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The International Community and the FRY/Belligerents III
by Matjaz Klemencic

The Scholars’ Initiative: Confronting the Yugoslav Controversies 2001-2005

Matjaž Klemencic: Team Leader, Dušan Janjic: Team Leader, Vlado Anzinovic, Keith Doubt, Emil Kerenji, Alfred Bing, John Fine, Vladimir Klemencic, Sumantra Bose, Zlatko Hažidedic, Miloš Kovic, Steven Burg, Marko Attila Hoare, Vladimir Petrovic, Daniele Convers,i Constantin Iordachi, Nikola Samardžic, Dušan Djordjevich, A. Ross Johnson, Brendan Simms

(Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IIII)

International reaction to the recognition of Slovenia and Croatia

There were differing reactions to EC recognition of Slovenia and Croatia. The Russians were very skeptical, due to their own situation. Like the United States, Russia failed to play a positive role. The USSR and, after 1991 the Russian Federation, focused on its own internal transformation, was mostly absent from the Balkans during this period. A former Russian diplomat specializing in the region has argued persuasively that Russia failed to have much impact at all on Yugoslavia during these years because of its general weakness, its inconsistent policies, and its poor diplomacy.200

Russia declared that it would “respect the decision of the nations who decided on secession, but also the decision of the nations who wished to stay in Yugoslavia.”201 The U.S.A., on the other hand, decided to wait with granting recognition until the UN peacekeeping force settled in Croatia. At the same time the U.S.A. hoped that this decision would turn Tudjman and Miloševic away from attempts to partition BiH.202 When the first fifty UN monitors came to Croatia on 14 January 1992, it looked as though the worst was already behind, since “people did not die en masse, in spite of the fact that they continued to die every day.”203 All attention of the international community was then directed towards Krajina, where Milan Babic, supported by the Orthodox Church, still tried to oppose Miloševic.

On 15 February 1992, UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali, in spite of doubts about the use of UN troops in the Balkans, asked the Security Council to send 14,000 troops to Croatia (i.e., in Slavonia and Krajina).204 The UNSC discussed this on 21 February and with Resolution 743 determined the aims of the peacekeeping forces: to “create peace and security conditions necessary for global solution of the Yugoslav crisis.”205 On 13 March they decided to choose as the seat for command of UNPROFOR “neutral” Sarajevo. They hoped to forestall the start of ethnic violence in BiH with this symbolic gesture.206 From mid-March until mid-June 1992, the UNPROFOR troops settled in the region. This did not change conditions on the ground. One of the members of UNPROFOR told Mark Tanner, a journalist from the London newspaper Independent, that violence still reigned in Krajina, “from stoning to throat cutting. Serbs want to force a Croat to leave his home. If they do not succeed in this, they kill him.”207

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and international community in 1992

Because of new international circumstances (the international recognition of Slovenia and Croatia), Miloševic started to reconstruct the country. Already during the winter of 1991–92, federal bodies of what remained from rump Yugoslavia began to create documents for the establishment of the third Yugoslavia, which was set up by the end of April 1992. It came into being under the name of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).208 The FRY declared itself a legal successor to the SFRY. Also we should not neglect the fact that Serbia did not formally expand, but de facto it did extend its influence into Croatia and BiH—in military, intelligence, economic, and political terms—“... to wherever there is a Serbian house, wherever there is Serbian land and where the Serbian language is spoken ...”209 If the wars had ended in 1994 on Serb terms, most of the Greater Serbia project would have been realized. The newly established states and the international community opposed the FRY’s status as the only successor to the SFRY. Because the FRY was involved in the war in Croatia and BiH, the international community took the legal position, expressed in decisions of the Badinter Commission, that all successor states that came into being in the territories of the former SFRY were equal successors of the SFRY. The international community did not succeed in reaching an agreement with Miloševic on a cease-fire, which should have been a condition for the search for a solution to other open questions. The UN introduced economic sanctions against the FRY with the Security Council Resolution 757/1992, which isolated the FRY from the rest of the world.210 The “third Yugoslavia” soon got a new political leadership. The first president of the FRY was the “spiritual father of the Serbs,” Dobrica Cosic; while an American businessman of Serb descent, Milan Panic, became the new Yugoslav prime minister. Panic was a surprise for everyone. Miloševic had chosen him because he thought he would be the right man to help to fight the international isolation of the FRY, and the U.S. Government counted on Panic to find a solution to the crisis in the former Yugoslavia. So the State Department gave permission for Panic, an American citizen, to head the government of the FRY, although it had not given a similar permission for the former governor of Minnesota, Rudolph G. Perpich, to become a foreign minister of Croatia.211 When Milan Panic became the president of the federal government, he supported the attempts of the international community to find a peaceful solution to the Yugoslav crisis at the Conference in London, held in the second half of 1992. Panic remained in office only until he lost elections for the President of the Republic of Serbia on 20 December 1992. A few days after elections he had to resign as president of the federal government.

Bosnian crisis - Bosnia and Herzegovina (February–April 1992)

None of the Yugoslav ethnic nations had an absolute majority in the population of BiH. Due to estranged interethnic relations among Muslims, Serbs, and Croats because of the deepening Yugoslav crisis, the president of the presidency of BiH, Alija Izetbegovic, had already in July 1991 demanded that UN peacekeepers be stationed in BiH. Because of the philosophy of the UN, which did not use its troops to prevent the start of violence, but only to “stop” it once it had broken out, Izetbegovic’s proposal did not succeed. Also, demands of some Western diplomats for an international protectorate over BiH remained unanswered. Only the international peacemakers still tried to reach a compromise with the leaders of all sides, i.e. Muslim Alija Izetbegovic, Serb Radovan Karadžic, and Croat Mate Boban, in an effort to come to a peaceful solution. Although a comprehensive political settlement was necessary, the conference was kept as a framework for separate talks on Bosnia, beginning in early February 1992 under the auspices of the EC troika and its current chair, negotiator José Cutileiro from Portugal. Cutileiro’s basic point was the proposal of the Bosnian Serbs that BiH had to be divided into sovereign cantons based on the model of Switzerland to ensure that all three constitutive nations of BiH would have equal rights. Cutileiro’s plan had not foreseen division of BiH into three divided entities, but only “spheres of interest” of the three ethnic groups. This plan was, in principle, approved by Croats and Muslims as well as by the Serbs. The objective of the international community was to find a political settlement upon which the Muslim, Serb, and Croat leaderships could agree that would establish Bosnian stability and sovereignty. Thus, instead of establishing a constitution for BiH, or a constituent assembly to write one, the EC negotiators accepted the view that the internal conflict was ethnically based and that the power-sharing arrangement of the coalition should translate into a triune state in which the three main ethnic parties (Party for Democratic Action/Stranka demokratske akcije – SDA, Serbian Democratic Party/Srpska demokratska stranka – SDS, and Croatian Democratic Union/Hrvatska demokratska zajednica – HDZ) divided territorial control among themselves. By the time of the Lisbon Conference in March 1992, all three parties spoke of ethnic cantonization of the republic into three parts; a “Balkan Switzerland” in the words of SDS leader Radovan Karadžic.

At a meeting in Lisbon on 23 February, Cutileiro showed a map that divided BiH in a way that Croats and Muslims controlled about 56% of the territory and Serbs, 44%. It looked as if this would be an acceptable position for all three sides to continue negotiations. In reality, no one was happy with Cutileiro’s plan. The Serbs wanted 60% of the territory, Croats did not achieve what they wanted (because of their low numbers), and Muslims, who were settled primarily in the cities and therefore did not control adequate portions of the countryside, were affected badly by the territorial division.212

At the third meeting convened by Cutileiro in Sarajevo, on 27 February, Izetbegovic again talked about a “united multiethnic Bosnia” to be comprised of “citizens” and not “nations.” Therefore, the agreement on a confederated BiH—which representatives of Bosnian Serbs made a precondition for Bosnian-Serb participation at a referendum on independence of BiH—was not signed. In spite of this, Boshniaks, in cooperation with Bosnian Croats, issued writs for a referendum, which took place between 29 February and 1 March. Bosnian Serbs boycotted the referendum and so the participation was 63.4%of eligible voters. In spite of the fact that more than 99% of those who participated voted for independence of BiH, this percentage was still too small to cement a new state community.213 When the government of BiH declared the results of the referendum and on its basis the independence of BiH (on 3 March), the first armed clashes occurred in Sarajevo. The Lisbon talks were forgotten. Almost 100% of the Serbs were sure that they wanted to stay in Yugoslavia. Almost 100% of the Croats and Muslims were sure that they wanted to leave. Armed clashes escalated soon in Posavina and southern Herzegovina. During the period when the circumstances in BiH became complicated and relations among ethnic groups worsened, politicians in the world, especially in the U.S.A., dealt with the problem of international recognition of BiH. They dealt primarily with the questions of how to do it and what would be the consequences of this decision. Then U.S. Secretary of State James Baker remembered that on 27 February, Undersecretary for European Affairs Tom Niles wrote a memo in which five possibilities were mentioned as to U.S. policy towards the newly established states that had come from the ruins of former Yugoslavia. Until then, 45 countries had acknowledged the independence of Slovenia and Croatia; only Bulgaria and Turkey also acknowledged the independence of Macedonia and BiH. All the options that Niles put on the table included U.S. recognition of Slovenia and Croatia. The real problem was what relations ought to be towards Macedonia and BiH and how to implement them so that they would be in concert with EC policy.

