Thursday, March 31, 2005

A Self-Hating Genocidal Maniac?

I will finish Part Three of 'Bosnia's Highway to Hell', which will look at the Bosnian Croats, some time over the next week or so. Right now though, I'll just take a quick look at what exactly Milosevic has been accused of regarding Bosnia. The Indictment against Slobodan Milosevic, former President of Serbia and Yugoslavia, regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina, says the following:

“Slobodan Milosevic participated in the joint criminal enterprise as set out below. The purpose of this joint criminal enterprise was the forcible and permanent removal of the majority of non-Serbs, principally Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, from large areas of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina through the commission of crimes which are in violation of Articles 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal. The joint criminal enterprise was in existence from the 1st of August, 1991 and continued until at least 31 December 1995. The individuals participating in the joint criminal enterprise included Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik, Biljana Plavsic, General Ratko Mladic, Borislav Jovic, Branko Kostic, Veljko Kadijevic, Blagoje Adzic, Milan Martic, Jovica Stanisic, Franko Simatovic, also known as "Frenki," Radovan Stojicic, also known as "Badza," Vojislav Seselj, Zeljko Raznatovic, also known as "Arkan," and other known and unknown participants.”

So Milosevic, with all these other people presuambly as his willing associates and collaborators, organised the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and Croats. As can be seen, they’ve accused some of the most important and high-ranking figures of the time of being in on this conspiracy - Bosnian Serb leaders, Serbian members of the Yugoslav Presidency, Yugoslav People’s Army Generals, Serbian State Security Service officials, and so on. Out of all of these major figures, one really catches my eye - Franko Simatovic. Franko Simatovic was head of the Intelligence Administration of the State Security Service of Serbia, and is alleged to have helped form the “parallel structure” in the Krajina (the Serb-inhabited area in Croatia) that controlled the Krajina Serbs, incited them to revolt, armed them, and so on. Take a quick glance at the testimony of Milan Babic and you’ll hear all about the conspiratorial antics of Mr. Simatovic - according to the indictment and the Hague prosecution, he plotted to create an ethnically pure ‘Greater Serbia’, and to cleanse all Croats from the Krajina. Franko Simatovic, according to the indictment and the Hague prosecution, helped organise a genocide against the Croatian population of the Krajina. There’s just one problem with this theory.

Franko Simatovic is a Croat.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Bosnia's Highway to Hell - Part Two

Below is Part Two of "Bosnia's Highway to Hell". It looks at the attempts that were made to avert civil war in Bosnia and solve the crisis peacefully, attempts which were torpedoed everytime by Izetbegovic, leader of the Bosnian Muslims. Part Three, which will look at the disingenous position of the Bosnian Croats, will follow shortly.

Bosnia's Highway to Hell: Part Two

The cause of the civil war in Bosnia was the fact that all three nations - Muslim, Serb and Croat - had different, contrary views on the organisation and status of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Muslims above all wanted a unitary Bosnian state in its then borders, the Serbs wished to remain in Yugoslavia, and the Croats wanted to leave Yugoslavia and perhaps unite with Croatia (see Part Three, shortly to come, for an explanation of the Croat position). Clearly the only way to resolve these fundamental differences was through a process of negotiation, but, instead of this, Izetbegovic torpedoed attempts to resolve the crisis peacefully and instead unilaterally and illegally launched into secession.

One attempt to solve the status of Bosnia was the Serb-Muslim ‘historic agreement’, made public in August 1991. This agreement, between the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) and the Muslim Bosniak Organisation, exchanged the maintenance of Bosnia in Yugoslavia (the Serbs’ wish) for the preservation of its territorial integrity (the Muslims’ wish). This agreement has often been attacked on the basis that the Muslim Bosniak Organisation, led by Zukfikarpasic, was very small, receiving hardly any votes in the November 1990 elections, but this criticism is not entirely valid. Zulfikarpasic was no minor figure, and was an important Bosnian Muslim exile leader and bankroller of the Party of Democratic Action (the main Muslim party), until he split with it shortly before the election, claiming it was too Islamist.

The Serb-Muslim ‘historic agreement’ was a part of the Belgrade initiative for preserving Yugoslavia, which had been launched on August 12 1991, and it seemed at first that Izetbegovic might support it, until he rejected it a few days after its announcement. Rumours also abound that Izetbegovic or Fikret Abdic, the most popular Muslim leader, may initially have supported it, but Izetbegovic and the SDA resoundingly rejected it.

