Break Up Of Yugoslavia Essay, Research Paper
THE BREAK-UP OF YUGOSLAVIA
The Part Played by Serbia
From the moment it was promulgated the Yugoslav Constitution of 1974 forced fierce opposition ftom Serbian nationalists of various political complexions – mainly on account of its confederal element, especially the considerable degree of autonomy granted to Vojvodina and Kosovo. A programme for the revocation of the 1974 Constitution and for the formation of a unitarian state was drawn up in the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences (SANU). It was they who in 1986 composed what has come to be called the “Memorandum”, outlining a policy for the creation of “Greater Serbia”. It clearly describes a plan for the political union of Serbs in Serbia and those outside the Serbian border, and for the abolition of autonomy in Vojvodina and Kosovo. As a political manifesto the Memorandum was a device for the destruction of Yugoslavia, promoting, as it did, the idea of the “total national and cultural integration of the Serbian people”, regardless of where they lived. It envisaged all Serbs in one state, whether it was called Greater Serbia or Yugoslavia. This policy was a direct threat to all the non- Serbian peoples in Yugoslavia. The Memorandum was a blueprint for the division and disintegration of the country. The man who was to put the plan into practice emerged in the person of Slobodan Milosevic, who became the leader of the Serbian Communist Nationalists at the eighth session of the Central Committee of the League of Communist of Serbia in 1987.
With his arrival the policy of the Memorandum began to be put into practice. As a first step a populist and nationalistic movement was started, made up of members of the Serbian League of Communists, various extreme nationalist groups, intellectuals, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the media. It made use of mass meetings to bring pressure to bear on all those who opposed it or did not subscribe to its aims. It was in fact an alliance of left- wing (government) forces and right-wing forces which had just begun to organize openly.
The first aim of the populist movement was to reconstruct Serbia within the federation. To this end strong political and moral pressure was brought to bear on politicians in the autonomous provinces of Vojvodina through mass meetings under the guise of an anti-bureaucratic revolution. Meetings of this kind were held throughout Serbia during 1988 and 1989 and inflamed Serbian nationalist sentiment.
On 28 March 1989, on the crest of this wave, amendments to the Serbian constitution were enacted, by virtue of which Serbia became a single unitarian state with central authority applying to the entire territory. De facto the autonomy of Hungarians and Albanians was abolished by the abolition of the autonomous status of Vojvodina and Kosovo, and the federal constitution of 1974 was thus abrogated. On 28 June 1989, in a speech in Kosovo, Slobodan Milosevic declared that any opposition to this vision of a new order in Yugoslavia would be crushed by force of arms. On 29 September 1989 a new constitution was approved and the federal constitution of Serbian 1974 was finally buried. In the formal legal sense, by its new constitution, Serbia dealt a fatal blow to the Yugoslav federation. It was through this violent, unilateral change to the 1974 constitution by Serbia that Yugoslavia ceased to exist and not because of secession by Slovenia and Croatia – a Serbian argument that has been accepted by some people in the West. There now followed an attempt to reconstruct Yugoslavia on Serbian lines, an attempt to realize the plan outlined in the Memorandum, by the expansion of Serbia. Following the national homogenization within Serbia, the Serbian leadership set about homogenizing the Serbian population throughout the territory of Yugoslavia (”All Serbs in one state”), regardless of the ethnic structure and the rights of other nations.
The Position of Croatia
The Communist leadership in Croatia did not react to the Serbian political offensive until the end of 1989, inhibited no doubt by the high proportion of Serbs in the state and Party apparatus (”the Croatian silence”). At the end of 1989, however, it was decided to allow multi-party elections in Croatia, and consequently a set of democratic, non- communist parties emerged: the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) – the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) and a number of other smaller parties. The Croatian Peasant Party was revived, along with a number of other parties. On 15 February 1990 the Croatian Parliament (Sabor) passed a motion calling for multi-party parliamentary elections, and on 20 February issued a declara-tion on electoral principles. Voting took place in two rounds in April and May, and the Croatian Democratic Union gained a majority. Thus, a democratically based regime was established.