After discussion in the State Department, Baker sent a letter to the U.S.’s European allies in which he asked for united U.S.-European action to send a warning to the regime of Slobodan Miloševic to behave. At last the opinion prevailed that BiH and Macedonia ought to be recognized as soon as possible. Otherwise, in the view of the U.S. Department of State, they might encourage “adventurism which could lead to open armed fights.” Those proposals provoked a different reaction in Europe and in the UN. They thought that it would be too early to recognize Macedonia because of opposition by Greece. Germany and the U.K. looked favorably towards recognition of BiH, but under the condition that it would not harm negotiations taking place among Croats, Serbs, and Boshniaks under the auspices of the EC. In the end, the foreign ministers of the EC countries and the U.S.A. resolved that the EC countries would recognize BiH on 6 April and that the U.S.A. would recognize Slovenia and Croatia.214

At the same time, Lord Carrington and Cutileiro continued to try to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in BiH. In spite of an outbreak of armed clashes in BiH, the international community still thought that the Bosnian crisis could be solved by peaceful means. This can be confirmed by the fact that on 13 March, Sarajevo became the headquarters of the general staff of UNPROFOR, under the leadership of Canadian General Lewis MacKenzie.215 Izetbegovic, Karadžic, and Boban even succeeded in accepting a “declaration on constitutional principles for a republic,” in Lisbon on 18 March 1992. According to the declaration, BiH should be comprised of three “constitutive entities which should be based on ethnic principles; the constitution of its geographic territories should also be based on economic, physical-geographical and other criteria.” In spite of the fact that they wanted to emphasize that cantons would not be ethnically pure, the borders of the cantons that a group of experts had drawn in Brussels at the end of March “were based on an ethnic map of BiH on the level of communes with an absolute or relative ethnic majority in each of the communes.”216

The Lisbon agreement was signed on 18 March 1992.217 Emboldened by the growing U.S. pressure on Europe for immediate recognition of Bosnian sovereignty and, as many argue, by promises of support from Middle Eastern leaders (or by the negative implications of the accord for Bosnia and the Muslim nation), President Izetbegovic reneged on his commitment to the document within a week. He was followed by the Croat leader, Mate Boban, who saw the opportunity to gain more territory in a new round of negotiations. Izetbegovic rejected Cutileiro’s plan because it would neglect Boshniaks interests, demanding cantonization of BiH as conditio sine qua non for international recognition of BiH.218 Ambassador Zimmermann’s role in this is another controversy. Some scholars claim that Izetbegovic changed his approval of this plan under the influence of Zimmermann, who sought to incite him to resist Serbian and European pressures.219 In an interview published in 1994 in the Belgrade weekly Vreme, Zimmermann denied this, but said “… that he asked Izetbegovic why did he sign something that he did not agree to …”220 Zimmermann wrote in his memoirs that drawing on his instructions to support whatever could be worked out between the EC and the three Bosnian parties, he encouraged Izetbegovic to stick by what he’d agreed to. But he wrote also that he said to Izetbegovic: “It wasn’t a final agreement and there would be future opportunities for him to argue his views.”221 In 1992 Zimmermann could not influence Izetbegovic to stick by the agreement because Miloševic tried to convince the international community that he was not interested in BiH; while Karadžic, with the help of Serbia; was getting ready for war.222

Under these circumstances the leaders of the international community kept discussing what to do with BiH. The hopes of Izetbegovic and his collaborators that after recognition of BiH the West would defend it turned out to be only illusions. The discussions in the international community were limited on the question of whether to recognize BiH or not, how to do it, and what political consequences it would have. From that period, Ambassador Zimmermann’s thinking is of interest. He believed, as he wrote in his memoirs,
"… that early Western recognition, right after the expected referendum majority for independence, might present Miloševic and Karadžic with a fait accompli difficult for them to overturn. Miloševic wanted to avoid economic sanctions and to win recognition for Serbia and Montenegro as the successor to Yugoslavia; we could offer him that recognition in exchange for his recognition of the territorial integrity of the four other republics, including Bosnia. I [was] concerned [about] drawbacks to my proposal. In the understatement of the year, I said: ‘I don’t deny that there is some chance of violence if Bosnia wins recognition,’ but added my belief that ‘there is a much greater chance of violence if the Serbian game plan proceeds unimpeded."223

The conversations of Zimmermann with Izetbegovic were one of the first signs of a partial American return to the scene. Having left the Yugoslav stage to the European auditionseekers, as well as having refrained from following their January lead in recognizing Slovenia and Croatia, the U.S. was now preparing to return. This was partially the result of criticism that it had not been providing leadership of the Western world, partly the result of intensive lobbying in Washington by Bosnian representatives (especially Haris Silajdžic and future ambassador to the UN Mohamed Šacerbey (Šacirbegovic), which appeared to have convinced many in the American political elite of the need to act decisively to assist Bosnia. As a result, the U.S.A. was preparing to recognize BiH, along with Slovenia and Croatia.224 When the representatives of all three constituent nations of BiH met again in Brussels on 30 March, it was clear that the war could not be avoided, because the Serbian side was unwilling to talk any more. Armed clashes became even more numerous. Under these tense and complicated circumstances, the EC recognized the independence of BiH on 6 April 1992. The U.S.A. followed on 7 April 1992. The “Assembly of the Serb Nation in Bosnia- Herzegovina,” soon declared the independence of the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina (later renamed Republika srpska/Serb Republic).

Recognition of Bosnian sovereignty was an attempt by the West to shut this Pandora’s box. Perhaps because the distinction between ethnic and national rights was still lost on outsiders, the granting of independence led them to view the escalation of fighting as a civil war. In spring of 1992, one of the bloodiest wars in the history of Europe began in ethnically mixed BiH.

Endless Peace Initiatives (May 1992–Fall 1994)

From the very beginning of the war, the international community tried to stop the fighting and to find a peaceful solution to all questions, especially because of the many refugees. All the peace plans suggested by the UN and EU were based on the condition that Boshniaks would not be forced to leave their homes in those territories where they were a majority before the war. By May–June 1992, the issue of national sovereignty was beginning to confront Western governments with a dilemma between their assessment of the strategic nonsignificance of BiH and a growing humanitarian crisis that the world could see. People in all of the Western and Islamic countries engaged were becoming increasingly vocal about the flood of refugees, the massacres, and the attacks on civilian populations being reported in the press and on television.225 The so-called CNN effect, i.e., the impression on public opinion provoked by television reporting on the events in the Balkans, helped in acceptance of many decisions in attempts to reach peace. One such event, which shocked viewers all over the World, happened 27 May in Sarajevo. Ca. 200 people gathered in front of a bakery on Vasa Miskin Street to buy bread, convinced that they were protected by the cease-fire agreement that the Yugoslav army and the Serb Democratic Party of BiH had announced. Nonetheless, three explosions killed sixteen people and wounded dozens more. Snipers then shot at the rest of the people and those who helped them, so that the death toll rose to twenty. Serb media tried to convince the world that Muslims shot on their own people, trying to invoke the emotions of the West. Even General MacKenzie, who was in Belgrade at the time, believed those stories for awhile.226 [See next chapter of the book.]

By the next day, the EC had reacted by imposing sanctions against the FRY. President George Bush, Sr., ordered that all assets of the FRY in the U.S.A. be frozen. In spite of opposition from UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali, the UNSC confirmed the economic sanctions the next day. Resolution 757 outlawed Serbia from the international community until the attacks stopped. This resolution also asked NATO—for the first time in its history— to organize supervision over the flow of traffic on the Adriatic Sea to ensure respect of economic sanctions against the FRY and also the arms embargo on weapons for all the regions of the former Yugoslavia.227

At the same time, conditions in Sarajevo under siege worsened. In the city everything was lacking, even material for coffins. UNPROFOR did not do anything, in spite of the fact that catastrophe was anticipated. The reason for this passive reaction is to be found in the views of the UN Secretary General, who looked upon the war in the former Yugoslavia as “the war of the rich.” He didn’t want to spend the scarce instruments at the UN’s disposal on softening the consequences of the war. In directing the mid-May retreat of the UNPROFOR command from Sarajevo, due to threats towards the UN personnel, he even moved the troops to Belgrade. Only 100 blue helmets remained in Sarajevo.228 Also representatives of the UNHCR and the International Red Cross, as well as EC representatives, followed, once one of the EC’s directors was killed when he accompanied a food convoy.229 Confronting catastrophe, those in the West were also agitating that something had to be done as soon as possible. The Islamic world also reacted sharply to persecution of its fellow believers in BiH. Forty-seven member states of the Islamic Conference Organization cut diplomatic ties with the FRY. Saudi King Fahd asked President Bush in a special letter to do something for Bosnian Muslims.230

To calm down public opinion, the officers of UNPROFOR who remained in Sarajevo wanted to convince the Bosniak government in Sarajevo and the Bosnian Serbs to agree on security of the airport in Sarajevo for receiving humanitarian aid. Bosnian Serbs promised to withdraw their troops. This victory convinced Butrous-Ghali to suggest to UNSC on 6 June that it widen the UNPROFOR mandate in BiH and strengthen the forces of the UN with one battalion. So Resolution 759 was passed, in which the UNSC notes the agreement of all parties to the reopening of Sarajevo airport for humanitarian purposes under the executive authority of the UN and demands that all parties and others concerned create immediately the necessary conditions for unimpeded delivery of humanitarian supplies to Sarajevo and other destinations in BiH. The resolution also determined that the UN would send 60 military observers and 110 blue helmets to oversee withdrawal of Serb anti-aircraft weaponry in a radius of 19 kilometers from the Sarajevo international airport.231 The resolution was important also because it included UNPROFOR in Bosnian activities, thus denying the determination of the UN not to interfere in Bosnia.

The problem of BiH was on the agenda at the annual meetings of the G-7, the Western European Union, and the CSCE, all being held in July 1992. President Izetbegovic and his foreign minister, Haris Silajdžic, made in vain urgent personal appeals at the CSCE meeting at Helsinki for military aid and for the placement of troops along the border of BiH with FRY to impose a blockade on the Bosnian-Serbian border.232 On 11 June, on kuban bajram (the most important Muslim holiday), under the leadership of General MacKenzie, a unit of UNPROFOR returned to Sarajevo to open the airport again.233 When the Serb army shelled Sarajevo again with grenades, the Bosnian government declared on 20 June a “state of war” against the Yugoslav army and the Serbs, and six days later signed a military alliance with Croatia. (Less than a week before the July meetings at Helsinki, Bosnian Croats declared the independence of their state of Herzeg-Bosnia/Herceg-Bosna).

