and other countries, seeking to “move closer to the United States and the West” and declaring to “keep a distance from China” to escape sanctions.
Is the news true or false? There has been no response from either the Burmese military or the US. And the lobbyist’s own history makes what he says even more doubtful……
Myanmar Military Hires Lobbyists for $2 Million to ‘Explain’ – Reuters
The Burmese military hired lobbyists to send messages to the West that they “don’t want to be a puppet of China”?
At present, Myanmar’s military faces both domestic and foreign pressure. Deadly and deadly protests at home have been accompanied by tightening Western sanctions. According to the United Nations, the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain and the European Union have so far taken sanctions against Myanmar, while Germany and New Zealand have suspended financial assistance.
But Birgna, the UN special envoy to Burma, said earlier this month that the Burmese military had insisted in phone calls that they were not afraid of international sanctions. However, a Reuters report on the 6th showed that the Myanmar military appears to have given in to the “soft” again, they are through a third party and the United States and other countries “communication”.
Ari Ben-Menashe, a Canadian-Israeli intelligence officer who works for Dickens & Madson Canada, was described by Reuters on Monday as a lobbyist for the Burmese military. Menashe told Reuters that the United States and other countries have a “misunderstanding” of the Burmese military. He said Myanmar had “moved too close” to China since Aung San Suu Kyi came to power in 2016, against the wishes of the Burmese military. Mr Menashe said the Burmese military wanted to be “closer to the US and the west, not closer to China” and they “did not want to be a puppet of China”.
Surging image of Min Aung Hlaing, commander in chief of the Myanmar Defense Forces
In a separate report, Reuters said on Wednesday that a document submitted to the US government showed that the Burmese military offered Menashe $2 million to “explain the facts of the military coup to the US and other countries” in exchange for lifting sanctions against Myanmar.
File is described, in Washington, mei Nash will and his company will be there on behalf of the Burmese military, lobbying the United States, Saudi Arabia, the united Arab emirates, Israel, Russia and the United Nations and other international institutions, “to help formulate policies conducive to the development of myanmar and the real situation of the country happened.”
According to the Foreign Lobby website of the US, Menashe said that some US government officials are “very interested” in the Myanmar military’s argument, because they are worried that sanctions will push the Myanmar military “towards” China.
Myanmar’s military and the U.S. Treasury Department did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on the incident.
Who is Menashe? “A talented con man”
It is worth noting that after the sudden change in Myanmar’s political situation last month, Western media have repeatedly played up China’s hype and even made slander remarks about China’s acquiescence in the sudden change in Myanmar’s political situation.
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin strongly refuted as early as February 3, saying that “relevant remarks are not facts”. On February 15, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Chen Hai stressed again in an interview with Burmese media that China had no prior knowledge of the situation in Myanmar. China is committed to upholding bilateral cooperation and opposes any attempt to undermine China-Myanmar friendly cooperation over Myanmar’s domestic affairs.
While the Reuters story cannot be verified or falsified, Menashe, who declared that Myanmar’s military would “stay away from China”, has a lot on his side. Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper called him a “notorious” Israeli businessman.
Mr. Menashe, 70, was born in Tehran, the Iranian capital, and moved to Israel, the son of Jewish parents, according to public records. Between 1977 and 1987, Menashe worked in Israel’s intelligence service and later in the arms business.
Menashe was jailed for nearly a year in 1989 for selling three military aircraft to Iran in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act. At his trial in the case, Menashe claimed to be working for Israeli intelligence, a claim Israel quickly denied.
Ben Menashe Source: Israeli media
According to the Jerusalem Post, Menashe told many more lies. For example, he claimed to have personally worked on the presidential campaign of former President Ronald Reagan, a claim that was proven to be a lie years later. In addition, he has repeatedly claimed to have worked for Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, while also serving as a special adviser to then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. “But these claims have all been proven false and riddled with contradictions.”
A notorious Israeli businessman has been hired by Myanmar’s military, according to the Jerusalem Post
Menashe’s fabricated stories successfully fooled several major news outlets around the world, and he even participated in congressional hearings as an expert in the early 1990s, but soon lost the trust of the United States, the report said. The New York Times revealed in 2004 that Menashe was described as a “talented liar” in congressional hearings at the time.
The Daily Beast, a US news website, also reported in 2017 that Menashe had identified a man named Mehdi Kashani as a close associate at the hearing. But it turned out that the real Mr Kashani had nothing to do with Mr Menashe and that his words had been made up, all of which “severely undermined Menashe’s credibility as a source”.
The Daily Beast reported in 2017
Even in Canada, where Menashe is a native, Menashe has a bad reputation. As CTV News revealed in 2012, most Canadian banks refused to handle any of Menashe’s money, despite Menashe’s claims to be running a legitimate lobbying firm in Canada.
“It’s going to be very difficult for the U.S. to believe what Menashe is saying,” said Human Rights Watch. Khin Zaw Win, a Burmese political commentator, also told U.S. media that he hoped the outside world would not take the lobbyist’s claims too seriously and that even if they were true, they were only “a way for the Burmese military to avoid Western sanctions.”
Myanmar remains in turmoil as Aung San Suu Kyi faces new charges
On February 1 this year, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Min and other senior officials were detained, the military took over power, and replaced the central bank governor. For more than a month, protests broke out in many parts of the country against the military takeover.
The protests, which erupted last week, saw fierce clashes between the military and protesters in several towns, leaving 38 people dead on March 3. The next day, the US Commerce Department announced that it had added Myanmar’s defence and interior ministries and two companies with close ties to the military to the trade blacklist. A U.S. State Department spokesman called on Burma to “exercise maximum restraint.”
Images of protests erupting in Yangon, Myanmar
But yesterday the military took fresh action against Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counsellor, as the protests intensified. Myanmar military spokesman Zaw Myint Thun said at a press conference in the capital Naypyidaw that Aung San Suu Kyi was accused of receiving $600,000 in illegal payments and 11 kilograms of gold during her time in power. “The Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating,” he said.
Suu Kyi has already been charged with four counts of using illegally imported walkie-talkie equipment, violating anti-epidemic regulations during the election and committing “incitement” in early February. Myanmar media analysis said that if the charges are found guilty, Aung San Suu Kyi could be sentenced to up to nine years in prison; If convicted of corruption, she could face an additional sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
In view of the increasingly complex situation in Myanmar, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Zhang Jun once said that the pressing task is to cool down the situation, step up diplomatic mediation and promote dialogue and reconciliation. The international community should create favorable conditions for relevant parties in Myanmar to resolve their differences and disputes within the constitutional and legal framework.
Zhang Jun also stressed that China’s friendly policy toward Myanmar is for all the people of Myanmar. We are ready to continue communication and contact with all parties in Myanmar and play a constructive role in easing tension.
article links：Burma's military says it will "stay away from China"
Reprint indicated source：Spark Global Limited information