Strategy and Tactics of the Salvadoran FMLN Guerrillas: Last Battle of the Cold War, Blueprint for Future Conflicts

By José Angel Moroni Bracamonte; David E. Spencer | Go to book overview

ons that curbed the use of the Salvadoran air force and army mobility. At the end of this period, the FMLN lauched the long-awaited Strategic Counter-Offensive, "Until the Limit," with the objective of winning a significant victory. However, this offensive was contained by the ability of the armed forces, but especially because of the lack of popular support.


Peace Negotiations, 1990-1992

This period was characterized by the search for a negotiated settlement to finally end the conflict. This was motivated by the lack of popular support and because of the effects of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the failure of the Soviet Union. The loss of credibility of the Communist model took away the ideological foundation of the Salvadoran revolutionary movement. Notwithstanding, during this time period the FMLN continued its military actions using the concept of concentration and deconcentration; that is, rapid concentration to attack an isolated target, and immediate dispersion after the action to avoid the army reaction. This period was also characterized by the increase in sabotage of the national economy and the illegal occupation of property, and an increase in kidnappings and other terrorist acts.

Despite all of the FMLN's strategic adjustments, it was never able to carry out its dream of a violent revolutionary triumph and total control of the state. Since January 1992, El Salvador has been involved in a peace process that, despite its ups and downs, seems to be running comparatively smoothly. The guerrillas have gained real political power and are a significant political force. However, they remain a minority, a position that took them twelve years of bloodshed to finally recognize.


NOTES
1
Interview with a high-ranking FMLN defector, San Salvador, March 1990. This person helped organize one of the front groups in the United States. The identities of both the guerrillas and the army personnel interviewed for this book shall remain anonymous in order to protect them. Assassinations of revenge for events during the war are still being carried out in El Salvador.
2
Gabriel Zaid, "Enemy Colleagues: A Reading of the Salvadoran Tragedy", Dissent (Winter 1982).
3
Interview with high-ranking guerrilla who defected to the government side, San Salvador, June 1991.
4
Zaid, "Enemy Colleagues".
5
DRU, Plan de Guerra 1 de la Fase I ( El Salvador, November 18, 1980).
6
FMLN, Informe y Análisis Visto Desde el Exterior ( Nicaragua, March 11- 13, 1981), captured from guerrillas in 1981.
7
This estimate is based on interviews with several former guerrillas who were trained in Cuba and Nicaragua. Their identities must remain anonymous.

-39-

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Strategy and Tactics of the Salvadoran FMLN Guerrillas: Last Battle of the Cold War, Blueprint for Future Conflicts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acronyms ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1 - Background to the Insurgent Movement in El Salvador 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - FMLN Strategy 13
  • Notes 39
  • 3 - General Organization of the Insurgent Movement in El Salvador 43
  • 4 - Force Categories of the FMLN 53
  • Notes 71
  • 5 - Special Select Forces (FES) 73
  • Notes 92
  • 6 - FMLN Battle Tactics 93
  • Notes 113
  • 7 - Urban Combat Tactics 115
  • Notes 137
  • 8 - Defensive Guerrilla Tactics 139
  • Notes 172
  • 9 - Guerrilla Logistics/Support/ Sanctuary 175
  • Notes 186
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 193
  • About the Authors *
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