Advancing Aggression Essay, Research Paper
When referring to the Bosnia-Herzegovina Civil War it is necessary to look at past history of the nation before being able to make an accurate and reliable hypothesis on the decision making that was made during the crisis. The aspect, which will be argued, will be that the principals actions were unjust when referring to the religious injustices that occurred. During the past century there have been many altercations between Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. Earlier in this century it all began with the German and Italian invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia. Around mid 1941 Nazi Germany established Croatia as an independent state. The Nazis also installed a neo-nazi puppet Government of the Independent State of Croatia ( An Analysis ). Western powers should have never let this happen, but they hadn t an idea of what to do about it, and they did not want to strain relations with a vital partner in the European Community and NATO so they meekly followed . ( An Analysis ) In the years after the creation of the independent state of Croatia ending at 1945, the Croats systematically murdered over one million Serb men, women, and children ( What Happened ). Records show that the Muslims were also as brutal as the Croats with their merciless killings. Both wore the Utasha symbol upon their uniforms. The religious injustices began between the Croats, Serbs, and Muslims with the killing of over one millions Serbs by the Utasha (equivalent to the Nazis). These killings were considered genocide with the mass killings of certain races because of discriminatory reasons. As the end of the war approached, bands of Serbs went out after revenge against the Croat and Muslim soldiers and civilians. The casualties [the Serbs] inflicted were less than 100th of what they suffered . ( An Analysis ) This history shows where the tension comes from today and how this triggered the conflict that resulted in the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is also easier to understand why the Serbs in both Bosnia and Serbia refused to subject themselves to a Croat and Muslim majority. Plus, tension was mounting before the full fledge war began in 1991 due to the fact that Serbs dominated Yugoslavia. The substance of this conflict is all ethnic. The Serbs dominated Yugoslavia and this alarmed the Muslims and the Croats. Remember, the Muslims and Croats performed ethnic cleansing against the Serbs during World War II. Yugoslavia was run between six different nationalities Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Macedonians, and Muslims. Each different nationality had regions of their own within Yugoslavia. The Serbs, however, were spread all throughout Yugoslavia. Each state had their own government and Yugoslavia had one large government that was called the central government, which was ran by all nationalities. The role of president for the central government would rotate between each group. (Tanner) The Serbs had considerable power within Yugoslavia at the time Croatia decided to declare independence from the central government in 1990. Serbia, knowing that Serbs were living in Croatia and also knowing that Croatia possessed much land and resources, refused to let them break apart. Serbia was determined to bring back together the whole state of Yugoslavia that they knew they would dominate (Smith). As one Franciscan priest puts it, Serbia was determined to handle plans for a breakup like a bully husband in a bad marriage. If you re going to walk out on me, lady, you re going to do it on broken legs, and with crutches, if you even get out (Smith). This was a mistake made by the Serbs. They were just out to get revenge for what had happened to them during World War II. Not only did they try and keep a hold of Croatia, but also they argued that they did not hold enough influence within Yugoslavia and that Serbs outside of Serbia were encountering systematic discrimination, especially from Croatia. This excuse of systematic discrimination is what the Serbs use to justify the control that they try to enforce onto Croatia. (Kagan) During 1992, Serb armies controlled or occupied one third of Croatia and 70% of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Throughout this conflict the Serbs murdered up to and beyond 200,000 people and another 240,000 people were wounded. Also, approximately 17% of the population disappeared. The Muslims in Bosnia were caught in the middle of the Serb and Croat battles. ( What Happened ) The Serbs than, following their ethnic cleansing policy, either killed or forcibly moved large groups of Muslims. Mainly the Muslims were caught in the middle of these skirmishes and they had no where to go and the Serbs just eliminated them to continue their plan of creating a greater Serbian state composed of all Serbs. (Smith)
The war had escalated from a war between ethnic groups and ideology into a war on land and the power that it possessed. Ethnic cleansing was the term used by the Serbs to exterminate any ethnicity that was different than theirs in order to have more land and less opposing retaliatory force. Not much action was taken place by outside forces on resolving this conflict. Many sanctions were imposed and many threats were given, but no nation really picked a side and helped them fight. The United Nations tried to resolve the bombing on Sarajevo which was taking place by forcing sanctions. After Sarajevo was bombed again, NATO took over for the UN s failure and used a different tactic to try and halt the bombings. NATO instead put out an ultimatum threatening to bomb Serbian military positions if the Serbs did not withdraw their artillery from around Sarajevo . This time they were successful because Serbian military forces then withdrew. The threat imposed by NATO was not given until 1994 after the war had been in progress for two years and one year before the Dayton Peace Agreement. Something should have been done earlier by outside nations and it should have been more significant than saving one city instead of over 200,000 lives. (Kagan) There was one attempt by the UN to terminate this war and it was as follows:] Under Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations that all states shall, for the purposes of establishing peace and stability in Yugoslavia, immediately implement a general and complete embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Yugoslavia (5) ( Genocide in ) This was a valid attempt by the UN, in September of 1991, to stop the carnage and genocide that was taking place, but it only made things worse. The reason being is that the Serbs was given full support and arms by Serbia and its YPA (Yugoslav People s Army). The embargo affected everyone within Yugoslavia including Serbs, Croats, and Muslims and not just Serbs or just Croats. Therefore, this decision not only cut off arms from the Serbs, but also to those who had no way of defending themselves. These people needed outside support and the embargo left them defenseless which resulted in the brutal slaughtering of unarmed citizens and inadequately armed forces who were being executed under the ethnic cleansing strategy put in place by the Serbs. ( Genocide in ) In effect the war ended or a seize fire came about through the US, NATO, and the warring forces came together in Dayton, Ohio to create a peace agreement. The agreement is very complicated, but it recognized Bosnia as an independent state and this was to be enforced by the presence of NATO troops. (Kagan) The war that occurred in Bosnia Herzegovina came about through a power struggle between many nationalities that were forced together. The genocide or ethnic cleansing which resulted was just a poor excuse used by the Serbs to get back for what had happened to them in WWII and the continual struggle for power. When looking at a testimony in the UN War Crimes Commission reports, you can tell that they were not fooled by this poor excuse of ethnic cleansing either, what is called cleansing is actually genocide, i.e., the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group (Sells). The Serbs have no excuse for the actions that they took like the Nazi s have no excuse for the Holocaust, and the Croats have no excuse for the genocide they committed on the Serbs during WWII. Outside countries did not do enough to help prevent the further bloodshed that was taking place, and the actions that were taken were to small make much of a difference. In my opinion this whole war could have been avoided if other Western powers would have stepped up and prevented the collapse of Yugoslavia during WWII instead they meekly followed suit . Germany supported the break up without any clear concept of the future of the diverse communities scattered like a leopard-skin on Yugoslavia s ethnic map ( An Analysis ). Ever since that moment a disaster was just waiting to happen.