Print this page
Historical Text Archive © 1990 - 2016
Printer friendly version of: http://historicaltextarchive.com/sections.php?action=read&artid=73
On Yugoslavia, Observations from November, 1991 to August, 1992
By Valentine Smith (aka Charlie Dell), February 2,1993
From the summer of 1990 to the present time roughly two years later,
the state of Yugoslavia began to become unglued as a federation of
republics. In early July of that year, Slovenia declared the
sovereignty of its laws over the laws of Yugoslavia, being the first
of the six republics to break away from the federation, and the only
one to do so relatively peacably. Two days after that, Serbia
dissolved the government and parliament of the autonomous province of
Kosovo, one of two in the state (the other being Vojvodina). In
August, the Serbian minority in Croatia held a referendum, bitterly
opposed by the Croatian government, to decide on autonomy within
Croatia. Slovenia declared customs duties on Serbian goods in late
October, in effect breaking down the internal exchange process.
In 1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared independence from Belgrade,
and Serbian "irregulars," and forces of the Serb-dominated Yugoslav
army and air force attacked Croatia, destroying most of the city of
Vukovar, heavily damaging the Adriatic port city of Dubrovnik, plus
causing some damage to Zagreb and Ljubljana. The fighting at times
was ferocious, a large number of people were killed, more became the
first of now over 1.5 million refugees, and a fair numbr of cities
were damaged or destroyed. Next was the turn of Bosnia-Hercegovina,
which declared independence in February, 1992, and the fighting
between the republic and the republics of Serbia and Montenegro began
almost immediately. Macedonia also declared independence in the
spring of 1992, but unlike the other three republics, was not
recognized as an independent state by the EC, CSCE, and UN as the
first three were because of Greek objections over the use of the name
At this time, a month into the fall of 1992, the fighting continues
in Bosnia, with the city of Sarajevo holding out against a
concentrated Serbian push to capture the city, and assimilate as much
of Bosnia as they can into a "new Yugoslavia," (currently Serbia and
Montenegro, plus the captive "autonomous regions" of Kosovo and
Vojvodina) which as yet has not gained any recognition in the
international community. 70% of Bosnia is in Serbian hands, with all
three communities of the state (Muslim, Croat, and Serb) accused of
blood-letting beyond any seen in Europe since World War II, and
ethno-centrism to the point of ominous policies like "ethnic
purification" and "concentration camps." This has led to a large
number of yet unreported-in-full slaughters, and the largest European
refugee problem since the last World War. Other states in the region
began closing their borders as July began, a policy that has
continued throughout the rest of summer and into fall in varying
degrees. All of Bosnia's immediate neighbors, including Croatia, are
saturated with refugees from Bosnia.
This account begins in November of last year, as the fighting in
Croatia still continued, Bosnia was only discussing breaking away
from Belgrade, and continues into the latter part of July, 1992, as
still another ceasefire collapsed (over twenty-five have so far
failed), and Sarajevo airport is one of the few places in all Bosnia
under "neutral" control, with 1600 UN "peacekeepers"
tenuous thread of food and medical aid to the embattled city, but not
able to get food or any aid to the countryside at all. As the account
opens, on my 600th message to my electronic mail bulletin board,
Vukovar is being pounded to bits by Serbian shelling.
The messages are parts of a larger structure of material written from
17 November, 1991 to 5 August, 1992, and include only excerpts
relating to the former republics of Yugoslavia, and specific or
general conclusions the writer made about the situation, or as it
related to Europe as a whole. This account stops 150 messages after
the start, spanning a little over nine months of commentaries on just
In the two months after the messages in this paper stop, the
destruction of Sarejevo has continued, (including the cutting off of
natural gas, electricity and water to the beseiged city) the "ethnic
cleansing" in north Bosnia has continued, the refugee situation is
critical, food deliveries by air or truck are erratic or not
occurring, and in the month of October, Croat and Muslim, once allied
against the Serbs, have begun to fight each other.
Vukovar looks devastated in the fighting of the past week, shelling
continues at Dubrovnik, more fires and damage is occurring at Osijek,
so the ceasefire last was a bit on the ephemeral side. It did permit
"Slavakia," a ferry of some kind, to ponderously (took 36 hours for
the ship to get where it was going - somewhere else in "Yugoslavia" -
a seeming fictional place these days, despite the efforts of the
Serbs) get away from 4000 refugees from Dubrovnik, almost all
wounded people, women and children. Osijek looks like the scenes in
_The Wasteland, and other stark depictions. (1)
Vukovar fell to the Serb-dominated Federal army last night or early
a.m. this morning. The place looks awful. Osijek and Vukovar are both
extremely heavily damaged, as are some thirty other towns and
villages in eastern Croatia. Dubrovnik remains under seige.
The tragedy of Croatia seems to never end, only getting worse. The
Serbs will have a lot to answer for at some point in the near future.
Osijek has become the new focus of the Federal army, and yesterday
"thousands of shells" reportedly poured in on this regional capitol
in eastern Croatia. Yesterday, many charges were leveled by both Serb
and Croat about the vast numbers of dead people so graphically
displayed on major network and cable news programs last night and
this morning. The Serbs blamed the so-called Ustashe (fascist police
and military types as existed in WWII that killed thousands of Serbs
at that time), while the Croats blamed the Communist "killers" of the
Serbian army. The truth may never be told.
Both sides have drawn battle lines that leave little room for
compromise. Serbia and Croatia will both say that they would agree to
a ceasefire, and both have asked the UN for UN peacekeeping forces in
the region. Croatia wants the peacekeeping border lines to exist
where they were in June, while the Serbs want the lines drawn where
the army has gotten to in Croatia, with roughly a third of the
"state" that existed on 25 June now under Serbian control, which the
Croatians see as an anathemic solution. Vance and other UN people
have said until an actual, working ceasefire occurs, the chances of a
peacekeeping force being brought in are slim.
Tudjman allegedly arrested an opposition leader in Croatia today, for
reasons not very clear to me by the report's end. I think it was over
this person's ideas about how peace with the Serbs can be achieved. I
suspect that nobody in this mess will behave in a "democratic"
manner, but such high-handedness is always deplorable to see.
The debacle that Yugoslavia represents is a tragedy compounded by the
bullheadedness of ALL sides, and there will be no winners, only the
The bitter fighting in Croatia, while Bosnia-Hercegovina, Macedonia
and Slovenia all try to break loose from "old" Yugoslavia, is the
most visible problem, but not the only one.
There is Hungary muttering at Romania for the treatment (harsh) of
the Hungarian minority by the Romanian majority. Slovakia appears to
want to break loose from Czecho-Slovakia. The Gypsies struggle in
Hungary, Germany and elsewhere in Europe just to exist, it would
appear. There is rising anti-foreigner manifestations in France, the
UK, Spain, Germany and Italy in the past twelve months, and to a
lesser degree in Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. As the Washington Post
Weekly put it this past week in their cover article "The Eruption of
Eastern Europe," and I quote, ""Freed at last from Communist
the peoples of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are resuming their
historic quarrels." Twice this century, these "historic
have led to "world wars."
As a 14th ceasefire vaguely holds in Croatia (Osijek the apparent
exception, as the city was bombarded, - "pounded," NPR reported
today), this situation perhaps represents in microcosm what may occur
in what might have been called the USS, but which appears closer to
disintegration daily. Brings up an interesting question (I think),
what will happen to the USSR seat on the UN Security Council when the
USS(R) ceases to exist? I think only the most optimistic can believe
that the union is going to hold. I wish I could say I thought that
I am for self-determination, but not to see every 50 square miles
declare itself a nation. That kind of chaos will be highly
destabilizing, as Gorbachev bluntly warned today.
But rest assured, by next summer, the map of this area of the world
will look totally different, and there will be several "nations," (I
use that word loosely, for now) where there was once one. History is
being made, most sorrowfully it will not be done cleanly. (4)
>Don't get me wrong, I am certainly in favour of a Swedish recognition
>of Ukraine. But, if Sweden went ahead and recognized Ukraine on
>Monday, I would definitely ask: why Ukraine, why not Georgia and
>Moldova who are at least at equally advanced in the independence
>efforts? And why not the wanna-be country which really has everything
>you could ask of an independent state: control of its territory, own
>armed forces, own currency? Why not Slovenia?
>Erland Sommarskog - ENEA Data, Stockholm - email@example.com
Again, I sense a bias and/or a myopia here. The only reason Croatia
doesn't have control over THEIR territory is, as I said in early
July, the criminal and illegal (by what I understand about
sovereignty) invasion of their territory by the Serbian-dominated
Federal army. They do have their own army, ragtag as it is, and they
would have their own currency if they weren't fighting for their
lives. I say, as I've said before, and now the EC, and Chancellor
Kohl, apparently are saying or will say, (Kohl did say yesterday)
that BOTH Slovenia and Croatia should be recognized. I agree Georgia
ought to also be recognized IF the Ukraine is. I think Moldavia
should have a referndum about independence/union with Romania and
about what to do about the Russian and Turkish enclaves within that
have declared independence from the republic! THEN perhaps
recognition could be considerd.
What's sauce for the goose cannot, to my self-determination thinking
mind, ONLY be sauce for the goose. Consistancy has to overtake
cold-blooded pragmatism and opportunism.
But, separately, both Slovenia and Croatia should be recognized,
preferably by Europe first, and if Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia
also end up seeking to be independent, let them. The Serbs should NOT
be allowed to have their way by force. (5)
As Cyrus Vance arrived in Belgrade for the latest peace talks, it was
clear that the 14th ceasefire had collapsed. There were graphic
pictures of dead folk laying in the streets of Osijek, and heavy
fighting (or at least shelling) in Vinkovci, near Osijek. (6)
Anarchy in Croatia has seen the destruction of many Croatian cities -
that situation, as the 14th ceasefire breaks down and in Stepe
Mesich's resignation as Federal President, declaring Yugoslavia "was
no more," threatens other neighbors and also menace to the point of
causing danger and damage to them (so far Hungary and Austria). So, I
am not confident that "anarchic conditions" would necessarily work in
the ex-SU republics any more than in former Yugoslavia. (7)
It would appear that the Vance-negotiated peace fire has gone the way
of its thirteen predecessors, as fighting, fires and shell-firing
occurred all across Croatia from Osijek to Dubrovnik. I do not know
the "right" of all the sides, but the destruction of almost 1000 year
old buildings for possibly spurious political goals is the height of
social and political crime, and the killing of over 7000 people
(highest number I've seen so far) is the epitome of what we tried all
those German fellows for at Nuremberg in 1946. The top guys in the
Serbian army (and perhaps top Croatian commanders) should perhaps
face such a tribunal, assembled at the behest and direction of the UN
Security Council. What is happening in the former Yugoslavia could be
stopped. It is said cynically here at the grass roots that the reason
UN troops are not at Osijek as a dividing force between Serbia and
Croatia is because no oil is at stake, only medieval buildings and
frightened people. The Serbian army allegedly "apologized" for
shelling Dubrovnik today, and claimed that there would be an
It is so hard to explain to people what is being perceived in this
writer's head and heart as all this occurs. Gorbachev warns of
"catastrophe" and "war" while his neighbors in former
pound each other over issues similar to some of those expressed by
some of the 100 and some ethnic groups of the XSU.
But cooperation HAS to come into the equation somewhere, both in the
former SU and in ex-Yugoslavia. If not, the "what else could happen"
scenario described as Gorbachev's "crying wolf" will conjure real
demons like civil war and widespread death due to hunger, starvation
and weather conditions. (8)
Croatia & Slovenia-
Our papers are saying that Kohl has agreed to recognize these two
breakaway Yugoslav republics by Christmas, thereby creating an
alleged rift between Germany and the US. France, Britain and the US
favor recognition as part of a greater peace settlemnt, while Bonn
reportedly favors using recognition as a way to pressure Belgrade
into a settlement.
It would appear that the world we have seen as static and basically
unchanging (save in the Third World!) is now coming unglued and
reshaping itself. How will that occur appears everyone's greatest
concern. It would appear clear that the changes are not through
happening yet, nor is anyone sure what to do in reaction to the
changes that ARE erupting, now almost on a daily basis. (9)
Tank firing was occurring at Osijek this morning, but there is
relative quiet over Croatia today. Yugoslav troops are reportedly
evacuating bases in north Croatia, and the federal navy has been
reported as having lifted their siege of Dubrovnik.
I empathize with those people in Yugoslavia and the ex-USSR who are
already wistfully saying that they wish this disintegration were not
occurring because of the numbers of new entities the world will have
to deal with and the number of thorny questions and decisions that
will have to be reached because of that multiplicity of new states
birthed by the death of empire. However, it IS happening, the
potential nightmare will NOT disappear by wishing it so. (10)
Though there is some stabilization behavior going on in Yugoslavia,
the region appears in deep flux from Berlin and Zagreb east to the
Pacific Ocean. All the countries in this region are struggling,
especially "old Yugoslavia," and the ex-XSU is coming apart before
our very eyes with amazing rapidity. (11)
Croatia and Slovenia-
The EC has agreed, with angry reaction from Serbia, to recognize
Croatia and Slovenia as sovereign nations by or on 15 January, 1992.
That may provoke the departure of Macedonia and Bosnia-Hercegovina
from the dead carcass that was once the state of Yugoslavia (only
Belgrade seems unable to see this truth, sadly for the men of the
various armies in the field). Fighting continues in Croatia, with
seven dead at Osijek, and the town of Kraskovic recaptured by the
Serbs today. (12)
An UN observer team of 21 arrived in Belgrade today, trying to find a
way to put UN peace-keeping forces in the war-torn republic. Fighting
continues, with pictures today of Croat soldiers in both Osijek and
Sisak looking very John Wayne-like. Shelling continues, the Serb-led
Federal army is determined to keep up the fighting, for reasons
rather murky, while the Croats, whose reasons may be more clear, and
whose behavior just as mercurial and unreadable, continue resisting.
Sisak has a sixth of the populace it had this past spring. Many
Croatian towns in eastern Croatia are similarly depleted. (13)
The Premier of the dying Yugoslav state resigned yesterday. It seems
clear that what IS happening is that the constituent parts of the old
Yugoslav state are battling it out for who will have what in a
post-Yugoslav Balkanized situation of several nations. If Germany and
the EC recognize Croatia and Slovenia on the timetable that has been
suggested, at least the violation of their sovereignty might become
the first big issue for ALL of Europe to grapple with in the New
Year. There was reported celebrating in Zagreb at the news that
Germany had announced their recognition of Croatia, but that will not
actually take effect until 15 January, when the EC as a whole body's
recognition takes effect. (14)
Heavy fighting at Osijek and Karlovac continues, while Zagreb went
on air alert and blackout for an hour today as fighting went on in
the villages near the city.
The past two days have seen the Serbian-dominated Yugoslav Presidency
reportedly announce a "new Yugoslavia" would be formed soon,
dominated of course by Serbia. The "new state" would be "more
and smaller" and would in include at the least Serbia, Montenegro,
Kosovo, and Vojvodina, plus the Serbian areas created as Serbian
"satrapies" in Croatia after their seizure by force. The UN is
holding off on peace-keeping forces in the region as it would appear
the Serbian side, predominantly but probably not alone, have no real
desire for anything less than total defeat of the their perceived
enemies, the Croats. It would appear that in this situation, too,
that pig-headed nationalism and fifty year old quarrels have more
hold than a reasonable future for all sides. The UN envoy, Vance,
said yesterday, ruefully, "Things are not going very well in the
Air raid sirens cried out in 28 Croatian cities today, according to
the news this evening. Fighting appeared most ferocious around
Karlovac yesterday, which one analyst said this evening that if it it
were captured by the assaulting Serbs that they would then control
one half of Croatia. The Serbs would also reportedly be able to
solidify their rump republic of Kyrenia, using Karlovac as the
capital under duress, as apparently most of the Croats who lived
there have fled, only an unknown mumber of fighters are left.
