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"M" Factor in the Crisis of Present Nepal

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Message Rajat KC

Once, present Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala mentioned that words starting with "M" were the most hated by him. M, as he indicated, stands for Marxists, Leninists, Mashal (factions of communism in Nepal) and Mandale. He added Maoists to the list just after they started an armed revolution more then a decade ago. Now the time has changed.  As the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoists formed an alliance, the Maoists became the closest ally of the PM Koirala. In present-day Nepal, M-6 is becoming the most substantial of factors, namely, because all of the key actors start with "M": Maoists, Monarchy, Military, Moriarty, Mukharjee and Martin.  This article will highlight the desired objective of the Maoists, and relate it to the end objectives of the remaining M-5, with regard to the ongoing political crisis in Nepal.

The Maoists are the main element in M-6, due to the the country's suffering from a decade-long, ruinous, bloody insurgency which took the lives of more than 15,000 people.  During Janaandolan 2 (Second popular movement), they shook hands with the SPA, which provided them with unexpected success; as a result, they are now in the interim parliament and government of Nepal. Even though the Maoists are in government, they are acting like an aggressive/hostile opposition force and still creating violence and vandalism throughout the country. Since their ultimate aim is to establish a totalitarian communist regime in Nepal, they are keeping everyone in confusion as to their end goal and taking benefits out of the fluid situation. 

The military is the true instrument of national power in Nepal. The Nepalese Army is the nation's sole military force, raised by King Prithivi Narayan Shah during his unification campaign. Now, as per the peace accord signed between the government and the Maoists, the National Army is restricted to the barracks, doing just routine duties. During the insurgency period, after receiving a serious blow from the Nepalese Army, the Maoists realized that they could not achieve their end objective by military means. They were forced to change their strategy and created a political alliance with the SPA. Surprisingly, that alliance succeeded in achieving political victory, which brought the Maoists into their present position. Since the Maoists are in government and parliament, they now retain the "key" instruments of the nation's power, including the military, along with their private rebel force. They have clearly understood that, without destabilizing the structure of the Nepalese Army (by penetrating into the National army), their ultimate aim would not be realized. As per the present constitutional arrangement, the Nepalese Army cannot be mobilized unless the present government (including the Maoists) gives an executive order. Yet the Maoists fear the army, probably due to their past impression. Therefore, the Maoists now want to legitimize their rebel force by giving it national status, so that they can be easily inculcated in the Nepalese Army. They are also trying to establish a personal relationship with senior military officers to influence them into their party's interest. They have even appointed one of the retired army generals into legislative parliament in their quota.   

Another part of the M factor in Nepal is the Monarchy. The Nepalese Monarchy is more than 238 years old. Modern Nepal was unified by King Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great and, ever since, Nepal has been ruled by the Shah dynasty. Out of 238 years, the Rana family ruled Nepal as an autocratic ruler (Family rule of Premiership) for 104 years (1846 to 1951 AD), while the Monarchy remained a mere figure head of the state during that period. For approximately 100 years, however, the country was indirectly ruled by Shah Kings. The actual period of rule by the Shah Dynasty was from 1961 to 1991. After the restoration of the multi-party democracy in 1991, the Nepalese Monarchy became constitutional. However, democratic Nepal could not move forward smoothly even after a decade of the restoration. The aimless war staged by the Maoists commenced during this period. As a result, the country reached a virtually failing stage. The Monarchy tried to bring derailed democracy on track, but this move could not be accelerated. As a result, the Maoists and SPA created an alliance orchestrated by India, which forced the Monarchy to hand over power to the SPA. At present, the institution of the Monarchy is at a critical stage. In fact, the Maoists have nothing to justify their bloody war at the cost of 15,000 lives. Therefore, in order to justify their so-called people's war and take credit for present achievement, they are targeting the institution of the Monarchy with revolutionary slogans. They are launching widespread propaganda against the Monarchy to portray the latter's negative image in the national and international arenas. They know that, as long as the Monarchy exists in Nepal, their ultimate dream cannot materialize. Hence, they intensify their campaign to eliminate the Monarchy prior to the election for the constituent assembly.

The other three M factors are the international figures, Mukharjee, Moriarty and Martin. Shivshanker Mukharjee is the Indian Ambassador to Nepal. The Maoists are now utilizing a political platform masterminded by India. They now have easy access to Indian points of contact by having frequent meetings with Ambassador Mukharjee. They believe that they can deceive India by pretending that they are committed to democracy by hiding their hidden objectives. However, they might have forgotten that India will carry them on their shoulders so long as their national interest is served. The Maoists must have also overlooked that Mr. Mukharjee and his country will never compromise at the cost of their national interest for any other reason. On the other hand, as India is known as the largest democracy in the world, they cannot support the Maoists if they deviate from actual democratic norms and values. It seems that India is not satisfied with the activities of the Maoists and its sister organizations. 

Moriarty is the U.S. Ambassador to Nepal. James F. Moriarty (U.S. policy) is one of the biggest hurdles to the Maoists' desired objectives. They are dead scared of the name "Moriarty". He is a major factor in protecting democracy in Nepal from the threat of the Maoist takeover. No other elements in the nation in the present context are seen as effective as Moriarty in taking a stand against the Maoists' hegemony. America, as a sole global power, has taken a strong stand in safeguarding democracy and peace in Nepal. The Maoists are creating numerous conspiracies against Moriarty to demoralize him with allegations of imperialist and violator of diplomatic norms. They even mobilized the YCL to attack him. Interestingly, all the attacks and allegations staged by the Maoists have backfired and damaged their image. 

Last, but not least, is Martin . Mr. Ian Martin is Special Representative of Security General (SRSG) of the United Nations, head of the ongoing UNMIN. Despite so much hegemonic behavior of the Maoists, he seems very flexible and easy-going while dealing with them. His strict and honest endeavor will certainly play a vital role in achieving the desired objective of a comprehensive peace agreement towards a lasting peace and democracy in Nepal. 

Nepal is heading towards the election for the constituent assembly. Present understanding between the Eight Party Alliance (SPA-M) indicates that they are willing to hold an election in November '07, but it is still unknown when that will actually take place. If all democratic forces, along with the M-5 (excluding the Maoists), play a positive role in the ongoing peace process, peace and democracy is not far in the distance and the end objectives of the Maoists will remain a dream. Under these circumstances, the M-6 (including the Maoists) will have no other option than to contribute honestly towards the success of the peace process.

All-inclusive democracy is the only way to achieve lasting peace in Nepal. If any internal actors were to attempt to corner or eliminate each other, and the two major foreign powers didn't honestly play crucial roles, Nepal would likely face another, seemingly, endless, bloody civil war.

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