The attacks of Serb forces convinced U.S. Secretary of State James Baker to start considering military intervention. With U.S. National Security Advisor Scowcroft, he discussed this option at the White House; but George Bush, Sr., would not accept American intervention in BiH; the Pentagon also opposed it. Therefore Baker tried to convince his colleagues in the administration to at least assure armed protection of humanitarian aid. He constructed “Game Plan: New Steps in Connection with Bosnia.” This would enable humanitarian aid to reach Sarajevo “with all possible means.” To stop any hindrance of the “Game Plan,” Baker turned directly to President Bush, who agreed with him.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney and General Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff, were against the plan. Although Bush theoretically had the last word, “bureaucratic-military obstruction” made it impossible for a feasibility study of this plan. This was the last attempt of James Baker to influence the events in the Balkans. Later he was named leader of the campaign for the reelection of George Bush and could not influence Balkan politics anymore. His views did not please the rest of the U.S. leadership. Lawrence Eagleburger replaced him first as acting, and later as Secretary of State.234 This switch illustrates the low priority that the Bush administration placed on the Balkan crisis. The attacks of Serb forces, in addition to Baker’s discussions, made it possible for European leaders to sharpen their views. On 27 June they gathered in Lisbon and accepted a German proposal for a resolution. They demanded opening the Sarajevo airport and declared that they would still try to resolve the crisis peacefully, but they did not put out of question the use of military means if the Serbs continued to block the flow of humanitarian aid.235 This was the most threatening decision that was ever accepted by the EC. French President Mitterrand annulled this decision. Out of fear of “Islamic fundamentalism” and convinced that “the Serbs were the only earnest Yugoslav nation,” Mitterrand, without consulting either European or American partners, on 28 June (on Vidovdan) flew into Sarajevo. By doing this he wanted to strengthen the thesis that events in Bosnia should be viewed not as aggression but as civil war. This meant that the military intervention that Baker demanded was not necessary and that the international community should limit itself to peaceful humanitarian assistance.236

The international community had to deal with the question of whether wars in former Yugoslavia could be treated as wars of aggression or civil war. Were the wars in Croatia and Bosnia civil wars or international conflicts (for which small-FRY would be liable to the charge of aggression)? Academic and popular literature on the war in Bosnia, as Sumantra Bose wrote, still today remains deeply divided on a basic issue: was it primarily a case of internecine bloodletting among Bosnians, or was it an avoidable war caused primarily by the “aggression” of FRY—and secondarily, Croatia—against Bosnia and the failure of the “West” to confront the aggressors in good time? Supporters of the “external aggression” thesis are strong proponents of preserving and developing BiH as a single, united state, while those who believe the 1992–1995 conflict was primarily a “civil war” have a range of attitudes towards the post-1992 state, from cautiously neutral to actively hostile.237 It is also worth mentioning that the body that the Yugoslav Presidency named to conduct relations between Yugoslavia and UN was named “State Committee for Co-operation with the UN,” indicating that the Yugoslav Presidency thought that the SFRY was above the conflict between ethnic Serbs and Croats (and after 1992, ethnic Bosnian Muslims or Bosniaks), which was a civil war.238

The international community knew; like it or not already by the spring of 1991 that Tito’s Yugoslavia could no longer be saved. It had been thoroughly undermined by the constant Serbian attacks on its constitutional structure and the corresponding movement of the northwestern republics towards independence. It was doubtful that any kind of Yugoslavia could be preserved. The country was moving towards disintegration, quite independently of any policy pursued by Germany or any other foreign power.

The international community did not face a “civil war” in Yugoslavia, since it was not a case of political enemies fighting for power in the state as a whole or over ideological and social issues. Certainly, to the outside world, the war appeared as a conflict among neighbors, sometimes in the same village or town, and presented the ugly traits usually associated with such a war; yet this should not distract attention from the fact that the rebellion of the Croatian and Bosnian Serbs could not have taken place, and above all could not have been successful in the beginning, without the decisive involvement of the Serbian-led Yugoslav army. The Bosnian Serb willingness to fight in Bosnia even without assistance from Serbia remain a controversy. To study the determination of the Bosnian Serbs to fight—even in a losing cause, we would have to further expand our research by reading Bosnian Serb materials, for example the SDS press, the ICTY sources and as complete as possible the memories from active participants. The controversy remains also whether the Bosnian Serbs wished to continue even after Miloševic told them to accept the Vance Owen plan.

Among the EC member states, Germany saw all this very clearly and very early on, and she concluded that this kind of blatant aggression of one Yugoslav republic and one Yugoslav nation against another should not be tolerated by the international community. This did not reflect a naďve and one-sided “good versus evil” view that “demonized” or “satanized” the Serbs, as some critics of German policy like to pretend when trying to evade a discussion of the objective foundations of Germany’s views on the conflict. To tolerate Serbian aggression did not, in any case, enhance the chances for a political solution—on the contrary. A policy that, correctly or not, gave the impression of treating the issue primarily as one of illegitimate “secession” and of under-emphasizing the essential responsibility of the Miloševic regime for the origins and the conduct of the war was bound to be counterproductive. For one, it could only heighten the fears of the non-Serb peoples of being left at the mercy of Serbian nationalism, and thereby increase their determination to break free completely. At the same time, it could only strengthen the conviction of those in power in Belgrade that, ultimately, the international community would accept a solution by force in the name of the defense of a fictional “Yugoslavia.” The neglect of all these developments in Yugoslavia itself, in particular of their cumulative effect over time by critics of German policy, has led to a thoroughly irrelevant discussion of the alternatives open to the international community in 1991. Beverly Crawford assumes that Yugoslavia could have been preserved merely by the EC choosing to do so! She further implies that Yugoslavia, like the rest of the post-communist states, was moving towards democracy239, when in reality the policies of Miloševic and Serbian nationalism had set the country on a course quite different from the major tendencies in Central and Eastern Europe.

Nobody would have denied that the Serbs had legitimate grievances against some of the ways in which Tito’s Yugoslavia had been constructed and that the Serbs living in Croatia would understandably feel threatened by the resurgence of a rather intolerant Croat nationalism. But in politics, however justifiable the cause, once one crosses a certain threshold in the means employed, the method itself becomes the central issue.240 The Serbs themselves ruined their cause by being the first to raise the standard of a disruptive and repressive nationalism, and finally by treating their real or perceived enemies in ways all too often reminiscent of certain practices of totalitarian movements before 1945..241 Seen from this perspective, the conflict in former Yugoslavia has above all been a tragedy of the Serbian people, who, as the leading nation in Yugoslavia, had both the responsibility and the opportunity after the fall of communism of giving themselves and their South Slav brethren a better deal.242

International recognition of Slovenia and Croatia in January 1992 and later recognition of BiH in April 1992, and recognition of Macedonia in April 1993 was important also from the point of view of controversies because from then on in the former Yugoslavia one could talk only about international and not civil war.

Perhaps a Slovene historian from Italy, Jože Pirjevec, was right when he described the Bosnian war as a “… strange mixture of contemporary war with technically developed arms and a peasants’ war led by people trained—in the old way—in slaughtering of sheep.”243 This “mixture” was above all successful in ethnic cleansing of countryside regions, which happened far from the eyes and cameras of foreign reporters. In September 1993 the vicepresident of Republika Srpska, Nikola Koljevic, also admitted that to a British reporter as he said: “You were so worried about Sarajevo that you did not even notice as we did elsewhere in Bosnia whatever we were pleased to do.”244

British researcher James Gow wrote: … Whereas the U.S. initially shared both the U.K.’s view of the complex ethnic character of the conflict and France’s proclivity for opposing Slovenian and Croatian independence in the first phase, it also shared the German analysis that the war was one of Belgrade-led aggression, especially when conflict came to BiH. It was reinforced there by the appreciation that, whereas Slovenia and Croatia brought suffering upon themselves through irresponsible behaviour (in U.S. eyes), BiH was an innocent victim of circumstance and well-planned Serbian aggression. This was the view of the Bush administration, but remained tempered by other concerns. With the arrival of Bill Clinton in the White House, this element came to dominate the U.S. perception of the conflict In the early days of the Clinton administration, the American analysis of the war in BiH was as a “conventional case of aggression by one state (Serbia) against other (Bosnia).” In the case of BiH, the perception of an act of aggression was compounded by the (generally accurate) judgement that the Serbian camp was wreaking violence on the largely undefended Bosnian population. This interpretation of the war in BiH had been prominent in the Clinton election campaign.245

A change in US administrations after the 1992 elections on 20 January, 1993 was important step in formation of U.S. policy towards Bosnia. Presidential candidate Bill Clinton was sharply criticizing Bush’s senior administration’s policy in Bosnia. Until the Dayton Agreement was reached there was a debate within Clinton’s administration. Vice-president Gore, Anthony Lake, Gore’s National Security Advisor Leon Fuerth, and then U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright pushed for the “lift and strike” approach (which meant sending of arms shipments to Sarajevo Bosniak government), while threatening air strikes. The rest of the administration, especially Warren Christopher, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense Leslie Aspin, Jr., and Collin Powell, chairman of the Joint-Chiefs-of- Staff, opposed this approach.246

In spite of the fact that the International Committee of Red Cross in Geneva described the war in BiH as a mixture of international conflict and civil war, in the summer of 1992 most of the Western diplomats still considered it as a civil war. From the Serb point of view, of course it was a civil war. Therefore Mitterrand’s statement of 28 June 1992, when he suddenly came to Sarajevo, that in BiH a civil war was going on that could be solved with negotiations and not with force did not surprise anyone.

International media supported Mitterrand’s bravery; diplomats, however, did not. In spite of the fact that Mitterrand’s gesture was in concert with British policy, English Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd’s sharp comment was, “Brave gesture of the president who is getting old.”247 The reactions in Belgrade and in Bosnian Republika Srpska were more positive. Five months later, General Momir Talic, commander of the First Corps of the Serbian Bosnian Army, in an interview for Paris Le Monde, declared that Karadžic successfully used Mitterrand’s coup de théatre. Serb troops withdrew from the airport, as UNSC Resolution No. 761 from 29 June demanded. International public opinion was therefore convinced that military intervention was not necessary.248 Already on 29 June the first plane with humanitarian aid landed at Sarajevo airport. Operation “Provide Comfort” could begin because NATO gave the UN its planes to start this controversial cooperation.249 The airlift soon played a role—as one of the Bosniak journalists commented—of morphine with which the West provided aid to the victims of war. At the same time, the West prolonged the war by giving Boshniaks the possibility to survive but not to defend themselves. The West also supported the other sides involved, because it is estimated that Boshniaks were getting only 10% of the humanitarian aid that the international community sent to BiH.250

In July 1992 the Serb military successes on the battlefields of Northern Bosnia were accompanied by some defeats on the diplomatic front. At the OSCE meeting in Helsinki, Russian Foreign Minister Andrej V. Kozyrev joined the West in condemning Slobodan Miloševic, since, after the defeat of the nationalist Bolsheviks in Russia in the previous year, the Russian government could not afford to support the same kind of political leaders who continued to be in power in Belgrade.251 The Russian “treason” shocked Serb public opinion. Even greater alarm, all over the world, was provoked by Newsday correspondent Roy Gutman, who publicized his discovery of the Serb concentration camps in Northern and Western Bosnia.252 Gutman’s articles on Muslim and Croatian Bosnian prisoners in concentration camps and photographs of living skeletons in a concentration camp in Omarska (north of Banja Luka) forced the international community to demand action at once. One day before Gutman’s article was published, the U.S. Department of State admitted knowing about the described horrors, but in a special statement also said that there was nothing the USA could do to prevent them.

