FRETILIN'S SITUATION AND PROSPECTS

Created: 10/26/1977

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY National Foreign Assessment Center7

INri'KLL1GENCE MrIMG*!AN0UM

FRETILIN'b Situation and prospects

Tho Revolutionary Movement for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) seems to have been plagued from the start by centrifugal tendencies which has weakened its leadership. Some members of its Central Committee fled the Indonesian invasion ofnd set up shop in Mozambiqte. Itinerant FRETILIN representatives seeking aid abroad hove had little contact with the leaders of the struggle in Timor. Tho result has been de facto policy pronouncements on the part of those Central Committee members abroad which have apparently been at odds with the policy aims of tho leadership in Timor. ecent leadership purge may help to unify FRllTtLiN, but its limited external support and Indonesia's superior mllitary strength obviouslyRETILIN victory, hut the resistance movement in East Timor is likely to continue for the foreseeable future olitical embarrassm-jnt to Jakartaontinuing drain on its resources.

Tkia memorandum waa prepared by the Office ofPolititral Analysis.

Problcmo in the Leadership

Prior to September, FRETILIN had two fronts: tho government and soldiers within East Timor, and representatives abroad who sought diplomatic and military support. Tho recent leadership change appears to haveurge of aandwas willing to attempt some accomodation withhe leading .advocate .of this more moderate approach was tho former FRETILIN President, Xavier do Araaral--removed.from office in early September and now reported to be dead. It is likely that this change will resultontinued strident posture towards Indonesia at tlie UN and continued resistance in East Timor.

Although the present FRETILIN explanation for Amaral's downfall was treason, it is more likely that Amaral's desire for moderation angered the hardline element of the FRETILIN Central Committee. This conciliatory approach vas imbedded in the draft resolution that Ramosfonier member of the FRETILIN leadership councilriend of Amaral's who has been demoted into the Committoo oft the UN last August. The resolutionfrom past attacks on Jakarta and called for both Indonesian and FRETILIN forces toeasefire and facilitate visits by independent observers.

In deposing Amaral, the more vehement FRETILIN loader-ship has achieved two objectives:

has consolidated power at home by expolling all overseas members of the Central Committee who wore forced to flee following the Indonesian Invasion ofS. This change may help to erase the image of FRETILINisunified governraent-in-exile and will probably resultore coherently enunciated policy emanating from within East Timor.

--It has rejected any approach which gives theof FRETILIN responsibility for thoof hostilities in East Timor.

FRETILIN'S Military Fortunes

FRETILIN'S military situation has deteriorated in the last few monthsthe dry season permitting more aggressive and wide-ranging operations by Indonesian forces which were augmented in late August. Nonetheless, though the Indonesian army now controls the towns and main linos of communication and will probably make further gains in the remaining three months of the dry season, thoy are not likely to eliminate FRETILIN resistance in the near future. In the past/ FRETILIN has baen able to strengthen its position during the wet season, and this pattern is likely to repeat itself again.

We estimate the armed FRETILIN guerrilla force to currently numberperating in scattered bands from remote rural bases. The latest reports of military casualties on both sidesrelatively light but presumably working to Indonesian advantage given the greater strengththeir forcesindicate that FRETILIN forces continue to mount effective guerrilla operations which take their toll of the badly-trained Indonesian forces.

Moreover, FRETILIN seems toeservoir of recruiting strength

Jakarta's propaganda campaign ror vmage support ana ixs

offers of amnesty to the guerrillas have had little apparent successthe pacification effort clearly hampered by the indifference or alienation of the local tribes.

External Support

FRETILIN'S prospects are seriously hampered by the lack, of external support. Although FRETILIN representatives have made the rounds of communist and other third world countries in

search of aid, there is no evidence that they have received anything but moral support. '

RETILIN'suijuipmunt, and it is possible that small amounts of supplies aro smuggled into Timor. Nonetheless, it appears that tho FRETILIN guerrillas are largely dependent on arras and ammunition captured in attacks on isolated Indonesian units.

heyond the radical third world, FRETILIN has found meager sympathy for its cause. Portugal, the former colonial governing power of East Timor, continues to call for UN intervention, but essentially is reconciled to Timor's incorporation into Indonesia. Among Jakarta's ASEAN neighbors, Singapore has abstained from voting on the issue in theeflection of its sensitivity to small countries being gobbled up by their larger neighbors but intends to vote with Indonesia this year. Pro-FRETILIN sentiment in liberal intellectual circles in Australia continues.

Original document.

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