Anniversary of Serb Krajina – Great Exodus

July 7th, 2005  

Topic: Anniversary of Serb Krajina – Great Exodus

Republic of Serbian Krajina

The Republic of Serbian Krajina (Republika Srpska Krajina, RSK) was an internationally unrecognized Serbian republic in Croatia. Established in 1991, its main portion was overrun by Croatian forces in 1995; a rump remained in existence in eastern Slavonia until its peaceful reincorporation into Croatia in 1998.
The origins of the Krajina

Map of the original Krajina
The original Krajina was carved out of parts of the crown lands of Croatia and Slavonia by Austria in 1553/1578 in order to form a "Military Frontier" with the Ottoman Empire as a means of defending the border. Many Serbs immigrated into the region and participated in the fight against the Ottomans. The Austrians controlled the Frontier from military headquarters in Vienna and did not make it a crown land, though it had some special rights in order to encourage settlement in an otherwise deserted, war-ravaged territory. The abolition of the military rule took place between 1869 and 1871. After that, the Military Frontier was reincorporated in Croatia in 1881.
The growth and strengthening of the Catholic Church in these areas has initiated the eruption of violent unification (conversion of Serbs). Against their fee will, forced to adopt Roman-Catholic religious services, parts of Serbs in Krajina and especially in northern Dalmatia and the Coastal area, were gradually losing their ethnic character and were assimilated by the Croat (Catholic) environment. Those Serbs who did not renounce on their Orthodox faith, as well as those who have accepted the conversion but have retained their ethnic (Serbian) awareness, were being persecuted. This became especially emphatic with the strengthening of the Croat etatistic consciousness (in the second half of 19th century) and under the circumstances of weakening of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the departure of Turks from the Balkans, which left Serbs in Krajina practically devoid of their role of the European defense shield.
Following World War I, the Krajina became part of Yugoslavia where it was in the Posavska banovina with most of old Croatia-Slavonia. Between the two world wars the Serbs of the Croatian Krajina, as well as the Bosnian Krajina and other territories west of Serbia, organized a notable political party, the Independent Democratic Party under Svetozar Pribičević. The region's population suffered badly during World War II, in massacres of the Serbian population by the Ustasa régime.
Despite of talks about apologies, the Catholic Church stands ready to anoint a patron saint of genocide. On October 4, 1998 Pope John Paul II traveled to the Republic of Croatia to beatify that country's national hero, Alojzije Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb during the Second World War. In so doing he underlined the real commitment of the Catholic Church to stand by its history, no matter how barbaric. Officially, Stepinac was honored as a martyr of the Church's most recent crusade, its crusade against communism. But in making this fanatic a saint, the pope is absolving Stepinac of complicity in crimes of genocide against Serbs, Jews and Roma (Gypsies) that took place in the Nazi puppet state of Croatia during the Second World War.
By making Stepinac a saint, the Catholic church is trying to bury one of the darkest chapters of its own recent history with honor. In Croatia, the church did not merely turn a blind eye to genocide, it was an active and enthusiastic participant. Priests and monks took part in atrocities, bishops http://promoted anti-Semitism http:/...ews/index.html and vilified Serbs at the very moment the Jews and Serbs were being exterminated, and forced conversions took place all across Croatia. All the while, the Vatican stood by, waiting to see whether or not this social experiment would advance its interests. The church has yet to apologize for, or even acknowledge the existence of, this genocide. Now Saint Stepinac stands in the way of memory and responsibility.

