From History: Fasads of Interventions in Yugoslav Secession Wars

February 14, 2018

Term ”humanitarian intervention” came wide distribution during Yugoslav secession wars in mid-90s. Today it is possible to have a critical look at the role that the US, NATO and the EU played in the tragic breakup of a once peaceful and prosperous European state – Yugoslavia. “Humanitarian intervention” was a practical fasade covering the true reasons behind Western intervention in the Balkans. The new perspective on Western involvement in the division of the ethnic groups within Yugoslavia shows that the war was forced from outside — regular people wanted peace – in all cases the biggest beneficiary has been U.S. military-industrial complex.

Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo are good examples how fasades were created with help of U.S. PR-agencies and mainstream western media.

Bosnia, Srebrenica

Srebrenica is an example of (humanitarian)intervention context as well modern media war used more or less successfully in conflicts around the world during last decades. The Aim of PR game played by Bosnian Muslims was to get US to fight aside of them. One part to achieve US involvement was to gain sympathy in West by implementing attacks towards its own citizens.

There is also many arguments about political PR game behind exaggerated death numbers, misrepresentation of early reports and manipulated pictures. Indeed President Izetbegovic according mentioned UNSG Report told in 1993 that he had learned that a NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was possible, but could only occur if the Serbs were to break into Srebrenica, killing at least 5,000 of its people.” So from here are the numbers originating – two years before events in Srebrenica. (Source: UN report The Fall of Srebrenica  )

The myth of 8,000 executed men and boys is busted. It was planed well before to get U.S.involvement with war against Serbs. An essential part of narrative was the death toll of 8,000 and that the victims were civilians. However the figures after decade and half intensive bodycount don’t match. Besides numbers it has came clear that most of the military-age men from Srebrenica assembled in the village of Susnjari and from there under-took a 60 kilometer trek through minefields and Serbian ambushes to Tuzla as they were affraid Serb revenge due their atrocities against Serbs during preceding two years. As for the women, children, and elderly, they were left behind and deposited at the UN compound in Potocari. Quite possibly that was done as a convenient bait to the Serbs to perpetrate the anticipated massacre, but whatever the ultimate motive behind it may have been, on the whole nothing sinister occurred. The 20,000 or so enclave residents dumped in Potocari were put by the Serbs on buses and evacuated safely to Muslim territory.

Also the presence of radical Muslims in Balkans is linked to the advent of mujahedeen foreign fighters who joined Bosnian Muslims in their battle against the Serbs in Bosnia’s 1992-95 independence war. After Dayton Saudi-backed charities were funding the movement as well investments and Wahhabis have been establishing a permanent presence in Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia and even in Bulgaria.

Despite international community’s state building efforts in Bosnia the country is splitting parts. Since war mid-90’s foreign aid has exceed USD 80 bn for artificial creature designed in Dayton agreement aiming multi-ethnic state with EU perspective. As a result Bosnia is now even more divided, with less national identity, 20 percent of population living under the poverty line, with a nightmare triple administration plus international supervising making the country as worst place in Europe to do business west of Ukraine, even as it seeks to join the European Union.
More in Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?  and NIOD Report on Srebrenica )

In Balkans Srebrenica was not only case being part of bigger political came and fabricated manipulation; few years later the same tactic was implemented in Kosovo e.g with the Racak case was similar. After over decade it is still difficult in western media to admit that also Serbs were victims of war crimes – instead from year to year media repeats one sided picture about Serbs created mid 90s when US selected its side. Also the same manipulated approach was later applied in Kosovo.

Croatia’s Krajina

Before the war, 12% of Croatian citizens were of Serbian nationality. Half of them lived in the region called Krajina. Krajina was created by Austrians in 16th century as a military zone to protect the Christian West from the advance of Muslim Ottoman Empire. Serbian peasants that escaped Ottoman rule were given free land there in exchange for their military service. The Republic of Croatia declared its independence on June 25, 1991. By the end of the year, the Yugoslav People’s Army and different Serb forces took control of more than one third of the country, proclaiming their own independent state: Republika Srpska Krajina (RSK) with a capital in Knin.

In January 1993, Croatian forces – between 17,000 and 20,000 troops – launched a surprise attack against the Serb-held Krajina. The Serbs fought back and as part of a ceasefire agreement the area became a so-called “Pink Zone” placed under UNPROFOR protection, and within which the warring factions pledged there would be no fighting. No final agreement was concluded until July 16. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman ordered all United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) units to leave Croatian territory by March 31, 1995. The move, supported by U.S., gave the Croatian Government a green light to start their ethnic cleansing.

