Sunday, January 07, 2007

7th January


Anonymous said...

Mr. Sacrava...can you please give me the email of KI media. I have a document that I have written about January 7th of 1979 and would like to post it up on KI Media. If you are not able to give me the email please read this and post it on KI Media. Thank You.

The Vietnamese Invasion of Cambodia in 1979
Precursors leading to the downfall of war torn Cambodia by Vietnam and afterwards

Many would like to believe that the invasion of Cambodia on January 7th 1979 by Vietnamese forces numbering more than 90,000 troops comprising of T-54 tanks, MIG jet fighters, and 20,000 of Cambodia’s own anti-government rebels was liberation. It was a false sense of hope, a false liberation, refugees and survivors believed it to be liberation only because the systematic killings under the Democratic Party of Kampuchea were put to an end. It is sad to mention that Khmers were pitted against Khmers as has happened so many times throughout Cambodian history. Khmer Freedom Fighters under Vietnam’s support would seek revenge for the deaths of family members by seeking revenge and killing more of their own people. The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP Cambodian People’s Puppet) puts great emphasis on the fact that Khmers everywhere owe gratitude to Vietnam for ending the genocide of Cambodia by thwarting the plans of force labor, starvation, and execution numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The CPP also wants to celebrate January 7th as the date of liberation in honor of Vietnam, but Khmers everywhere should ask themselves whether or not they should thank their neighbor for this more than “grateful” gift of ending persecution because not only did Vietnam put an end to the genocide by the Khmer Rouge, but they also had a hand in creating genocide in helping with the formation of the Khmer Rouge in and implementing a plan known as the K-5 Plan after the invasion of ‘79.
The beginnings of the Khmer Rouge coined by Sihanouk as Red Khmers can be traced to the development of the KCP (Kampuchean Communist Party) who were composed mainly of Vietnamese Cambodians and dissident farmers. The KCP would follow the development of the Vietnam Workers Party (VWP) and Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) headed by Ho Chi Minh. The objective of both the ICP and VWP was to establish socialist parties within both Laos and Cambodia in the hopes that an Indochinese Federation would one day be recognized and lead by whom else other than the leaders of Hanoi? Vietnam’s socialist ideology would stem from aid given by nations who had fallen under the doctrines of Carl Marx, nations such as China and the Soviet Union. From the dissertation of Stephen J. Morris in Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia as a Soviet Ambassador for North Vietnam puts it: “The program of the Vietnamese comrades of Indochina is to replace the reactionary regimes in Saigon, Vientiane, and Phnom Penh with progressive ones, and later when all Vietnam, and also Laos and Cambodia, start on the road to socialism, to move toward the establishment of a Federation of the Indochinese countries. This course of the VWP flows from the program of the former communist party of Indochina.1” The real intention of those in Hanoi was to create a disguise of promising socialism in Laos and Cambodia so that these countries would fall to civil war and become weakened so that Vietnam would easily have control over the leadership of these two bordering countries. Since Vietnam conducted deep relations with the Soviet Union and China directly, the military support and economic aid to Vietnam was of substantial amount. The leaders of Hanoi were at the forefront of creating a socialist triangle in Indochina because of their military strength, neither Cambodia nor Laos was directly aided by China or the Soviet Union until it was too late, to this day we see that the objectives of Vietnam were accomplished since both Laos and Cambodia are puppet countries relying heavily on the decisions of its more powerful neighbor. Resources of rice and fish exports from the lands of Cambodia go directly to Vietnam to be sold for profit while the citizens of Cambodia pay higher prices for commodities they developed themselves. Civil war has left Cambodia in ruins; before we blame Khmers and each other for this atrocity we must look at how and why Vietnam influenced the Khmer Rouge into power.
There are three separate divisions that would outline the KCP, those of FUNK, (United National Front of Kampuchea) farmers and royalists loyal to Sihanouk after his loss of power in the Khmer Republic coup, the Maoist Nationalists headed by Pol Pot and the Ieng Sary clique, and the Khmer Viet Minh, Vietnamese Cambodians who were trained in Hanoi of tactics in propaganda and guerilla warfare. The KCP were compelled by the Vietnamese uprising against French colonialism and in a bid to copy the VWP movement, the KCP developed a doctrine which was to free Cambodia from the hands of imperialist colonizers (America and France) and the monarchy for an independent Cambodia controlled by the majority of Cambodians, who were the peasants and farmers. The KCP was heavily influenced by Vietnam through economic and military aid. Vietnam had given birth to the predecessors of the Khmer Rouge. This support would heighten in the face of the Vietnam War with the United State’s involvement in South Vietnam.
