Mar 31, 2013

Israel's Insightful Cynicism

By Robert D. Kaplan
Chief Geopolitical Analyst

Israel is in the process of watching a peace treaty unravel. I don't mean the one with Egypt, but the one with Syria. No, I'm not crazy. Since Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy in 1974, the Israelis have had a de facto peace agreement of sorts with the al Assad family. After all, there were clear red lines that both sides knew they shouldn't cross, as well as reasonable predictability on both sides. Forget about the uplifting rhetoric, the requirement to exchange ambassadors and the other public policy frills that normally define peace treaties. What counts in this case is that both sides observed limits and constraints, so that the contested border between them was secure. Even better, because there was no formal peace agreement in writing, neither side had to make inconvenient public and strategic concessions. Israel did not have to give up the Golan Heights, for example. And if Syria stepped over a red line in Lebanon, or say, sought a nuclear capacity as it did, Israel was free to punish it through targeted military strikes. There was usefully no peace treaty that Israel would have had to violate.         
Of course, the Syrians built up a chemical arsenal and invited the Iranians all over their country and Lebanon. But no formal treaty in the real world -- given the nature of the Syrian regime -- would likely have prevented those things. In an imperfect world of naked power, the al Assads were at least tolerable. Moreover, they represented a minority sect, which prevented Syria from becoming a larger and much more powerful version of radical, Sunni Arab Gaza. In February 1993 in The Atlantic Monthly, I told readers that Syria was not a state but a writhing underworld of sectarian and ethnic divides and that the al Assads might exit the stage through an Alawite mini-state in the northwest of their country that could be quietly supported by the Israeli security services. That may yet come to pass.
Israeli political leaders may periodically tell the media that Bashar al Assad's days are numbered, but that does not necessarily mean Israelis themselves believe that is an altogether good scenario. Indeed, I strongly suspect that, for example, when the Israelis and the Russians meet, they have much in common regarding Syria. Russia is supporting the al Assad regime through arms transfers by sea and through Iraq and Iran. Israelis may see some benefits in this. Russian President Vladimir Putin may actually enjoy his meetings with Israelis -- who likely don't lecture him about human rights and the evils of the al Assad regime the way the Americans do.
True, a post-al Assad Syria may undermine Iranian influence in the Levant, which would be a great benefit to Israel, as well as to the United States. On the other hand, a post-al Assad Syria will probably be an anarchic mess in which the Iranians will skillfully back proxy guerrilla groups and still be able to move weapons around. Again, al Assad is the devil you know. And the fact that he is no longer, functionally speaking, the president of Syria but, rather, the country's leading warlord, presents challenges that Israelis would prefer not to face.
What about Hezbollah, in this admittedly cynical Israeli view? Hezbollah is not a strategic threat to Israel. Hezbollah fighters are not about to march en masse over the border into Haifa and Tiberias. Anti-missile systems like Iron Dome and David's Sling could reasonably contain the military threat from the north. Then there are Israel's bomb shelters -- a one-time only expense. Hezbollah, moreover, needs Israel. For without a powerful Israel, Hezbollah would be robbed of the existential adversary that provides Hezbollah with its immense prestige in the Lebanese political universe, making Hezbollah so much more than just another Shiite group battling Sunnis.
Israel's war against Hezbollah in 2006 is known as a disaster. But it did have its positive side effects: Israel has had seven years of relative peace on its northern border, even as the war usefully exposed many inadequacies in the Israeli military and reserve system that had been building for years and were henceforth decisively repaired, making Israel stronger as a consequence.
Threats abound, truly. The collapse of the al Assad regime may lead to a weapons free-for-all -- just like in post-Gadhafi Libya -- that might force Israel to "mow the lawn" again in southern Lebanon. As for Hassan Nasrallah, the charismatic and capable Hezbollah leader, maybe he, too, is the devil you know, informally obeying red lines with Israel since 2006. Nasrallah appears to be less extreme than his deputy, Naim Qassim, who would take over if Nasrallah were ever assassinated by the Israelis, unless the Sunnis in a Lebanon and Syria thrown into utter, post-al Assad chaos assassinate him sooner.