In 4th August 1995, 200,000 Croat army and police troops from Croatia attacked the United Nations protected zones (safe havens) with Serbian population in northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun and Banija. They were helped on the Bosnian side by the Bosnian Muslim fighters and had the operation backed, coordinated and logistically supported by the leading Western powers. During this operation, 2,650 Serbs (mainly civilians) were killed and some 250,000 were “ethnically cleansed” from their ancestral homes. In Europe this was the largest refugee crisis since the Holocaust, since World War II and until Kosovo war 1999. These war crimes and cleansing were passed over in silence in western media as Croatia was being advised by a shadowy group of retired American officers who had been sent to Croatia to help it fight against the Serbs. In fact especially western mainstream media actively and carefully ignored and covered up the war crimes that its allies committed in Croatia and later in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Croatia’s Operation Storm in 1995 against Serb-held areas in the Krajina would not have been feasible had not “Srebrenica” prepared the ground for it, morally and psychologically. The Srebrenica narrative and the outrage it produced served as a convenient veil to shield atrocities committed during the Croatian offensive in August of 1995 from substantial public examination or criticism.
(More about issue e.g. in my articles Krajina – Victory with Ethnic Cleansing   and Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom  )

Kosovo, Racak

In Kosovo U.S. with help of western media used the same best practice as earlier in Croatia and Bosnia. The main elements were need of humanitarian intervention, multiplying (with 10-50) civilian deaths and fabricating massacres.

In the village of Racak, Kosovo, 45 Albanian civilians were reportedly massacred by Serbian forces on January 15, 1999. US diplomat William Walker, who at the time was the chief of the OSCE ceasefire verification mission to Kosovo, first reported the event and said it was a “crime against humanity”, and that the victims were civilians. There is a widespread belief, that Walker’s role in Racak was to assist the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) in fabricating a Serb massacre that could be used as an excuse for military action. The theory was that the KLA had gathered their own dead after the battle, removed their uniforms, put them in civilian clothes, and then called in the observers. (More in High pressure to fabricate Racak reports )

William Walker is the man who sold the world the story of the Racak so-called massacre, used to create a climate to justify the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Walker had some earlier experience about clandestine U.S. dirty operations. He was U.S. ambassador to El Salvador in November 1989 when massacres were made by the Atlacatl Battalion/the Salvadoran Army, which was recruited, trained, and deployed by the U.S. military. Before that, he was deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Honduras when U.S. authorities were recruiting officers from Somoza’s deposed National Guard to establish the Contras, and forming military death squads that murdered hundreds of Honduran workers, labor organizers and students.

Walker’s OSCE mission was crawling with CIA operatives and employees of two US paramilitary companies (Dyncorp and MPRI) that had close ties to US military intelligence and to the CIA at least since Bosnian war a half decade earlier . This personnel was there to establish close links with the KLA, to train them, and to prepare the ground in advance of the NATO bombing. Also the CIA had been training the KLA already, since early in 1998, in Albania, where the KLA had its bases. So the decision to bomb had been taken long before. What was needed was an excuse to start, and furnishing that excuse was Walker’s job.

In case of Kosovo U.S. officials claimed that from 100,000 up to 500,000 Albanians had been massacred. When the figure later was near 10.000 from all ethnic groups together the bombings were already over.

In Kosovo since intervention international community has worked with capacity building of Kosovo administration and the outcome I have summarized as follows:
“as Serbian province, occupied and now international protectorate administrated by UN Kosovo mission; as quasi-independent pseudo-state has good change to become next “failed” or “captured” state; today’s Kosovo is already safe-heaven for war criminals, drug traffickers, international money laundry and radical Wahhabists – unfortunately all are also allies of western powers”.

quadruple helix model by Ari Rusila

 

Bottom line

As described earlier Bosnian Muslims, Croatians, Kosovo Albanians and their hired lobbyists made very successful media campaign for their case in western mainstream media and in capitals of West. However the campaigns might not have been so effective unless the politicians were so amenable to campaigner’s views. In my opinion this receptivity is linked to geopolitical changes and interests. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, US big business was focusing on reshaping all of Europe. Nato had lost its enemy and military-industrial complex was afraid to lose its old markets. Nonaligned Yugoslavia was no longer needed in this context. The interest of US Military-industrial complex and Pentagon’s was in creating weak, dependent puppet regimes to Balkans, Black Sea region, Caucasus in order to dominate these regions and their energy sources and transportation routes – economically and politically. Without this political and business interest it would not be so easy for PR-agencies to demonize the Serbs, to hide the reality of Croatian fascism, to canonize the Bosnian Muslims, and to whitewash OC-clans in Kosovo.

