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BOSNIA 101

by Professor Nikolaos A. Stavrou

There is a proliferation of well payed propagandists who sell themselves as ad hock Balkan "experts". Here is what a real expert, with a quarter of century of experience in the field, had to say...
     (Dr Nikolaos A. Stavrou is professor of International Affairs
      at Howard University. Among his publications
      are Edvard Kardelj and the Historical Roots of Non-Alignment.
      Mr. Kardelj was Croatian Dictator Tito's right hand man.)

The Bosnian mess is getting worse by the day. Yet, the American people are kept in the dark by a misinformation cabal and a MASTERFUL CENSORSHIP OF TRUTH that would have made many dictators envious. Instead of enlightenment, a new science of victimology has been developed to hide facts and force upon us a policy based on emotions.

Everywhere I traveled and every conference I attended in the past four years, one question always pops up: Where is the other side to the Bosnia story? I have no answer. But out of civic duty and being a professor who taught (and wrote extensively) Balkan affairs for a quarter of a century I hereby offer Bosnia 101. The course has no prerequisites.

Bosnia: It was an administrative unit (republic) of the Former Yugoslav Federation. On April 6 1992 it declared independence in violation of Helsinki accords, the CSCE process and its own constitution.

There was never a Bosnian state nor a Bosnian nation. Over 80% its inhabitants are Serbs in origin, 44 percent of which converted to Islam in the 16th century. The rest are Croats but they all speak the same language and share the same culture.

Why do they hate each other is traceable to World War II. Here is what happened in Yugoslavia during that time: the Croats established a Nazi puppet state, declared war on the western allies and SLAUGHTERED approximately 860,000 SERBS, Jews and Gypsies. Upon [the recent] independence, the first thing they did was to destroy the Jasenovac memorial to their victims; it was too visible a reminder to their atrocities. The Bosnians responded to a higher call: The Mufti of Jerusalem had promised to Hitler and delivered two Islamic Divisions to help assure Fuhrer's victory, who in turn would help the Mufti cleanse Jerusalem of all Jews. The most notorious of the two Muslim outfits was the SS Hanjar (Cleaver) maned by the direct ancestors of some of today's Bosnian leaders. Not to be outdone, the Albanian Muslims of Kosovo, too, fielded the SS Skenderbeg, which slaughtered thousands of Serbs and expelled even more from their homes. The Slovenes had it much easier: they were declared members of the "Aryan race," were drafted into the Nazi army, fought and died in Nazi uniforms in Montecassino and Stalingrad. Finally the Serbs and Montenegrins fought on the side of the allies and the cause of democracy only to be told today that they are the Fascists. With such a caricature of history, no wonder they are telling the rest of the world to go to hell. Finally, in 1963 Tito, a Communist, and by definition an atheist, invoked religion (Islam) and declared existence of a new nation in Yugoslavia: the Muslims.

Helsinki Accords: The Islamic leaders of Bosnia violated these accords, the CSCE process and the constitution of Bosnia Hercegovina when they declared independence in 1992. The center piece of Helsinki accords was the finalization and acceptance of post-world war II European borders as inviolable. Changes of borders could come only by peaceful means and after negotiations and agreement among parties affected. Peaceful change of borders (even when caused by declaration of independence as was the case of Bosnia) meant, above all else, adherence to the constitutional provisions of parties affected. The Bosnian constitution in effect when Muslims declared independence (with the tacit support of Croats) required a consensus of the three ethnic groups, Croats , Muslims and Serbs (not a technical majority) prior to secession from the Yugoslav Federation. The plurality group, i.e. the Muslims, violated this provision. The Serbs opted for the mountains.

Alija Izetbegovic: President of Bosnia, father of the Bosnian mess and author of the Islamic Declaration: A program for the Islamization of the Muslims and the Muslim Peoples (Sarajevo, 1990). In this treatise Izetbegovic offers his "vision" for Bosnia and the Muslim world. Here I will selectively quote few passages from the 1990 edition (which he never renounced) on issues that the western press choose to ignore, perhaps fearing that the American people might understand why the Serbs fight on.