Once the TV stations from all over the world started to transmit photographs from the concentration camps (there were 94 of them with 400,000 prisoners253), George Bush, Sr., called a press conference at Patterson Air Force Base in Colorado to condemn ethnic cleansing. At the same time he tried to explain the relatively passive approach of his administration towards the conflict, saying that the USA for some months led different strategies to try to extinguish the incendiary conflict and stem the “Baltic” (SIC!) conflict. He had forgotten, however, that only a week before, at the G-7 meeting, he described the Bosnian tragedy as simple “moaning.”254

The Balkan question also became a burning question in the US presidential campaign. It gave the then presidential candidate William J. Clinton many opportunities to criticize Bush’s Republican administration. Clinton thought that the USA could not allow massacres of peoples on the basis of ethnicity. Clinton said that he would use air power against the Serbs to protect basic human rights.255 Although many important political personalities supported the possibility of military intervention, it was clear that there would be no military intervention until the US presidential election.256

In spite of the cautious approach of the West towards the Bosnian crisis, two decisions were made during the summer of 1992 that were of decisive importance for further development of events. Influenced by a Serb attack on a British airplane when it descended on the Sarajevo airport, on 13 August 1992 the UNSC accepted Resolution 770, demanding that unimpeded and continuous access to all camps, prisons, and detention centers be granted immediately to the International Red Cross and that all detainees receive humane treatment. In addition to that, the UNSC also asked the member states and regional institutions to use all necessary means to enable the flow of humanitarian aid to BiH.257 Thus, the UNSC indirectly allowed for use of force. The same day, the UNSC also passed Resolution 771, which “strongly condemns violations of international humanitarian law, including those involved in the process of ethnic cleansing.” At the same time the UNSC threatened to evaluate every violation of this resolution as an individual and not a collective violation.258 This threat to war criminals was repeated by the UN Commission for Human Rights, which met in extraordinary session in Geneva on 13 and 14 August 1992. On this occasion the Commission also unanimously condemned ethnic cleansing and asked former Polish Prime Minister Taduesz Mazowiecki to collect all possible depositions on war crimes in the region of the former Yugoslavia.259

In mid-August 1992 the British government, which was then presiding over the EC, convened an extended conference on former Yugoslavia in order to be able to better coordinate activities of international organizations and different states in peace-maintaining efforts. In reality we may search also for other less noble reasons for convening this conference: (1) John Major’s wish to assure a diplomatic victory for himself and strengthen the role of Britain in European integration processes; (2) the need of the Bush, Sr., administration to answer to Congressional initiatives and the public’s desire to have a more responsive policy in the Balkans; and (3) to bridge the differences between Lord Carrington and Boutros-Ghali (as on the occasion when Carrington signed a cease-fire agreement together with Karadžic, Boban, and Silajdžic and did not ask for Boutros-Ghali’s opinion, in spite of the involvement of UN troops in implementing peace).260

At the conference, which started 26 August, Boutros-Ghali and John Major presided and started with a strong condemnation of the FRY. It soon became clear, however, that Western powers wanted to continue the policy of noninterference and that they did not plan to revoke the arms embargo on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The conference ended on 27 August, when all the participants accepted a statement of principles. But these principles contained all the contradictions and equivocation on the problem of national selfdetermination and the collapse of a state that had characterized Western action during the previous fourteen months. Prime Minister Major emphasized three of the thirteen principles in his closing remarks: (1) to deliver humanitarian aid from the international community, using armed escorts where necessary; (2) to protect human rights by stopping all violations of humanitarian law, granting humanitarian agencies immediate access to and then closing detention camps, and warning leaders that they would be held personally responsible for the commission of war crimes; and (3) to establish a peace process based on two principles— “that frontiers cannot be altered by force” but only by mutual consent and negotiation, and “that within those fixed frontiers minorities are entitled to full protection and respect of their civil rights ... whether in Bosnia, Croatia or Serbia.”261 Major then concluded: The different former Yugoslav delegation, and in particular I think those from Serbia and Montenegro, must ask themselves this question: Do you wish to be considered as part of Europe? Do you wish to belong to the world community? If so, good, but that does mean accepting the standards of the rest of Europe and of the world community.262

To enforce the above-mentioned obligations, the international community did not threaten military intervention, as it did two years previously in the Iraq crisis. It only additionally enforced UNPROFOR units in BiH to further cement the cease-fire and to control events in the war. At the same time it further strengthened its pressure on the regime of Miloševic.263

After the London conference did not produce the wanted results, the international community started to coordinate its efforts. Cyrus Vance, as representative of the UN Secretary General, and David Owen, former UK Foreign Secretary, became co-chairs of the new International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia (ICFY). The Executive Council of ICFY included the European troika and the troika of OSCE, representatives of permanent member states of UNSC, of the Islamic Conference, and two representatives of neighboring countries. Also included was Lord Carrington, as an individual, who, on the eve of the beginning of the London Conference (25 August) resigned as chair of The Hague Conference, which ceased to exist. ICFY so joined the other international organizations that were operating to find a solution to the Yugoslav crisis: UNPROFOR, UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross, etc.264 It was a vast machinery, which did not exactly contribute to a solution to the crisis. Almost simultaneously in early August Warren Christopher, U.S. Secretary of State, finally secured the agreement of the British and the French to conduct NATO air strikes in Bosnia, but the strikes could occur only if both NATO and the UN approved them, the so-called dual key approach. Bill Clinton commented that he was afraid that the players in the game could never turn both keys, because Russia had a veto on the Security Council and was closely tied to the Serbs. The dual key would prove to be a frustrating impediment to protecting the Bosnians, but it marked another step in the long, tortuous process of moving Europe and the UN to a more aggressive posture.265 In mid- September Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance visited Sarajevo, Zagreb, and Belgrade and with the political leadership there agreed to new negotiations, which started in Geneva at the end of September. Izetbegovic continued to defend a unified and centralized BiH, which Western diplomats looked on as an irrational option. At the same time Croatia’s Tudjman and then President of the FRY Dobrica Cosic on 30 September signed a Special Declaration with eight points. With it, the Serbs acknowledged the existing frontiers with Croatia, while Croatians obliged themselves to guarantee special status for Krajina Serbs. Both presidents also temporarily solved the problem of Prevlaka Peninsula (southeast of Dubrovnik), which controls the bay of Boka Kotorska. In accordance with UNSC Resolution 779 of 6 October, Prevlaka became a demilitarized zone controlled by UN forces until a final solution could be found. It looked as if the fight between the Serbs and Croats had ended. Muslims or Boshniaks were to pay the toll.266

Soon afterwards the military alliance between the Bosnian government and Croatia began to break down and officially ended on 24 October. The consequences of this were clear by November: Bosnian Croat forces that controlled the main supply route to the Bosnian government were taking a cut of supplies (up to 70%) and blocking all arms deliveries. A Bosnian government offensive begun in earnest the same month made inroads against Bosnian Serbs in Sarajevo and eastern Bosnia, and also against Bosnian Croats in central Bosnia.

The new outbreak of hatred in BiH confirmed the thesis of those diplomats who tried to explain the Bosnian War as irrational tribal conflict, a Herald Tribune commentator wrote.267 It looked as if the work of the numerous international organizations that had tried to find a solution for the Yugoslav crisis was in vain. All their demands and suggestions did not have any meaning. Particularly active was the USA, where the Bush administration (which was contending for the presidential election with Bill Clinton) had to show the electorate that it was active.

On 6 October 1992 the UNSC unanimously passed Resolution 780, which requested the secretary-general to establish, as a matter of urgency, an impartial Commission of Experts with a view to providing him with its conclusions on the evidence of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.268 With Resolution 781, which was passed 9 October, the Security Council decided to establish a ban on military flights in the airspace of BiH and undertook to examine without delay all the information brought to its attention concerning the implementation of the ban, and, in the case of violations, to consider urgently the further measures necessary to enforce it. This decision was aimed primarily against the Serbs, who used airports in Banja Luka and the military airport Batajnica near Belgrade to attack enemies’ territories. This resolution, as well as Resolution 786 (adopted on 10 November, which reconfirmed prohibition against the use of aircraft and helicopters), did not have any special effect, however, because UN Secretary General Butrous-Ghali and UNPROFOR commanders did not want to provoke the Serbs; so it was then accepted only as a warning.269

The Bosnian Serb army did not pay attention to all those resolutions. Because of numerous infringements, from 10 October onwards NATO started to use AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) airplanes. This support to UNSC began NATO’s active involvement in the war in BiH. During this period, Owen, Vance, and their collaborators tried to find in Geneva a diplomatic solution to the land dispute that would be acceptable to all sides in the conflict, i.e. Boshniaks, Serbs, and Croats. They tried to prevent the division of BiH into three parts and, in accordance with directives of the London Conference, tried to keep intact its ethnic structure. On 27 October 1992, they introduced the first draft of a plan that foresaw the division of BiH into seven to ten provinces that would enjoy wide autonomy. They would remain ethnically mixed, and the leadership of each of them would be divided among the three ethnic groups. The central government would care for defense, foreign policy, and trade.270 At the same time the troops of the Serb commander, General Ratko Mladic, tried to occupy Sarajevo.271

It gave new strength to discussion on possible American intervention into the crisis. By now both the White House and State Department were leaning towards diplomatic and military intervention against the Serbs. Due to the “Vietnam Syndrome,” the Pentagon was still against it. Soldiers were afraid that this type of military operation would be too costly for the issue, which was not a matter of vital national interest of the USA272 (which proves the low priority that the United States attached to the Balkans).