The SDA justified their rejection by claiming that the agreement would mean Bosnia being in a Yugoslavia in which “the Serbs would be number one, and the Muslims number two”. This is often reported and accepted at face value when the Belgrade Initiative is ever mentioned in Western publications, but there is no real truth to it. In terms of population percentages, the Muslims would of course have been a minority compared with the Serbs, but this is largely irrelevant, as all the federalist proposals on organising Yugoslavia (from Milosevic and Serbia primarily) included a second federal chamber in which the republics would have had equal representation, regardless of population percentages, and in which consensus would have been required. Bosnia would thus have had veto power, and so could not have been dominated.

In fact, the Belgrade initiative committed its organisers to preserving Yugoslavia on the basis of, amongst other things, “the Izetbegovic-Gligorov Platform”. This was an initiative on preserving Yugoslavia launched by Izetbegovic in May-June 1991 jointly with Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov, according to which Serbia and Montenegro would be a federal core, Bosnia and Macedonia would have some more autonomy but remain in federal Yugoslavia, and Slovenia and Croatia would have effective independence. Far from being some kind of “Serboslavia”, then, the Belgrade initiative was actually a repetition of a proposal Izetbegovic himself had earlier made.

Furthermore, at this point Macedonia was yet to hold a referendum on independence, and was still led by former communist Kiro Gligorov, who had favoured the maintenance of some form of Yugoslavia, and it was entirely possible that Macedonia might have joined the Belgrade initiative, as it was invited to do so. Had it done so, this would have meant that in the new Yugoslavia the Serb states (Serbia and Montenegro) would not even have had a majority. And, to top it all off, the Belgrade Initiative said that the position of President of Yugoslavia would rotate between the republics in alphabetical order, meaning that had he accepted it, Izetbegovic would in fact have been President of Yugoslavia. Would any “Serboslavia”, or state in which “the Serbs [were] number one, and the Muslims number two”, have had Izetbegovic as its President? I don’t think so.

There was thus no real legitimate reason for Izetbegovic to reject the Belgrade Initiative, and it is likely that the majority of Muslims would have accepted it, given their strong attachment to Yugoslavia - opinion polls of Bosnians in May and June 1990, and again in November 1991, all showed overwhelming majorities (in a range of 70 to 90 percent) in favour of the preservation of Yugoslavia. The only problem with the Belgrade Initiative was, of course, that the Bosnian Croats wanted above all to leave Yugoslavia, especially now that Croatia had left. The Belgrade Initiative stated that “whatever the situation of the Republic of Croatia, inside or outside Yugoslavia, the Croats of Bosnia-Herzegovina constitute a nation with equal rights”, and were called to join the agreement. Whether an arrangement satisfactory to the Bosnian Croats could have been worked out is an open question, but a question that would probably have been much easier to solve than the organisation of an independent Bosnia.

The next attempt to prevent conflict was on January 25 1992, when the Bosnian assembly, in which the Serb deputies were still participating, debated the holding of a referendum on independence (this had already been discussed in Part One, but is being repeated so you don’t have to refer back to it).

The debate centred on whether an agreement on regional structures among the three national groups in Bosnia should precede or follow the referendum. In this and all other future negotiations, the Bosnian Serbs were prepared to give up their wish to remain in Yugoslavia for a cantonal organisation of independent Bosnia. If Bosnia were split into numerous different cantons, each essentially assigned to one of the three national groups, then the equal political power of the three nations would be assured, regardless of the overall percentages of the population. The Serbs were thus prepared to accept living in an independent Bosnia in such an arrangement, as it would ensure they would not be an out-voted minority.

Hasan Cengic, SDA vice president, agreed with Karadzic that a proposal for regionalisation should be worked out before the referendum - “Never were we closer to an agreement as at this time”, Karadzic said to the applause of delegates. Karadzic then suggested that the commitment to regionalisation be incorporated into a constitutional amendment before the referendum was held, but before the agreement could be clinched, Izetbegovic shot it down. The Serb delegates then withdrew from the assembly in response, followed by the Muslim and Croat deputies adopting the decision to hold a referendum.

Izetbegovic thus shot down an agreement that would have prevented the Bosnian civil war - according to which the Bosnian Serbs would have accepted living in an independent, regionalised Bosnian state - and instead pushed Bosnia further on the highway to hell by adopting yet another illegal and unilateral decision.