Artillery fire reportedly killed 10 in Karlovac over the weekend, and
was also apparently re-occurring today. The Federal air force is
conducting air bombardments at both Karlovac and Osijek, with no
reports on Dubrovnik, and with Zagreb as yet unattacked.
The tragedy of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave continues, with more
unyielding people on both sides. Ditto for the incredibly bitter
struggle in Croatia. No compromise, and no quarter. Fools! There is
enough room and territory for every group that wants a place to be to
have that place. The past MUST be stepped away from, as hard as one
knows that will be. But, death and pride go before all that
reasonableness. On the EC list last week, I saw my "silly" (what it
was referred to at the time as) idea about a global re-ordering
conference reappear in terms of just Europe.
Fine! But, all these aspirations, be they Croatian, Serbian,
Macedonian, Bosnian, Georgian, Azeri, Armenian, Russian, Turkic,
Moldavan, Romanian, Hungarian or Basque, need satisfaction IN A
REASONABLE MANNER FOR ALL PARTIES CONCERNED. This CAN BE DONE!!!! Why
peace and harmony are not occurring is no mystery - pride, ambition,
nationalism, stubborness and bullheadedness are a good chunk of the
reasons that equitable solutions are not being reached. Compromise IS
hard, but it can be done, needs to occur in all these situations.
Will reason have a voice at the table? Will folks ever be willing to
come to the table?
The year ends with many loose ends, many disconnected people, many
jumbled agendas. Perhaps 1992 will be better, but the signs are not
particularly positive. (16)
Allegedly, a 15th "permanent" ceasefire is to go into effect 3
January at 1800 hours local time. This may presage Serbian/Yugoslav
troop withdrawals, and perhaps the coming of UN peacekeeping troops.
Perhaps this ceasefire in Croatia will actually hold, and some
semblance of peace for now will come to this war-torn place. (17)
Sporadic violations of the 15th ceasefire have been reported, but
most soldiers and tanks pictured by news crews had weapon muzzles
wrapped in plastic today to signify that they were not being used. If
the truce can hold for a "period of time" (unspecifid) then UN
peacekeeping forces might be moved into the area relatively soon.
This result does remain to be seen, however. (18)
The truce of 3 January is apparently holding. The new Secretary
General of the UN indicated today that UN observers are meeting with
EC observers and it may be "soon" that UN peace-keeping forces will
go to the area. (19)
5 EC observers, four Italians and a French officer, were killed
yesterday when a Yugoslav warplane shot it down, and forced a second
copter to land in nearby Hungary. The Federal Air Force may be
"reprimanded" for this incident, its head allegedly placed under
house arrest, while the pilot was reported as "acting on his own" by
NPR in the a.m. yesterday.
McNeil/Lehrer reported last night that 10,000 people have died in the
six months of fighting, and that now 500,000 "Yugoslavians" are
The UN plans to send 50 observers to the area by the weekend, while
the EC suspended its observing until their people's safety could be
better guaranteed by "Yugoslavian" troops. I think the Air Force
chief resigned today, will report further on this later. (21)
It was reported this morning that the EC rejected the Yugoslav
explanation that the pilot that shot down the copter with five EC
observers who were killed "acted without approval." Other sources
allegedly indicate that such approval was given, according to the EC,
and their copters and planes will stay grounded at this time.
Ethnic Albanians in this former Yugoslav republic (which voted for
independence overwhelmingly this past fall) want out. The Macedonian
government reportedly is calling any such efforts "illegal." (I'm
amazed that Serbia has not any more trouble in Kosovo than they've
had, considering how preoccupied with Croatia Serbia is). This report
probably portends the beginning of a nasty ethnic struggle in
Macedonia too, just what the torn corpse of Yugoslavia needs! (22)
50 UN observers arrived in Croatia primarily today to see if the 12
day ceasefire is holding, which may presage 10,000 UN peacekeepers
coming here. The Serbs muttered heavily about the Vatican recognition
yesterday of both Croatia and Slovenia, warning that such might be a
provocation. They are probably right.
I'll close by saying that I believe this first year of change just
past across eastern Europe is only the beginning of a fairly long
period of sometimes turbulent upheaval, sometimes deceptively
peaceful progress. It will not be easy for the changes WE think are
necessary to occur. Somehow, the world, and each of us, needs to see
as many points of view about all this as possible, and stayed
informed! No point of view will be the "correct one," all of us can
see elements of truth and falseness in the changes and leaders that
are emerging. As someone said to me yesterday, "There's always a
quid pro quo somewhere in the process." Tradeoffs and compromises
will form the new states, and their relationships, let us hope as
reasonably as possible. (23)
Both this troubled republic, and the quieter Slovenia, became
officially recognized by the EC yesterday, thereby effectively
dissolving Yugoslavia. Wild celebrations occurred all over Croatia.
President Tudjman assured that the Serbian minority's rights would be
respected. Serbia angrily demounced the recognition, which now has
some 16-25 nations recognizing the two republics, and stated that
they believe the country is intact, and that all these recognitions
are "violations of Yugoslavia's sovereignty." The Vatican had
recognized the two republics the day before, which also had drawn
Serbia's public ire to the point of denunciations for such a
decision. The ceasefire is still loosely holding, though Dubrovnik
was shelled yesterday, and 3 Croat militiamen were killed by a
presumed Serbian sniper during the day.
This republic was recognized yesterday by Bulgaria. The Greeks
immediately objected. They say that a area in north Greece is the
"true" Macedonia, and that "Macedonia" ought to call itself
else. So far, no reaction from Macedonia. This area and Kosovo are
reported real probabilities for "federal" intervention/warfare now
that Slovenia and Croatia have been recognized by the EC. This
morning, it was reported troops are "massing" in this republic that
desires independence, voted for and declared.
The map keeps changing, and will keep up those changes for some time
to come. Aspirations worldwide for autonomy have sprung again into
life as Croatia-Macedonia-Serbia (and whoever else!) battle over the
states that will emerge from the ashes of Yugoslavia, and as
republics like Ukraine and Russia struggle to define the nature of
their relationship. Places like Georgia serve up again the
difficulties of translating democracy to places and people who really
only have the vaguest understanding of its meaning - the gun is still
the problem-solver. Bulgaria, still barely emerging from the hand of
Communism itself, recognizing an area that they once had great
involvement in serves two purposes - to further agitate and weaken
the Serbian government, and to form an alliance with a potentially
more progressive neighbor with whom a trade relationship may be
established. There may also be a hidden hostility problem with Greece
that Bulgaria is acting on too. This is a time of great ferment, and
that upheaval has a long course yet to run, it seems strongly safe to
assume. But who knows? The world COULD get reasonable (but one
wouldn't count on that rapidly occurring). (24)
The Croatian Prime Minister today called for 2000 UN peacekeeping
forces to be in place in ten days. The Serbian enclaves in Croatia
vow to fight if they appear, and it appears that some sporadic
fighting and air sorties is still occurring. (25)
The UN mediator on the ground in Croatia, Merritt Goulding, is to
certify to the Secretary General that "basically" the ceasefire is
holding, and that it would be permissible and desirable to bring in
UN peace-keeping forces. A catch, however. Neither the Serbian
enclaval leaders in Croatia, or some members of the Croatian
government, now want the troops, though for different reasons. The
Serbs do not wish to disarm nor let the Federal army leave, Zagreb's
opposition is completely obscure at this juncture.
The mess in Nagorno-Karabakh, and Croatia, defies the wisdom of
Solomon to solve, I fear. (And if there were a modern day Solomon,
SOMEBODY would object to WHATEVER decision was made!)
Nothing is as it seems, and though I may be "dreary" in my outlook,
as yet no ray of relief has yet appeared to allay the pessimism all
these actions sometimes engenders. Some more change, and definitely
more cooperation, has GOT to occur, or all hell is going to break
loose before a very startled world patting itself on the back because
the Cold War is over. Now the spectre of civil war looms, a much more
virulent situation! (26)
CSCE membership now rises to 48, and spans from Vladivistok to the
western edge of Ireland, from the northern wastes of Sweden and
Russia to the northern edge of the Mediterranean. All of Europe and
the "Asian" nations of the ex-SU are now part of this body. It has no
cumbersome bureaucracy, and is still pretty flexible. No one clearly
sees the organization's future role, though this commentator and
others have suggested a mediatory role where all parties can agree to
peaceful negotiation. Slovenia and Croatia's membership was rejected
by the gutted "state of Yugoslavia." (This points out the one glaring
weakness of CSCE, its inability to accept or recognize political
realities in a "timely manner.") (27)
Federal leaders, reportedly including the Serbian President
Milosevic, apparently unsuccessfully pleaded with Serbian enclaval
leaders to allow UN Blue Beret peacekeepers into eastern Croatia,
where most of the enclaves have banded together as Kryenia. The
Enclave leaders want no peacekeepers or disarming.
The UN Security Council met for show today, and heard a couple of
highly contrasting views, that of Yeltsin and Li Peng. CSCE stopped
meeting, and is now a bigger organization. Tibet's fate is sad, as is
the apparent inability for the UN to do anything about Croatia and
Slovenia like they had done over Kuwait. CSCE continues to intrigue
this observer as it tries out new roles. The future is murky, and
much the major powers do is disappointing, but there is SOME effort
to correct excesses. However, they ought to join the 20th century, as
should also the other "violators of human rights" the State
Department went after besides China; Egypt, Iraq and Myamar (formerly
Burma). There is no excuse for that kind of tyranny today. (28)
It was reported this afternoon that one Serrbian enclaval group
holding much of southeast Croatia allegedly agreed to UN
peacekeepers. However, most of the other "Serbian rebel" leaders
still are opposed to UN forces in the area. (29)
Serbian leaders of the self-styled republic of Kryenia busily denied
today that they had in any way agreed to allow UN peacekeepers in the
territory of Croatia that they control. They WERE willing to
speculate on peacekeepers on the borders, and no disarming of their
fighters, but that's all. (30)
The self-styled President of Kryenia refuses still to sign onto
the UN troop deployment. Interviewed this morning, he stated baldly
that it is "an insult" to call the region "part of
Croatia," when it
is Serbian-held, and those Serbs by "self-determination" have decided
to be independent. Basically, the guy was giving the blowoff to
Belgrade, Zagreb AND the UN - Kryenia is, was retaken from the "evil"
Croats, and that's that, according to this fellow (Babarsh, Babash,
something like that). The Balkanization continues.
It would appear that despite the debate of the "mighty" UN Security
Council that the Serbs in Croatia continue to take the stand that
they can and will do as they please towards the Croats. The
fragmentation of ex-Yugoslavia continues (one thinks the CSCE should
recognize at least Slovenia, and see what Belgrade does). (31)
The UN Secretary General is recommending to the Security Council
(which convenes next week) that 13,000 UN peacekeepers (one of the
largest such forces in UN history) be deployed in three contested
areas of Croatia. The Federal army allegedly promises to keep Milan
Babash, self-styled President of Kryenia, "under control," whatever
that means (according to a report on NPR's "Morning Edition"
yesterday). The peacekeeping force will further strain the UN
peacekeeper's budget at a cost of $400 million per year, at a time
when most members are in arrears in ALL of their UN financial
Butrous-Gahli, the UN Secretary General, made it clear that 13,000
peacekeepers from 31 countries will be deployed here in Croatia,
probably within the next three weeks, despite Babash of Kryenia's
objections. This will be the largest UN peacekeeping force ever put
into the field. (33)
Comments on democracy and governance-
In recent days on the nets, there has been a rising-in-acrimony
discussion about Russia, Ukraine and ex-Yugoslavia's relations that
dovetails right into other facets of the discussion there and
elsewhere - constitutional democracy and separate courses versus
"unified" courses. I agree with some people's feelings that this all
joins together philosophically around the "eternal vigilance"
principles of democratic government, of which has been cited to me
tolerance, open debate and "clean politics" as keystones of.
Elsewhere, the picture grows murkier.
"Democracy" to me, at this juncture in the post-Soviet period, is a
path with many nuances. In Azerbaijan's elections that were weighted
in favor of the incumbent "President," the fact that another
candidate was on the ballot was considered "democratic." Ukranians
may face a demand by Russians for a "self-determination vote" in the
Crimea. The Russians have declared such votes in Chechen-Ingush and
Tatarstan "illegal," (yet do not dare move against them to suppress
such activities without setting off the messiest of situations!) and
we've seen that CSCE is still catering to the defunct Belgrade regime
on the issue of Slovenia and Croatia's recognition, despite the EC
recognitions, and others from around the globe (though notably NOT
that paragon of democratic aspiration - the United States ... this
place is a wonderful country, but we sure do some contradictory
things!). So, self-determination can mean nothing, or little,
depending on whose ox is being gored, whether we're talking about
Russia, Israel, the Kurds of Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Russia, Angola or
Chile, where Pinochet has now been stylish to pose as a possible
model for what might emerge in Russia, ex-Yugoslavia and other "CIS
Yet, somehow, it seems to me, the aspirations of major ethnic
sub-divisions of these countries are going to be hard to ignore. Some
are already leaping out, such as the Turkish and Russian minorities
in Moldava, and the large Russian and Polish minorities of Ukraine.
"Open debate," it has been said, but not that if one got 80% of the
vote in a popular election, one could act undemocratically as
Gamsakhurdia has been accused of. It seems that a "coup mentality" is
rampant in the ex-USSR states, and that democratic decision-making is
definitely on the wane, for now. I think the pressure for that kind
of "democratic" behavior politically will stay high, perhaps
unrequited, though so will the suppressive efforts of those still in
power - many of which were in power before, but in different guises.
We in the net community are in a remarkable position to discuss
constructive ideas with folks who are on the ground, working on
democratic foundations for nations who have only scanty ideas about
what "constitutional democracy" means. It sems sad to see
nationalism, and hatreds formed in other times, govern a dialogue as
critical as the forms of government of the future for the "CIS
states." We must be able to have rational discussion, and perhaps
actually aid in constructing a more cooperative "global democracy" in
our learning. (34)
The UN Security Council approved the reported $633 million budget for
the UN peace-keeping force of 14,000 to Croatia - to disarm, provide
a buffer in three Croatian areas, and keep the fighting at a minimum.
There was shelling in Croatia today. The Security Council does not
want to pay that much, so not necessarily all these troops authorized
will necessarily be deployed. The US is to bear about 1/3 of the
total cost - why us, I'm not sure, but that's the current plan. (35)
President Milosevic declared the civil war "over," saying that he
believed "conditions n exist for a peaceful solution" to thje
differences between Croat and Serb. The President also reportedly
welcomed the coming of UN peacekeeping forces. Meanwhile, artillery
fire directed at Croatia by "Serbian forces" renewed itself
This weekend, this "republic" will vote on independence from the what
seems to be already defunct Yugoslavia. Already, there is a great
deal of restlessness among the large number of minorities in the
republic, unsure of what their status would be in an independent
Bosnia. War appears in the offing here. The West still seems unsure
about Yugoslavia's status, with roughly 25 of the roughly 170 nations
in the world recognizing Croatia and Slovenia, no one specifically
recognizing Macedonia (maybe Bulgaria), and almost no one saying what
they'll do about Bosnia-Hercegovina if the vote is overwhemingly
Barricades went up in Sarejevo, reportedly placed by Serbians
disgruntled over the independence vote this weekend. Last reports
were that the barricades had been removed again, though widespread
reports have that some violence HAS occurred through the day, and
that more is expected after the voting results are released tomorrow.