Even in the run-up to the elections Belgrade had launched statements concerning the “threat” to Serbs in Croatia the aim being to mobilize the Serbs in Croatia to oppose the new government and use them to realize the Greater Serbia plan. The Serbian minority was organized in the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), which gained five parliamentary seats in the first multi-party elections. To begin with it seemed as if these members, in spite of their extreme political views, would respect the rules of parliamentary procedure. But the SDS soon declared that it was boycotting such procedure and hence-forth had recourse to terrorist tactics, instigating an armed rebellion of the Serbian minority against the democratically elected authority of the Republic of Croatia. The first open sign of rebellion was the obstruction of road and rail communication in all those parts of Croatia where there was a sizeable proportion of Serbs (known as the “barricade revolution”).
Discussions on the Restructuring of Yugoslavia
The political crisis in Yugoslavia grew increasingly acute as Serbian pressure to alter the constitutional structure of the rigidly centralized state mounted. The leadership in Slovenia and Croatia drafted and proposed a confederative model for restructuring the country. It became increasingly obvious, however, that Serbia meant to impose its will by force. The threat of force seemed all the more real in that Serbia had long held a dominant position in the Federation, especially in the Army and the police.
The Presidium of Yugoslavia several times discussed posible constitutional changes. At one of these sessions in the middle of September 1990 a joint Croatian and Slovene proposal for a confederation was rejected. Any discussion on the reorganization of Yugoslavia in fact turned out to be fruitless. Serbia was determined to impose its own solution at any price, refusing to envisage any solution of the position of Serbian ethnic communities outside Serbia other than their inclusion in a single sovereign state, federative in form, butcentralistic in effect, and under Serbian domination. The Serbs would not consent to any other arrangement for the restructuring of Yugoslavia.
Croatian Reaction to Serbian Threats of Aggression
Through its intervention Serbia radicalized relations within Croatia, and exploited the terrorist wing of the Serbian minority in the interests of the Greater Serbia plan.
At the end of December 1990 a new constitution was promulgated in Croatia which declared the Republic of Croatia to be “an integral and indivisible democratic social state in which power is derived from the people and belongs to the people as a community of free and equal citizens” (Article 1). On 21 February 1991, in view of the increasingly real prospect of an attack on Croatia by the Yugoslav National Army, the Croatian parliament passed a motion on the defence of constitutional order in the Republic of Croatia and a resolution accepting a procedure for secession from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which envisaged the possibility of association within a union of sovereign republics.
Serbia now began to intervene more and more openly in the internal affairs of the Republic of Croatia, especially by exerting influence on the Serbian minority. For this reason, on 17 April 1991, the Republic of Croatia published a declaration accusing the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia of interfering in its internal affairs, and the following month, on 2 May 1991, a motion approving a referendum on the sovereignty and independence of Croatia. This referendum was duly held on 19 May 1991. It consisted of two questions.
1. “Are you in favour of the Republic of Croatia as a sovereign and independent state which guarantees cultural autonomy and all civil rights to Serbs and members of other nationalities in Croatia, entering into a union of sovereign states with other republics (in line with the proposal put forward by the Republic of Croatia and Slovenia as a means of resolving the political crisis in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)?”
2. “Are you in favour of the Republic of Croatia remaining in Yugoslavia as an integral federal state (in line with the proposal put forward by the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro as a means of resolving the political crisis in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)?”
93.24% of votes were cast for the first proposal and no more than 5.38% for the second, i.e. for Croatia remaining in Yugoslavia.
On the basis of the referendum the following motions were passed:
1. “The Republic of Croatia, as a sovereign and independent state quaranteeing cultural autonomy and all civil rights to Serbs and members and other nationalities, may enter into a union of sovereign states with other republics. 2. The Republic of Croatia will not remain within Yugoslavia as an integral federal state.” On 25 June 1991, the parliament of the Republic of Croatia (at the same time as the Slovene Assembly) passed a constitutional motion declaring the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Croatia, and this motion became Article I of the constitution. By this motion, Croatia began the process of dissociation from the other federal republics of Yugoslavia. It also began the process which was to lead to international recognition. Henceforth, only the legislation of the Republic of Croatia was valid in Croatia. In this way Croatia reclaimed all those rights and obligations which, under the constitution of Croatia within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, had been surrendered to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was stated that “the procedure for the transfer of rights and obligations will be regulated by a constitutional bill”.
