chapter  6
22 Pages

NAMIBIA-ANGOLA. 'LINKAGE' AND WAR. 1981-7

After the breakdown of the UN settlement plan in January 1981, the new American administration under Ronald Reagan who had succeeded Carter in January 1981, took a policy initiat­ ive over Namibia which gave South Africa another pretext to postpone any international settlement. By linking the issue of Namibian independence to prior or simultaneous Cuban withdrawal from Angola, the regional military conflict between Angola, who was supported by Cuba and South Africa who backed UNITA, dominated the regional dynamics of Namibian decolonization. As a result, the decolonization of Namibia was from now on subordinated to the dynamics of conflict in south­ ern Angola. This also meant that with the exception of Angola and, to a certain extent, Zambia, the importance of the Front­ line states as a collective mediator between SWAPO and the South African government, declined. Although the Frontline states formally rejected any linkage between the conflicts in Angola and Namibia, both resistance inside Namibia to South African occupation and the diplomatic efforts to implement resolution 435 were in fact subordinated to the issue of linking Namibian independence to the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola. Linkage, the total National Strategy as reflected in South African-UNITA destabilization of Angola and Angolan-Cuban resistance set the parameters of a regional conflict, the outcome of which would provide the context for Namibian independence.