Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cambodia, Post colonial period

Between 1969 and 1973 , US forces bombed and briefly invaded cambodia in an effort to disrupt the Viet Cong and Khmer rouge .Some two million Cambodians were made refugees by the war and fled to Phnom Penh and number of Cambodians killed during the bombing were unknown.The US Seventh Air Force agreed in 1973 they had prevented fall of Phnom Penh by killing 16,000 to 23,000Kher Rouge fighters.
As the war ended , a draft US AID report observed that the country faced famine in 1975, with 75 % of its animals destroyed and that rice planting of the next harvest would have to be done by the hard labour of seriously malnourished people.
The Khmer republic's leadership was plagued by disunity among its members, and it became difficult with 30,000-man army to fight against 2,00,000 men supported by supplies of men and material by north Vietnam. Under the leadership of Pol Pot and Ieng sary the Khmer Rouge forces gradually began to gain strength. On new years day 1975, communist troops launched an offensive and in 117 days of hardest fighting over run the bases. on april 1975, US mission was evacuated within 5 days. This time Kampuchia was heavily influenced and backed by China.
As the Vietnam war progressed, Sihanouk adopted an official policy of neutrality in the cold war. But some of the Cambodiansbegan to take sides and he was ousted in 1970, by a military coup led by prime Minister Gen. Lon Nol and Prince SisowathSirik Matak, while on a trip abroad. From Beijing Sihanouk realigned himself with communist Khmer Rouge rebelswho had been slowly gaining territory in the remote mountain regions and urged his followers to help in overthrowing the pro-United States govt. of Lon Nol, hastening the onset of civil war.
Stupa which houses the skulls of those of those killed atChoeung Ek
The Cham muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated. The professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers, were also targeted. According to Robert D Kaplan, "eyeglasses were as deadly as the yellow star"as they were seen as signs of intellectuals.