One of this century's most violent ethnic Balkan conflicts took place from 1941 to 1945 in the newly created Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska, hereafter Independent Croatia or NDH), as the Nazi-supported government, under the leadership of the fascist Ustasa party systematically attempted to destroy its minority Serbian population. For the people of the rugged countryside of Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Dalmatia, the conflict brought great violence and destruction; estimates of the number killed range from 700,000 to as many as 1.7 million. Charged with eliminating opposition to the Axis Powers--primarily by the Partisans, a communist guerrilla group under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito--German occupational forces did little to stop the genocide. German combat commanders were themselves exceptionally brutal toward suspected Partisan sympathizers, killing civilians almost indiscriminately, including women and children. Such ruthlessness by both Ustasa and German units stimulated popular support for the Partisans, ironically undermining Nazi efforts against them. While a number of high-ranking Nazi officials recognized that extreme aggression against Serbs and other civilians was counterproductive and attempted to limit it, they were unsuccessful. Using a structural historical approach, this paper argues that Hitler's refusal to intervene in internal Croatian affairs, combined with strong opposition from Independent Croatia against outside interference in its Serbian policies, allowed the Ustasa state to retain a degree of autonomy and continue its efforts to exterminate the Serbs in Independent Croatia. Further, lack of clear lines of authority among competing German agencies, including the Foreign Ministry, SS, and Wehrmacht, left lower-ranking Nazi combat commanders free to follow their own repressive policies against civilians even though such policies ran counter to long-term Nazi aims.
The Ustashe's primary enemy, the Orthodox Slav minority, was persecuted with a ferocity that at times alarmed even their Nazi patrons, who feared that the grisly brutality of the atrocities committed against such a large minority would drive them into the arms of the Partisans. On February 17, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich, the day-to-day supervisor of the Final Solution, scarcely known for his great sensitivity, reported to Reich Führer of the SS Heinrich Himmler:
The number of Slavs massacred by the Croats with the most sadistic of methods must be estimated at a count of 300,000.... The fact is that in Croatia, living Serbs who have converted to the Catholic Church are able to remain residing unharrassed...From this it is clear that the Croat-Serbian state of tension is not least of all a struggle of the Catholic Church against the Orthodox Church
There has been a great deal of debate about the exact numbers killed by the NDH in general and at Jasenovac in particular. The debate has assumed an extremely partisan character because of more recent Croatian-Serbian conflicts. The late president of the newly revived Croatia, Franjo Tudjman, made a name for himself with his extreme downward revisions of the number of people killed. Tudjman estimates only 30,000 died at Jasenovac while Serbian sources normally cite a figure of 600,000 or 700,000. The US Government recently weighed in on the issue during the trial of former Jasenovac Commandant Dinko Sakic, releasing a captured Nazi document which supports a figure of 120,000 killed at Jasenovac by December 1943. From concentration camps run by Germans in the occupied territories, two things distinguished Jasenovac: the brutal methods of execution preferred by the Ustase and the participation of dressed Catholic clergy in the atrocities committed.
The Partisan movement of Josip Broz Tito, the later president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, rejected the proposal by a Communist functionary Moša Pijade, to grant territorial autonomy to the Croatian municipalities with Serbian majority, and the former military frontier was after the war again the part of Croatia, this time as the Socialist Republic of Croatia. The autonomous political organizations of the region were also suppressed by Tito; however, the Yugoslav constitutions of 1965 and 1974 did give substantial rights to national minorities including the Krajina Serbs.
The net effect of the Krajina's troubled 20th century history was that, by the end of the 1990s, many Krajina Serbs were very distrustful of the Croatian government. With nationalist feelings growing on both sides of the ethnic divide, there was a fear among Krajina Serbs that a nationalist Croatian government would revive the spectre of fascism and genocide like 1941. This provided a powerful rallying point for Serbs opposed to the prospect of living in a newly independent Croatian state.
In the context of the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Badinter Commission ruled that the constituent republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia might turn into states in accordance with a new doctrine of constitutional self-determination. However, entities within the republics, for instance the mainly ethnic Serb-inhabited Krajina region, could not make a similar claim. Confirming the doctrines of territorial integrity and uti possidetis, the Badinter Commission proposed that other entities might only claim territorial autonomy within the new state boundaries. The Commission issued Opinions 2-6 in January 1992, the second ruling that only republics had the right to leave the "dissolved" Yugoslavia, not peoples, as it had been guaranteed in the Yugoslav Constitution and customary in international practice. This left some two million Serbs in what were to become Croatia and Bosnia out in the cold, and they would have none of it. Their revolt ignited the 1991-95 Succession Wars.
At the end of 1991 Croatian Government agreed to comply with the request of the Badinter Commission for an extension of the Croatian Constitution. In 1992 Croatian Parliament voted for an extension of the Constitution in order to provide for the legislature concerning the Temporary Court for Human Rights (named "Temporary", as it was expected to be the first among the newly formed states in the Balkans), as requested by the Badinter Commission - but only formally.
How Dr. Franjo Tudjman intended to create his great, ethnically pure and Catholic Croatian state, he explained at an international gathering which was attended by David Fisher, Director of the World Affairs Institute in San Francisco. During the promotion of the autobiographical book of Warren Zimmerman, former US Ambassador in Yugoslavia, Fisher said: "My experience is not as fresh as Warren's and mainly comes from my service in Bulgaria. But the two situations which I witnessed were a drastic warning that the situation in the former Yugoslavia was much more complicated than it had seemed to me. I remember a conference of the diplomatic corps in Germany in 1989, where the future President Franjo Tudjman was present, and who said that when he should become - not if he should become - President of Croatia, that the soil in Krajina would be red with blood. It was then clear to me that there is a political hatred which sooner or later must come out in the open."

The creation of the RSK

Croatia's moves towards independence in the early 1990s following the election of the nationalist President Franjo Tuđman were strongly opposed by the country's Serbian minority, who were supported both politically and militarily by the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and Serbia under President Slobodan Milosevic. President Tudjman had controversial views, claiming that the Ustasa state was indeed an expression of the Croat state tradition, which may be considered true to a limited extent in view of Croatia's long historical struggle for independence. However, Croatia's puppet-state status in WW2 ironically negates that claim.
Some Ustasa emigrants freely returned to Croatia. Some factions wished to restore the Ustasa ideology and iconography, and even though they weren't successful, they were never banned by the government. During the Yugoslav war, these committed war crimes against the Serb population.
At the time, Serbs comprised about 11% of Croatia's population (also 7% of Croatian population declared themselves as Yugoslavs, mainly of them were Serb minority). Serbs in the Krajina established a Serbian National Council in July 1990 to coordinate opposition to Tuđman's policies. Milan Babić, a dentist from the southern town of Knin, was elected its President.
The Krajina Serbs established a paramilitary militia under the leadership of Milan Martić, the police chief in Knin. It erected barricades of logs across roads through the Krajina, effectively severing the Croatian coastal region of Dalmatia from the rest of the country, in an incident which became commonly known as the "log revolution." In August 1990, a referendum was held in the Krajina (but was confined to Serb voters) on the question of Serb "sovereignty and autonomy" in Croatia. The resolution was passed by a majority of 99.7% but was declared illegal and invalid by the Croatian government.

The borders of RSK circa 1994 (both Serb-held and UNPA areas) superimposed on 1981 census ethnic data
The Krajina Serbs did not initially seek independence for their area. Instead, on September 30, 1990, the Krajina Serbian National Council declared "the autonomy of the Serbian people on ethnic and historic territories on which they live and which are within the current boundaries of the Republic of Croatia as a federal unit of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." Croatia was at this time still part of the SFRY and it was theoretically possible that the Serbian Krajina could have seceded from Croatia to remain part of a Yugoslavia minus Croatia and Slovenia. Indeed, this was a source of significant tension within Krajina Serb politics, which was dominated by a conflict between supporters of a unified Yugoslavia and ultranationalist supporters of a "Greater Serbia".
Babić's administration announced the creation of a Serbian Autonomous District (Srpska autonomna oblast or SAO) of Krajina on December 21, 1990 and on April 1, 1991 declared that it would secede from Croatia to join (or, rather, not leave) Yugoslavia. Other Serb-dominated communities in eastern Croatia announced that they would also join the SAO and ceased paying taxes to Zagreb.
On April 9th, 1991, Croatian President Tuđman ordered that the special police forces are to be renamed to ZNG - Zbor Narodne Garde ("People's Guard"), marking the creation of a separate military of Croatia, named the structure of the units by same names form Ustasa period 1941, including similar insignia and flags.

