Regions / Nepal
Maoist guerrillas saving democracy from the clutches of a despot? Perhaps only in Nepal
The tiny country of Nepal is at a major crossroads: one path leads to a monarchy and a society continually plagued by internal strife while another offers the possibility of peace and a modern day democracy.
King Gyanendra has taken the people of Nepal on a disastrous course, using the excuse of fighting an insurgency to compromise democracy.
Tucked into the upper stories of the Himalayas, Nepal hardly seems ground zero for the Bush administration's next crusade against terrorism, but an aggressive American ambassador, a strategic locale, and a flood of U.S. weaponry threatens to turn the tiny country of 25 million into a counter-insurgency bloodbath.
Nepal’s 14-year-old experiment in constitutional monarchy suffered a major assault on February 1, 2005 when King Gyanendra sacked the prime minister, formed a new cabinet composed largely of royalists, and established direct monarchical rule.
While the U.S., India, and Great Britain have sharply condemned the Feb. 1 coup by King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal, the policies of those three governments vis-à-vis the ongoing civil war in the Himalayan nation must share considerable blame for the present crisis.
The royal takeover of February 1, 2005 goes against this vital interest of the country.
Clearly the time to think about negotiations and reconstruction in Nepal is before the shooting stops.