"The Islamic declaration," Izetbegovic assured us, "can and should take over power as soon as it is morally and numerically strong enough to be able to overturn not only the existing non-Islamic government [of Bosnia] but also to build a new Islamic one." (p. 56). For the Serbs this meant that when Muslims reach 51% percent of the population in Bosnia in short six years, given their birth rate and other means. The Islamic order which would follow this overturn is defined as " a unity of religion and law, upbringing and power, ideal and interest." (p. 26). In this new order citizenship, too, is given an Islamic bend. "In the Muslim world," Izetbegovic admonishes, "there is no patriotism without Islam." (p. 64) In short, in this ideal state, the only way left for the Serbs to be considered full citizens and "patriots" would have been conversion to Islam. That is what their ancestors did in 16th century to please the Sultan and earn the right to own Orthodox Christian serfs and append the suffix "-bey" to their last names. Finally, in Izetbegovic's "Islamic order" separation of doctrine and faith from politics has no place. "There can be neither peace nor co-existance between the Islamic religion and the non-Islamic social and political institutions." (p. 30)

Lisbon Agreement on Bosnia: On March 18, 1992, or twenty three days prior to any shot being fired or a life lost in Bosnia, the European Community, following Helsinki and CSCE principles, summoned the leaders of the three Bosnian ethnic groups to Lisbon. They were persuaded to reach a consensus prior to the declaration of independence, as required by their Constitution. The leaders of these groups SIGNED an agreement, MAPS AND ALL, which became known as the Lisbon Agreement. Concessions were made on all sides. The Serbs agreed to a 44% of the territory (for local administrative purposes only) and the new state would have only one international personality. The Europeans envisioned a loose confederate system with borders to be recognized by all, including rump Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). A strong central government, proportionally representing all groups, and a rotating presidency were part of the accords, as was the case up to that point. The Lisbon Agreement was torpedoed ten days later by the then U.S. ambassador to Belgrade, Warren Zimmermann, who lately expounds a wimpy mea culpa. Zimmermann appeared in Sarajevo on March 28, 1992 as Izetbegovic's Deus ex Machina. The American diplomat thought the solution achieved in Lisbon to the thorny Bosnian problem would set a bad precedent for the former Soviet Union that was also collapsing along ethnic lines.

Izetbegovic, who always dreamed of a unitary Islamic state, was encouraged by our Ambassador to withdraw his signature. Thirteen days later, full scale civil war commenced. Who started it? Izetbegovic's boys. Among their other "achievements", they can also claim the slaughtered 92 cadets of "Marshal Tito Military Academy," Yugoslavia's equivalent to Westpoint. A solemn promise by Izetbegovic "of free passage" meant nothing. These boys, ages 17-21, who had yet to fire rifle, were cut to peaces while sitting in their buses. General Ratko Mladic promised never to forget that atrocity.

Haris Silajdzic: Prime Minister of Bosnia. Educated in Bengazi Libya and received some training in PLO tactics in Beirut and Bekka valley. He maintains extensive business interests in Libya where in the 1980s he was receiving preferential treatment in construction contracts. Among the "business" projects that Silajdzic was in involved in Tripoli was Quaddafi's Chemical Weapons factory, for which [West] Germans provided the scientific know how. The Bosnian Prime Minister is one of few Washington-decrees "Democrats" on a first name relationship with Muamar [Quaddafi].

Safe Havens: Enclaves which were supposed to protect civilians from the war's harm. Under U.N. auspices, they have been converted into staging grounds by Muslims who, like their counterparts in Lebanon, use civilians as shields to commence operations against the Serbs. When the later respond, CNN is conveniently there to record the event and the U.S. Air Force (with a NATO hat ) could be occasionally employed to even the scores. Since 1993 all so-called safe havens have been converted into arms production centers. Bihac, for example, was prior to the war a major conventional arms and munitions production center. Under the "safe-haven designation," it was restored to full capacity with the help of Turkey and the Iranian Ayatollahs. Gorazde, a city often in the news but never explained why, has a large and efficient munitions plant. Loads of raw materials labeled "fertilizers" are routinely allowed into the city while the U.N. "peacekeepers" look the other way. As far as I can tell, Gorazde is the only city with agricultural production.