The last major attempt to prevent civil war from breaking out in Bosnia-Herzegovina was the Cutilero plan of February-March 1992. Negotiated by EC representative Jose Cutilero of Portugal, this plan, agreed to by all three national groups on March 18, created a set of ‘constitutional principles’ as a basis for future discussion. The plan envisioned the cantonisation of Bosnia, and a Bosnia of three recognised and equal constituent nations. The Serbs, accepting it, once more showed their willingness to compromise by giving up their fundamental desire to remain in Yugoslavia. The Serb cantons of the Cutilero plan were also not all connected in one unit, meaning that the Serbs could not simply disingenuously accept it and then secede to form their own, independent state, or re-unite with Yugoslavia. Given that both the Serbs and Croats - who together formed half the population of Bosnia - favoured a cantonal arrangement for Bosnia, the only way for Izetbegovic to fulfil his goal of an independent Bosnia was to accept this.


Within a week, however, Izetbegovic reneged, and withdrew from the agreement. He was followed shortly after by Croat leader Mate Boban, who saw an opportunity to get more territory for the Croat cantons in a new round of negotiations, being unhappy at the number of Croats in central Bosnia who would be outside Croat-dominated cantons. In the end, the Cutilero plan closely resembled future peace proposals and the eventual Dayton Peace accords, even more fairly, in fact, as it accurately represented the ethnic makeup of Bosnia. And, in the opinion of anti-Serb ex-State Department official Louis Sell, author of "Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia", the Cutilero plan would have established “a more effective centralised government and probably resulted in less of an ethnically divided state than the accord agreed to at Dayton”. Had Izetbegovic not reneged, then, there would have no civil war and mutual ethnic cleansing, and a more united Bosnia than he eventually achieved anyway.

As we have seen, on three separate occasions Izetbegovic torpedoed attempts to reach a peaceful agreement on Bosnia’s status and organisation, and thus prevent civil war. The Bosnian Serbs were prepared to make serious compromises in order to preserve the peace and prevent civil war, but Izetbegovic stubbornly held to his ultimate goal, a unitary and independent Bosnia, despite the fact that the opposition of both Serbs and Croats would mean that he would never be able to achieve this peacefully. Ultimately, had Izetbegovic not torpedoed these plans, the result would have been a Bosnia more united and less ethnically divided than that established at Dayton in 1995, and, even more importantly, no civil war would have occurred.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Bosnia's Highway to Hell - Part One

Here is Part One of "Bosnia's Highway to Hell". According to the official Western narrative, the civil war in Bosnia was the result of 'Serbian aggression' to create an ethnically pure 'Greater Serbia'. This article explains the real cause of the civil war in Bosnia - unilateral and illegal acts by the secessionist Muslim-Croat alliance, and their violations of the national rights of the Bosnian Serbs.

Bosnia's Highway to Hell - Part One

Alija Izetbegovic, leader of the Bosnian Muslim ‘Party of Democratic Action’ (SDA), announced to the Bosnian parliament in February 1991 that “I would sacrifice peace for a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina, but for that peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina I would not sacrifice sovereignty”, and sacrifice peace for a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina was precisely what he did. On October 15 1991 Muslim and Croat deputies in the Bosnian assembly illegally passed a declaration on the sovereignty and independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, despite the adamant opposition of the Serbs. Momcilo Krajisnik, the Bosnian parliamentary speaker at the time and a Serb, had attempted to prevent this unilateral declaration from being passed by bringing the session to a close, which he legally could. After he did so, however, the assembly was illegally reconvened by the Croat deputy speaker, and the Muslim and Croat deputies, who together formed a majority (forming 44% and 17% of the population respectively), rejecting both the Belgrade initiative (see later) and a compromise proposed by non-national parties, passed the declaration.

The Bosnian constitution stipulated that two of the national groups could not simply outvote the third like this, consensus being required for important decisions, making it completely illegal and illegitimate. The Bosnian assembly also did not have the legal power to declare sovereignty (although the Yugoslav Constitutional Court was no longer functioning at this point and hence did not rule on this case, it had judged all other declarations of sovereignty, from Slovenia’s to Macedonia’s, to be illegal and unconstitutional).

It was unilateral secessionist acts like this, that violated the national rights of the Bosnian Serbs, which led to the Bosnian Serbs exercising their own right to self-determination, and ultimately caused the civil war in Bosnia. The illegal secessionist moves put Bosnia, just as Serb leader Radovan Karadzic warned at the time of declaration, on “the same highway to hell and suffering that Slovenia and Croatia [were] travelling”.