Just what the region needs, another conflict! (37)
The barricades raised yesterday by Serbs opposed to the weekend's
independence vote came down this morning, but not until a couple of
shooting incidents had occurred, and the barricading had spread to
outside of Sarejevo, Bosnia's capital and the site of the long ago
June assassination that initiated many of the conflicts that have
happened in Europe since. Had Princip missed, Serbia might have
survived, as might have the Kingdom of Montenegro, as separate
entities. Yugoslavia, as we have known it, might not have existed.
Bosnia-Hercegovina is one of the more ethnically mixed of the former
Yugoslav republics, and one of the more divided.
The Serbs of Bosnia favor staying in the old "union," while the
Croats, Muslims and other minorities oppose that in favor of a
sovereign state. At last report, 65% of the electorate of
Bosnia-Hercegovina favors independence. The big question for many is
will the EC recognize them as it has Croatia and Slovenia?
Though cost "bugs" still need working out, the first of the UN
peacekeeping forces are due to arrive next week. (38)
It has been reported that 65% of those voting this past weekend favor
independence, but that is only with the 2/3 Croats and Muslims
voting. The 1/3 of the republic who are Serbs boycotted the vote, and
for two nights running have put up barricades within Sarejevo. The
state radio urged people last night "not to listen to rumors, or to
carry guns." Cyrus Vance, arriving in "Yugoslavia" today, stated
the sporadic violence in Bosnia will "not inhibit the introduction of
units of the UN peacekeeping forces to the area." So far, 10 people
have been killed in Bosnia-Hercegovina over the independence drive.
NPR reported today that 700,000 people have been "displaced" since
the beginning of the fighting last June. 50,000 are reported to have
fled into Hungary. (39)
"Tens of thousands" of reported Serbian "nationalists" or a
10-30,000, considerably smaller than the million expected,
demonstrated in Belgrade today, calling for the resignation of
President Slobodan Milosevic, claiming that his "communistic
actions" in the dealing with the secession of four Yugoslav republics
has brought Serbia to the state of isolation by the world community.
The chief "leader of the opposition," Vuk Druskovic, called for a
general strike in hopes of forcing a Milosevic resignation. The
protesters allegedly carried pictures of Prince Alexander, pretender
to the old Yugoslavian throne, chanting, " We want the King, not the
The war in Azerbaijan, the enormous economic problems of Russia and
other "CIS states, "and the difficulties in ex-Yugoslavia should
make it imminently clear that not always is change a pleasant or
positive phenomenon. This spring and summer will probably bring to
our knowledge many unpleasant and tragic events. Hopefully,
constructive solutions can be found. (40)
Fighting has occurred here, is occurring here, and is intensifying as
the first UN troops arrive "in-country." A cargo train here was
attacked by gunfire, and its operator severely wounded.
Shelling is "occurring along the Adriatic coast and in Slovonia by
the Serbian-led army," while the US indicated today that it will
recognize Croatia and Slovenia "soon," and after consulting with the
EC, will announce a timetable for recognition of all four of the
Azerbaijan and Moldava remain the trouble spots within the XUSSR,
Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia on the east European side of the
"trouble" equation. Civil war may yet be fought in earnest on either
side of the scale. (41)
Three policeman were killed here 13 March, as the commander of the UN
forces General Navier (French? - they reportedly have the largest
contingent of troops in the 14,000 man UN peacekeeping forces to be
deployed primarily in Croatia) arrived in Sarejevo. (42)
Fighting here has picked up again. The first 350 troops have arrived,
including first time ever Russian/Ukranian troop participation in a
UN peace keeping force.
The situation in eastern Europe and the "CIS" appears very fluid, and
does not look to be improving in the near future. The dead do not
care who is right, they will remain dead none the less. The pain the
"CIS state's" and the fragments of "old" Yugoslavia's
the modern world reverberates all over the planet. Can the hatreds be
Vague agreement has reportedly been reached to divide the republic
into ethnic "zones" within the republic, though at least some
Serbians within and outside Bosnia-Hercegovina do not agree with the
plan. Iam not sure what to think about this latest "plan" about
Bosnia-Hercegovina, but if the plan CAN be accepted by all factions,
then more power to them - it would be great to see a reasonable
solution to that situation, though rather unbelievable. (44)
The UN pauses, hesitating, as the fighting breaks out anew here,
allegedly for "in place" advantage when the UN peacekeepers come and
the various rebel groups "have to" disarm. So far, only a token
advance force of "Blue Berets" has arrived.
Reportedly (NPR's "All Things Considered" offered this), the EC will
recognize Bosnia as a nation next month.
The potential for a renewal of the ex-Yugoslav nation's "civil war"
appears very high.
Croatia AND Bosnia-
Heavy fighting has been reported from this area along the border of
the two republics. It would appear that the Vance truce is
Twenty to fifty people were reported killed in sharp fighting in four
Bosnian towns and in various spots in Croatia between "Muslim
militia" and the "Yugoslav" army. I'm not sure what either of
groups really are - the latter is mostly Serbian, as I believe
Yugoslavia to be dead, and the former could be anyone of a number of
nationalities. The "President" of Bosnia (as yet unrecognized by
almost all the nations of the world) called on the UN to rapidly
deploy military observers. Osijek in Croatia, already severely
damaged in the earlier fighting, was shelled again yesterday, with
casualty reports varying on the number killed.
Croatia/Bosnia again threaten to plunge the region into war, not a
very encouraging end to the week. (46)
The place is full of sad and strange events. 5 people were killed
during a peace march "of thousands" in Sarejevo today, by alleged
Serbian snipers in a hotel looking over the line of marchers. 6
Serbians were arrested for the murders. The EC recognized Bosnia as a
sovereign state today, but still no European power, the CSCE or the
UN is willing to give "Yugoslavia" the boot, though it is clear
such an entity is for intents and purposes a "dead letter." A state
of emergency has been declared, a curfew imposed, a ex-Communist
"government of national unity" has allegedly been formed, while
"dozens" have been killed in the past three to four days of clashes
in this republic, many from the artillery and mortar shelling in
Sarejevo proper by the "Yugoslav" army.
Bosnia-Hercegovina stands poised for all-out civil war, aided and
abetted by the domination-minded, Serbian-dominated military of
Belgrade. Things are not getting better in this part of the world,
and probably will continue escalating into stupidity of the many
kinds as spring waxes on. (47)
This state, and Croatia and Slovenia (but not Macedonia, I wonder
why!), were recognized today by the United States as independent
states after EC recognition yesterday.
Fighting continued here, and in Croatia, with the Bosnian "President"
protesting to the Yugoslav army chief over an air attack in southwest
Bosnia that reportedly killed seven. Mortar fire was occurring in
It would appear that the Serbs cannot accept certain realities, but
are demanding from Bosnia that a separate Serbian area in Bosnia be
created, and a similar demand is being placed on the government of
The fighting in Bosnia has tragically escalated, with the
"Yugoslavian army" now (to my way of thinking) criminally occupying
and attacking a sovereign state without boo being said by the vaunted
"protectors of democracy"; the US, the EC, and the UN. Bosnia's joint
Presidency declared a state of emergency today, and they AND the
European Parliament asked the UN to extend the peacekeeping
committment to Bosnia along with Croatia.
One entertains the thought that the "coalition" in the UN that went
to bat for the sovereignty of Kuwait over the "illegal and criminal
invasion" of Kuwait by Iraq ought to do the same against the Belgrade
regime for their criminal and illegal attacks against the sovereign,
and recognized as such by a chunk of the major powers in the world,
states of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia. The circumstances are
roughly the same, with Serbia making the same claims about Croatia
and Bosnia that Iraq made about Kuwait. This was also the "principle"
cited when the US attacked Panama, and went after the head of
government there for allying himself with "criminals" to the
detriment of Panamanians and Americans living there. Am I being too
broad in my condemnation of the West's seeming indifference?
Principle is principle, if we are willing to war against Arabs for
wrongnesses, it seems that the Balkans are no different if the
circumstances are the same, or roughly so.
The "new world order" seems much more willing to attack places where
the risk of serious entanglement is much lower, rather than to defend
a stated belief across the board, no matter who the offender. Croatia
and Bosnia-Hercegovina are being launched as nations under the
crummiest of conditions, and with scarcely a voice raised to do much
more than say "we recognize that you DO exist." Big deal, if the
Serbian-dominated "Yugoslav army" (which I'm inclined to call the
Serbo-Montenegran army at this juncture) is allowed to crush these
fledgling states without any effort by the self-annointed "protectors
of democracy" to do SOMETHING about it!
Tragic times, confusing times, rapidly changing times, but not
boring, and not easy to fathom either. (49)
This writer heard one of the most racist things stated up to now
relating to this conflict on Saturday - that the Serbians were
creating an ethnically "clean" area (devoid of Bosnians AND Muslims)
along the Bosnian/Serbian border IN BOSNIAN TERRITORY, and sending
"tens of thousands" into refugee status to further such a racist
policy. It is VERY hard to have much sympathy for the Serbs when this
kind of report floats across the news outlets, because the policy
would seem to really care only for the Serbian "Communist" position,
and damn anyone who gets in their way, to the point of death and/or
dislodgement from homes held for generations. What is equally
shocking is the muteness of the so-called "democracies," will to
cluck about Peru, smash Iraq and kill thousands to prop an
anti-democratic regime in Kuwait in the name of democracy, but ignore
attempts (save by hollow recognitions) of Bosnia-Hercegovina,
Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia to achieve democratic nationhood (Our
refusal to recognize Macedonia appears to revolve around our "ally"
Greece's objections to Macedonia using THAT NAME, as if the Greeks
held a world copyright on the use of the name - and the world is
going along with this ridiculous notion!
It is difficult to stomach some of the things one sees in the world.
I know individual Serbs are not bad people, no more than any other
group in the region. But, the Serbian-led "Yugoslav" army, and the
actions of "Serbian militias" in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina
border on war crimes or a "war of aggression" at the least. The
apathy and silence of the UN and the so-called "free nations" of the
West amounts to moral lassitude of the worst kind. I'm not of any of
these groups, but I empathize most with the uprooted families in
Bosnia and Croatia, who are losing everything as Serbia furthers what
would appear to be racist goals that no one is calling them on. Might
and murder should not make right, nor should ANY side be forgiven for
promoting ethnic hatred and racism. Thast appears to be what's
happening here, the world loses every minute it continues without
efforts more overt than at present to stop it. (50)
There is now talk in the CSCE of giving Bosnia full state membership
in this organization, and suspending or expelling Serbia. Serbia's
"continued aggression" against Bosnia-Hercegovina (especially in
Croatia, and in Croatian Hercegovina) is the reason given for this
The US, finally, warned Serbia today that they are in serious danger
of complete European "isolation" if they continue on their current
course. Yet, this rhetoric was immediately undermined by the US' UN
envoy in Belgrade, Cyrus Vance, who stated that there are no plans
(primarily because of a lack of money!) to put peacekeepers into
Bosnia, despite the fact that the peacekeepers are headquartered IN
BOSNIA! Our State Department did warn today that the situation in
this newly recognized sovereign nation was "very, very serious." One
has to wonder if that is all that will emanate from the US and UN
about this grave, and overt, set of aggressions against a sovereign
It would appear that the turbulence in ex-Yugoslavia will be allowed
to continue, with no action by the UN against a seeming aggressor,
Serbia, while we attempt to buy off the "CIS states" from civil war
by giving them money, eventually. Strange world! (51)
Cyrus Vance, the UN envoy either in Belgrade or in Sarejevo, (not
sure where he is today) has reportedly signed onto an idea of
dividing Bosnia in three parts, for Croatians, Serbians and
"Muslims." (cannot quite figure out what ethnic group this latter
bunch is!), while quite publicly condemning the "Yugoslav" army's
ongoing violence within Bosnia. I heard earlier yesterday that
"several hundred people" have already been killed in the Bosnian
fighting just since the independence declaration of 29 February.
Places like Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia and Serbia may well bne
flashpoints for regional war if the "new world order" folks don't get
off their duffs and take some assertive actions to influence how all
this goes. This writer is not in favor of a uni-polar world, but it
is sure is distressing to see so little action emanating from all the
dramatic changes that have occurred since the Berlin Wall came down
in November, 1989. The big fragment, the small fight. The times are
not dull, but an awful lot of people are negatively effected by what
IS happening. Perhaps "tomorrow" will be better, for
rather turbulent. (52)
Fighting has intensified in Sarejevo, with the Bosnian President
accusing Serbia (rightfully, I believe) of trying to swallow the new
country. Milosevic of Serbia denies "Yugoslav" army participation in
the fighting, other Serbs say it is "militias" doing the dirty work.
Well, militias do not normally use, or have as equipment, what has
been reported as "warplanes." They are coming from "Yugoslavia,"
matter what Milosevic says. Six were reported killed in today's
fighting. Yesterday, a fellow from the New York Times reported on NPR
that the Serbian takeover goal of Bosnian territory is 70%.
The TV station in Sarejevo is burning, the police station under
attack by machine-guns, mortar and sniper fire is rising in
It would appear that the new countries emerging from the dead carcass
of Yugoslavia WILL eventually achieve their goal, but only after a lot
of blood is spilled. (53)
The fighting in Sarejevo has intensified. Serbian President
Milosevic's claim yesterday that Serbia is not involved in the
attacks on Bosnian towns and the Bosnian capital is belied by the
appearance of "Yugoslav warplanes" over several Bosnian cities in the
Hercegovina region. The "para-militaries" are clearly under the
command of Belgrade, as they are trying to create a "Serbian line"
that devours 70% of Bosnia, and to the world, no shame, no apology,
just further seizure of Bosnian and Croatian lands. All the reports
in the Western media make it seem that most of the attacking is being
done by one kind of Serbian force or another, call them what you may.
Mortars and machine guns being shot in the capital city of a newly
recognized country, yet no one will say out loud that these actions
constitute illegal aggressions under the UN Charter, and brand Serbia
in the same way the "world" went after Saddam Hussein. It is sad to
see such hypocracy. I do not have an anti-Serbian bias - I have a
bias against aggression being allowed as a "legitimate means" of
securing one's foreign policy goals. What is happening, it seems, is
a de facto acceptance of Serbian violence to achieve "Communist
expanionism." Milosevic and company are inheritors of the
"communist" tradition in terms of power in Belgrade. What can come
from not denouncing them, and more actively opposing the expansionist
killing being done by "masked" Serbian forces?
The US today warned that "Yugoslavia" had a week to cease and desist
from their "invasion" of Bosnia-Hercegovina, or sanctions would be
applied. That's not good enough. A large UN force has to be put in
place, and cause a rollback of Serbian advances to the borders of 29
February (Vance ruled this out due to lack of money - the money HAS
to be found!). Expansionism at the point of a gun accompanied by
murder has no business being rewarded by being allowed to keep what
they have "stolen" of their neighbor's territory.
dead, was dead the day Croatia and Slovenia declared independence, is
VERY dead now, despite Western reluctance to recognize Macedonia
because of Greek objections, and despite the fact that Slovenia,
which has few Serbs in their space, has NOT been attacked while
Bosnia and Croatia have been.