Then there is Gaza: once again, like southern Lebanon, "mow the lawn" once or twice a decade, though this might be harder in a post-Arab Spring geopolitical environment because of the greater danger of unhinging Israeli-Egyptian relations. Still, in Gaza there is no existential threat, nor a real solution, regardless of what the diplomats say. Idealists in the West talk about peace; realists inside Israel talk about spacing out limited wars by enough years so that Israeli society can continue to thrive in the meantime. As one highly placed Israeli security analyst explained to me, the East Coast of the United States and the Caribbean have periodic hurricanes. After each one, people rebuild, even as they are aware that a decade or so down the road there will be another hurricane. Israel's wars are like that, he said.
Presently a real underlying worry for Israel appears to be Jordan. Yes, King Abdullah has so far expertly manipulated the growing unrest there, but to speculate about the collapse of the Hashemite dynasty is only prudent. More anarchy. More reason to heed Ariel Sharon's analysis of four decades ago to the effect that Jordan is the real Palestinian state, more so than the West Bank. And because Jordan and Saudi Arabia could conceivably unravel in coming decades, maybe Israel should seek to avoid attacking Iran -- which along with Israel is the only real state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Iranian Plateau. Iran may have a repulsive regime, but its society is probably healthier than most in the Arab world. So there is some hope.
You get the picture. Israel had a convenient situation for decades, surrounded as it was by stable Arab dictatorships. Israel could promote itself as the region's only real democracy, even as it quietly depended on the likes of Hosni Mubarak, the al Assad clan and the Hashemites to ensure order and more-or-less few surprises. Now dictators are falling and anarchy is on the rise. Fighting state armies of the kind that the Arab dictators built in wars in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 was simpler compared totoday's wars: Because the Arabs never really believed in their dysfunctional states, they didn't always fight very well in state-organized formations. But sub-state militaries like Hezbollah and Hamas have been more of a challenge. In the old days, Israel could destroy an Egyptian air force on the ground and solve its security dilemma in the south. Nowadays, to repeat, there are no solutions for Israel: only sub-state adversaries that hide among civilian concentrations in order to attack your own civilian concentrations. No peace ever, therefore, just periodic wars, hopefully spaced-out.
The Middle East today has turned out perfectly if you are a Jewish West Bank settler. The divisions within Palestinian ranks, coupled with the increasing anarchy of the Arab world, mean the opportunities for territorial concessions on Israel's part have diminished. In fact, Israel's only option may be more unilateral withdrawals. That is probably the only thing the settlers have to worry about.
But the Zionist dream lives on. Jerusalem and much of the rest of Israel are thriving. Light rail and pedestrian walkways make Jerusalem more vibrant than ever. The Arabs in the Old City survive well -- under the circumstances, that is -- on the "Jewish" side of the "fence," where the standard of living and quality of life is so much better than on the Arab side. The "fence" is both a monstrosity in abstract moralistic terms and a practical solution in an age of repeated diplomatic failure and fewer and fewer diplomatic opportunities. From 28 percent of the gross domestic product in the mid-1970s, Israeli military spending is down to between 6 and 8 percent of the country's GDP. Life is good in Israel. The unemployment rate is lower than in the United States and Europe, despite high housing costs and the need for reform in health care and education. One could argue that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- so vilified in the West -- has not handled the economy altogether badly.
But what about idealism? What about a better, more humane Middle East? What about the wise and talented statesmen who periodically see opportunities where others see none? What about slowing down Israel's drift to a quasi-Apartheid society, characterized by Israeli domination of the more numerous Arabs and something certainly not in Israel's interest? These are all real things to constantly keep in mind and to struggle for. But the Levant remains a zero-sum struggle for physical survival. So it is a place where there will always be benefits to dealing with strong dictators. Given their geographical circumstances, Israelis can be forgiven their cynicism.

