“Uniting” Bosnia: Smoking in the Arsenal

The following speech was given by Srdja Trifkovic at the May 27th Lord Byron Foundation conference, “Unfinished Business in the Balkans”, which was held at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington D.C.

“Uniting” Bosnia: Smoking in the Arsenal
by Srdja Trifkovic

At a time when the U.S. power and authority are increasingly challenged around the world, the new team sees the Balkans as the last geopolitically significant area where they can assert their “credibility” by postulating a maximalist set of objectives as the only outcome acceptable to the United States, and duly insisting on their fulfillment. We have already seen this pattern with Kosovo, and now we see an attempt to stage its replay in Bosnia under the demand for constitutional reform, i.e. centralization.

The advocates of unitary Bosnia studiously ignore the fact that similar U.S. policies contributed to the war 17 years ago. In the spring of 1992 the late Warren Zimmermann, the last U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia before its breakup and civil war, materially contributed—probably more than any other single man—to the outbreak of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The facts of the case have been established beyond reasonable doubt and are no longer dosputed by experts.

Nine months earlier, in June 1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared independence, a move that triggered off a short war in Slovenia and a sustained conflict in Croatia where the Serbs refused to accept Tudjman’s fait accompli. These events had profound consequences on Bosnia and Herzegovina, that “Yugoslavia in miniature.” The Serbs (34%) adamantly opposed the idea of Bosnian independence. The Croats (17%) predictably rejected any suggestion that Bosnia and Herzegovina remains within a Serb-dominated rump Yugoslavia.

Alija Izetbegovic had decided a year earlier that Bosnia should also declare independence if Slovenia and Croatia secede. On 27 February 1991 he went a major step further: “I would sacrifice peace for a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina, but for that peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina I would not sacrifice sovereignty.”

The process culminated with the referendum on independence (29 February 1992). The Serbs duly boycotted it; just 62 percent of voters opted for independence, Muslims and Croats; but even this figure was short of the two-thirds majority required by the constitution. This did not stop the rump government of Izetbegovic from declaring independence on 3 March.

Simultaneously one last attempt was under way to save peace. The Portuguese foreign minister Jose Cutileiro persuaded the three sides that Bosnia-Herzegovina should be independent but internally organized on the basis of ethnic regions or “cantons.” The breakthrough was due to the Bosnian Serbs’ acceptance of an independent Bosnia, provided that the Muslims give up their ambition of a centralized, unitary one. Izetbegovic appeared to accept it but when he returned from Lisbon, Zimmermann flew post haste from Belgrade to Sarajevo to tell him that it was a means to “a Serbian power grab” that could be prevented by internationalizing the problem. State Department subsequently admitted that the US policy “was to encourage Izetbegovic to break with the partition plan.” The New York Times (August 29, 1993) brought a revealing quote from the key player himself:

The embassy [in Belgrade] was for recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina from sometime in February on,” Mr. Zimmermann said of his policy recommendation from Belgrade. “Meaning me.” … Immediately after Mr. Izetbegovic returned from Lisbon, Mr. Zimmermann called on him in Sarajevo… “He said he didn’t like it; I told him, if he didn’t like it, why sign it?”

After that moment Izetbegovic had no motive to take the ongoing EC-brokered talks seriously, just as the Albanians had no motive to negotiate with Belgrade after President Bush declared in Tirana that it would become independent. After his encounter with Zimmermann Izetbegovic felt authorized to renege on tripartite accord: the U.S. would come to his assistance to enforce the independence of a unitary Bosnian state.
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The motives of Zimmermann and his political bosses in Washington were not rooted in the concern for the Muslims of Bosnia as such, or indeed any higher moral principle. Their policy had no basis in the law of nations, or in the notions of truth or justice. It was the end-result of the interaction of pressure groups within the American power structure. Thus the war in the Balkans evolved from a Yugoslav disaster and a European inconvenience into a major test of “U.S. leadership.” This was made possible by a bogus consensus which passed for Europe’s Balkan policy. This consensus, amplified in the media, limited the scope for meningful debate.

