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history_1992- 1449 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Civil War

General Michael Rose - Extract from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

Bosnians frequently pointed out that an international coalition led by America took military action against Iraq when Kuwait was invaded, whereas the international community did nothing to help Bosnia in the face of a similar aggression. However, the situation in Bosnia was not simply that of one nation invading another. It was a civil war about territory in which the Bosnian Croats and the Bosnian Serbs sought to secede from the State and join with their compatriots in neighbouring Croatia and Serbia. (page 3)

Looking back, the cautious response by the international community to the war in Bosnia is understandable. It had attempted to prevent war by keeping the former Yugoslavia together. When that policy failed, it sought to limit the conflict by imposing an arms embargo, and it tried to alleviate suffering by sending humanitarian relief. (page 251)
history_1992- 1451 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Initial Muslim tactics

General Michael Rose - Extract from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

As we crossed the conflict line on to the Bosnian side a detachment of 120mm mortars opened fire close by the road to our left. Bosnian forces were shelling Serb positions on the hills above the city. I asked rather nervously what was happening and Viktor Andreev, the Russian UN civil adviser in Sarajevo, who had come to meet me and who was to become my inseparable friend and colleague, told me there was nothing to worry about.
There was no such thing in the eyes of the Bosnian Government, he explained, as a purely military action. There was only political action. They always greeted new arrivals to Sarajevo in this way, and the Serbs always responded in kind with artillery fire on the city. Visitors were thus given a practical demonstration of the aggression being committed against the State of Bosnia. In this way, the Bosnian Government hoped to persuade the West to become involved in the war on their side. When I asked about the civilian casualties that this tactic resulted in, Viktor merely shrugged and replied that civilians mattered less to the Bosnian Government than images of suffering and war.

In New York, I had mentioned this tactic of the Bosnian Government to Madeleine Albright. She confirmed that the US Administration knew what was happening but could do little about it! (... ) Obviously y first task would be to tell President Izetbegovic that this grim strategy of inflicting such horrors on his own people would never succeed and that I would do all in mypower to prevent the UN from becoming engaged in a war in Bosnia as a combatant. (page 18)

* * *

Full demilitarisation of Sarajevo would have required the removal of all Bosnian w Army units. For the Bosnian Government this was a step too far, as it would mean that they were no longer sovereign in their own capital. Handing over the security of Sarajevo to the UN would also reduce the possibility of any financial gain that O control of all movements in and out of the city generated for the party leaders. In the view of some extremists in the SDA it was better to keep the shells falling on their people in the hope that the US would one day enter the war on their side and to conceal this inhuman strategy, they continued to blame the world for allowing "slow-motion genocide" to take place in their country. (page 45)

* * *

The French battalion guarding the airport had managed to pin down one of the firing points that was in the Bosnian-held town of Butmir, close to the confrontation line. On one occasion, a French soldier had actually seen a mortar fired from Butmir, across the airfield, at aircraft waiting to unload on the dispersal apron. The Bosnian forces were evidently doing this to sustain the image of a city under siege. (page 162)

* * *

However, the Serbs never blocked convoys in such a systematic manner that a military response from UNPROFOR became inevitable. Even during 1994, at a time when the Serbs were accused of the "strangulation of Sarajevo", stocks of food in the city were never completely exhausted, gas and water remained connected and so, for much of the time, did electricity. (page 246)
history_1992- 1456 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

About the crimes against own people

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

More serious were reports we started to receive from the French in the city that the Bosnian forces were sometimes firing on their own citizens. In one such incident a tram had been fired on from a building on the Bosnian side of the conflict line normally occupied by paramilitary police. In another incident, following a mortar attack near the Residency that killed two children, two more shells had been fired at the same location while a French Army team was investigating the first incident. These secondary shots could only have come from the Bosnian side of the firing line. On the other side of the city, on several occasions, UN and NATO aircraft at Sarajevo airport had been fired at from the Muslim-held suburb of Butmir.

The Bosnian Government always denied that their forces had ever fired on their own people or on the UN. Nor, in the circumstances of civil war in Bosnia, was it always possible for the UN to prove conclusively who had fired any particular shot, though it was sometimes possible to identify the firing point. It is also possible that the Bosnian Government never gave orders for such attacks. Nonetheless, in my view the moral distinction between Bosnian forces firing at the Serbs with the intention of provoking retaliation against civilians and the Bosnians themselves firing on their own people is a fine one. (pages 197-198)
history_1992- 1457 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (1)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

Since there is no such thing as a tidy end to fighting, a certain amount of shelling in Sarajevo continued throughout the day, mostly from the Muslim side. When I sent a note of protest to Divjak, he replied that he would rio longer talk to me because of the way I had treated him the day before. (... ) About that time, I watched a dramatic report by Peter Arnett of CNN, filmed from the roof of the Holiday Inn, implying that the UN ceasefire had already broken down and that Sarajevo was under heavy attack by the Serbs, although from his footage, it seemed to us that the rounds were outgoing and had been fired by the Muslims, not by the Serbs. Someone commented that he appeared to be confusing Sarajevo with Baghdad.
I immediately complained to CNN, and I was not sorry to see Arnett leave Bosnia. (pages 53-54)