15 are known dead on the "Serbian side" of the Bosnian fighting, it
is not known what the death count is on the Bosnia-Hercegovina side.
Several Bosnian cities have been attacked by air, and there IS close
fighting in Sarejevo.
This situation is a tragedy; for Europe, for ex-Yugoslavia and
its constituent parts, for the newly emerging "CIS states." It serves
as an example of how NOT to solve one's problems in Europe, or
anywhere else, for that matter. But, the tragedy spins on, so far
unobstructed by reason. (54)
Fighting continues here, despite the presence of two EC officials
(the Portugese Foreign Minister and Lord Carrington) stating flatly
to the Serbs primarily (but also to the Bosnian Muslims and Croats)
that the fighting has to stop. Butrous Butrous-Gahli, the UN
Secretary General, warned yesterday that NO peacekeeping forces would
go to Croatia until the fighting stopped, and refused to extend the
UN "mandate" to cover Bosnia.
But the fighting in Sarejevo and surrounding areas continues, with at
least one sharp defeat of Serbs by Croatians yesterday, and the
alleged shooting down of five "Yugoslav warplanes," plus continued
fighting in the Hercegovina region and in Croatia. The UN Security
Council met yesterday afternoon over Bosnia, but reached no
conclusive results, despite a specific call by France, Germany and
Poland to the Security Council for UN "intervention" in the struggle.
Boutrous-Gahli's "go-slow approach" had the backing of the US, so no
troops will go to Bosnia in the near term. Late yesterday, NPR
reported that the Serbian Parliament rejected the notion that the
"Yugoslav army" was the aggressor in the conflict, and announced that
a merged Serbia and Montenegro would form the "Federal Republic of
The fighting in Bosnia/Croatia threatens the peace of all of Europe,
another fiery beacon of a turbulent period, as the map of Europe
continues to remain in a state of flux. (55)
The fighting continues, with the "Yugoslav army" charged by most
observers as the continued "aggrssor." The acting
Minister warned that that the troops that are in Bosnia will NOT be
removed, despite threats vis CSCE, the UN and the EC that severe
sanctions will be applied to Serbia/Montenegro if their aggressions
against Croatia and Bosnia do not cease. Mostar (?) is reported "near
destroyed" by "Yugoslav" shelling, 5 other towns
mortar and grenade fire, and some reporters believe that Sarejevo
could be "in ruins" in two weeks.
NPR reports 500 roadblocks have been set up by "Yugoslav" forces
around Bosnia, that 5 southern predominantly Muslim Bosnian towns
have been destroyed, and that 20-30,000 refugees PER DAY are being
created by the "Serbian aggression," which most sides agree is what
is occurring. A 100,000 Serbian-dominated force, most of whom
allegedly grew up in Bosnia "have no place to go." A few monents ago
(4/29 - 1830 CDT), NPR reported that the President of Bosnia called
local forces to engage the Serrbians fighting against Bosnia, and for
blockades of "Yugoslav army" barracks to occur.
While the West IS reacting to the Bosnian fighting, it is much too
little, and much too late. The crisis nature of things in the region
does not seem to lesssen as spring waxes, what will it take for
reason to prevail in some of these situations? (56)
Today, the UN indicated that across the former territories of the
"old" Yugoslavia there are 1.2 million refugees. A travesty.
Two bridges leading from Bosnia to Serbia have been destroyed in the
past day or so. (57)
Two days ago, the Bosnian President Izetbegovic was held hostage for
a period of time, and then released reportedly for an exchange of 100
captured Serbian soldiers. The United States went to the CSCE today,
demanding Serbia/Montenegro ("Yugoslavia") be expelled from that body
until such time as it surrenders the 60-70% of Bosnian territory
seized by the JNA (the "Yugoslav" army). The US said yesterday it
would not commit troops to the situation, but would contribute troops
to a UN force. The US and other nations are reaffirming threats to
place Serbia under sanctions. UN envoy Goulding was trapped this
morning for a period of time by hostile fire, but escaped the trap.
The "Federal" government in Belgrade yesterday declared that the army
was "on its own" and no longer under Belgrade's control. (58)
Heavy fighting both yesterday and today, with Sarejevo being shelled
by artillery, and a ceasefire collapsing almost as soon as agreed to.
38 generals were sacked today, after yesterday's first admission by
Milosevic that Serbian forces ARE fighting in Bisnia-Hercegovina and
Croatia. Ostensibly, what is occurring is a rooting out of the
"communists," all replaced by the "nationalists." Not much
improvement from the Bosnian and Croatian standpoints.
The fighting in central Europe HAS to stop. What will it take, I
On Bosnia, and "Yugoslavia"
Today, NPR reported the fighting in Bosnia to be very heavy, with
20-28 people killed, mostly in the ferocious onslaught by "native"
Serbs and their compatriots in the "Yugoslav" army. Sarejevo and
Mostar both are reported under heavy bombardment, Sarejevo from
"rockets, tanks, mortars, and heavy machine gun fire."
In Brussels, the 12 EC nations withdrew their Ambassadors to
Belgrade, and urged that the CSCE expel "Yugoslavia" (Serbia and
Montenegro). It was reported that Russia has "consistently blocked"
such a move. I thought this was a misstatement, but I heard the
statement twice from two different places.
Sanctions from the EC and the US seem close at hand, yet the US, with
thousands of troops in nearby Germany, Germany itself, nor any other
"great power" on the Continent has lifted a finger to save Bosnia, a
nation all of the C AND the US recognized as sovereign. Yet, all
these nations have stood by and let an allegedly renegade "Yugoslav
army" (the JNA) run amok in Bosnia, and in Croatia (where a reported
10,000 people lost their lives) before that without the "West"
lifting a finger in their defense, which the US, at least, was all
too eager to do in the cases of Panama (reportedly strategically
significant) and Kuwait (oil-rich). Bosnia nor Croatia serves our
interests, so their sovereignty means nothing to the "great powers,"
and it is this kind of hypocrisy that makes the US so hated overseas,
in this writer's estimation.
It was estimated that in the past six weeks, 1300 "Bosnians" have
died, 6700 wounded, and at least 500,000 are refugees, and yet the
Serbs fight on. Tonight it was reported that now not only are the
Muslims and Croats fighting their own Serbs within Bosnia but also
the "Federal army" of "Yugoslavia," and are now fighting
while 60-80% of the Bosnian "nation" (really not much of one left,
and the great "defenders of democracy" have stood moot in the well of
world scrutiny in defense of of a fledgling would-be democratic state
which is being dismembered before our eyes nightly.
My TV shows this to me, why does not Congress, or Bush, or Kohl, or
Mitterand or Major see this? It's OK for the "JNA" to get away with
this behavior, which is clearly aggression by one sovereign state
against another. But, the swallowing of Bosnia has occurred in
relative silence, with the reportedly greatest defender of democracy
in the world saying precious little about "Yugoslavia's" agression
beytond that we "deplore" the violence. Bosnia's President has been
kidnapped, over 1000 people have been killed, and more die daily;
what does it take? I'm no interventionist, but it does seem to me if
the EC and the the UN and the US said to Serbia, "we'll put a 50,000
man army in the field and drive you out of Bosnia if you don't leave
voluntarily, THEN we'll negotiate a settlement of the Bosnian and
Croatian land claims by Serbia." But, NOT by armed intervention and
de facto occupation as the situatuion is presently.
I heard this very day the Bosnian Foreign Minister asked by a
reporter, "Why do you think the West is doing so little?" His reply,
"I do not know," and then went on to accuse the "West" of
indifference. One has to think he has a point - the Bosnians are not
rich in wealth that would serve the US' strategic goals, so we
abandon the Bosnians and Croats to their remoreseless pounding by the
still defiant Serbs.
Milosevic is as guilty of crimes against humanity as others tried
before his time as war criminals for war-making against their
neighbors. This weekend celebrated the end of that terrible conflict
almost a half-century ago. But, here is still another tinderbox
trying to create a bonfire, and from Sarejevo echoed the opening
shots that brought on World War I. Can we as a planet afford another
Sarejevo, OR another World War?
Lastly, as I know the super-patriots here, and the pro-Serbs there,
will get on me for either lambasting my country or for attacking
Serbia and Montenegro for attacking Bosnia. If my country wishes to
posit, and claim, "moral leadership" on planet Earth, then they
have to do so, and not selectively as it suits us to do so. If the
European nations want to act, then they must take actions, and not
just sanctions, which would appear fruitless at this stage. If
Serbia resents being labelled an "aggressor" (which one can
understand, it used to be a rather odious thing to be called such),
then they need to cease their aggressions against Bosnia-Hercegovina
and Croatia, withdraw the JNA from those territories, and negotiate
in good faith, using UN mediators and other interested parties to
come to a reasonable agreement, which CAN BE DONE if the parties in
question WILL NEGOTIATE!
It is sad, and tragic, to watch all this unfolding, and so little
being done. It can be stopped, all this horrible killing, but only
if everyone wants it to stop. Do they? I do not know, but I sure wish
they would find an answer, for the sake of the peoples in the
countries involved, and for the health of Europe. Do you all have
thoughts about this? (60)
>Date: Tue, 12 May 1992 15:09:12 CDT
>From: Jay Steven Sultan <sult@MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU>
>Subject: RE: U.S. intervention on the European continent?
>Let's not kid anyone. With the exception of the UK, Russia, and
>Ukraine, a UN/EC/CSCE force is an American force.
No, I cannot agree with the statement above. Germany, China, Britain,
France, several states in South America and Asia could provide many
forces to such a fray, if it had to be. All of these fall under the
UN umbrella, while Germany, France and Britain are among the leaders
of both EC and CSCE. The US is a member of CSCE, but only one of 52
members, and not a dominant member as far as I can see. The US is NOT
an EC member, so could not direct them to do anything. So, while we
are a dominant member of the UN, there are many forces that COULD be
employed that would not involve the US except as one of many.
>Like it or not, we are the world leaders in killing people.
Now, THIS might be true. Depends on how far back we go in my
>The involvement of other countries is a political cover, not a
Yes and no. If other nations put up troops, then the "US as
policeman" role might be diminished, which I perceive as a good idea.
But, I believe that the involvement of other nations in attempting to
attain peace IS political, but not ill-advised.
>Date: Tue, 12 May 1992 14:54:07 CDT
>From: Jay Steven Sultan <sult@MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU>
>Subject: RE: On Bosnia and "Yugoslavia," (#711)
>Since you once again raised the issue, let me ask you about your
>opinions regarding the great late Yugoslavia:
Well, I'm not sure how "great" they were. I will probably raise the
issue more than once again too.
>1) As I recall, you were critical of US involvment in Iraq. Is that
Yes, I was, I saw it as ill-advised for the US to step into the
quagmire of Arab politics on one side, and I still feel that way.
>2) The US has led the move to implement sanctions, against the wishes
>of the EC, who regard this as their problem to solve. Should the US
>continue to do nothing, as demanded by the EC, or should we step in?
Well, it MAY be the EC's "problem" to solve, though I'm more
inclined to think that the violence in ex-Yugoslavia IS the world's
problem. I stay "stepping in" depends considerably on how, but I
favor more activity by ALL external powers to stop the killing.
>3) Do you think that US troops should be introduced to fight against
>the YNA (or JNA)?
Not alone, or as the dominant member of the force, but as part of A
force commanded by an EC military person, I can see intervention only
in such a limited way.
>4) Given the history of the area and the nature of nationalism, is it
>better to simply contain the violence in Yugoslavia, or should we
>risk developing a regional war?
So far, the violence has already (briefly) spilled into Hungary and
Austria, so no, I don't favor "containment," because it would not
occur. I suggest that a solid intervention that was multi-pronged
would deter a regional war.
>Now, to be fair to my friend, I will answer these questions
Don't worry about me - I CAN answer for myself.
>I supported the Gulf War, I think the EC has shown itself to be
>utterly inept to resolve this (or any other) problem so the US should
>step in. I would support US troops, in conjunction with some EC
>troops (I'll take the UK, but keep the Italians and French) and EC
>financing, as long as the US troops have limited, reasonable goals
>(such as disarming the JNA or establishing a cease fire by force).
>Finally, I think the killing in the region can only be postponed. I
>am very pessimistic about the future of most of Europe, especially E
>Europe, and unlike Val, I don't blame this upon the leaders of the
The Gulf War is only tangentially involved here, in the sense of
making "moral" comparisons. I do not believe the US should attempt to
supercede either the EC or CSCE, and the ineptness of the EC that Jay
referes to really more is layable at the Serbian refusal to cooperate
than at the "inept" behavior of the EC. I would NOT support the US
taking a leading role here, politically or militarily, but I WOULD
support US participation in a joint role. I am slightly pessimistic
about eastern Europe, and my "blame" is laid at Western leadership's
silence and do-nothingism about Yugoslavia, not about the
"Yugoslavian problem" as a whole. Don't attribute to me what I did
>But, the US should act. I take this NWO stuff seriously, even if my
As I'm not sure what "NWO" is, I cannot quote respond to this. Yes,
we SHOULD act, but only along the lines I suggest above. "Moral
leadership" does NOT have to mean the dominant use of force by the
United States. I DID imply and mean that the US should be a part of
the solution, but not the leader in such an effort. This IS a
European problem, and Europe, AND Serbia/Montenegro, needs to be the
leading forces in solving this problematical situation. I continue to
believe that many nations should be involved in the solution, and
that we should be one of many, not the leading director of the
Ceasefire after ceasefire gets arranged here, and after each occurs,
new fighting breaks out. The news today from Bosnia is grim. 350 UN
observers treed in the basement of a Sarajevo hotel, one wounded and
the building "quite damaged" by shellfire. Mostar is being shelled
bombed anew, while Sarajevo is taking a ferocious pounding by mortar
and tank fire from the hills around the city. All public transport
and virtually all commerce is reported to have ground to a halt in
Sarajevo and other locations within Bosnia. NPR, and the night before
last CNN, report that about 90 roadblocks are in place across Bosnia,
manned by all kinds of folks, primarily the three contending groups
within Bosnia - apparently not perilous the day before yesterday to
get out, but more so today. 2/3 of Bosnia is reported in Serbian
Germany's Defense Minister predicted that a Euro Corps would be ready
to handle militarily problems like the conflageration in Bosnia by
1995 - a little late for the mess exploding in all directions this
past few days in the Bosnian capital.
Europe will not need a general brawl to develop from the mess in
former Yugoslavia - it is trying to occur. Unlike others, I continue
to believe the US should have a minimal role in the solution. (62)
Heavy fighting occurred throughout the day yesterday in Sarajevo,
with "Yugoslav" warplanes attacking cities in Hercegovina, and also
allegedly hitting Mostar some more. Artillery, mortar and tank
exchanges were happening in Sarajevo's suburbs. The UN Security
Council "demanded" a cessation of fighting yesterday, a pullback
of armies towards previous borders, and protection of the Sarajevo
airport by all disputants. Not likely in this writer's estimation,
Serbia has no disincentive to stop the snatching of Bosnian
The "mess" in the ex-USSR and "Yugoslavia" (in all the
lands of that
now-disintegrated state) continues, with the worst pain occurring to
those who have no power to decide their future, with no guns to fight
back and no will to wield them, and no hope that their leaders or
would-be leaders are going to engage in sane governance any time
soon, and only decrying words from the great powers to hearten them -
all sides seem paralyzed in terms of genuine reasonable actions. No
one nation will cause peace to occur, only when the paricipants and
those who have skill in negotiations agree to negotiate in good
faith, AND abide by the results, will the fighting and jockeying for
leadership cease, regardless of whether we are talking about
Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Crimea or Bosnia-Hercegovina. (63)
Fighting has been reported as "widespread" in the two republics both
yesterday and today, with a report that the head of the Bosnian Red
Cross had been killed this morning. The ceasefire signed yesterday at
UN HQ in Sarajevo has already broken down.
