Perspectives on Geopolitics, History, and Political Economy

The Yugoslav Breakup and the War in Bosnia-Hercegovina

Former Yugoslavia - Mostar city in Bosnia and Herzegovina seen from the famous bridge. - Image Source: Shutterstock.com - Copyright: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar

Former Yugoslavia – Mostar city in Bosnia and Herzegovina seen from the famous bridge. – Image Source: Shutterstock.com – Copyright: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar

Special Report for Global Geopolitics Net
This Article Was Written Between 1993 and Summer of 1995 Before the Dayton Peace Acords.

By Alan. F. Fogelquist, Ph. D.

Eurasia Research Center

Copyright (c) April 1995 Alan F. Fogelquist – Eurasia Research Center, All rights reserved.

The Bosnian people have been fighting a war for the survival of a democratic multi-ethnic society and a centuries-old tradition of statehood.(1) At the moment of writing Bosnia-Hercegovina is on the verge of being destroyed by outside aggression and the misguided political decisions of the leaders of the international community. The war has nothing to do with any supposed ideological struggle between “Western civilization” and “Islamic fundamentalism”. It is not the product of any eternal and irresolvable antagonism between Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox Bosnians, but, rather, of the political designs of the leaders of neighboring aggressor states and their local allies who have deliberately manufactured and stimulated antagonism between Bosnians of different ethnic or religious origin. The nature of the conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina is poorly understood by the general public and has frequently been misrepresented, whether intentionally or unintentionally, by public figures. The aim of this article is to present a concise but accurate account of the war Bosnia-Hercegovina’s war for survival with special attention to the international dimensions of the conflict. Before discussing the war itself, it is pertinent to review some important facts about Bosnian history and the origins of the present conflict.

 

The territory of today’s Bosnia-Hercegovina was part of an independent medieval Bosnian state which arose at the end of the twelfth century and continued until its final conquest by the Ottomans in 1463. Bosnia-Hercegovina was the center of a unique Bosnian Church, which was a pillar of support for Bosnian rulers. Members of this church practiced a form of Christianity considered heretical by the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic hierarchies.(2) The inhabitants of the medieval kingdom referred to themselves as Bosnjaci (Bosnians) and considered themselves to be a separate nation. In addition to members of the Bosnian Church, this nation included Roman Catholics, who lived in communities scattered around northern, central, and western Bosnia and Hercegovina and the Serbian Orthodox who lived in communities scattered throughout southeastern Bosnia and eastern Hercegovina. Before their incorporation into Bosnia at the beginning of the fourteenth century, the Orthodox populated areas located in today’s southeastern Bosnia and eastern Hercegovina had at various times formed part of the Bulgarian and Byzantine empires or belonged to the medieval South Slavic or Serbian states of Raska, Duklja and Hum. At no time after their incorporation into the medieval Bosnian kingdom in the first decades of the fourteenth century to the creation of Yugoslavia in 1918 were these territories part of a state identified as Serbian. Many of the inhabitants of these southeastern Bosnian-Hercegovinian territories at the time of the Ottoman conquest belonged to the Bosnian Church. At the height of its expansion under King Tvrtko (1353-1391), the Bosnian Kingdom included large areas of today’s Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia.(3)

 

The territorial and administrative integrity of Bosnia-Hercegovina was preserved throughout the period of Ottoman rule until 1878 and during the period of Austro-Hungarian rule from 1878 to 1918. After the Ottoman conquest a large part of the Bosnian and Hercegovinian population accepted Islam. Because many members of the Bosnian medieval nobility accepted Islam, they were given special autonomous privileges and became part of the regional ruling elite under the Ottoman system of government. Most of the population belonging to the medieval Bosnian Church accepted Islam during the first generations after the conquest, and within a few generations the Bosnian Church disappeared. Although the remainder of the population belonged to the Orthodox or Catholic faiths, there was also a small population of Jews. Sephardic Jews arrived after their expulsion from Spain, and in the nineteenth century some Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe settled in Bosnian towns. Throughout the period of Ottoman rule there were large migrations in and out of Bosnia-Hercegovina from neighboring regions, periods of massive population decline due to wars and plagues, and the relative proportions of each ethnic or religious group changed from period to period.(4) In the late nineteenth century, members of the Serbian Orthodox faith joined newly formed Serbian nationalist political parties, while Catholics joined Croatian parties. Bosnia-Hercegovina’s Muslims, the largest single group,formed their own political parties, which sought to preserve the territorial integrity, self-government, and autonomy of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Members of the Orthodox Church and Catholics wavered between identification with the ancient historic region of their ancestors and the national movements of the neighboring countries of Croatia and Serbia. By the beginning of the twentieth century, as a result of participation in nationalist political movements, most Bosnian Catholics had come to identify themselves as Croats and most of the Orthodox as Serbs.(5)

 

The Serbian-dominated Yugoslav kingdom (created in 1918) maintained the territorial integrity of the Bosnian and Hercegovinian districts until 1924, when the regime abolished the administrative boundaries of Bosnia-Hercegovina and all other historic states and regions.(6) In the second World War, Bosnia-Hercegovina was assigned to the Axis-supported Independent State of Croatia led by Ante Pavelic. In 1943, the leadership of Tito’s Yugoslav partisan movement reaffirmed the territorial integrity and tradition of Bosnian statehood by conferring on Bosnia-Hercegovina the status of a republic in the Yugoslav federation. At the same time, Bosnia-Hercegovina was officially established as the republic of its three constituent peoples, the Bosnian Muslims, Serbs, and Croats, and remained as such until it became completely independent in 1992. In 1971, the Titioist regime granted the Slavic Muslims the status of a “nationality” equal to that of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Under the new definition, the term “Muslim” referred to a national-cultural rather than a religious category.(7) Many of these “Muslims” were actually atheists or agnostics whose ancestors had been practicing Muslims. Until the mid 1980s Bosnia-Hercegovina’s three national-confessional groups lived in relative peace and harmony under an autonomous republican administration. During this period there was a great increase in mixed marriages between Bosnians of different ethnic and religious background, and the development of a common sense of statehood and regional identity among the inhabitants of the republic. At the time of the breakup of Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Hercegovina had a centuries long tradition of statehood.

 

The sense of a specifically Bosnian identity today is strongest among the Muslims and people of mixed ethnic background, who together make up more than fifty percent of the population, but it also exists among a substantial number of Catholics and Orthodox, especially those living in larger urban centers such as Sarajevo and Tuzla. Most of the large group of Bosnians who until recently identified themselves as “Yugoslavs” now see themselves as Bosnians. In the first multi-party elections held in November 1992, more than twenty percent of Bosnia’s eligible voters cast votes for candidates representing political parties that had no programmatic or ideological association with ethnicity or religion. Members of these parties along with those of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia-Hercegovina and President Alija Izetbegovic’s Party of Democratic Action, whose members are primarily Muslims, voted in favor of Bosnian independence. Recent statements by Henry Kissinger and other public figures in the West that there is no basis for Bosnian nationhood, therefore, lack historical foundation. Many independent members of today’s United Nations have weaker traditions of statehood and national identity than the Bosnians.

 

The current war in Bosnia-Hercegovina is essentially a Serbian war of aggression. It is an “ethnic” war onlly in the sense that the Serbian regime has deliberately used ethnic cleansing and mass killing as an instument to achieve its strategic objective of seizing territory for a Greater Serbia. The conflict is a continuation of the Serbian war of aggression against Slovenia and Croatia, which temporarily subsided in those countries but is re-igniting in Croatia. In 1987, Slobodan Milosevic engineered a coup d’état in the Serbian Communist Party by fostering Serbian paranoia and ethnocentrism directed against the non-Serbian peoples of the Yugoslav federation. It appears that Milosevic’s initial intention was to become paramount leader of all of Yugoslavia using a Serbian power base as a spring board.(8) He was supported by a group of intellectuals belonging to the Serbian Academy who argued that Serbia and Serbians had been placed in an unfavorable position in Titoist Yugoslavia and that the Yugoslav federation must be reorganized in such a fashion as to give Serbia more power. Their assertion that the republican boundaries of Tito’s Yugoslavia were essentially unjust to Serbs because many Serbs were left outside the Serbian republic ignored the fact that most of the Serbs in question had historically lived in enclaves inside Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia separated by many kilometers from the republic of Serbia and that the territories in question had never been part of historic Serbian states either medieval or modern. They also ignored the fact that a much larger minority of non-Serbs lived inside the borders of Serbia itself. Among the leading proponents of the Serbian Academy’s position was Serbian intellectual and novelist, Dobrica Æosiæ, now president of what remains of former Yugoslavia, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro.(9) Milosevic’s desire for an authoritarian centralized Yugoslavia was welcomed by elements of the largely Serbian officer corps of the Yugoslav army and security apparatus. After the death of Tito in 1980 key elements in the military drew up plans to reestablish authoritarian centralized rule and eliminate the vestiges of federalism, if necessary, by a military coup d’etat.

 

Immediately upon gaining control of the Communist Party apparatus in Serbia and establishing a virtual monopoly over the mass media, Milosevic organized an anti-Albanian campaign focusing public attention on a supposed “threat” to Serbs posed by the Albanian speaking majority in the Autonomous Province of Kosovo. At the behest of Milosevic, the Serbian state-controlled media played up every incident of Serbian suffering at the hands of Albanians while remaining silent about acts of violence and persecution against Albanians. Instead of trying to resolve the conflicts between Serbs and Albanians by dialogue and reconciliation, Milosevic introduced Serbian military rule in Kosovo and tried to solve the problem by brutally repressing the Albanians. His chauvinistic policies culminated in the arbitrary abolition in March 1989 of the autonomous status of the provinces of both Kosovo and Vojvodina which had been guaranteed by the Federal Constitution of the Yugoslav Federation. Serbian police with the support of Yugoslav federal army units, introduced a brutal regime of military occupation, which killed dozens of peaceful protesters. Many Albanian speaking officials of the defunct Autonomous Province were jailed; others were fired from their jobs, which were given to Serbs.(10)

 

In March and April of 1990, Slovenia and Croatia held their first multi-party elections in almost fifty years. The Communist reformers lost the elections to parties favoring national sovereignty within a reorganized Yugoslav confederation. In November and early December 1990, similar non-Communist democratic nationalist coalitions emerged victorious in multi-party elections in Macedonia and Bosnia-Hercegovina as well. In Serbia and Montenegro former hard-line Communists renamed their parties Socialist and reluctantly agreed to multi-party elections held in two rounds in both republics on December 9 and 23, 1990, which the Serbian and Montenegrin Communists managed to win by playing on ultra-nationalist themes and making use of their control of the mass media and the state apparatus.(11) On December 23, 1990, Slovenia held a plebiscite in which almost ninety percent of the eligible voters authorized the Slovenian parliament to declare independence if in six months the Slovenian government had not negotiated a new constitutional arrangement that addressed the Slovenes’ democratic aspiration for sovereignty.

 

Milosevic and the federal military leadership flatly rejected joint Slovenian and Croatian proposals for a Yugoslav confederation as well as the Bosnian and Macedonian compromise proposals for a looser federation or union of sovereign Yugoslav states. Serbia and its Montenegrin ally blocked the efforts of the four other republics to achieve a majority vote in the federal presidency when Serbian leaders appointed puppet representatives to the presidency from the no-longer-existent autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina whose autonomy had already been arbitrarily and unconstitutionally abolished by the Serbian parliament. The Croatians responded to Serbian stonewalling and provocations with a plebiscite in which the vast majority voted to authorize the Croatian Sabor to declare independence at the end of June 1991 in the event that the coming weeks’ negotiations proved futile(12).

 

All the time that the non-Serbian republics were unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate a new constitution with the Serbians and Montenegrins, Milosevic and his allies in the federal army were encouraging and supporting an armed rebellion by the Serbian minority in Croatia against the democratically elected authorities in that republic. Hard-line Serbian Communist officers tried to find a pretext to carry out a military coup and end all plans for democracy, Yugoslav confederalism, or national independence for the non-Serbian republics.(13) All of these events took place before Croatia and Slovenia’s declarations of independence in the last week of June 1991. It should have been patently clear to any person who followed them carefully and objectively that the game plan of Milosevic and the military leadership of the Serbian-dominated “federal” army was to seize and occupy Croatian territory. The Croatians and Slovenians made no mad rush to independence. Instead, they patiently and honestly attempted to negotiate with Milosevic and the “Yugoslav” army and what was left of the federal civilian leadership under the powerless and ineffectual prime minister Ante Markovic, the man preferred by the United States State Department and many European leaders. The response from the Serbian and “federal” side was nothing but stonewalling, intransigence, duplicitous double-talk, military coup threats, acts of intimidation, and Milosevic’s sponsorship of armed terrorism.

 

By the time of the Croatian and Slovenian independence declarations on June 25, 1991, the federal premier Ante Markovic was the virtual prisoner of Milosevic and the hard-line authoritarian Communists and/or ex-Communist military. Milosevic and the Serbian military men were rapidly discovering that greater Serbian ultra-nationalism or neo-fascism was a good ideological and propagandistic substitute for the now discredited Marxism-Leninism or Titoism. In the spring and summer of 1991 the pro-Milosevic press carried articles praising Vojislav ©e¹elj, the leader of a growing army of fanatical para-military volunteers, who, with the assistance of Serbian government officials and federal army officers, had moved into large areas of Croatia and was beginning to infiltrate Serbian populated districts of Bosnia-Hercegovina. In an interview with the pro Milosevic news magazine Intervju, ©e¹elj boasted that he and his forces would not kill their enemies with knives but would employ rusty shoe spoons so that the victims would die of tetanus.

 

Despite all the evidence, the American, British, and French governments continued to harbor the notion that a unified Yugoslavia had to be preserved and that Croatia and Slovenia should be pressured into remaining in the Yugoslav federation. Ignoring the months of fruitless negotiations deliberately sabotaged by the Serbian and federal army leadership, in the final week before the Slovenian and Croatian independence proclamations, American Secretary of State James Baker and Under Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger publicly opposed the Croatians’ and Slovenians’ moves towards independence. This attitude only encouraged the hard-line military leadership with the help of Serbian extreme nationalist guerrillas to begin their assault on Slovenia and Croatia in the name of stopping secessionism and preserving Yugoslavia. In mid July 1992, as a result of mediation by the European Community, the federal military leadership agreed to withdraw its forces from Slovenia in exchange for permission to withdraw their heavy weaponry and military equipment. This weaponry was subsequentlly used against Croatia and Bosnia. While the military leaders were willing to relinquish Slovenia, where few Serbs lived, they were determined to prevent by force the loss of Croatia with its 11% Serbian minority. If they failed to crush Croatian resistance totally, they at least hoped to seize large tracts of Croatian territory for annexation to a smaller Yugoslavia or Greater Serbia. Throughout July, ultra-nationalist paramilitary volunteers from Serbia flooded into Croatia to support the Krajina rebellion. Federal military units followed protecting the positions captured by the nationalist militias with tanks, heavy artillery, and air support. In August the federal military launched a full-scale military assault on Croatia.