Why Israel and Turkey Got Back Together

Why Israel and Turkey Got Back Together: Israel apologized, Turkey accepted, and the two countries have resolved a three-year dispute -- all because Turkey's leaders realized that they stood to benefit more from cooperating with Israel than from exploiting the dispute for domestic political gain.

Nepal: Grand job made in Delhi for Girija as Prez, Dr. Shekhar reveals

Nepal: Grand job made in Delhi for Girija as Prez, Dr. Shekhar reveals

Mar 21, 2013

Xi admits border problem with India tough to solve

Xi admits border problem with India tough to solve

China has legitimate role in Indo-Pacific security: report

CANBERRA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- China has a legitimate role to play in ensuring security in the Indian Ocean, a task force report produced by Australian and Indian experts said Wednesday.

The report, titled "Security, Stability and Sustainability in the 21st Century," was officially launched in Canberra Wednesday.

Approaches that seek to exclude China are unlikely to guarantee long-term regional stability, according to the report, commissioned by the Australia India Institute based at the University of Melbourne.

The report describes the northwest Indian Ocean as "potentially one of the most insecure areas on earth." Current security arrangements are seen as "fragile" and "incomplete."

The report calls for an inclusive approach to a region which is now home to the world's most important and sensitive trade routes. It warns that a host of threats, from piracy to failed states and sea-level rise require more active engagement by both great powers and local Indo-Pacific nations.

"We argue for the concept to be inclusive, meaning that China is included, in order to maximise long-term regional security," it said.

The report argues that with China and Japan relying heavily on oil imports shipped via the Indian Ocean, there is a compelling need for better security structures.

A fundamental shift in the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, including a decline in the relative military power of the United States, has created significant strategic uncertainties for Australia which are only likely to intensify, the report says.

The report notes Australia's relative neglect of the Indian Ocean Region in its strategic thinking.

But the region is likely to be elevated in strategic importance in the coming Defence White Paper by the Australian government.

Australia, India and South Africa will increasingly have mutual significant security interests this century, and these three nations could form the foundation for new regional maritime security cooperation arrangements in the Indian Ocean, it concludes.

Editor: Zhu Ningzhu
Courtesy: xinhuanet

Revolution in Nepal: Bolshevik-style?

By Post Bahadur Basnet

Thabang is a small village cloistered on the mid-western hills of Nepal, but it began to steal the limelight after the Maoists declared their Protracted People’s War in the spring of 1996 in an apparent bid to establish a communist regime in the Himalayan kingdom. This remote village in Rolpa district, which is home to some 300 households, most of them from the ethnic Kham Magar community indoctrinated in the radical communist ideology, became the nerve centre of the Maoist insurgency, and a hideout for the rebel leaders during the bloody war that claimed the lives of over 15,000 people before it formally came to an end in 2006. Thabang is regarded as the Mecca for radical communists and a source of inspiration for them.

And this explains why Ram Bahadur Thapa “Badal”, the general secretary of the breakaway Maoist party CPN-M led by Mohan Baidya “Kiran”, visited Thabang on February 13, 2013 to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the People’s War and reiterated his party’s commitment to “revolution”, even though, according to him, Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, chairman of the mother party UCPN (Maoist), and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, vice-chairman and Maoist ideologue, “betrayed” the causes of the revolution. After all, it was Badal, one of the key military strategists of the People’s War, who had played a major role in laying the foundation of the Maoist insurgency in the mid-western hills through the so-called “rural class struggle” even before the insurgency began in 1996.

The political document initiated by Baidya, which was endorsed by the party’s recently held general convention, stresses the need for ‘state capture’ to liberate the “dispossessed and oppressed” in Nepal. But while the party’s tactical line, as mentioned in the document presented by Kiran in the general convention, is vague at best, the leaders close to him state that the party is preparing for an “urban insurrection” using the achievements of the People’s War as a springboard and floating the issue of “national sovereignty” as its main agenda to garner the support of the hoi polloi. These leaders allege that former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who stepped down recently, is “pro-India” and that India had upped its ante in Nepal ever since his election to the helm some 18 months ago.

There is also widespread perception in Kathmandu that the formation of the current election government led by Chief Justice Khilaraj Regmi was an “Indian design”, and Baidya believes that the Nepalis, who are “too sensitive” on the issue of nationalism, will join hands with him and take to the streets to overthrow the government. Not surprisingly, then, Baidya, backed by 21 other fringe parties and members of civil society, held protest programmes on the day Regmi was sworn in by President Ram Baran Yadav, saying Regmi is heading the election government as per the “design of the external powers”. The party has also stated that the principal contradiction today is between the common Nepali people and the “domestic comprador-bourgeoisie and feudal lords protected and mobilized by India.”