The Russian Foreign minister arrived in Belgrade yesterday, and is
expected to eventually visit all the republics AND Vojvodina and
Kosovo before he leaves again. He met with Milosovic, who was caling
for a "genuine" ceasefire, even as Serbian troops, in grim irony,
were reported "pinned down" in barracks in both Bosnia and Croatia.
The troubles in Bangkok today remind us once again that not only in
Europe, but in Asia and Hong Kong, Peru and northern Africa, in fact
over a chunk of the planet, violence prevails. I urge coperation, and
a lessened indulgence in Amero-centered, Euro-centered ideas and
approaches to the world. I do not suggest that anyone should or will
give up their identity, but nor should they ram such down unwilling
throats either. There ARE mechanisms creatable, and necessary, for
"world arbitration," not a loss of sovereignty, but acceptance that
the checks and balances process of nations and continents interacting
does NOT HAVE TO BE through the medium of brute force! (64)
I perceive Europe in four pieces (with some overlap) at this moment -
Healthy Europe (this is relative, don't get hung up on this usage,
please!), Struggling Europe, Unconnected Europe, and Diseased Europe.
Healthy Europe is the EEC nations, and perhaps Scandanavia and
Austria, where things are going relatively well, and when the EC
treaty comes into effect completely, this entity will eventually will
be one of the most powerful economic units on the planet. Currency
and "tariff" issues will be a bone of contention, but this would seem
to be so with all large loose associations. Germany is struggling
with higher interest rates, and reunification costing more, and
causing more problems, than had been envisioned in the original move
towards healing that old division.
Struggling Europe is harder to see, and I would expect some
disagreement on this. I see the Baltics here, Cyprus here,
Europeanized Turkey here, Hungary, Czecho-Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia,
Belarus, and Poland seem to fit in here. These are the nations with
problems, a big one being the struggle with pollution that has not
gotten a good cost estimate yet, but that are attempting, and
partially succeeding, to break into the world's markets.
Unconnected Europe are the nations seem the poorer countries, like
Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova and Azerbaijan
that are struggling with internal divisions, no real connection to
the Western markets, even rival governments in some cases. For me,
these countries are a long way from healthy interaction with the rest
of Europe, but if they, and "Struggling Europe" can connect up with
"Healthy Europe", this group of nations could be the mightiest
economic bloc on the planet in just twenty years.
"Diseased Europe" is the disintegrating mess that was Yugoslavia, and
even there, the five or six nations that might emerge from this could
also be part of the "European bloc" by 2010, IF they can cease to
fight over their differences. What intrigues me is that I do NOT
perceive the however many nations in these loose categories to give
up their individual sovereignties, but I do think that they could act
as a single entity through CSCE, or the European Parliament, or an
extended EEC, but I agree with fellows like my friend in Sweden who
tells me I have been too optimistic about how quickly all this might
Currently, I perceive the mosaic of Europe operating as one unit
economically by 2010, and PERHAPS operating as some kind of regional
government too. Then, I think the Asian portion of the ex-USSR, Asia
itself, and the Americas have something serious to worry about. So,
to those who would say that "Euro-centered" is short-sighted,
"racist," or "Western over ...," I suggest that being as
in Europe's affairs over the other struggles in the world is a longer
view, and a sounder view, than writing off Yugoslavia as "internal
struggle," devoid of strategic interest to the rest of the continent
This is but a short set of comments to a VERY complex situation. I
continue to think that larger overseeing groups like the "continental
council" I suggested two weeks ago does not involve abrogations of
national sovereignty at the regional or national level. I continue to
believe that Serbia has to believe Europe WILL act to stop violence
in Europe, and that EUROPE, not the US, needs to be the entity that
resolves the struggle that ex-Yugoslavia represents for the rest of
the continent. Europe may be the planet's leaders within two decades,
and it seems to me that ignoring the unhealthy things occurring in
Europe is more short-sighted than most policies people hold to these
Yesterday, the leader of Serbian "irregulars" in Bosnia claimed that
"no Serbian boys" are fighting in Bosnia on the Canadian program
It Happens." What they are, Mr. Karadzic claimed, is the "Serbian
Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina." His whole set of comments was an attempt
to legitimate the killing, and the land seizures by the Serbs, by
saying they were "entitled" to the Bosnian land, whereas the Croats
were not (totally ignoring Bosnian membership in the UN and the
sovereignty issue). He also stated, as have other Serbs in recent
days, that economic sanctions by whomever will only serve to "unite
the 10 million Serbs of `Yugoslavia' (does he mean "old" Yugoslavia,
or "new?") and not solve any of the current difficulties.
it seems that nothing else is working to stop the hostilities.
Also, it would seem that the shelling of Sarajevo is primarily being
used as a terror weapon by the Serbs, and many civilians are being
killed in hospitals and other non-participants in the fighting. The
latest issues are attempting to re-open the Sarajevo airport, and
whether Serbian/"Yugoslav" troops can leave to return to Serbia with
their weapons (which the Croats and Bosnians oppose).
I continue to disagree that the attitude that the best that Europe
can hope for is an "equal partnership" with the US, and that Europe
is not capable of solving their own problems. I also am not as
alarmed by the proposed Franco-German "joint force." How else can
Europe begin to police itself without such a force (which should have
more participants than just those two nations)? The problem
represented by the breakup of "Yugoslavia" necessitates something to
be in place that can preclude US participation or leadership in
solving Europe's difficulties. (66)
Reportedly, the United States is seeking to have "Yugoslavia's" seat
in the UN "taken" until such time as the agression against its
neighbors ceases. It would also appear that a vote on sanctions is
still up in the air because of Russian intransigence at applying
sanctions against the diminshed state of "Yugoslavia." The EC has
imposed sanctions, but not on fuel. I heard yesterday that 12,000
people have been killed in the eleven months of fighting.
The Adriatic port city of Dubrovnik is under attack today, shelled by
"Yugoslav" warships and by artillery and rocket fire from around the
town. Several buildings in the historic center of the city have been
heavily damaged in the shelling, but no reports of casualties have
been made. The Croatian government has called on the US to deploy the
6th Fleet in the area to save Dubrovnik from being destroyed.
Sarajevo is under heavy attack by mortar and artillery, while in
Belgrade the Serbian Foreign Minister denounced the fighting going on
there. That individual claimed that most of the casualties in the
shelling that killed 20 earlier in the week were Serbs, and the
Foreign Minister blamed Croats for the killing. The city has water
and electricity only sporadically, according to the daughter of the
Bosnian President, his "chief of staff." Food has been cut off to the
"new city" for seven weeks, barricaded off from contact with the rest
of the city by alleged "Serbian irregulars." She reported yesterday
on the Canadian program "As It Happens" that in that section of
Sarajevo, and elsewhere, the dead are being buried in local gardens
because of the enormous disruption in services such as funerary,
among others. All commerce for the 70,000 people left in the city has
come to a halt.
Bosnians oppose partition, or so it would seem, and they want JNA
troops out of Bosnia, even to the point of allowing them to leave in
possesion of their small arms, but not with their rocketry, artillery
A Metropolitan Christopher of the Serbian Orthodox church denounced
in no uncertain terms (calling the Milosevic regime "incompetent")
the aggressions in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina by Serbia. He did
say that if Serbia were to lay down arms that Croatia and Bosnia
The fighting in the "Yugoslav nations" is tragic, stupid, unceasing,
and apparently going to continue. No methodology for stopping the
fighting appears to be working, one sincerely doubts that sanctions
will solve the problem, though it would be good if it happened. The
Milosevic regime, and the other regimes involved, HAVE to STOP
FIGHTING. Until that occurs, all bets are off about on peace in
>Date: Fri, 29 May 1992 23:04:00 EDT
>From: "S.V." <VIZNYUK@OHSTPY.BITNET>
>I don't see why all around are blaming only Serbia on the fighting
I do not blame Serbia alone for the fighting. I'm perfectly aware it
takes at least two sides for a fight, and am also aware that the
Croats are fighting equally hard. The key word is AGGRESSION, which
appears to be completely a Serbian behavior on territories recognized
by the UN and the EC and sovereign nations.
>Isn't it Bosnian guerillas who are doing ALL possible to prevent
>Yugoslavian federal army to withdraw from Sarajevo ?
No. I believe they are only not allowing the JNA to leave WITH HEAVY
WEAPONS, as I mentioned in #718. They have agreed to allow them to
keep rifles and other small arms. I do not know if machine guns,
rockets and mortars are being counted as "heavy weapons" or not.
>Weren't it Croats and Bosnians who attacked FIRST the barracks of
>Yugoslavian federal army ?
I believe AFTER the JNA invaded Bosnia and Croatia that barracks
began being invested. It is completely unclear as to whom attacked
>One should realize that facist leaders of Croatia and "newly
>independent" Bosnia are trying to do everything possible to prevent
>the cease-fire being held, in order to justify their grab on the
You give away a serious bias by throwing a loaded adjective like
"fascist" around. There is no specific proof that Tudjman and Co. are
"fascists," I would see them more as "renegade Communists"
"Newly independent" Bosnia a) has a right to self-determination and
nationhood, and b) has been recognized as a nation by the UN, CSCE,
and EC, and given how "sacred" is sovereignty to most of the peoples
of the world, it could just as easily be said that the "communistic,
aggressor" government of Serbia/Montenegro ("Yugoslavia") is
interfering in the internal affairs of their neighbors.
Now, having said all that, I believe the primary culpability for the
current mess in Yugoslavia lays on Serbia. But, there is plenty of
blame to go around. No one appears willing to give up their
positions, while the Serbs APPEAR determined to take what they want,
operating on the premise that possession is 90% of the way to
winning. The Croats and Muslims of Bosnia are fighting each other
along with fighting "Serbian irregulars" and "the Federal
army." If I
appear anti-Serbian, it is because most of the intelligence,
political and military establishments of the world (including Russia,
who is only against sanctions against Serbia because it would disrupt
trade- they have not disagreed with Serbia's responsibility for the
widening violence) are calling (I believe correctly) Serbia as the
That does not excuse or diminish Croatian or Bosnian participation
in the violence. But, let me suggest that if my state of Missouri
were invaded by Federal troops and/or troops of neighboring Illinois,
I'd fight back, and if one way to do that would be to bottle up the
"enemy" in their barracks, I'd use such a tactic. The overwhelming
preponderance of arms possession on the part of Serbia does not make
them "right" in what they're doing, and in their wanton shelling of
Sarajevo and Dubrovnik, it would appear "crimes against humanity" are
Croatia was "fascist" in the 1940s, that does not make Croatia (or
Bosnia) "fascist" today. Nobody is what they seem, and all are
probably worse than they would have the world believe. My concluding
comment is as it was when the fighting started - all sides can claim
some right to their position, and all sides are dead wrong,
ESPECIALLY in their use of violence to achieve their ends. Let us be
more temperate in our labels and attacks, there is no one free of
responsibility for the tragedy of "Yugoslavia," culpability is just
matters of degree between one side and another. I look less for blame
than for solution, and in my opinion, "blaming" makes
that much harder. "Responsibility" and "reason" is what I,
of the world, is looking to see happen in "Yugoslavia." (68)
The Milosovic government is hell-bent on ignoring world opinion about
their behavior vis-a-vis Croatia and Bosnia. Firing on Dubrovnik and
Sarajevo continued again today. THe Serbian government ordered
rationing of fuel, and talked of even/odd days of driving, and cuts
in public transport as further methods of conserving fuel. This
morning, it was estimated that such measures might give Belgrade 60
days to accomplish their ends in Croatia and Bosnia. Serbian news
today reportedly discussed the "probability" of military intervention
by outside powers. The boycotted elections over the weekend only
continue to favor Milosovic, without proving that he truly has a
mandate to continue with what the UN is terming "aggression."
I disagree about sanctions (the critics, with good reason, do not
believe sanctions will work), but only partially. I think it is less
a causing of internal pressures that eventually turn on the
no-goodniks in power as it is a problem (for "Yugoslavia") of being
able to deal with ANYONE if the boycott is complete. The assertion
has been made by one netter that the French are stlll selling
"Yugoslavia" arms, though without specific evidence to buttress his
case. As France joined in on the vote for the EC to impose sanctions,
and as a thing like ANYONE selling arms to Serbia/Montenegro would
bring glaring headlines, I have some doubts about French arms sales
to Belgrade SINCE the crisis started, or at least since the sanctions
were voted to occur.
No, sanctions are not going to solve this situation, (though they may
curb Serbia/Montenegro to some degree, and every little bit helps)
but neither will US intervention. If Europe is to EVER be able to
work collectively, this situation is its test. The US CANNOT be the
world's policeman, and I refer you to the excellent study of Paul
Kennedy, _The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, as to why I believe
such would be a disaster course for the US to take. Yes, we should
offer our voices and troops to a combined effort LED and DOMINATED by
Europeans, but let Europe take the lead. One reader condescendingly
says Europe cannot do this, that they've fumbled the ball for a year,
and the US will have to save the day. I remain unconvinced. Yes, the
US has the greatest military might on the planet, but persuasion of
the men in Belgrade is what is needed, not force in the field. Force,
as has so eloquently pointed out, and as I've said before, should be
a last-resort method and not a primary method of solving conflict.
"Yugoslavian" civil conflict would only accelerate into Vietnam-style
guerilla war if the US entered the situation as a "dominant force",
and would unite the fragmented disputants against us were we to
intervene unilaterally as "peacemakers." The US is not prepared to
fight such a war in the heart of Europe, not will anyone stand by and
allow the US to buy into such a quagmire. Honey will get one a lot
further than poison, it seems, and offering to Milosevic by Bush to
be the mediator would be better than Cowboy George ordering the
charge. Force will NOT save the day here, and there I wish the
Amero-centered ones among us could see this. (69)
Today, the EARN connection to Serbia/Montenegro was cut as part of
the UN/EC embargo. Like George Frajkor, owner of Mideur-L, I feel
that this is the right thing to do, though I lament not being able to
hear from those in Belgrade I have been hearing from. As far as I can
discern, Bosnia and Croatia were NOT cut off, as they are not under
The Belgrade government announced rationing of gasoline yesterday to
15 liters a month, and suspension of payments on their $8 billion
foreign debt. The Serbian Prime Minister denounced the sanctions as
"unfair", and reportedly dismissed the charge by a chunk of the
planet that they are the aggressors in Bosnia and Croatia. Already,
it is reported that Belgrade and other areas of Serbia are short of
soap and pasta.
Greece admitted, AFTER the Macedonians seized them, that somehow,
"inadvertantly," 60 oil tankers, with thirty tons each (according to
NPR) of oil, were illegally sent to Belgrade in violation of the
embargo against Serbia and Montenegro. A border check in Macedonia
revealed the tankers' destination, and they were "impounded" by the
45 people were reported by CNN earlier today as having been killed in
the Sarajevo fighting, including a Red Cross doctor, (a serious
bombardment, it looks more like) with much of the city looking very
seriously the worse for wear for over three months of intermittant
fighting and shelling.
