Upsurge Continues in Nepal
U.S. Interests, Plots, and Intrigues
On April 21, as demonstrations continued to escalate in the streets of Nepal, King Gyanendra delivered a televised speech in which he said he called for elections and asked the political parties to recommend a Prime Minister. This was immediately rejected by those who have been demanding an end to the monarchy and people continued to demonstrate in the streets.
Gyanendra's speech came after 16 straight days of demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of people, in Kathmandu and around the country. The police had shot and killed at least 11 people and wounded hundreds.
Over a year ago, on February 1, 2005, King Gyanendra grabbed absolute power and dissolved the parliament. This was a desperate move in response to the government's inability to crush the People’s War led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The CPN(M) began their armed struggle against the government in 1996 and now control some 80 percent of the countryside. Gyanendra's Royal Nepalese Army—backed by political, financial, and military support from the United States, India, and the UK—has waged a brutal counterinsurgency. But the People's War continued to grow and expand, and the king became increasingly isolated and determined to defend his autocratic and brutal rule. This is what set the stage for the current demonstrations--which started with a four-day strike called by an alliance of seven parliamentary parties.
The U.S. and India have been very upset by Gyanendra's refusal to share power with the parliamentary parties. And it appears they were directly behind the king's speech.
Just two hours before the king's address, U.S. ambassador James Moriarty, told the press that the king had no choice but to give in to the opposition parties' demands for a return to democratic rule.
The day before, Special Envoy from India Karan Singh returned home after visiting Gyanendra for two days and told reporters, "I do not want to preempt or predict what the announcement may be, but we are hoping that there will be some major step in reinstating democracy. I think it will defuse the crisis."
In response to the king's speech, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted that the U.S. is working "very closely with the Indian government” to resolve the crisis in Nepal.
All this maneuvering is not about bringing democracy to Nepal. It's about trying to ensure that the “resolution of the current crisis ” will be in the interest of the U.S. and India and will not lead to any gains by the Maoists.
U.S. Interests and Sinister Plans
The position of the United States with regard to the Maoist People's War in Nepal has been forcefully and adamantly that “they cannot be allowed to win.” James Moriarty, the U.S. ambassador to Nepal, has repeatedly urged the king and parliamentary parties to work together in order to defeat the People's War. And he has harshly criticized the parties for working with the Maoists.
A few days before King Gyanendra's speech, the International Crisis Group issued a “policy briefing” titled, “Nepal’s Crisis: Mobilising International Influence.”
The International Crisis Group (ICG) is basically an imperialist think tank. In the name of “working to prevent conflict worldwide” it analyzes the situation in different countries (usually poor, Third World countries)” and comes up with plans for various levels of political and military intervention by the United States and other powerful countries.
The ICG has been closely following developments in Nepal over the last several years and has issued several papers about the situation. What is striking about this latest briefing is that it makes very concrete and detailed suggestions for how the U.S., India, the UK, and other countries should directly intervene.
The ICG starts by arguing for the formation of a “Contact Group” made up of India, the U.S., and UK which will come up with “strategy and tactics to maximize international influence in assisting Nepal’s escape from its worsening conflict.” One focus of this Contact Group is to threaten the Maoists that “if they obstruct progress towards a peace process or fail to respect the understanding they have entered into with OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), donors and the mainstream political parties, Contact Group members will coordinate efforts to apprehend senior leaders and interdict any cross-border movements.”
The ICG recognizes there is widespread hatred among the Nepalese people for Indian domination and takes this into account, saying: “India knows that it can only achieve its policy goals in Nepal unilaterally at a great cost. Working within a multilateral framework would allow the same goals to be reached without the risk of appearing to be overtly interventionist.” And the briefing goes on to spell out what kind of intervention is necessary: “The Contact Group should lead planning for a small international mission with 100 to 200 members but not including troops from India or the U.S. (given the extreme political sensitivity of deploying their forces in Nepal). Such a mission would require helicopters in order to investigate quickly any local incident or ceasefire violation.”
The viewpoint of the ICG is not identical to the position of the U.S. State Department. But the ICG suggestions do seem to be in line with and serve the basic stance of the U.S. that “the Maoists in Nepal must not be allowed to win.” And the ICG plan for dealing with the current crisis does reflect the geostrategic concerns and interests of the United States, India, and other foreign powers involved in Nepal.
The U.S. has been quite open and blatant about its intervention in Nepal. And to this, we have to ask, what the hell right does the United States and India have to impose their will on Nepal, to intervene, to try and put a lid on the struggle of the people and crush the Maoist people's war? The U.S. has a whole history -- whether it's Vietnam, Indonesia, or Chile, or Iraq -- where it has been behind bloody coups and other “regime changes” with thousands and hundreds of thousands killed in order to safeguard U.S. interests.
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of Central and South Asian Affairs, Richard Boucher, recently said: “We need to work as much as we can to pressure the King to restore democracy, to encourage the parties to stay together and to come up with a workable, functioning democracy. And to be able to expunge the Maoists from Nepali society. I think it’s very much the attitude of governments in the region including India.” He revealed that U.S. “diplomats are in touch with everybody in Kathmandu, all the players, the political parties and the King.” And said that the U.S. is “coordinating with other countries who are represented” in Nepal.
Taking such statements seriously, it is instructive to look at how this recent ICG papermay indicate about what the U.S. is up to in Nepal, and the real possibility of even more direct intervention by the U.S. in some form or another.
What the U.S. Hates and Fears
When the U.S. ambassador to Nepal says the parliamentary parties must not work with the Maoists, when the United States vilifies the CPN(M) and says “they cannot be allowed to win,” when Richard Boucher says the political parties should come up with a functioning democracy and “expunge the Maoists from Nepali society,” -- what is it the U.S. is so adamantly against?
What the U.S. cannot accept is a revolution that takes up arms in order to overthrow a regime that serves U.S. interests. What the U.S. cannot allow is a revolution which aims to fundamentally change the current economic, political, and social relations under which the masses of Nepalese people are oppressed. And what the U.S. must seek to crush is a revolution that aims to put an end to all the economic and political relationships under which Nepal is dominated and oppressed within the world imperialist system.
In 1996, when the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) initiated armed struggle against the government, they set out on the path of a New Democratic Revolution -- which aims to overthrow any regime that represents feudalism and big capitalist forces aligned with and serving foreign and imperialist domination. They set out to carry out a revolution aimed at uprooting semi-feudalism in the countryside and kicking out foreign capitalism. And with such goals, the CPN(M) has been carrying out new democratic tasks in the base areas under their control. Redistribution of land is a central part of getting rid of inequalities in the countryside. Developing collective forms of owning and working the land is an essential part of breaking free of foreign domination. And criticizing and doing away with feudal traditions, culture, and thinking are crucial to the building of a new revolutionary way of running society.
These revolutionary changes being carried out in the Maoist base areas are a concrete expression of the New Democratic Revolution. This revolution, which is widely supported by the people, remains as the only way to liberate the masses of people in Nepal--and is exactly what the United States is so threatened by and determined to stop.
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