* * *

The day after the ceasefire came into effect I was asked by Sue McGregor on the BBC Today programme to reply to a statement made earlier by Mohammed Sacirbey, the Bosnian Government representative to the UN. Speaking from Miami where he had a law practice, he said that the UN-brokered ceasefire was a sham and that Serb shells were still falling on the besieged city of Sarajevo. Nothing, he said, had changed. As he spoke, I looked out of the window.
I could see in the streets the people of Sarajevo walking peacefully in the sunshine with their children, something they had been unable to do for many months. I described to Sue McGregor the view from my window and suggested that it was the people of Sarajevo, rather than I, who should reply to Mohammed Sacirbey, who was, or so I understood, "speaking from a sunbed in Miami".
Every time I met him thereafter, he would try to convince me that he had actually been in his office at the time, not on the beach, and complained that my comment had done him much damage. It was curious that so consummate an advocate for the Muslim cause did not appreciate how propaganda can work both ways. (pages 54-55)

* * *

Not to be outdone, Ambassador Charles Redman, President Clinton's special envoy on Bosnia, also flew in. Chuck Redman, as he was known to all, was a calm, assured diplomat, who looked a little out of place in the chaos and destruction of Sarajevo. He was protected by a posse of nervous-looking US Secret Service bodyguards. Redman was up to date with much of what was happening and at our first meeting he told me that at all costs we had to stop the Serbs from playing cat-and-mouse with us. I explained that the Serbs had shown themselves to be more than happy to stop the fighting while they were ahead, and that it had been the Muslims who had tried to renege on the meeting at the airport.

Redman replied that the Serbs could not be allowed to benefit from their aggression, and that nothing would stop America from pursuing its goal of re-establishing a unitary State in Bosnia. It was obvious he had been sent to Sarajevo with a specific agenda, influenced by the need for Clinton to be seen to get tough on the Bosnian Serbs in the run up to the congressional elections. (page 59)

history_1992- 1458 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (2)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)
In Washington at the end of February Prime Minister Silajdzic had agreed to the opening of Tuzla airfield, but at our meeting on 6 March with the Bosnian Government, Izetbegovic went back on this agreement. At the same meeting Ganic reneged on the agreement he had made with me to open the Brotherhood and Unity bridge, between the Bosnian-held areas of the city and the Serb suburb of Grbavica (... ) Ganic, on the other hand, who was responsible for the Bosnian Armed Forces and the para-military police, had become ever more powerful. He remained close to President Izetbegovic and by the end of 1994 he was the raain point of contact between the UN and the Bosnian Government. As a member of the inner cabinet he also controlled the Bosnian press, radio and television. (pages 79-80)

* * *

By 8 June it was apparent that the Geneva talks would produce no substantial agreement. Although the Serbs would have settled for a four-month cessation of hostilities, they would only do this if it was linked to a political deal. The Bosnians would only agree to it if the return to the status quo ante in Gorazde remained a pre-condition. In the end, to save everyone's face, Akashi cobbled together a four-week ceasefire; but the day after Ganic signed this agreement, the Bosnian Army, under his direction, launched a major attack against the Serbs in the Ozren moun-tains, north-west of Tuzla. (page 138)

* * *

On 10 August a Bosnian Army T55 tank was spotted leaving a tunnel behind the Residency. Although the Bosnian Army often fired 12Omm mortars at the Serbs in the Jewish Cemetery from the grounds of the Kosevo hospital, this was the first time that we had seen one of their tanks. I therefore asked for a US AC130 aircraft that was circling Sarajevo at the time to look for it. Although the aircraft carried a sophisticated weapon system capable of putting a 105mm shell down a rabbit hole from 5, 000 feet, it was unable to identify the Bosnian tank that was moving around amid the traffic and clutter ofbuildings in Sarajevo. (page 161)

* * *

In mid-August, the Bosnian Army shelled the Serb town of Ilijaš on the outskirts of Sarajevo. Ilijaš was well within the 20-kilometre exclusion zone around Sarajevo, and once again the Bosnians were in breach of the NATO ultimatum. In the attack, a school was hit and women and children killed. (page 163)

* * *

On 4 September, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke had visited Bosnia and seen for himself the progress being made by the UN. Holbrooke was a man in a hurry. He told Andrew Ridgeway that he did not like briefings, and proceeded to question him closely on the situation in central Bosnia and on the consequences of lifting the arms embargo on the newly formed Federation. Andrew explained that the Bosnian Army was responsible for most of the ceasefire violations in south-west Bosnia, and that the lifting of the arms embargo would result in a return to war and a break-up of the Federation. At this point, one official in the US embassy in Sarajevo was overheard saying to the ambassador, Victor Jakovitch: "This is awful. It's not what we want him to hear at all! " This encouraged Andrew to continue in his current vein, as he realised that the US embassy reports being sent back to Washington were probably painting a very different picture from the one he was now describing to Holbrooke. (pages 167-168)
history_1992- 1459 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (3)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

On 11 September, Adm. Leighton Smith wrote a letter to de Lapresle stating that tHe ceasefire violations of the Bosnian Serbs were undermining the collective credibility of NATO and the UN, and suggesting that NATO should attack significant targets within the next 48 hours. In a revealing line in the letter, he told de Lapresle that "his instructions were clear".
The Admiral's letter provoked surprise and shock in Zagreb and Brussels, given the low level of military activity in Bosnia that summer, as well as the apparent decision of the international community to give peace another chance. Until then, Adm. Leighton Smith had seemed to understand the careful balance that had to be maintained between the occasional need to use force and the requirements of the humanitarian mission.
There were, after all, more than a million people still wholly dependent for their survival on UN aid in Bosnia, and UNHCR had warned that the coming winter would significantly increase this number. Dropping bombs on the Serbs would not help the dire humanitarian situation.