In recent weeks, I've said a lot about the "Serbian aggression"
against its onetime fellow republics. This situation is only the tip
of the iceberg, unfortunately.. If Serbia dos not watch itself, the
Albanians in Kosovo, aided by Albania, will rise against them as has
been tried at least twice in recent years. Greece and Turkey are most
uneasy about all this fighting, and Greece is in an uproar of
unbelievable proportion over the existance of Macedonia besides. If
NATO were to be called in to deal with the fighting in ex-Yugoslavia,
neither Turkey nor Greece might be able to put anybody in the field
because of their complex web of ethnic alliances and hatreds in the
area. Europe becomes a hotbed of potential regional war at the
least, worse at the most. There are moments when I despair of reason
ever prevailing, but I think unless it does, too many innocents will
die once again on the altar of sectional and ethnic strife. The
mudball is too small for all this crap! What does it take for folks
and nations and leaders to learn that force never does anything but
breed MORE trouble? (70)
NATO Foreign Ministers, meeting in Oslo on 4 June, agreed to allow
NATO troops to be used in a peacekeeping role "in the future." No
clear idea as to whether those troops will be assigned to the
I heard the now-recalled Ambassador from the US to the now-vanished
"old Yugoslavia," Warren Zimmerman, interviewed at length on Thursday
on NPR. I will not burden you with all of his observations, though he
DID sound exceptionally knowledgable, but he commented on a few
things that I thought I'd share. Time magazine this past week
referred to Milosevic as "the Butcher of Bosnia," and Zimmerman
thought that a BIT rhetorical, but that yes, indeed, Milosevic and
his army clique friends were heavily involved in the Bosnian
business, despite their denials, (and despite the assertion the other
day by our Russophile friend that only Bosnian Serbs are doing all
this fighting. I respectfully disagree. I think there is a fair
amount of evidence that the JNA, with Srbs of Serbia heavily
represented, ARE involved in the Bosnian fighting).
Zimmerman also said Tudjman of Croatia was "not blame-free" for the
ongoing fighting, but that he had promised to respect the territorial
integrity of Bosnia, and appeared to be keeping his word. He
suggested that the partition plan, floated by Serbia through
intermediaries, was naught but "a land grab," as the formula was to
give 60-70% of Bosnia to the Serbs, 20-25% to the Croatians, and 15%
to the Muslims (this despite the reported fact - I have no way of
knowing the specific facts, as my almanac does not break down the
republics within "old Yugoslavia" by ethnic origin or population -
that only a third of the Bosnian population was Serbian before the
fighting started). Lastly, Zimmerman reported that a NATO general, I
forget who, said it would take 40,000 troops just to carve open a way
to open the Sarajevo airport, and keep it open, let alone do any
"peacekeeping." He thought it might take as many as 250,000 troops to
keep the factions from fighting.
In the recent Serbian "elections," (boycotted by 40% of the
electorate) Milosevic's Socialists reportedly won 43% of the 56%
votes cast of those elgible to vote, with 30% of the vote going to
the "radicals." Who got the rest was not reported by NPR.
On Thursday, US Senator Claiborne Pell, Chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations committee offered that more folks had been killed
(roughly 5000 at minimum) than in the 7 months "coalition" troops
were in Iraq, called for a naval blockade, and as was reported to me
privately, said, more or less (I'm paraphrasing) that intervention
would be a mess, but that it was VERY difficult to stand by and watch
the slaughter go on without doing anything.
Yesterday, the Bush administration tightened the economic noose
around Serbia/Montenegro (the US refuses to recognize "new
Yugoslavia") by banning all imports and exports, suspending all
contracts with the two entities, tightening trade restrictions, and
banning air travel to those places.
Sarajevo continues to be shelled, and the fighting would appear to
be heavier than a few days ago, or so NPR and CNN are reporting these
past two days. The city of 400,000 is in desperate straits, despite
the 900 "Yugoslav soldiers" in the Marshal Tito barracks being
allowed to leave yesterday, and reportedly an agreement has been
reached by all sides to allow UN peacekeepers to control the Sarajevo
airport (announced last night). There is no way of knowing how many
folks in the city are dead, nor what the real food availability is
like. A relief column did get in the city a day or so ago, though it
WAS fired upon despite agreements not to.
On Thursday, Serbian "irregulars" fired tank and artillery fire on
the city for three hours, and intermittantly through the morning
hours of Friday. On Friday, after the above-mentioned troop
evacuation was concluded, the firing resumed in earnest, and went on
for an unspecified length of time yesterday.
Two days ago, the Bosnian Foreign Minister was in Paris, seeking
military aid from the EC nations to get food convoys safely through
to Sarajevo. He apparently got no assurancs of such aid.
It would appear that much of the European world is in one kind of
turmoil or another. The "Yugoslavian" situation is the worst, getting
worse hourly and daily, NO solution proposed is working, or has yet
to be tried, and most of the proposed actions would appear to be
leading to further complications, not a resolution. I wish I had
something to propose, but I have no new answers to add that have not
been proposed by folks more in the know than I. Force still appears
to be an option of great peril, but an awful lot of ranking people
around the planet appear to favor this choice of action over any
The UN agreed the night of the 8th to send 1100 peacekeepers to
Sarajevo, and will send 60 "advance" observers today as "test
good intentions" of the warring sides. The "Serbs" control the
Sarajevo airport, and these 1100 individuals are to replace those
occupiers, provided (as I understand the UN's intent) that "a
ceasefire HAS to occur." And it has to be a genuine ceasefire, not
just a few hours of no shooting.
The fighting was quite fierce in Sarajevo yesterday, and the food and
water situation grow more critical. 20 people (at least) were killed
in the fighting over the day.
One charge by the conservatives that those of us who counsel against
US intervention in Bosnia will have the deaths of "innocents who
starve or thirst to death on our heads" because we don't support
"instant" intervention. There is NO way ANY force can be
put in place in "Yugoslavia" to do anything. Secondly, it is NOT
"liberals or isolationists" who are "at fault" for
and I do not claim either stance anyway, despite accusations to the
contrary. Thirdly, I continue to believe that getting Milosevic to
the table, and agreeing he IS the voice and representative of the
"Serbian irregulars" in Bosnia, and having genuine negotiations to
cease hostilities would be of more use than intervention. If the
world truly was concerned about the plight of the thirsty and hungry
in Sarajevo, something would have already been done. There HAS been
too much lassitude and indifference to this situation, and too much
much foot-dragging in terms of solution.
BUT, to continue to call for US intervention, and blame US liberals
and internationalists for a "non-interventionist" stance as
the deaths of innocents" is political rhetoric of the accusatory
kind, solving nothing and proving nothing. If folks die of thirst and
starvation, I will grieve, but I am NOT responsible for those deaths
by opposing intervention by the United States. The person MOST
responsible, if there MUST be a scapegoat, is Milosevic, not American
anti-interventionists. After all, the Serbs COULD quit the shelling
and fighting at ANY TIME, and that, too, would relieve the suffering
in Sarajevo. A re-ordering of "states" IS happening, hasn't finished
happening (in my estimation) and may not be the catastrophe everyone
currently believes despite the "Yugoslav disaster." I think the
world order" has to accept that people are "self-determining,"
accordance with that now-old Wilsonian idea about self-determination,
where they want to live, under what kind of government, and by whom
do they NOT wish to be governed. (72)
"On Bosnia, Serbia, and US/UN Intervention"
So far, though the tragedy grows worse daily, with 5700 people
estimated killed in just the past two months of fighting, one is not
convinced by anything read on the nets, consumed from articles or
seen on the TV that US/UN "intervention" is the answer to stopping
Milosevic and the JNA generals insist again and again that they are
not connected to the "militia" fighting against Croats and Serbs in
Bosnia. On several lists, there has been a fair amount of discussion
on this matter, and few appear to disagree that Milosovic is lying
through his teeth. The Serbian "irregulars" are not rich enough to
buy tanks and heavy artillery, and there IS air support (though a
plane or two HAS been shot down in the copurse of the fighting). No
irregular ever heard of has air support, they get it from a patron as
a general rule (though one report has the irregulars having been
"given" xyz number of Yugoslav airplanes before they
CNN is reporting tonight that Newsweek is quoting the Vice-Chair of
the US Joint Chiefs that the US has a plan to intervene, and probably
will if the fighting doesn't stop soon. Pell and Lugar in the US
Senate are calling for intervention, as are many others. My opinion
doesn't count for much in the face of all this high-level
hawkishness, but the convincing has yet to be done that would
suddenly change this writer's mind that US intervention would be a
good idea. That does NOT make me an "America hater." Nor does it make
me a Serbia basher, though I freely attack Slobodan Milosevic for
failing to lead, and using force to accomplish his ends as opposed to
arbitration or negotiation.
Yes, it IS a tragedy, and it is agonizing to see so many innocents
getting killed over such narrow nationalistic divisions as plagues
Bosnia at the moment. I'm not a legalist like some on the nets appear
to be, the rightness or wrongness of what's happening does not, for
me, revolve around who did what when. Nor am I willing to label very
much, as others have done. The Serbs in Bosnia, REGARDLESS OF WHERE
THEY CAME FROM, appear to be, BY ALL ACCOUNTS, the aggressors in
Bosnia. They hold the airport at Sarajevo, they hold Sarajevo in a
vice, they are the wielders of the "Yugoslav" air force.
But, "fascists?" (a charge flung against the Bosnian and Croatian
governments by several on the nets). There is no evidence that
suggests that the defenders of Bosnia, nor Croatia (where shelling of
Dubrovnik DID occur last week, so SOME fighting IS occurring, however
one-sided, in Croatia), are such, any more than one could
specifically label Milosevic a "Stalinist." I'm convinced that what's
amok here is rampant nationalism on all sides.
As I've perhaps stupidly stated before, all sides have merit in their
respective positions, and all sides are wrong in this conflict.
Regardless of the timing, and who has recognized what - Croatia,
Bosnia-Hercegovina, Macedonia and Slovenia have all declared
independence from Belgrade. In my book, that says that they are all
sovereign states, no matter how poor, no matter what the ethnic
make-up of the populace is. I agree with Viznyuk that the Serbs of
Bosnia should not be abused by the government, but obversely, I also
feel strongly that 1/3 of the populace has no right to impose a
"tyranny of the minority" on the rest, and with the help of Belgrade,
grab 70% of Bosnia's land to requite a Serbian sense of justice.
I do not think one could conduct an air war against "just the Serbs
surrounding Sarajevo, and/or a barracks or two...," without arousing
the ire of a still heavily armed Serbian army, who could then spread
out, and make every UN soldier's life that is already on the ground
in former Yugoslavia not worth the smallest coin in the "Yugoslav"
Everyone says the UN and Europe has "failed" to impose a solution. I
agree. No one CAN "impose" a solution. The parties fighting have to
negotiate and arrive at a solution; force will only harden everybody
in place, unwilling to even THINK about negotiating. Yet, aa good
many of the military and pro-military political minds in this country
and elsewher, are calling for the use of force. Since they ask the
question of those of us who opoose force about our consciences - I
throw a question back. How will you square YOUR consciences if
intervention occurs, and six times the numbers already dead perish in
the fighting, plus probably several thousand "peacekeepers" dead, and
the "peace" imposed requires 20-40,000 troops in place for a long
time to come?
As I've said over and over, I'm not anti-Serb. I am on the same side
as those thousands who marched in Belgrade against President and the
military's continued operations in Bosnia. I stand (though not
religious myself) right beside the Metropolitan of the Serbian
Orthodox church that has unequivocally denounced the continued war,
and Serbia's participation in it. I stand beside those parents who
want their Croatian, Serbian or Muslim sons to grow up and have
families, not perish for some nationalist's ephemeral goals. I stand
on the side of sovereignty, and peaceful problem-solving, BY ALL
SIDES. I think intervention would triple the length of time the war
is fought, and quadruple the number of deaths. American "smart"
weaponry will not stop the war, but heighten the resentment against
the West. Painful as it is, the US MUST allow other parts of the
world to solve their own problems. We do NOT have enough forces to
"impose" a peace on former Yugoslavia, all we could do is get into
still another morass. Are we ready for THAT pricetag? (73)
At the risk of offending for being overly blunt, one suggests that
all the reordering schemes for ex-Yugoslavia into a new Yugoslavia
are ignoring two items I regard as FACT: 1) The current "internal
war," in Bosnia, and to some degree in Croatia, which every day that
it continues assures further alienation, not any moves towards
federating, or centralizing anew. 2) Four of the former republics
have declared independnce, and been recognized in varying degrees by
the UN, CSCE and other individual nations. That level of sovereignty
will not be yielded easily, and surely not to "one group over
others," be that Serb, Croatian or Muslim. At this juncture,
acceptance of a new reality seems a better course than trying to put
the now Humpty Dumpty of "old Yugoslavia" back together again.
A see-saw battle in Sarajevo, swinging from relative calm to intense
shelling, from the Canadian UN General McKenzie saying that the
airport in Sarajevo would be opened soon to saying that they might
have to abandon the effort (on the 17th) back to a vague optimism and
so on. The situation remains highly fluid. The Serbs on Wednesday
were holding a crucial hill to the south of the city, while it was
reported today that the Croatians came out today admitting that
"regular" Croatian units are in Bosnia fighting, along with Croatian
"irregulars" akin to the Serb 'irregulars," some born in Bosnia,
from Croatia. Allegedly, a Croatian "relief column" is attempting to
break through the Serbian "cordoning off" of Sarajevo.
Reportedly, today there is some slippage to the prior Bosnian
leadership intransigence against "ethnically pure" enclaves in
Bosnia, rather than a "single" country, devoid of ethnic labelling,
but no verification that such has become a stance of the current
Bosnian government. (75)
Fighting raged anew in Sarajevo, while President of Bosnia A.
Izetbegovic called on the West to deliver an "air strike" on Serbian
positions ringing the city. On 20 June, AP reported, Bosnia declared
a state of war existed (against whom was not too clear from the
report), and reserved the right to fire back if fired upon. UN
commander Canadian General McKenzie made it clear that the repeated
ceasefire violations were the fault of both sides fighting, and he
postponed for 48 hours any attempt to open the Sarajevo airport.
It was stated on CNN this evening that in the past 11 weeks of
fighting here, 1250 had been killed, 5500 have been wounded, and no
end to the killing appears anywhere on the horizon. (76)
Today, I received a quite emotional post about Bosnia, and the
needless suffering in Sarajevo, and was chided for opposing military
intervention at a time when people are starving to death, and with
more to come, it looks like.
Well, I guess I will have to be colored "inhuman" then, because
though this IS occurring in Sarajevo, and though many are beginning
to talk the intervention game, it won't happen quickly even IF such a
course is adopted. I'm yet to be convinced that armed intervention
will do anything but deepen the war, and it might not lift the siege
of Sarajevo in the near term anyway.
This whole business COULD stop another way. The Serbs surrounding
Sarajevo COULD keep their word, and hold a genuine ceasefire so that
emergency food and medicine could be shipped in via Sarajevo airport.
They COULD stop firing on civilians and doctors. They COULD recognize
Bosnia's right to exist, which land-hungry Milosevic continues to be
unwilling to do. I do NOT think "smart weapons" are the answer, I
believe that McKenzie of Canada (the UN commander on the spot in
Sarajevo) is right in estimating that it might take "many thousands"
of troops to root out the Serbs in the hills around Sarajevo alone,
let alone the rest of Bosnia. I do not believe Europe is ready for
limited regional war.