The constitutional motion was accompanied on 25 June 1991 by a Declaration proclaiming Croatia to be a sovereign and independent Republic, and a Charter of the rights of Serbs and other ethnic groups within the Republic of Croatia. This motion and the Declaration of the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Croatia were in response to the aggressive attitude of the Republic of Serbia and the Yugoslav National Army towards Croatia and the Croatian people during 1989, 1990 and 1991.
Opposition to the authority of the Republic of Croatia by members of the Serbian minority intensified, especially in the so-called Krajina which according to the Serbian plan was supposed to become part of Greater Serbia. Terrorist groups from the militant wing of the Serbian Democratic Party openly aided and abetted the operations of the Yugoslav National Army, which was increasingly becoming a Serbian army. Armed conflict that had started in the spring of 1991 escalated at the beginning of August in the same year. In Croatia open warfare was knocking at the door. Terrorists of the minority attacked Croatian towns, police stations and other institutions. The Army, i.e. the Yugoslav National Army, acted the part of “impartial peacemaker”, but in fact supplied the insurgents with arms and every other kind of equipment.
Soon what had been terrorist gangs became official organizations. With the aid of the Yugoslav Army and extremists among the Serbs in Croatia, Serbia now embarked on a war of conquest. It was not a civil war, but simply a campaign of conquest in which the Yugoslav National Army and other Serbian forces began the systematic destruction of Croatia. In September 1991 the Yugoslav Minister of Defence, General V. Kadijevic, despatched the first armoured column from Belgrade into Croatia, and by the end of September 1991 all-out war was raging in the country. The Serbian army bombed and shelled Croatian towns and cities by land, sea and air – Vukovar, Osijek, Vinkovci, Sisak, Karlovac, Gospic, Zadar and Sibenik. For days on end the whole of Croatia was subject to air raid warnings and general alerts.
The Army and Serbian rebels wrecked hospitals, nursery schools, schools, industrial plants and power stations. They burned down entire villages and murdered the Croatian inhabitants. In September Osijek was shelled heavily for 36 hours on end, and Vinkovci suffered the same fate. Vukovar was persistently and systematically destroyed until nothing was left but ruins. Other places in eastern and western Croatia, in Lika, Banija and Dalmatia were similarly attacked. Cultural treasures and historical cities like Dubrovnik were treated in the same ruthless manner: Serbs and Montenegrins bombarded Dubrovnik with every weapon. In September, October and November 1991 Croatia found itself fighting for bare survival.
In response to the aggression, and in order to ensure its own survival, the Croatian parliament on 8 October 1991 declared that it was severing all official and legal ties with Yugoslavia. This political act of self-defence was necessary to preserve the collective existence of Croatia faced with a combined military attack by the Yugoslav Army, the Republic of Serbia and part of the Serbian minority in Croatia the aim being to keep Croatia in Yugoslavia by force. After this attack and all that Croatia suffered as a result, it could not possibly remain in a common state with Serbia.
The Croatian leadership did all it could through its long- standing offer of a confederative agreement to resolve the Yugoslav crisis. But Serbia and the Yugoslav Army were now on the way of establishing Serbia. The war soon made abundantly clear what Serbian and Yugoslav war aims really were. Their prime object was to force Croats and other non- Serbian inhabitants of Croatia to mass exodus through brutal terror and the burning or demolition of Croatian villages and towns. The Serbian Fascist leader, Vojislav Segelj, proposed the use of napalm bombs in the battle against the Croats. A second war aim was the destruction of cultural monuments in order to obliterate the Croatian national identity and destroy any evidence that Croats had ever existed on the territory of Croatia. A further object was to destroy the economic and ecological conditions essential to the life in Croatia. The ultimate aim was to set up a rump Yugoslav state or Greater Serbia that would incorporate occupied Croatian territory. In this way Serbia tried by force to redefine the frontiers between the republics of a Yugoslavia that in fact no longer existed.
