August 19, 2004


Do any of you keep up with the insurgency in Nepal? It is one of my particular interests. If you don't let me give you a little background. There is a maoist insurgency, patterned after the Shining Path insurgency in Peru, operating in Nepal since the mid 1990's. Their aim, of course, is to bring down the monarchy in Nepal and replace it with a government patterned on the teachings of Mao, probably because that's been such a success everywhere else it has been tried.

The Shining Path is not a good model for anyone to follow, as the Council on Foreign Relations reports:

Shining Path, established in the late 1960s by the former university professor Abimael Guzman, is a militant Maoist group that seeks to install a peasant revolutionary authority in Peru. The group took up arms in 1980, and its ranks once numbered in the thousands. Experts consider it one of the world’s most ruthless insurgencies; Shining Path often hacked its victims to death with machetes. The group, which now has only several hundred members remaining, operates mainly in jungle areas.

While this conflict in Nepal receives sporadic coverage in the American media, today was an exception. There was an article in the NY Times this morning that made me think that the insurgency in Nepal is, for all intents and purposes, over and the rebels have won. The upshot of the article is that the rebels have called for a blockade of the capital, Katmandu. All traffic has been prohibited from entering the capital. And you know what? The drivers are listening and obeying. The rebels have isolated the capital with a single proclamation. Not one gun or bomb was needed, they are so feared in Nepal.

Immediate consequence:

Planes - which are too expensive for most people in this impoverished nation - and roads are the only way to travel in the Katmandu Valley, and its 1.5 million people depend on trucks to bring in fuel, food and other goods. Many store owners said they would run out of vegetables and other food if the blockade lasted for more than a few days.

Iswor Pokhrel, the minister for industries, commerce and supplies, said the city had a few days' supply of kerosene for cooking. Officials at the Nepal Oil Corporation, the country's sole petroleum distributor, said its supply of fuel for cars and buses would last about two weeks.

See why I think the insurgency is basically over but for the actual handover? The government has lost the ability to provide food and fuel for the capital. The people fear the rebels more than the they trust that the government will be able to protect them. It is starting to look like nothing more than a strong breeze will knock this government over.

Or, since this was reported in the NY Times, it's all bunch of shite. Still, the Times has to get it right sometimes, right?

Posted by Random Penseur at August 19, 2004 08:17 AM
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