 

For a short while in the first months of 1992, it appeared that the Yugoslav crisis might be settled peacefully. Representatives of the European Community and later the United Nations had spent many months trying to find a solution acceptable to Milosevic. Cyrus Vance the chief United Nations negotiator, after months of foot dragging by Milosevic and the federal army, appeared to have convinced the Serbian and “federal” military leadership to agree to withdraw federal forces from Croatia. According to the agreement United Nations peacekeeping forces would be stationed in areas of Croatia seized by the federal army and Serbian paramilitary guerrillas. The federal army would withdraw from Croatia, and the United Nations would disarm the paramilitary groups. The United Nations peace keepers would protect the local Serbian populations from the vengeance of angry Croatians and would oversee the prompt return of thousands of Croatians who had been driven out of their homes by the federal forces. A final peace settlement brokered by the United Nations would be based on the principle of respect for existing republican boundaries and respect for human rights and self-government for the Serbian minority.

 

The pattern of Serbian aggression in Bosnia-Hercegovina has been similar to that in Croatia. After the first multi-party elections in December 1990, together the three major political parties representing each of Bosnia’s national-confessional groups formed a coalition under the leadership of the mild mannered, rational, and statesmanlike Alija Izetbegovic, leader of the Party of Democratic Action, overwhelmingly Muslim in composition. Izetbegovic became a hero of the Bosnian Muslims for his defense of their right to practice their religion without persecution by the state.(14) He had been jailed in the early 1980s on trumped up charges that he intended to create an Islamic Republic modeled on Khomeini’s Iran and to convert all Croatians and Serbs to Islam by force. Izetbegovic had merely written works of political philosophy in which he speculated about the ethical basis for democratic government in an Islamic society and the position of Islam in the modern world. His writings contained no proposals to create an Islamic state in Bonsia-Hercegovina. By the time Izetbegovic assumed office as president of a tri-national, tri-religious coalition in late 1990, he was clearly a partisan of a secular democratic Bosnia and a secular and democratic Yugoslavia in which members of all religious groups could live together in harmony, peace, and equality.(15) The leader of the Bosnian Croats, Stjepan Klujic, leader of the Bosnian branch of the Croatian Democratic Union, was equally reasonable and moderate. Initially Radovan Karadzic, the leader of the Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia, for apparently tactical reasons, cooperated with the other two leaders but became increasingly ucooperative and belligerent under the influence of his political mentor Slobodan Milosevic.

 

After the Slovenian and Croatian declarations of independence and the beginning of all-out war in Croatia in July 1991, Izetbegovic and President Kiro Gligorov of Macedonia sought to reach an accommodation with the leadership of the federal army and thus avoid the bloodshed that was occurring in Croatia. Izetbegovic, in particular, believed that if he showed moderation and accommodated the legitimate interests of the Bosnian Serbs, he might be able to negotiate Bosnian sovereignty or independence without war. Izetbegovic’s moderate strategy was actively encouraged by the United States, especially by the United States ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmerman and might have been successful had he had the genuine cooperation of the Bosnian Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic and the predominantly Serbian leaders of the “Yugoslav” army.

 

In the autumn of 1991, repeating the pattern which had occurred earlier in Croatia, groups of agitators and guerrillas began appearing in Serbian villages of Bosnia. In the meantime, Izetbegovic, hoping to avoid a confrontation with the military, allowed the “federal” army to confiscate weapons from Bosnian territorial defense or national guard units. Many of these weapons were almost immediately handed over to local Serbian militias and to Serbian neo-fascist paramilitary groups such as those led by Vojislav Seselj, Zeljko Raznjatovic “Arkan,” and Mirko Jovic. The organization of partisan defense groups was part of the original program of the Serbian Democratic Party, a manifestation of Karadzic and Milosevic’s theme of “the danger to Serbs.” Local Serbian groups had been acquiring weaponry even before the multiparty elections of November 1990 and Vojislav Seselj ultra-nationalist paramilitary forces had established a headquarters in Romanija by spring of 1991. In the fall of 1991, federal army units which were withdrawn from Croatia and Slovenia were massed in Bosnia-Hercegovina.(16)

 

In fall of 1991 in response to the actions of the federal army and Serbian armed groups, Bosnian-Hercegovinian Croats, especially those in western Hercegovina and the Posavina region of northern Bosnia, began arming themselves in self-defense. After the outbreak of full-scale war in April 1992, the majority of the Croatian militias became part of the Croatian Defense Council (Hrvatsko vijeæe obrane, HVO) of Herceg-Bosna. A smaller group of Bosnian and Hercegovinian Croatians joined the militia of the right-wing nationalist Croatian Party of Rights (Hrvatska stranka prava, HSP). This paramilitary force was known under the acronym of HOS (Hrvatske oru¾ane snage). Substantial numbers of Muslims also joined both the local militias which became the HVO and HOS paramilitary formations. In response to the increasing belligerence of Radovan Karadzic and the Serbian Democratic Party and the massive arming of the Serbs, Yugoslav army officers of Bosnian Muslim origin left the ranks of the “federal” army and organized a clandestine military organization known as the Patriotska liga or Patriotic League.(17)

 

On November 9 and 10, 1991, Karadzic had staged a “plebiscite” in which more than one hundred percent of the Serbian population of Bosnia was said to have voted in favor of an “Independent Serbian Republic of Bosnia” encompassing more than two thirds of Bosnian territory including the capital city of Sarajevo. The Serbian news media both in Bosnia and Serbia carried articles accusing Izetbegovic and the Party of Democratic Action of planning to create an Islamic fundamentalist state in Bosnia. In press interviews and television interviews Karadzic repeated the charges in an effort to convince the Bosnian Serbs that they were in mortal danger from “Islamic fundamentalists.” The vast majority of the Bosnian Muslims are Muslim by heritage but hold modern secular political views and are not strict practitioners of traditional “fundamentalist” religion. The Muslim-Croat majority in the Bosnia parliament responded to Karadzic’s provocations with a vote in favor of a declaration of sovereignty in December of 1991 and sought diplomatic recognition from the United States and the nations of the European Community. The United Nations and western governments paid no attention to President Izetbegovic’s urgent appeal for the dispatch of United Nations peace keeping forces to Bosnia to prevent the outbreak of full-scale war.(18)

 

In mid December 1991, the European Community announced its willingness to recognize the independence of those former Yugoslav Republics which satisfied certain human rights and other criteria, such as the government’s effective control over its territory. In January 1992, the members of the Community formally recognized the independence of Croatia and Slovenia but withheld recognition from Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia. The European Community (EC) initially withheld recognition from Bosnia because of the conflict between the Muslim-Croat majority and the Bosnian Serbs who followed Karadzic but finally recognized Bosnia at the beginning of April 1992 after an internationally monitored plebiscite held on February 29 and March 1. On this occasion the overwhelming majority of the Bosnian Muslims and Croatians voted in favor of independence, while the majority of the Serbs, influenced by Karadzic and other intransigents, boycotted the plebiscite. Some sixty-eight percent of all eligible voters voted in favor of independence. In the city of Sarajevo substantial numbers of Serbs voted in favor of independence and against the recommendations of Karadzic’s extremists.

 

At the Lisbon Conference which began in January 1992, the European Community proposed the cantonization of Bosnia-Hercegovina along national-confessional lines as a solution to the Bosnian dilemma. As a result of negotiations brokered by the EC and the United Nations and much international pressure, Radovan Karadzic and his Serbian Democratic Party appeared willing to accept Bosnian independence on the condition that Bosnia be divided into self-governing cantons based on the national and religious identity of the inhabitants of each district. President Izetbegovic, in the interests of a peaceful settlement, agreed to accept some form of regionalization based on a variety of economic and geographic, but not exclusively ethnic criteria. Mate Boban the representative of the Bosnian Croatians at the Lisbon talks, favored cantonization of Bosnia on ethnic lines. Boban, with the moral and political support of Croatian president Franjo Tudjman, had succeeded in pushing aside Stjepan Kljujic as leader of the Croatian Democratic Union for Bosnia-Hercegovina. Boban’s stance was supported by Croatians in western Hercegovina and parts of the Posavina where Croats formed a compact majority. Kljujic, who, like Izetbegovic, favored a democratic, unified, and secular Bosnia with strong provisions for human rights, represented the view of many Croatians in Sarajevo and central Bosnia, where Croats represent a minority or plurality of the population. Each side represented at Lisbon presented maps and proposals for the administrative and territorial division of Bosnia-Hercegovina. EC experts in Lisbon immediately began drawing up proposals for the cantonization of Bosnia based on ethnic principles.(19)

 

An uneasy relationship developed between the presidents of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia and their respective governments which hampered joint efforts to contain Serbia. Tudjman’s attitude was echoed by his principal supporter in Bosnia, the leader of the Hercegovinian wing of the Croatian Democratic Union, Mate Boban. In the months before the Croatian and Slovenian declarations of independence, Tudjman was lukewarm towards Izetbegovic’s proposed compromise between a federal and confederal system. According to Tudjman, as members of the least numerical group in Bosnia-Hercegovina, the Croatians needed special guarantees for their national rights.(20) Therefore, areas where Croats formed a majority should be made part of a special self-governing confederal unit within Bosnia with close political, cultural, and economic ties to Croatia. On this matter, Tudjman’s attitude was similar to that of Karadzic except that the latter stated openly that the Serbian canton should eventually be annexed to Serbia. At the end of April 1991, Tudjman met privately with Milosevic at Karadjordjevo at which time he is believed to have proposed the division of Bosnia.(21) On at least two occasions, once in January and again in July of 1992, Tudjman made public statements indicating that he was considering a compromise with Milosevic which would entail the division of Bosnia-Hercegovina between Croatia and Serbia.(22)

 

Tudjman’s attitude and his private overtures to the Serbian regime alarmed Izetbegovic and all those Muslims, Serbs, Croats, and others who identified themselves primarilly as Bosnians. They feared that the creation of ethnically-based cantons or confederal units would be merely a prelude to their annexation to Croatia or Serbia. They were adamantly opposed to any attempt to divide up Bosnia-Hercegovina. The Bosnian Muslims, in particular, wanted to maintain the unity and territorial integrity of Bosnia-Hercegovina as their one and only homeland. Unlike the Bosnian Serbs and Croatians, the Muslims have no outside mother country. In Izetbegovic’s view, Bosnian unity can be maintained only if Bosnia is organized as a democratic and secular state which stresses the human and political rights of all individuals rather than the rights of national or confessional groups, and only a united Bosnia can be economically viable. (23)

 

Because of the tremendous national-confessional heterogeneity of much of Bosnia, such a division could not easily be based on ethnic criteria. No matter how Bosnia-Hercegovina were divided many people would be forced to reside in areas where their national-confessional group is a minority. The only alternative is a unified state with strong institutions to guarantee human rights and the right of national self-expression of the constituent peoples. A large group of Bosnians of mixed background as well as those who had voted for the opposition parties favored a unified secular Bosnian state. Such views were especially strong in the ethnically mixed Tuzla area, where many Muslims, Serbs, and Croats alike had voted for the non-nationalist non-religious Party of Democratic Change. People who had voted for the non-national parties were not represented at the Lisbon Congress or in any of the subsequent peace talks, although they represented approximately 22 percent of the electorate in the elections of December 1990.(24) Altogether if one adds together Muslim supporters of the Party of Democratic Action, Kljujic’s supporters among the Croatians, and the supporters of the non-national parties one finds a substantial majority in favor of a unified non-cantonized Bosnia.

 

The Lisbon negotiations at the beginning of 1992 merely provided Karadzic’s Bosnian Serb militias, the federal army, and ultra-nationalist paramilitary groups from Serbia, time to complete military preparations for an all out assault on Bosnian independence. All that was necessary was a pretext to initiate armed action. The pretext came when the United States, European Community and other nations officially recognized Bosnian independence on April 5, 1992. Two days later on April 7, Serbian extremist representatives gathered in Banja Luka and proclaimed the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina . On the night of April 6/7 1992, the Serbian bombardment of Sarajevo began in an effort to take the city by force and force the Bosnian government into submission. At the same time, Serbian paramilitary forces invaded Bosnia in mass and with assistance from federal army units, unleashed a wholesale military assault on the newly recognized nation. Armed battalions of marauders led by the Belgrade underworld figure Arkan and Vojislav Seselj’s neo-fascist legions joined Karadzic’s Bosnian Serbian militias in a campaign to seize territory. The heavily armed Serbian paramilitary invaders could not have entered Bosnia without the blessing and support of Milosevic’s government.

 

The Serbian/Federal government in Belgrade devised a crude scheme to avoid admitting responsibility for the war in Bosnia. On Aprill 27, 1992, a new “Yugoslavia” consisting of Serbia and Montenegro was proclaimed. The Serbian nationalist novelist and intellectual Dobrica Æosiæ was elected president of the new federation and took office on June 15, 1992. Æosiæ, though more moderate in his methods, shared Milosevic’s essential political goal that all Serbs must live in one state, either “Yulgoslavia” or greater Serbia. In creating a new “Yugoslavia,” the Serbian regime hoped to inherit the United Nations seat and assets of the former Yugoslav Federation. Yugoslavia had ceased to exist both in reality and on paper by December 1991 when the European Community agreed to recognize the independence of those former Yugoslav republics which applied formally for recognition and satisfied certain human rights and other criteria. The leaders of the reconstituted “Yugoslav” or Serbo-Montenegrin state, acting at the behest of Milosevic, fired some generals, and reorganized the federal army. The new military leaders then announced the withdrawal of all “federal” troops of non-Bosnian origin from Bosnia, claiming that eighty percent of all federal troups in Bosnia were of local origin. (25) These forces, including a substantial part of the Yugoslav air force, equipped with jet fighter planes, fighter-bombers, and attack helicopters became the armed forces of Karadzic’s Serbian Republic of Bosnia; the creation of this Bosnian Serbian army did not stop the influx of heavy weaponry and manpower from Serbia..(26)

 

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Croats were driven from their homes by the Serbian forces in a deliberate campaign of territorial conquest and ethnic purification. At the last count the number of refugees from the Serbian war of destruction and extermination in Bosnia was approaching two million. The “federal” military in Bosnia joined the fight on the side of the Serbian neo-fascist legions and added its weaponry for the step-by step destruction of Sarajevo.

