May 6, 2009Foreign Affairs

UNMINdful

Prachandagate casts the UN mission in poor light

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

What is interesting about the Prachanda video is not that it exists (via Sandeep Dougal’s blog), but rather, that it was leaked to the media at this time. Someone the Maoist leader offended decided to play a card and make things a little more difficult for Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

The tapes show Mr Dahal crowing about how the Maoists had hoodwinked the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). UNMIN was up to monitor monitoring of arms and combatants under the Agreement on the Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (AMMAA) of December 8th, 2006. An UNMIN representative—a military officer of the rank of brigadier—chairs the committee that enforces the AMMAA.

Essentially Mr Dahal inflated the number of militants he had under his command—from around 8000 to around 35,000. After UNMINs verification, this number came down to 20,000. [According to UNMIN, 32,250 were initially registered, of which 19,602 were verified]. Why is this significant?

For (at least) three reasons. First, a larger headcount enabled the Maoists to collect a larger financial settlement than they would have otherwise have been entitled to. Second, it would allow the Maoists to recruit the vacancies’, expanding their ranks during the peace process, in violation of the agreement. Finally, when these troops do get absorbed in the Nepalese army—which is part of the agreement—it would give the Maoists to obtain full control of that institution.

As Mr Dahal says, the Maoists’ eventual objective remains the setting up of a revolutionary Maoist one-party state, which is impossible unless they first control the army. The video puts the current political crisis in context and reveals, in Mr Dahal’s own words, the Maoists’ hand.

It is unlikely that Mr Dahal’s fraud could have occurred without the knowledge of Nepal’s political parties. But what about UNMIN? If UNMIN was unaware of the real strength of the Maoists, it is guilty of gross incompetence. If it was indeed aware of it, then it is party to fraud. In either case, there are serious questions relating to UNMINs role and competence.



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