Cambodia was the key country to winning or losing the Vietnam War because vital areas in Northeastern Cambodia were part of the supply line of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Ho Chi Minh Trail supply line provided weapons and logistical support to the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong fighting in South Vietnam. To attack this trail meant disrupting it along North and South Vietnam and also Cambodia. Not only did weapons from both China and the Soviet Union flow through Cambodia through this route, but the NVA and Viet Cong were using Cambodian land as sanctuaries against the U.S. bombing and offensive. The NVA was violating Cambodia’s neutrality in the war by placing troops within Cambodia which would later involve the U.S. Both countries have violated the Geneva Conventions of War on Cambodia’s sovereignty, but it was the best interest of Cambodia to align itself with the U.S. in fighting the communist revolution that would later engulf Cambodia and turn into genocide.
During this time of need for Cambodia to assist the U.S. in its effort to combat the insurgency of Vietcong communist guerillas, Sihanouk the Royal King of Cambodia decided to aid North Vietnam by allowing weapons and ammunition to continue coming in and directly supply the NVA troops rather than to combat the NVA with U.S. backing. Many analysts agree that the King acted on a neutral standpoint by not engaging the Vietcong directly and allowing the bombings of Cambodia, but when Sihanouk was overthrown by Pro U.S. supporters in a coup de’tat lead by the King’s cousin Sisovath Sirimatack and his right hand man, Lon Nol, Sihanouk would fully support North Vietnam and create his own committee called FUNK against Lon Nol’s government the Khmer Republic. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 supporters of the King in FUNK had joined the ranks of the KCP and the Khmer Rouge which had dramatically strengthened the Khmer numbers against the Khmer Republic. Now with Sihanouk overthrown it was the goal of both Hanoi and the Khmer Rouge to dispose the Lon Nol regime since the Khmer Republic was a threat to the communist movement within Cambodia and the objectives of Vietnam’s war with the U.S.
By 1970 there were four NVA combat divisions in Cambodia. The Vietnamese Communists controlled half of Cambodia and fighting had erupted between the armies of Lon Nol and the Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge. 10,000 NVA troops had infiltrated the local provinces of Cambodia and launched attacks on Khmer Republic towns. Hanoi’s plans were to install 70,000 communist troops in Cambodia *. This comes from the words of a senior Vietnamese communist official, Hoang Anh, in his secret report to a session in his party’s central committee nine months after Sihanouk was toppled from power:
(Quoted from Stephen J. Morris, Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia pg. 48-56 Local Genesis of Conflict) “We must devote considerable attention to Cambodia since our success in South Vietnam will very much depends upon how effectively we will operate in Cambodia…The matter of Cambodia is very important. For its successful resolution we must enhance our military efforts there and materially aid the local patriotic forces. 2”
From this quote it is obvious that North Vietnam’s objective was to create civil war in Cambodia in order to deter support for the U.S. and proceed to keep Cambodia busy with fighting the Khmer Rouge instead of concentrating on Vietcong troop’s insurgency in the borders of Cambodia. The Vietnamese applied a thousand year old trick to keep Cambodia divided by pitting Khmer against Khmer just as during the 17th century when the country was divided by those who followed Siam against those loyal to Vietnam. This quote also points out that under Vietnam the Khmer Rouge were being used as a means for winning the Vietnam War and controlling South Vietnam. It was North Vietnam’s main objective to unite North and South without the problem of Laos and Cambodia to support the U.S. in its war efforts. Instead of having the full support of Khmers in Cambodia to combat the Vietnamese, Cambodia was divided among themselves on which side to follow, either the peasants cause or the capitalist’s ways. Although the Khmer Rouge were gaining large support from the rural part of Cambodia, and through propaganda of U.S. bombings that have also killed Khmer civilians, the Vietnamese government did not believe the Khmer Rouge were strong enough and organized to take over the country. Here is a document from the Vietnamese government that talks about the Khmer Rouge movement and assistance from Vietnam to the Khmer Rouge: “Although the Cambodian revolutionaries are enthusiastic, they are incapable. We have helped them to systemize their doctrine, map out their policy lines, set up their organization, and draw up their plan of action. They have agreed totally to everything we suggested to them. We should display a narrow feeling in our relationship and make them realize that their existence depends on ours. Our helping them is one of our international obligations. On the other hand, Cambodia is our staging area. The Cambodian Revolution is weak and its organization loose. We have to strengthen it. 3” (pg. 50 Local Genesis of Conflict, Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia)