Croatia held a referendum on independence on May 19, 1991 in which the electorate — minus many Serbs, who chose to boycott it — voted overwhelmingly for independence with the option of confederate union with other Yugoslav states. National currency instead of Dinar becomes Kuna, same as Ustasa period 1941-1945. On June 25, 1991, Croatia and Slovenia both declared their independence from Yugoslavia. As the JNA attempted unsuccessfully to crush Slovenia's independence, clashes between Krajina Serbs and Croatian security forces broke out almost immediately, leaving dozens dead on both sides. On same time Croatian ZNG took steps to attack Serb civilians and blockade all garrisons of JNA army in all parts of Croatia dominant by ethnic Croats, cutting the power, water and food supplies. Some JNA units were attacked and Serb officersand soldiers massacred This provoked JNA from Serbia to react and try to help units in areas close to border, as Vukovar and Dubrovnik. The Serbs were initially armed with little more than small arms but the JNA soon remedied this by allowing them free access to army equipment, up to and including armored vehicles and artillery.
The European Union and United Nations attempted to broker a ceasefire and peace settlement, but the truces were repeatedly broken by both sides (often within only a few hours) and hard-line nationalists on both sides rejected any moves to settle the conflict.
A process of ethnic cleansing took place in the Croatian-held parts of the Krajina and in other parts of Croatia. Thousands of Serbs were forced to leave their houses and apartments through fear of reprisals, pressure from Croatian nationalists and paramilitary actions. Many took refuge in the Serbian Krajina, occupying homes vacated by Croats. Similarly, exiled Krajina Croats moved into homes vacated by Serbs elsewhere in Croatia. During 1991 some organized war crimes were committed against Serb civilians in certain parts of Croatia (Pakracka Poljana , Gospic, Sisak, Paulin Dvor…).
During the 1991-1995 war in Croatia and immediately afterward, the government terminated tens of thousands of tenancy rights belonging to displaced ethnic Serbs on the grounds of the tenants’ absence. Since then it has been virtually impossible for them to repossess their apartments, get other homes as a substitute, or receive compensation. The failure to resolve the issue of lost tenancy rights is widely acknowledged to have substantially hampered the process of refugee return to Croatia, particularly to urban areas. Moreover, in September 1995, Croatia adopted a law reducing the permissible time of absence from the apartment to only three months—a measure clearly devised to facilitate the cancellation of tenancy rights of Serbs who had just fled the territories previously controlled by Serb rebels. In contrast, the state enabled ethnic Croats who had left their apartments to preserve their tenancy rights. In eviction cases initiated by Croats displaced from the former United Nations-administered region in eastern Croatia, (Vukovar) Croatian courts have implicitly recognized tenants’ rights without explanation, in effect accepting the argument that the armed conflict is a justified reason for absence.
On December 19, 1991, the SAO Krajina proclaimed itself the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Between December 19 and December 23, several European countries recognized Croatia's independence, Germany, the first EU country to do so. Some, including US Secretaries of State Lawrence Eagleburger and Warren Christopher, have strongly criticized this action, which they say escalated the war.
On February 26, 1992, the SAO Western Slavonia and SAO Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem joined the RSK, which initially had only encompassed the territories within the SAO Krajina. The RSK controlled an area of some 17,028 km˛ at its greatest extent. It was located entirely inland, although its southern portion came close to Adriatic Sea access because they controlled the Novigradsko more, a small, protected bay located to the east of Zadar. A ceasefire agreement was signed by Presidents Tuđman and Milošević in January 1992, paving the way for the implementation of a United Nations peace plan put forward by Cyrus Vance. Under the Vance Plan, four United Nations Protected Areas (UNPAs) were established in the territory of the RSK. The Vance Plan called for the withdrawal of the JNA from Croatia and for the return of refugees to their homes in the UNPAs. The JNA officially withdrew from Croatia in May 1992. Refugees were not allowed to return to their homes that were occupied by expelled Serbs from other parts of Croatia. On February 21, 1992, the creation of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was authorized by the UN Security Council for an initial period of a year, to provide security to the UNPAs.
The agreement effectively froze the front lines for the next three years. Croatia and the RSK had effectively fought each other to a standstill, each side unable — for the moment — to defeat the other militarily. The ceasefire had little effect on the RSK's international standing. It was not recognized in the sense that it exchanged diplomatic credentials with other countries, but the republic's de facto independence had to be acknowledged by the countries of the region as a fact of life. It gained support from Serbia's traditional allies — Greece, Russia, and several other countries with Orthodox Christian majorities.
With the creation of new Croatian counties on December 30, 1992, the Croatian government also set aside two autonomous regions (kotar) for ethnic Serbs in the areas of Krajina. UNPROFOR deployed throughout the region in order to maintain the ceasefire, although in practice its light armament and restricted rules of engagement meant that it was little more than an observer force. It proved wholly unable to ensure that refugees returned to the RSK and Croatian side. Indeed, both sides’ authorities continued to make efforts to ensure that they could never return, destroying villages and cultural and religious monuments to erase the previous existence of the inhabitants of opposite ethnical group.

