Nepal: Everyone is Losing


January 23, 2006: Not wanting to upset India, which can isolate the country economically, the government is quietly procuring military supplies from Pakistan and Israel. China is openly supplying weapons.

Most of the demonstrators arrested over the weekend have been released. The stalemate continues, with the king trying to defeat the Maoists, the political parties (representing the power of the urban middle class, a minority) are trying to regain power, and the Maoists (a radical spin-off from the educated urban population) are still trying to play off the king against the political parties (so that a Maoist dictatorship can be set up). The majority of the population is rural, and is exploited by the aristocrats and urban middle class. Thus many of the rural Nepalese support the king, often more for emotional than practical reasons. The royalists and democrats have to consider the possibility of another Cambodia, if the Maoists take over. Such a brutal communist dictatorship could leave millions dead and the economy in ruins.

January 22, 2006: Over the weekend, clashes with Maoists left at least 26 dead, most of them rebels. Anti-king demonstrations in the capital led to the arrest of several hundred people.

January 20, 2006: Cell phone service was cut in the capital as police rounded up 107 political activists, who were accused of organizing attacks on the power of the king.

January 17, 2006: A curfew was imposed on the capital, after weekend attacks by Maoists left twelve policemen dead. This is a change for the Maoists, whose bases are in remote areas. But the partnership with the political parties, which are based in urban areas, gives the Maoists access to allies that can help hide rebel gunmen.

In western Nepal, battles with Maoists left about two dozen dead.


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