Angolan Civil War

Topics: Cold War, Angolan Civil War, Soviet Union Pages: 6 (2197 words) Published: November 14, 2010
4 Analyze the effects of the cold war on apartheid in South Africa or on another specified issue and region or country.

Note: Initially, my plan was to cover the whole period of the cold war and its effects on Angola. While researching for this topic though, I came across a vast body of works and therefore decided to focus on a more specific theme: Soviet-American competition in the region between 1974 and 1976.

What role did competition between the superpowers have in the early stages of the Angolan Civil War (1974-76)? ________________________________

As revolution erupted in Portugal in 1974, independence movements in virtually all of its former colonies gained considerable momentum. In Angola, unlike the other colonies, there were three main factions contending for power: the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the Front for the National Liberation of Angola (FNLA), and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Each of these factions had their own tribal connections and ideological inclinations, and within each there were internal conflicts. Each also had its own, often fluctuating, support from outside powers. The MPLA, led by Agostinho Neto, was then seen as the most westernized of the three: a relatively organized political organization with a Marxist ideology. Due to an internal power struggle, it had just been cut off from modest Soviet support and been divided into two factions. One of these factions, under Daniel Chipenda, briefly received some Soviet as well as Chinese support before leaning into the FNLA. Throughout the conflict, Cuba remained the main supporter of the MPLA, providing them with significant military assistance[1]. The FNLA, led by Holden Roberto since 1960, had been receiving covert support from the CIA since July 1974[2]. At the time it had by far the largest military contingent of the three groups, and collaborated with the Agency from their base in Kinshasa by providing field intelligence[3]. UNITA, headed by Jonas Savimbi, had broken off from the FNLA. It was the most anti-western faction, with little outside ties, most of which came from China. Savimbi personally led guerilla fighting from 1967 onwards, and was greatly opposed to the MPLA. After years of colonial wars, the Portuguese army finally seized power from the government of Portugal in April 1974 and ceased all offensive military actions against the Angolan opposition the following month. They arranged cease-fire agreements with UNITA in June and with the MPLA and FNLA in October. All three movements opened offices in the capital Luanda, and shortly after the first attempt to seize power was made by the FNLA in November[4]. There was considerable bloodshed, prompting members of the OAU, especially President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, to get Neto, Roberto, and Savimbi to meet in Kenya in early January 1975. This led to the Alvor accord, which was signed on January 15, where they agreed to a tripartite collaboration with the Portuguese in a transitional government, to be formed and take over power from Portugal on November 11, 1975. The Alvor accord was the highpoint in terms of efforts to achieve a peaceful succession to independence[5]. The contest for power in independent Angola grew significantly, and in June 1974 the Chinese sent a substantial quantity of arms and 120 military advisors to the FNLA in Zaire[6]. In July the CIA began to increase covert funding to the FNLA[7] and by October the Soviet Union resumed their support to the MPLA. Further Soviet increases in arms supplies to the MPLA during mid 1975 were influenced by the continuing bid for power by the FNLA, supported by the Chinese as well as the Americans. This further assistance from the Soviets was probably designed to make sure the MPLA would stay in the battle. As Henry Kissinger later testified, the administration interpreted the Soviet arms supply to the MPLA from 1974...
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