A weekly information sheet, produced, published, and distributed in its entirety by Dubravko Kakarigi, P.O.Box 1742, Tallahassee, Florida 32302, tel. 904/877-0620, with lots of help and support by Mr. Jim Peterson, especially as an amanuensis. Thank you Jim.
|July 4, 1992||Number 4|
n the last issue I started discussing the question: “What's happening in Yugoslavia.” It was suggested that there were at least three different theories of what had caused the Yugoslav tragedy: the Greater Serbia theses, the centuries-old grievances idea, and the Fascist Croatia syndrome — the first espoused by the Croats, the second by most of the western media, and the last by the Serbian side. It was also proposed that all of them have some truth and some flaws in them. This is what I will be discussing in the issues to come.
However, before proceeding with that, it is necessary to have a brief overview of what has transpired in the last two years in Yugoslavia.
On April 22, 1990, Croatia had its first multi-party election after the W.W.II. The Croatian Democratic Union won and its leader Dr. Franjo Tudman was elected president of Croatia.
In August 1990, the Serbs in the Dalmatian hinterland erected barricades on the highways and railroads interrupting all aspects of regular life in the region. They started harassing Croatian police posts. That was the beginning of their open rebellion against Croatia's legitimate authorities.
On May 19, 1991 the citizens of Croatia voted in an open referendum and decided for independence.
On June 25, 1991 two (out of six) Yugoslav Republics, Croatia and Slovenia, declared independence, a right which was constitutionally guaranteed. Federal Yugoslav government reacted by using force, attempting to prevent first Slovenia and then Croatia to do what all independent states do — have full administrative, economic, and political control over their territories. In Slovenia, the pretense was to “retain control over Yugoslav borders”, in Croatia it was to “protect the endangered Serbian minority.” In two days, over 60 people died in Slovenia.
A few days later the Yugoslav Army (Y.A.) started bringing reinforcements from Serbia. However, those reinforcements were not the regular troops but rather Serbian reservists from Serbia.
The Y.A. undertook a complete transformation into the Serbian Army. Some claim that before the split between 70 and 80% of the Y.A. officer corps was of Serbian nationality. After that point, most of the unlisted were also Serbs. That was the start of the war of the Serbian Army against the rest of Yugoslavia of the past.
The war in Slovenia was over in a week or so. However, the war in Croatia, which is still a reality in spite of the cease-fire of January 3, 1992, flared in full force.
In a blitz-krieg style, Serbian insurgents under the protection of the Serbian Army occupied large portions of Croatia, started the program of “ethnic cleansing” in those areas (which still goes on), and commenced heavy attacks on bordering regions. Ilok and Vukovar fell in November after a long agony televised live around the world. Osijek was under the heaviest bombardment any city remembers since W.W.II. People lived in basements. Masses of refugees started to pour out of Croatia.
Dubrovnik was first attacked on October 2, fully surrounded—water, electricity, and other supplies cut off—and then heavily bombarded on December 6. The three month Serbian and Montenegrin siege, pillage, and terror resulted in international outrage. The world saw a beautiful historic city go up in flames and its people scattered everywhere. I spoke with my mother, who lives in Dubrovnik, this morning (7/4/92) and could still hear the bombardment over the phone.
Then, in March 1992, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H) decided that they wanted full independence. All three republics, Slovenia, Croatia, and B-H, had been previously recognized by the European Community and many other countries around the world.
The result of the war in the three republics so far is over 15,000 dead, several tens of thousands of wounded, 2,000,000 displaced persons and the unknown destruction to the physical assets of the three republics.
You have witnessed the most recent odyssey of the people of Sarajevo where over 300,000 residents have been exposed to untold miseries. In the two months of the siege, on average 10-15 people were killed, and 30-40 people were wounded daily in Sarajevo. Food ran out, people ate grass. And all that in the middle of civilized Europe and in the city that hosted 1984 Winter Olympics!?
Both the aggressors and the defenders have their own theories of what went wrong which is what I will discuss in the next issue.
n interesting commentary appeared in “Vreme”, a Belgrade News Summary Agency report on June 29:
Serbians are loosing the war in B-H:
If the present situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina continues, a foreign military intervention may turn out to be superfluous. General Stevanovic, Air Force Commander-in-Chief, was right a month ago when he warned of the bad shape the remaining Y.A. in B&H was in: resigned, feeling abandoned and betrayed, lacking a high quality commanding staff, lacking discipline, frustrated due to constant failure of wrongly conceived plans, feeling the destructive influence of an extremist ideology and a loss of political authority in general - which turned the potentially mighty Armed Forces of the "Serbian Republic of B&H" into a "paper tiger". The strategy devised by Karadzic's cabinet and his mentors was anachronistic from the start: it is questionable whether it would have brought results a hundred and fifty years ago. Their obsession with the nation and territories - just another mental disease - has led them to total moral bankruptcy; from that position military victory is impossible. The tactically unnecessary destruction of Sarajevo and Mostar, the bloody ethnic purging of eastern Bosnia, war crimes and the policy of resettling the population have turned against them: their enemy's morale has strengthened because it had no other choice left; morale on the Serbian side has been undermined to a critical level.
Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslims and Croats have just one option: to fight to the last man and the last bullet: the savage ideology of Karadzic's forces and their Chetnik image from bad domestic war movies waived any thought of surrender. The current offensive of the Croatian Defense Council (HVO) and the B&H Territorial Defense (TD) are a logical consequence of a war based on erroneous political hypotheses. Officials of the Serbian Autonomous Region (SAO) of Herzegovina's TD are complaining that everything went wrong after the Army left. More and more Croatian forces have been arriving from Dalmatia in the past ten days, and these troops are said to be disciplined and well equipped. News came from Germany on fresh arms shipments to Croatia. According to our correspondents, the HVO is planning to advance to the Montenegrin border, but not further than that; to unblock Dubrovnik and perhaps launch a great battle for the Prevlaka isthmus (between Montenegro and Croatia), but that is not certain; after the pacification of Eastern Herzegovina, they are planning to advance to Kupres in order to cut the connections between the Kninska and Bosanska Krajinas and isolate Knin, which they are already shelling - for the first time. The HVO and TD of the B&H forces left Mostar, heading down the Neretva river valley in the direction of Konjic; they took Bradina and Ivan-Sedlo and descended into the Zujevina Valley, through which the road leads straight to Sarajevo. If in Hadzic they meet the forces advancing from Zenica and Visoko, Karadzic's siege of Sarajevo is over. The way to eastern Bosnia would be open from that direction as well, which would make operative the strategy of breaking the strongholds of the Serbian Armed Forces in B&H, destroying communication between them and creating small isolated "islands", which seems to be the idea precisely.
Saturday, 6/27 — French President Francois Mitterrand arrived in the Croatian city of Split at 9:25 this evening on his way to Sarajevo. (Croatian Radio)
In Sarajevo — 9 killed, 59 wounded — 15/150 in B-H.
Croatian cities attacked: Dubrovnik, Sl. Brod, Sl. Samac, Babina Greda.
Sunday, 6/28 — Sarajevo celebrates. President Mitterrand is amongst them. B-H President, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, says: “Sarajevo is but the most visible symbol of Bosnian sufferings, many other cities are in a worse situation.” The world is now really interested. Thank you, friend Mitterrand.
In Sarajevo, 3 people were killed after Mitterrand left.
In Croatia: Dubrovnik, Babina Greda, Sl. Kobas, Zupanja, Skradin; in B-H: Modrica, Gradacac, Derventa, Tuzla, Bihac-Cazin road, Bosanska Krupa, Prijedor, Stolac; all report fighting.
Monday, 6/29 — Airport finally under control of UNPROFOR. The first French plane arrives in Sarajevo with technical equipment. In New York, the UN Security Council ordered 1,000 Canadian troops into Sarajevo to secure the airport.
In Washington, DC. President Bush now declares that US would engage military personnel in case they are needed.
Dubrovnik — Day 29 of general alert, no electricity, only sporadic water availability. In the afternoon several hundred mortars, rockets, and tank grenades fell on the city and surrounding areas. Four people died, 14 wounded (7 seriously).
Tuesday, 6/30 — Four more relief planes arrive to Sarajevo. Three UNPROFOR soldiers wounded, distribution of relief supplies temporarily suspended due to fighting in Sarajevo. (CNN)
Six US ships with over 2,000 marines have been moved to off the coast of Croatia ready to act—Operation Provide Promise. (CNN)
Bombardment of Dubrovnik continues.
Wednesday, 7/01 — The Canadian Convoy from Daruvar, CR stopped at the Serbian checkpoints near Travnik, B-H. Two killed, eight wounded in Dobrinja.
Dubrovnik attacked again.
Thursday, 7/02 — Canadian convoy arrives to Sarajevo. Serbs continue attacking. 6th fleet ships withdraw.
Friday, 7/03 — Lord Carrington, the European Community peace envoy to Yugoslavia, spends 5 hours in Sarajevo today talking with B-H and Serbian officials. Mr. Izetbegovic, B-H President demands 7-day cease-fire before negotiating with the Serbs who are not accommodating. Lord Carrington leaves, saying that no progress had been made.
Serb shelling of Sarajevo continues.
On a Brighter Note
Mira (my friend in Dobrinja) reports on Friday that she got the first relief package of food today. Thank you, good people.