Due to numerous reports on minority rights violations in Kosovo, Vojvodina, and Sandžak, on 16 November the UNSC accepted Resolution 787, with which it strengthened UNPROFOR and additionally sharpened economic sanctions against the FRY.273 On 25 November the UNSC also reacted favorably to the demand of Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov, and with Resolution 795, decided to establish the presence of UNPROFOR in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to monitor its borders with Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and promote close coordinatation with the CSCE mission there.274

By the next week they had sent 900 blue helmets to Macedonia, including American GIs. In addition to the echoes of the presidential race (between Clinton and Bush, Sr.), also fear of widening the conflict to the whole Balkan Peninsula played a role. In Belgrade some were even seriously considering the possibility of civil war between the followers of Panic and Miloševic.275 As a result President Bush allowed the International Republican Institute to start financially supporting opposition forces in the FRY.276

Due to the dangers of widening the conflict, US President Bush changed his views towards the Yugoslav crisis The fact that he lost the election in November 1992 to Clinton also played a role. Bush, who stayed in office until 20 January 2003, called an ICFY meeting in Geneva in which 30 cabinet members of European and American governments participated. Lawrence Eagleburger surprised everyone by his condemnation of Serb war crimes and his demand to establish an International Court for War Crimes on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, where Miloševic, Šešelj, Karadžic, Mladic, Ražnjatovic-Arkan, and others should be tried.277 This change in American policy and also the threat of air strikes against the Serbs raised doubts with the UN Secretary General, with Vance, Owen, and British and French diplomats and did not make them happy because it would endanger UNPROFOR troops. The Pentagon was not happy about this change in policy either.278 Already on 2 January 1993, a new meeting of ICFY was called. All important representatives of the Serbs, Croats, and Boshniaks but Slobodan Miloševic attended. At this historic moment, Vance and Owen showed their peace plan for BiH. According to Susan L. Woodward, the so-called Vance-Owen Plan for BiH made a heroic effort to move away from the presumption of ethnic partition in the Lisbon Accord and to reconstitute the idea of Bosnian sovereignty.279 The territory of the republic was divided into ten provinces (three for every ethnic group plus the neutral region of Sarajevo), drawn on the basis of geographic and historical criteria as well as the ethnic mix of the local population. The constitution established a power-sharing agreement among the nations of local and central governments, and a weak, decentralized state. Nonetheless, the negotiators’ mandate was still to obtain a cease-fire as rapidly as possible. This meant negotiating with those who commanded armies and who were fighting for national rights, the same three party leaders.280

Vance and Owen tried with this complicated compromise to harmonize the territorial integrity of BiH with its multiethnic character in a way to give it a constitutional order that would provide as much autonomy as possible to each of its constituent nations. The plan was in reality written by the British Foreign Office. The proposal was not accepted by the parties concerned. Only the Croats agreed with the plan, because it promised them 25% of the territory of BiH. The Serbs were disappointed because the plan promised them only 42% of the BiH territory. They would have to give up 24% of already-occupied land. The Vance- Owen plan was criticized also by the Boshniaks. They thought that the fulfillment of this plan would sooner or later mean a division of BiH between the Serbs and Croats, while it would at the same time encircle Boshniaks into a ghetto in which only the traces of religious and cultural autonomy would be maintained.281

In spite of the fact that that the fighting intensified again, Vance and Owen renewed negotiations in Geneva on 10 January 1993. This time they changed tactics and bet everything on Miloševic. They did not care much about Eagleburger’s statement of 16 December 1992 that Miloševic ought to be held accountable before a military court tribunal for crimes against humanity. Miloševic at first did not want to cooperate, but in the end he came to Geneva accompanied by President of the FRY Dobrica Cosic.282 Miloševic was forced to cooperate out of fear of NATO intervention, which seemed more and more likely, but also to save the FRY from international isolation. During that time, the Bush, Sr., administration sent to the Adriatic the aircraft carrier J. F. Kennedy with accompanying ships of the Sixth US Fleet.283 Under the above-mentioned threats and due to the worsened economic situation in which the FRY found itself, Miloševic was forced to fundamentally change his foreign policy. After he succeeded in occupying 27% of Croatia and 70% of BiH in the period 1991–1993, he thought that it would be worth it to lose some of these territories in exchange for better international public opinion of the FRY. In order to achieve this goal he, together with Dobrica Cosic, tried to convince Karadžic to sign at least the constitutional part of the Vance- Owen plan.284

The Vance-Owen plan was criticized vehemently by many. The critics emphasized that the fulfillment of this plan would actually sanction the results of ethnic cleansing and that it did not foresee any force to implement it. In spite of the criticisms, the EC supported the plan and gave the Serbs six days to accept the agreement and sign it. The conference in Geneva continued until 23 January. It did not bring any significant results. Only the Croats supported this plan, while Serbs and Muslims continued to oppose most of its demands.285 During the course of negotiations in Geneva, on 20 January 1993 George Bush, Sr., was replaced by the newly elected U.S. President, Bill Clinton. The sympathies towards the Boshniaks expressed by the new president and his advisers during the presidential campaign were confirmed after he entered the White House by important members of the new administration, i.e., Defense Secretary Les Aspin, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and National Security Adviser Anthony Lake. The new administration at first criticized the talks in Geneva because there the attackers were put on an equal footing with those whom they attacked. The Clinton administration also emphasized that the fulfillment of the Vance-Owen plan would mean that the world community would for the first time in the 20th century give a prize for an aggressive policy.286 Among the policymakers in the White House, those who thought that the USA should take the initiative and solve the Bosnian question based on moral values prevailed.287

Governments of the countries that had their troops stationed in BiH accepted this policy of the Clinton administration with open discomfort. Therefore they tried to convince the USA to support the Vance-Owen peace plan. The Americans were not ready to do that, and also were not ready to send their troops to BiH to operate under UNPROFOR until fighting broke out between the warring sides on the ground. On the other hand, the Clinton administration did not want to continue to criticize peace-seeking efforts without looking for solutions. For the Clinton administration, however, it was totally unacceptable to move populations as Turkey and Greece did after World War I.288 Therefore the USA started to search for a possible solution that would include lifting the embargo on buying weaponry for the Muslims and having NATO airplanes enforce no-fly zones in BiH. If this could be done, the Serbs would lose at least a little bit of their military superiority. This solution would fulfill the moral duty of the superpower to aid the victims of attack; at the same time it would keep the number of possible GI casualties to a minimum.289

This plan of the U.S. administration was met by great resistance from both the European allies and the Pentagon. It is interesting to note that the resistance of the Pentagon was also supported by the Russian government. The Russian government was then already under pressure from army representatives, nationalist opposition, and the church because of its cooperation with the West in general, which brought only meager results in improvements of the Russian economy. The Russians had special relations with the Serbs by blood and religion290 (both were Slav and Orthodox), and critics of the Russian government from nationalistic circles used “the treason against their Slavic brothers” committed by Yeltsin and Kozyrev to criticize the Russian government. They stated that military intervention against the Serbs would be only a rehearsal for the attack of the West against Russia. To calm down those voices, Yeltsin and Kozyrev asked the West to take into account Russian interests in the Balkans.291

Clinton knew that he had to placate America’s allies and support Yeltsin in his fight with the Russian nationalists, and he changed his policy towards Bosnia to a little bit more moderate stance and started to support the course of the peace process as it has been before. The question arises: What if Clinton had stayed on his course then. Would the war in Bosnia have stopped two years before it actually did? But, on advice of his National Security advisers, Clinton interceded on behalf of the continuation of negotiations and named Reginald Bartholomew his special representative at ICFY.292 Bartholomew traveled first to Moscow to search for a just and satisfying solution to end the fighting in BiH and to start negotiations over again. Moscow diplomacy started to play an important role in attempts to solve the Balkan crisis. Now Russian President Yeltsin named Vitalij Curkin to be his special representative at ICFY.293

It looked as if the U.S.A. would at least fulfill its duty to foster peace in BiH. President Clinton in numerous diplomatic actions and in U.S. Congress pleaded for stationing of U.S. troops in Bosnia. On the other hand he was under pressure from military leaders in the Pentagon, who doubted that the above-mentioned bombing of Bosnian Serb positions would be successful, and he was on the verge of not executing the “lift and strike” idea.294 The U.S. position was a bit more complicated, as the government was split between the Clinton administration, which went along with the British and French position on the former Yugoslavia, and the U.S. Congress, which was pro-Bosnian and ultimately favored a policy of “lift and strike.” Thus, to explain the outcome of the Dayton Agreement it is necessary to trace the triangular interplay among the three sides to Western policy: the British and French (broadly pro-Belgrade), the U.S. Congress (broadly pro-Bosnian), and the Clinton administration (vacillating between the two).

In spite of the diplomatic efforts, fighting and ethnic cleansing in BiH continued. To protect its credibility and to calm down international public opinion pressures, the UNSC tried to convince the Boshniaks to accept the Vance-Owen plan. However, it also promised that crimes against humanity committed by Serbs and Croats against Boshniaks would not remain unpunished. So the UNSC, on a proposal by France, passed UNSC Resolution 808 on 22 February, in which it decided to establish the Hague tribunal. The next day, President Clinton also proclaimed, after clearing it with UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali, that the West would airlift supplies to the Boshniaks, who were cut off from their supply lines. In spite of quiet opposition from the Pentagon leadership, the French and the British operation “Provide Comfort” began on the night of 28 February.295

It is interesting to note that the international community hesitated and spent a large amount of time before deciding on any action, and even more before it actually acted. There are many reasons for such an attitude. Among the most important is the fact that the international community, including the United States, did not have any strategy on what to do with the former Yugoslavia, which was shaken by armed fights. The problem was complicated even more because some states had their own strategic interests, which depended on different historical sympathies (e.g.., between Serbia and Russia) or historical animosities (e.g.,. between Serbia and Germany). There were too many organizations and bureaucrats who dealt with the Yugoslav crisis in general. Also, the neutrality of UNPROFOR, which was demanded by UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali, had its impact—to slow down any action. Also states that had their soldiers in UNPROFOR were against any serious action, especially against any military intervention against the Serbs, because blue helmets, who carried only light arms, would not be able to resist any Serbian attacks.

By the end of February, Russia also published its views on the Bosnian conflict in a document divided into eight points. In it Russia asked all sides involved to agree to a ceasefire, emphasized its support for the Vance-Owen plan, and expressed its support for a formation of military forces of the United Nations in which Russian forces and NATO would cooperate.