Just as Germany sought to paint its Maastricht Diktat on Croatia’s recognition in December 1991 as an expression of the “European consensus,” after Zimmermann’s intervention Washington’s fait accomplis were straightfacedly labeled as “the will of the international community.” Europe was resentful but helpless when the United States resorted to covert action to smuggle arms into Croatia and Bosnia in violation of U.N. resolutions. Zimmermann’s torpedoing of the EU Lisbon formula in 1992 started a trend that frustrated the Europeans, but they were helpless. Cutileiro was embittered by the US action and blamed Izetbegovic for reneging. Had the Muslims not done so, he recalled in 1995, “the Bosnian question might have been settled earlier, with less loss of life and land.” Cutileiro also noted that the decision to renege on the signed agreement was not only Izetbegovic’s, as he was encouraged to scupper that deal and to fight for a unitary Bosnian state by foreign mediators.”

THE SETTING – At the outset of the crisis in 1990-91 most inhabitants of Bosnia-Herzegovina did not want to become “Bosnians” in any political sense; but they were unaware of the extent to which their future depended on events beyond their republic’s boundaries. The ruling League of Communists of Yugoslavia literally disintegrated in the first months of 1990. The resulting power vacuum was felt in Bosnia-Herzegovina more keenly than in other republics because the Party rule there was more rigidly doctrinaire. When the first multi-party election since 1938 finally took place in November 1990, the voters overwhelmingly acted in accordance with their ethnic loyalties that proved more enduring than any ideological differences between them.

When the Bosnian election results were tallied, they effectively read like a census plain and simple. The overwhelming share of the vote—80 percent—went to the three parties that had grounded their appeal in the ethnic-national identity and issues. The apparent ability of the three “nationalist” parties to cooperate in the aftermath of the election was based on one thing they all had in common: the desire to break free from the Titoist straightjacket. Had Yugoslavia not been breaking up in 1991-92, this emphasis on traditional identities would have passed as a natural democratic readjustment to reality. The truth is that there was no internal, Bosnian threat to peace at the beginning of 1991: when it came the threat was from outside. The SDS and the SDA were not simply in coalition: they were natural allies while Bosnia remained at peace, although they would become just as natural enemies if Yugoslavia fell apart.

The Serbs of Bosnia wanted, overwhelmingly, to preserve the status quo. As they had no desire for the destruction of Yugoslavia, they were forced into reactive posture vis-à-vis those who willed the Federation’s disintegration. Their argument—even if seldom stated with simplicity and coherence—was clear when freed from rhetoric: they had lived in one state since 1918, when Yugoslavia came into being. They reluctantly accepted Tito’s arbitrarily determined internal boundaries between the six federal republics—which left one third of them outside Serbia-proper—on the grounds that the Yugoslav framework afforded them a measure of security from the repetition of the nightmare of 1941-1945; but they could not swallow an illegal ruse that aimed to turn them into minorities, overnight and by unconstitutional means, in their own land.

Even without the vividly remembered trauma of the Second World War, they reacted in 1991-1992 just as the Anglophone citizens of Texas or Arizona might do if they are outvoted, one day, in a referendum demanding those states’ incorporation into Mexico. They demanded the right that the territories, which the Serbs have inhabited as compact majorities long before the voyage of the Mayflower, not be subjected to the rule of their rivals. In the same vein the Protestant Ulstermen demanded — and were given — the right to stay apart from united Ireland when the nationalists opted for secession in 1921.

In the same vein the state of West Virginia was created in 1863, incorporating those counties of the Commonwealth of Virginia that refused to be forced into secession. The Loyalists of Ulster and the Unionists of West Virginia were just as guilty of a “Joint Criminal Enterprise” to break up Ireland, or the Old Dominion, as were the Serbs of Bosnia-Herzegovina who did not want to be dragged into secession.