 

Wherever Bosnians and Croatians were able to organize defense forces to resist the Serbian attacks the systematic mass killing and ethnic cleansing of these two peoples was prevented. In areas where Bosnians handed over their weapons to the Yugoslav army or Serbian militias, the local non-Serbian population has been totally defenseless and has suffered mass atrocities. Initial resistance to the attacking Serbian forces came from local police and Territorial Defense (Teritorijalna odbrana, TO) units loyal to the Bosnian government, local Croatian militias which joined together to form the Croatian Defense Council (Hrvatsko vijeæe obrane, HVO) of Herceg-Bosna, and in some places from units of HOS, the army of the Croatian Party of Rights.(27) Former Yugoslav army officers of the Patriotska liga (Patriotic League), mostly Bosnian Muslims, helped mold TO units into a regular Bosnian and Hercegovinian Army known as the Oru¾ane snage Bosne i Hercegovine, OS BiH. In the first weeks of the war Serbian forces succeeded in seizing between 50 and 70 percent of the republic’s territory.(28) In general, the Serbs were able to seize those towns with a substantial Serbian population but failed to take areas where Muslims, Croats, or Muslims and Croats formed a solid majority. (29) Bosnian Croatian forces belonging to the HVO have succeeded in defending and holding onto Western Hercegovina, parts of Central Bosnia, and part of the Posavina region in Northern Bosnia.

 

In the first months of the war, Territorial Defense Forces pledging loyalty directly to the government of Bosnia-Hercegovina established control over most of Sarajevo, Central Bosnia, and the area of Northeastern Bosnia around Tuzla. The Bosnian Territorial Defense forces in the Sarajevo and Tuzla areas include among their officers and soldiers Muslims, Croatians, and Serbs. In Tuzla the forces loyal to the Bosnian government achieved some remarkable successes. The mullti-national multi-religious Tuzlans managed to seize substantial quantities of infantry weapons from local weapons depots and to capture some heavier weapons from the forces of the Serbian/Yugoslav army. During the summer months of 1992, Tuzlans drove the Serbian forces from inside city limits to some twenty kilometers from the city out of reach of shorter range artillery.(30) Throughout the war, Bosnian Muslim forces loyal to the government have succeeded in defending the enclave of Bihac and Velika Kladu¹a in the far Northwestern corner of Bosnia.(31) To the south and west there are Serbian forces loyal to the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and to the north and west forces belonging to the “Serbian Republic of the Krajina in Croatia”(32)

 

In general the military performance of the OS BiH and HVO forces has been remarkable in the face of the overwhelming superiority in tanks, armored personnel carriers, heavy artillery, rocket and missile launchers of the Serbian/Yugoslav army forces and the total monopoly on air power of the Serbian forces who have inherited the entire arsenal of the former Yugoslav army. The arsenal was seized and usurped by the Serbian and Montenegrin Serb military officers, who made up approximately 80 percent of the entire officer corps of the former Yugoslav army from generals at the top down to non-commissioned officers. The United Nations arms embargo imposed on Yugoslavia and now applied inappropriately and probably illegally to sovereign and internationally recognized Bosnia-Hercegovina has gravely hampered the Bosnians’ ability to defend themselves against the ruthless Serbian aggression, but defend themselves they have.

 

The response of the United States and western European governments, Russia, United Nations officialdom and the European Community to what is clearly a Serbian-Montenegrin or “Yugoslav” war of aggression against the now internationally recognized independent and sovereign nations of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina has been irresponsible with appallingly destructive consequences. By imposing an arms embargo on all of former Yugoslavia by Resolution 713 on September 25, 1991, the United Nations Security Council effectively granted a monopoly on heavy weaponry and air power to the aggressors in the conflict, the “Yugoslav National Army” and the various Serbian and Montenegrin paramilitary forces supported by the army leadership. During the same period the European Community pressured the Croatians into ending their blockade of Yugoslav army bases and installations in Croatia. As a result, the Yugoslav army withdrew large amounts of heavy weaponry and arms manufacturing equipment which further enhanced the already enormous weapons superiority of the Yugoslav army. Most of the forces and equipment were then stationed in Bosnia-Hercegovina where they were later used in the Serbian assault on the independence of that republic. Forces and equipment earlier withdrawn from Slovenia under EC auspices were also concentrated in Bosnia-Hercegovina, which was used as a staging area in the Serbian war against Croatia. A similar withdrawal was arranged early in 1992 from Macedonia. All in all, according to the Zagreb newsweekly Globus, the Yugoslav army was allowed to remove some 120 tanks and 45 planes from Slovenia, 310 tanks and 210 military aircraft from Croatia, and 120 tanks and 36 planes from Macedonia. In addition, the federal army was allowed to remove some 200 pieces of artillery from Slovenia, 260 from Croatia, and 80 from Macedonia. Many of these weapons have been used by the Serbo-Montenegrin forces in Bosnia. It is an irony that Slovenia and Croatia alone had paid more than fifty percent of the Yugoslav military budget. Today, neither Croatia nor Slovenia nor Bosnia-Hercegovina nor Macedonia has an airforce with which to defend itself.(33)

 

The Vance Plan brought temporary peace without justice to Croatia and allowed Serbian forces a free hand to launch the terrible war of aggression against Bosnia-Hercegovina. United Nations officials Boutros Ghali, Cyrus Vance, and the Security Council failed to heed the urgent appeal of President Alija Izetbegovic in December 1991 for peace keeping forces in Bosnia. If the United Nations had responded in a timely fashion to President Izetbegovic’s appeal and sent a substantial peacekeeping force to Bosnia-Hercegovina before the outbreak of full-scale war, the entire bloody conflict might have been prevented or greatly reduced.

 

On May 31, 1992 the United Nations imposed economic sanctions on the rump Yugoslavia or Serbia and Montenegro. This resolution for the first time singled out Yugoslavia or Serbia as the aggressor in the Bosnian conflict. The sanctions have created considerable economic discomfort in Serbia and Montengro but have had little effect on Serbia’s policy towards Bosnia-Hercegovina or the behavior of the Serbian forces in Bosnia. In summer of 1992, the United Nations belatedly began providing food and medical supplies to the hungry, sick, and blockaded citizens of Sarajevo and other Bosnian cities. Small detachments of UNPROFOR troops were stationed at Sarajevo airport to oversee the the airlifting of humanitarian aid to the besieged capital and subsequently UNPROFOR troops were stationed in other locations to oversee the delivery of aid by land. The aid program has been fraught with many difficulties, technical, political, and military. Hundreds of thousands of Bosnian refugees both in and outside Bosnia, have no present prospect of returning to their homes. The aid mission has done nothing to address the fundamental cause of hunger, disease, injury and death, which is the war itself, the deliberate blockading of cities, towns and targeting of civilian objects by the Serbian forces. The United Nations forces sent to deliver humanitarian aid and monitor cease fire agreements have become virtual hostages. Countries such as France and England are opposing stronger military measures against the aggressors because of fear for the lives and safety of the relatively small detachments which they have stationed inside Bosnia.

 

United Nations sponsored cease fires have been repeatedly violated by the Serbian forces. Thus far the presence of UNPROFOR forces has provided little more than a shield for Serbian military conquests. United Nations officials on the ground have assumed a false neutrality which has played into the hands of the aggressors. Military efforts by Bosnian government forces to break the Serbian stranglehold have been hampered by the United Nations ceasefire policy. In summer of 1992, Canadian General Lewis MacKenzie, commander of UNPROFOR forces located at Butimir airport in Sarajevo, and other United Nations officials made an issue of minor military actions by the Bosnian government forces in Sarajevo, which were primarily defensive, while ignoring a massive military offensive which Serbian forces were carrying out all over Bosnia.

 

For months after the outbreak of the conflict United Nations officials failed to heed the many reports of ethnic cleansing, rape and mass killing being carried out by Serbian forces on a massive scale. In a similar fashion, the Bush administratiion for months suppressed daily reports of atrocities in Bosnia which were reaching the United States Embassy in Belgrade.(34) Only after television news reporters showed the world public video footage of the appalling treatment of prisoners at Serbian run camps did United Nations officialdom or leaders of major world powers take notice of the problem. With much fanfare, General Secretary Boutros Boutros Ghali representing the UN and British Prime Miinister John Major presided over a special Conference on Yugoslavia held in London from August 26 through August 28, 1992.(35) The London Conference adopted seven measures pertaining to Bosnia-Hercegovina: “1) a cessation of all hostilities in the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina; 2) an end to all outside involvement in the current conflict either in terms of material or human support; 3) the gathering of all heavy weaponry under international supervision; 4) the demilitarization of large cities with oversight by international observers; 5) the establishment of refugee centers and centers of humanitarian assistance for citizens of Bosnia-Hercegovina who have been driven from their dwellings or whose dwellings have been destroyed until such time as their return can be assured; 6) the expansion of humanitarian aid to all areas of Bosnia-Hercegovina where it is needed in cooperation with local participants; 7) the establishment of peace-keeping forces under the auspices of the United Nations in order to maintain the ceasefire, the supervision of all military movements, and the establishment of other confidence building measures.”(36) As on previous occasions, there were no effective provisions for the enforcement of these provisions. “Supervision” of heavy weaponry did not mean control and Serbian bombardment of cities and towns throughout Bosnia and Hercegovina continued without cessation. Not a single city or town was made safer for its residents by these resolutions. The London Conference established the framework for yet another Conference on former Yugoslavia, which was held in Geneva beginning September 18, 1992 under the Co-Chairmanship of Lord James Owen who replaced Lord Carrington as the chief mediator for the EC and special United Nations envoy Cyrus Vance.

 

The attitude of the international community adversely affected the relationship between Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia. The defense of Bosnia-Hercegovina was hampered by disputes between the Bosnian government and its military forces on the one hand and the political and military leadership of the Bosnian and Hercegovinian Croatians on the other. When the international community gave indication that it was ready to ratify Serbian territorial gains or to resolve the conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina by dividing it into semi-independent cantons, which could easily be annexed to Bosnia’s more powerful neighbors with the lion’s share going to Serbia, the reaction of the Croatian leadership was to try to salvage what it can even if it was at the expense of its Bosnian ally.

 

Almost immediately after the outbreak of war and the severering of the capital city of Sarajevo from the rest of the republic, Croatians in western Hercegovina successfully resisted Serbian advances and organized a virtual state within a state under the leadership of Mate Boban. In pockets of central Bosnia where Croatians form a majority, the Posavina Croatians organized their own local government, police, and military forces under the umbrella of the Croatian Defense Council, HVO. In these areas, which the Croatians call the Croatian Union of Herceg-Bosna, (Hrvatska zajednica Herceg-Bosne) the Croatian flag flies, Croatian currency is used, and there is little to indicate that these regions are anything but an integral part of Croatia. The “Croatian Union of Herceg-Bosna” has received substantial economic and military assistance from the Croatian government and private individuals in Croatia. Although the Croatian government maintains that HVO troops are all indigenous to Bosnia-Hercegovina, it is well known that regular army troops from Croatia have participated in the HVO units.

 

In the Hrvatska zajednica Herceg-Bosne, Croatians monopolized local administration and local Muslims complained that they were excluded from positions of importance. In Zenica and certain other towns in central and northeastern Bosnia, Muslims established their own near monopoly on political power to the exclusion of the Croatians. The tendency for local wartime oligarchies representing one nationality to seek domination caused bitter disputes between Croatians and Muslims. There was also rivalry between local factions within each national group. The isolation of the central government due to the blockade of Sarajevo and the general disruption of communications facilitated the emergence of local warlords. In other areas of central Bosnia, in northeastern Bosnia, and in Sarajevo there were separate units of OS BiH and HVO forces under autonomous leadership. In Sarajevo and the Tuzla area the OS BiH was an ethnically mixed force, although Bosnian Muslims form the most numerous group. As many as thirty percent of HVO soldiers are Muslims, but there are few Muslim officers. Gradually, however, the Bosnian Army improved its control over the core areas under its control in central Bosnia and in 1993 launched a successful campaign to crack down on warlordism. Once a unified command structure had been established, the OS BIH was renamed Armija Bosne i Hercegovine or Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina organized into six corps.

 

On May 6, 1992 Mate Boban, with the approval of President Tudjman of Croatia, met with the Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic in Gratz, Austria ostensibly to discuss ways to end the Bosnian conflict. The Bosnian government suspected that the meeting represented another attempt to partition Bosnia between Serbia and Croatia at the expense of the Muslims and others favoring a unified Bosnia. Many Croatians inside and outside Croatia proper had similar fears and wrote letters of protest against the meeting. Boban responded to the outcry with the explanation that the Gratz meeting was merely an extension of the peace negotiations organized by the European Community at Lisbon.(37)

 

In the last week of October and first week of November 1992, armed clashes took place between units of the HVO and the OS BiH in central Bosnia at Prozor, Novi Travnik, and the Vitez valley. The clashes caused mistrust between HVO and OS BiH forces defending the city of Jajce and contributed to the fall of the town to attacking Serbian forces. On president Izetbegovic’s initiative a joint Croatian and Bosnian commission was formed to investigate the origins of the fighting and the conflict was brought to an end, but tensions remained high in central Bosnia. In mid January 1993, there were new armed clashes between Croatian and Bosnian government forces at Busovaca, Gornji Vakuf and adjacent areas in central Bosnia.(38)

 

The Bosnian government complained repeatedly that humanitarian aid, weaponry, and other goods donated to Bosnia, especially by Islamic countries, is confiscated by local officials of the “Croatian Union of Herceg-Bosna” and warlords belonging to the HVO. Croatian sources claim that only about twenty percent of the goods is confiscated as a kind of “customs tax.,” while the Bosnians maintained that often it amounted to more than half. Some goods destined for Tuzla in the northeast of Bosnia have been confiscated by Muslim warlords in Central Bosnia. (39)

 

In late December 1992, UN Special Envoy Cyrus Vance and EC Negotiator Lord David Owen announced the completion of a peace plan which they had developed during the Geneva Conference. According to this Vance-Owen plan, the solution to the Bosnian conflict is a new constitution, which, would provide for the division of Bosnia-Hercegovina into ten autonomous regions. Each of the three major national-confessional groups, Muslims, Croats, and Serbs would form a majority in three of the ten regions. In the tenth region, that of the capital city of Sarajevo no one group would constitute a majority. Each region would have its own legislative executive and judicial branches, their organization to be determined locally. Foreign, monetary, and military policy would be in the hands of a central government, with other matters to be decided by the regional governments. According to the plan, following a mutually agreed cessation of hostilities, the military forces of the Bosnian Muslims, Croatians, and Serbs would withdraw into the regions assigned them and turn over their heavy weapons to United Nations peacekeepers. These forces would be increased in number and stationed along the borders of each region or canton. Under the constitution proposed by Vance and Owen, elements from the existing military formations were to be integrated into a unified Bosnian-Hercegovinian arm. Each region was to have its own police force which would include representatives of all nationalities numerically proportional to the population of each group in the region. Executive and judicial bodies both at the level of central and regional government were also to have a specified number of representatives of each national-confessional group determined on a similar basis. According to the plan, in the interim period before national and regional elections, a council with three representatives of each of the three warring parties was to replace the existing presidency of Bosnia-Hercegovina, which already had representatives of the three major nationalities in the republic.