Then, what are the strategies of the radical party for state capture?

The Baidya-driven radicals want to adopt the party line of the Second National Conference in 2001 when they had decided to supplement their Chinese model of revolution (protracted people’s war) with the Russian model (armed urban insurrection). In 2010, the Maoists had even bussed in thousands of people from across the country to Kathmandu for “an insurrection”, but failed to achieve their goal due mainly to the strong opposition from the Kathmandu middle class and the state mechanism that has remained intact. The Baidya faction however thinks that the plan failed mainly due to the reluctance of Prachanda and Bhattarai. While the objective condition for a communist revolution, Baidya has argued, is already there, the revolutionaries are not yet mentally prepared to effect such a revolution. Baidya argues that it is high time that they prepared for a revolution mentally, though many commentators, given his organizational strength and mass support, doubt his to ability to lead an insurrection.

The Maoist radicals compare the 2006 mass movement with the February 1917 movement in Russia that overthrew the Tsar and now they want to simulate the October Revolution when Lenin had capitalized on the contradictions and widespread chaos in Russia to capture the state by mobilizing the militia.

The radicals make six points to justify why an insurrection in Nepal is imminent. First, the Nepali state has long been in serious political crisis and no solution seems to be on the horizon. Second, people are disillusioned with the political system and want to overhaul it. Thirdly, the people from the lower strata of society are having a hard time due to the soaring prices of consumer goods, unaffordable fees for their children’s education in private schools, and expensive healthcare system, among other things. Fourth, there is a “nationalist” section in the Nepal Army and other security apparatuses that is against “foreign interferences” in Nepal and will be ready to forge an alliance with them. Fifth, a militant wing called National People’s Volunteers Bureau is being formed to take charge of the situation. Finally, a “strong revolutionary party with honest and committed cadres” has been formed to seize state power by capitalizing on the protracted political and constitutional crisis.

Now the radicals are focusing on urban-centric demonstrations and strikes. They are mobilizing trade unions, students, slum dwellers, hawkers, and peasants and ethnic people from the outskirts of Kathmandu and the surrounding districts. Firstly, workers from the trade union of the UCPN (M) are defecting to the CPN-M mainly because UCPN (M)-led unionists have allegedly been sold out to the owners of the business houses, and can no longer protect and promote the interests of the workers.

For example, around 200 workers from the UCPN (M) joined the Baidya faction accusing the leaders of corruption. The UCPN (M) has also antagonized the slum dwellers which used to be the party’s constituency. It came as a shock to many leftists in Kathmandu when the UCPN (M)-led government demolished around 250 huts along the banks of the Bagmati River for occupying public land illegally. Baidya is also cashing in on that move of the UCPN (M). He is also supposed to have a good support base among the ethnic groups. Many prominent Maoist leaders from various ethnic groups are with his faction. While Baidya prioritizes class over ethnicity, he has clearly stated that his party is ready to address the issue of inclusion and identity.

The role of students in Nepal’s politics has always been very significant and, as per the expectation of the Baidya group, many young students are likely to join them because of their “revolutionary zeal and leftist adventurism.” They have always been instrumental in effecting general strikes and played very active roles in the 1990 and 2006 mass movements.

And finally, chances are high that the party may join forces with the rightists and royalists whom his party calls “nationalist” forces. And, the possibility of the Hindu fundamentalists, who want Nepal to become a Hindu state, joining forces with Baidya to derail the whole political process cannot be ruled out.

But the radical party is likely to get into crisis if the election takes place as per the plans of the Maoist-led government. Various reports state that only around 30 percent of the cadres joined the new CPN-M when it split from the UCPN (Maoist) in June 2012. The party has committed cadres, but it lacks popular support across the country and its chances of performing well in the elections are slim. The Baidya faction will then have no time to organise and marshal its forces for either participating in the elections or sabotaging the process. It may instead lead to intra-party disputes over whether the party should participate in the election or not, which could even lead to yet another split in the Baidya faction of the Maoist party with one of the factions again holding on to the ultra-radical Maoist ideology and opting for a violent path to seize state power. The left wing political parties of Nepal are infamous for factionalism and splits. The Bolshevik style intervention by the Baidya faction threatens to take Nepal back to yet another round of social and political turmoil.

Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India

March 20, 2013

Nepal: Social paradigm of national politics needs a clear shift

Nepal: Social paradigm of national politics needs a clear shift

Mar 19, 2013

A New Reality in U.S.-Israeli Relations

A New Reality in U.S.-Israeli Relations

Nepal: Political Match Fixing!

By Deepak Gajurel

Four party syndicate is fixing match before the elections for another CA.

Please click on the following link to listen or download an analysis on radio talk show which was broadcast live by Image News FM 103.6, on March 19, 2013 (Chaitra 06, 2069).

Your comments/feedback will be appreciated.

Mar 17, 2013

यो केको शंकेत हो ?

दीपक गजुरेल
कसलाई प्रमुख निर्वाचन आयुक्त बनाउने भन्ने निर्णय श्री ४ ले गरेको जानकारी औपचारिक रुपमा बाहिर आयो । 'प्रमुख शक्ति' भनिने यिनले गरेको यही 'सिफारिस' अनुसार 'अध्यक्ष' ले नियुक्ति गरे भने, 'स्वतन्त्र' होइन त्यो ठाउँमा एउटा लौरो ठड्याएको भएपनि कठपुतलीको काम गरिहाल्ने थियो ।

अब 'अध्यक्ष' ले श्री ४ को सिफारिस विपरित गरे भने राजनीतिक दलहरुको हैसियत कता पुग्ने हो ? निर्दलीयता / निरंकुशता खै केके शुरु हुने भनेको यही हो कि !

अघिको भन्दा फरक खालको रक्तपातको आरम्भको शंकेत पो हो कि यो चाला ?

The CIA has Attempted to Assassinate 50 Foreign Leaders Including Chavez

The CIA has Attempted to Assassinate 50 Foreign Leaders Including Chavez

Mar 14, 2013

Every political party in Nepal has sought support from intelligence agencies in India, the US and Europe

Prof. SD Muni
Prof. S. D. Muni

With major parties yet to reach thelong-promised consensus, Indian leaders are once again in town stressing on a pan-political agreement and maintaining what they say is India’s non-interference policy.Indian policy towards Nepal emerges as a controversial issue every time the country sees political changes. To try to get a sense of that policy, Professor SD Muni, a Nepal-expert in India, was interviewed by Navin Singh Khadka of the BBC Nepali service during President Ram BaranYadav’s India-visit in December. (The interview was broadcast by the BBC then). Excerpts:

We have seen Prime Minister BaburamBhattarai having had one on one with his Indian counterpart a number of times. He has told us that he has been able to convince the Indian side that his government will not allow Nepal to slide back into political instability. What do you make out of it?
Muni: Listen, the Baburam government, all said and done, is an elected government. Even the Nepali Congress had at one stage accepted to form a national government under Baburam and they sent Sitaula to join the cabinet. And then suddenly, within few days Sitaula was withdrawn. Now the Maoists and the Nepali Congress had struck a deal that we will carry through the constitutional process and you will give us the prime ministership for elections. Somewhere this understanding got vitiated. Now Nepali Congress, obviously blames Maoists and the later obviously blames the former that Nepali Congress had no heart in the federal constitution or in the agenda of New Nepal of political change. The Nepali Congress says that the Maoists have changed their goal posts and therefore they have altered. This is the real crisis. Now in this crisis, I think the president has tried. I have a feeling that India tried, through informal means, to see if a compromise can emerge out of them, but it is not emerging. And at this stage if the president takes a precipitate action like dismissing this government and appointing a new prime minister, it will certainly lead to a conflict because the Maoist claim is that they are an elected government. So he cannot impose SushilKoirala or any third person as a prime minister against the wishes of the Maoists because they will then go to the street and the political instability will ensue. On the other hand, within the constitutional framework, the president has no right to appoint a prime minister. That is where the constitutional position is stuck. Anybody, either the president, or India or the Nepali Congress and the UML does anything against the consensus, the situation will deteriorate. On the other hand, Baburam’s government is not acceptable to these parties. And the Baburam government and the Maoists have very clearly said they are willing to give in. But, you know there has to be some give and take on both the sides. Now what is the give on the Nepali Congress and the UML (is something) I fail to understand. They are simply saying let this government go and give the power to us and we will decide whatever it is. You would know that some of the ethnic groups and ethnic parties, including the Tarai parties, are very strongly suspicious whether the UML and Nepali Congress would carry out a federal constitution or the New Nepal agenda. This a political problem and I don’t think an easy way out is possible. Either the president should accept that the majority government should be allowed to go through because consensus is not possible and therefore let us go to elections and defeat them in the elections which the other parties do not seem to be very confident of.