The fall of RS Krajina
The partial implementation of the Vance Plan drove a wedge between the governments of the RSK and Serbia, the RSK's principal ally. Milan Babić strongly opposed the Vance Plan but was overruled by the RSK's assembly. On February 26, 1992 he was deposed and replaced as President of the RSK by Goran Hadžić, a Milošević loyalist. Babić remained involved in RSK politics but as a considerably weaker figure.
The position of the RSK eroded steadily over the following three years. On the surface, the RSK had all the attributes of a state: an army, a parliament and president, a government with its own ministries and even its own currency and stamps. Its economy was, however, wholly dependent on support from the FR Yugoslavia, which had the effect of importing that country's hyperinflation. The RSK issued its own currency, the Krajina Reformed Dinar (HRKR), in parallel with the Yugoslav Reformed Dinar in July 1992.
Since the 1992 ceasefire had been agreed, Croatia had spent large sums of money importing weapons and training its armed forces with the aid of American contractors. Also, a lot of pro-fascistic and neo –Nazi mercenaries The partial implementation of the Vance Plan drove a wedge between the governments of the RSK and Serbia, the RSK's principal ally. Milan Babić strongly opposed the Vance Plan but was overruled by the RSK's assembly. On February 26, 1992 he was deposed and replaced as President of the RSK by Goran Hadžić, a Milošević loyalist. Babić remained involved in RSK politics but as a considerably weaker figure.
The position of the RSK eroded steadily over the following three years. On the surface, the RSK had all the attributes of a state: an army, a parliament and president, a government with its own ministries and even its own currency and stamps. Its economy was, however, wholly dependent on support from the FR Yugoslavia, which had the effect of importing that country's hyperinflation. The RSK issued its own currency, the Krajina Reformed Dinar (HRKR), in parallel with the Yugoslav Reformed Dinar in July 1992.
Since the 1992 ceasefire had been agreed, Croatia had spent large sums of money importing weapons and training its armed forces with the aid of American contractors. Also, a lot of pro-fascistic and neo –Nazi mercenaries joined to the Croat combats form many western countries, some of them participated in war crimes. At the same time, the VSK had grown steadily weaker, with its soldiers poorly motivated, trained and equipped. The VSK had only about 55,000 soldiers available to cover a front of some 600km in Croatia plus 100km along the border with the Bihać pocket in Bosnia; 16,000 of these were stationed in eastern Slavonia, leaving only some 39,000 to defend the main part of the RSK. In reality, only 30,000 of the theoretical 55,000 were capable of being fully mobilized. The VSK had little mobility and faced a far stronger Croatian army. Soon since UNPROFOR has deployed in Krajina, Croatia attacked Krajina positions in Miljevci Plateau in June 1992.
An early demonstration of the new Croatian capabilities came in January 1993 when the revitalized Croatian army launched an attack on Serbian positions around Maslenica in southern Croatia (which prevented them from utilizing sea access via Novigradsko more). In a second offensive in September 1993, the revitalized Croatian army overran the Medak pocket in the southern Krajina. The Croatian action was halted by the successful intervention of Canadian UN peacekeepers Each and every building in the Medak Pocket had been leveled to the ground. Truck loads of firewood had been brought to start intense fires among the wooden buildings. Brick and concrete buildings were blow apart with explosives and anti-tank mines. The Croatians completed their task by killing most of the livestock in the area. That was the small-arms firing heard on 16 September. In addition, oil or dead animals were dumped into wells to make them unusable for Serbs entertaining any thought of return. Only 16 Serb bodies were found scattered in hidden locations. The open ground was littered with rubber surgical gloves which indicated that most Serb dead laying in the open were transported elsewhere and only those hidden in basements or in the woods had been left behind in haste. A mass grave containing over fifty bodies was later located in the vicinity. The bodies that were recovered included those of two young women found in a basement. They had apparently been tied up, shot and then doused with gasoline and burned. When found, the bodies were still hot enough to melt plastic body bags. At another location, an elderly Serb woman had been found shot four times in the head, execution style.
The RSK's end came in 1995, when Croatian forces retook western Slavonia in Operation Flash (May) and overran the rest in Operation Storm (August). The true number of victims of the Croatian attack on Western Slavonia - Operation Flash - remains unknown. The locals have spotted hillocks in the Vrbovljani village cemetery and near the Orthodox Church in Okucani, which indicate possible locations of mass graves. However, Serbs believe that it is all another con by the Croatian authorities: the hillocks are visible, but no one is buried underneath. According to this theory they are just a bait for the representatives of international humanitarian organizations, while real mass graves are elsewhere. Croatian authorities, who released the figure of 1,200 Serbs wounded during the military offensive, still failed to publish the list with their names and present location, i.e. which hospital where they are being treated. Many people are still treated as "missing". Tadeusz Mazowiecki, UN special envoy for human rights, started and ended his visit in Croatia, and undoubtedly, Western Slavonia was in the focus of his interest. Although he talked with journalists on a few occasions in the course of his stay in Croatia, he was extremely vague and exceptionally cautious in his statements. But, sources close to Mazowiecki tend to claim that his report will include all those "spicy" details the journalists were interested in, but which he did not wish to present before they were profoundly verified.
In the Autumn of 1995, former Deputy NATO Commander Charles Boyd, noted in Foreign Affairs that “more than 90 percent of the Serbs of Western Slavonia were ethnically cleansed when Croatian troops overran that UN protected area in May …This operation appears to differ from Serbian actions around the UN safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa only in the degree of Western hand-wringing and CNN footage the latter have elicited. Ethnic cleansing evokes condemnation only when it is committed by Serbs, not against them.”
Operation Flash, which took place a more than a month before Srebrenica, was a straight out attack on the civilian population – men, women and children – of a UN Protected Area (UNPA), directly authorized by US President Bill Clinton. “Many Serbs perished in heavy Croatian tank, artillery and aerial bombardments on Monday and Tuesday as they tried to flee southward toward the Sava River bridge into Bosnia,” wrote Roger Cohen of The New York Times, adding “The estimate of 450 Serbian dead given by Gojko Susak, the Croatian Defense Minister appears to be conservative.” Very conservative Officials of the Serbian Orthodox Church put the number of murdered civilians in the thousands.
“By acquiescing to the Croatian Government’s seizure of Western Slavonia,” European Union envoy Lord David Owen, observed, “the [US-dominated] Contact Group had in effect given the green light to Bosnian Serbs to attack Srebrenica and Zepa.” ( )
Throughout 1995 the Contact Group was conducting peace negotiations in Geneva between the Republika Srpska Krajina (RSK) Government, and the Croatian Government. International mediators have offered their plan which would secure for the Serbs in Serbian Krajina an incomplete political (without Constitution, army and foreign policy) and complete cultural autonomy, but all this within the framework of "the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Croatia". According to this plan economic, cultural and other links of Serbs in Serbian Krajina with Serbs in the motherland would be allowed and in the other Serbian countries, and in international organizations. Serbs in Serbian Krajina would have their own coat-of-arms and their flag, their language and alphabet "Cyrillic", their radio-television, police force, their own currency and their president. Krajina government would conduct independent fiscal policy, and the corresponding Krajina legislative bodies would pass laws and there would be a judicial power with first-instance and appellate courts of law. Serbs in Serbian Krajina would take part in election of the central government in Zagreb, of the Croat parliament (Sabor) and the Croat president.

On August 3, 1995 the RSK Prime Minister, Milan Babic, announced that RSK had accepted the so-called "Z-4 Plan" which envisioned the integration of the RSK into the Croatian state, while giving autonomy to the Serbs living there. Babic had reached the agreement on August 2nd through negotiations with the U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith.
Unfortunately, the Krajina Serbs’ acceptance of the Z-4 Plan was rejected by Croatia, and Operation Storm was launched the next day. This article will examine the events that immediately preceded Operation Storm. On August 3rd Galbraith was promising Babic that the United States would protect the Krajina Serbs, and the very next day, as Croatia was waging its offensive, American warplanes were bombing the Krajina Serbs’ air defense systems.
The day before Croatia launched Operation Storm, Galbraith said that there was no reason for Croatia to go to war, since there was now an agreement with Babic, but when Galbraith testified he sang a different tune, and mocked Milosevic for being surprised when the Croats attacked.
As a consequence of the Operation Storm in August 1995, almost the entire Serbian population fled in what was in part an evacuation ordered by the Krajina Serb authorities and (allegedly) in part "a large-scale deportation and/or displacement" conducted by Croatian forces under the command of Colonel General Ante Gotovina (for which the latter has been indicted by the ICTY) [3] ( Serbia did not intervene, having earlier indicated in the state-controlled media that it was finally washing its hands of the Krajina Serbs.
A wide range of human rights violations were perpetrated during and in the wake of Operation Storm. These include gross abuses such as extrajudicial executions and ''disappearances''; torture, including rape; a massive programme of systematic house destruction; attempts at forcible expulsions and numerous incidents of ill-treatment.(2) While the majority of incidents were reported in the days and weeks immediately following the operation, these human rights violations continued to be perpetrated for several months afterwards, and Amnesty International documented killings, acts of violence and intimidation well into 1996, and they have not been completely eliminated as of 1998. The full extent of extrajudicial executions, other unlawful killings, and ''disappearances'' has yet to be revealed. Official Croatian sources stated that they had buried 903 bodies as of late November 1995, of whom they alleged 456 were civilians, 402 were soldiers, and 45 were "found in conditions from which the affiliation of the deceased could not be determined."(3) Amnesty International fears that these numbers contain a high percentage of people who were extra judicially executed or otherwise unlawfully killed. The number of deaths is likely much higher even than the official statistics; in some cases neighbors or relatives secretly buried the dead themselves without reporting the details to the authorities or UN personnel out of fear for their own safety. They were particularly fearful that the perpetrators of the killings might still be in the area or be able to return to carry out acts of reprisal. Many still fear that should they report the crimes, it is they who will suffer. The UNCRO mandate was terminated on 15 January 1996, and as the mission's military and civilian components withdrew from Croatia, so also was reduced the international community's ability to monitor the human rights and humanitarian situation. Croatian human rights activists were extremely active in documenting violations and showing concern for the vulnerable Croatian Serb population. Some were attacked, verbally and physically, for their activities advocating for the human rights of Croatian Serbs.

So far, the legitimacy of Operation Storm has not been questioned by any institution, although many think that crime prosecutions make it implicitly dubious. Only one of the more than ten Croatian generals who led the operation has been indicted by the ICTY: Ante Gotovina. The future relations between Croatia and the international community depend, to a great extent, on the handling of these indictments by the Hague prosecution and the Croatian government.
Operation Storm has resurfaced as a political controversy in Croatian media in September and October 2004. Namely, a few newspapers had published various versions of the late president Franjo Tuđman's transcripts, ie. taped conversation conducted among the Croatian supreme military command in the eve of the Operation Storm. The problem is that no single published version is officially corroborated as authentic.
However, some matters which are contained in all variants are interesting enough:
• it seems that ICTY has intended to use these transcripts to show that Tuđman and his close collaborators planned ethnic cleansing of Serbs who occupied parts of Croatia, i.e. the self-proclaimed Krajina. The keywords that ICTY appears to base these claims on are Tuđman's contention which translates sometimes like: "... we shall strike them so fiercely that they'll disappear".
• the transcripts cover ca. 7-9 A4 pages, and present a very good example of professional planning of a complex military operation. Among other "salacious" things, they uncover that:
o the US reluctantly agreed to the Operation Storm, but did not take any part both in planning and execution, which is evident from Tuđman's sarcastic remarks aimed at Bosnian and Croat Serbs' military prowess, as well as short-sightedness of American foreign policy. The United States was actively involved in the preparation, monitoring and initiation of Operation Storm: the green light from President Clinton was passed on by the US military attaché in Zagreb, and the operations were transmitted in real time to the Pentagon.
o the EU nations were against the operation, and that they, generally, greatly overestimated Serbs's ability to fight
o the Croatian leadership was ready to wage defensive war in Eastern Slavonia in the case of aggression from Serbia proper
o the Hague indictee general Ante Gotovina has a huge amount of exculpatory evidence from these transcripts
The US has reason to be concerned at a high profile trial of the generals. The Croatian army acted as Washington’s proxy army against Milosevic and there is plenty of evidence that the Clinton administration provided vital support to Croatia during Operation Storm. In his book To End A War, Clinton’s special envoy Richard Holbrooke described the Croat forces as his “junkyard dogs” and recounts his conversation with the Croatian defence minister during the battle, saying, “We can’t say this publicly but please take Sanski Most, Prijedor and Bosanki Novi. And do it quickly before the Serbs regroup.”
The US government endorsed a contract between the Croatian army and the US military consultancy firm Military Professional Resource Incorporated to provide military training. Franjo Tudjman’s son Miro, who was head of Croatian intelligence at the time, claims the relationship went further—with the Croatian and US governments enjoying a “de facto partnership”. He says the US provided $10 million worth of listening and intercept equipment and all “intelligence in Croatia went on line in real time to the National Security Agency in Washington.”
Gotovina seemed especially close to US officials, which may explain his ability to evade capture for so long. It is alleged that US drone aircraft operated out of his headquarters in order to spy on Yugoslav army movements. Photographs show Gotovina with US military personnel in front of a computer screen showing “Battle Staff Training Program” and “Welcome to Training Center Fort Irwin”. According to Nenad Ivankovic, former army commander and Gotovina’s biographer, Gotovina “feels betrayed by the silence of the US today and by the people he knew. The CIA saw everything that happened during Operation Storm and never objected then.” Washington has refused all requests from the ICTY for documents and satellite photographs relating to this period.
Another concern of US officials is to prevent the concept of “command responsibility” becoming a definition for war crimes. Lawyers for the Croat generals have pointed out that Clinton, Holbrooke and other US officials could also be charged with command responsibility for Operation Storm because “they knew the attack was coming and gave it the green light.”
This threat is taken seriously. In 2002 Henry Hyde chairman of the House Committee on International Relations warned that the ICTY could investigate officials who were “formulating and carrying out US government policy” for command responsibility in connection with Operation Storm. Gotovina’s indictment was the “best example of the ICTY’s politicised and inaccurate prosecution,” a Senate inquiry was told.
In a series of articles in September 2002, journalists in the Washington Times repeated Hyde’s warning and attacked the concept of command responsibility as “a threat to US national interests”. In effect, the Times pronounced, the concept made “war itself a crime” and illegalised the use of “overwhelming force”, that is, the foundation of US military strategy. The Times pointed out that Operation Storm was the model for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, where the Northern Alliance acted as a US proxy army. If command responsibility is made a definition of a war crime then “the United States can be made accountable for the actions of its allies around the world. There will be nothing preventing the International Criminal Court from making US officials responsible for isolated criminal acts that have been committed by Northern Alliance troops.”
Around 200,000–250,000 Serbs left the RSK in 1995, most of whom fled to Serbia (and are mostly still there). Of the Serb inhabitants that lived in the main part of the RSK (i.e. excluding eastern Slavonia), only 4,000 were left after the offensive. Some Serbs and most of the expelled Croats have since returned, but the Krajina Serb population is still only a fraction of its pre-1995 numbers. The autonomous regions planned by the government in 1992 were disbanded on February 7, 1997 and the areas were integrated into civic counties. At the time, the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from the Krajina was quietly accepted by Western governments as a means of ending the conflict quickly .Since then, however, it has come under close scrutiny from war crimes investigators. Prosecutors have indicated that, had he not died, President Tuđman probably would have faced indictment for his actions in the expulsion of the Krajina Serbs. ( )
The parts of Krajina in eastern Croatia (along the Danube) remained in place as the Republic of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and western Srem (previously the Srpska Autonomna Oblast Slavonija, Baranja i zapadni Srem, or sometimes called Sremsko-Baranjska Oblast). The national and local authorities signed the Erdut Agreement in 1995, sponsored by the United Nations that set up a transitional period during which the UNTAES peacekeepers would oversee a peaceful reintegration of this territory into Croatia. This process was completed in 1998.
According to assessments from well informed observers from Croatia, the objective of the war was not, as used to be said in public, to suppress the so-called Serbo-chetnik rebellion, but the creation of an ethnically pure state. This is what the Croat journalist Jelena Lovric said about it: "An ethnically pure state was declared from the highest state authorities to be the desired ideal. The head of the state in Knin, before the arraigned army and zooming cameras, publicly boasted the realisation of the 'historic results' - 'we have returned Zvonimir's city into the bosom of our Croatian motherland just as pure as it was in Zvonimir's time'. Thus the liberation of Knin had acquired a new dimension. It was no longer the question of fighting the Serbian rebellion but of the cleansing of the Serbs. This was the message overshadowing the entire Knin festivity, so we cannot be comforted that the otherwise highly excited president allowed an uncontrolled statement to escape. The chief inspector of the Croatian Army, General Ante Gotovina, said for example, that the 'Storm' was the ending of the several centuries of occupation of Croatia. Drago Krpina, Tudjman's counselor for the liberated lands, describing the 'Storm' as the victory of all victories, exclaimed that Croatia had liberated the land which had been under occupation not five years but for a whole century."
July 8th, 2005  
Do not make topics/posts entirely by cutting and pasting, include your own thoughts about the subject as well. Massive posts like this are generally counter-productive, as unless one has two lifetimes, they will most likely not read it.
July 8th, 2005  
Child of War
Krajina was able to defend itself. The problem was treason from Milosevic and some Generals in Army of Republic of Srpska. General Manojlo Milovanovic (Army of Republic of Srpska) got troops and heavy weapons with the task of protecting Krajina's Eastern flank. But he just ignored Croatian troops when they entered that area, he ordered retreat and Krajina got surrounded. Then Milosevbic gave the green light and attack started. He refused to send any help, not even ammunition. Martic had mo make the decision wheter to retreat or fight. He decided to retreat, even though his forces managed to stabilize the front on the firsta day of the attack. They didn't have ammo and supplies so the retreated. Latter on after Croats entered Republic of Srpska Serbian special forces abmushed them near Kljuc managing to stop the enemy's advance. The same General mentioned above then allowed Muslim Corp to pass from the West and surround those Special Forces. They menaged to sleep away, some were captured though. Latter on 7th. Kupres brigade under Col. Samardzija stabilized front near Mrkonjic and then after being joined by the 3rd. Mrkonjic BRigade started a counterattack. The attack was very succefful and town Jajce was retaken, but then Col. Samardzija gets arrested by General Momir Talic. He also send MP who takes all the ammo from the Mrkonjic to Banja Luka. After that attack fades away, ammo was nowhere to be found and Serbs had to retreat. 200 of them were captured though and then killed with hammers in Mrkonjic by Croats. Croats stopped before Banja Luka b/c that was the part of the deal. They go only so far. Sad story that pisses me off.
July 8th, 2005  
Not sure you understand the issue on proper way…Krajina for sure posses enough power to survive the attack but Krajina was blind after NATO (US) destroyed communication systems and Udbina airport base. Against US and Clinton’s administration Krajina couldn’t do much. And they controlled how far Croat offensive can go. You can find that in Clinton's negotiator Richard Holbrooke, and his book End of War “Although often self-justifying, Holbrooke acknowledges several errors, such as allowing the Bosnian Serb entity to retain the "blood-soaked name" of Republika Srpska” he wrote.

Just recently the president Kosova Ibrahim Rugova presented the medal in honor to former Clinton US Secretary Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright because of her efforts to end a Serbian crackdown against ethnic Albanian separatists in the breakaway Serbian province in 1998-1999. Practicaly, it means that their job concerning Serb question on Balkan is not finished yet.
i]After NATO air-strikes and serious damage of the commanding, communication and logistic system, among other the army of Bosnian Serbs started suffering mistakes of commanding officers which were simply impossible to overcome.[/i]
After waging war practically unarmed, thanks to the assistance of the Croat Army, Islam countries and to the fact that the international community closed its eyes to quite obvious violations of the arms embargo, the Bosnian Army has gained so much in strength that it can successfully oppose the technically superior Serb troops.

UNHCR spokesman, Rod Redmond said that in case combats came closer to Prijedor, new movements of tens thousand people could be expected. He also stated that in that case, a new wave of ethnic cleansing of non-Serb population from the region could also be expected. Humanitarian workers on site reported in the meantime about mass forced evictions of the Croats and the Muslims.
...means that during all Bosnia war in Banja Luka and Krajina were lived togheter Croats, Serbs and Moslems civilinas until croatia attacked Krajina.
July 8th, 2005  
Child of War
Look all of Serbia knew something is coming. My relatives in Serbia were telling my mother to come there but she didn't want. Our radio operators intercepted a lot of stuff and we knew. That is why General Milovanovic got additional troops to defend East flank of Krajina.
July 8th, 2005  
Sure that people knew…even now people in Serbia know for next plans of “international community”, as some of them call themselves, to support Kosovo Albanians secession from Serbia and its reunion with Albania and struggle of Republic Srpska as entity into centralized Bosnia under Moslem domination – to prevent their possible union with Serbia. They want that together with secession of Montenegro from Serbia. Their deadlines are coming; it will be interesting on which way they will try to skip over the UN Council once again.
And yes, Germany is on the Balkan again - here is the International Conference in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office Berlin, September 12 and 13, 2003

Eight years after the signing of the Dayton Agreement, changing the Dayton-created
Constitution of BiH has become one of the top-priority tasks facing the international community and BiH politicians alike. Speeding up the European integration of BiH is a prerequisite for the country's survival and provides a most powerful contribution to peace and security in South East Europe.
It is necessary to prevent strategically a well designed project of territorial barter – Kosovo for the Republic Srpska – this project being the unifying force for all political forces in Serbia and Montenegro, as well as in Bosnia's Republic Srpska.
Paradoxically, the Belgrade regime today wields more power and authority in part of the neighboring country Bosnia and Herzegovina (in the Republic Srpska) than in parts of its ''own'' territory: in Kosovo, or in Montenegro. This issue should be urgently addressed.

Ahmed Zilic

And you mentioned something with radio that i did not understand...are u 19yo?
July 9th, 2005  
Child of War
Germany is not a problem. Serbs could easily deal with the Europeans. Problem is that USA is against us, and US is only one who has the military means of dealing with us. If Russia gets on it's feet in a reasonable time Serbs will do fine.
July 10th, 2005  
Russia is very far away...We should belive in justice, if not international laws, maybe God laws. How far the evil can go? All international institutions are dead or captured alreday...
There is something for you, when nato strikes started...

A war of words,00.html

By Julie Burchill
Saturday April 10, 1999

Forty reasons why the Serbs are not the new Nazis and the Kosovars are not the new Jews:

1) Because the Nazis did not put Jews on the train to Israel, as the Serbs are now putting ethnic Albanian Kosovars on the train to Albania.
2) Because we're the ones fighting alongside the Luftwaffe and the Serbs are the ones whom the Luftwaffe is bombing.
3) Because the Serbs tend to be really good- looking, especially the women.
4) Because pop stars don't, and never will, dress up as Serbs.
5) Because Serbs don't feature in pornography.
6) Because Dirk Bogarde never played a Serb.
7) Because my father taught me never to kiss a Nazi, whereas I've certainly snogged a few Serbs in my time.
8) Because Robin Cook says they are.
9) Because Clinton is a liar.
10) Because Milosevic doesn't have a moustache.
11) Because the Kosovan Liberation Army is a terrorist organisation that has been killing innocent Serbs for years, whereas the Jews were model citizens.
12) Because, if the Serbs were really Nazis, the Times, Daily Mail and their like would be right behind them, judging from their track record during the Thirties.
13) Because it wasn't the Serbs who fought with the Nazis in Yugoslavia during the second world war - it was the Croats and the Muslims. (Nazi Muslims! What an absolutely mind- blowingly terrifying concept!)
14) Because, if they were Nazis, the US wouldn't be fighting them but funding them, like all those old pigs it props up in Latin America.
15) Tony Benn doesn't back no Nazis! Come outside and say that!
16) Because anyone who knows anything about European history before 1945 backs the Serbs.
17) Because Volkswagen recently broadcast a commercial on German television that compared the thrill of driving its latest model to being a Nazi invading Czechoslovakia. Serbia has never, does not and never will make car commercials about the thrill of going into Kosovo. (Just a guess!)
18) Because, if you make a film saying that it was a real hoot being in a Nazi concentration camp, you get lots of Oscars, whereas if you decided to make a film saying that it was a real hoot being in an Albanian refugee camp, Tony Blair would have you shot under some arcane wartime law which Cherie has just discovered on the statute books.
19) Because those ultra-Lefties who want the Serbs bombed are always the ones who are on the side that's against the Jews.
20) Because the Serbs have a bittersweet sense of humor, whereas the Nazis, being Germans, were utterly humorless. After all, can you really imagine the Krauts during the time of the Allied bombardment going around with a bullseye and the word "TARGET" painted on their faces?
21) "I had an uncle who played/For Red Star Belgrade" Billy Bragg. Billy Bragg would never have boasted about having a footballing Nazi for an uncle! Come outside and say that! (Again!)
22) Because Tariq Ali, Louis de Berničres, Alan Clark and I haven't been interned yet. (Give it time, though.)
23) Because the Serbs were the only people in Yugoslavia who never persecuted the Jews.
24) "Bill and Tony sitting up a tree/K.I.S.S.I.N.G!" Because Blair can't be trusted when he gazes into Billy Bob's big blue eyes and the hormones kick in.
25) Because, if Milosevic was a Nazi, Baroness Thatcher would be having tea with him in Surrey.
26) Because no one ever went on holiday to Nazi Germany (except for Unity Mitford.)
27) Because the IRA won't send an honour guard to Milosevic's funeral.
28) Because the Jews didn't indulge in personal vendettas as they went into the countries that welcomed them as refugees, let alone get to the point of shooting each other at point blank range, as two Kosovar men did in Calais last week while they were waiting to be put on the boat to Britain.
29) Because the Jews didn't growl at women on the streets of their host countries, as Albanian men seem wont to.
30) Because the Serbs have a really cool salute and the Nazis had a silly one.
31) Because, unlike Nazis - "And Goebbels has no balls at all" -'Milosevic" does not rhyme with anything rude.
32) Because the British tabloids are the first people since the Nazis to use the word "Slav" as a term of abuse.
33) Because the KLA is funded by drug-trafficking, while the nearest the German Jews ever got to drugs was chicken soup.
34) Because the German Jews didn't want to annex part of Germany and call it Israel-On- The-Rhine.
35) Because last year the British Immigration Office decreed that the Kosovars were not a distinct racial group. (And it's been a damned long time since anyone said that about the Jews.)
36) Because clean-limbed, dirty-minded little WASP girls don't grow up dreaming of marrying a big, handsome, sexy, intellectual Kosovar.
37) Because Germany has agreed to take 40,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees - that's "take", not "kill".
38) Because the Greeks sympathise with the Serbs - and the Greeks always back the right side.
39) Because Israel sympathises with the Kosovars, and Israel always backs the wrong side. (Lovely shot of that Israeli jet flying cheek-to-cheek with the Luftwaffe, lads!)
40) Because Nazis don't win wars - and Serbs don't lose them.
July 12th, 2005  
zdravstvuy (i make no apology for my s*itty russian) illuminati... as an ameri can jew, i feel pretty horrible that the US leaders at the time were too blind to see that by attacking serbs they were helping those who would later attack (and still are attacking) the USA. the whole situation has been terribly reported here, serbs are made out to be the devil incarnate while peace loving palestinian/albanian/chechnyan/iraqi freedom fighters martyr themselves for CNN. I hail from the carpathians, and my relatives who experienced the period of wwii have nothing but praise and love for serbia, in fact my grandfather cried when clinton started bombing. He still has a scar right above his heart from a bosnian muslim slave master.
I'm surprised about israel's support for the kosovars, is that true? id think it very unlikely, if anything its just a show of friendliness to our buddies who follow the religion of peace. Most of the israeli people however are pretty aware of the truth, all politicians are whores.

PS-illuminati, living in nyc i can tell your right in general about them, theres a reason theyre called chechmeki
July 12th, 2005  
It is sad