It seemed probable to de Lapresle and me that the letter had been drafted higher up the US chain of command, possibly by Joulwan, whose prime interest seemed to be the "credibility" of NATO, and that Smith had sent it against his better judgement. In a tough reply, de Lapresle restated that force should be used only in relation to a confirmed violation and that it should be proportional to the event. This accorded with his "conscience as an officer", as the troops under his command had been sent to Bosnia as peacekeepers, not combatants. He insisted that he fully supported the poli-cies being pursued by the Commander in Bosnia, Gen. Rose. On a visit to Brussels shortly afterwards, we were consequently subjected to a charm offensive by Joulwan. I heard later that his less than sensitive handling of the UN had been noted in Washington, and he had been obliged to adopt a more conciliatory approach in what was supposed to be a supporting role.

At the meeting, I dismissed the idea that UNPROFOR had gone soft on the Serbs or was allowing a reimposition of the siege of Sarajevo as nonsense. The Serbs had not halted the delivery of aid into Sarajevo, although the recent offensives by the Bosnian Army had caused the Serbs to deny the passage of commercial traffic into the city. The utilities had been restored and the trams were running once again, although there were still occasional exchanges of fire. The anti-sniping agreement was generally being respected, and the prices of goods in the shops in Sarajevo were still falling. Restaurants and cafes were reopening, and life for the citizens, if not pleasant, was survivable.

Because of the success of UN mediation, people tended to forget there was still a war being fought between the two sides. To achieve this, the UN had pushed peace enforcement to the limits, despite its marginalisation by the Contact Group. Many of the NATO nations who had troops in Bosnia had warned me not to use any greater levels of force. These countries had sent peacekeepers, not combat units, to Bosnia. I ended by quoting President J. F. Kennedy: "the road to peace is a slow and painful one. You proceed step by step. There are no immediate solutions. "
history_1992- 1460 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (4)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

On 18 September, all our efforts to restore confidence in the peace process in Brussels were shattered. The Bosnian Army launched a major infantry assault and mortarbombardment against Serb positions in the eastern part of the city of Sarajevo. I had returned from Brussels two days previously, and Viktor and I had spent the earlier part of that day in Pale. There we had attempted to persuade Karadzic that the position taken by the Contact Group was not tantamount to a declaration of war against the Bosnian Serbs by the international community. We explained to him that it was unlikely the arms embargo would be lifted and that the Bosnian Serbs should persevere with the peace process. He was looking ill, his arms covered in sores.
Gen. Mladic was not present, and towards the end of the meeting, Karadzic said he would like us to pass a private message to the Contact Group, which still refused to see him. Indicating a map on the wall, he told us that, although he strongly disagreed with the Contact Group map, he would be prepared to accept less than 50% of Bosnia in any territorial division of the country. Exactly where the boundaries between the two parts of the country lay would have to be the subject of further negotiation butthe Serbs would be prepared to give up claims to Sarajevo. The lines on his map showing the proposed territorial division of Bosnia looked remarkably like the original Vance-Owen proposal. He ended on an optimistic note: he was going to build a new capital city of the Republika Srpska on the other side of the Sarajevo airfield.
It would be a European Hong Kong. I told him that I would pass his message on to the British Foreign Office, and duly did. He never received a reply.

We returned to Sarajevo that afternoon believing that some sort of compromise between the Serbs and the Bosnians would be possible. I was further encouraged to see a copy of an order that had been sent that morning by Milovanovic telling hisforces around Sarajevo to withdraw all heavy weapons remaining in the TEZ to a distance of at least 20 kilometres from Sarajevo. I was in my office at 1730 reading this order, when an immense artillery barrage erupted in the hills nearby, to the immediate east of the Residency. The Residency building began to shake and dust drifted down from the ceiling. From the window I could see people, who seconds before had been enjoying a peaceful Sunday afternoon, seize their children and run for cover in a way they had not had to do for many months. Jamie Daniell and I jumped into the Range Rover, and with Goose driving we tore through the rapidly emptying streets to the scene of the battle.
People were sheltering in doorways, looking utterly shocked by the cruel resumption of war in what, until then, had seemed to be a city gradually returning to normality. One woman holding a tiny baby was crouching behind a wall, crying helplessly, and as we passed she turned towards us, her face frozen with fear. Her eyes were devoid of hope. It seemed as though her world had come to an end.

We made for the old Turkish fort at the eastern end of Sarajevo to find out what had caused this outbreak of fighting and which side had brought the ceasefire to an end. As we approached the scene of the fighting, we saw bullets and shrapnel striking the walls of buildings and the embankment of the river.

history_1992- 1461 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (5)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

Shortly after the signing of the Sarajevo Airport Agreement on 9 February, I had deployed a number of British Cymbeline mortar-locating radars, capable of tracking shells from the moment of firing to the point of impact. I told the Bosnians and the Serbs that this equipment allowed me to accurately identify who was responsible for breaking the ceasefire. In reality the equipment was outdated and much time had to be spent in maintenance. It was only possible to keep the radars switched on for very limited periods of time and even then the arc of observation was extremely narrow. Only when the sound of a mortar was heard could the radar equipment be switched on. A single shell could not be identified. After 45 years of the cold war, this was the best that was available from the British military inventory. Although the Jordanians and Pakistanis had better radars they could not be deployed outside central Bosnia as the Serbs would not allow UN contingents from Muslim countries to transit their territory.