My conclusion is that the great powers implement interventions whenever and wherever they see it beneficial for their military, economical and/or political interests with or without UN approval while humanitarian and legal aspects are serving only nothing but a facade.

I would draw following time axis about some core events with this campaign:

 


Croatia’s Nazi Orientation Still Continues

July 25, 2013

A piece of news in BalkanInsight produced a déja vu impression on me. A quote:

A memorial plaque honouring World War II concentration camp victims who died on the Croatian island of Pag has been vandalised again…The attack came just weeks after the plaque was replaced at a commemoration in late June for the victims of the WWII concentration camp complex which included Slana and Metajna on Pag and Jadovno on the nearby Croatian mainland…It was run by the Ustasha authorities who ruled part of the former Yugoslavia during WWII in alliance with Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The plaque was installed by Coordination of Jewish Municipalities, the Jadovno 1941 Association, the League of Anti- Fascist Veterans and the Serb National Council in Croatia.

Croatian Nazi Camp Slano on the island of Pag was established for Serbian men and Metajna for Serbian women and children. According to Italian documents and survivors’ testimonies a very large number of Serbian people have been murdered and thrown into the sea. According to the research conducted so far on the complex of Ustasha camps “Jadovno – Gospić 1941”, which also include the island of Pag, no fewer than 40,123 victims were murdered, 38,010 Serbs, 1999 Jews and the rest were ideological opponents of the Independent State of Croatia.

OK – this is only one demolized memorial, similar hooliganism hapens everywhere? Unfortunatelly however in my opinion alarming is that this last event is not an isolated act. I would compare it to the funeral given to Dinko Sakic on Summer 2008. As Sakic was a head of a WWII Jasenovac concentration camp in Zagreb, this ceremony insulted the memory of those killed in the camp run by Croatia’s Nazi-allied Ustasha regime. The Jasenovac commander and murderer was dressed in an Ustasha uniform, the priest who served at the funeral said that Sakic was a model for all Croats. (More about this in my article “Nazi’s funeral shadows Croatia’s past” ).

Memorial Masses for WWII Croatian Mass Murderer Ante Pavelić – the original Butcher of the Balkans – in Zagreb and Split was one act describing very alarming trend to (over)emphasizing Croatia’s Nazi past. Pavelić as the Fascist Head of state of the Nazi puppet government of the “Independent State of Croatia” (NDH) bears direct responsibility for the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, tens of thousands of Jews, and numerous Roma. The German Nazis and the Italian Fascist regimes created a puppet State run by the local fascist movement, the Ustashe, headed by Pavelic. He died in Franco’s Spain in 1959 having fled Croatia through the Vatican “rat lines” at the end of the war. To say it politely the ceremonies might indicate that residents in Croatia are still more interested in establishing their national identity than in looking towards Europe. Unfortunately from my point of view the question is more serious.

While Ante Pavelic is being officially rehabilitated in Croatia also streets and public buildings are being named after the architects of the Holocaust.. In addition it should be no surprise that for years the best seller in Croatia has been new edition of “Mein Kampf”- faithful reproduction of the original text by that great European leader, benefactor of Croatian nationalism and leader of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler. The other bestsellers have been the anti-Semitic classic, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and memories of Pavelic. Proving the existence of a ready audience for fascist thought in Croatia, Mein Kampf was published and sold in the year of 1999 – in the number more than 600 copies in hardback within days at the remarkable price of 500 kuna (75 dollars each) – roughly equivalent to a week’s average salary there.

Srbosjek (knife) used in Croatia by the Ustaše for the quick slaughter of inmates, notably in the Jasenovac concentration camp

Public monuments honoring Ustashe regime while numerous monuments erected in honour of the Partisans as well those erected in honour of civilian victims of war have been damaged or destroyed throughout the country. A square in the central part of Zagreb had been named the “Square of the victims of fascism” because during World War II, over sixteen thousand people had been deported via the square to concentration camps. In the early 1990s, this square was renamed to “Square of great Croats”. This decision was later reverted.

Croatia has no laws against historical revisionism and holocaust denial, nor does it regard denazification as a major priority. Unlike Germany and Austria, Croatia places no restrictions on the exhibition of Nazi and Ustaše symbols. In 2003, an attempt was made to amend the Croatian penal code by adding articles prohibiting the public display of Nazi symbols, the propagation of Nazi ideology, historical revisionism and holocaust denial, but this attempt was prevented by the Croatian constitutional court.

