This entire crisis complicates politics for the simple reason that no side feels that it has lost. Don’t mistake this for a win-win situation. It is a situation where all sides are smug, their ambitions are stoked, and they are even more unwilling to make any concessions.
This has actually been a problem right since the 12 point deal. The king got dumped. But besides that, no actor has had to relent on their fundamental interests and give concessions.
The army, after a temporary cooling-off period, was rehabilitated and its privileges were protected. For GP Koirala, April 2006 was a moment to take over the state apparatus and keep the seat warm for his daughter, while protecting the interests of the NC class base. The Maoists saw the entire process, and the polls, as a tactical victory on way to state control.
In the last fortnight, this tenuous situation has only got more retrenched. The NA’s political role and links and divisions within may have got totally exposed. But the top brass feels they have won a huge victory and will be even less amenable to civilian control. The Maoists may not have succeeded in throwing out Katawal, but they feel they have won a moral victory by resigning and are complacent that the political stalemate cannot be resolved without them. UML and MJF think this is their chance to lead the government. And NC is already thrilled at the money that will come with the ministries. Continue reading The resignation aftermath→
[On the seventh anniversary of Guantanamo Bay, 11 January]
The United States detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – seven years old on 11 January 2009 – have become emblematic of the gross human rights abuses perpetrated by the US Government in the name of fighting terrorism. Though the U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to close down the Guantanamo Bay, there are undoubtedly substantial challenges to closing. Every day that Guantánamo is kept open is another day in which hundreds of detainees and their families are kept in the legal shadows. Distressing to the individuals concerned and destructive of the rule of law, the example it sets – of a powerful country undermining fundamental human rights principles – is dangerous to us all. It would be no less dangerous, and no less unlawful, if the USA were simply to transfer the problem it has created at Guantánamo to another locations.
The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay isn’t the only prison where the United States is holding detainees from the ‘war on terror.’ At Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, Camp Bucca and Camp Cropper in Iraq, and many more – some known and others secret – are used to detain those captured by the U.S. military. Camp Bucca alone has at times held 20,000 prisoners, most of whom live in groups of tents surrounded by wire. Most detainees are held unlawfully, without warrant or charge, and without recourse to challenge their detention. Even when Guantánamo is closed, the need to push for detainee human rights will continue.