Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 August 2021
In the Mekong Delta, in addition to directly fighting against the communist-led Resistance, the French also allied with semi-autonomous militias against the Resistance, particularly those associated with the Cao Dai and the Hoa Hao. A situational logic of alliance and opposition, understood by all participants, shaped the overarching "system." Within this system, both the French and the Resistance competed to co-opt smaller groups, from parastates to local militias, to their side, which in turn tried to establish their autonomy. This chapter looks at these allies, some of which were parastates, their funding, their economic bases, and their interactions. It gives particular attention to those affiliated with the Cao Dai (Pham Cong Tac, Trinh Minh The) and the Hoa Hao militias (Tran Van Soai, Ba Cut). It also examines the complexity of control at local levels, where in some villages, up to three different political actors, including the Vietnamese state, vied for dominance.