The late Croatian pro-Ustashe Nazi and Hitler-loving, Holocaust-denying antisemitic president, Franjo Tudjman, wrote in his 1988 Croatian version of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, entitled: “Wastelands of Historical Truth” the following:

Genocidal violence is a natural phenomenon in harmony with the societal and mythologically Divine nature. Genocide is not only permitted it is also recommended, even commanded by the Word of the Almighty, whenever it is useful for the survival or the restoration of the earthly kingdom of the chosen nation, or for the preservation and spreading of its one and only correct faith”.

Also in Croatia, August 4 is celebrated as a Victory Day and state authorities as well private citizens are celebrating the military operation carried out by forces from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to retake Krajina with operation ”Storm”, which might be the biggest ethnic cleansing act during Balkan Wars. Alice Mahon the Labour MP visited former Serb villages in the Krajina in 1999 and said: “I can only conclude that the Croatian government is aiming for an ethnically pure state. The international community is tolerating these openly racist policies.” (More in Krajina – Victory with Ethnic Cleansing  and Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom  )

Serbia and the former Yugoslavia, in an exact reprise of the fascist 1940s, have been systematically attacked and dismembered by Germany and Austria since the 1980s. Germany joined the Vatican in illegally recognising Croatia in 1991 which led to that State effectively declaring war on Yugoslavia and on Serbs in Croatia. In this the Croats had the full support of Germany and the Vatican – whose funds, liberally deployed among American PR firms helped to spread pro-Croatia propaganda. Todayrock concerts with neo-nazi symbols etc are indicating wide popular acceptance to display racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Serbian acts and xenophobia in Croatia. Neo-Nazism has still good cooperation with church and e.g Wiesenthal Center has called for immediate dismissal of Director of Croatian Episcopal Archives who denies holocaust crimes at Jasenovac. (More Jasenovac in Jasenovac – Holocaust promoted by Vatican )

What’s striking in Croatia that Church and far right neo-Nazi political groups have succeeded in engaging large crowds of fairly young people, most of whom were born at least forty years after the end of the Second World War. They come out dressed in uniforms with flags and crests of the quisling state which claimed at least half a million lives in less than five years of it’s existence. (See more e.g at Propagandistmag )

Constituent elements of the Croatian extreme right are an emphasis on the Ustasha movement during the Second World War, the creation of a strong state with an authoritarian character, territorial expansion of Croatia to its ethnic borders, especially vis-à-vis the Serbs, and a messianic mission of the Croatian nation as a bulwark of catholic Christianity.Radicalization of the public sphere is most readily visible among the younger generation, particularly in the context of football hooliganism. (Read more: Vedran OBUCINA| Right-Wing Extremism In Croatia, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung,2012)

This happening in a country now in EU unfortunately something about todays EU itself where far-right views, neo-Nazism and xenophobia have been gaining ground during last decade. One should not forget old war crimes and especially they should not be honoured in the way like now in Croatia.

“The gigantic campaign to brainwash America by our media against the Serbian people is just incredible, with its daily dose of one-sided information and outright lies…What is today’s reality? The murderers of Jews, Serbs and Gypsies are back (in Croatia) from the US, Canada, Argentina where they fled after World War II. The Serbs fought the Nazis, and paid a terrible price for standing at the side of the allies against Hitler. Humanity owes them a debt of gratitude.” And how have the Serbs been repaid? What was their reward for their loyalty? Seventy-eight days of unmerciful US-led NATO bombing and continued vilification by the US media. (John Ranz, Chairman of Survivors of Buchenwald Concentration Camp, USA)

*   *   *

P.S: Btw from 23 Jul 2013 Nazi-hunters are to launch a renewed campaign to track down former death camp guards and others involved in the Holocaust before the last remaining perpetrators of Second World War crimes die. 



Who Gets Justice From ICTY?

April 14, 2013

Finnish leading daily newspaper – Helsingin Sanomat – published today (14/04/2013) an investigative feature story Winners Justice related to recent release of Croatian war criminal Ante Gotovina. Gotovina was responsible about biggest ethnic cleansing during Balkan wars. The article clearly proves the political and biased nature of International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Headline: Bosniacs have got most justice from Hague, Albanians and Serbs least Lines from top to bottom: Croats, Bosniacs, Serbs, Albanians, Other Column 1: Civilian deaths Column 2: Refugees Column 3: ICTY sentencies (years) about crimes against nations on line Column 4: ICTY sentencies against nations on line/days/civilian death Column 5: ICTY sentencies against nations on line/ratio of civilian deaths+50% of refugee amounth Source: Helsingin Sanomat (http://hs.fi)