Yugoslavia was a flawed polity, and there could have been no rational objection to the striving of Croats, and even Bosnian Muslims, to create their own nation-states. But equally there could have been no justification for forcing over two million Serbs west of the Drina to be incorporated into those states against their will. Yugoslavia came together in 1918 as a union of South Slav peoples, and not of states, or territorial units. Its divorce should have been effected on the same basis; the boundaries of the republics should have been altered accordingly. This is, and has been, the real foundation of the Yugoslav conflict ever since the first shots were fired in the summer of 1991. Even someone as unsympathetic to the Serb point of view as Lord David Owen conceded that Josip Broz Tito’s internal administrative boundaries between Yugoslavia’s republics were grossly arbitrary, and that their redrawing should have been countenanced:

Incomprehensibly, the proposal to redraw the republics’ boundaries had been rejected by all eleven EC countries… [T]o rule out any discussion or opportunity for compromise in order to head off war was an extraordinary decision. My view has always been that to have stuck unyieldingly to the internal boundaries of the six republics within the former Yugoslavia… as being those for independent states, was a folly far greater than that of premature recognition itself.

Of the three ethnic-religious parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Muslim party—the SDA—was the most radical, in that it alone advocated a fundamental restructuring of the Bosnian society in accordance with divine revelation. It attempted to do so not on Bosnia’s own terms, not within the Republic’s own local paradigm, but within the terms of the global-historical process—as its leaders saw it—of the global Islamic renaissance. Many in the West have been in a state of denial for years about the nature of Alija Izetbegovic’s long-term program, preferring to believe their own assurances that Izetbegovic’s blueprint is not “Islamist” but “multicultural.”

Not unlike Islamist parties elsewhere—notably the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey—the SDA had a public, “secular” front, and an inner core of Islamic cadres that remained semi-conspiratorial in the early days. This is vividly described by one of the party’s founders who had previously made a successful business career in the West, Adil Zulfikarpašic. He was appalled by the “fascist” methods of the SDA and by its “conservative, religious, populist” orientation.

Izetbegovic was an advocate of Sharia law and a theorist of the Islamic Republic long before the first shots were fired. His early views were inspired by the teaching of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Al Husseini, who toured the German-occupied Europe preaching that the Third Reich and the Muslim world had a natural community of interests. Izetbegovic’s ideas subsequently matured into a comprehensive, programmatic statement in the Islamic Declaration — his de facto political platform:

The Islamic movement must, and can, take over power as soon as it is morally and numerically so strong that it can not only destroy the existing non-Islamic power, but also build up a new Islamic one… There is no peace or coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic social and political institutions.

This was a political program par excellence. The author’s contempt for Western values is evident in his dismissal of the Kemalist tradition: “Turkey as an Islamic country used to rule the world. Turkey as an imitation of Europe represents a third-rate country the like of which there is a hundred in the world.” Elsewhere, he accepts the “achievements of Euro-American civilization” but only in the area of “science and technology… we shall have to accept them if we wish to survive.” In a revealing sentence, Izetbegovic discusses the status of non-Muslims in countries with Muslim majorities: “The non-Muslim minorities within an Islamic state, on condition that they are loyal [emphasis added], enjoy religious freedom and all protection.” He advocates “the creation of a united Islamic community from Morocco to Indonesia.”

Izetbegovic’s views are unremarkable from a traditional Islamic point of view. The final objective is Dar al Islam, where Muslims dominate and infidels submit. That is the meaning of Izetbegovic’s apparent generosity to the non-Muslims, “provided that they are loyal”: the non-Muslims can be “protected persons” only if they submitted to Islamic domination.

In his daily political discourse Izetbegovic behaved throughout the 1990s as a de facto nationalist, fostering narrowly-defined Bosniak nationalist feeling and seeking to equate the emerging “Bosniak” identity with an imaginary supra-ethnic “Bosnia.” He was juxtaposing the construct with the two traditionally Christian communities—Serbs and Croats—whose loyalties were alleged to lie elsewhere, with Belgrade and Zagreb respectively. The two sides of Izetbegovic’s personality were not at odds, since within his terms of reference the Bosniak ethnicity was defined by religion. To have Alija Izetbegovic, with his record and his vision, as the head of a democratic, pluralist state anywhere in the world, is of course simply unthinkable. But for his peculiar vision to be applied in practice, Bosnia-Herzegovina had to be taken out of Yugoslavia and proclaimed independent and sovereign.