You have been stressing that theBaburam governmentis an elected one. But the parliament has been dissolved and the opposition parties are claiming that this government cannot say that it can remain in power citing the same parliament.
Fair enough, at the moment it does not have the parliamentary support. But it came to power through the parliament, that is point number one. Point number two is I come from a democratic country, and in India or any other country when the parliament is dissolved for the next elections, the government which is in office actually holds the election which the other political parties in Nepal are not allowing or not accepting that. This is where the problem is. Unfortunately , there is a clause in the interim constitution that every decision should be taken by consensus. Indian position has also been the one the president is hanging on. Now consensus is not possible, at least it does not seem possible because if the consensus was possible, I think the Baburamgovernment should have been a national government, they should have drafted a constitution with the help of the Nepali Congress and they could go to elections. At that time, somebody else could become (the prime minister). That unfortunately has not happened. I think all these political parties, including the Maoists are more stuck on power rather than on principles or commitments for the wellbeing of Nepal. That’s where the problem is. Now how do you resolve this problem when people have so heavy stakes in power is a mind-boggling question. I don’t think I have an answer, I don’t think the president has a clear and clean answer, I don’t think India has a clean answer. That’s where the problem is.

You have been supportive of this particular government. You have tweeted saying “national government under BaburamBhattarai will be a reflection of the restoration of long lost national consensus...
That was long time back now. That was the time when the constituent assembly was still on. I have not said it now. In fact my latest tweet was that every party should nominate two nominees and the Maoists’ nominee should be the prime minister and the rest of the nominee should be in the cabinet. I have tweeted for a neutral government. I am sorry, I have not been a supporter of the Maoists. I have been a supporter of a consensus between the Nepali Congress and the Maoists because that was the basic consensus which brought about the radical change in Nepal. Unfortunately that broke down on the basis of power after the elections when the Maoists emerged as the strongest group and they did not accommodate Girijababu as the president. That’s where the root of the problem is. I have written about it. My contention even today is that Nepali Congress and the Maoists must bring about a consensus. Otherwise, no good will happen to Nepal as a country.

But we get to read in newspapers about, for instance, Indian intelligence saying that parties like “Nepali Congress are deposit power and the Maoists are the emerging power.”
If the intelligence people had the intelligence, things would have been much different. I am totally cut off by the way political assessments are made by the intelligence agency. I am more worried that these political assessments made by the intelligence unfortunately are being pursued at the political level, at the leadership level, that is the unfortunate side. But I cannot vouch for what Mr.Tripathy said or what he did not say as I am sitting in Singapore. Even if I am in Kathmandu, I would not know who has said what to whom. I don’t go with these media reports and I mush share it with you that I have quite serious questions about how Nepali media carries its stories. They have carried stories about which is totally baseless, they have carried stories about Shyam Saran which are totally baseless. You can’t help it, anyway this is a separate issue, it doesn’t deal with the present question.