As early as 1970 the KCP was plagued with a power struggle. The Khmer Rouge division of Maoist Nationalists and those of FUNK created a policy of ridding the Khmer Viet Minh. Those who studied in Hanoi were facing secret assassinations and execution without the consent of the leaders in Hanoi. The Khmer Rouge had set up a “domestic policy” in which to root out those who were not of the same party and those who had trained abroad. These purges were the beginning of conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam, but Vietnam made sure that these secret purges would not stop the objectives of Vietnam until the unification process was complete. By 1973 the Khmer Rouge had obtained a structured organization led by Pol Pot and other student returnees from France devoted to Maoist-socialist ideologies. It was at some stage in the Eastern Offensive launched by Vietnam when the majority of Viet Cong and NVA troops had been ordered to carry out the attack against the U.S. in South Vietnam that the Khmer Rouge began the purges. Around 2,000 – 3,000 NVA troops remained in Cambodia during the offensive because most of the troops were concentrated in South Vietnam. When the leaders in Hanoi learned of the Khmer Rouge’s plan they hesitated on punishing the Khmer Rouge instead they were devoted to the long term objectives other than pressuring the Khmer Rouge completely. It was Vietnam’s best interest to not attack the Khmer Rouge or risk transferring troops and weakening the offensive against the U.S. A move to counter the Khmer Rouge at this point would have reinforced the Lon Nol regime. On orders of the Central Office for South Vietnam under the leadership of communist insurgents these commands were given out to the NVA troops stationed in Cambodia who faced attacks by the Khmer Rouge: “If the Red Khmers want to violate our sanctuaries, to kill our troops, we must adequately react for self defense, but we must not open fire first, we only need to threaten the friendly troops. Limit the damages to the minimum.4” (pg. 62 Local Genesis of Conflict, Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia) The opportunity to attack the Khmer Rouge would have to wait until the goals of North Vietnam were realized. The Vietnamese found out the hard way that the Khmer Rouge were not as obedient as hoped for.
On April 17th of 1975 the Khmer Rouge succeeded in its revolution of taking over Phnom Penh and the entire country. In the wake of its movement to mass produce agriculture and irrigation in force labor, millions would die of starvation, disease, and execution. Genocide is what the media had labeled it, and the Democratic Party of Kampuchea, the party of the Khmer Rouge, thought of it as a move to leap Cambodia into a socialist future. But it would cost the lives of the educated and elite, and the fathers, brothers, sisters, children and mothers who did not deserve death at the peril of incompetent leaders who were backed by China and Vietnam. During these four years of hellish nightmare where were the Vietnamese to rescue the victims of Pol Pot and his clique? Were they not aware of the policies of Pol Pot or did they simply ignore it? Where did the United States go in its fight against socialism and communism? Cambodia was just a simple pawn of war, just a small country used in the expense of bigger nations. It would take several skirmishes and mass murder of the eastern division of Cambodia for Vietnam to invade but not to stop the genocide and executions of the Khmer Rouge, but to stop the attacks the Khmer Rouge were conducting on Vietnam’s borders. If the Khmer Rouge had not attacked Vietnam and followed that countries policy while mass murder was still systematically carried out, the Vietnamese would not have invaded just as so long no one contested Vietnamese rule. Without the support of Vietnam the Khmer Rouge would have just been a powerless movement and there would have been no genocide. So to say that Vietnam liberated Cambodia and saved Khmers everywhere is an outcry because they are also partly responsible for the genocide and of war crimes after the invasion occurred.

Anonymous said...

My dear Khmer-Patriot ,

I do not have KI email's address,
but you could post your comments at :
And many thanks for your comment.

Bun Heang Ung