Backed Into a Corner
Maoist strongman Prachanda, showing by upraised fingers, how many options his Maoists have left.
The "Farce One," Prachanda has really backed his Maoists into a corner this time.
World attention has been focused on his little non-ceasefire and now he has nowhere to hide. Tomorrow the ceasefire supposedly ends, and the Maoists have to make a no-win choice on whether to extend the ceasefire or resume their militaristic terrorism.
If they extend, they show the world that they are weakened and are submitting to world opinion, as they have already milked all the tactical advantages possible from this move. Remember: Maoists only talk, negotiate or call a ceasefire when they feel they can either get some advantage from the process, or that they are out of options.
If they don't extend, they have to show how ending their ceasefire is somehow going to result in a resumption and an escalation of military activity. (Blogdai wonders how they will resume anything since they never stopped their activities in the first place.) The point is, calling off the ceasefire will signal that the Maoists feel they are strong enough to go it alone.
In fact, the ceasefire "deadline" itself will nullify the continuance of any tactical advantages the Maoists may currently be realizing by forcing them to publicly declare their intentions anew: Change course and lose support or stay the course and the "deadline" turns into an ill-conceived and irrelevant point of weakness. The last thing Prachanda should have done was to trap himself in this political day of reckoning.
We've already stated here that the Maoists are no longer capable of large-scale military operations, and the RNA is now striking at the teeth of Maoist-Central: Rukum,--freeing some 1000 conscripts in the process--so what will the Maoists do tomorrow if they end their ceasefire? Blogdai doubts there is a massive counter attack planned by the Maoists in Rukum, so where will this fearsome resumption start and how can it possibly be significant in the face of RNA advances in Rukum?
We also have the FNJ and other groups demonstrating in the streets imploring the Maoists to extend the ceasefire. What kind of "People's Movement" would it be if Prachanda does not heed their call?
And, oops! Calling off the ceasefire puts our little 7-party alliance squarely in the Maoists corner. They are such close buddies with the Maoists that they surely must have been consulted and therefore, complicit.
Blogdai is honestly torn as to what Prachanda will do. Extend or not, what the Maoists decide tomorrow will give observers and pundits alike the most definitive clues yet on the current state of Maoist military capability and resolve.
That is why tomorrow's decision is significant. Prachanda has played his last trump card with this ceasefire. The world thinks he is a good guy for doing so and thinks the King is a meany for not reciprocating. So, tomorrow, in front of a now attentive international community, Prachanda will decide whether he will remain a weakened good guy, or resume his terror campaign to the universal and final condemnation of the world.
OK, here's the call: Watch the old man. Koirala must know something we don't because he is calling for the Maoists to extend the ceasefire and give the King "one more chance." This is a typical Girija move: step in and take credit for an inevitable, if not obvious move. Blogdai thinks the Maoists will agree to extend the ceasefire only if the King does likewise. They are too weak to call it off and go it alone, but will try to use the King as an excuse for ending their brand of unilateralism. They will voice their displeasure by disrupting the upcoming polls and will spin the whole thing to the gullible international community as an example of a despotic King not wanting peace. So, blogdai says, if the Maoists have the spine, they will hide their weakness and end the ceasefire; it will be their last large-scale act of defiance.