Izetbegovic’s chief concern was to find a pretext for the intended separation from Yugoslavia—any Yugoslavia—and to use the Croat tactical alliance in pursuit of that goal; the day of reckoning with the HDZ could come later. Izetbegovic was willing to risk the war. In the 1990 election campaign he said that the Muslims would “defend Bosnia with arms.” In February 1991 he declared in the Assembly: “I would sacrifice peace for a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina, but for that peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina I would not sacrifice sovereignty.” By May Izetbegovic went even further, saying that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina probably could not be avoided because “for a state to be created, for a nation to be forged, it has to endure this, it is some kind of fate, destiny.” This statement echoed his Islamic fatalism.

When the Bosnian Serbs took control of the Serb-majority areas and connecting corridors in 1992, they were well equipped and officered. But the numerical advantage lay with the Muslims, who hoped to win in the end with international help. Radavan Karadzic never understood that this was, indeed, Izetbegovic’s grand strategy, and that time was not on the side of the Serbs. In addition Karadzic personally and the Serbs collectively were severely damaged by the western media handling of their mistreatment of Muslim prisoners and the expulsion of non-Serb civilians in the summer of 1992. Similar atrocities by Croats and Muslims against Serbs and against each other, while no less common, were less conspicuous and deemed unworthy of Western attention.

The media call for intervention, launched in its early stage, made the Bosnian war the subject of international debate to an extent unknown since Vietnam. Many Europeans were inclined to support a compromise peace, a federalized Bosnia, and a real arms embargo; whereas the United States disliked European peace plans, broke the arms embargo starting in late 1993, and overtly supported the Muslims. Plus ca change!

The end of the war was the result of a transatlantic compromise: London and Paris reluctantly agreed to let NATO bomb the Serbs, while the United States reluctantly accepted the sort of settlement the Europeans had wanted in 1992-3. The chief outcome of the war was a transformed NATO, and the renewal of American leadership in Europe to an extent not seen since Kennedy. It established that America wanted to lead, and to be indispensable, in the process of European reorganization after 1989. In Bosnia itself the war took longer than it would have done but the settlement that followed Dayton is not unlike a plausible compromise that seemed within reach in Lisbon in April 1992.

Richard Holbrooke, the chief U.S. negotiator in 1995, boasted a year later: “We are re-engaged in the world, and Bosnia was the test.” This “we” meant the United States, not “the West” or “the international community.” Indeed, no nation-state started and finished the Bosnian story as a political actor with an unchanged diplomatic personality. Each great power became a forum for the global debate for and against intervention, the debate for and against a certain kind NATO, and an associated, media-led international political process. The interventionists prevailed then, and their narrative dominates the public commentary on Karadzic’s arrest now.

The current clamoring for unitarization raises an old question that remains unanswered by the Bosnifiers: If the old Yugoslavia was untenable and eventually collapsed under the weight of the supposedly insurmountable differences among its constituent nations, how can Bosnia—the Yugoslav microcosm par excellence—develop and sustain the dynamics of a viable polity?

As for the charges that the RS is founded on war crimes, we need not hypothesize a pre-war “joint criminal enterprise” to ethnically cleanse and murder, to explain the events of 1992-5. The crimes and violations of human rights that followed were not the direct result of anyone’s nationalist project. These crime, as Susan Woodward notes, “were the results of the wars and their particular characteristics, not the causes.”

The effect of the legal intervention of the “international community” with its act of recognition was that a Yugoslav loyalty was made to look like a conspiratorial disloyalty to “Bosnia”—largely in the eyes of people who supposed ex hypothesi that if there is a “Bosnia” there must be a nation of “Bosnians.” In 1943-44 Tito was able to force the Anglo-Americans to pretend that his struggle was not communist revolution. In 1992-95 Izetbegovic forced the West to pretend that his jihad was the defense of “multi-ethnicity.” Both pretenses were absurd.

The campaign against the RS is detrimental to what America should stand for in the world. It seeks to give further credence to the myth of Muslim blameless victimhood, Serb viciousness, and Western indifference, and therefore weaken our resolve in the global struggle euphemistically known as “war on terrorism.” The former is a crime; the latter, a mistake. Yet there is no true debate in Washington on the ends and uses of American power, in the Balkans or anywhere else. The ideologues’ resistance to any external checks and balances on the exercise of that power is upheld. Obama’s team and Bush’s may differ in some shades of rhetoric, but they are one regime, identical in substance and consequence. Its leading lights will go on disputing the validity of the emerging balance-of-power system because they reject the legitimacy of any power in the world other than that of the United States, controlled and exercised by themselves. They will scoff at the warning of 1815, 1918, or 1945 as inapplicable in the post-history that they seek to construct. They will confront the argument that no vital American interest worthy of risking a major war is involved in Russia’s or China’s near-abroad with the claim that the whole world is America’s near-abroad.

