Created: 6/3/1987

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Talking Points on Nicaraguan Insurgency forriefing of SSCI

During the past two years, analysts in tha Intelligence Community has offered judgments on the likely course of events in Nicaragua that wa in the DI feel have held up wellould ask your Indulgence as I rief excerpt

We still believe that the Insurgents are unlikely tooutright military victory over the near term. At thehowever, we acknowledge that they haveotwe anticipated they would when funding for th*last October. Let me tick off the major areas

Resupply. which had been the rebels' most critical vulnerability, is vastly improved. Aerial resupply now is provided on the field commanders' request, and efforts to develop maritime and ground resupply routes have begun. The rainythroughunlikely to do more than occasionally delay scheduled missions.

The pac* and scope of rebel military actions has also impressed us. Because rcoupply has become regular and dependable, th* insurgents are abl* to remain active simultaneously on at least threecentral, and south. In the past, they were unable to sustain activities in more than one front foronth.

7- The rebels ar* beginning to attack more visibl*militaryas the logistics base at

Las Banderitas--and to move toward th* fringes of the westarn plains, where the bulk of the Nicaraguan population live*. The demolitions training th* rebels received has Improved their capability to sabotage the economic infrastructure--electricai and telephone towers.

In the area of psychologicalhe insurgents also have made significant progress. Th* airdropping of anti-regime leaflets near thre* towns ln the northwest last month was also an important first. In addition.

I Radio Liberation ia well

receivedide audianca, although regime jamming blocks out most of Managua, and additional jammers capable of covering all of Nicaragua reportedly are under construction near Esteli. I

Despite these improvements, the resistance continues to be plagued by shortcomings or weaknesses in several areas.

-- Rebel field units continue to experience uneven leadership. The training program has taught some commanders new skills and enhanced their awareness of the political nature of the insurgency, but new skills do not appear to have been passed on to the rank and file very well.

While the rebels ar* beginning to attack more heavily defended military targets, they continue to focus on economic targets that make them vulnerable to regime change* of banditry and abuse of civilians. Militia unitsar* garrisoned at agricultural cooperatives, for example, and attacks on such locations provide the regime propaganda windfalls when civilianasualties result.

Likewise, although the rebels' resupply network is functioning remarkably well,IT

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personnel, leaving the rebels very vulnerable should thi* assistance stop.

Politically, several hard issues hav* yet to be resolved. Th* recent reforms restructured the insurgency on paper, but we believe that the question of civilian control of the military will remain contentious.

One of th* biggest chronic problems facings is their absence from the populated west coast and the lack of internal support networks.

In the next six months, assuming that the program receives new funding, th* insurgents are likely to continue making incremental progress.

-- In the field, coordinated attacks on better defended military target* probably will increase, reflacting th* spreading affects of the training program. Attacks on controversial targets, such a*ill certainly continue as will instances of human rights abuses.

Ground and maritime resupply networks should become established, providing alternative means of refitting troops in the field.

We look for the rebels toase of operations on the frlngee of the western plains, especially In the highlands in tha west of Chlnandega and Leon Departments.

The Insurgents should stake aoae progress inaupport networka to broaden tho base offor the Insurgency and Improving tha securityoparatlona.

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