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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

INTELLIGENCE


Here's How Habibie Sees It

THE DAY FOLLOWING INDONESIA'S HISTORIC June 7 vote found President B.J. Habibie at the presidential palace relaxed and confident, say sources who visited him there. Among other things, Habibie spent the morning e-mailing his 36-year-old son Ilham Akbar, who was born in Germany, a message in fluent German, urging him not to worry about the day's events and to go to bed. A friend of the president's says that despite the strong showing of opposition rival Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, Habibie reckons that, backed by Golkar, he can still emerge victorious when the presidential vote is conducted in November - though it may yet take place earlier. But if he does win, he is sure he will not run for another term in 2004. Habibie, the source says, will take Armed Forces Chief Gen. Wiranto as his vice president. The source says that the president regards Wiranto as loyal, but that he believes the general has already done a deal with Megawati, should she take the presidency - the military will give her its support in exchange for protection from prosecution for former president Suharto. Habibie still feels a deep debt to his ex-boss and patron, though he acknowledges privately that Suharto chose him as his vice president because he perceived him as weak and therefore unlikely to ever succeed him. In May 1998, of course, the unlikely happened. The two men are said not to have spoken since June 9 last year, the day after Suharto's birthday. Habibie wanted to visit, but Suharto told him not to until after he steps down from office.

Myanmar: The Mandela Factor

WHAT MIGHT TRANSPIRE WHEN LT.-GEN. Khin Nyunt, Secretary No.1 of Myanmar's State Peace and Development Council, attends the inauguration of Thabo Mbeki, the next president of South Africa? It has been suggested that the departing Nelson Mandela may act as a mediator to bring about a rapprochment between the SPDC and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, much as he did in East Timor when he went to Indonesia and visited Xanana Gusmao. It's known that Mandela intends to give more time to such mediating roles after leaving the presidency. If he does travel to Yangon, Mandela will have to meet Suu Kyi, who regards him as a hero. That possibility gives credence to the view that some junta members did not want Khin Nyunt to go to Pretoria precisely because they fear he may be talked into dealing with her.

Prison: A Family Affair

NURUL IZZAH, ELDEST DAUGHTER OF jailed Malaysian former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, claims that family visits to her father have been stopped, and she says it is because prison officials are furious that her father has apparently managed to get letters and statements to the press. Nurul Izzah says the government cracked down after a letter, purportedly written by Anwar alleging cronyism and nepotism on the part of Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, was published in the May 31-June 6 issue of the new weekly newspaper Ekslusif. Nurul Izzah has applied for another six months of leave from her university and daily attends Anwar's sodomy trial in the Kuala Lumpur High Court because, she says, "it is my only chance to see father."


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