BANGLADESH: Coups and Chaos

From the moment of its independence, Bangladesh has lived on the edge of anarchy. Thousands of leftist Mukti Bahini guerrillas who had fought for independence from Pakistan retained their arms after the fighting ended. The 35,000-man army simmered with discontent, and rivalries between volatile factions were held in check mainly by the prestige of Sheik Mujibur Rahman, whom Bengalis revered as Bangaban-dhu (friend of Bengal). But last August Mujib and his family were massacred by the "seven majors," a group of young officers who staged a brutal lightning coup against Mujib's increasingly corrupt and autocratic regime. Lacking broad popular support,...

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