The Namibian Settlement Process: Obstacles and Regional Implications <Vf
pace of the Namibian talks has quickened recently, lamelyesult
of South Africa's initiative in presenting an accelerated timetableettlement and its new flexibilityumber of Namibian issues. But Pretoria's demandettlement be linked to withdrawal of Cubans from Angolaormidable obstacle.
Although important details on the cease-fire and other aspects of the UN plan still need to be worked out. we believe that the remaining differences over strictly Namibian issues are not insurmountable. Any one of the unresolved issues, however, provides ample opportunity for either side to procrastinate or even to break off talks. Unexpected military developments could also derail tbe settlement talks.
The prospects for agreement on the withdrawal of Cubans are far less certain. Tbe critical issue is wheiher the Angolan regime is willing or able toufficient number of Cubans home andanner tbat satisfies Pretoria's demand that Cuban forces be withdrawn. Sooth Africa appears uncompromising in its current demand for the verified withdrawal of all Cuban troops. It may eventually settle forwe believe it will insist upon the departure of considerably more than half of00 Cuban troops thai wc estimate arc in Angola.
Pretoria recognizes that the political strength of the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) has not been diminished by South Africa's military operations during the past year, and this, in our view, underlies South Africa's linkingamibian settlement to withdrawal of Cubans from Angola. The Botha government probably believes that it needs the political ammunitionuban withdrawal toomestic righlwing reactionrobable SWAPO electoral victory in Namibia.
Allhough the issue" of Jonas Savimbi's National Union for the Toul Independence of Angola (UNITA) has remained largely on ihe periphery of Ihe negotiations, calculations aboul UNlTA's strength relative io that of the Angolan regime heavily influence the thinking of the ruling Popular Movement for tbe Liberation of Angola (MPLA) about the Cuban issue.
Information available as of2 has been used in the preparation of this report.
APPRDVtQ FDR REIEASE DATL0
We believe ihu Luanda could not afford to lose moreembers of the total Cuban miliury force without suffering appreciable territorial losses to UNlTA.
Luanda probably has neither the desire nor the ability toeconciliation with Savimbi at this lime. Moreover, the Frontline Stales for the most part support Angola's view thai Savimbitraitor"outh African "puppet" and are unlikely to press reconciliation on Luanda. South Africa, on the other hand, views UN ITAaluable source of leverage that costs very little Consequently, we expect the UN ITA issue to remain in the background as negotiations continue on Namibia and Cuban withdrawal.
The manner in which the Cubans would withdraw is also important to both Luanda and Pretoria. Angola, with strong support from its African and Communist backers, has repeatedly rejected any explicit linkageamibian settlement and Cuban withdrawal, insisting lhat ihc Cuban issue is an internal Angolan matter and that tbe Cuban troops would leaveatural consequenceettlement. In view of repealed South African public statements, however, we expect tbe South Africans will insist thai ihey be allowed to state publicly thai the Cubans will withdraw before beginning implementationamibian settlement.
A Namibian settlement that included the withdrawal of substantial numbers of Cuban troops would be widely viewedajor success (ot US policy toward southern Africa. Forettlement to occur, however, we believe that the United States is likely to be pressed to make several formal and informal commitments to the variouswhich could have long-term consequences for US interests. The Angolans probably would demand assurances about Western economic assistance and future South African behavior. The South Africans, in return for concessions on the Cuban issue or on policies toward their neighbors, might insisi on improved relations with lhe United States. For example, in addition to wanting greater US tolerance for tbe pace of racial reform in South Africa, they have expressed interest in closer cooperation on nuclear matterselaxation of US restraints on trade in items that could be used for miliury purposes.
If (he Cuban issue proves intractable and the settlement talks collapse, we believe the South Africans, disclaiming responsibility for the failure, will proceed with an "internal"is, holding elections next year thai exclude SVv'aPO and thethe expectation of some degree of support from the West. The Soulh Africans might decide to conduct mililary operations of unprecedented scale in southern Angola. Such operations would be aimed atumiliating defeat on SWAPO and punishing its Angolan and Cuban backers. The South Africans may also decide to increase their support to Savimbi's insurgency.