Croatia’s International Situation
On 7 July 1991, following a brief war between the Yugoslav National Army and Slovenia, a ministerial delegation of the European Community arrived in Yugoslavia. The ministers held discussions with representatives of all the republics. This was the start of the internationalization of the Yugoslav political crisis. The ministerial trio were meant to prepare the way for discussions between the conflicting parties. On 7 July 1991 a joint declaration was issued (the Brioni declaration) laying down the principles for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. A codicil to the declaration envisaged the presence in Yugoslavia of a group of observers from the European Community. Their first task was to supervise the withdrawal of the Yugoslav National Army from Slovenia. Croatia, faced with the imminent threat of war, asked for the observer’s mission to be extended to include Croatia. This was done by a memorandum of agreement involving the extension of the observer’s activities and their missions in Yugoslavia from 1 September 1991 on the basis of the Brioni agreement of 7 July 1991. The course of events suggested that Europe would not be able simply to stand aside. A Declaration on Yugoslavia was issued at an extraordinary meeting of the European Community on 3 September 1991 in the Hague. Stating that “the Community and its member states call on all parties strictly to observe their obligations under the cease-fire agreement and the Memorandum of Agreement. On the basis the Community and its member states will convene a Conference on Yugoslavia under its auspices in the Peace Palace in the Hague, on 7 September 1991, and will simultaneously establish arbitration procedure”. In this declaration the extension of the European Community’s observer mission to Croatia was confirmed. Who was to be present at the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia? In the first place, the Presidium of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the federal government and the presidents of the republics. The proceedings were to be chaired by a British diplomat, Lord Carrington. The task of the Conference was to adopt an arrangement that would satisfy the conflicting aspirations of “the Yugoslav republics on the basis of the following principles: the inadmissibility of unilateral changes in frontiers through the use of force, the protection of the rights of all nations of Yugoslavia, taking full account of their aims and aspirations”. The international Conference on Yugoslavia then got under way. Thus, on 4 November 1991 the Hague Convention, better known as the Memoranda on the Convention (the fourth version of the EC Convention of the Hague Conference, Den Haag, 4 November 1991) was passed. The first Article of the First Chapter stated:
“1. New relationships between the republics will be based on:
a) the sovereignty and independence of the republics with internationally recognized character and status for those republics which wish it;
b) the free association of republics with internationally recognized character and status, as provided for by this Convention;
c) comprehensive arrangements that include a mechanism for the supervision and protection of human rights and the special status of particular groups and regions; d) a common state consisting of republics with equal rights for those republics which wish to remain within a single common state;
e) the involvement of European institutions, where this seems appropriate;
f) the recognition of the independence of those republics which wish it, within their present frontiers, unless otherwise agreed”. The second Chapter called for a guarantee of civil rights and the rights of particular ethnic groups.
Croatia was interested in every respect in the first alternative – a sovereign and independent state with internationally recognized character and status within its existing frontiers. In an opinion handed down by the arbitration commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia on 25 June 1991 it was stated that the republics had expressed a wish for independence. Croatia and Slovenia had confirmed this by referendum on 25 June 1991 and had passed legislation abrogating their political and legal links with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Macedonia had done the same on 8 September 1991, while Bosnia and Herzegovina’s parliament had passed a resolution on the republic’s sovereignty on 4 October 1991 which had been opposed by the Serbian representatives. It was further stated that the federal institutions of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia did not meet the requirements of representation in a proper federal state, that recourse to force had brought about armed clashes between different parts of the federation, and that the federation itself had proved incapable of taking any steps whatsoever to prevent such clashes, since it was the federal government itself which had provoked them. “The arbitration commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia considered that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was in process of disintegration; that the republics were obliged to solve the problems of successor states which might arise from this process, in conformity with the principles and rules of international law and with special concern for human rights and the rights of ethnic minorities; that those republics which wished to do so might form new associations which would have democratic institutions of their own choice”.