Bosniacs have got most justice from Hague, Albanians and Serbs least
Lines from top to bottom: Croats, Bosniacs, Serbs, Albanians, Other
Column 1: Civilian deaths, Column 2: Refugees, Column 3: ICTY sentences (years) about crimes against nations on line, Column 4: ICTY sentences against nations on line/days/civilian death
Column 5: ICTY sentences against nations on line/ratio of deaths + 50% of refugee amount
Free translation AR///Source: Helsingin Sanomat

Ante Gotovina was leading sc Operation Storm against Serb populated Krajina region. Krajina had been under UN protection from 1992, however some 10,000 UN peacekeepers could not stop the attack against civilians – three peacekeepers was murdered and over 200,000 Serbs escaped to Serbia. Croatian army looted homes of Serbs and burned most of them (about 17,000) down. Few thousands old or handicapped Serbs could not flee and hundreds of them were found later decapitated, burned or executed. More about operation Storm and ethnic cleansing in Krajina in my articles Krajina – Victory with Ethnic Cleansing and Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom.

The operation “Storm” successfully finalized the ethnic cleansing of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Croat president Franjo Tudjman cynically described the pogrom of Croatia Serbs at the opening of the Military school Ban Josip Jelacic in Zagreb, on December 14 1998: “We have, therefore, resolved the Serbian question! There will no longer be 12 percent of Serbs, nor 9 percent of Yugoslavs, as before. One may find some equivalence between terms of Serbian question and Jewish question and not by coincidence as Mr.Tjudman is a widely acclaimed Holocaust denier and international hero to Neo-Nazis.

Serb populated areas in Croatia/Krajina before the Operation Storm

ICTY started to investigate war crimes and ethnic Krajina’s cleansing immediately 1995. U.S. – who was the main financier of ICTY – tried at daily basis to stop investigations and when they however continued U.S. refused to submit satelite photos and other evidencies in their possession to prosecutor. Despite all this sabotage ICTY anyway had enough evidence against Gotovina; after years of hiding he was arrested on 2005 – maybe because his arrest was one preconditition for Croatia’s EU membership. Gotovina got sentence of 24 years in Hague. However ICTY Appeals Chamber released him on Nov. 2012.

The obvious reason for outcome Ante Gotovina’s trial from my perspective is that operation Storm was implemented by help of U.S. All the procedure manifests that ICTY is a political construction to implement U.S. will, to whitewash actions and war crimes implemented by U.S. and their allies and to demonize Serbs to get justification for U.S. intervention to Balkan wars. The dominating political aspect casts shadows also the earlier court decisions – whether accused were acquit or not as well throws suspicion on ongoing trials in Hague.

P.S:

I have tried to tell the other side of Balkan war story in my previous articles such as


Krajina – Victory with Ethnic Cleansing

August 14, 2010

Thousands of people across several Balkan countries have held services last week to commemorate those who died in Operation Storm 15-years ago. Like normal in Balkans the views what happened are almost opposite to each other. One side is celebrating victory, the other side has remembrance of those who died during the largest refugee crisis since Holocaust before Kosovo. The focal point was Republic of Serbian Krajina, a country or separatist region on the borderline of today’s Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which existence came to an end August 1995.

In Croatia, August 4 is celebrated as a Victory Day and Homeland Thanksgiving Day, as well as Veterans Day. Croatia’s Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor headed a delegation of high-ranking officials at Zagreb central cemetery to mark the military operation carried out by forces from her country and Bosnia and Herzegovina to retake areas of Croatia claimed by ethnic Serbs. She said on Wednesday the operation had been “a victory” over the policies of former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Masses were held at the same time in main churches in Belgrade and Banja Luka for about 2,000 Serbs who were believed to have been killed during the operation, according to Serbian non-governmental organisations. A day earlier, Boris Tadic met in Belgrade with family members of those who went missing during the operation, saying that “the crime must not be forgotten”

Croat member of the Bosnian three-partite Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, sent greetings to his Croatian counterpart, calling the day a day of biggest victory for Croatia, the day when your army in the best possible way showed what does it meant to protect homeland and democracy.

Krajina

Before the war, 12% of Croatian citizens were of Serbian nationality. Half of them lived in the region called Krajina. Krajina was created by Austrians in 16th century as a military zone to protect the Christian West from the advance of Muslim Ottoman Empire. Serbian peasants that escaped Ottoman rule were given free land there in exchange for their military service. After the collapse of both empires Serbs remained living in there throughout both the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the late Yugoslav communist state.