 

According to the version of the plan which Vance and Owen submitted in January 1993, the Bosnian Muslims who made up 44 percent of the population in Bosnia-Heregvoina before the war began would receive 29 percent of the land in the republic for their three cantons, the Croatians who made up 17 percent of the population 25 percent and the Serbs who made up 31 percent of of the population 42 percent. This arrangement left approximately 44 percent of the Muslims living outside the cantons where they are in the majority, 37 percent of Croatians outside the Croatian controlled cantons and 48 percent of the Serbs outside the Serbian controlled cantons. If the plan were actually implemented, the Bosnian government and Bosnian Muslims would receive the least and give up the most. Bosnian Serb forces led by Karadzic and General Mladiæ would be required to relinquish about one third of the territory they have already conquered and ethnically cleansed while keeping two thirds.(40)

 

The Vance-Owen plan sparked new armed conflicts between Croatian Defense Council (HVO) and Bosnian government (OS BiH) forces in Central Bosnia and a new savage Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing in Eastern Bosnia and around Trebinje in Hercegovina. The fighting between HVO and OS BiH forces began when Bozo Rajic, the defense minister of Bosnia-Hercegovina, a Croatian, ordered Bosnian Armed Forces units in the area of Gornji Vakuf which the Vance-Owen Plan has assigned to the Croatian canton to place themselves under the command of the HVO. The area had been assigned to the proposed Croatian canton, although the majority of the population was Muslim. President Izetbegovic rescinded Rajiæ’s order, stating that the Bosnian government had not accepted the territorial division proposed by Vance and Owen. When the Bosnian commanders refused to obey Rajiæ’s order, the HVO leadership sent armed units complete with tanks and heavy artillery to force the Bosnian government forces to submit. Heavy fighting ensued and there were by all accounts dozens of casualties on both sides.(41)

 

The Vance-Owen plan was little more than a repackaging of the United Nations resolutions and prescripitions which had thus far proven to be totally ineffective, because the requirement that the Serbian side give up some of what it had taken from the other parties was made without any credible force to back it up. The unambiguous call for immediate placing of heavy weaponry under United Nations supervision embodied in the London resolutions of August 28, 1993 was absent from the plan.(42) Most importantly the part of the plan which called for an interum presidency with representatives of the “three warring parties” further undermined the sovereignty of Bosnia-Hercegovina and existing constitution, which already provided for representation of the countries national-confessional groups in the presidency. The Vance-Owen plan gave legitimacy to the the leaders of two illegal insurgent puppet states supported by neighboring agressor states. In providing for the territorial division of inextrably mixed communities along ethnic religious lines it stimulated intensified fighting over territory and new rounds of brutal ethnic cleansing. It completely failed to take into account the interests of the large population of mixed ethnic religious origins and the large group of Bosnians of all nationalities who wanted a unified democratic multi-ethnic state. It stimulated the forces of extreme nationalism and religious exclusivism. In effect the international mediators and the West European governments were assisting in the destruction of a multi-ethnic multi-religious society with a centuries old tradition of statehood.

 

In the spring of 1993 Serbian forces mounted an intensified campaign to seize areas of eastern Bosnia which had been assigned to provinces with a Bosnian Muslim majority by the Vance-Owen Plan. During the Serbian campaign to conquer eastern Bosnia some four divisions of “Yugoslav” or Serbo-Montenegrin regular army troops, entered Bosnia from Serbia. (43) The initial Serbian force of approximately 50,000 had been nearly doubled by spring of this year. During this spring campaign Serbian forces were able to overrun completely the Bosnian government areas in eastern Bosnian after cutting them off from food, fuel, and munitions supplies.(44) The Serbian blockade and bombardment of eastern Bosnian towns of Zepa, Srebrenica, Cerska, and Gora¾de and the threat of mass death through hunger and disease of thousands of civilians in these areas brought new calls for international action to stop the slaughter.

 

In April 1993, the Clinton administration’s increased pressure on the Serbs to end their bombardment of Bosnian towns and to accept the Vance-Owen Plan. President Clinton openly announced that the United States was prepared to use air strikes against Serbian postitions in Bosnia and called for the lifting of the arms embargo against Bosnia. Milosevic, genuinely frightened by these threats, put pressure on Karadzic and the Bosnian Serbs to sign the Vance-Owen plan, agreed to United Nations monitioring of Serbia’s borders with Bosnia, and announced that he was cutting off military aid to his clients in Bosnia. Clinton sent Secretary of State Warren Christopher on a trip to Europe “to consult with our European Allies”. Christopher, an unenthusiastic supporter of the ‘lift and strike” option allowed himself to be talked out of carrying forth with the proposal. The British and French governments were adamantly opposed to air strikes or the lifting of the arms embargo fearing for the safety of their peacekeeping contingents in Bosnia.(45) As soon as the threat of military intervention was removed, the Serbian forces intensified their military campaign against vulnerable Bosnian government controlled enclaves in Eastern Bosnia. It soon became clear that the Serbian government had resumed the supply of fuel, weapons and ammunition to its proxies in Bosnia and Croatia. The Vance-Owen plan collapsed on May 17, 1993 when the unelected “parliament” of the illegal Serbian puppet state the Repuiblika srpska voted to reject the plan and the international community took no action to enforce it. On June 4, 1993, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution declaring several Bosnian towns and their surrounding areas as “safe havens” which were to receive United Nations military protection.(46) In the following months Serbian forces continued to bombard all of the “save havens” with no military response from United Natins forces. On June 17, 1993 Lord Owen declared the Vance-Owen Plan to be dead.

 

The survival of Bosnia as a democratic multi-ethnic society has depended more than anything else on the decisions of the the five permanent members of the Security Council and their willingness or unwillingness to assist Bosnia in defending itself against outside aggression. The biggest obstacle to Bosnia’s self-defense is the arms embargo imposed by the Security Council on all of Yugoslavia in September 1992 but which was applied to Bosnia even after Yugoslavia had ceased to exist as an internationally recognized state. This embargo has effectively prevented Bosnia from receving military aid. from a host of friendly governments, organizations and individuals that have offered to provide weapons and technical advisors or financial resources for Bosnia’s defense. Muslim countries friendlly to the United States such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Malaysia, and Pakistan have repeatedly offered such assistance. In June 1993, United States Congress passed a resolution authorizing the government to provide the Bosnia with 200 million dollars in military aid. The same congressional resolution authorizes the American president to end the arms embargo on Bosnia and declares it a violation of the right guaranteed in the United Nations Charter of each nation to defend itself against attack.(47) The members of the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in December 1992 to have the arms embargo lifted, but the Security Council failed to pass a similar resolution. On June 29, 1993, of the five permanent members of the Security Council, onlly the United States government voted in favor of a resolution to lift the embargo. Five other countries; Venezuela, Cape Verde, Pakistan, Morocco and Djibouti voted for the resolution, which failed to pass because of a British vote against it and nine abstentions.(48)

 

The weak response of the international community to continued Serbian aggression convinced the pro-Boban leadership of the Croatian Defense Council (HVO) that it had nothing to lose by initiating its own grab for territory in Bosnia-Hercegovina. When the Bosnian government refused to comply an HVO ultimatum to withdraw its forces from provinces designated by the Vance-Owen Plan as predominantly Croatian, HVO forces initiated a new campaign to seize territory in Central Bosnia. A new round of savage fighting broke out at Mostar on May 9, 1994, when the HVO attempted to drive Bosnian government troops out of the town. All-out war between Bosnian Government and Croatian forces then erupted in Hercegovina and Central Bosnia. President Tudjman of Croatia gave total support to the HVO leadership in Hercegovina.

 

In June, July, and August 1993, Bosnian Army forces responded with a strong counter-offensive to the attacks of the Croatian Defense Council. Bosnian government forces drove the pro-Boban forces out of much of Central Bosnia. In the course of the fighting some Croatian Defense Council forces conducted joint campaigns with Serbian units against forces loyal to the Bosnian government. In the course of their counter-offensive Bosnian government forces have shown considerable fighting capacity and have captured some heavy weaponry from the better armed Croatian forces commanded by the pro-Boban general, Milivoj Petkovic. Croatian Defense Council units not under the influence of Mate Boban in the Bihac region and northeastern Bosnia near Tuzla have maintained their alliance with the Bosnian Armed Forces and continued to fight against the Serbians.(49) In the course of the conflict in Central Bosnia, paramilitary units led by local war lords nominally allied either to the Hercegovinian Croatian or to the Bosnian government side have committed atrocities against civilians of the opposite nationality.(50) According to the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Stjepan Siber, there are several para-military formations claiming to be fighting on the side of the Bosnian government in Central Bosnia with a membership of between several dozens to several hundreds, who refuse to follow orders of the central command of the Bosnian Armed Forces. Some of these units include volunteers from various Islamic and other countries, although the majority of their members are Bosnians. One unit is led by a Bosnian of Christian origin who calls himself Abu-D¾ihad. The members of this unit are between the ages of 16 and 24 and their leadership is entirely adolescent. Recently Siber and General Sefer Halilovic met with leaders of the paramilitary groups and issued them an ultimatum to submit to the command of the Bosnian Army or leave Bosnia-Hercegovina within forty-eight hours.

 

After Croatian extremists massacred Bosnian Muslim civilians at Ahmici in April 1993, some of these primarily Muslim paramilitary units began committing counter-atrocities against Bosnian Croatian and Serbian civilians. The actions of such groups do not appear to be part of a deliberate policy of the Bosnian government or its regular army. Nevertheless, both from the moral point of view and from the point of view of the effectiveness and morale of the Bosnian Army, effective action is needed to arrest and prosecute criminal elements guilty of atrocities against civilians. If the United States and NATO were to assist the regular Bosnian Army technically and militarily, it would be possible for the army to expel criminal elements, discipline the paramilitary formations, bring them under strict central control, or eliminate them entirely. Many of the Croatian Defense Council units in Central Bosnia are led by local adolescent war lords. Units directly under the command of the Croatian Defense Council centered in Hercegovina led by General Milivoj Petkovic and Mate Boban have engaged in systematic mistreatment of the Muslim population living in the area under their control.(51) The Boban leadership refuses to admit that atrocities are being committed and seems to have made little or no effort to discipline unruly units under its command while at the same time directing a barrage of anti-Muslim propaganda

 

At the end of June 1993, Serbian forces supported by helicopter gunships in violation of the ban on military air flights over Bosnia, seized control of Mounts Bjela¹nica and Igman immediately to the southeast of Sarajevo. Once again the Clinton Administration called for NATO to resort to air strikes if Serbian forces failed to end their assault against Sarajevo. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali insisted any airstrikes against Serbian positions must have his own seal of approval and that of UNPROFOR commanders in Bosnia. President Clinton and Secretary of State Cristopher aquiesced to the secretary general’s demand thus reducing the probability of effective military action. Once again, however, the mere threat of NATO military intervention persuaded the Serbs to end their campaign to seize the Bosnian capital. Serbian troops withdrew from these positions on Mounts Igman and Bjela¹nica and turned the heights over to UNPROFOR peace-keepers. In return for the Serbian withdrawal, the Bosnian government had to abandon its efforts to recapture the two mountain tops and Bosnian government forces in Sarajevo were thus effectively cut off from their chief overland supply route for weapons and ammunition. Despite this setback Serbian forces appear not to have the manpower or the will to conduct a final assault on Sarajevo, where they would face resistance and suffer enormous losses from heavy concentrations of Bosnian government troops. Despite being cut off from the outside world, Sarajevo still has some capacity to manufacture weapons and ammunition. A military campaign to overrun Sarajevo might spark decisive military action by the United States and NATO to break the Serbian blockade of the city.(52)

 

At Geneva peace talks, which resumed in August 1993, Lord Owen and the new United Nations Envoy Thorvald Stoltenberg introduced a new plan for the partition of Bosia into three ethnically homogeneous mini-states which were to be loosely associated in a Union of .Republics of Bosnia Hercegovina. The new plan was a modified version of a proposal made by Franjo Tudjman of Croatia and Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia after a meeting between the two presidents in late June 1993. If accepted, the plan would ratify Most of the Serbian territorial conquests and lead to Bosnia’s demise as a unified multi-ethnic democracy.(53) According to the plan, the Serbian dominated republic would receive 52. percent of the territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina; the Bosnian “Muslim” reppublic, 31 percent; and the Croatian republic 17 percent.(54) The likely leaders of the Serbian and Croatian controlled mini-states would be Radovan Karadzic, Mate Boban, and other ultra-nationalists accused of war crimes by human rights organizations. In all probability the Serbian and Croatian republics would be annexed to Serbia and Croatia within the near future. Faced with the prospect of continued assaults by a better armed enemy and the refusal of the international community to lift the arms embargo, President Izetbegovic agreed to accept the proposal as the basis for ongoing negotiations at Geneva, but insisted that any decision concerning the proposal would have to be ratified by Bosniaæs elected parliament. On September 29, 1993, the Bosnian parliament voted to reject the proposal and demanded new territorial concessions for the “Muslim” republic and a clarification of the status of Bosnia-Hercegovina as a whole. Intensified fighting occurred in Central Bosnia between Pro-Boban Croatian Defense Council forces and those loyal to the Bosnian government. Serbian forces initiated new offensives against territories controlled by the Bosnian government.