Seeing that the arbitration commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia had observed that “the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia is in process of dissolution”, and since similar developments were taking place in Central Europe, particularly in the Soviet Union, at the request of the Council of Europe “ministers had assessed the, situation in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union with the object of working out a new approach to relations with the new states”. In that sense leading European politicians agreed on “a common policy in regard to the procedure for recognizing these new states”, on condition that they adhered to the charters of the United Nations, the Conference on European Security and Co-operation and the Paris Charter guaranteeing human and ethnic rights of minorities, the inviolability of frontiers, international agreements and international arbitration. The European Community then discussed international recognition of the new states in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. In a Declaration on Yugoslavia issued on 16 December 1991 the Community invited all the Yugoslav republics to declare whether they wished to be recognized as independent states; did they accept the obligations contained in the afore- mentioned guidelines, did they accept the stipulations in the draft convention, particularly those in Chapter II on human rights and the rights of national and ethnic groups discussed by the Conference on Yugoslavia, did they mean to go on supporting the efforts of the General Secretary and the Security Council of the United Nations and the continuation of the Conference on Yugoslavia. Applications from those republics which returned an affirmative answer would be submitted by the Chairman of the Conference to the arbitration commission for their view before the date on which a decision on recognition of the republics would come into force. A questionnaire was also compiled stating the criteria for international recognition. The Republic of Croatia completed the questionnaire, stating that it fulfilled all the conditions for international recognition that had been laid down by the European Community.
Croatia unconditionally accepted all the “criteria” for the independence of the new states in Eastern Europe, as well as a declaration on Yugoslavia agreed by a meeting of the council of ministers of the EC in Brussels. The “criteria” were accepted by the parliament of the Republic of Croatia, along with all relevant obligations, i.e. the Charters of the United Nations, the Conference on European Security and Co-operation and the Paris Charter. Human rights were guaranteed by the 1990 Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, while Paragraph 3 of the motion of 8 October 1991 specifically guaranteed the rights of minorities and ethnic communities. These were once more confirmed on 4 December 1991 in a Bill of Rights which laid down the rights and liberties of individuals and the rights of communities and ethnic and national minorities in the Republic of Croatia. All these rights were further guaranteed and confirmed by articles of the Constitution, particularly Article 12(2), 15 (cultural autonomy) and Article 83, a charter of the rights of Serbs and other minorities in the Republic of Croatia, which had been adopted by parliament on 25 June 1991.
On the basis of the EC documents, the independence of the Republic of Croatia was recognized on 15 January 1992.
Establishment of Peace and Security in the Republic of Croatia
The Vance Plan
When the Republic of Croatia was internationally recognized more than a quarter of its territory was occupied by the Yugoslav National Army and Serbian paramilitary formations. These forces immediately began the brutal expulsion of all the remaining Croatian and other non-Serbian inhabitants of the occupied territory, simultaneously destroying all cultural and religious evidence of the existence of the Croatian people in these areas. They threatened a further escalation of hostilities, with even greater loss of life and destruction of property.
In order to create conditions for the peace and security essential for discussions on Croatia, but also for solving the Yugoslav crisis, the idea of a UN peace-keeping operation in Yugoslavia was suggested. Cyrus Vance, the special envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations, discussed the proposal with the Yugoslav leadership. The plan envisaged that the UN peace-keeping force would be under the command of the Secretary General of the United Nations. The continued presence of the peace- keeping force in Yugoslavia would depend on the situation on the ground “until discussions brought about a total cessation of hostilities”. The idea of a peace-keeping plan, “which would not prejudice the outcome of the discussions”, depended essentially on the designation of zones under the protection of the United Nations (UNPA). These were intended to be demilitarized zones, and demilitarization was to be ensured by UN units. The zones in Croatia under UN protection were meant to be the areas “for which the Secretary General believed that special arrangements were necessary to maintain a cease-fire. They would be those areas where the Serbs constituted a majority or a sizeable minority of the local population”. The plan provided for three UNPA sectors: Eastern Slavonia (Beli Manastir, the area east of the city of Osijek, Vukovar, a number of villages in the furthest eastern parts of Vinkovci); Western Slavonia (Grubisno Polje, Daruvar, Pakrac, the western parts of Nova Gradiska, the eastern parts of Novska); the “Krajina” (Kostajnica, Petrinja, Dvor, Glina, Vrgin Most, Vojnic, Slunj, Titova Korenica, Donji Lapac, Gracac, Obrovac, Benkovac and Knin). The plan provided protection for all the inhabitants of the UNPA zoncs, and was meant to ensure the return to their homes of all those who had been driven out by force.