I now wonder whether if the way to deal with this mess is to say to
Belgrade - for every day that Serbs continue to shell Sarajevo, one
day of bombing of Belgrade will occur by UN planes. The Serbs must
stop aggression, but only taking the fight to their home ground will
save Sarajevo, or that of them stopping of the siege there on
humanitarian grounds, which up to now they have not shown much of.
Sarajvo is beginning to die, that I concede my critic. That DOES
wrench my heart. But armed force will not save those beginning to
perish of thirst and hunger, only a cessation of fighting and a
lifting of the encirclement will do that. The UN should attempt
arresting leaders of the Serbian "ireegulars" and of the Serbian
government to be held for international war crimes - the waging of
aggressive war, and the deliberate starving and murdering of captive
I agree with one thing my critic said - ACTION OF SOME KIND MUST BE
TAKEN QUICKLY!!! Else, some portion of 300,000 people will perish in
the most ghastly of ways, for what, pray tell? (77)
Pretender to the old Yugoslav throne Prince Alexander was in
Belgrade in the past couple days, promoting a constitutional monarchy
as a way to "solve" the troubles of Serbia/Montenegro. Milosevic was
alleged to have suggested a "confederation" of "rump
Greece, the adamant opponent of Macedonian independence in the same
manner that Serbia opposes Bosnian independence.
President Mitterand of France was reported by CNN on Saturday as
trying to go Sarajevo to see first hand what's happening to the city.
President Izetbegovic has been staying in the besieged city, where
35,000 are trapped in one area of the city unable to get food and
water. Boutrous-Ghali's ultimatum to Belgrade ends tomorrow, and many
think a "use-of-force" resolution will be approved by the UN Security
Council on 29 or 30 June. Late Sunday evening, CNN was also reporting
that the fighting in Bosnia overall had slackened, and such was also
the case in Sarajevo.
The turbulence in the region of the ex-SU and the ongoing fighting in
former Yugoslavia portends that the decade will probably be fraught
with nationalist violence and separatism, and with little willingness
to be reasonable. Seems pretty short-sighted to this observer, but
since when has anyone in this area paid attention to the idea of
compromise and workable solutions that everyone could accept? (78)
Saraejevo airport is declared to be "safely open" despite at least
one potentially unpleasant confrontation between the Canadian
peace-keeping battalion that moved in there, and Serbian artillery
gunners nearby. THe first US relief planes will fly in "unescorted"
by fighters tomorrow, with each C-130 flying from Germany to Zagreb
(to pick up supplies stockpiled there - 23 tons per plane), then on
to Sarajevo. Only eight planes a day can land at Sarajevo's airport,
it will take quite some time to help some of the more desperate cases
within the city.
THe US fleet off the Adriatic coast, with 2000 Marines aboard the
some of the 7 ships in the flotilla, has pulled back to "liberty
ports" in Europe to celebrate the 4th, but it is stated they will
A report earlier today on Val-L about a thing I only heard yesterday,
but have heard little about - that the Croats in Bosnia have greated
their own enclaval nation within Bosnia, and that the Croats may be
getting ready to go on the offensive against Serbia from Bosnia very
soon. I recall saying a few weeks ago that I thought there was
culpability and blame to go around, this kind of thing would only
seem to verify such.
17 planes got into Sarajevo today with relief supplies, but many were
injured in the renewed fighting in the city today. The UN High
Commissioner for Refugees toured the battered city, making comments
that she thought a land corridor to Sarajevo and other parts of
Bosnia ought to occur.
The organization suspended "Yugoslavia's" membership for 100 days,
for the present, and made it clear that if at that time the fighting
was continuing in Bosnia, "Yugoslavia" would be expelled from the
organization - which I believe would be a first since CSCE's creation
(I think in 1975). (80)
15 July-1992 15:22:13
Fighting continues throughout the republic. Offensives by Serbs are
occurring against the Moslem towns of Gradacac and Goradze, and the
Croat town of Odzak, according to NPR and RFE/RL. NPR reported last
night that Gradacac was surrounded, which today's RFE/RL report
Various faction leaders have been meeting over the last two days in
one-on-one talks with the EC negotiator Lord Carrington. He said
today that he hoped face-to-face meetings "might occur soon," BBC
8 Croatian soldiers were killed by artillery fire, and Croatia
announcec a closing of borders to Bosnian refugees, as have Austria,
Germany and Hungary. Slovenia and Italy may do so also.
Milan Panic was named the new Prime Minister of "Yugoslavia" (Serbia
and Montenegro) yesterday. He vowed that he would recognize the state
of Bosnia-Hercegovina, that he would agree to a ban on heavy weapons
for all sides, and that he favored "self-determination" (though this
wasn't explained) for Kosovo.
It would appear that no real motion towards peace in Bosnia is yet
happening, though there may be faint stirrings in that direction.
There MAY be a nasty collision between Panic and Milosevic, that yet
remains to be seen. (81)
A ceasefire was agreed to 16 July in London by all three factions
involved in the fighting. The next day, two French peacekeepers were
killed in a landmine explosion.
The Bosnian truce may hold, but don't count on it. The Muslim
leadership denounced yesterday the "partitioning" of Bosnia, and it
would appear that such a behavior will only exacerbate the problem,
regardless of how interested in partition Croatian President Tudjman
and Serbian President Milosevic appear to be. I think the new
"Yugloslav" Prime Minister Panic will not last long, though he has
come across as very self-assured, and unconcerned about a potential
power struggle with Milosevic. More turmoil is yet to come, in the
"CIS" and in eastern Europe. Too bad. The people will pay the price,
as always, while the originators of the butchery and division will,
as usual, escape the consequences of their acts. (82)
Ferocious fighting is occurring throughout the country, with some of
the most terrible fighting happening in Sarajevo, where NPR reported
the suburb of Dobrinja taking mortar fire at the rate of 20 shells a
minute earlier today. Lord Carrington, the EC negotiator, blames the
Moslems for this latest ceasefire breakdown, which did not last two
hours, while the Bosnian President again blamed the Serbs for the
truce-breaking. Goradze and Mostar remain under siege, with no
current prospects of relief. "Ethnic cleansing" by the Serbs
continues, with erratic policies now emanating from Europe about the
over 1 million refugees plus from Bosnia, with Italy and Germany
reported over the weekend as relenting somewhat on their former
demands for visas from the fleeing Bosnians. (83)
The city of Goradze, reported the "last city in eastern Bosnia
holding out," appealed to the world for relief from the relentless
siege by Serbian forces. Mortar, artillery and small arms fire had
three suburbs of Sarajevo "trapped" yesterday, reportedly the
heaviest fighting in three weeks. Also yesterday, a one hour, fifteen
minute attack on Canadian positions at the airport, with no
peacekeeepers reported wounded or killed. 20 were killed and 50
wounded in the past 24 hours in Goradze, NPR reported tonight. Last
night, NPR reported "at least" 7500 deaths have occurred in Bosnia
since their declaration of independence in February. It is estimated
that 10,000 refugees a day are coming out of Bosnia, though with half
of Europe's borders closed to them, it is difficult to discern where
they are going. (84)
Fighting goes on. The Moslems rejected partition of Bosnia again
today, while leaders of all three factions stream back to London for
another round of talks. Panic, the "Yugoslav" PM, stated today that
HE is in control of the military, and that they are NOT fighting in
Bosnia. If so, how did the "irregular" Serbs find "air
Monitor Radio this morning reported that the Bosnian leaders had all
trooped to London again today, but Moslem leaders still vehemently
oppose a partition plan the other two factions appear willing to
agree to. Theoretically, a new constitution is being hammered out,
but it is clear that there is NO solid agreement on borders,
boundaries or solutions to the "ethnic cleansing policy" that UN High
Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Agata againt vigorously denounced
She stated "most displacement in Bosnia" occurs along ethnic lines.
Agata stated that 2.5 million pople were refugees, or displaced
within "old Yugoslavia," ot trapped in cities under siege against
their will. She, and many others, are now calling the refugee crisis
"the worst in Europe since World War II." She stated that ethnic
cleansing was "the goal of the conflict," and not just a consequence
of the fighting.
Reports today indicate that aid is being parachuted into surrounded
Moslem town Goradze, though who is doing the drops was not clear on
NPR. The same report indicated that more Serbian tanks were crossing
the Bosnian border today, contrary to Panic's statements just
yesterday that the JNA is not involved in the fighting.
30,000 Moslem refugees have been pushed into Macedonia by the
pressure of events, thereby causing a stern warning from Sofia,
Bulgaria, RFE/RL reports. Bulgaria accuses Serbia for importing
"explosive material" is being imported into an area "dangerously
close" to Bulgaria, and warns Bulgaria takes this provocation dimly.
Croatian Presidential and Parliamentary elections are to occur 2
August, RFE/RL reports. They also report that current President
tudjman's lead over his nearest opponent has slipped to 39-25%,
whereas he earlier had a 23% lead.
The undercurrents, and non-solutions, and sabre-rattling, all
continue at a pace dizzying to behold. Peace is the most elusive item
of today's mosaic, followed by reason. What tragedy and stupdity will
tomorrow's news hold? (85)
NPR reported today that the fighting in Sarajevo was "the worst in
seven or eight weeks," with an incredible firepower being expended by
all sides. What appears to be going on is a fierce fight to "control
roads, bridges and buildings" in Goradze and Sarajevo at the least,
even as the towns are being destroyed.
Yesterday, 61 nations met to discuss the urgent refugee situation,
said to now number 2 million outside "Yugoslavia." France, Britain,
the US and others want refugees to stay as close to their dying
homeland as possible. With 10,000 refugees a day, the situation is
rapidly getting out of hand. Yet, the Americans argued from the
position that the refugees should not be aided very much, for to do
so would be to aid the insidious "ethnic cleansing policies" of the
Rather than work vigorously towards a political solution to the war,
which is causing the refugee problem, eevrybody who COULD do somthing
are now dithering about the refugees, and whether aiding them aids
the Serbian "ethnic cleansing" business. Unbelievable! These people
should get help because they need it, deal with the Serbs and their
insane racial policy (which the Croatians and Muslims would impose
too if they had but a chance, espcially in Bosnia) separately. Most
of the refugees are victims alreasy, why victimize them again just so
as to not "aid" their victimizers? (86)
Relief flights were suspended for a period in Sarajevo yesterday,
holding off the now 200 tons-a-day food shipments to the besieged
city. The airport was re-opened later. NPR reported yesterday that
ceasefires come and go, but that the "fighting in the suburbs never
really stops." Today, a bus trying to get 50 orphan children out was
hit by shellfire, 2 children were reported killed.
A breakout was attempted by Muslims in the city against Serbian
"heavy gun" positions, and apparently failed. 8 were killed, 63
wounded in the fighting, NPR reported yesterday, while 5 Ukranian
peacekeepers were among the injured.
Some discussion of "protected zones" within Bosnia for refugees is
occurring, but there is also a fair amount of opposition to such a
plan because of a widespread belief such a policy aids and abets the
notorious "ethnic cleansing" behavior of the Serbs.
General McKenzie, the Canadian UN commander, is supposed to end his
tour of duty today. He reported that the fighting now is worse than
when he first came several weeks ago.
Two concentration camps were reported by CNN as having been formed by
the Serbs "in north Bosnia," which the Panic government in Belgrade
claims they cannot confirm nor deny. Alleged survivors claim that
"executions occur almost every day," and that "several thousand
been killed," CNN reported.
NPR reported on a reporter that went into northern Bosnia, who
reappeared yesterday, she reporting that "thousands have been burned
out," that she "saw JNA soldiers and trucks, looting and
She described that many soldiers had told her that the "ethnic
conflict" was "a smokescreen" for a "land grab." (Many
reports in the
past two weeks claim Serbs in control of 70-75% of Bosnia's
geography). This reporter, Maggie O'Cain of The Guardian, had gone
with Serbian irregulars to their postions outside Goradze while the
city was being shelled, eating "cheese, coffee and desert" as the
Serbs lobbed shells into the city. She stated that Serbs on the
ground predicted that "fighting would break out in" the Albanian
enclave of "Kosovo next."
Elections occur here tomorrow, for Parliament and President.
Incumbent President Tudjman is expected to win re-election.
The war in Bosnia shows up the paralysis of Europe and the UN, and no
one appears willing to compromise at all. It appears clear that not
all factions will be happy with the results, no matter which way the
worm turns. (87)
"On Bosnia, and Other Problems"
The murder of two children by snipers, and the seizure of nine more
yesterday, seems the height of all that is wrong with the "Yugoslav
situation." War is insidious and evil enough, without waging war on
But, tonight, I heard speaking, in sonorous tones, Daniel Schorr, who
suggested Bosnia was "no-win" for George Bush, so that the children
will continue being murdered in Bosnia while Bush fulminates against
the Bully of Baghdad. I cannot help wishing the Wimp in Washington,
who styles himself the "architect' of a "new world order," would
actually LEAD instead of so much flapping of the lips. I continue to
believe that force will not solve the problem, but surely we have
several Cy Vance types to throw into the fray - one to Belgrade, one
to Zagreb, one to Sarajevo, one to wherever to get the negotiations
off dead stall.
The Siege of Sarajevo must stop, the detention camps identified by
the US State Department today smack of Nazism, and should be closed
by whatever means is necessary. Europe should not allow Milosevic's
minions to carry on genocide and race-murder, which is allegedly
occurring at the two camps identified as existing (without denial of
either the Bosnian Serb leader or Belgrade!). This kind of nightmare
occurred only two generations ago, it is bitterly sad and more than a
little ironical that the European community as a whole will tolerate
such behavior in these so-called "modern times."
The London talks have failed. The ceasefires have failed.
Boutrous-Gahli has taken a lot of heat for suggesting a UN "permanent
force" to deal with issues like this. Where is the "Euro Defense
Force?" The US can hastily assemble 2000 men for Operation Intrinsic
Action (going into Kuwait), and make menacing noises about Saddam
Hussein, but allow Nazi-like behavior to occur without action of any
kind, after at least 100,000 American spilled their lives out to
liberate Europe from Nazi behavior from 1942-45. There is something
screwy about all this.
Surely, the allegedly "greatest power in the world" can correctly
target the greater threat. The "Bully of Baghdad" isn't going
anywhere, while every day no decisions or actions are reached about
Bosnia costs people their lives. What we do is unclear, but doing
nothing is criminal! A steel curtain around Serbia, which Europe CAN
do, but it DOES call for a "little" political courage. Does anyone
have such courage while the opposing forces make war on and murder
I realize that I have no idea whom is doing what to whom in Bosnia,
despite occasionally some very graphic footage slipping past my
vision. My point remains that the fighting and killing COULD be
stopped; all Milosevic has to do is order it to stop, and most of it
would instantly. The "Beast of Belgrade, the Bane of Bosnia" appears
the more serious problem than the "Bully of Baghdad." (88)
"On Bosnia, Some Suggestions?"
The big story all day yesterday, and leadoff story this morning on
Monitor Radio, is the Serbian "detention camps"/"concentration
somewhere in northwest Bosnia. A Red Cross spokesperson in Europe,
Pierre Gautier, said that he could not reveal conditions within the
EIGHT camps he saw ("confidentiality," he said), nor would he say who
had how many camps save to say all sides had "detention camps,"
primarily "filled with women, children and old people." He said thy
had seen 8 camps (later stated at 9), with 4000 people in them,
"mostly civilian,"and that "all sides" were maintaining
"unacceptable for us," the Red Cross stated.