In February and March 1991 Izetbegovic had unsuccessfully attempted to pass a similar declaration on sovereignty (unsuccessfully because the Croats, too, opposed it at that time), and throughout 1991 Serb municipalities had formed regional associations. In August, Izetbegovic rejected the Serb-Muslim ‘historic agreement’ whereby Bosnia would remain in Yugoslavia (see later), and announced a referendum on the future of Bosnia within Yugoslavia, and the following month Serb associations began to unite into autonomous regional bodies. The seeds were already being sewn, and the October 15 declaration hugely accelerated this path to disintegration and conflict.

Rightly declaring the Muslim-Croat alliance an anti-constitutional act that violated the parity principle of consensus of the three-nation, power-sharing coalition, the Serbian parties - the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), their smaller rival, the Serbian Movement for Renewal (SPO), and a few other minor groupings such as the Reformist Party - walked out of the assembly at the time of the vote on the declaration. A few days later they formed their own ‘Assembly of the Serbian People of Bosnia-Herzegovina' to represent the Bosnian Serbs - continuing to serve in the Bosnian assembly, too, though - and announced a plebiscite, for November 9-10, on remaining in Yugoslavia.

The Muslim-Croat alliance in the Bosnian assembly, meanwhile, continued on the path it set out on, creating a new coat of arms and flag for Bosnia, and, on October 27, informing the federal parliament that Bosnia was a sovereign state. The Serb plebiscite, on the other hand, showed an overwhelming majority - 98% of 85% of Serb voters - in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia, and on November 21 the Serb Assembly proclaimed as integral parts of Yugoslavia all areas in which pro-Yugoslav Serbs were in the majority. The two sides headed off on their different paths - the Muslim-Croat alliance to secession, and the Serbs to forming their own state, which would remain in Yugoslavia, in response - paths which would soon collide. The Bosnian Presidency, despite the absence of the SDS and the opposition of the two Serb presidency members (Biljana Plavsic and Nikola Koljevic), requested recognition from the EC on December 20, a request which the SDS responded to by declaring their intention to create a Serbian republic within Bosnia. This, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina -which they said would be a federal unit of Yugoslavia - was then declared on January 9 1992. It was said to be the result of “illegitimate and illegal decisions of the Muslim-Croatian coalition”, and a response to Muslim-Croatian demands for international recognition of an independent Bosnia-Herzegovina. Karadzic emphasised at the time that they would only begin to build the institutions of the republic if “the Croats or Muslims try to separate from Yugoslavia or if they are recognised” - it was a defensive measure.

Izetbegovic had already announced his intention to hold a referendum on independence, and, with the EC now asking him to hold a referendum if he wanted recognition, on January 25 1992 the Bosnian assembly, in which the Serb deputies were still participating, debated the holding of such a referendum. The debate centred on whether an agreement on regional structures among the three national groups in Bosnia should precede or follow the referendum. In this and all other future negotiations, the Bosnian Serbs were prepared to give up their wish to remain in Yugoslavia for a cantonal organisation of independent Bosnia. If Bosnia were split into numerous different cantons, each essentially assigned to one of the three national groups, then the equal political power of the three nations would be assured, regardless of the overall percentages of the population. The Serbs were thus prepared to accept living in an independent Bosnia in such an arrangement, as it would ensure they would not be an out-voted minority.

Hasan Cengic, SDA vice president, agreed with Karadzic that a proposal for regionalisation should be worked out before the referendum - “Never were we closer to an agreement as at this time”, Karadzic said to the applause of delegates. Karadzic then suggested that the commitment to regionalisation be incorporated into a constitutional amendment before the referendum was held, but before the agreement could be clinched, Izetbegovic shot it down. The Serb delegates then withdrew from the assembly in response, followed by the Muslim and Croat deputies adopting the decision to hold a referendum.

Izetbegovic thus shot down an agreement that would have prevented the Bosnian civil war - according to which the Bosnian Serbs would have accepted living in an independent, regionalised Bosnian state - and instead pushed Bosnia further on the highway to hell by adopting yet another illegal and unilateral decision.

The other issue about the referendum was whether it would be one of citizens or nations. Karadzic proposed that the referendum be one of nations, which, as consensus of the three nations was required, obviously made sense. Izetbegovic, however, was insistent that it be a referendum of citizens, which would mean that the Muslim-Croat alliance could simply outvote the Serbs. The SDA proposed a ‘compromise’ - a referendum of both citizens and nations - which Karadzic refused, as a referendum of citizens was irrelevant, it being the views of the three nations which mattered, but would be used by the secessionists to legitimise their secession against the wishes of the Serbs. Eventually Izetbegovic got his way, and the referendum, held on February 29 - March 1, was one of citizens alone.

