Meanwhile here's David Seddon (the David Seddon) with his considered opinion of Nepal, in this week's SW.
For several months towards the end of last year, the prolongation of a unilateral ceasefire declared by Nepal’s Maoist rebels was not reciprocated by the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA). But it meant that ordinary people were able to visit their families with less risk of being caught up in the conflict.
The lack of constructive response to the Maoist initiative by the royal junta led the insurgents – struggling for nearly a decade to transform Nepal from a backward agrarian economy ruled by a semi-feudal Hindu monarchy – to call off their ceasefire and resume their remarkably successful armed struggle.
The Maoists now control the vast majority of the countryside in Nepal. Increasingly they are demonstrating that they can also threaten the urban areas. Several towns in the plains of Nepal, notably Nepalgunj, a major town in the mid-west, have been coming under persistent attack in recent weeks.
The capacity of the Maoists to mobilise support in urban areas will prove significant in the coming months. Their strategy includes urban insurrection in combination with rural insurgency and protracted people’s war. The Maoists are in a strong military and political position.
They want to show the impossibility of a military solution by the king and the RNA and to win over other opposition political parties to a common agenda for popular democracy.