The Republic of Croatia declared its independence on June 25, 1991. By the end of the year, the Yugoslav People’s Army and different Serb forces took control of more than one third of the country, proclaiming their own independent state: Republika Srpska Krajina (RSK) with a capital in Knin.

After the peace agreement brokered by the European Community and the UN, implementation of the so-called Vance Plan started. It envisioned four “protected areas,” with a Serb majority, whose eventual status was planned be resolved through negotiations. In 1992 UN peacekeepers were deployed along the conflict lines surrounding the Krajina. Serbian residents inside Krajina conducted a referendum to declare their independence, printed their own currency, established their own militia (Vojska Krajina) and created a centre of government in the city of Knin. The Croatian military – aided by U.S. and German advisors – continued to build up its forces along the Krajina border.


In January 1993, Croatian forces – between 17,000 and 20,000 troops – launched a surprise attack against the Serb-held Krajina. The Serbs fought back and as part of a ceasefire agreement the area became a so-called “Pink Zone” placed under UNPROFOR protection, and within which the warring factions pledged there would be no fighting. UN Security Council Resolution 802 censured Croatia for the attack and ordered the immediate withdrawal of Croatian troops. At the Geneva Peace Conference on March 2, 1993, the RSK agreed to the Vance-Owen proposal that as the Croatian forces withdrew, only UNPROFOR, would occupy the territory formerly held by the Serbs prior to the Croatian attack. No final agreement was concluded until July 16. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman ordered all United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) units to leave Croatian territory by March 31, 1995. The move, supported by U.S., gave the Croatian Government a green light to start their ethnic cleansing.


On August 2, negotiations took place in Geneva for Krajina to enter a political settlement with Zagreb. The basis for negotiations in Geneva was a modified version of the Z-4 (Zagreb 4 was mini-contact group including U.S., Russia, France, Germany) plan. The plan was meant to allow for the reintegration of the Republic of Serbian Krajina into Croatia by offering wide-ranging autonomy through most of Serbian Krajina. On August 2, Krajina Prime Minister Milan Babic publicly declared his acceptance the Z-4 Plan through negotiations with U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith. Croatia refused to acknowledge the plan’s acceptance by Krajina authorities.


Note (AR):

Later after 1995 events The Republic of Serbian Krajina Government-in-exile (“RSK”), a self proclaimed government in exile for the Republic of Serbian Krajina, called for the re-creation of the RSK on the basis of the 1994 Z-4 plan, which had called for Krajina to have a status of “more than autonomy, less than independence” within Croatia (btw Serbia made same offer to Kosovo Albanians during sc “troika” talks). However this government in exile has only marginal support among mainly nationalist politics in Serbia, Russia and Greece.

Storm

Krajina is the reward for having accepted, under Washington’s pressure, the federation between Croats and Muslims in Bosnia.”( Stipe Mesic, former President of Croatia)


From 1992 Croatia’s government feverishly prepared for war, training its troops on the battlefields of Bosnia and staging quick, limited offensives at the strategic edges of UN-protected areas like the Medak Pocket attack in 1993. On May 1, 1995, Croatian troops tested both their readiness and the UN’s will by staging a strike at an exposed Serb enclave of Western Slavonia. The operation was code-named
Bljesak – “flash,” or perhaps more appropriately, “Blitz” describing better Croatia’s old Nazi sympathies. The clear violation of the armistice went unpunished. The stage was set for Storm (Oluja).


On the 04.of August 1995, Croatian armed forces, with NATO’s approval and support, in the joint forces of Croatian defense council (Hrvatsko Vijece odbrane- HVO) and Bosnian (BiH) Army, launched an attack – Operation Storm (Oluja) in Croatia and part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This aggression was executed despite the facts that this area was under UN protection (Sectors South and North) and that RSK delegates, only one day earlier in Geneva with Croatian delegation, before UN delegates and in Belgrade before USA representative, as a leading NATO member, had accepted proposal of international community. The proposal was that negotiation regarding final political agreement about Krajina status is conducted plans.