Ethnic Cleansing and Refugees: A policy of removing people from their homes by force. The term was coined by former Yugoslav president and historian, Dobrica Cosic, in reference to the forced expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo by Albanians. The Albanians had succeeded in reducing the Serb population of the province from 37% in 1965 to approximately 10% in 1981. That is the year Slobodan Milosevic was born politically, by promising to the Kosovo Serbs "no body will beat you again." The term "ethnic cleansing" is now ascribed exclusively to Serbs. Yet, 37% of all refugees in former Yugoslavia are Serbs, or a total of 575,000. One wonders where they came from and where their homes are. Moreover, 120,000 Bosnian Muslims have sought refuge in Serbia-Montenegro, the land of their "enemy". These facts, too, are ignored by the press and the Washington officialdom. Their revelation would probably undermine the simplistic notion "one victim, one enemy."

American Foreign Policy: Since the Gulf War, American foreign policy has been privatized and tribalized. Smart public relations operatives ( most of them recycled policy-makers) laugh all the way to the bank with foreign or domestic ethnic money, pumped into their accounts. The payback is "policy influence." The "lap-top bombardiers" have no fear of their kids being killed in a foreign war. They saw to it, long ago, that there will be no military draft. Their tender offspring are safe in the Ivy League sanctuaries preparing for the inevitable "hardships" of Madison Avenue, Wall Street, think thanks or K street. Other peoples sons and daughters, poor ghetto boys and girls, will do the fighting. it is their job, we are told; ours is a professional military.

Bill Clinton told us "Bosnia is not about Bosnia"; and Robert D. Kaplan told us why. The "Balkan region," Kaplan wrote, "except for the cold war era - is the Middle East." Leverage with Arabs, he argued "is slipping due to the ... administration's failure in Bosnia." In this topsy turvy world where peace in the Middle East and access to Arab pockets are facilitated by war in the Balkans, truth is the victim. PR people and image-makers, with accounts to be concerned about, positioned themselves as the dominant sources of information on Bosnia. Revisions will come later, when they will be searching the globe for new victims to defend on a fee for services basis.

End quote.


We agree with everything Profesor Stavrou said above. His knowledge of Balkan history and politics is superb. We dissagree with his last claim though. It is quite frequent misconception that American "private" public relations firms are somehow the tail capable of wagging the US politics dog.

The Public Relations [PR] firms are only a part of much larget mechanism. Much larger game is played in the town - WORLD CONQUEST - no less! PR's singular but very important task is to spread propaganda which is concieved and directed from the very top. PR firms provide the refference point into how American Administration and then the entire Western media will mislead and lie about current events.

The PR firms provide the verbage - the government provides the deeds.

The largest game in town:
GLOBAL CONQUEST


The United States, is again establishing suzerainty over the empire of a former foe. The disintegration of the Soviet Union has prompted the United States to expand its zone of military hegemony into Eastern Europe (through NATO) and into formerly neutral Yugoslavia...

The U.S. intervention in Bosnia should be viewed as establishing the western border of a new American empire in the Middle East "encompassing the regions once ruled by the Ottoman Turks."

The above quote is from:
"The Third American Empire"
By Jacob Heilbrunn and Michael Lind,
THE NEW YORK TIMES
January 2, 1996



In order to gather support for an interventionist foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, the present American leadership has had to formulate a foreign policy that would combine the promotion of American national interests with the messianic perception of morality, democracy, and human rights-and do this in a convincing way, as they did during the Cold War...

The Soviet Unionís disintegration resulted in a geopolitical vacuum in central-eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Central Asia. American governments have not resisted the temptation to fill this vacuum and consolidate the gains of Cold War victory. For the United States, Eurasia is clearly the trophy of its victory in the Cold War. More importantly, its global primacy, according to its leading geopolitician, Zbignew Brzezinski, will be directly dependent on how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained. Brzezinski [in "Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century"] advocates a more forward policy around the Russian periphery. He claims that the area, ... extends from the Adriatic to the border of the Chinese province of Sinkiang, and from the Persian Gulf to the Russian-Kazahk frontier...

The above quote is from:
"Systemic Changes and Their Impact on Local Conflicts"
By Constantine Arvanitopoulos Assistant Profesor,
International Politics, Panteion University
Head of Planning, Institute of International Relations, October, 1999





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  Book of facts

History of the Balkans

Big powers and civil wars in Yugoslavia
(How was Yugoslavia dismantled and why.)

Proxies at work
(Muslims, Croats and Albanians alike were only proxies of the big powers)

The Aftermath


The truth belongs to us all.

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First posted: Jan. 29, 1997
Last revised: May 31, 2004