 

On September 27, 1993, Fikret Abdic, a Muslim member of the Bosnian presidency, rebelled against the Izetbegovic government and declared the Bihac area an autonomous republic. Forces loyal to Abdic seized control of the town of Velika Kladusa near Bihac and the surrounding area and began battling with forces loyal to the Bosnian government for control of the entire Bihac enclave. On October 21 and 22, 1993, Abdic signed alliance agreements with Mate Boban and Radovan Karadzic. The Bosnian army now faced the most serious challenge since the early days of the war but, nevertheless, succeeded in launching an offensive in Central Bosnia against the forces of Mate Boban capturing the important town of Vares on November 4, 1993. Bosnian government forces in the Bihac enclave managed to resist Abdic’s troops and hold on to two thirds of the Bihac “safe area.” Peace negotiations continued at a stalemate.(55)

 

On February 5, 1994 mortar fire attributed to Bosnian Serb forces killed dozens of innocent civilians at the Sarajevo marketplace. This marketplace massacre elicited a new outcry in the press demanding stiffer measures against the Serbs. On February 9, NATO threatened airstrikes against Serbian positions unless the Serbs agreed to end the siege of Sarajevo. The threat of NATO airstrikes under the umbrella of the United Nations eventually produced concessions from the Serbs. On February 21, 1994 UN envoy Yashushi Akashi announced that the Serbs had agreed to withdraw their heavy weaponry from a twenty kilometer perimeter around Sarajevo.(56) On February 28, NATO fighters shot down four Serbian planes that were violating the UN ban on flights over Bosnia by military aircraft.(57)

 

Efforts by the Bosnian Catholic Church and a group of non-partisan Bosnian Croatians to end the fighting between Bosnia’s Croats and Muslims bore fruit in February of 1994. For many prominent Croatian civic, intellectual and political leaders had been pressuring President Tudjman to reverse his antagonistic policies towards Bosnia-Hercegovina. Among the prominent Croatian figures calling for a re-establishment of the Croatian-Bosnian alliance were the president of the Croatian parliament Stipe Mesiæ, General Martin ©pegelj, Dr. Slaven Letica, president Tudjman’s former national security advisor, Professor Ivo Banac of Yale University, and the Croatian-American sociologist Dr. Sjepan Mestrovic, the grandson of the famous Croatian sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic. In January of 1994, a group of prominent members of the Croatian American community from Los Angeles made a trip to Sarajevo and Zagreb where they met with presidents Izetbegovic and Tudjman to demand that they end the fighting between Bosnian Muslims and Croats. The United States State Department supported these efforts and worked to promote a direct reconciliation between the governments of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. Prime Minister Haris Silajdic and Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Graniè became key supporters of the reconciliation effort. One of the first results of this effort was the removal of Mate Boban as president of the “Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.” The pro-Tudjman press almost immediately ended its campaign to blame the Bosnian government for the antagonism between Bosnian Croats and Muslims. (58)

 

On February 23, 1994, Bosnian government and HVO commanders signed a cease-fire agreement ending the fighting between Muslims and Croats in Bosnia.(59) On March 2, Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic and Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic signed a momentous agreement to create a federation of Bosnian Muslims and Croats consisting of a self-governing cantons in areas where Bosnian Croats and Muslims together form a majority plus a central government.(60) On March 18, Bosnian and Croatian leaders signed a formal agreement to unite areas of Bosnia-Hercegovina with Croatian and or Muslim majorities in a federation. Simultaneously with Presidents Izetbegovic and Tudjman signed an agreement to create a confederation of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia. The new alliance between Bosnian Muslims and Croats and between the governments of Bosnia and Croatia was undoubtedly the most important political event of 1994.(61) The end to the fighting between Croats and Muslims immediately strengthened the military and geo-political position of Bosnia vis-à-vis the hostile Serbian forces. At the end of May 1994, the Bosnian parliament elected Kre¹imir Zubak, a Bosnian Croat, president and Ejub Ganic, a Muslim, vice-president of the new Bosnian federation. Alija Izetbegovic was to remain head of the collective presidency of Bosnia-Hercegovina’s wartime administration.(62)

 

In April 1994, the Bosnian Serbs began a concentrated assault on the militarily vulnerable “safe haven” of Gora¾de in eastern Bosnia, breaking through the outer perimeters of Bosnian government defenses on April 3. The Serbian assault continued despite repeated threats of retaliation by NATO and the UN. On April 10, acting on previous Security Council resolutions authorizing the employment of military force to protect aid convoys and UN peacekeeping forces in the safe areas, NATO planes made token strikes at Serbian positions near Gora¾de but failed to halt the Serbian advance. Boris Yeltsin criticized the NATO use of air power against the Bosnian Serbs in spite of Russia’s prior vote for the UN Security Council resolutions that authorized them. After Serbian tanks forced their way past the city limits of Gora¾de, the UN issued a new ultimatum on April 25 for Bosnian Serb forces to withdraw to areas three kilometers away from the city. The Serbs ended their assault on Gora¾de and made a show of complying with the UN ultimatum but continued to maintain some troops inside the three kilometer “exclusion zone”.(63)

 

On April 25, 1994 in response to the Gora¾de crisis, representatives of the European Union, the United States, Russia, and the United Nations met in London to renew diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflicts in former Yugoslavia. The participants signed an agreement to create a new coordinating body known as the Contact Group to begin efforts towards “an internationally imposed settlement” for Bosnia-Hercegovina.(64)

 

After ending their siege of Gora¾de, Serbian forces began new offensives elsewhere. On April 28, 1994 the Serbs were reported to be concentrating an enormous number of heavy weapons and troops near Brèko in an effort to widen the strategic corridor between Serbia and Serbian held areas in Croatia and northwestern Bosnia. On May 3, NATO planes buzzed Bosnian Serb troops near Sarajevo forcing them to end their attempt to retake heavy weapons from French peacekeepers in the exclusion zone. On May 5, Bosnia Prime Minister Haris Silajd¾iæ made an unheeded demand for the removal of UN envoy Yasushi Akashi after the latter gave authorization for Serbian tanks to pass through the Sarajevo weapons-free exclusion zone in clear violation of the letter and intent of the February 1994 agreement on de-militarization of the Sarajevo area.(65) After unsuccessful talks with Serbian representatives at Talloire France, President Izetbegovic announced that Bosnia would not participate in negotiations scheduled to take place in Geneva unless Serbian forces withdrew completely from Gora¾de and complied with other military agreements. On June 10, Bosnian Croats, Muslims, and Serbs signed another UN sponsored cease-fire agreement which was soon to be broken.(66)

 

On June 30, 1994, the Contact group, comprised of representatives of the United States, Russian, British, French, German and United Nations, announced their final “take-it or leave-it” plan for peace in Bosnia. According to this plan, a slightly modified version of the previous year’s Owen-Stoltenberg plan, Bosnia-Hercegovina would be reorganized as a loose union of two entities, the Bosnian Muslim-Croat Federation and the republic of the Bosnian Serbs. According to this plan fifty-one percent of the territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina would be assigned to the Croat-Muslim federation and forty-nine percent to the Bosnian Serb entity. The leaders of the Bosnian government were led to believe that the agreement would prevent the separation of the any areas from the Bosnian union and their annexation to the neighboring states of Serbia or Croatia. Although the plan required that Bosnian Serbian forces hand over to the Bosnian Muslim-Croat federation part of the seventy percent of the Bosnia which the Serbs had already conquered and occupied, it also awarded to the Serbian entity large areas where Muslims and Croats had formed a majority of the population before the war.(67)

 

In spite of deep reservations about the basic inequities in the proposal, which would award the Serbian aggressors with conquered territories, the parliament of the Bosnian Croat-Muslim federation voted to accept the Contact Group plan. On July 20, 1994, the Bosnian Serbs, while claiming to accept the basic plan as a basis for further negotiations, announced their refusal to accept the Contact Groups proposed territorial division of Bosnia. In the meantime, while engaging in a cat and mouse game with international negotiators, the Serbs initiated new military campaigns against the Bosnian government and began new savage campaigns of ethnic cleansing. On July 20, the Bosnian Serb authorities expelled 128 Muslims from Rogatica. On July 27, the Serbs once again cut the land route to Sarajevo and fired on an unarmed United Nations convoy killing one British peacekeeper.

 

The Bosnian Serbs’ continued intransigence and new provocations brought renewed international condemnation and pressures for lifting the embargo on arms imports by the Bosnian government. In the United States strong sentiment already existed for tougher measures against the Serbs. In May and June 1994, both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate voted in favor of resolutions calling on President Clinton to lift the embargo unilaterally if he failed to obtain international approval for such a measure. Faced with growing dissatisfaction in the United States with their Bosnia policy, representatives of the Contact Group increased diplomatic efforts to induce the Bosnians to accept the plan. On July 31, 1994, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who had argued against increased sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs, warned them that if they failed to accept the Contact Group proposal, Russia would be unable to resist international pressure in favor of more stringent measures against them. At the same time, Russia sought to enlist Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic’s formal support for the plan.(68)

 

On August 2, 1994, Milosevic, heeding Russian advice, announced that he would discontinue any support for the Bosnian Serbs, if they failed to accept the plan. Milosevic’s statement represented a tacit admission that Serbia had been supporting the Bosnian Serbs all along. (It should be recalled that in April 1993 Milosevic had announced that he had cut off supplies to his Bosnian Serb allies.) On August 5, 1994 Milosevic announced that he was cutting off the Serbia’s borders with Bosnia thus depriving the Bosnian Serbs of a resupply of food, fuel, and munitions. In taking this position, Milosevic hoped to reduce international pressures on Serbia itself and to obtain support in the Security Council for the lifting of economic sanctions against Serbia. Later events would show that Milosevic never intended to end support for the Bosnian Serbs. For weeks after the announcement that he was closing Serbia’s borders to the Karadzic’s pseudo-state, Milosevic refused to allow the presence of UN border monitors, while demanding the removal of UN economic sanctions against Serbia/Yugoslavia. Russia actively supported Milosevic’s quest for the removal of sanctions. Milosevic’s move to close Serbia’s borders did nothing to change the minds of the Bosnian Serbs. On August 27 and 28 1994, they voted in a referendum by a margin of ninety percent to reject the Contact Group plan.(69)

 

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vitaly Churkin announced on September 7, 1994 that the Contact Group would ask for the easing of economic sanctions against Serbia to reward the Serbian government for establishing the border blockade. Exactly one week later, the Serbian Tanjug news agency announced that Yugoslavia had agreed to allow the presence of UN civilian monitors along Serbia’s border with Bosnia.(70) On October 5, , the Security Council rewarded Serbia/Yugoslavia by removing bans on international air flights and ferry traffic by Yugoslav planes and ships as well as the ban on Yugoslavia’s participation in international sports and cultural events.(71)

 

The border blockade had little effect on the behavior of the Bosnian Serbs. The atrocities in Bosnia continued with no end in sight. International media reported that the Bosnian Serbs had launched a new military offensive against the northwestern Bosnian city of Bihac. On September 20, the New York Times reported that since mid-July the Bosnian Serbs had some ten thousand non Serbs in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing. A United Nations spokesperson reported that the Serbs had expelled a total of 100,000 non-Serbs from their homes since the beginning of the war in Bosnia.(72) This figure did not include the hundreds of thousands of non-Serbs who had fled their native regions over the past two years as a result of Karadzic and Mladiæ’s campaigns of military conquest and the bombardment of urban centers. Serbian policies had thus transformed the ethnic-religious composition of large areas of Bosnia.

 

For several weeks after Milosevic’s border blockade, it appeared that Serbia had, to some extent, reduced the resupply of fuel and munitions to the Bosnian Serb forces, hampering their ability to conduct offensive military campaigns. After the Bosnian Muslim-Croat federation agreement areas in Central Bosnia controlled by the Bosnian army were able to receive supplies via Croatia and the regions controlled by the Bosnian Croatians. It also became possible for the Bosnian army to use financial support from Islamic countries to buy limited supplies of improved weaponry on international arms markets and to transport these weapons through Croatian controlled territories. All of these factors contributed to an improved performance by the Bosnian Army and Bosnian Croatian forces, who were once again cooperating in joint operations against the Serbs. In mid-August 1994, the Bosnian Army was able to capture Velika Kladusa and expel the forces of the Bosnian Serbs’ renegade Muslim ally, Fikret Abdic, who fled to the Serbian controlled Krajina in Croatia.(73) In October and November Bosnian Muslim and Croatian forces won a series of military victories, for the first time reversing some of the territorial gains of the Bosnian Serbs. In October 1994, Bosnian government forces began an offensive from the Bihac enclave pushing deep into Serbian held territory in northwestern Bosnia.(74) On November 3, Bosnian Croatian and Muslim forces captured the important town of Kupres, which had been in Serbian hands since the beginning of the war.

 

The autumn military victories of the Bosnian Muslim-Croatian federation highlighted the military vulnerability of the Bosnian Serbs and their allies in Serbian controlled areas of Croatia. The Bosnian Serb forces were short on manpower and badly overextended. They were capable of mounting major offensives in only one region at a time and had depended on abundant fuel supplies from Serbia to move their tanks and equipment from one front to another over an extended mountainous area. The narrow corridor connecting the bulk of the Bosnian and Croatian Serbs’ military forces in northwest Bosnia and the Krajina region of Croatia was only a few kilometers wide near Brèko in northeastern Bosnia. Since the beginning of the war, military experts such as Croatian General Martin ©pegelj had been pointing out that a military offensive by the Croatian army from the north and Bosnian Muslim and Croatian forces to the south could cut off this corridor, thus depriving the bulk of Bosnian and Croatian Serbian forces of land supplies from Serbia and preventing the Bosnian Serbs from moving force back and forth between their core areas in northwestern and eastern Bosnia. Dr. Albert Wohlstetter, a distinguished scientist and defense and strategic policy analyst, has pointed out that it would be relatively easy for the Bosnian or Croatian armies to destroy Serbian fuel dumps in commando operations and even easier for NATO war planes to cripple the Bosnian Serbs fuel supplies and military capacity.(75)

 

Serbia did not wait long before the resumption of military and fuel supplies to the Bosnian Serbs thus countering the modest improvements in weapons supplies to the Bosnian Muslims and Croatians, who remained severely hampered by the continued UN arms embargo. In November 1994, with fuel, food, and ammunition arriving throughout the hundreds of miles of poorly monitored frontier with Serbia and Serbian controlled areas of Croatia, the Bosnian and Croatian Serbs began a concentrated counter-attack against the Bosnian Army in the Bihac enclave. Fikret Abdic’s troops, which had taken refuge in Serbian controlled areas of the “Serbian Republic of the Krajina” in Croatia joined the Serbian assault on the Bihac enclave. Within a few weeks, Serbian forces regained all areas lost in the previous Bosnian offensive and were at the doorsteps of the city of Bihac.