You did mention in your chapter in the book “Nepal in transition” that there was this relation between the then RAW chief and BaburamBhattarai and that relation facilitated better understanding between the Maoists and RAW. What do you think right now is the relation between the two sides now?
Well, have you read the chapter carefully? You know, I have been much maligned and abused for that chapter. I tried to describe the position of the government of India, in which I said the intelligence chief and the [then] foreign secretary Shyam Saran were on the one side, the army and others were on the other side. That is how I described it and I said they pleaded that the Maoists must be listened to and understood because the change in Nepal seemed eminent to them. In fact, that is not the meaning of saying that Baburam was governed by the Indian intelligence agencies of India, as many of your Nepal media really broke it out. The intelligence agencies of India, I must tell you, have been supporting…almost every political party has fallen and sought support from the intelligence agencies of India, of America, and of the European community. You want me to discuss that on the radio, perhaps I am not ready for that. If I have to write another chapter, I will write it. But that is not question of political understanding. The political understanding is people have voted some into power. Under no democratic rule, there is a musical chair which is happening in Nepal. What is happening in Nepal is it is our turn to become the prime minister. I have never heard this dialogue in any democracy. Look at India’s position, there is so much bad blood between BJP and the UPA government. But the BJP accepts that you have come to power and you have the majority for whatever worth it is, you have to have your five years. That is not a principle that is being accepted in Nepal. And the whole blame is sometimes on New Delhi, sometimes on intelligence agencies. I think there was a time when all the political parties in Nepal were together. Nobody could influence them. Karan Singh came to influence the Raja and the political parties were all together. So what happened? Karan Singh’s influence did not work. So, there may be countries, there may be forces, there may be agencies which would try to influence the Nepali political scene but they will succeed only when the Nepali political scene is divided. I think I will urge upon right thinking Nepalese to please concentrate on this internal division and fragmentation which has taken place in Nepali politics rather than seeking solutions anywhere else outside Nepal.

I brought up the issue of Indian intelligence because many say there is a kind of difference between Indian establishment and intelligence agencies when it comes to dealing with Nepal. Do you think so?
The intelligence agencies all over the world put in their inputs into the government. CIA has a line so far as the US is concerned. But listen, the last decision – the final decision—comes out of the political establishment. Let’s accept that.So, is the case with India. India is a democracy. There are all kinds of interest groups all around, including intelligence agencies, including army, including former princely states, business lobbies, people of Indian origin, Shankaracharyas, there is RSS, all kinds of influences which are there. It’s a hobbyhorse in Nepal to go on beating about RAW and intelligence agencies. Yes, RAW and intelligence agencies are there. They work. They sometimes work correctly, sometimes incorrectly, sometimes they vitiate the problem, sometimes they are unable to do anything. You can’t peg all your decision making, all your developments in Nepal just on intelligence agencies. That shows the level of understanding of the Indian political system. Tell me actually how many Nepalese are understanding or reading or studying the Indian political system how it works? Intelligence agencies are not the only factor, only force in the political system.

The newly appointed External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid, said that to break the political stalemate in Kathmandu the only way out is the national consensus government. That came just when some people believed that BaburamBhattarai enjoyed the support of the Indian intelligence. So, does what Mr.Khursidsaid mark a shift in the Indian establishment’s policy?
What Khurshid has said has been said repeatedly from 2006 onwards. I am telling you consensus is the only answer. If there is no consensus today, let the President take a precipitate decision as the Nepali Congress or UML are asking him to do that and appoint a new prime minister, you will see the whole of Kathmandu boiling in one way or the other. See, this is not the answer. Or, today even the president said alright, let Baburam do whatever he wants to do there will be another group of people agitating on the streets of Kathmandu. That’s not an answer. Real answer is consensus. When did India deviate from consensus? Consistently, Indian policy has been that there should be a consensus—whatever the consensus is. The consensus may be on a particular prime minister, particular party or consensus may be even on a neutral government. So, it all depends on how your consensus evolves. If people in Nepal, who are in politics, are not willing to make even a temporary compromise from their power ambition, God save the country and God save the people, I tell you.

It is often said that Indian politicians or establishment don’t have much time for Nepalese issues and affairs…
That is true. I have said that publicly in Kathmandu. When you give too much of weightage to India, try to understand that Indian politicians, Indian establishment have many other issues to deal with. They are not all the time—as media in Nepal will project—busy in conspiring in Nepal, who should do what. This is not their business. They react extempore sometimes but when policy is made all of the factors are taken into account. Policy at the moment and since 2006 has been that you go by consensus. If consensus fails, then your interim constitution provides for a majority government within the parliament. So after what you call an interim government all other governments have been majority government.