It is vexing that the demand for rekindling the Bosnian crisis comes at a particularly dangerous period in world affairs: the return of asymmetrical multipolarity. Following a brief period of post-1991 full-spectrum dominance, for the first time after the Cold War the government of the United States is facing active resistance from one or more major powers. More important than the anatomy of the South Ossetian crisis last August, or the Taiwanese crisis three years from now, is the reactive powers’ refusal to accept the validity of Washington’s ideological assumptions or the legitimacy of its resulting geopolitical claims. At the same time, far from critically reconsidering the Bushies’ hegemonsitic assumptions and claims, the key decision-makers in the Obama Administration will continue to uphold them.

Their ambition, unlimited in principle, will remain unaffected by the ongoing financial crisis, just as Moscow’s Cold War expansionism was enhanced, rather than curtailed, by the evident shortcomings of the Soviet centrally planned economy. Come what may, they will not allow the reality of global politics to interfere with their world outlook, “neoliberal” or “neoconservative,” but hegemonic and irrational at all times.

15 thoughts on ““Uniting” Bosnia: Smoking in the Arsenal

  1. Oh dear….

    While I love many articles I read on GatesOV, articles like this make me want to stop reading this blog.

    I have some sympathy for the Serbs in Kosovo – they were outbread by muslims and Kosovo should never have been given over to them. But the fact is, it was the Serbs who started the 3 wars in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, and it was they who committed 90% of the attrocities.

    When I read lies like this :
    “Similar atrocities by Croats and Muslims against Serbs and against each other, while no less common, were less conspicuous and deemed unworthy of Western attention.”

    “No less common”

    That Gates Of Vienna would publish the writings of a lier such as this who is defending the genocide committed by the Serbs is a disgrace.

    This is no better than the lies of the Arabs.

  2. GOK:

    I always find it very interesting when our critics assert that posting this or that opinion on our blog will “discredit” us or “destroy the credibility” of Gates of Vienna. What tosh!

    If you are a regular reader here, you know that we post a variety of material, with opinions that often contradict one another. I believe this to be an important, valuable, and necessary process: the truth can only be apprehended by presenting different points of view and allowing a free flow of discussion that reveals and discards error.

    As for its making us into a “disgrace”: I don’t agree.

    Your labeling of Dr. Trifkovic as a “liar” would normally cause me to delete your comment, but I am leaving it here to serve as an invitation to other commenters — people who actually know what they are talking about — to add their well-reasoned (and non-insulting) responses.

    Dr. Trifkovic is not a liar. He simply holds an opinion with which you disagree. There is ample testimony to support his contention that the Serb atrocities were at least matched by those of the other groups, and there is also evidence that a substantial amount of the documentation used against the Serbs was manufactured or doctored.

    But there are better-informed readers than I who will weigh in here and offer more specific refutations. I expect Natalie and Henrik to show up in due course…

  3. Video in 9 parts: Yugoslavia, the avoidable war or longer two part google video featuring Nora Beloff correspondent for the London Observer, Austrian author/Peter Handke, David Binder, former Yugoslavia correspondent for the New York Times, GOP Senate aide James George Jatras, among others.