 

Once again there were calls for the UN and the security council to take stronger action against the Bosnian Serbs, but only weak and ineffective measures followed. On November 11, the Clinton Administration announced that US Navy vessels in the Adriatic would no longer assist in enforcing the arms embargo against Bosnia, but this measure had little effect because British and French vessels would continue to interdict any arms shipments to Bosnia through the Adriatic. (76) After the Krajina Serbs sent warplanes to attack Bihac, (in violation of the UN ban on military air flights over Bosnia), thirty NATO jets were sent on a punitive mission against the Serbs’ airfield at Udbina in Croatia, but were allowed to strike only the runway. NATO pilots were not allowed to target the Serbian warplanes or any of the hangers and military installations at the airfield.(77)

 

For the first two weeks of December 1994, Serbian forces in the Bihac area surrounded, blockaded and bombarded some 1,200 Bangladeshis belonging to the UN peace keeping contingent in the region. One wounded Bangladeshi died for lack of medical treatment. On December 13, the Serbians fired anti-tank missiles at a Bangladeshi armored personnel carrier and continued bombarding the UN “safe zone” of Bihac.(78)

 

Not only were Bosnian and Croatian Serbs attacking a UN declared “safe zone”, but there was increasing evidence of the Milosevic regime’s direct military support to the armies of the Bosnian and Croatian Serbs. The pilot of a Croatian Serb helicopter which crashed over Bihac was found to be a native and citizen of Serbia. Members of a paramilitary group which beat up two international newsmen wore the insignia of an elite military unit from Serbia and identified themselves as Serbian. Bosnian Serb forces were found to be using SA-3 and SA-6 surface-to air missiles capable of shooting down NATO aircraft patrolling Bosnia. UN sanctions monitors allowed convoys of fuel tankers to enter Bosnia from Serbia, accepting the Serbs’ explanation that the tankers were on their way to deliver fuel to the Serbs in Croatia. Diplomatic sources reported that they had evidence that Croatian Serb troops had moved through Yugoslav/Serbian territory on their way to assist in the campaign against Bihac.(79) According to the RE/RFL Daily Report, classified UN reports showed that armed men driving vehicles with Belgrade licensee plates had been crossing the border between Croatia and Bosnia near Bihac

 

In the United States, leaders of the new Republican congressional majority Senator Robert Dole and Congressman Newt Gingrich once again indicated lifting the arms embargo and the effective use of NATO air were necessary to counter Serbian military aggression in the Balkans. Once again, the outrageous actions of the Serbs were eliciting calls for stronger action against them by the international community.

 

On December 15, in an effort to deflect international pressure, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic sent an invitation to former US president Jimmy Carter to mediate the Bosnian Conflict. As a guarantee to Carter of his good intentions, Karadzic offered to free UN hostages taken by the Serbs, to free Bosnian Muslim war prisoners and end the Serbian blockade of Sarajevo. After obtaining the approval of President Clinton, Carter accepted the invitation to mediate and left for former Yugoslavia on December 17. (80) Three days later Carter and Karadzic announced that they had reached an agreement on a four month cease-fire to be monitored by UN peacekeepers.(81) For several days after the announcement of the cease-fire, intense fighting continued around Bihac, but diminished elsewhere. By the end of December 1994 Fikret Abdic’s forces with the help of Croatian and Bosnian Serb allies had recaptured his headquarters at Velika Kladu¹a in the Bihac enclave after driving out Bosnian government forces. Abdic’s men and their Serbian allies continued to assault besieged Bosnian government forces at Bihac.(82)

 

The result of the Carter visit was a temporary cease-fire. Most of the provisions of this agreement were never kept. Carter’s action had the effect of temporarily relieving President Clinton and other leaders of the Contact Group nations of political pressure to lift the arms embargo or to introduce other military measures against the Serbs. The cease-fire represented a mere reprieve in the fighting in some areas of Bosnia. It contained no provisions for a lasting long-term settlement of the Bosnian conflict. Informed observers expressed their belief that the warring parties would merely use the cease-fire to regroup and replenish their forces for battles to come as they had with countless other cease-fire agreements.(83)

 

By the beginning of February 1995, it was apparent that the Serbs had been emboldened by the weak international response to their aggressive actions of recent months. ON January 11, the Krajina, Serbs, whose forces had been attacking Bihac from Croatia refused to meet with General Michael Rose, the commander of UN peacekeeping troops. On January 12, a UN official reported that Yugoslav Red Berets were commanding Serbian troops fighting in the vicinity of Bihac.

 

Both Bosnia and Croatia redoubled their efforts to induce the world community to change its policy of appeasing Serbian aggression. Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajd¾iæ continued to demand the removal of the embargo on arms imports to Bosnia and criticized what he called “international impotence.”(84) In mid January 1995, President Tudjman of Croatia sent a letter to UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali in which he announced Croatia’s intent to terminate the mandate of UN peacekeeping forces in Croatia after its expiration on March 31, 1995. He indicated that the UN forces would be given a period of three months after that date to leave Croatia. Tudjman was expressing Croatian frustration with the UN to enforce the provisions of its mandate that called for the reintigration of Serbian controlled areas of Croatia into the Croatian state and the return of thousands of Croatian refugees who had been driven from their homes in these areas in the Serbian campaigns of ethnic cleansing. The Croatian assertiveness also reflected the much stronger military position of Croatia, which had been steadily acquiring better weaponry including some 60 MIG fighter jets for its airforce.(85) The Los Angeles Times reported on February 10, 1994 that President Tudjman was remaining firm in his demand for the UN departure.(86) If the leaders of Bosnia-Hercegovina were to join Tudjman in demanding an end to the failed United Nations mission, they might force the hand of the world community and open the way for a lifting of the arms embargo and military assistance to both countries.

 

Conclusion

 

The chronology of events detailed above clearly indicates that the Bosnian conflict is not the result of age-old hatreds of Bosnia’s constituent peoples but of a deliberately planned war of aggression by the Milosevic regime in Serbia and its allies in Bosnia and Croatia. All of the efforts by representatives of the world community to reason with the Serbian leaders Milosevic, Karadzic, and General Mladiæ have failed to produce results. Efforts to appease the Serbs have merely led to continued warfare. The Bosnians have surprised the world by their determination to resist aggression and preserve their centuries-old tradition of statehood. UN peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, stationed in vulnerable positions and lacking in fire-power or sensible rules of engagement have become virtual hostages of the Serbs. Armed United Nations contingents are unable to protect UN declared safe-areas from continuous attack by Serbian forces. Their contribution to humanitarian aid efforts is open to question, for such has been rendered as effectively by non-governmental humanitarian organizations such as the Red Cross.

 

Bosnia-Hercegovina need not be history, however, if the United States even at this late hour were to exercise leadership in the United Nations and NATO by insisting that arms embargo on Bosnia be lifted and the Bosnian forces provided with the weaponry needed to defend themselves more effectively. A combination of military aid and air support could prevent the rest of Bosnia from being overrun by Serbian forces. All indications are that the well motivated and more numerous Bosnian army, given proper assistance, could stem the Serbian advance, wear down the willingness of poorly motivated Serbian troops to continue fighting, and eventually recover the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia’s multi-ethnic democratic state. The Bosnian government still controls most of the industrial and economically significant areas of the republic. Aside from the geographically isolated and strategically vulnerable area of northwestern Bosnia around Banja Luka, the Serbian forces control little of value. Much of the area under their control is either infertile and barren mountainous territory or a charred wasteland of war ruins. The Serbs hold little of significance to fight for in Bosnia except the core region around Banja Luka which is vulnerable to being cut off totally from Serbia.

 

If the United States wants to stop Serbian aggression in Bosnia, it could carry out already existing Congressional resolutions requiring that the American president declare null and void the arms embargo, which represents a violation of the most fundamental right embodied in the charter of the United Nations itself, the right of each nation to self defense. The American president and NATO do not need the authorization of the United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali to initiate air strikes against the Serbian regime and its allies in Bosnia-Hercegovina who have already been clearly identified as aggressors in the Bosnian conflict in several United Nations and EC resolutions. Saving Bosnia from annihilation is a matter of political will. Failure to act will destroy the credibility of United States Foreign Policy and the very purpose and viability of international institutions like the United Nations. Far from containing the conflict, failure to halt Serbian aggression in Bosnia is likely to encourage Serbian attacks on other regions and serve as a model for extreme nationalist groups in Russia and the former Soviet Union. If the United States fails to act soon, the governments of Bosnia and Croatia together may demand the withdrawal of the current UN peacekeeping mission and a lifting of the arms embargo on both countries. The vast majority of the nations of the UN General Assembly have already demanded a lifting of the embargo which would be the first step towards enabling the victims of aggression to defend themselves. The only alternative appears to be a repetition of past failed policies and a continuation of the war with no end in sight.

Postscript: The Yugoalav Breakup, the Bosnian War, and the Implications for Kosova Today

 

The Serbian nationalist extremist campaign of extermination in Bosnia-Hercegovina continued until fall of 1995 when it was stopped by military force and not before new mass slaughters were allowed to take place at Srebrenica while UN forces in the area stood back and did nothing. The Serbrenica massacre brought an outcry in the United States and the world which resulted in a new more assertive policy by the United States and NATO. NATO, led by a more energetic United States, initiated its own action essentially bypassing the United Nations. NATO air strikes allowed Croatian and Bosnian ground forces in Bosnia to recapture large amounts of territory lost earlier. At the last minute, NATO forces allowed the intervention of Serbian military planes against Bosnian and Croatian forces, robbing them of the opportunity to establish control over all of the areas where Croatian Catholics and Bosnian Muslims had constituted a majority before the war began. The peace agreement which followed made large concessions to the Serbian extremists in Bosnia at the expense of real justice. The agreement was sufficiently favorable to the Bosnians and Croatians for it to be accepted. It did put a stop to the fighting and resulted in an unstable peace supervised by NATO forces. Even this defective agreement could never have been achieved without applying military pressure to the Serbian forces in Bosnia.

 

In Kosova today, the same type of situation which existed in Bosnia-Hercegovina in early 1995, before NATO intervention coupled by a successful ground effort by Croatian and Bosnian forces.  Once again the international community has responded only belatedly and without a clear and straight forward identification of the root cause of the conflict, Serbian aggression against a non Serbian people of former Yugoslavia. Once again diplomatic efforts without force have failed. NATO has now launched energetic air strikes against Serbian military installations without assisting the Kosova Albanians in defending themselves on the ground against Milosevic’s killing machine.   The NATO effort is being conducted on behalf of a highly defective and muddled peace plan, which provides for autonomy for Kosova within Milosevic’s Serbian dominated rump state of Yugoslavia.  The dissolution of the previous Yugoslavia occurred precisely because Milosevic introduced military rule in Kosova, abolished the province’s autonomous status, jailed its leaders, and introduced an apartheid like regime. Since then Serbian military, paramilitary, and police authorities have harassed persecuted and killed local Albanians. For years the Kosovar Albanians, who make up the vast majority of the province’s population, close to 90%, have engaged in fruitless efforts at peaceful resistance to Serbian installed apartheid. Only in 1997, when weapons became obtainable from Albania, did a group of Kosova Albanians begin to resist the Serbian police regime by force of arms. The Serbian response, like that in Croatia and Bosnia, has been savage.   It seems highly unlikely that a safe an just political order can be established in Kosova under the current Serbian regime, which is intent upon pursuing a brutal extremist agenda.

 

NATO leaders should revise their current political goal for Kosova to include as the ultimate goal an internationally supervised referendum which would allow the vast majority of Kosova’s population to determine their own destiny and allow for the creation of a democratic state. NATO should both assist the Kosovar Albanians and their allies in Albanian itself militarily to resist the Serbian campaign of extermination, and, if necessary provide some NATO ground forces to assist in the effort. They also need to turn their attention to do everything possible to bring an end to the Milosevic regime in Serbia. The step by step destruction of the regime’s military capacity, already begun in the current NATO air campaign should continue until Serbia-Yugoslavia’s war making capacity is destroyed or drastically reduced, but the ultimate goal must be to remove the Milosevic regime from power entirely and to make certain that no similar regime is established. The approach to Milosevic’s regime should be similar to that of the allies in the Second World War toward NAZI Germany, Fascist Italy and imperial Japan, the complete dismantling of these monster regimes and an internationally supervised creation of new democratic states.  Long term peace in the Balkans requires the replacement of the Milosevic regime. Anything short of this will lead to new wars and more slaughter.

 

 

Notes

1.Notes

 

By “democratic multi-ethnic society” I mean one in which individuals of diverse nationalities, cultures, religions, or ethnic origins live together with a common set of democratic political institutions which guarantee the human rights of all individuals or groups whatever their origins and where each group is guaranteed the right to use its own language and maintain its on religious or cultural institutions and practices.

 

In historical works of the modern era members of this religion are often referred to as Bogomils although there is an debate among historians as to whether the Bosnian Bogomils had exactly the same set of religious practices as other Balkan heretical groups to which the name has been applied. There is also a debate over the degree to which members of the Bosnian Church held Manichean-like dualistic beliefs similar to those of the Cathars and Patarenes elsewhere in Europe.