Negotiations over the Vance-Oven plan continued during March, April, and May 1993, but they stalled repeatedly over the same problem as in Lisbon: the lines of the map. Breaking the plan down into its parts—the constitutional principles, a peace agreement to cease hostilities, the delineation of provincial boundaries, and an interim constitution—the cochairmen obtained signatures from all three parties on only the constitutional principles. All other parts obtained no more than two signatures, in shifting combinations over the course of three months.296 But by 25 March, the Bosnian government and Bosnian Croats had signed all four documents, while the Bosnian Serbs refused to sign the map and the interim constitution. The solution was to put pressure on the Bosnian Serbs by turning again to President Miloševic: if Bosnian Serbs did not sign by 26 April, the sanctions on the FRY would be substantially extended and tightened.297 Because the Bosnian Serbs resisted, the UNSC accepted Resolution 816, in which it decided on March 31 to strengthen its enforcement of a no-fly zone over BiH. NATO planes began over-flights—Operation Deny Flight—on 12 April. The operation had important political implications. In addition to the USA, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, also France, which since 1968 had not been part of the NATO military structure, was involved. It was an important sign of new relations between the USA and Europe.298

Karadžic’s reaction was threats of new violence; and only fifteen minutes after the operation began, Bosnian Serbs answered with a new attack on Srebrenica, which caused the UNSC Resolution 819 of 16 April.299 When this resolution was passed, the UNSC also threatened the FRY with new economic sanctions under UNSC Resolution 820, which was to be abolished only after FRY accepted all UN demands. The leaders of the Bosnian Serbs were indifferent, however, and fighting erupted all over Bosnia in the next days. It became clear that in the Bosnian Serb camp, the radicals were gaining, in spite of the demands of Miloševic and Cosic to start a more peaceful policy. Because of the new eruption of violence, the UN decided to punish the FRY with economic sanctions.300

New sanctions meant a real economic catastrophe for the FRY. Slobodan Miloševic became aware of the fact that he could not fight against the whole world, therefore he pressured even more for a compromise in BiH. In terms of their purely economic effect, the trade and other sanctions imposed against the FRY from 1992 to 1995 were highly damaging. During this period, the combined gross domestic product of FRY fell by half, and their combined foreign trade declined by two thirds. Politically, however, the sanctions induced disaster as, at first, they paradoxically strengthened the position of the Yugoslav government. The result of the sanctions for common people in FRY was a sharp decline in their standard of living.301

Whereas sanctions had no immediate effect on Miloševic’s policy, they were perhaps the most important factor in his break with the Bosnian Serbs in 1994 and surely complemented military developments in enlisting support for the conclusion of peace at Dayton in order to expedite the lifting of sanctions against the FRY.

Miloševic became more careful also because of the new debates in the White House, where the president and his advisers discussed the possibility of ending the arms embargo for the Boshniaks and also bombing Serb military targets.302 The possibility of military intervention was so likely that the international community started to discuss an after-war scenario.303 This convinced Miloševic to put pressure on the Bosnian Serbs to accept the Vance-Owen plan. With the assistance of Greek Prime Minister Konstantin Mitsotakis, Miloševic convened a meeting at Vouliagmeni, near Athens, on 1–2 May of the cochairmen and Yugoslav, Croatian, and Bosnian leaders: Cosic, Bulatovic, Tudjman, Izetbegovic, and Karadžic. After heated discussions the meeting ended with the promise of Karadžic to support the Vance-Owen plan if it were accepted also by the Parliament of Republika Srpska..304 This Parliament met on 5 May, but it did not accept the final decision. The majority of its delegates decided on holding a referendum to let people decide whether to accept the Vance-Owen plan or not.305 On 15 and 16 May 1993, 96% of all Bosnian Serbs who came to vote rejected the plan. After this political defeat, Miloševic introduced economic sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs and closed the border on the Drina. In retrospect it seems clear that Milosevic never “closed the border on the Drina.” FRY resources continued to pour into the RS. The team in general concludes that too many observers took Milosevic too seriously when he was acting for his various publics,

The Bosnian Serb refusal of the Vance-Owen agreement surprised the Clinton administration, which of course supported more moderate wing in Republika Srpska led by Biljana Plavšic, who supported Vance-Owen agreement. This did not bring here any points at the Hague.

A meeting of the UNSC was called. Because the Bosnian Serb actions were condemned even in Moscow, it was possible to find a compromise with which to solve this very complicated situation.306 On 6 May the UNSC, with Resolution 824, declared that Sarajevo, Tuzla, Žepa, Goražde, Bihac, and Srebrenica and their surroundings should be treated as safe areas. The issue of “safe havens” is dealt with by Team 4 of Scholars’ Initiative. During that period even greater chaos reigned in BiH. In April 1993 fighting also began to divide territories between the Croatians and Boshniaks. During this period, fights between the Croats and Serbs nearly stopped, because Croats and Serbs were both preoccupied with fighting the Muslim army.307

After rejection of the Vance-Owen plan and start of an open war between Boshniaks and Croats, it became clear that the plan was null and void. Vance resigned as special envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and nonaligned nations started to search for a solution. The Pakistani representative to the United Nations sent a memorandum to the UNSC in the second half of May of 1993 in which UNSC Resolution 824 was criticized. The nonaligned viewed the safe haven concept to be null and void if the inhabitants of those zones did not get help and would be “just condemned to be passive serfs.” The international community should act, providing everything from humanitarian aid to military actions, the non-aligned nations pressured.308

Although arms embargo for former Yugoslavia was still in place, Clinton administration because Bosnia’s survival was at stake had not tightly enforced it. As a result both the Croatians and the Bosnians were able to get some arms, which helped them survive. U.S. government also authorized a private company to use retired U.S. military personal to improve and train the Croatian army.309

The Vance-Owen plan failed after the Clinton administration criticized it for sanctioning ethnic cleansing and legitimizing de facto partitioning of Bosnia along ethnic lines.310 The Vance-Owen plan was rejected also by the fighting sides in BiH (although Croatian and Muslim sides accepted it at first). Sumantra Bose wrote the following on the reasons for Vance-Owen plan to fail:
"... at that point in the war simply because it was already too late; too much had happened in the preceding year of fighting, mass expulsions and atrocities and BiH’s political geography had changed beyond recognition, very rapidly. Vance-Owen’s basic premise—BiH’s population lives ‘inextricably intermingled; thus there appears to be no viable way to create three territorially distinct states based on ethnic or confessional principles’—had been overtaken by events and was no longer fully valid ..."311

By the third week of May, conference cochairman Owen had acknowledged the failure of the Vance-Owen plan, and he and Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorwald Stoltenberg (who replaced Cyrus Vance) set about negotiating a new plan. The attempt to preserve a sovereign BiH had failed in all but name only.

After much discussion, the so-called “Action Plan” of French foreign minister, Alain Juppé was put forward, with its primary aim “to put an end to horrible war and … [to find a] solid and just solution.”312 In spite of the protests of Islamic and non-aligned countries, the plan was presented to the UN and accepted by UNSC Res. 836. With this resolution, which was accepted at the beginning of July 1993, UNSC added to its rulings on BiH two important points. It allowed blue helmets to use force and NATO airplanes to intervene on demand by UNPROFOR.313

Discussion on Bosnia occurred also when president Clinton hosted twelve presidents and prime ministers at the White House who had come to Washington for the dedication of the Holocaust Museum on 22 April. Some of the visiting leaders were pressuring the U.S.A. to get more involved in the UN effort to stop the slaughter in Bosnia. The most eloquent messenger of this viewpoint was Elie Wiesel, who delivered an impassioned speech about Bosnia at the museum dedication. Wiesel, a Nazi death camp survivor and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, turned to President Clinton and said: “Mr. President … I have been in the former Yugoslavia … I cannot sleep since what I have seen. As a Jew I am saying that. We must do something to stop the bloodshed in that country ...” In her memoirs Hillary Clinton wrote that she agreed with Elie Wiesel’s words, because she was convinced that the only way to stop the genocide in Bosnia was through selective air strikes against Serbian targets, but explained that President Clinton was frustrated by Europe’s failure to act after it had insisted that Bosnia was in its own backyard and was its own problem to solve. President Clinton met with his advisers to consider American involvement in the peacekeeping effort and other options to end the conflict. The situation became more agonizing as the death toll mounted.314 When we ask the question of “guilt” for the continuation of the war in BiH in the first half of 1993, we could say that in addition to the three warring sides, also world politics and the great powers could be considered “guilty.” The West did not intervene for a long time. Russia, because of its historic ties with the Serbs, hesitated (it had its own economic troubles), The EU was divided in its views on the Yugoslav crisis, and the U.S.A. hesitated—there were long and exhausting discussions going on among the principals in the U.S. government. Chairman of the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff Colin Powell was defending his ultimately discredited view that military intervention would be too costly. In her memoirs, Madeleine Albright for example, wrote that in answer to her question at a meeting at the White House, “What would it take to free Sarajevo airport from the surrounding Serb artillery?”: … he [Powell] replied consistent with his commitment to the doctrine of overwhelming force, saying it would take tens of thousands of troops, cost billions of dollars, probably result in numerous casualties, and require a long and open-ended commitment of U.S. forces. Time and again he led us up the hill of possibilities and dropped us off on the other side with the practical equivalent of “No can do.” After hearing this for the umpteenth time, I asked in exasperation, “What are you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can’t use it?” Powell wrote in his memoirs that my question nearly gave him an “aneurysm” and that he had to explain “patiently” to me the role of America’s military.315

In his memoirs, Powell continued the story, as he wrote: "… American GIs were not toy soldiers to be moved around on some sort of global game board. I patiently explained that we had used our armed forces more than two dozen times in the preceding three years for war, peacekeeping, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance. But in every one of those cases we had a clear goal and had matched our military commitment to the goal. As a result, we had been successful in every case. I told Ambassador Albright that the U.S. military would carry out any mission it was handed, but my advice would always be that the tough political goals had to be set first. Then we would accomplish the mission. Tony Lake, who had served on the NSC during the Vietnam War, supported my position. “You know, Madeleine,” he said, “the kinds of questions Colin is asking about goals are exactly the ones the military never asked during Vietnam…"316

Bill Clinton agreed with Richard Holbrooke who described Bosnian situation as “the greatest collective security failure of the West since the 1930s.” In his book To End a War, Holbrooke ascribes the failure to five factors: (1) a misreading of Balkan history, holding that the ethnic strife was too ancient and ingrained to be prevented by outsiders; (2) the apparent loss of Yugoslavia’s strategic importance after the end of the Cold War; (3) the triumph of nationalism over democracy as the dominant ideology of post-Communist Yugoslavia; (4) the the 1991 Iraq was; and (5) the decision of the United States to turn the issue over to Europe instead of NATO and the confused and passive European response. To Holbrooke’s list Bill Clinton added a sixth factor: some European leaders were not eager to have a Muslim state in the heart of the Balkans, fearing it might become a base for exporting extremism, a result that their neglect made more, not less, likely.317 This brings us to the ideology of pre-emptive war strategy, which worked in Kosovo, and was then applied to Iraq. The issue would certainly require careful analysis. Let us remember that intervention, when it did come, put pressure on the US and Europe to end the conflict as soon as possible, that is, to seek a political solution to the conflict. But what kind of political solution? In the case of Bosnia, it meant concessions to the Serb side at Dayton; in the case of the Vance Owen plan, the outcome would have been the same. A thoughtful analysis of this preemptive strategy should consider all aspects of such a move, including the pressure to end intervention quickly, if at all possible, by making political concessions to end the fighting.

