Drug control agencies have called the significant decline in opium production in Southeast Asia over the past decade a 'success story'. This report casts serious doubts on the claim noting that Southeast Asia suffers from a variety of 'withdrawal symptoms' that leave little reason for optimism.
In June 2008, the Cambodian government set up a media show, burning 1,278 drums of safrole-rich oil—a key ingredient in the manufacture of the illicit recreational drug ecstasy—with the help of the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The amount of oil could have been used to make an estimated 245 million ecstasy tablets with a street value of $7.6 billion in Australia, the AFP claimed. While thick black plumes of smoke went into the air, Australian police officers, who had traveled to Cambodia to assist in the public burning, looked on wearing chemical suits and breathing apparatus.
In August the Burma army occupied the Kokang region after several days of fighting, ending two decades of cease-fire with the ethnic minority group. The resumption of fighting in northern Burma raises speculation about the other cease-fires. Tensions are rising and the cease-fire groups have put their armed forces on high alert.
Tom Kramer (1968) is a political scientist with 25-years of working experience on Myanmar and its border regions, which he has visited regularly since 1993. He first specialised in analysing ethnic conflict in Myanmar and the role of civil society to promote change. ...