During this operation, 2,650 Serbs (mainly civilians) were killed and some 250,000 were “ethnically cleansed” from their ancestral homes. Several thousand have disappeared, and their fate is not known to this day. This was the largest refugee crisis since the Holocaust, since World War II and until Kosovo war 1999. Most of the refugees ended in Serbia, Bosnia and eastern Slavonia. Some of those who remained were murdered, tortured and forcibly expelled by the Croatian Army and police. Of those expelled, just a handful have returned, in many instances their return being greeted with abuse and humiliation. For the vast majority, return to their homes and property is but a dream. (More about issue e.g. in my article Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom” )


Some historical background


Croatian side has claimed that most Serbs leaved voluntary from Krajina during attack. That’s true and some historical background – especially the memories of Jasenovac – can explain this. Upon the occupation of Yugoslavia, the German Nazis and the Italian Fascists formed an “independent” state in Croatia, which was basically a Nazi puppet state. Immediately the fascist Ustashe government set up concentration camps, most notably at Jasenovac – a 3rd biggest extermination camp after Auschwitz and Treblinka. Nazi Croatian Ustashi forces slaughtered 300.000-700.000 Serbs, 30.000-60,000 Jews and 40.000-80,000 Gypsies (the exact amount varies depending from source) 65 years ago. Many Croats fled after the war through the “Vatican “Ratline” for Argentina and Juan Peron issued 34,000 Visas to Croatian war criminals. (more in “Jasenovac – Holocaust promoted by Vatican”)


The Nazi past still alive


Croatia was pro-Nazi during World War II, became independent in 1991 and sympathetic to that historical era in the 1990s – prompting Israel to hold off recognizing it until 1997. Since 2000, Croatia’s governments have denounced fascism. In spite of official public statements one alarming trend is (over)emphasizing Croatia’s Nazi past. From time to time some symptoms of this past are occurring also today e.g. in rock concerts and soccer matches and even with support of government (More e.g. in my article “Nazi’s funeral shadows Croatians past”). This said one must state that naturally there is extremists also in Serbia as well jihadists in Bosnia which makes reintegration quite challenging.

My point of view

As I noted in the beginning viewpoints about near history in western Balkans differ drastically and this aspect has great effect also today’s policy and possibilities to create cooperation tomorrow. For reintegration/reconciliation in my opinion is needed go into issues such as following:

  • Missing persons: NGO VERITAS (Center For Collecting Document And Information) was established in late 1993 by citizens of the then Republic of Serbian Krajina – RSK. On the VERITAS evidences, there are names of 1,934 dead and missing Serbs from this action and later on. Among them are 1,196 civilian people, and half of them are older then 60 years. There are 524 women and 14 children among them. Association families of missing persons from Krajina, has still 2.627 missing persons in their data. Now after 15 years of uncertainty about the fait accompli of missing persons should be clarified.
  • Property rights: The property laws allegedly favor Croatians refugees who took residence in houses that were left unoccupied and unguarded by Serbs after Operation Storm. Amnesty International’s 2005 report considers one of the greatest obstacles to the return of thousands of Croatian Serbs has been the failure of the Croatian authorities to provide adequate housing solutions to Croatian Serbs who were stripped of their occupancy rights, including where possible by reinstating occupancy rights to those who had been affected by their discriminatory termination. There is estimation that the value of Serb property in Croatia is worth 30 billion euros. and that this should be paid to the Serbs who lived in Croatia as a part of war reparations.
  • Returns: According census on 1991 there were 581,663 Serbs out of 4,784,265 People in Croatia (12.16%) and on 2001 201,631 Serbs out of 4,437,460 People in Croatia ( 4.54%); these figures clearly show that refugees from Krajina are returning slowly if at all. As part of the settlement of the status of the expelled Serb people there has been initiatives that Croatia should pay war damage compensation for Serb people if their return is not possible. However war damage compensation for Serb people are probably possible only if Croatia or Bosnia did the same towards Serbia so prospects are not very promising. A housing programme in Serbia with possible international aid could be a realistic alternative for returns.
  • History: In my opinion all sides – Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks as well jihadists, mercenaries and Nato – committed war crimes, ethnic cleansing or massacres during Balkan Wars. Today or maybe never there is no common truth about events. Some regional committee should anyway study this near history and find some common description for explaining it e.g. forwarding it in new schoolbooks so that ethnic tensions could decrease by avoiding most exaggerated tales.
  • Justice: The trial of commanders of the Croatian Army, generals Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak, is underway in the Hague Tribunal, on charges of conspiracy to commit crime, aimed to permanently eliminate the Serbs from that part of Croatia and other war crimes. However, since the “Storm” no Croats have been tried before local courts for the crimes in that operation. I don’t put very much weight to ICTY rulings but however from my point of view the procedure itself brings more facts about events on the table, especially when both the prosecutor and defence have made their case. At best this can make easier to bring justice also to lower level.

Sources of this story e.g:


Operation Storm – follow-up document

September 22, 2008

As follow-up to my previous article “Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom” published on 5th August 2008 I have now added to my document library a document “Croatia: Krajina 1991 genocide” which includes a comprehensive study “Tudjman & the Croatian Ustashe Nazi genocide of Krajina Serbs in 1991 – Part 1 and Part 2 – by Nathan Pearlstein, Joshua Rosenberg, Max Rosenthal and Shlomo Baum”.