    Synopsis: The documentary which took four years to produce, and which was updated following NATO intervention in Kosovo, investigates how serious errors and misjudgments made by Western powers, particularly… The documentary which took four years to produce, and which was updated following NATO intervention in Kosovo, investigates how serious errors and misjudgments made by Western powers, particularly Germany and the United States helped spark the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and continue to destabilize the region in the new millennium. Produced by Frontier Theatre and Film Inc., Yugoslavia the Avoidable War documents the role of Western intelligence agencies in providing aid to armed separatists and reveals how Western governments supported different sides in an ethnic conflict while portraying themselves as peacemakers. Most compelling are the candid statements of the decision-makers themselves, including former EC Mediator Lord Peter Carrington, former US Secretaries of State James Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger, as well as Germany’s former foreign minister, Hans Dietrich Genscher. “What the international community — the Europeans, the Americans the UN — did, made it sure there was going to be conflict,” states Lord Peter Carrington, the EC mediator, who along with UN envoy Cyrus Vance warned against diplomatic recognition of separatists states such as Croatia and Bosnia, before a political settlement could be achieved. “US intelligence agencies were unanimous in saying that if we recognize Bosnia it will blow up,” says former State Department official George Kenney. Yet, according to former acting US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, domestic political considerations — the 1992 election campaign between William Clinton and George Bush ? led to the tragic decision to recognize Bosnia without a political settlement between the Muslims, Serbs and Croats. The film makes a powerful argument that the US drew the wrong lesson of from the Bosnian conflict to justify intervention in the civil war that simmered in Kosovo. The manipulation of news coverage by the warring sides is explored in compelling footage and in interviews with veteran journalists such as David Binder of the New York Times and John MacArthur, columnist and publisher of Harper’s Magazine, as well as authors Susan Woodward and Ted Galen Carpenter. The documentary offers powerful evidence of US involvement in “Operation Storm” the Croatian army’s violent expulsion of the ethnic Serbian minority in 1995, an action which offered an eerie parallel with the expulsion of Albanian refugees in Kosovo by Serbian forces following NATO intervention on the side of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Compelling, candid interviews from military officers including UN Commanders Sir Michael Rose, Lewis MacKenzie and former Pentagon Chief of Staff General Colin Powell elucidate how Western policymakers blundered by taking sides and by relying on military means to settle political problems. Co-producers of “Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War” are New York based documentary film maker George Bogdanich and Martin Lettmayer a German television producer based in Munich, who is currently working on a documentary in Central America. — © 2001 Frontier Theatre and Film Inc.

  4. There is lots of evidence supporting Trifkovich claims. Also published by the UN investigation team.
    And many documentaries are being made about it, after the emergence of more evidence… here is a link to some 10-12 of them.
    Geolabel Kosovo
    If you scroll down especially “stolen kosovo” and “it began with a lie” are enlightning

    It was especially after it came out that the tribunal in Hague had kept evidence of the massive scale organharvesting of kidnapped serbs, that people started to get curious. The organharvesting and systematic sex-slavery of KLA, together with actions of the completely insane iranian and afghan mujahid supposedly account for atrocities exceeding the ones committed by serbs in evil intent.

    As damagecontrol BBC recently felt the need to report it

    Also Samuel Huntingtons book “Clash of Civilisations”, support the claim of more or less coordinated german-americo-ottoman demonisation of the orthodox serbs.

    In these matters it is always important to remind youself of the fact that the probability of you learning about an atrocity is in no way proportional to the size of the atrocity itself. It is proportional to the ease with which it is uncovered by jounalists and other interested parties.
    It is the lesson of the gulag and the cold war… the worst is not in the morning newspaper.

    It was for instance much more dangerous to infiltrate islamic separatists, than to twist the actions of the serbs who foolishly thought they had nothing to hide and invited and accomodated the western media to present them their prison camps…
    Now compare this to snooping around alone in remote areas to uncover a doctor mengele like prison of male and females in captivity being well fed before their organs are systematically removed… Now which assignment is most appealing to BBCs star.reporter? go figure

    Although imbecile, the openness of the serbs towards the media in the beginning of the conflict tells a lot, I think.

    Sometimes I contemplate wether or not the deciding advantage in mediastrategy by the islamic separatists might be due to the lessons learned in palestine in the 70s and 80s?

  5. GOK, welcome to the free press…

    The problem with a truly free press is that it might publish material that upsets preconcieved notions. This is particular important in the Balkans, where the mainstream media have been systematically biased for decades, distorting our perceptions and opinions about the conflicts there.

    Others have already posted links to some pertinent documentaries on Yugoslavia. I encourage you to watch those. Let me add a couple of important books:

    Evan F. Kohlmann: Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe. It documents how the violent Jihad movement entered Yugoslavia to destabilize the situation and enable radical Islam to set roots, abetted and helped by naïve Western intervention.