When we got to the fort, we found that the British radar operators had positioned themselves in the thick of the battle. They had switched on the radars when they heard the first salvo of mortars and the traces of the shell trajectories that they had obtained so far made it clear that the Bosnian Government forces had fired the first salvos. Behind us on a hill, we could see the Bosnian infantry in the midst of a largescale attack against the Serbs. The Serbs were responding with heavy machine-guns and rocket launchers. The noise was deafening, and the British position was being hit by fire from both sides. Fortunately, the radars were installed in two old APCs, and the operators had also taken the precaution of sandbagging their position. As I got out of the Range Rover and walked rather rapidly behind the sandbags, Jamie Daniell wandered over to the edge of the fort, supposing that the plastic sheets that had been put up to provide cover from view were in fact sandbags.
He was fortunate not to be killed by a heavy burst of machine-gun fire that hit the wall of the fort just below where he was standing. He rapidly joined us in the sandbagged compound looking rather sheepish.

Inside the radar vehicles, the operators, under command of a highly experienced Royal Artillery sergeant, were calmly plotting the shells as they passed overhead. We watched the battle for about two hours, after which the fighting began to die down. The Serbs, whom we could clearly see in their trenches in the pine-covered forest behind us, had beaten off the Bosnian Army attack. By then, they were using their own artillery and mortars to fire at the Bosnian mortars, one of which had been established in the grounds of Kosevo hospital; a tactic already observed and pro-tested about my predecessor, Gen. Francis Briquemont. The Bosnians had evidently chosen this location with the intention of attracting Serb fire, in the hope that the resulting carnage would further tilt international support in their favour.

History is likely to pass judgement on the Bosnian leaders for using these inhuman tactics. "History will judge us accordingly, " as Winston Churchill once said, "but do not forget that I will be one of the historians. " On this occasion it was the Cymbeline mortar-locating radar troop who were the historians.
history_1992- 1462 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (6)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

We returned to the Residency, and I immediately sent letters of protest to the military commanders of both sides threatening them with NATO air strikes if the fighting continued the next day. The next morning I received a reply from Gvero, Mladic's Deputy Army Commander, in which he stated that the Muslim forces had attacked across the line of confrontation in two places in the area of Trebevic and in the region of the villages of Faletici and Lapisnica. His estimation was that the Bosnian Army had intended to cut the two main Serb routes that ran north and south of Sarajevo. Gvero ended his signal by pointing out that the Serbs had not attempted to recover their weapons from the UN weapon-collecting sites, although they had suffered a number of casualties. In an ironic note, Gvero had ended by wondering "whether the attacks were accidental". The Bosnians did not answer my letter.

The next day limited fighting was still going on, so Viktor and I summoned a meeting with Izetbegovic, with Gen. Delic in attendance. I presented Izetbegovic with the evidence produced by the Cymbeline mortar-locating troop showing that the Bosnian Army had plainly started the fighting and had deliberately fired from positions around the hospital, the Presidency, and even close to my own HQ.

Probably for the first time in the war, the Bosnians had been caught red-handed. The evidence was incontrovertible and their actions probably constituted a war crime as well as a violation of the NATO ultimatum, as it is against the Geneva Protocol deliberately to involve civil populations in war. I reminded Izetbegovic that while the UN had to remain neutral as a mediator, it was not indifferent to the plight of the people in Bosnia who had suffered so greatly. Nevertheless, the UN could not overlook such actions by the Bosnian Army. I had to know whether it was the Bosnian Government's policy to return to war. If this were so, the UN would have no alternative but to withdraw from Bosnia. I had already been in touch with NATO regarding the use of air strikes against the Bosnian mortars and tanks. I explained to him how tragic it had been the day before to see a mother with her children desperately fleeing for cover. I showed him the Cymbeline mortar traces superimposed on a map.
I would release them to the media unless he called a halt to the fighting.

Izetbegovic, who had been looking reasonably calm when I began, went white in the face. Releasing the mortar traces to the press would erode any political or moral support that he might be expecting to obtain when he went to Washington the following week. He pored over the map, asking where the Kosevo hospital was in relation to the mortar positions, while Delic sat snorting and blowing like an old walrus washed up on the beach. By the end of the meeting, Izetbegovic had been reduced to saying that his army had been responding to an increasing number of sniper attacks on their positions and that the mortars had been fired "by a drunken mortar crew". When he saw the look of incredulity that greeted this explanation, he added that he did indeed wish the UN to remain in Bosnia and that he respected our impartiality. He agreed to issue orders for an immediate cessation of fighting. Viktor Andreev then introduced the subject of the demilitarisation of Sarajevo.
Clearly on the defensive, Izetbegovic said that he supported the idea in principle, but he doubted the Serbs would agree. Viktor said that he was confident they would support such a plan and added that future prospects for peace would be improved by restraint being shown by both sides. It was impossible for the UN to carry out its mission when both sides were determined on war.
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Ceasefire agreements (7)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

There was a limit to the hard line that we could take with the Bosnian Government. They knew that the Americans were unlikely to allow NATO air power to be used against the Bosnian Army, even though it was in breach of a NATO ultimatum, nor was it likely that economic sanctions would be imposed on the Bosnians for breaking UN Security Council resolutions. In this context, UNPROFOR was not able to sustain the principle of impartiality that is so essential to any peacekeeping mission.

