Monday, July 18, 2005

Political And Military Stalemate: Democrats Stand To Tip The Balance

The Monarchists rule the towns and the cities, the Maoists rule the countryside: that is the image being propagated. But that is not how I look at Nepal's political landscape. The truth is there is this major political paralysis in the country: the two extreme ends of the political spectrum have managed to create this eery political and military stalemate.

The democrats are not in power, but are still center stage. The key to the equation lies with the democrats.

The best way to play the game might be for the democrats to tiptoe towards the Maoists to shake the Monarchists, and then tiptoe back a little with the carrot of a cermonial monarchy to make sure the Maoists do not go beyond the idea of a multi party democracy. At least those options have to be kept open. A Maoist party hellbent on going beyond a multi party democracy will guarantee that the monarchy stays on, albeit in a ceremonial form. A king hellbent on not seeing the light will ensure a republic. That flexibility of stance will give the democrats the edge over the two extremes.

And the democrats really enhance the democratic position and leverage by seriously getting down to the work of the movement for democracy. A movement is unlike an election campaign. It is a much larger organism than any political party, and beyond a point it takes a life of its own. A movement boils until an autocratic regime is totally washed out. A movement can be guided at best, it does not get lead.

Should the Monarchists continue with their intransigence, as they might (what exactly will people like Bishta, Giri, Shah and others do after democracy arrives!), the movement will have to boil over. At that point, it will be important for the democrats to keep the intiative within the democratic camp. Only a disarmed Maoist party may be invited into any all party government. Only a demilitarized country can go into a Constituent Assembly.

In The News
  • CBI, DEA probe Nepal prince’s drug links News Insight The US FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have sought assistance of the CBI, the Narcotics Control Board and covert agencies to investigate the notorious crown prince of Nepal, Paras, after an American ally in South East Asia tipped off about his rapidly expanding drug network. Paras has been allegedly in the drug business for seven years, but his stakes and that of the Nepalese royal family have grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, alarming the DEA, and panicking the US, and the crown prince is now reported to be operating his network beyond South Asia. In December 2004, the US-friendly South East Asian state began investigating new drug markets in the region, and the trail lead to Nepal, and investigators in the guise of tourists established the link to Paras, who was subsequently invited for a tourism promotion event. During the promotion event, the South East Asian state was confronted with meetings between Paras and local drug lords, who were under surveillance, and the recorded conversations produced iron-clad evidence against Nepal’s crown prince, which was when US agencies were contacted, for independent corroboration US agencies in turn approached Indian investigators about three weeks ago, which had an inkling of Paras’s drug dealings, but a more substantial probe has commenced since.
  • UN & Nepal News Insight As we reported yesterday (Intelligence, “UN to take over Nepal, hold polls,” 13 July 2005), the US secretary of state, Condoleezaa Rice, has cleared a plan with the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, for restoring democracy in Nepal without damaging its constitutional monarchy but bringing the Maoist insurgents to peace talks at the same time. The plan for a restoration of democracy in stages, culminating with elections within a year of the UN takeover of administration of the kingdom, was prepared by India, and co-sponsored by the US, the UK, and Belgium....... The UN gets to administer Nepal for one year in which it will implement twenty mega development projects in remote locations of the kingdom, revive police institutions to restore public confidence in them, and hold free and fair internationally monitored elections..... With US agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency, implicating his son, Paras, in a multinational drug network, Gyanendra stood a good chance to lose all, as we explained in a previous commentary (“Nepal crisis II,” 7 July 2005)..... The United States had to threaten him on two counts, one to send a multinational force to take over the country..... The second threat was to educate him on various heads of state around the world standing trail for violation of human rights .... The RNA many have never overcome the insurgents entirely, and if that were the case, the Indian Army would have long terminated the militancies in the North East......the peculiarity about insurgency is that it has its own immune system. ..... After 7/ 7, the world has no patience for armed struggles.
  • Brazil out, US wants G-4 broken News Insight With Brazil being opposed by its neighbours, Canada and the US, its run for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council looks hopeless, and both Germany and Japan want it out of the G-4, and G-4’s ultimate disbandment, but only India is holding out.
  • About Us News Insight .... issues that repress India. ..... corruption, venal politicians, anti-entrepreneur bureaucrats, and a mindset against meritocracy ..... feel guiltless about street children, rat-eaters, riot-victims, men and women who cannot spell their name, or vote-robbing ..... battle the repressors - using truth and moral values as weapons, allied with unbeatable information power, argumentation and analysis....... We count among our readers such eminences as prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani, other members of the cabinet, leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi, the Communist stalwart, A.B.Bardhan, industrialists Rattan Tata and Ramesh Chauhan, apart from the Indian and NRI intelligentsia, the Indian middle and business classes, foreign governments, think-tanks, and educational institutions........ non-resident Indians - perhaps the last section of Indians left with the energy, drive, motivation and idealism to retrieve India ......
  • Denying the UN Plan News Insight Officials at the United Nations in New York and the US state department deny that such a plan exists (Intelligence, "UN to take over Nepal, hold polls," 13 July 2005) We stand by the story. Editor.
  • Maoists introduce Janabadi education to counter monarchy News Insight 28 December 2002 .... the Maoists have introduced their own system of education in scores of villages across northern and central parts of Nepal ..... they have even printed their own textbooks and have begun its distribution in large numbers ..... the Nepalese government, in a bid to strengthen its campaign against the Maoists, has ended all its international peacekeeping commitments. The last of the Nepalese forces, the Bir Dal Company, part of United Nations peacekeeping efforts in East Timor returned to the country recently.

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