The Red Cross confirms that "torture" and "mistreatment"
occurred. Maggie O'Cain of the Guardian has seen people from the
camps, reports (on BBC this morning) that other journalists are
getting confirmations and consistent reports, and that there are
striking possible parallels to the Nazi camps PRIOR to World War II.
I heard "ethnic cleansing" referred to today as a comparative term to
the Nazi "racial purification" policies, and that could the world
afford another repetition of THAT behavior?
This "news" has stirred a bitter debate in the US and Europe, in the
news and on the nets, which has really only just begun, in this
writer's estimation. The US seemingly confirmed these camps on
Monday, but pulled out an Assistant Secretary of State (Nash)
yesterday to say that State Department spokeman Richard Boucher was
"misunderstood" the day before. I heard Boucher's comments, it sure
seemed like he was confirming the camp's existence.
In Europe, there is outrage, especially when the "sealed boxcar"
reports began floating around, but no one is outraged enough to do
much, all saying that "military action:" is not possible in
"Yugoslavia." The McKenzie interviews on radio and TV yesterday make
it clear that the recent UN commander thinks a military action there
would be a major effort, no matter who did what militarily. A strong
"moral case" could be that this is NOT a "civil war," but
aggression by a larger state against smaller ones, IF we are to
recognize that the Bosnian, Coatian and Macedonian drives to
sovereignty are legitimate, which would APPEAR to be the case.
An example of the difficulties (which I'm in no way minimizing by my
suggestions below) is the renewal of heavy fighting in the Sarajevo
area, wherein it is "too dangerous" for camp inspection, travel, or
even troop movements by peacekeepers, let alone the combatants, as
evidenced by the killing of two babies a few days ago by a sniper.
(Firing on buses? Come on now, that itself is a "moral crime," no
matter WHAT aim is being pursued!) Mortar, grenade, tank, artillery
and rocket fire apparently signal an attempt by "Bosnians" to break
out of the city, and the Serbs surrounding the city's resistance to
My thinking, like many, continues to evolve about the situation. I
still believe that this is Europe's problem, but I also think that
the "new world order" either has to be reality, or debunked as the
"same old crap." The latter APPEARS more the case, but it seems to be
that the UN Security Council can do these things:
1) Expel "Yugoslavia" from the UN until the fighting stops, and
stable borders exist for Bosnia that Bosnia can accept.
2) All "concentration camps" must be opened, the prisoners released,
and if atrocities have occurred, the perpetrators brought to the
international "bar of justice," a International Tribunal of the
stature of Nuremburg in 1945-46 convened. The Security Council
"demand" to open the detention camps of all sides (reported a few
moments ago as 45 camps operated by Serbs holding 70,000 people, and
whatever number of camps the Serbs say the Croats and Muslims have,
holding reportedly 40,000 more people) should be honored immediately.
This should be resolved regardless of how the fighting is dealt with.
3) Admit Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia to the UN, and place
their fate under the UN's "protection." (I realize that American
"isolationists" disparage the UN, but it IS the international body in
existance, and we are not going to solve ANYTHING by denying that the
UN is viable, or legitimate).
4) Place Serbia under an international "cordon sanitaire,"
"guaranteed" by the UN Security Council. Nothing in,
No air travel, no food in, no money transfers, nothing either way.
The only thing out is refugees (and a much better policy on THAT
problem also needs devising!). A UN/NATO force ought to open the
Sarajevo airport for good - no more closings for three days because
of mortar fire. Some of me suggests a single land corridor route
from the Adriatic (Croatian?) side of "Yugoslavia," ought to be
secured. The UN, specifically the European powers, have enough
trained soldiers to accomplish at least this much. I agree with
McKenzie's assessment of a full blown land war being the height of
5) The UN Security Council should pass a BINDING resolution declaring
the "Bosnian behavior" by the Serbs an "act of aggression with
genocidal overtones," and order Serbia's removal from ALL
international organizations, including relief, until Bosnia's
borders are restored and the fighting stops.
6) Lastly, though I think this is the last step that should be
engaged in, the Permanent members of the UN Security Council may have
to say that if Serbia, and the other parties, fail to stop the
fighting, and if all sides fail to release their prisoners, that UN
will consider that a "state of war" will exist between Serbia, the
occupied land in Bosnia and the rest of the planet, and that
appropriate actions will be taken beyond the above ala Iraq.
Yes, these are drastic actions. No, this may not be the most
important problem on the planet (several places in Africa are in as
bad a shape, or worse. However, regretfully, their situations do not
threaten the long-term peace of all of Europe, nor do their
situations portend immediate regional war as the "Yugoslav mess"
appears to be in the verge of doing). Yes, what is happening in
Europe may be the most destabilizing behavior in that part of the
world since the Cold War tensions of 1947-50, or the end of World War
II. No, I do not think that "war" will do all that should be done,
but ALL parties have made it clear that genuine negotiations are not
going to occur.
(General McKenzie said it best yesterday - I paraphrase - that he
cannot recall peace occurring when both sides refuse to talk to each
other, or where no talking is happening between disputant parties).
Yes, McKenzie is right that military action here will be a nightmare.
No, this should not be an excuse to do nothing. Yes, there must be an
example of how "the new world order" plans to deal with these kinds
of problems in the future. The world's peoples are served ill by a
case-by-case, only pragmatic, response to these situations. Somehow,
aggression, genocide, war by the denial of food, war by "ethnic
cleansing," the use of weapons of mass destruction, and the use of
ANY kind of nuclear weapon has to be ACTED against, not just talked
I believe armed force will have to applied, regretfully, because no
other actions save fruitless talk has occurred. CSCE, Bosnia or even
the EC could have requested NATO to intervene (with 16 member
nations, no one country has to carry the whole burden). Everyone
whines about the cost, given the problems in Somalia, Mozambique, and
South Africa, and elsewhere. One suggests that IF this mess is not
resolutely dealt with soon, the cost, morally, financially, and
developmentally, will be MUCH worse.
The tragedy of Bosnia is greed, and an inabilty to resolve "ethnic
aspirations" in a legitimate, non-violent way.. The Serbs could have
perhaps negotiated their aspirations with Bosnia and Croatia, instead
they took what they wanted. When on 2 August, 1990, Iraq invaded
Kuwait, the UN stated that this act was aggression, a violation of
sovreignty. Bosnia and Croatia have been declared sovereign by the EC
and CSCE, despite the disdain some have for these organizations, and
Macedonia should be - the silliness with the Greeks should NOT
obstruct a reasonable drive by "Macedonia" towards sovereignty. So,
therefore, the Serbian actions in Croatia and Bosnia ought to be
regarded as "aggression," and dealt with accordingly. Turkish,
or any other nation's unilateral intervention into the situation
should also be declared an act of war against the UN, and that such
would not be regarded lightly by the international community.
Forceful, decisive actions by the so-called "great powers" is going
to break the "deadlock," Milosevic will not heed less.
Either, we ARE a world community, or we are aggregate groups of
squabbling regional powers with no ability or desire to solve
international problems. No faction is Bosnia is "right," errors and
criminal behavior appears endemic. To sit by, to do nothing, to wring
our hands and whine about costs is irreponsible and immoral. While
some would frivolously suggest "nuking" Yugoslavia (or Belgrade?),
and/or Iraq seems to be the height of frustration, and stupidity. NO
problem can be solved that way. Reasonable, assertive, involved
decision-making and problem-solving has to occur here. Belgrade HAS
to understand the cost of "aggression" far outweighs the gains - they
should not be "rewarded" by allowing to keep what they've taken
I believe we COULD be a "world community," the botched handling of
Bosnia by that community causes me to despair that we, as a species,
have learned much from even our recent history (fifty years isn't
THAT long ago!). Something must change, else a regional war IS
brewing, and then it will be MUCH tougher to stop. Many say that
Serbia will get away with this because the world is irresolute, I say
that if such occurs, humanity is still at the level of moral
cretinhood. What will it be, reason or force? Acceptance of the
idiocies of the past, or resolute action to operate on a higher
plane? Decision and action must be arrived at soon, the mess is about
to get out of hand. (89)
In the backwash of the reports about "camps" in northwest Bosnia, NPR
reported on Monday that 1000 have been killed in the camps, according
to various reports. Since then, there appears to be "clear evidence"
that the camps exist, and that "mistreatments" of all kinds ARE
occurring in them.
The 48 orphans whose bus was fired on, with two killed, have been
disbursed - 9 seized by Serb checkpoint guards, 39 made it to
Magdeburg yesterday. The two men who organized the evacuation were
roundly criticized for doing so yesterday (because of the deaths),
but there sure wasn't a lot of outrage about the sniping!
NPR reported that "thousands of civilians" in Bosnia are being
"starved," are "homeless," and are subject to
"detention and forcible
expellation" from their homes. This activity is criminal activity of
the banditry kind, with no legitimacy in ANY venue.
3 "mini-battalians" from France, Ukraine and Egypt have replaced the
Canadian forces of the UN in Bosnia. The Canadian troops have been
returned to (Zagreb?) to a "neutral base."
"The sealed boxcar" reports about Bosnians has been mentioned several
times on NPR, at least once on BBC, beyond that I cannot verify them.
F. Tudjman is reported by NPR last night the winner of the Croatian
Presidency, by 57% of the vote.
THe Bosnian tragedy does not have to get bogged down in
technicalities, such as the one that states putting "Serbia" outside
of the international community by expelling them from international
organizations means they can say they no longer belong so they no
longer have to comply. Ridiculous! Either there is a mode for dealing
with this problem, or there isn't - one suspects that what HAS to
happen is that Serbia has to heed the international community's
stated wish of ceasing their aggression in Bosnia. All of my
"suggestions" in the piece "On Bosnia, Some Suggestions?"
that, but my conscience cannot be assuaged by adherance to
technicalities as a reason for not acting. The immorality of not
speaking during the Nazi atrocities will not be repeated this time,
or should not be. (90)
In conclusion, the struggle continues as October fades towards
November, the number of refugees is now estimated at 2 million, the
number of dead as high as 20,000 since the beginning of 1992, an an
unreckoned number of historical buildings, museums, and dwellings of
all kinds have been destroyed, and now former allies (the Croats and
Muslims) are beginning to fight each other.
The tragedy is no nearer solution than at the beginning of these
reports, despite a reported constitution for Bosnia coming out of the
peace talks in London. These talks had announced at October's
beginning had announced that President Izetbegovic had finally agreed
to the "cantonizing" of Bosnia after months of resistance to such an
idea. But no agreement has been reached on how to accomplish such a
Places like Kosovo and Macedonia have not yet had ANY resolution of
their disputes with the Belgrade government, and so the future of the
former Yugoslavia would appear to be fraught with the potential of
more violence. As long as the violence in Bosnia continues, as long
as Kosovo and Macedonia remain threatened by Serbia-Montenegro, as
long as the West does as little as it has up to now, Europe remains
under the threat of a wider conflagration.
1) E-mail message by writer, 11-17-91.
2) E-mail message by writer, 11-19-91.
3) E-mail message by writer, 11-22-91.
4) E-mail message by writer, 11-26-91.
5) E-mail message of Erland Sommarskog on talk.politics.soviet
11-29-91; e-mail response of writer 11-30-91.
6) E-mail message by writer, 12-1-91.
7) E-mail message by writer, 12-6-91.
8) E-mail message by writer, 12-8-91.
9) E-mail message by writer, 12-8-91.
10) E-mail message by writer, 12-10-91.
11) E-mail message by writer, 12-11-91.
12) E-mail message by writer, 12-17-91.
13) E-mail message by writer, 12-19-91.
14) E-mail message by writer, 12-21-91.
15) E-mail message by writer, 12-28-91.
16) E-mail message by writer, 12-29-91.
17) E-mail message by writer, 1-2-92.
18) E-mail message by writer, 1-4-92.
19) E-mail message by writer, 1-6-92.
20) E-mail message by writer, 1-8-92.
21) E-mail message by writer, 1-9-92.
22) E-mail message by writer, 1-12-92.
23) E-mail message by writer, 1-15-92.
24) E-mail message by writer, 1-16-92.
25) E-mail message by writer, 1-25-92.
26) E-mail message by writer, 1-29-92.
27) E-mail message by writer, 1-30-92.
28) E-mail message by writer, 2-1-92.
29) E-mail message by writer, 2-2-92.
30) E-mail message by writer, 2-4-92.
31) E-mail message by writer, 2-8-92.
32) E-mail message by writer, 2-14-92.
33) E-mail message by writer, 2-15-92.
34) E-mail message by writer, 2-18-92.
35) E-mail message by writer, 2-22-92.
36) E-mail message by writer, 2-27-92.
37) E-mail message by writer, 3-3-92.
38) E-mail message by writer, 3-4-92.
39) E-mail message by writer, 3-4-92.
40) E-mail message by writer, 3-9-92.
41) E-mail message by writer, 3-11-92.
42) E-mail message by writer, 3-15-92.
43) E-mail message by writer, 3-17-92.
44) E-mail message by writer, 3-19-92.
45) E-mail message by writer, 3-25-92.
46) E-mail message by writer, 4-4-92.
47) E-mail message by writer, 4-7-92.
48) E-mail message by writer, 4-7-92.
49) E-mail message by writer, 4-9-92.
50) E-mail message by writer, 4-13-92.
51) E-mail message by writer, 4-15-92.
52) E-mail message by writer, 4-17-92.
53) E-mail message by writer, 4-22-92.
54) E-mail message by writer, 4-24-92.
55) E-mail message by writer, 4-25-92.
56) E-mail message by writer, 4-29-92.
57) E-mail message by writer, 5-2-92.
58) E-mail message by writer, 5-6-92.
59) E-mail message by writer, 5-9-92.
60) E-mail message by writer, 5-11-92.
61) E-mail message from Jay Steven Sultan to POLITICS, 5-12-92;
e-mail response by writer, 5-12-92.
62) E-mail message by writer, 5-15-92.
63) E-mail message by writer, 5-16-92.
64) E-mail message by writer, 5-19-92.
65) E-mail message by writer, 5-23-92.
66) E-mail message by writer, 5-27-92.
67) E-mail message by writer, 5-29-92.
68) E-mail message from Sergei Viznyuk to talk.politics.soviet on
5-29-92; e-mail response by writer, 5-30-92.
69) E-mail message by writer, 6-2-92.
70) E-mail message by writer, 6-4-92.
71) E-mail message by writer, 6-6-92.
72) E-mail message by writer, 6-10-92.
73) E-mail message by writer, 6-15-92.
74) E-mail message by writer, 6-16-92.
75) E-mail message by writer, 6-20-92.
76) E-mail message by writer, 6-23-92.
77) E-mail message by writer, 6-24-92.
78) E-mail message by writer, 6-29-92.
79) E-mail message by writer, 7-3-92.
80) E-mail message by writer, 7-9-92.
81) E-mail message by writer, 7-15-92.
82) E-mail message by writer, 7-19-92.
83) E-mail message by writer, 7-22-92.
84) E-mail message by writer, 7-23-92.
85) E-mail message by writer, 7-28-92.
86) E-mail message by writer, 7-31-92.
87) E-mail message by writer, 8-2-92.
88) E-mail message by writer, 8-4-92.
89) E-mail message by writer, 8-5-92.
90) E-mail message by writer, 8-5-92.