As a result, relations between the UN and the Bosnian Serbs became lastingly and immeasurably more difficult after the Bosnian Army offensive. On 20 September, at a meeting in Pale held to prevent the Serbs from cutting off the electricity, gas and water to Sarajevo in response to the Bosnian attack, Karadzic subjected Viktor and me to an angry diatribe. "How can you talk about the restoration of utilities to the Muslims in Sarajevo when they have just attacked us with heavy weapons in breach of the Airport Agreement and the NATO ultimatum? How can you raise such issues when they have systematically refused to talk about a cessation of hostilities, and the international community have subjected us to economic sanctions which are causing our people to live far worse than the citizens of Sarajevo? How dare you complain on behalf of a leadership that cares so little for its own people! "

Viktor, who was generally treated with a certain deference by the Bosnian Serbs, was visibly shaken by Karadzic's anger. We reiterated the fact that we had publicly condemned the actions of the Bosnian Government and that to respond to the Bosnian attack would merely strengthen the image of a city under siege and that would not help the Serbs. Karadzic eventually calmed down and said he would reconnect the Sarajevo utilities if, in return, the Bosnian Government allowed the electricity lines that passed through Bosnian territory to Banja Luka to be repaired. This seemed a reasonable trade-off. A civilian sub-committee of the UN normally dealt with the restoration of utilities in Bosnia, but their negotiations had remained, until then, in a state of deadlock.

When we presented this new proposal to Izetbegovic the next day, his attitude had changed and he seemed warm and friendly. I think he had begun to appreciate that by stopping the fighting before there were any serious civilian casualties, he had managed to contain a situation that could potentially cause great damage to the Bosnian image abroad; and that he had the UN to thank for this. He told Viktor that he wanted to develop closer relationships with the UN, and he agreed to allow the repair of the Serb electricity lines where they ran through Bosnian-controlled territory. All this promised well and Viktor and I left the meeting in happier mood. In retrospect, it was probably naive of us to think that Izetbegovic's friendly attitude towards the UN was anything other than a short-term measure designed to recover a potentially damaging situation prior to his visit to Washington.
He mistakenly thought that launching the attack in Sarajevo on 18 September would produce images of war helpful to his cause. Now, faced with our evidence, he was forced to make a dramatic U-turn. The Bosnians, above all, understood the relationship between military and political action. (pages 170-174)

* * *

On 22 September Karadzic had told Sergio de Mello that the partiality of the UN was no longer tolerable... He did agree thatthe demilitarisation of Sarajevo was an attractive ideathat should be pursued, although this was dependent upon the Muslims agreeing to a total cessation of hostilities in Bosnia. (page 180)
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Ceasefire agreements (8)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

On our return to Sarajevo, we warmly welcomed Glynne Evans. We looked forward to her visits as she invariably introduced a breath of fresh air into the debate about Bosnia. She never accepted that serious damage would be done to US-UK relations through differences of opinion over Bosnia. Indeed, she felt that if we allowed the UN to cross the "Mogadishu Line" - the line that separates peacekeeping from war-fighting - then a much greater strain would be put upon the Alliance, as it would then become embroiled in a war, which would create far greater divisions.

After each visit, she always wrote an amusing report, full of common sense and insight. Her latest was entitled "Strangulation of Sarajevo? " and it began with the words: "Well no, not really". She went on to say:

Sarajevo is now more at peace than I have ever known it. Late at night, the only sound is dogs barking. The city is filled with flickering lights. Electricity is back. Seven out of the nine water pumps have been repaired. I went out to dinner in Sarajevo; tomato salad with cream cheese followed by knuckle of veal with potatoes accompanied by wine and a lot of bread. The restaurants and cafes are thriving. After a packed Mass at the Cathedral which I attended with Gen. Rose on Sunday, we strolled through the centre of the city thronged with people. Flower-packed stalls selling eggs, vegetables, running shoes, Ray bans and Levi jeans. The trams, which rushed past, were full. A shiny new white Mercedes with a Sarajevo number plate drove past us. The Sarajevan soul is alive and kicking.

This was certainly not what the warmongers in Bosnia and elsewhere wished to hear. Nor did the press write about this resurgence of life in Sarajevo. It was more interesting to talk about the continuing strangulation of the city, or focus on outbreaks of fighting between the armies elsewhere in Bosnia. Peace has no news value and the Bosnian Government would soon give the press what they wanted.

A demilitarised zone had been established on Mt Igman in August 1993, when Bosnian Government forces were in full retreat from the Bosnian Serbs. At that time they had recently captured the summit of Mt Igman and were about to achieve the complete encirclement of Sarajevo. The potential consequences of this were extremely serious, as the fall of Sarajevo would have almost certainly resulted in the end of the Bosnian State. In desperation, Izetbegovic appealed to the world for help and, following an ultimatum from NATO to the Serbs to withdraw their forces from Mt Igman, an agreement between Mladic and Delic was negotiated on 14 August 1993 by Gen. Briquemont for all forces to be withdrawn from the region. Brig. Vere Hayes, Chief of Staff to Briquemont, had then drawn up a map, showing the bound-aries of this newly formed demilitarised zone. Any troops entering the zone would be deemed to be in violation of the NATO ultimatum and would be subject to air strikes.