    Peter Brock: Media Cleansing about the anti-Serbian propaganda war. The media distortion that hit Yugoslavia and justified our mistakes was, for lack of a better word, puzzling. It’s simply not clear what we in the West would stand to gain from this. OK, the US got Bondsteel, but we Europeans got a massive inflow of prostitutes, guns and drugs that we could do without.

    [Comment continues below…]

  6. The Yugoslavia meltdown is probably the least understood foreign policy failure of the United States. Superficial reporting, deceptive policies (Izetbegovic was a master here) and plain lack of relevant knowledge made us commit pretty much all relevant mistakes in the area. My own government (I’m Danish) contributed willfully, with even the previously pacifist Radikale Venstre endorsing our attack on Serbia.

    ‘Serbia’ didn’t start the meltdown. It was a long process, involving the prehistory of Tito vs. Michaelovic, the Nazi-supported atrocities of the Croat Ustasha regime, as well as the messy Handzar Bosnian ‘army’.

    All of this surfaced after Tito (himself a Croat) died in 1980. Increasing tension led to a breakup, where we simply messed up everything. First, the EU defended the ‘territorial integrity of Yugoslavia’ (essentially following the line of Milošević!), then, without proper preparation, supported immediate independence of various states. Kansler Kohl of Germany, fresh from the German reunion, was particular inept in invoking the memories of the Croat-German WWII coorperation by supporting Croatia unconditionally.

    To get into details (as if I had not done so already :), Slovenia did a nice propaganda stunt by opening a tiny “War of Independence” against the few Serbian recruits in the area. Millitarily, it was an easy win, for the recruits were hardly permitted to have live ammo – but from a propaganda perspective, the impact could hardly be greater. It depict the Serbs as evil rulers to be thrown off by the heroic freedom fighters. Grand propaganda, and very misleading. “The Pictures That Fooled the World” (link above) shows some of the propaganda in play. It’s evil.

    For Croatia, please look up ‘Operation Storm’. The US broke the arms embargo to enable Croatia to perform the only ethnic cleansing that was effectively executed during the war.

    For Kosovo, please look up KLA/UCK, the terrorist organization(s) that destabilized the region by assassination mayors and other public figures.

    There was no genocide committed by the Serbs. Atrocities, yes – genocide no. ‘Genocide’ was a propaganda ploy.

    For Bosnia, please read the Kohlmann book. It documents in detail how the Jihad warriors from Afghanistan engaged in the war with a vengeance, driving it from ‘normal’ war to a brutality usually unknown in Europe.

    The bottom line is that the collapse of Yugoslavia, and the incompetent and destructive interference by the West, is one of the least understood chapters of recent history. We need to understand this in order to counter the challenges of fundamentalist Islam, as well as raw mafia, in the Balkans.

    I suggest you to keep reading GoV. It publishes a lot of material that is not particular flattering, but nonetheless pertinent to get a genuine understanding of matters in the Balkans and elsewhere. Mainstream media simply doesn’t match up.

    If you find Trifkovic to be writing anything inaccurate, please provide documentation to prove him wrong. I know him to be very knowledgeable on these matters – much better than any US government official, for sure. Sure, he has a side – his own nation – but so have others. They are free to prove him wrong, or to provide additional context to the issues.

  7. GOK,

    you say “the Serbs”. But at that time it was a communist gov., sadly a weird result of a polarization during and after the WWII.

    So all of us have to go through tedious details. They are many and closely interwined with various Western or other outside influences. They had the luxury to pursue just their own stupid agendas. We have the task to check all of them.

    The primal instigator from the West was not US, but Germany. Probably immediately after the death of Tito.

    France was just like US rather proSerbian. And along with UK really angry at Germany to go an independent path without any coordination with other “Western powers”.

    I can imagine a scenario where everybody acts as much idiotic and reckless as possible and still the biggest idiots winning in the end.

    The populations on the ground being the least important part of the whole game of course…and everybody claiming…they do it just for the well-being of them and humanitarian blabla.