The Serbs overwhelmingly boycotted the referendum, which 63.4% of Bosnians voted in, 99.7% of whom voted for independence. The referendum did not achieve a two-thirds majority in favour of independence, and, although this was not strictly necessary as it was not a legislative referendum, it is indicative of on what thin ice the secessionists were on. More importantly, there was not consensus between the three nations, as the Serbs overwhelmingly boycotted it. Despite this, on March 3 Izetbegovic declared Bosnia an independent state.

The EC Badinter commission had said that a vote on independence would only be valid if respectable numbers from all three communities approved, but, despite this, and the fact that the Bosnian government did not have authority over Serb-inhabited territory which it claimed as part of its state, on April 6 the EC recognised Bosnian independence. The EC even ignored the fact that Izetbegovic was, at this point, not the legal president of Bosnia - the Bosnian Presidency was supposed to revolve on an annual basis, meaning a Croat or Serb should have been president then.

Civil war then began. On April 4 the Bosnian Presidency ordered the general mobilisation of territorial defence forces (which Serb municipalities ignored), prompting the resignation of the two Serb members of the Bosnian Presidency. The independence of the Republic of Serbia of Bosnia-Herzegovina was subsequently declared, and on April 8 the remaining members of the Bosnian Presidency declared a state of war-danger.

As can clearly be seen, it was the unilateral, illegal, and unconstitutional acts of the Muslim-Croat coalition - the declaration of sovereignty and the referendum on independence - that set Bosnia on the path of civil war - the “highway to hell”.

In Part Two, I shall look at the attempts to avoid civil war that Izetbegovic torpedoed - the Belgrade initiative/Serb-Muslim ‘historic agreement’, and the February-March 1992 Cutilero plan - and, in Part Three, the disingenuous position of the Bosnian Croats. Part Two will hopefully be written over the next few days.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Welcome - article shortly to come

I've just set up this blog, the aim of which is to tell the truth about how Yugoslavia broke up, and the wars that followed. In the West Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, and the Serbs in general, are blamed for Yugoslavia's break-up, which was allegedly caused by their desire for a 'Greater Serbia'. I hope to show the falsehood of this, and explain what really happened.

I also hope to show the contradictions in this official Western narrative. I will give one glaring example that stands out. The 1988 'Yoghurt Revolution' in Vojvodina, then an autonomous province of Serbia, was, according to the Western narrative, organised by Milosevic and his minions and nationalist in nature - but Mihalj Kertes, the trade union leader that sparked the revolution, was an ethnic Hungarian! Kertes even used to point this fact out when arguing that nobody had any reason to fear Milosevic. He subsequently became a leader of Vojvodina, and then the Interior Minister of the Republic of Serbia. And, as Serbia's Interior Minister, Kertes - a Hungarian - has been fingered out and accused of organising ethnic cleansing to create an ethnically pure Serbian state in Croatia and even Vojvodina!

Now is it just me, or is this clearly a load of contradictory nonsense? Why on earth would a Hungarian want to create an ethnically pure Greater Serbia? Using Western sources, I hope to point out cases like that where the official narrative clearly makes no sense.

In my experience there are not many sites on the internet that are really attempting to point out the flaws, contradictions and lies in the official Western narrative. Those that are seem to me to be extremely ideological in nature - for example, Serbian nationalist, or far left or hard right - and hence not entirely unbiased.

My postings here will hopefully be as unbiased and neutral as possible - I aim to get to the truth, not spread propaganda or nationalist pseudo-history. To emphasise this point, I would like to point out that the sources I will be using most will be reliable Western history and current affairs books, which often let slip significant facts.

My first proper post will be on the secession of Bosnia from Yugoslavia, and I intend to post it shortly. It will show, amongst other things, that:

1) Bosnia's secession was completely illegal, and violated the national rights of the Bosnian Serbs

2) The Bosnian Serbs' responses were justified and understandable

3) The Bosnian civil war could have been avoided, and very nearly was on a number of occassions, but Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic torpedoed these attempts to resolve the crisis peacefully

4) The Bosnian Muslims and Croats were voting 'yes' to completely different concepts in the referendum on independence, so it was not even a case of the majority being in favour of one thing and the minority (the Serbs) being in favour of something else - all three nations held different and contrary views

I will hopefully finish it either today or tommorrow.