Since the spring of 1994 the Bosnian Army had started to move into the old Serb positions on Mt Igman, despite attempts to prevent this by the French and Swedish troops who were garrisoning the zone. It was clear the Bosnian Government had begun to assume, with good reason, that the international community would turn a blind eye to any attenipt to regain its lost territories by force. Natural justice and a feeling of sympathy would allow them to breach the international agreement that prevented them from doing this, even though the Bosnian Government had originally asked for that agreement. It was inconceivable that NATO could be seen bombing the "victim State". (... )
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Ceasefire agreements (9)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

Since the early spring I had been striving to get the Bosnian Army to withdraw from the demilitarised zone. I reinforced the French battalion stationed on Mt Igman ith a British Warrior company and then, from October to May, with a Swedish unit used to fighting in the deep snow that covers the mountain. On one or two occasions, after a warning, the Swedish troops had opened fire on newly dug Bosnian trenches, forcing the Bosnian Army to withdraw. Nevertheless, encroachments had continued.

Izetbegovic denied the presence of Bosnian Army forces in the demilitarised zone, and had once even agreed that, under the terms of the NATO ultimatum, he would have no objection to air strikes being carried out against any military forces found there. He told me he had given unequivocal orders that no Bosnian troops should enter the zone. However, when a French unit, under their new Sector Commander Gen. Herve Gobillard, attacked a Bosnian Army position well inside the zone, Izetbegovic protested. "But I thought you said there were no Bosnian soldiers in the zone! " Gobillard replied. By the beginning of October the Bosnian Army had become much subtler, infiltrating the zone at night and, using newly acquired night-vision aids, attacking Serb positions on the far side of the zone.

At a meeting in Pale on 5 October, attended by Akashi, de Lapresle and me, Karadzic protested that these attacks had resulted in an increasing number of Serb deaths. He demanded to know why the UN always used force against the Serbs when they were in violation of a NATO ultimatum, but never used force against the Bosnians? With customary drama, he said that the situation was becoming intolera-ble to him. What should he say to the widows and orphans of people killed in the NATO air strikes, some of whom were civilians? As he spoke, I noticed that Mladic was silently weeping. Karadzic went on to say that it would be better if the UN departed, and left the Serb Army to finish the job they had been prevented from completing by the arrival of the UN.
He ended by warning us that if another NATO air strike was threatened against his forces, he would deem himself to be at war with the UN, and his army would start shelling UNPROFOR positions. At this point Mladic miraculously cheered up and launched into one of his more crazed accounts of what he would do to anyone who threatened the Serbs.

That same day, protests to the Bosnian Government brought angry denials from Ganic, who proceeded to call on Akashi to resign for allowing ethnic cleansing to continue around Banja Luka, and for allowing the Serbs to block UN convoys and close the airport. "If a Japanese aeroplane crashes, " he insisted, "then the Minister of Transport in Japan resigns. " (... )

On the following night (6 October), having successfully achieved the return of its missing prisoners, a Bosnian Army patrol crossed the demilitarised zone and killed 20 Serb soldiers and nurses in a medical aid and command post. Passing through the zone, the patrol caught the Serbs unawares and most of the victims had been killed in their sleeping bags. A French doctor summoned to the scene found that eight of the Serbs had been killed with knives and most of them had been finished off with a single bullet in the back of the head. Some of the bodies had been badly burned. Four of the victims were female nurses. The next afternoon an open lorry passed us in Sarajevo with a group of black-suited soldiers with blackhandkerchiefs knotted round their heads waving weapons in the air and shouting "Allah Akbar! " We were told they were a specially trained unit that had just had a glorious victory on Mt Igman.
history_1992- 1469 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (10)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

Based on the evidence presented so far, this action constituted a war crime, and Akashi courageously denounced the killings as an atrocity. The Bosnian Government countered this by claiming that the action was a legitimate military operation. "Our guys just wiped them out, " bragged Ganic, while Izetbegovic accused Akashi of slandering his army.

On 8 October Milovanovic predictably sent a furious signal to Brinkman and me about the raid, accusing UNPROFOR of complicity. "By mistake or merit, 37 of my soldiers unfortunately have been killed and 34 of them wounded so far... You did not do anything except that you meanly killed my troops. They are not guilty, you, the generals who lead them, are, and if a revenge occurs, it is clear against whom it will be taken. You promised yesterday that you would strike the Muslims on Igman by NATO aircraft today. And what happened? As usually, you... are not programmed for the Muslims. " True indeed. The wretched man had a point, but this did not prevent me from writing a letter of protest to Karadzic that day about a sniping inci dent that had occurred in Sarajevo, calling on him to prosecute the perpetrators.
As peacekeepers we were not the moral guardians of either side in the war. Although we could collect evidence of war crimes, the UN had not been deployed in Bosnia to act as investigating officer or judge. It is only the victorious side in a war that can do that.

