NICARAGUA - HONDURAS: EVALUATING THE BORDER FIGHTING

Created: 4/4/1986

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Special Analysis

Border Fighting

HONDURAS:

Mmnagua'a racanf Incurtlon Into Honduras coif If htnvy cana* bad publicity bulongsfar>d'no StndlnlatBf concmnlrttlngrra Ihe border, fhe rag/ma has tought lo dlt/vplinuiiraiion and conllnm fn* wetingle, tronl to taphstt Ifi aup%rlorllj In troopAnd llrnuuwfr

Tha cross-border operations last weekupen in the Las Vegas salientt San Andres da Bocay-ware the most extensive operations to dale, because Managua has improved Hi logistic capabilities In thend tlvoughout the northwest, because rebel camps are now deeper inside Honduras, and because previous ettorls lo rcvl Ihe rebels were unsuccessful.

The Incursionstrategy dating from the first years ot ihe regime. The Sandinistas sustained casualties In Honduras as early as

nd, as the Insurgency has gathered support and become more effective. Managuaas respondedore agg.essivahe border areasHBB

Keeping Up tha Pressure

The regime relied primarily on irregular warfare battalions, which seem to have suffered relativefy heavy losses. Managua apparentlythat disrupting insurgent Infiltration and logistic support is mora important than the casualtyvidently knew that large numbers of rebels had beenand were stia In the base camps. The regime also apparently recognized lhal It would have to Hmit its air support lo minimize the chance ol losing an aircraft Inside Honduras, and also the posslMity of retaliation by the Honour an Air force.

Tr* Sandinista incursion was not particularly well managed, andoverrtrnant forces inside Nfcaridifficulties<

[Moreover, calls lor medical tvacuahon nighis and ar support associated with the Incursion and othe* counlwlnsurgency

The Sandinistas, however, have been working to improve logistic supfjotl. The general availability ol air transport and better logistics win allow Managua to maintain its lorees cn the border longer than

; since lasi

Wambtan, and recent improvementsn old logging road will allow artillery to be sent well within range ot rebel camps-unltke the case in late Ma/Chi

Outlook

Sandinistare located at strategic points along tha oordar from the Las Vagas salient to tha operating areas ol Indian Insurgents on the east coast, suggesting that Managua wants to restrict combat to the northwest by disrupting rebel support to groups inside Nicaragua and to prevent the robot* from reactivating the northeastern front. President Onega's recent reference to fighting in "border areas" over which the Hondurans have notacit admission that Mcaraguan forces had enteredIntended to justify this and future incursions and to Intimidate tha Hondurans

if the rebels continue to inrtruata past tha Sandinista forces al the border and movere already Inside Nicaraguaand if those currently In Nicaragua can maintain operations. Managua again wWi nave to disperse Its forces, reducing those available at tha

DfA Comment: While DIA agree* with the assessment that Nicaragua's, overall strategy lo contain the insurgents inside Honduras, thaarch attack seems to have been Initiated by tha Sandinista mlspercepllonactical FON weakness created by the targe-scale infiltration of insurgents into Nicaragua. The Sandinistas were not attacking tha rebels but rather tha base camps and war* probably surprised at the large number of combatanti they encountered. Furthermore, the units involved in the incursion had been In the border area since the beginning of the year and wereosition to capitalize on the situation. When the FON repulsed the Sandmlsta attack wtth an insurgent force wHUng to stand and fight. Managua's precipitous withdrawal suggests an unwillingness to commit more forces and sustain high casualties.well as Sandinista sensitivity to the public reaction to the kiourslon. Regarding tha number of Sandinista Wees that participated In the operation in the Las Vegas salient. DiA believes there is no credible evidence to support the contention that moreen participated in the operation.

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA