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Heder, Stephen Russell (1999) Pol Pot at bay: People's War and the breakdown of the 1991 Paris Agreements. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study traces the attempt by Pol Pot's Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) - renamed the party of Democratic Kampuchea (PDK) in 1982 - to regain the power it lost in January 1979 as a result of a Vietnamese invasion. It describes broadly the CPK/PDK armed struggle from 1979 to 1991 and examines in detail PDK efforts to return to power through the 1991 Paris Agreements, a peace settlement implemented by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). The study reinterprets the determinants of PDK political behaviour between its signature of the Paris Agreements and its decision in June 1992 not to implement the Agreements' provisions for demobilization of its armed forces under UNTAC auspices. It argues that despite the bitter souring of relations between Pol Pot and the Vietnamese Communists, PDK's turn-around can only be understood by taking seriously the doctrinal roots of PDK thinking within the Marxist-Leninist tradition, and in particular by treating it as an offshoot of the Vietnamese-dominated Indochinese Communist Party that gave birth to the CPK. It shows that the key concept upon which Pol Pot relied to fight his enemies after 1979 was the Vietnamese doctrine of "people's war", including its tactical prescriptions on Communist participation in parliamentary struggle and "peace agreements", such as that which the Vietnamese had signed in 1973. A major theme of the study is the self-delusional aspects of PDK's obsession with the Vietnamese-derived notion of people's war. The key self-delusion was the belief that by ever-more-correctly following properly-selected aspects of the script of people's war, PDK could renew the political support among the Cambodian peasantry that had supposedly been the basis of Pol Pot's seizure of power in 1975. The study shows how such hopes were revealed as illusory under the domestic political circumstances resulting from UNTAC's implementation of the Paris Agreements. UNTAC created political openings that PDK's non-Communist rival, the National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC), was able to exploit, while PDK was too unpopular to take advantage of similar opportunities and thus floundered.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:02

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