At a meeting with Ganic, also on 8 October, I once again threatened him with NATO air strikes if I found his troops in the demilitarised zone. When he denied that they had been in the zone and that they had infiltrated from another direction, I showed him a photograph taken that day of a Bosnian patrol crossing through the zone. At this, he became agitated, and started waving his hands about, saying that his soldiers were in the demilitarised zone because of the incompetence of the UN. At one point Ganic said to David Harland, a highly amusing New Zealand lawyer working in Sarajevo for the UN: "You clearly have not read the August 1993 demili-tarised zone agreement and do not understand it. "

David replied drily: "You forget, Mr Ganic, that I was the person who drafted it and had to explain it to you in the first place! " I often wondered who, at MIT, had been responsible for giving such an incredibly inept man a doctorate in thermodynamics.
history_1992- 1470 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (11)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

As we left Ganic's office, news came in of a shooting at a tram in Sarajevo in which one person had been killed and 12 injured. It was all very depressing and as I went to the scene of the incident, I said to the interpreter, Darko, that I felt there was really no hope for a country that was so full of barbarism and hatred. He agreed with me.

It was clear that no side wanted peace in Bosnia, and whatever we did in the UN to try and bring about a halt to the slaughter, the leaders of the warring parties, who were revealing themselves to be no better than their snipers, always undermined our efforts. I hoped that, in the end, they would pay for their crimes, but for the time being it was the UN that had to live with the consequences.

I spoke on the telephone that evening to Gen. Corvault, Chief of Staff to Adm. Leighton Smith, to clariiy NATO's position regarding the use of air strikes against the Bosnian Army, which was in permanent violation of the NATO ultimatum covering the demilitarised zone on Mt Igman. All my attempts to get the Bosnian forces to leave the zone using diplomatic means had failed and although we had tried some military action against the Bosnian Army, it was impossible for the UN to control such a vast area without air support. If we did not react to the incursions by the Bosnian forces, then not only was the impartiality of the UN undermined, but also the credibility of NATO.

Corvault replied that, if the Bosnian Army fired on the UN, NATO would only be prepared to help the French soldiers defend themselves. NATO was not prepared to carry out air strikes against the Bosnian Army merely because they were in the demilitarised zone in violation of the NATO ultimatum. For the first time I was being officially told that NATO had taken sides in the war. My concern was how to prevent UNPROFOR being dragged along with it. Sadly, this failure by NATO to act impartially was to prove terminal to the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. (pages 184-187)
history_1992- 1471 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (12)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

I had wondered many times about the extent of Izetbegovic's complicity in the profiteering that arose through his army's control of the tunnel. My initial view of him was that he was a decent man, honourably pursuing the goal of creating a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic State in Bosnia. If terrible things happened within the jurisdiction of the Bosnian Government, either it was a consequence of the confusion of war or it was because he had been deliberately kept in the dark by his army and police. In retrospect, I believe he knew exactly what was going on in Bosnia, and was personally responsible for the decision to keep his forces inside the demilitarised zone on Mt Igman. (page 188)

* * *

Subsequently Robert Fox and Patrick Bishop, writing in the DailyTelegraph, commented on the carping that was coming from within the UN organisation by UNPROFOR officials, who regularly but anonymously let journalists know their misgivings about my style and approach. More dangerous, they added, was the badmouthing from across the Atlantic, because of the encouragement that it gave to the Bosnian Muslims to believe they could win on the battlefield given the support of NATO bombing.

Although much of the criticism came from the absurd logic that I was being so impartial as a peacekeeper that I was being partial to the Serbs, any accusation of being one-sided was dangerous to me as UNPROFOR Commander. It was my job as a peacekeeper to create the conditions necessary for peace, and this meant I had to publicly identify whoever was working against peace, even if, as in this instance, it meant denouncing the Bosnian Government. (page 180)
history_1992- 1472 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (13)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

On my return, there was a Foreign Office telegram waiting for me telling me that Mohammed Sacirbey, the Bosnian representative in the UN in New York, had delivered a protest against my demand that the Bosnian Army should withdraw from the demilitarised zone on Mt Igman. He claimed that this demand was inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 836, which permitted the Bosnians to retain their forces within safe areas.
He had been instructed by the Vice-President Ejup Ganic to make this point, and also to explain that the Bosnians had never officially agreed to the demilitarised zone on Mt Igman. What he said was complete nonsense, and I sent a signal to Kofi Annan in New York telling him that the August 1993 agreement had in fact been signed by both sides. The demilitarised zone was not a safe area, and was covered by a different NATO ultimatum. Nonetheless, in Sarajevo Ganic continued to repeat these statements, presumably using the old propaganda principle that if you repeat something often enough it becomes true.

One evening we invited a friend in the Bosnian Army, Maj. Sisak, to dine with us. An intelligent man, he had previously been military assistant to Delic, and he always seemed to understand what the UN was doing for the people of Bosnia. He had recently completed a military staff course in America and was now working as a liaison officer in the US embassy next door where we rarely saw him. He regretfully declined the invitation on the grounds that he would not be able to attend unless accompanied by a US embassy official. He was no longer a free agent. Jamie Daniell commented how sad it was that the embassy of such a great country as America, founded on the principles of freedom of speech and the rights of the individual, should act in such a repressive manner.

That night, Gobillard decided to clear all the Bosnian Army troops from the demilitarised zone on Mt Igman and led the assault himself. French troops moved on to Bosnian Army positions at last light with armoured bulldozers capable of physically destroying the Bosnian trenches. The Bosnians hurled grenades down the slopes at the French and fired rockets at their vehicles, fortunately witnout causing serious injury. By dawn Gobillard had driven the Bosnians out of the demilitarised zone with the exception of one small, isolated position.