Due the reason that part 2 includes extremely brutal photographs I have removed them from this document. If one wants look the full article it can be found through following links:



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Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom

August 5, 2008

Today 13 years has went since the massive ethnic cleansing of more than 250,000 Serbs from Krajina in Croatia. Thirteen years ago, on August 4 1995, 200,000 Croat army and police troops from Croatia and the Croat Defense Council from Bosnia-Herzegovina, under the command of Franjo Tudjman, attacked the United Nations protected zones (safe havens) with Serbian population in northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun and Banija. They were helped on the Bosnian side by the Bosnian Muslim fighters and had the operation backed, coordinated and logistically supported by the leading Western powers.


A day later, on August 5, Croat troops have entered the ethnically cleansed town of Knin which was under the heavy missile barrage earlier where, prior to the “Storm”, more than 90 percent of the population were Serbs.  In a few days, the complete Serbian population from Krajina in Croatia was forced to flee towards Serbia and Republic of Srpska. Columns with over 250,000 expelled Croatia Serbs were under constant assault of Croat artillery and under fire from the fighter jets which followed them on their collective exodus from Croatia.

According to the data of the Documentation-information Center Veritas, in the pogrom by the Croat army close to 2,000 people were killed, while the Croat Helsinki board claims that during the “Operation Storm” 670 Serbian civilians were killed.

After the “Storm” which, according to Croat president, successfully finalized the ethnic cleansing of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, Tudjman cynically described the pogrom of Croatia Serbs at the opening of the Military school Ban Josip Jelacic in Zagreb, on December 14 1998: “We have, therefore, resolved the Serbian question! There will no longer be 12 percent of Serbs, nor 9 percent of Yugoslavs [mostly Serbs who were declaring themselves as “Yugoslavs” during the censuses], as before.

There are many stories about ethnic cleansing in Balkans. The (western) mainstream media has mostly described how Serbs have tried to cleanse their neighbor regions. This one sided picture is regrettable common even today. people are forgetting, that one explanation to brutalities made by Serbs is their response to brutality others made against them. Also one should remember that Serbia has today more refugees than any other country in western Balkans and international community does not have a slightest attempt to help them return back to their original homes.

As source describing Storm background I have used article published in  http://www.byzantinesacredart.com/blog/


Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom

August 5, 2008

Today 13 years has went since the massive ethnic cleansing of more than 250,000 Serbs from Krajina in Croatia. Thirteen years ago, on August 4 1995, 200,000 Croat army and police troops from Croatia and the Croat Defense Council from Bosnia-Herzegovina, under the command of Franjo Tudjman, attacked the United Nations protected zones (safe havens) with Serbian population in northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun and Banija. They were helped on the Bosnian side by the Bosnian Muslim fighters and had the operation backed, coordinated and logistically supported by the leading Western powers.


A day later, on August 5, Croat troops have entered the ethnically cleansed town of Knin which was under the heavy missile barrage earlier where, prior to the “Storm”, more than 90 percent of the population were Serbs.  In a few days, the complete Serbian population from Krajina in Croatia was forced to flee towards Serbia and Republic of Srpska. Columns with over 250,000 expelled Croatia Serbs were under constant assault of Croat artillery and under fire from the fighter jets which followed them on their collective exodus from Croatia.

According to the data of the Documentation-information Center Veritas, in the pogrom by the Croat army close to 2,000 people were killed, while the Croat Helsinki board claims that during the “Operation Storm” 670 Serbian civilians were killed.

After the “Storm” which, according to Croat president, successfully finalized the ethnic cleansing of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, Tudjman cynically described the pogrom of Croatia Serbs at the opening of the Military school Ban Josip Jelacic in Zagreb, on December 14 1998: “We have, therefore, resolved the Serbian question! There will no longer be 12 percent of Serbs, nor 9 percent of Yugoslavs [mostly Serbs who were declaring themselves as “Yugoslavs” during the censuses], as before.

There are many stories about ethnic cleansing in Balkans. The (western) mainstream media has mostly described how Serbs have tried to cleanse their neighbor regions. This one sided picture is regrettable common even today. people are forgetting, that one explanation to brutalities made by Serbs is their response to brutality others made against them. Also one should remember that Serbia has today more refugees than any other country in western Balkans and international community does not have a slightest attempt to help them return back to their original homes.

As source describing Storm background I have used article published in  http://www.byzantinesacredart.com/blog/


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