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Understanding the junta

A product of the Japanese imperial army, Burma's military dominates everything. When I visited the country's gleaming new capital and mingled with the generals, I learned why they have held power so long, and why they must be part of any solution

By Nic Dunlop   November 2007

Last March, I travelled to Burma’s new capital, Nay Pyi Daw. I was among a handful of journalists to be invited to the junta’s annual military parade. It was the first time that the outside world had been granted a glimpse of the city the generals have built. Dumped in the middle of malarial scrubland, some 300 miles north of Rangoon, it is a strange, gleaming confection of official hotels, ministries and government housing set in the baking plains of central Burma (now called Myanmar). The junta has spent billions building this largely empty metropolis—whose name means “Seat of Kings.”

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