Top leaders, including the President of India (when he was the foreign minister), have gone on the record saying that India was the country that helped bring Maoists into the political mainstream to launch Nepal’s peace process.And now that things are not happening and people on the streets are suffering, don’t you think India should correct itself vis a visits Nepal policy?
What did it do? It helped the peace process to come up. When the Maoists started to come to mainstream, the King started talking to them. Was it not true? When everything else failed, all the political parties wanted India to be involved. Yes, India got involved in the peace process. It is unfortunate that what India thought would happen has not happened. So, it is the failure of that policy but in that policy, India was one of the factors. India was not the only, the single factor analysis. The apology should come from the political parties. You don’t remember your political leaders have been slapped by your people largely because they broke their aspirations, they violated their aspirations. India has made a policy calculation that if this change comes about, democracy would stabilise. Democracies don’t stabilise in one year or two year or three year or four years. So, you call in Nepali a ‘sankraman’ period, it’s a transition period. Transition has been very very painful. It is painful to Nepali people, it is painful to Indian decision makers also. I was supportive of this change and today I say, democracy is any day better than the royalist regime. I have no hesitation in saying even at the cost of abuse or harass. But, that is my opinion. I mean democracy is better for Thailand, democracy is better for Maldives, democracy is better for Pakistan, for any other country. This is our opinion. But people of Nepal decided, they came out on the streets and they all pinned their hopes on political parties. Who have not delivered them? Yes, India can sit down and regret that the kind of faith they had on Nepali leadership has not come true. But apologise to whom? What crime Indian policy committed in helping transition to a democratic regime from an autocratic system?

I have seen your write-ups talking about Chinese influence growing in Nepal. Do you still see that happening?
I don’t think I have written it but I would say China is an emerging global power. I cannot imagine a situation in which Chinese influence is not growing in Nepal or South Asia when it is growing all over the world. So, what is the big deal about it? I think there are several policy decisions made by the Prime Ministers of India in which he has said Chinese influence is growing, we have to adjust, we have to deal with China not only in X, Y, Z countries, also in South Asia. It is not as much a challenge to Indian diplomacy, it is as much a challenge to Chinese diplomacy. Chinese are asking India not to dabble into South China Sea which is India’s neighbourhood. This is a separate issue than the internal political system of Nepal.

But then they say that this is where Nepal gets caught in the crossfire, which engulfs everything including politics.
Well it happens when regional and international changes take place. India got caught in the cold war crossfire. India can today, tomorrow get caught in the US-China crossfire. India got caught into the Pakistan-China crossfire. It happens. This is the strength of your political leadership to cope with these challenges. I think in India they will cope with these challenges. China is crying hoarse why US is coming in South East Asia. Well, they will have to cope with it.These are the challenges of international system, these are the challenges of global power politics. You can’t deny them. One has to face them.

So, don’t you think it is expecting too much of the fighting political parties in Nepal to deal with these huge emerging global powers?
Well, Khadkajee, I have my full sympathy for Nepal. All the time I have been praying, I have written to many of my best friends in Nepal. We have all been wishing for stability in Nepal. The Nepali leadership will be able to cope with regional and international changes, if they succeed in coping with their own domestic changes and challenges. Unfortunately, they have failed so far in coping with their own domestic challenges. Tell me, all the political parties can’t wait until elections are held. They all want to remain in power to hold the elections because they feel insecure. They are very afraid that if they go to the elections without being in the power they would not return their own candidates. In this kind of a situation, one can only sit down and pray to the God that give them good sense so that they think of people of Nepal, wellbeing of Nepal rather than they being in power for four months or six months or eight months or twelve months.

Courtesy: BBC Nepali Service

Mar 6, 2013

Nepal: A Complete Failure of Political parties

By Deepak Gajurel

Please click on the following link to listen or download for an analysis on the current political mess in Nepal and possible way out.

The radio talk show was broadcast live by Image News FM 103.6 on March 05, 2013 (Fagun 22, 2069)