Passport

Nepal’s unraveling?

Back in February, International Crisis Group warned of “Nepal’s Faltering Peace Process.” Despite the initially high hopes for peace after the Maoists were elected in 2008, today their warning looks prescient: a general stike is paralyzing the capital city and the constitutional reform promised in the peace agreement seems more distant than ever. It’s the ...

584879_090615_nepal2.jpg
Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) activists (L) move iron barricades to block a road during a protest in Kathmandu on June 14, 2009. The Maoists protested against the alleged murder of one of their cadres. AFP PHOTO/Prakash MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Back in February, International Crisis Group warned of “Nepal’s Faltering Peace Process.” Despite the initially high hopes for peace after the Maoists were elected in 2008, today their warning looks prescient: a general stike is paralyzing the capital city and the constitutional reform promised in the peace agreement seems more distant than ever. It’s the latest escalation in a crisis that puts the country closest to conflict that it has been since the civil war ended in 2006.

 

The crisis gained momentum last month Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal quit the government after the President refused to allow Dahal to sack the army chief. The army, Dahal argued, was holding up one of the key tenents of the peace agreement: the reintegration of Maoist troops into the Nepali army.

Now with a new Prime Minister in office, the political crisis has reached fever pitch. As Crisis Group analyst Rhoderick Chalmers recently put it, “with politics more militarised than at any point since the April 2006 peoples movement, Kathmandus ministerial musical chairs is not a risk- free parlour game.”  Today’s strike is apparently in anger over the killing of Maoist youth leader Rajendra Phuyal. No one has taken the blame for his death, but the Maoists blame political opponents.

Not to be a pessimist, but all the signs indicate that things will get worse before they get better. It’s a perfect storm, if politics allows it to be unleashed: increasing impuntiy on the streets, youth anger, a lack of political consensus, deviation from the peace agreement, and a whole slew of Maoist army members who are for now voluntarily housed in UN camps — but whose patience, one might imagine, won’t last forever.

Fingers crossed I’m wrong. 

AFP/Getty Images 

A decade of Global Thinkers

A decade of Global Thinkers

The past year's 100 most influential thinkers and doers Read Now

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola