srebrenica_hoax - 16524 - 02.12.2007 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - (0)
Was Srebrenica a Hoax?(1)
By Carlos Martins Branco, Emperor's Clothes, 4 March 1998
Publisher's note: I have included this document concerning the massacre of Moslem civilians in Srebenica in 1995, not because of the question it raises, but because of the ideological uses to which people have put the issue. ?
It is now two years since the Muslim enclave, Srebrenica, fell into the hands of the Serbian army in Bosnia. Much has been written about the matter. Nonetheless the majority of reports have been limited to a broad media exposure of the event, with very little analytic rigour. Discussion of Srebrenica cannot be limited to genocide and mass graves, which has been almost a banal occurrence throughout ex-Yugoslavia. A rigorous analysis of the events must take into consideration the background circumstances, in order to understand the real motives which led to the fall of the enclave.
The zone of Srebrenica, like almost all of Eastern Bosnia, is characterized by very rugged terrain. Steep valleys with dense forests and deep ravines make it impossible for combat vehicles to pass, and offers a clear advantage to defensive forces. Given the resources available to both parties, and the characteristics of the terrain, it would seem that the Bosnian army (Armija muslimanske BiH) had the necessary force to defend itself, if it had used full advantage of the terrain. This, however, did not occur.
Given the military advantage of the (Muslim) defensive forces it is very difficult to explain the absence of military resistance. The Muslim forces did not establish an effective defensive system and did not even try to take advantage of their heavy artillery, under control of the United Nations (UN) forces, at a time in which they had every reason to do so.
The lack of (Muslim) military response stands in clear contrast to the offensive attitude which characterized the actions of the (Muslim) defensive forces in previous siege situations, which typically launched violent raids against the Serbian villages surrounding the enclave, thus producing heavy casualties amongst the Serbian civilian population.
But in this instance, with the attention of the media focused upon the area, military defence of the enclave would have revealed the true situation in security zones, and demonstrated that these had never been genuinely demilitarized zones as was claimed, but harboured highly-armed (Muslim) military units. Military resistance would jeopardize the image of (Muslims as) victims, which had been so carefully constructed, and which the Muslims considered it was vital to maintain.
Throughout the entire operation it was clear that there were profound disagreements among the leaders of the enclave. From a military viewpoint, there was total confusion. (Naser) ORIC, the charismatic commander of Srebrenica, was absent.
The Sarajevo government did not authorize his return in order to lead the resistance. Military power fell into the hands of his lieutenants, who had a long history of incompatibility. The absence of Oric's clear leadership led to a situation of total ineptitude. The contradictory orders of his successors completely paralysed the forces under siege.
The behaviour of the political leaders is also interesting. The local SDP president, Zlatko Dukic, in an interview with European Union observers, explained that Srebrenica formed part of a business transaction which involved a logistical support route to Sarajevo, via (the Sarajevo suburb of) Vogosca. He also claimed that the fall of the enclave formed part of an orchestrated campaign to discredit the West and win the support of Islamic countries. This was the reason for (Nasir) Oric to maintain distance from his troops. This thesis was also defended by the local supporters of the SDA (the Party of Democratic Action party of Alija Izetbegovic.) There were also many rumours of a trade within the local population of the enclave.
Another curious aspect was the absence of a military reaction from the 2nd Corps of the Muslim army Šoutside of the enclave? , which did nothing to relieve the military pressure on the enclave. It was common knowledge that the (Bosnian) Serb unit in the region, the Drina Corps, was exhausted and that the attack on Srebrenica was only possible with the aid of units from other regions. Despite this fact, Sarajevo did not lift a finger in order to launch an attack which would have divided the Serbian forces and exposed the vulnerabilities created by the concentration of (Bosnian Serb) resources around Srebrenica. Such an attack would have reduced the military pressure on the enclave.
It is also important to register the pathetic appeal of the president of Opstina Šwhich means Šu2018county, Šu2019 in Serbo-Croatian? , Osman Suljic, on July 9, 1995 which implored military observers to say to the world that the Serbians were using chemical weapons. The same gentleman later accused the media of transmitting false news items on the resistance of troops in the enclave, requiring a denial from the UN. According to Suljic, the Muslim troops did not respond, and would never respond with heavy artillery fire. Simultaneously, he complained of the lack of food supplies and of the humanitarian situation. Curiously, (the U. N.) observers were never allowed to inspect the (Srebrenica Muslim) food reserve deposits. The emphasis given by political leaders on the lack of military response and the absence of food provisions loosely suggests an official policy which began to be discernible.
(Note from TENC: What Branco writes above about chemical weapons is not entirely clear. In a discussion of this text on the T-Watch list, Branco was clearer, stating that one of the crucial questions about Srebrenica was, "Why did they (the Muslim leadership inside Srebrenica) pressure us to pass the lie of Serbs attacking with chemical gas? " For his full list of crucial questions about Srebrenica, see footnote.)
In mid 1995, the prolongation of the war had dampened public interest. There had been a substantial reduction in the pressure of public opinion (against the Serbs) in the western democracies. An incident of this importance would nonetheless provide hot news material for the media during several weeks, could awaken public opinion and incite new passions. In this manner it would be possible to kill two birds with one stone: pressure could be laid to bear in order to lift the embargo (i. e. , the much-ignored international ban on arming the Bosnian Muslim extremists) and simultaneously the occupying countries would find it difficult to withdraw their forces, a (possiblity) which had been advanced by leading UN figures such as Akashi and Boutros-Boutros Ghali.
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