Angola is a country located in southern Africa. It has a population of over 30 million people and its capital city is Luanda. Angola is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Zambia, and the Atlantic Ocean. Its military forces are composed of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) which include an Army, Navy, Air Force, and Territorial Defense Force. The FAA consists of around 130,000 personnel and is one of the largest militaries in Africa. The Army includes around 75,000 personnel while the Air Force consists of around 15,000 personnel. The Navy operates a number of vessels for patrol purposes as well as providing support for international peacekeeping missions. In addition to these forces there are also several paramilitary forces such as the National Police which are responsible for law enforcement activities within Angola’s borders. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Angola.
After a long period of fighting (see Statkick and politics), after the ceasefire in 2002, a reorganization was started with the aim of creating a common defense. The demobilization of UNITA, about 60,000 men, some of which would be part of the joint defense force, was one of the most difficult tasks. Demobilization is not yet complete.
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The defense is (2008) organized in an army of 100,000 men, including 16 brigades and 42 regiments and have 300 tanks. The Navy comprises 1,000 men with 9 patrol vessels. The Air Force comprises 6,000 men with 90 fighter aircraft and 16 armed helicopters. Semi-military security forces amount to 10,000 men. The equipment is of old Soviet origin with low reliability. There are still three armed opposition groups operating, though under ceasefire agreements. They include UNITA with 6,000 men and smaller units from the Cabindaen Slave Liberation Movement (FLEC).
Defense costs decreased in 1985-2006 from 15.1% to 4.7% of GDP. Portugal and the United States have unique technologies in Angola. All UN unions (UNOMA) have left the country. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that AGO stands for Angola.
The 1991 Peace Agreement
With brokers from the US, Portugal and the Soviet Union, as well as the UN, the Angolan government and UNITA signed a peace agreement on May 31 – after 16 years of civil war. The agreement contained provisions for an immediate ceasefire, the conduct of elections in 1992 and the establishment of a joint political-military commission to assist in the merging of both parties’ armed forces into one national army. As of November 14, the top army command consisted of Generals Joao de Matos of MPLA and Ahilo Camalata Numa of UNITA.
Holden Roberto, Head of FNLA and Jonas Savimbi President of UNITA turned respectively. in August and September back to Luanda – after 15 years of exile – to begin their election campaigns. The United States continued its support for UNITA.
On the political scene, several other new political parties emerged during this transitional period, each of which entered into agreements with respectively. MPLA and UNITA. The result was an increasing polarization as the 1992 elections approached.
The changes in the 1990s reached beyond the political and diplomatic levels and reflected in the mobilization and change of Angolan society. The Organization of Angolan Women (OMA) had been formed in 1961. It now broke the bond with the MPLA and established itself as an NGO. At its first congress in August 1991, OMA adopted a common platform between ecclesiastical, intellectual and skilled groups.
The government had accumulated more than $ 6 billion in foreign debt and now appealed to the international community for financial support. The United States refused to lift its economic and diplomatic blockade of the country, citing Angola as a Marxist nation, and at the same time declared diplomatic recognition at the earliest after the elections in 92. The consequence was that multinational North American companies active in Angola could not get loans from banks in their own country.
MPLA wins election, UNITA resumes war
After intense negotiations between the government and UNITA, the election was held for August 92. At the election, the ruling MPLA gained nearly 50% of the vote, against UNITA’s 40%. But Savimbi refused to accept his defeat and ordered the fighting resumed. During its advance, UNITA occupied diamond mines in the interior of the country, thus cutting off the government from an important source of funding. Only oil production was fairly stable, generating $ 16-1700 million a year.
In November 1993, peace talks again began in the capital of Zambia, Lusaka. A year later, a new peace agreement was signed in the same place. The most important points were the ceasefire and changes to the constitution so that Savimbi could be deployed as vice president, but the points were not implemented until the end of the 95 matches continued.
New peace agreement
Throughout 1996, some progress was noted. In May, an amnesty law was passed and UNITA soldiers began to be integrated into the national army. Savimbi accommodated most of his army in military camps and handed over some of the army weapons. The Civil War triggered the most serious social and economic crisis in Angola’s history so far. A number of economic liberalizations implemented by the IMF and the World Bank were implemented, but without the expected results.
After tough negotiations, UNITA agreed in April 1997 to be integrated into government, parliament and military. Although their position was weak in the capital, Savimbi’s forces still controlled 40% of the country. Mobutu Sese Seko’s fall in Zaire in May further weakened UNITA, which in June was forced to leave the zones at the northern border towards Zaire. The Angolans wanted to prevent Mobuto forces from invading Angola. Mobuto was an old ally of Savimbi and was now on the run from Laurent Kabila – dos Santos’ old ally.
In March 1998, thousands of demobilized soldiers – most without or with little education – ran into serious problems when they returned to their villages. Financial assistance was slow to arrive and the prospects for work were poor in the small rural communities. Since 1994, only 300,000 of the 4,500,000 people displaced by the civil war have managed to resettle in accordance with UN plans. The presence of a large number of landmines scattered throughout Angola also increases the population uncertainty.