Not one of these undertakings has been fulfilled to date. On the contrary: the murder and expulsion of Croats from UNPA zones has continued unabated under the eyes of the United Nations forces. Under the “protection” of UNPROFOR the entire Croatian population of the town of Ilok (7000 people) was expelled, while terrorist attacks with artillery and rockets on Croatian towns and the civilian population have continued unabated.
Attempt at a Final Peaceful Solution of the Crisis on the Territory of Former Yugoslavia
The London Conference on Yugoslavia
Under the auspices of the British Prime Minister, John Major, who was at the time Chairman of the European Community, and the Secretary General of the United Nations, Boutros Ghali, a conference on Yugoslavia was held in London between 26 and 28 August 1992. Representatives of four former Yugoslav republics and the Federal government of Yugoslavia, of twelve EC countries, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, neighbouring countries, Canada, Japan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others took part. The London Conference was designed as a permanent consultative body “until a final solution to the problem of former Yugoslavia was found”. There were special groups (for Bosnia and Herzegovina, humanitarian questions, minorities, the successor states, economic relations, the establishing of confidence and security). The Conference stressed a number of principles: 1. the solving of problems by agreement; 2. the cessation of hostilities; 3. no recognition of territory seized by force; 4. respect for human rights; 5. respect for the rights of ethnic groups and minorities; 6. condemnation of “ethnic cleansing” and the alteration by force of the existing ethnic balance of populations; 7. adherence to the terms of the 1949 Geneva Convention; 8. respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the states in the region; 9. reciprocal recognition; 10. a guarantee of humanitarian aid. The London Conference also adopted certain resolutions relating to the cessation of the use of force, the delivery of humanitarian aid, the abolition of concentration camps, the introduction of sanctions, offences against international humanitarian conventions. In addition, there was an important declaration on Bosnia (cessation of hostilities, recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the inviolability of frontiers, the rights of all members of ethnic roups and minorities in line with the UN Charter and the statutes of the Conference on European Security and Co- operation, the return of refugees and displaced persons, the establishment of democratic structures, etc.), Serbia and Montenegro undertook to put an end to their intervention in Croatia and Bosnia and to do everything in their power to stop Bosnian Serbs seizing territory by force of arms and expelling the local non-Serbian population. They undertook to respect the rights of citizens of Vojvodina, Kosovo and Sandjak, to guarantee the security and inviolability of frontiers, to normalize relations with Croatia, to do away with concentration camps, etc.
The London Conference, with all its principles and resolutions, however, remained no more than a dead letter. From the holding of the Conference, right down to the end of August 1993, the majority of its principles, recommendations and binding clauses have been infringed countless times without the international community making any effective response.
The London Conference was no more than a vain attempt to solve the crisis in Yugoslavia. As mediator in London and The Hague, Lord Carrington proceeded on the assumption that the aggressor and the victim (Serbia and Croatia respectively) should be treated on an equal footing, and that Yugoslavia could be preserved. He utterly failed to grasp the significance of a conflict between two irreconcilable political stances: the aggressive Greater Serbian attitude and the defensive role of Croatia. One of the major mistakes of this attempt at mediation was the failure to place the weapons of the Yugoslav National Army in Slovenia and Croatia under effective control.
Wrong assessments, indecision, false optimism instead of effective pacification led to an escalation of hostilities. Carrington’s mission made it possible for the Serbs to “buy time”, which they used to seize even more territory. This process continued under Carrington’s successor, Lord Owen, practically to the point where the Serbs had occupied all those areas they thought indispensable for the establishment and consolidation of Greater Serbia. The Croats and Moslems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, once they at last understood that the international community, in spite of all its declarations to the contrary, intended to recognize the results of the Serbian occupation, themselves became involved in a battle to secure a modicum of living space for themselves from what was left of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The international community could breathe more easily, because, after failing to act, it had now found its alibi in this “war of all against all”.