Because of political and military changes that occurred in spring 1993 in BiH (e.g., the outbreak of fights between Boshniaks and Croatians, defeat of Milan Panic in elections in Serbia) as well as in the international community (Cyrus Vance’s resignation) the EC foreign ministers decided to start a new cycle of peace negotiations among the warring Bosnian sides. Between June and September 1993 a new peace plan was formulated (called the Owen- Stoltenberg plan, after the cochairmen) that returned to the ethnic principles of Lisbon and divided Bosnia into a confederation of three ethnic states. By using wordplay, Owen and Stoltenberg introduced the name “Union of Republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” by which they emphasized its international recognition and at the same time its division along ethnic lines.318 The plan was based on a draft written by Croatian president Tudjman and approved by Serbian president Miloševic. It reflected the military gains of Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats and appeared to confirm the victory of the alternative scenario for BiH looming in the background since the Tudjman-Miloševic discussions of July 1990–March 1991, to partition the republic.319

In spite of the fact that a solution on division into three parts was in place, there were many questions left unsolved. The most burning question was how much territory Boshniaks would get, since they controlled only 10% of BiH but demanded 40%-45% of its territory.320 The Bosnian Boshniak government focused during the summer of 1993 on securing access to the Adriatic and to the Sava River in the north, through what would become Croatian territory, and on the recovery of (prewar) Muslim-majority towns held by Serbs; but it appeared to have lost hope for a sovereign Bosnia. President Izetbegovic finally gave up on his dual role on 31 July. In a radio broadcast of the meeting to the Bosnian population, he announced that the Muslims would now have to fight for territory to ensure their survival as a nation.321

In this unsettled climate, Owen and Stoltenberg on August 18 presented in Geneva their plan for the future of BiH. It included maps according to which Serbs would control 52%, Croats 19%, and Boshniaks 30% of the territory. On 20 August, the Bosnian government rejected the plan and brought negotiations to a standstill. Despite strong evidence that public opinion favored an end to the war, the Izetbegovic-Silajdžic leadership insisted it had no choice but to shift from diplomatic to military means and to continue the campaign to reclaim territory lost to Serbs and Croats. It looked as if the only language all the parties involved in the conflict understood was the language of violence. With the failure of negotiations during 1993 and simultaneous military gains by the Bosnian government and Muslim militia forces, Muslim politicians gave up on their Bosnian identity and began to create a Muslim state, expelling non-Muslims from villages and towns. Muslim schools sprang up to give children religious training (financed by Arab Muslim states), and circles within the government demonstrated increasing radicalism.

In autumn of 1993 the war intensified. The violence reached one of its peaks on 9 November 1993, when Croats continued their merciless siege of Mostar, willfully destroying in sixteenth-century bridge, a symbol of Bosnian unity and culture.322 This action shocked the world. The Zagreb newspaper Vjesnik wrote on this occasion: “… that once this bridge was destroyed … any thought of survival of multicultural Bosnia seems as nonsense. The mortally wounded bridge is a tombstone on two shores of the river, which is widening …”323 At the same time, Western officials were congratulating themselves for success in keeping the Bosnian war contained. Efforts by the ICFY co-chairmen to raise the idea again of a global conference for all representatives of the former Yugoslavia and the major Western powers directly engaged in the conflict fell on deaf ears. During November the Clinton administration officials declared their policy in Bosnia a success because the media battle had been won: the war was fading from the airwaves.

During November and December 1993, however, two essential elements of the Western approach to the Bosnian war began to unravel. Under increasing pressure from front-line states, particularly Hungary, to relieve the costs of the sanctions to their economies and political stability, the EC began to discuss terms under which sanctions on FRY might be gradually lifted. With no end to the war and to the UN operation in sight and facing rising attacks on their UNPROFOR soldiers and a seriously deteriorating military situation in BiH, the French and Britain began threatening to withdraw their troops from Bosnia altogether.324 Although the EU backed down when the U.S.A. refused to budge on the sanctions, France began a more consistent campaign to obtain a substantial change on the ground. It pressured the U.S.A. to help obtain signatures on a peace agreement to counter the opposition of the Bosnian government; but the U.S.A. refused to help, objecting to a plan that the Muslims found unacceptable. French initiatives included a joint French-German proposal for revision in the current peace plan, put forward by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and his counterpart from France, Allain Juppé. Like the previous Owen-Stoltenberg peace plan, the proposal of Kinkel and Juppé also accepted an internal partition of Bosnia along ethnic lines. However, it proposed that 3% more of Bosnian territory be allocated to the Boshniaks, that a modus vivendi be established between the government of Croatia and the Bosnian Serbs, and that sanctions on the FRY consequently be eased.325 The Bosnian government and the Clinton administration opposed the plan, which never made further progress. Like its predecessors, that plan failed because the parties to the conflict were unable to reach agreement and the main external actors were unable or unwilling to bring sufficient pressure to bear on them.326

Because of different strategic interests, the international community once more denied “help” to BiH. It is interesting to note that the Clinton administration did not change its Bosnian policy at once, in spite of the fact that during his election campaign Clinton promised decisive action in BiH. Although, as Samantha Power wrote, the Clinton administration deplored the suffering of Bosnians far more than had the Bush administration, a number of factors caused Clinton to back off from using force. First, the U.S. military advised against intervention. Clinton and his senior political advisers had little personal experience with military matters. The Democrats had not occupied the White House since 1980. General Powell was still guided by a deep hostility to humanitarian missions that—in his view— implicated no vital U.S. interests. Clinton was particularly deferential to Powell because the president had been publicly derided as a “draft dodger” in the campaign and because he had bungled an early effort to allow gay soldiers to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Second, Clinton’s foreign policy architects were committed multilateralists. They would act only with the consent and active participation of their European partners. France and Britain had deployed a combined 5,000 peacekeepers to Bosnia to aid the UN delivery of humanitarian aid, and they feared Serb retaliation against the troops. They also trusted that the negotiation process would eventually pay dividends. With the Serbs controlling some 70% of the country by 1993, many European leaders privately urged ethnic partition. Third, Clinton was worried about American public opinion. As the Bush team had done, the Clinton administration kept one eye on the ground in Bosnia and one eye fixed on the polls. Although a plurality in the American public supported U.S. intervention, the percentages tended to vary with slight shifts in the questions asked. And U.S. officials did not trust that public support would withstand U.S. casualties. Americans have historically opposed military campaigns abroad except in cases where the U.S.A. or its citizens have been attacked or in instances where the U.S.A. has intervened and then appealed to the public afterward, when it has benefited from the “rally-around-the-flag” effect. In the absence of American leadership, the public is usually ambivalent at best. Instead of leading the American people to support humanitarian intervention, Clinton adopted a policy of non-confrontation.327 UNPROFOR, with its complicated ways, also hindered any determined action in BiH. UNPROFOR—unlike IFOR/SFOR—never had any serious war-fighting capabilities. As such, it was never meant as or perceived as a peace-imposing force. It was a peacekeeping force inserted into regions where there was no peace. It was mostly irrelevant in Croatia (where the JA/local Serb forces had already achieved their goal of de facto separating from Croatia the ethnic Serb areas and never planned to conquer the rest of Croatia) and it was sometimes irrelevant but often itself a hostage to the warring parties in Bosnia. As such its introduction was one of the more irresponsible actions of the international community throughout this period.

The conditions in BiH deteriorated at the end of 1993. This period, however, brought numerous changes in the field of world politics. The first sign was the increased interest of the Clinton administration in the Bosnian war. The reason for that was the victory of the (nationalist) opposition at elections for the Russian Duma, which demanded renewal of the Russian (Soviet) Empire. Its most important messenger was Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who attacked the foreign policy of Yeltsin and Kozyrev and at the same time promised “Serb brothers, traditional allies of Russia” all the help they needed.328 The Clinton administration was aware of the fact that the Bosnian question was a salient issue of Russian internal politics and it had to consider how to prevent tensions between Russia and the U.S.A. because of the Balkan crisis. With the help of the Vatican and Bonn, the U.S.A. started to plan an intervention that would lead to peace between the Croats and the Boshniaks, isolate the Serbs, and strengthen Macedonian independence.329

Those diplomatic moves also caused changes among individual UN representatives in the former Yugoslavia. In December 1993 Thorvald Stoltenberg resigned from the post of special representative of Boutros-Ghali. Stoltenberg got into verbal fights with General Jean Cot. Cot wanted to have the right to answer to the Serb attacks immediately without having to wait for “long procedures among civilians in the UN hierarchy.”330 Stoltenberg was replaced by a Japanese diplomat, Yasushi Akashi, in January 1994. Before Akashi was named, by mid- January 1994, the blue berets commander in BiH, General Francis Briquemont, and General Cot were replaced for criticizing the non-activities of the UN and Secretary General.331 The UN in general lived in the past, when Yugoslavia was the leader of the non-aligned movement and, as such, also a staunch supporter of the UN.

We should take into account also the negative side of UN intervention, with UN forces complicit in the assassination of Bosnian Prime Minister Hakija Turajlic; UN forces complicit in upholding the siege of Sarajevo; UN commanders like Generals Mackenzie and Rose deeply hostile to the Bosnians; UN sources making false claims about the Bosnians shelling themselves.