 

3.Sima Cirkovic, Editor, Istorija srpskog naroda, I (Belgrade: Srpska knjizevna zadruga, 1981); John V. A. Fine, Jr., The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century (Ann Arbor, The University of Michigan Press, 1983), pp. 248-290; John V. A. Fine, Jr., The Late Medieval Balkans, A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest, (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1987); John V. A. Fine, Jr., The Bosnian Church: a New Interpretation (Boulder: East European Quarterly, 1975), pp. 375-387; Bogo Grafenauer, Dusan Perovic, and Jaroslav Sidak, editors, Istorija naroda Jugoslavije, I (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1953); Barbara Jelavich, History of the Balkans: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (New York: Cambridge University Press), pp. 23-26 and 127-128; Robert A. Kann, A History of the Habsburg Empire 1526-1918, pp. 1-44; Dragoslav Jankovic and Mijo Mirkovic, Drzavopravna istorija Jugoslavije (Belgrade: Naucna knjiga, 1982), pp. 57-59; Gordana Nikolic, ed. Istorija drzava i prava jugoslovenskih naroda (do 1918 godine), Belgrade: Naucna knjiga, 1967); Jaroslav Sidak, “Patarenstvo – “Crkva bosanska”,” Section 2 of “Bosanska feudalna drzava od XII-XV veka,” Chapter 11 of Istorija naroda Jugoslavije, I, pp. 517-522..Robert A. Kann, and Zdenek V. David, The Peoples of the Eastern Habsburg Lands, 1526-1918 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1984);

 

4.Milorad Ekmeèiæ, Stvaranje Jugolavije 1790-1918 (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1989); Nedim Filipovic, “Bosna i Hercegovina,” Chapter 5 of Istorija naroda Jugoslavije, II, ed. Bogo Grafenauer, Branislav Djurdjev, and Jorjo Tadic, (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1960), pp. 108-143; Nedim Felipovic, “Bosnanski pasaluk,” Chapter 23, Sections 1-6 in Istorija naroda Jugoslavije, II, pp. 546-558; Dr. Muhamed Had¾ijahiæ, Od tradicije do identiteta: geneza nacionalnog pitanja bosanskih Muslimana (Zagreb: Islamska zajednica, 1990); Muhamed Had¾ijahiæ and Atif Purivatra ABC Muslimana (Sarajevo: Bosna, 1990); Nusret ©ehiæ, Autonomni Pokret Muslimana za vrijeme Austrougarske uprave u Bosni I Hercegovini (Sarajveo: Svjetlost, 1980); and Avdo Suceska, “O nastanku cifluka u nasim zamljama,” Godisnjak drustva istoricara Bosne i Hercegovine, 15 (1966), 37-57.

 

5.Dr. Milorad Ekmecic, “Drustvo, privreda i socijalni nemiri u Bosni i Hercegovini” in Istorija srpskog naroda, VI-1 ed. Andrej Mitrovic (Belgrade: Srpska knjizevna zadruga,1983), pp. 555-604, Mustafa Imamovic, Pravni polozaj i unutrasnji politicki razvitak Bosne i Hercegovine od 1878 do 1914 Sarajevo : Svjetlost, 1976),

 

6.Ivo Banac, The National Question in Yugoslavia (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1984); Alan Fogelquist, Politics and Economic Policy in Yugoslavia 1918-1929 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Microfilms, 1990); Tomislav I¹ek, Djelatnost Hrvatske seljaèke stranke u Bosni I Hercegovini do zavodjenja diktature (Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1981); and Atif Purvatra, Jugoslavenska muslimanska organizacija u politièom ¾ivotu Kraljevine Srba, Hrvata, i Slovenaca (Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1977).

 

7.Drago Borovcanin, Izgradnja Bosansko-Hercegovacke dr¾vnosti u uslovima NOR-a (Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1979) and Pedro Ramet, Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984, pp. 145-155.

 

  1. A collection of political speeches reflecting Milosevic’s ideas during his rise to power is presented in, Slobodan Milosevic, Godine Raspleta (Belgrade: Beogradski izdavaèko grafièki zavod, 1989)

 

  1. The views of the Serbian nationalist intellectuals were set forth in 1986 in a famous “Memorandum.” See Srpkska akademija nauka i umetnosti, “Memorandum,” in Izvori velikosrpske agresije (Rijeka: Tiskara Rijeka, 1991), pp. 256-300.

 

  1. See Dimitrije Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu (Belgrade: Knji¾eve novine, 1990), pp. 301-452; 224-230; J.F. Brown, Surge to Freedom: The End of Communist Rule in Eastern Europe (London: Durham University Press, 1991); Danas (Zagreb), 1987-1990 issues; East European Newsletter, 1988-1990 issues; Alush A. Gashi, M.D. Ph. D., The Denial of Human and National Rights of Albanians in Kosova, (New York: Illyria Publishing Co., 1992); Slobodan Milosevic, “U interesu pravde i progresa za s ve ljude koji na Kosovu ¾ive,” in Godine raspleta, pp. 340-346; Pedro Ramet, Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia 1963-1983 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984; pp. 156-171; Sabrina Petra Ramet, Balkan Babel: Politics, Culture, and Religion in Yugoslavia (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992); NIN (Belgrade) 1987-1990 issues; Mark Thompson, A Paper House: The Ending of Yugoslavia (Pantheon Books, 1992), pp. 125-146.

 

  1. For discussions of multiparty elections in Yugoslavia see East Euroean Newsletter (London), 19 February, 1990, 30 April , 1990, 28 May, 1990, 19 November 1990 and 7 January 1991; and newsweeklies Danas (Zagreb), Nedjelja (Sarajevo); NIN (Belgrade), and Vreme (Belgrade) issues for November 1990 to January 1991.

 

  1. For discussions of negotiations over reorganization of Yugoslavia see East Euroean Newsletter (London), 8 October, 1990, 19 November 1990 and 7 January 1991; 4 Febuary 1991, 2 April 1991 and newsweeklies Danas (Zagreb), Nedjelja (Sarajevo); NIN (Belgrade), and Vreme (Belgrade) issues for November 1990 to July 1991.

 

  1. Yugoslav military intelligence chief General Aleksandar Vasiljevic revealed plans for the arrest of President Tudjman of Croatia and President Kuèan of Slovenia in his interview with Novosti Extra edition 1992 (Frankfurt ) interviews with Vasiljevic were also published in NIN July-August 1992 and in Vjesnik August-September 1992. General Martin ©pegelj, Croatia’s first Minister of Defense, who until 1968 had commander of Yugoslav army forces in Croatia and Slovenia, discussed his knowledge of federal military plans for intervention in Croatia with me in a personal interview in Zagreb on September 1, 1992.

 

  1. For a good reviews of political developments in Bosnia from 1990 to fall 1992 see Amnesty International, Bosnia-Hercegovina: Gross Abuses of Basic Human Rights (New York, Amnesty International, U.S.A., 1992), pp. 1-9 and Helsinki Watch, War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1992, pp. 19-47.

 

  1. See Alija Izetbegovic, Islam Between East and West (Indianapolis, Indiana: American Trust Publications: 1989); Alija Izetbegovic, “Slabi muslimani – slabi BiH – Slaba Jugoslavija,” in Juigoslavija: Suoèavanje sa sudbinom (Belgrade: Glas, 1990); Amnesty International, Prisoners of Conscience (London: Amnesty International Publications, 1985), pp. 42-56; and Bosanski Institut, Sarajevski proces (Zurich: Bosanski institut, 1987.

 

  1. Nedjelja (19 May 1991), p. 17; Nedjelja (16 June 1991), pp. 9-10 and 16; Nedjelja (25 August 1991); Nedjelja (22 December 1991), pp. 5-7; and Nedjelja (26 January 1992), pp 11-12.

 

  1. Interview with Sefer Halliloviæ, Commander of the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Hercegovina in Ljiljan (4 January 1992), pp. 5-6.

 

  1. For accounts of events in Bosnia-Hercegovina during the latter months of 1991 see Danas (1 October 1991), pp. 28-29; Interview with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, Danas (22 October 1991), pp. 30-31; Danas (29 October 1991, pp. 15-17); Danas (26 November 1991), pp. 14-15; Danas (10 December 1991), p. 31; Danas (24 December 1991), pp. 11-13; Nedjelja (1 September 1991), p. 17; Nedjelja (8 September 1991), p. 14; Nedjelja (15 September 1991), pp. 8-10; Nedjelja (22 September 1991), pp. 15-16: Nedjelja (17 November, 1991), pp. 12-14; and Nedjelja (1 December 1991), pp. 8-10; NIN (27 September, 1991), pp. 20-21; NIN (25 October 1991), pp. 15-17; Vreme (28 October, 1991), pp. 20-21; and Vreme (18 November 1991), pp. 26-27.

 

  1. See Danas (31 December 1992), pp. 24-25; Danas (14 January 1992), pp. 16-17; Danas (21 January 1992), p. 10; Danas (28 January 1991), pp. 10-16; Danas (25 February 1992), pp. 34-35; Javnost (21 December 1991); Javnost (4 January 1992); Javnost (25 January 1992); Javnost (29 February 1992); Nedjelja (12 January 1992), pp. 8-10; Nedjelja (1 March 1992), pp. 9-11; and Nedjelja (8 March 1992), pp. 13-14

 

  1. For examples of President Tudjman’s view on Bosnia-Hercegovina see the interview with the Croatian president in Nedjeljna Dalmacija (10 June 1992) and the interview with him in Newsweek. “Spreading the blame: The president of Croatia seeks a cease-fire,” Newsweek (17 August 1992), p. 15. For Boban’s views on the eve of Bosnian independence right after he became president of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia-Hercegovina see the interview with Mate Boban in Globus (6 March 1992), p. 6.

 

  1. For a report on the Karadjordjevo meeting see “Susret za razlaz,” Danas (2 April, 1991), pp. 7-8

 

  1. Thompson, p. 282 and Helsinki Watch, p. 43. For a Bosnian reaction to Tudjman’s July 1992 statement about the possibility of dividing Bosnia see “Samo nepodijeljena Bosna – mirna Bosna,” Nejelja (21 July, 1991), p. 11.

 

  1. A collection of essays dealing with the identity of the Bosnian-Hercegovinian Muslims and the Muslim-Croatian relationship by a perceptive Hecegovinian Muslim intellectual can be found in Ibrahim Kajan, Zavodjenje muslimana (Budi svoj! (Zagreb: Naklada Smajla Kajana, 1992). For the views of President Izetbegovic see the interview with the Bosnian president in Nedjelja (8 December 1991), pp. 10-11. For discussions of cantonization see Nedim ©arac, “Kantoni kao republike,” Nedjelja (28 July 1991), p. 18 Dr. Zoran Pujiæ, “Hronika najavljene podjele,” Nedjelja (22 March 1992), p. 6.

 

  1. Krstan Male¹eviæ, “Marginalije o Be Ha izborima ’90,” Revija za socijologiju, 22, No. 3-4 (June-December 1991), pp. 315-326.

 

  1. Globus 14 Febuary 1992, p. 20 Helsinki Watch, p. 6; Norman Kempster, “Eagleburger seeks Balkan Atrocity Trials,” Los Angeles Times (17 December, 1992), p. 1.

 

  1. Helsinki Watch, pp. 29-38.

 

  1. Interview with General-Bojnik Ante Prkaèin, Commander of HOS at Starèeviæev Dom Zagreb, August 27, 1992.

 

  1. For general information on Bosnian government and Croatian military groups in Bosnia-Hercegovina see Human Rights Watch, pp. 32-34. For general information on the course of the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina I have consulted numerous newspaper and journal articles from Behar Press a publication of young Bosnian war reporters who work from Zagreb; BiH Eksklusiv (Split); Danas (Zagreb); Globus (Zagreb) Ljiljan (Sarajevo and Zagreb); Oslobodjenje, Zagreb and Zenica war editions, Nedjeljna Dalmacija (Split); Novi Danas (Zagreb); Novi vjesnik (Zagreb); Pogledi, the Serbian nationalist newspaper published in Scarborough Canada during the economic embargo against Serbia, Slobodna Dalmacija (Split); and Veèernji list (Zagreb), and Vreme (Belgrade) for months from April 1992 through February 1993.

 

  1. Taped interview held in Zagreb on September 7, 1992 with Senka Ba¹iæ, war reporter for Behar Press; Taped interview with Dr. Vlado Pand¾iæ, President of the Parliament of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Marinko Pejiæ President of the HVO (Croatian Defense Council) Sarajevo held in Zagreb on September 22, 1992, and Interview with Sefer Haliloviæ, Commander of the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Hercegovina in Ljiljan (4 January 1993), pp. 5-6.

 

  1. Personal interview held in Zagreb, September 4, 1992 with Ivica Nosiæ, citizen of Tuzla and war reporter for Novi Vjesnik, and two officers of the OS BiH Tuzla region, who requested that their names remain anonymous.

 

  1. Taped interview by amateur radio with Dr. Irfan Lulbijankiæ, Mayor of Bihac and Director of Bihac Hospital, Zagreb, September 12, 1992.

 

  1. BiH Eksklusiv (Split); Danas (Zagreb); Globus (Zagreb) Ljiljan (Sarajevo and Zagreb); Oslobodjenje, Zagreb and Zenica war editions, Nedjeljna Dalmacija (Split); Novi Danas (Zagreb); Novi vjesnik (Zagreb); Slobodna Dalmacija (Split); and Veèernji list (Zagreb) for months from April 1992 through February 1993. Also see articles on the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina in the Los Angteles Times, New York Times for the same period.

 

  1. For information on how the “Yugoslav” army took advantage of the EC brokered withdrawal of “federal” forces, weaponry, and equipment from Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia see “Srpski oklopni bataljuni pre¹li su Drinu!,” Globus (5 February 1993), p. 2 and p. 10.

 

  1. The behavior of the Bush Administration had been revealed in a series of news articles by George Kenny, the former head ot the Yugoslav desk at the State Department. See George Kenny, “Truth as a policy casualtly, ” The Washington Times, 7 October 1992 and George Kenny, “Sarajevo 991,” Washington Post, 15 October, 1992. Both the Bosnian government and the Bosnian Red Cross, a non-governmental organization presented evidence of prison camps, mass killing, and systematic ethnic cleansing weeks before the sight of emaciated prisoners on the world’s TV cameras made it impossible to ignore the evidence. Such evidence can be found in a document of the Bosnian non-governmental organization World Campaign Save the Humanity, Report on War Destructions Violation of Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity in Bosnia and Hercegovina 3 June 1992 (Sarajevo: Save the Humanity, 1992) and Report on War Destructions, Violation of Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity in Bosnia and Hezegovina, Part II, 7th July, 1992 (Sarajevo: Save the Humanity, 1992). These reports contain signed depositions by witnesses to atrocities and are presented in a professional manner similar to that used in reports by Helsinki Watch and Amnesty International.

 

  1. United Nations, Office of Public Information, The United Nations and the Former Yugosalavia 25 September 1991 – 30 October 1992 (New York: United Nations, 1992), p. 9.

 

  1. “Sedam toèaka za BiH,” Novi vjesnik (28 August 1992), p. 3A.

