Nepal: The King Surrenders, Sort Of


April 30, 2006: Although the Maoist insurgents have been doings fairly well in their war against the Nepalese government, they are surprisingly poorly organized, ill-equipped, and badly trained. Most of their successes have been against isolated government posts or small patrols, usually conducted at very high odds (cases of 10-to-1 are common), using "human wave" attacks in which as many as a third of the troops are unarmed due to a shortage of equipment (though this may also reflect a certain degree of mistrust in the hastily conscripted teenagers who form a major part of their forces). The only real asset the Maoists have is excellent intelligence; with an extensive network of agents who have been able to supply them with very accurate information on government outposts, installations, and operations.

The Maoists are employing techniques that have proved very successful in post World War II rebel movements. They recruit, often via kidnapping, teenagers, and brainwash them into becoming fighters for the cause. Those "recruits" who continue to resist are killed. A major part of the Maoist dogma is social reform, so anyone with money must pay a "revolutionary tax" if they want to survive. This extortion racket enables the Maoists to buy food, weapons and other supplies. The poor farmers the Maoists are trying to liberate (from feudal land owning rules and other forms of economic distress) are generally left alone. Except, that is, when the farmers report rebel activities to the police. The response is swift and brutal. Dissident farmers are often killed, or at least severely punished. "Enemies of the people" and all that. This is the same "ends justifies the means" thinking that gave us Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse Dung, Pol Pot and a host of other bloody minded dictatorships during the last century. But the Nepalese Maoists see these tyrants as heroes, not mass murderers.

April 29, 2006:The Parliament has met for the first time since 2002. Calls were made for negotiations with the Maoists and curbing remaining royal powers (like control of the army.) The Parliament also has to deal with the fact that the Maoists still want to establish a communist dictatorship.

April 28, 2006:Maoists have freed some soldiers as a good will gesture, but at the same time, other Maoist bands have continued kidnapping people and extorting money.

April 27, 2006: In response to the return of Parliament, the Maoists have declared a three month truce.

April 26, 2006:In response to the king's decision, the Maoists have lifted their blockade of the capital.

April 24, 2006:The king backed down and agreed to recall parliament immediately. However, the king has not given up control of the Royal Army which, as the name applies, reports to the king, and has historically been very loyal to the king. Parliament was dissolved in 2002, because bickering and corruption had rendered the legislature ineffective. In February, 2005, the king assumed absolute power. Nearly three weeks of growing street protests caused the king to back down, and allow parliament to try, once more, to deal with the Maoist uprising.


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