The next day, Gobillard calmly sat in the President's office and explained to Izetbegovic, as well as to his army commander, the details of the operation. Delic looked furious. Izetbegovic said nothing. Gobillard always led from the front and was a wonderful example to his soldiers. He was always full of fun, and I had heard that he had taken to doing parachute rolls from his desk.

The Bosnians reacted to the actions of UNPROFOR by passing a motion in their parliament calling for my dismissal and replacement by someone who was more impartial. Akashi was incensed, and when I told him that I would frame a copy of the edict and hang it on the wall of my lavatory, he gave me an inscrutable stare through his glasses and said: "No, Michael. Far too good for it. Use it first, then flush it down the loo! "

The next day, Maj. Indic, the Bosnian Serb liaison officer and one of Mladic's chief intelligence officers, asked Mike Stanley what would happen if I was assassinated by the Muslims. When I told this to Goose, f'or the first time during my tour he looked slightly thoughtful. (pagey 191-192)
history_1992- 1473 - 03.05.2005 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - best (0)

Ceasefire agreements (14)

General Michael Rose - Extracts from his book Fighting for Peace, published by The Harvill Press, London, 1998)

Another question that needs to be answered is whether the political settlement obtained by the Dayton Agreement could have been achieved in 1994. In my view, it probably could have been, had the Americans understood earlier the political realities of the situation in Bosnia. While it was morally laudable for the US Administration to declare in 1994 that "the aggressor must be punished", it did not provide a basis for political settlement, only military action.
If no country is prepared to go to war against the aggressor then, to obtain a political settlement, the participation of that aggressor must be sought in some sort of negotiating process. The opportunities for peace created by the Vance-Owen Peace Plan in 1993 and by UNPROFOR in 1994 were repeatedly destroyed by unenforceable demands being made by the Bosnian Government, backed by the US and wedded to the Contact Group's "take it or leave it" approach towards the Serbs. 'When this approach was finally abandoned in 1995, the exchanges of territory agreed at Dayton on 21 November did not differ significantly from those proposed by Karadzic and broadly accepted by the Bosnians in the summer of 1994. (page 241)
history_1992- 23700 - 13.02.2010 : Gene D.y. St. Louis - best (0)

A Question about Croatian History

I am 68 years old and I was born in St. Louis, Missouri. My father left Europe when he was 5 yrs old. I have always been told that I am Croatian but I never thought too much about it. My son is in the army and he visited relatives in Croatia. He was there for just a few days but he said the people were really good to him. I was looking forward to visit them myself, but it has never happened.

I was recently retired, and started studying about World War 2 and Croatia. What I am finding out is disgusting! I have been reading what was happening since the WW2 to the present. I have taken down a small Croatian flag my son gave me and I am sick to think about the history of such people. I will continue to read more, and hope I can find something good about Croats, but they have a long way to go. If you can say something positive about them I would appreciate it. In the mean time, I will continue digging to see what I can learn about the country.


Dear Friend,

In spite of thinking very hard, I can not say anything about Croatians except that I have a few Croatian friends who are perfectly normal people, just like you!

Croatia had a very sad history. For a long time their population had been conquered by other powers, so they were not able to express their own identity for a long time. The key moment in their history was the end of the Great War (1918) when their Slavic brothers, the Serbian solders, played the crucial role to free them from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A few great Croatian intellectuals supported the idea of creating a country of South Slavic people, so the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was born.

However, the Croats always wanted more! During the World War II, they sided with Hitler, hoping to expand their territories. In order to achieve their goals, they adopted Hitler's ideology and became a nation which had killed the most Jewish people after the Germans. In Jasenovac, one of the worst concentration camps in the history, they killed about 900. 000 civilians, mostly Serbian people. They slaughtered the same people who brought them freedom in 1918.

In spite of being Hitler's allies and the fact they lost the war, Croatia was has never been punished for the ethnic cleansing and the crime against humanity. On the contrary, when the war ended they expanded their territories by gaining control over the city of Rijeka, as well as The Adriatic Coast a. k. a. Dalmatia. For your information, between the two Great Wars those regions were controlled by Italy. On the other side, Croatia got control over some territories which belonged to Serbia and Montenegro before the Second World War.

This is a unique case in history that a country which lost a war and killed so many people extended its borders against neighboring states. The only explanation for this I have is the fact that the communist president, Josip Broz - Tito, was a Croat.

After the World War Two, the Croats have never gave up their intention to create an independent state, in spite of the fact that all major decisions were made in their favour.

After several unsuccessful tries, in 1991 Croats started a war which ended by expelling entire non-Croatian population from their territory.

The Civil War ( 1991 - 1995 ) ended by making a quarter of million Serbian people forced to leave Croatia. They lost all the property they had. They never returned back. A very few of them who stayed had to become Catholics.

The modern Croatian state was a complete fulfillment of dreams which had Ante Pavelic, the leader of the puppet state of Nazi Germany. What Pavelic wasn't able to accomplish with the help of Hitler, it was succeeded successfully by the Croatian president Franjo Tudjman and its American ally Bill Clinton. They made a country in which only Croats have a right to live.

Zeljko Tomic

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