 

  1. “Bomba iz Graza potresla Mostar, Nedjeljna Dalmacija (27 May 1992), p. 14 and Mate Ba¹iæ, “Rogovi u bosanskoj vreæi,” Danas (12 May 1992), pp. 18-20.

 

  1. See “U Sarajevu izvr¹en vojni puè” Slobodna Dalmacija (21 October 1992), p. 4. This article is an account of a HVO press conference at which Bo¾o Rajiæ, then the Vice-president of the HVO now Minister of Defense of the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina told newsmen the fantastic story that the reason for recent conflicts between Bosnian government forces and the HVO was that Ejup Ganiæ, one of the members of the Bosnian Presidency; Sefer Haliloviæ, Commander of the OS BiH; Jovo Divjak, vice-commander of Bosnian government forces in Sarajevo; Arif Pa¹aliæ, commander of the OS BiH Mostar region; and several other high officers had carried out a coup d’etat against president Izetbegovic in concert with KOS (Kontra obave¹tajna slu¾ba) or the Yugoslav (Serbo-Montenegrin) Counter-Intelligence Service. None of these charges has been substantiated in any way and appear utterly fantastic. How Defense Minister Bo¾o Rajiæ, is today able to work along side of Ejup Ganiæ, Sefer Haliloviæ, Jovo Divjak, and others he accused of being KOS agents would make an interesting story. Other articles on HVO and OS BiH tensions in central Bosnia are found in Nedjeljna Dalmacija (21 October 1992), p. 31 Novi vjesnik (22 October 1992), p. 7A; Globus (30 October 1992), pp 5-7 NewYork Times (30 October 1992), p. A5; Newsweek (2 November 1992); p. 60; Interview with Bo¾o Rajiæ, Slobodna Dalmacija (5 Novvember 1992), p. 1992; New York Times (6 November 1992), p. A4;

 

  1. See Carol Berger, “Bosnian Muslims turn to Kuwait for money, arms” The Christian Science Monitor (28 January 1993), p. 6; and Steve Coll, “Despite U.N. Embargo Weapons sneak Into Balkans,” Washington Post News Service, (15 February, 1993); Askold Kruschelnycky, “The Arms Trail,” The European (28-31 January 1993), p. 6.

 

  1. See “Hrvatima bi pripalo 25,4% povr¹ine BiH” Gobus (8 January 1993), p. 5. Acopy of the Vance-Owen constitutional proposal for Bosnia-Hercegovina can be found in United Nations Security Council, Report of the Secretary General on the Internationsal Conference on the Former Yugoslavia (New York: United Nations, November 11, 1993).

 

  1. See John F. Burns, “Croats vs. Serbs vs. Muslims: Guns define borders,” New York Times (1 February 1993), p. A3. and UPI Report (19 January 1993).

 

  1. This point was emphasized by leaders of Islamic Conference Nations at a meeting at the end of January 1993. See “Hamid Al-Ghabid tarh-e sazman-e melal va jame’e-ye orupa-ra taqsim-e bosni rad kard,” Etela’at (Tehran, 3 February 1993), p. 16.

 

  1. See Stanley Meisler and Laura Silber, “Serbs Overrun Muslim Enclave; Airdrop on Hold,” Los Angeles Times (4 March 1993), p. A1 and p. A18; John F. Burns, “Serbs Intensify Sarajevo Attack; UN Fears A Final All-Out Push,” New York Times (23 March 1993), p. A1; Carol J. Williams, “Diplomats Report All-Out Serb Offensive in East Bosnia,” Los Angeles Times (17 March 1993), p. A4; John F. Burns, “Ethnic Cleansing Infects New Areas of Bosnia,” New York Times 21 April 1993, p. A6; Stephen Kinzler, “Serbs Reject Bosnia pact Defying Friends and Foes and Insist on Referendum,” New York Times, p. A5; John Pomfret, “Bosnian Serbs Demands Now Include Expelling Thousands of Muslims,” p. A21; “U.S., Europe Follow Russian Lead Toward a Balkan Strategy,” The Boston Globe (21 May 1993), p. 5; John Lancaster, “NATO Unable to Agree on How to Protect Bosnian Muslims,” Washington Post (26 May 1993, p. A21; Chuck Sudetic, “Serbian Forces Said to Overrun Muslim Villages,” New York Times (3 June 1993), p. A7.

 

  1. See ” Milosevicev embargo za braæu naoru¾anu do zuba,” Nedjeljna Dalmacija (12 May 1993), pp. 7-8; “Srpski General Mladiæ dobit-æe èin vojvode!” Globus (18 June 1994), pp. 9-10; Dr. Milan Vego, “Federal Army Deployments in Bosnia and Hercegovina,” Jane’s Intelligence Review October 1992, pp. 445-449.

 

45.The entire debacle of international policy towards Bosnia and the collapse of the Vance Owen Plan can be seen the headlines of the New York Times and other leading newspapers. See John F. Burns, “Ethnic Cleansing Infects New Areas of Bosnia,” New York Times 21 April 1993, p. A6; Ray Cohen, “U.S. and Allies Split on Bosnia Arms,” New York Times (22 April 1993), p. A8; Gwenn Ifill, “Clinton Considers Bosnia Air Strikes: Sees Allied Accord,” New York Times (24 April, 1993), Part 1, p. 1 and 4; John Darton, “Bosnian Serbs Set to Reject Peace Plan,” New York Times (26 April 1993), p. A1 and A4; R.W. Apple, “Clinton Says U.S. Must Harden Line Towards Serbs,” New York Times (27 April 1993), p. A1 and p. A6; R W. Apple, “Top Bosnian Serb Facing U.S. Action Signs A Peace Plan,” New York Times (3 May 1993), p. A1 and A4; Elaine Sciolino, “Christopher Seeks Backing on Bosnia,” New York Times (3 May 1993), p. A4; Elaine Sciolino, “Allies Still Resist Arms for Bosnia”, New York Times (4 May 1993), p. A6; Ian Mather and Dusko Doder, “NATO Plans New Havens for All Sides,” The European (30 April to 6 May 1993), Part 1, p. 1: Stephen Kinzler, “Serbs Reject Bosnia pact Defying Friends and Foes and Insist on Referendum,” New York Times, p. A5; Jimm Mann, “U. S. Renews Efforts for Allied Action on Bosnia,” Los Angeles Times (10 May 1993), p. A1 and A6; Paul Lewis, “U.N. Near Accord to Watch Serbian Frontier,” 13 May 1993, p. A1 and A6; John F. Burns, “Nationalist Serbs Rejection of Pact Means the End of Bosnia,” New York Times (17 May 1993), p. A1 and A6; Stephen Kinzer New York Times (17 May 1993), 1993, p. A6; Daniel Williams and Eugene Robinson, “Clinton Yields to Europe on Balkan Moves: U.S. Proposals to Use Force Put Aside, at Least for Now,” Washington Post ( 18 May, 1993), p. A1 and p. A17; John Pomfret, “Bosnian Serbs Demands Now Include Expelling Thousands of Muslims,” p. A21; “U.S., Europe Follow Russian Lead Toward a Balkan Strategy,” The Boston Globe (21 May 1993), p. 5; John Lancaster, “NATO Unable to Agree on How to Protect Bosnian Muslims,” Washington Post (26 May 1993, p. A21; Chuck Sudetic, “Serbian Forces Said to Overrun Muslim Villages,” New York Times (3 June 1993), p. A7.

 

  1. Security Council Resolution 827 (1993), 25 May 1993.

 

47.See United States Senate, “Title IV Bosnia-Hercegovina” of HR 2404, 103rd Congress, 1st Session, An Act to authorize appropriations for foreign assistance programs and for other purposes, June 17, 1993, , pp. 97-106.

48.Stanley Meisler, “U.N. Refuses to Lift Bosnia Arms Embargo,” Los Angeles Times (30 June 1993), p. A1 and A6 and Patrick Moore, “Still No Arms for Bosnian Muslims,” RFE/RL Daily Report, No. 122, 30 June 1993.

49.See Interview with General Rasim Deliæ, Commander of the Bosnian Army, “Armija Bih je pobijedila!”, Ljilljan 22-29 September 1993, pp. 6-7. For an explanation of the failures of the Croatian Defense Council in its military actions against Bosnian Army forces see the interview with HVO Commander Milivoj Petkoviæ, “Bili smo naivni, nestruèni i razdvojeni,” Nedjeljna Dalmacija (25 August 1993), pp. 3-4.

 

50.Helsinki Watch, “Bosnia Hercegovina: Abuses by Bkosnian Croat and Muslim Forces in Central and Southwestern Bosnia-Hercegovina,” Helsinki Watch V, Issue 18 (September 1993), pp. 1-17; United Nations Security Council, S/26469 28 September 1993, Appendix: Situation of Human rights in the territory of former Yugoslavia: Second periodic report on the situation of human rights in the territory of former Yugoslavia submitted by Mr. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, pursuant to paragrap 32 of Commission resolution 1993/7 of 23 February 1993

  1. Interview with General Stjepan ©iber, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army of Bosnia Hercegovina, Oslobodjenje (Weekly European Edtition) (6 August 1993), p. 6.

 

  1. 52.For a detailed accounts of the Serbian campaign to take Mounts Igman and Bjela¹nica see Interview with Zaim Backoviæ Bagi, member of Supreme Command of the Armija BiH, “Mi branimo sve narode,” Oslobodjenje (17 December 1993), p. 8; Interview with General Rasim Deliæ, Supreme Commander of the Armija BiH, Ljiljan (22-29 September 1993), pp. 6-7. See Brian Love, “U.S. Says Air Strike Threat to Serbs Very Real,” Reuter (3 August 1993); Peter Holmes, “Fighting Flares As Bosnia Peace Talks Falter,” Reuter (3 August 1993); “Bartholomw spells out NATO threat to Serbs,” Reuter (4 August 1993); Robert Evans, “Time-out in Bosnia Talks as Serbs and Croats Leave,” Reuter (4 August 1993); Jeanne Kirkpatrick, “Our First Post-Cold War Failure,” Washington Post (9 August 1993); “Sarajevo Quiet But War Continues in Ex-Yugoslavia,” (9 August 1993); “Muslim Radio Says Serbs Leaving Mount Igman,” Reuter (9 August 1993); Nesho Djuric, “U.N. Troops Replacing Serbs on Mountains Around Sarajevo,” UPI (15 August 1993); “Bosnian Serb Leader Says Sarajevo Not Under Seige,” Reuter (15 August 1993); and Cristopher Hitchens, “Betrayal Becomes Farce: In Bosnia the Final Act Is Our Own Pathetic Complicity,” Washington Post (15 August 1993).
  2. United Nations Security Council, S/267337/Add.1 Constitutional Agreement of the Union of Republics of Bosnia and Hercegovina and other constitutional papers.

54.See John F. Burns, “Bosnia Legislators Reject Peace Plan in a Lopsided Vote,” New York Times (30 September 1993), p. A1 and p. A7.

55.”Bosnia War Chronology,” Reuter, (19 December 1993) and RFE/RL Daily Report, Nos. 187-249 (September 29 – December 30, 1993).

  1. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 35, 21 February 22, 1994; no. 36 22 February 1994; no. 38, 24 February 1994; and no. 40, 28 February 1994.

 

57.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 40, 28 February 1994.

  1. The author of this article was actively involved in this effort to improve relations between Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia and had numerous conversations with Slaven Letica, Ivo Banac, and Stipe Me¹torviæ concerning these activities. Also extremely active in the effort to bring about a Croatin-Bosnian relations was Dr. Albert Wohlstetter. All of these individuals were convinced of the strategic importance of Bosnian and Croatian cooperation to the survival of
  2. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 38, 24 February 1994.

60.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 42, 2 March 1994.

61.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. no. 54, 18 March 1994.

62.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 103, 1 June 1994.

63.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 64, 5 April 1994; no. 65, 6 April 1994; no. 68, 11 April 1994; no. 69, 12 April 1994; no. 71, 14 April 1994; no. 72, 15 April 1994; no. 75, 20 April 1994; no. 76 21 April 1994; and no. 78 25 April 1994

  1. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 78, 25 April 1994
  2. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 84, 3 May 1994; no. 86, 5 May 1994; and no. 89, 10 May 1994.

66.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 84, 25 May 1994; no. 100, 27 May 1994; and no 102, 31 May 1994.

67.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 123, 30 June 1994.

68.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 125, 5 July 1994; no. 132, 14 July 1994; no. 134, 18 July 1994; no. 137, 21 July 1994; no. 142, 28 July 1994; no. 143 29 July 1994; and no. 144, 1 August 1994.

  1. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 145, 2 August 1994; no. 146 3 August 1994; no. 148, 5 August 1994; no. 154 16 August 1994; no. 159 23 August 1994; no. 163 29 August 1994.

70.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 171, 8 September 1994 and no. 176, 15 September 1994.

71.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 189, 5 October 1994.

72.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 179, 20 September 1994 and

  1. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 158 22 August 1994 and no. 159, 23 August 1994.
  2. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 205, 26 October 1994 and no. 210, 4 November 1994.
  3. Albert Wohlstetter, “Bosnia: Air Power, Not Peacekeepers, The Wall Street Journal (9 December 1994), p. A12.
  4. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 215, 11 November 1994
  5. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 220, 21 November 1994; no. 221 22 November 1994; and no. 223, 28 November 1994.
  6. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 228, 5 December 1994; no. 229, 6 December 1994; no. 230, 7 December 1994; and no. 234 13 December 1994.

79.Carol J. Williams, “Milosevic Signature Seen in Serbs’ Gains,’ Los Angeles Times (10 December 1994), p. A-11.

80.RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 236, 15 December 1994 and no. 238, 19 December 1994.

  1. RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 240, 21 December 1994 and no. 241, 22 December 1994. 82. 82. Marjorie Miler, The Los Angeles Times (31 December 1994), p. A-7.

83.See Carol J. Williams, “Bosnian Serbs May Not Realize their Isolation; Balkans: Observers are pessimistic that truce will last” The Los Angeles Times (9 January 1995), p. A-10.

84.OMRI Daily Digest, no. 23 Part 11, 1 February 1995.

85.Carol J. Williams, “Croatian Leader, Impatient With Stalemate, Expels UN” Los Angeles Times (13 January 1995), p. A-7. 86.

86.Scott Kraft, “Croatians Firm on Expelling U.N. Force,” Los Angeles Times (11 February 1995), p. A-5.

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