All the above-mentioned events would not be worth mentioning if they did not demonstrate serious crises inside the UN mission in BiH. One of the main reasons for these crises was the policy of an equidistant stance among the warring sides, which many criticized as fruitless passivity. By opposing air strikes on Serbian targets and his determination to keep calm and keep talking objectively, Boutros-Ghali was supporting the Bosnian Serbs, who were happy with his policy. Boshniaks accused Boutros-Ghali of being too friendly with Miloševic and at an international conference in Kuala Lumpur, Izetbegovic said that among thirty UNSC resolutions on BiH, only the one that forbade Boshniaks to be armed was passed and implemented.332 Boutros-Ghali was trying to find excuses for his policy by saying that NATO’s attacks would be more dangerous for UN troops on the ground than for the Serbs. Boutros-Ghali, as former Egyptian foreign minister during the Tito period, suffered from “Yugo-nostalgia” and still recognized the existence of Yugoslavia. UN troop commandants opposed his policy because they knew the situation on the ground. They could not bear the fact that they could not intervene in spite of many war crimes. Therefore it is not surprising that there were many quarrels inside the UN mission in BiH, especially between “civilians” and “soldiers.”333

The Clinton administration wanted to make good on its promises in the election campaign of 1992 to do something in Bosnia. In spite of ongoing discussion within the administration on whether the limited action would bear fruit (then chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Powell was in particular against it)334 President Clinton tried to end the period of inactivity of the international community in Bosnia. The unease over the in-effectiveness of the international community showed also in Brussels at a NATO summit on 10–11 January 1994 that U.S. President Bill Clinton attended. The main reason for this meeting was to launch the initiative “Partnership for Peace,” which would include members of the former Warsaw Pact to connect them with NATO. The discussion was also on BiH.335 At the end of the meeting a communiqué for the public was issued in which NATO threatened the Bosnian Serbs again with air strikes if they did not stop the siege of Sarajevo, permit a rotation of UN troops in Srebrenica (from Canadian to Dutch) that the Bosnian Serb Army was blocking, and permit the use of the Tuzla airport for UN humanitarian aid.336 At that meeting they did not decide when these air strikes would occur if the Serbs did not fulfill the demands. The British and Canadian governments were worried about the destiny of their soldiers in Srebrenica, so they did not push for decisive answers. The French response (in reverse of their position from before) was to mobilize the UN Secretary-General, Boutros- Ghali, persuading him to reverse his position of mid-January and agree by 26 January if those demands were not met. The French did that under pressure of public opinion in their land.337

In spite of this French viewpoint, Clinton still doubted the readiness of the European Allies to act. At the end of the summit, he told them not to threaten air strikes if they didn’t think they would fulfil the threat. He said: “At stake is not only the security of the Sarajevo townspeople and the possibility to end this horrible war, but also the credibility of the alliance.”338 Contrary to the insistence of the international community that the borders of the former country’s constituent republics were internationally sacred and that each state was sovereign, the US officials argued that the limits to negotiations within these borders had been reached and instead sought to gain a way out of the deadlocks over some intractable issues by negotiating between republics’ leaders, such as to provide access to the sea in Croatia for the Bosnian government.

This new ICFY tactic yielded an area. of wide cease-fire among all three parties in BiH, and also between the Croatian government and Krajina Serbs—a “Christmas truce”—from 23 December 1993 to 15 January 1994. By mid-January, the cochairmen appeared to have resolved disagreements on all but about 5% of the contested territory in BiH. A joint declaration between presidents Tudjman and Miloševic on 19 January to normalize relations between Croatia and Serbia, negotiated also at Geneva in November, appeared to return the diplomatic task to the hopeful status quo ante of January 1992 in relations between Croatia and krajina Serbs. Also in January, a new UNPROFOR commander for BiH, British Lieutenant-General Michael Rose, committed himself to build on the diplomatic progress of his predecessor in Sarajevo, Belgian Lieutenant-General Francis Briquemont, with a “robust” approach to implementing its mandate.

And then the tragedy of 6 February 1994 came. A 120-millimeter mortar fired into a Markale market in Sarajevo killed at least 68 people and wounded 197, providing the psychological shock necessary to mobilize diplomatic efforts from many sides.339 The contemporary observers as well as historians are still considering a possibility that this incident was one of the efforts of all the participants (but especially the Muslims, as the underdogs) to create incidents (including the killing of one’s own people) to shock the international community and bring it in on one side or another. The legitimate question is whether the international community was willing to go along with this strategy because it facilitated intervention to end the war?340

After the Markale market tragedy, the civilian and military leaders of UNPROFOR in Zagreb—Yasushi Akashi and General Jean Cot, together with General Rose in Sarajevo— began to negotiate a cease-fire for Sarajevo. Aided by a NATO ultimatum to the Bosnian Serb army issued by the North Atlantic Council on 9 February to “end the siege of Sarajevo” by withdrawing, or regrouping under UNPROFOR control, all heavy weapons from an exclusion zone around Sarajevo of twenty kilometers within ten days or be subjected immediately to air strikes, the first of three negotiated cease-fires over the next six weeks appeared to create a momentum for peace “from the bottom up.”341 NATO’s ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs was one of the decisive factors in the quest for a solution to the Bosnian crisis because the West turned from peacekeeping to peacemaking.342

Once NATO addressed this ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs—without informing Moscow about it—Zhirinovsky announced that air strikes on Serb positions in BiH would mean the “declaration of war with Russia … and the beginning of World War III.”343 Russian foreign minister Kozyrev also wrote a letter to Boutros-Ghali that “any type of air raids … could provoke the worst consequences ….”344 Part of the international community worked toward an agreement between the Croats and Boshniaks, to be negotiated and implemented as soon as possible.345 The impulse for agreement was initiated by Pope John Paul II, the Croatian Catholic Church, and Bosnian Franciscians. It was supported also by Turkish, German, and especially U.S. diplomats.346 President Clinton’s special representative, Charles Redman, and U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, Peter W. Galbraith, presented to Croatian President Franjo Tudjman plans for a Muslim-Croatian federation in BiH. With different threats (e.g., economic sanctions) they convinced Tudjman to give up, at least temporarily, the idea of division of BiH,347 and persuaded the warring Bosnian Croats and Boshniaks to stop fighting each other.348

For perhaps the first time, the U.S.A. and other members of the international community appeared to mean business. With the help of Russian diplomats and threats of air strikes, they convinced the Bosnian Serbs to withdraw some of their heavy weaponry from the hills surrounding Sarajevo.349 In the first armed action ever by NATO, two F-16 fighter jets shot down four Yugoslav planes that had violated the no-fly zone over BiH. This time, even the Russians thought that the action was justified.350

The actions of the international community brought results. On 2 March 1994 the international mediators practically forced the Muslims and Bosnian Croats to sign the Washington Framework Agreement, which unified the territories under their control into the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. After some days of Croat-Bosniak negotiations in Vienna, Austria, they formally signed the so-called Washington Agreement in the U.S. capital on 16 March 1994; in addition to Tudjman and Izetbegovic, U.S. President Cliton also attended.351 With the Federation, the Bosnian Croats would permit supplies to flow again to the Bosnian government (including weapons and materiel for the army) along routes they controlled, and joint operations could be encouraged between the Croatian Defense Council (Hrvatsko vjece odbrane — HVO) and government forces. The agreement also supported the Bosnian government goal of recreating a unified BiH.352

The members of EU were not particularly happy about the Washington Agreement. If anything, Moscow was more supportive because they were convinced that it created a good starting point for future discussions with the Serbs. In Vladivostok on 14 March 1994 U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev met to discuss Bosnia. The results of this meeting were seen quite soon.353 While providing a welcome cease-fire and the revival of commerce through the opening of routes in areas controlled by the federation, the Washington Agreement also encouraged an intensification of the Bosnian government military offensive during the spring, confirmed General Mladic’s interpretation of the discussion of August 1993 that Serbs were at war with NATO, and returned negotiations on a peace agreement to the situation that existed before May 1993. Now the Bosnian Croats and the Bosnian government favored peace, while the Bosnian Serbs were again in the opposition. To ward off what appeared to be a death blow to ICFY from U.S. initiatives and to avoid the fate of the Hague conference in December 1991 and the Lisbon negotiations in March 1992, the co-chairmen proposed to set up a negotiating group of the major powers. This Contact Group, composed of representatives from the United States (Charles Redman), Britain (David Manning), France (Jacques-Alain de Sedouy), Germany (Michael Steiner), and Russia (Vitalii Churkin) was to work out the missing ingredient to a general peace, an agreement between the new Bosnian–Croat federation and the Bosnian Serbs. The EU and the UN were excluded from the negotiating process in hopes of making it easier to negotiate.354 In summer of 1994, the group emerged with its peace plan, which recognized the existing borders of BiH as a whole, but more importantly allocated 51% of the territory to the Muslim-Croat federation and 49% to the Bosnian Serbs, effectively reducing the latter’s previous gains by one-third.

The plan was issued to all sides with a fortnight’s deadline to reply.355 After the Bosnian Serbs rejected the Contact Group Plan—despite the intercession of the Russian government and Slobodan Miloševic—FRY closed its borders with those parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina under Serb control and broke off ties with Karadžic.356 On 23 September the UNSC adopted two resolutions. Res. 942 introduced economic sanctions against Bosnian Serbs and prohibited any diplomatic contacts with their leaders. Res. 943 decided to suspend the restrictions on travel and sports imposed by its resolutions on the FRY for an initial period of 100 days from the receipt by the Council of a report from the Secretary-General that the authorities of the FRY has effectively closed its international border with the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina with respect to all goods except foodstuffs, medical supplies, and clothing for essential humanitarian needs.357

In the U.S.A., the attacks by Serbs on Bihac triggered yet another assault on the administration’s policy and the Europeans, particularly the British. The attack on Clinton administration policy was led by incoming Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and by Newt Gingrich, the incoming House majority leader. Both demanded UN withdrawal, U.S. air strikes, and the arming and training of the Sarajevo government. In order to stave off Congressional demands for more concrete action, the U.S. Government unilaterally withdrew from the policing of the arms embargo in mid-November 1994.

At first it seemed as if the whole blockade would collapse. Although the Pentagon denied any intention of supplying U.S. arms to the Bosnians, it confirmed that arms for the Bosnian Serbs would be confiscated, whereas those bound for the Sarajevo government would be escorted by U.S. naval vessels to their destination to ensure they were not diverted elsewhere. The Pentagon also announced that it would not pass intelligence reports of weapons shipments to the Europeans, unless these involved weapons of mass destruction or missiles likely to endanger allied aircraft. It made little practical difference: very few of the weapons reaching the Bosnians came by sea; only three of the 40,000-odd merchantmen stopped had been carrying arms; and, in any case, the Europeans could maintain the patrols themselves. Operation Sharp Guard in the Adriatic, and the embargo itself, would continue. 358 This, however, did not stop the war. More territory changed hands in the period from fall 1994 to spring 1995 than at any time since the beginning of the war.