CAMBODIA. After a brutal home-grown social experiment and nine years of Vietnamese occupation, Cambodia may be about to get a reprieve. Last month Hanoi pledged to pull out 50,000 troops this year - a move apparently prompted by its economic hardships and hints of Soviet intentions to reduce aid to Vietnam.
REFUGEE BORDER CAMPS More than 300,000 Cambodian refugees live in camps along the Thai border. While shelling from Vietnamese artillery has subsided, many refugees still face harsh discipline and forced recruitment by guerrilla forces in camps that function as military bases. And all face doors closing in host countries once pledged to receive them. Camps: Population: HUAY CHAN (Khmer Rouge) 8,900 NATRO (Khmer Rouge) 16,500 SITE B (sihanouk) 50,000 SITE 2 (kpnlf) 163,000 KHAO-I-DANG (unhcr) 17,000 SITE 8 (khmer rouge) 31,700 BORAI (khmer rouge) 4,000 SOK SANN (kpnlf) 8,300 TA LUAN (khmer rouge) 9,700
From 90,000 to 120,000 Vietnamese troops occupy Cambodia, locked in a military stalemate with anti-Vietnamese resistance forces based on the Thai border. The Vietnamese-backed PRK regime contributes more than 30,000 soldiers to the war effort in addition to thousands diverted from agriculture to village militias or drafted to lay mines or dig trenches along the Thai border.
Despite a 1985 offensive that destroyed 16 resistance camps on the Cambodian side of the border, Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge troops now range freely over most of the country. Guerrillas reportedly now concentrate less on fighting and more on influencing villages in anticipation of a Vietnamese pullout and a future political settlement. Last month Vietnam pledged a partial withdrawal of 50,000 troops from Cambodia this year, to be followed by a total withdrawal by 1990.
CONTENDING FOR POWER PRINCE SIHANOUK
Prince Norodom Sihanouk negotiated his country's independence from the French in 1953-54. He abdicated kingship in 1955 to organize his own political movement. In 1970 he was overthrown by the right-wing military regime of Lon Nol. He returned as a figurehead puppet under the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to '79. After Vietnam's invasion in 1979, he headed the anti-Vietnamese resistance. In 1987, he took leave from the tripartite resistance coalition to open talks with the PRK prime minister for exploring a Cambodian peace settlement. KHMER ROUGE:
Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in 1975 after a bitter insurgency against the US-backed Lon Nol regime. Their cause was helped by the war in Vietnam, which included US bombing raids in Cambodia. Once in power, the communist Khmer Rouge launched a brutal restructuring of Cambodian society, which led to 1 to 3 million lives lost through killings, forced relocation, and starvation.
Soviet-backed Vietnamese troops ousted Pol Pot's forces in 1979. The Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge, led by Khieu Samphan and Pol Pot, now number from 30,000 to 40,000 fighters. They are the strongest military force in the anti-Vietnamese resistance, and many fear that a Vietnamese withdrawal and the collapse of the PRK regime could lead to a return of Khmer Rouge leadership. KHMER PEOPLE'S NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT (KPNLF)
A noncommunist political and military organization led by former Prime Minister Son Sann. The KPNLF is part of the resistance coalition based on the Thai border. Bogged down in conflicts among its top leaders, the KPNLF has lost influence in the resistance coalition. PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KAMPUCHEA (PRK)
The Soviet-backed PRK regime was established after Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia in 1979. The communist government recently launched a national-reconciliation program, and has attempted to build a political base at the village level. Its troops number 35,000 and suffer large defections. The leadership comprises mainly Khmer Rouge defectors, and is headed by Heng Samrin and Hun Sen.