    We might be able to find the truth only when all those changes become irreversible…

  8. People on this forum know all to well that there is ALWAYS an aggressor in wars. Contrary to leftwing lies, wars dont just start because of “complex and ancient” hatreds. They start because someone starts them. The middle east is a classic in this sense. The liers tells us both sides are to blame and it`s complex and ancient. But we all know that Jews are 0.0% to blame and the Arab’s 100.0% to blame.

    Now ask yourself this: If Yugo-Serbia had the 4th largest army in Europe, and Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia had nothing more than the local police force – do you think they all just decided to kill each other ? And then they all did it in equal amounts ? Even though you had the 4th largest army in Europe on one side, and small arms on the other ?

    To give you an example of the cultural “Taqqiya” that runs through Serb culture, take WW2. As most people are told by Serbs, in WW2 the Serbs fought with the Allies and the Croats with the Nazi’s. But the fact is that Serbia like Croatia split. One hand you had the majority of Serbs who where part of Nedic’s Serbia:

    They were 100% allied with the Nazi’s and their famous “Chetniks” fought along side the Germans and Italians for most of the war. It was only at the very end of WW2 when Germany was on the verge of defeat that Mihailovic took control and swapped sides and joined the allies.

    For most of WW2, Serbs were just as much Nazi’s as Croats. But you wont find a single Serb who wil ever admit this. They will tell you that Serbs were the Partizans, even though the Partizan leader Tito was a Croat, and the Partizans were composed of all groups. The Nazi Serbs even celebrated their extermination of the Jewish population in Serbia with the release of stamps celebrating Serbia to be jewish free :

    Remember that the Allies heavily BOMBED Belgrade in WW2. Not because they were good allies, but because they were stong Axis forces. Otherwise the allies were war criminals in doing this !!!

    So ask yourself this…. why do Croats not deny their role in WW2 as Nazi’s, while you are lied to by almost every single Serb about their role as Nazis ?

    Now translate this to their revision on the 1990s wars, and you might start to understand the mind of a Palestinian….oops, I mean Serb.

  9. GOK, from your usage of “Yugo-Serbia” and your choice of links, I gather you’ve already bought into the Serbophobic propaganda. So I won’t bother to try and change your mind – only to challenge your claim for the sake of others here.

    After the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was conquered in April 1941, Hitler dismembered it. Parts were annexed to the Reich (Slovenia), or given to Italy, Bulgaria (present-day Macedonia), or Albania (Kosovo). Present-day Croatia and Bosnia became the “Independent State of Croatia”, a German client ruled by a fanatical cabal of genocidal murderers known as the “Ustashe” (insurgents). Their targets were Serbs, Jews and Gypsies.

    Present-day central Serbia was occupied by the Germans directly. A collaborationist government was set up in mid-1941 under Gen. Nedic. Mihailovic, a royal officer who refused to surrender, organized a resistance in June 1941. It was brutally suppressed by the Germans, who shot 100 hostages for every dead and 50 for every injured German. Mihailovic’s movement was also multi-ethnic; there were, in fact, Slovene and even Muslim royalists.

    A rival resistance movement, set up by the Communists, relied mainly on Serbs who sought to defend themselves from Ustasha genocide, and operated mostly in present-day Bosnia.

    It was the royalists that enjoyed Allied support until 1943, when the British switched their support to Tito. The bombing of Belgrade and other Serbian cities in 1944 was in the function of helping the Communists; no military targets were hit whatsoever, but many Serbian civilians were killed.

    Croats don’t deny their Nazi past because they are proud of it. Serbs don’t deny their alleged Nazi past because there is nothing to deny.

  10. Correction: Gorin is of Russian extraction. But, counterintuitively, that bolsters her case for Serbia.
    A Russsian Jew, because of the entrenched antisemitism in that country, including in the Orthodox Church, would not automatically side with Serbia as Russian Orthodox do because of the common faith.

  11. To the comments of Grey Falcon, it deserves to be added that a communications officer in Cairo (the name escapes me), who reported to the Allies on the Yugoslav siuation, was a communist and systematically exaggerated the achievements of Tito and downplayed those of Mihailovic.

    That caused the Allies to increase their supplies to Tito, as he was seen as more effective, and in a feedback effect of this, Tito was promoted to a level he didn’t deserve. He was a decent member of the resistance, sure, but he wasn’t the miracle maker he was made out to be, during and after the war.

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