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The Serbs were just
defending their own land!
Historical and Investigative Research
Below is an article that was published before the propaganda onslaught against the Serbs became irreversible. It makes very clear that the Serbs were the group that lived on and owned most of the land in Bosnia prior to the civil war because they are peasant farmers, as opposed to the more urbanized Bosnian Muslims who lived concentrated in a few towns and who were spread out over about one fourth of Bosnia. This is perfectly clear in a National Geographic map with figures from the 1991 census (provided below the article itself).
Here is a quote from the article that I reproduce in full below:
See the map to confirm the last point.
The article below is not perfect (certainly, the headline is terrible). But despite some distortions its virtues are clear: it is much closer to the truth than what was printed elsewhere and certainly than what was printed since.
NO INNOCENTS IN BOSNIA OR SERBIA
Post-Dispatch March 18, 1993, THURSDAY, FIVE STAR Edition SECTION:
EDITORIAL; Pg. 3C; 1163 words; HEADLINE: NO INNOCENTS IN BOSNIA OR
SERBIA; BYLINE: Gordon N. Bardos
ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH TEXT:
Cries for Western military intervention grow stronger in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Though the humanitarian intent of those supporting such policies is understandable, it also betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the history and causes of the current conflict.
The challenge facing the Clinton administration will be to resist calls for rash intervention in a civil war few Americans comprehend, and fewer still have any notion of how to deal with.
There are no innocent parties in this conflict. The international community bears a great deal of responsibility for allowing matters to come to this point. As the former Yugoslavia began to disintegrate during 1992, many European countries (Germany in particular), gave strong signals to seccesionist leaders in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina that quick recognition would follow withdrawal from the Yugoslav federation.
While a plausible defense can be made for support of this policy in the cases of Slovenia and Croatia, it led to tragedy in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Those most familiar with conditions there, such as U.N. envoy Cyrus Vance and Lord Carrington, the European Community's negotiator, urged delay in recognition until all sides had agreed upon a future political framework for the state, for fear that premature recognition would precipitate a blood bath. Their predictions proved true.
The Muslim leadership of Bosnia-Herzegovina also bears considerable responsibility for what has happened, but is seldom blamed for provoking the war. An agreement brokered by the European Community and signed by the Muslims, Serbs and Croats (the three constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina) in London in March 1992, called for a decentralized republic, thereby allowing each ethnic group largely to run its own affairs in areas where it predominates.
As soon as the Muslim delegation returned to Sarajevo, however, the EC granted Bosnia recognition, whereupon, in the words of EC mediator Jose Cutillero, the Muslims "reneged" upon the agreement. With international recognition bestowed upon Bosnia (as it was already constituted), the Muslims felt that they were no longer under any obligation to reorganize the structure of the Bosnian state. This betrayal, in turn, led the Serbs to rebel, with all the death and devastation that has followed.
Moreover, the Muslims' insistence on a unitary state (in which the central government in Sarajevo, the Muslims' stronghold, would control most aspects of political and economic life) and refusal to compromise has prolonged a war that could have been over months ago.
According to Cutillero and U.N. Gen. Lewis Mackensie, the commander of U.N. peacekeeping forces in Sarajevo last summer, the Muslims have continued the struggle in the belief that eventual Western (or Islamic) military intervention will reverse the Serbs' and Croats' successes on the battlefield and restore the Muslims to a position of predominance in Bosnia.
The mistake made by those pushing for an independent Bosnian state was believing that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. Bosnia-Herzegovina is not a unified entity in a political, religious, ethnic or cultural sense, but rather an agglomeration of different peoples and regions lumped together by an arbitrary boundary. In terms of spiritual and ethnic ties, eastern Herzegovina more properly belongs to Montenegro, western Herzegovina to Croatia, and northern Bosnia and southern Croatia to Serbia. That history has thrown these peoples together has been a bitter and often bloody accident.
Misunderstandings about the war abound, but one in particular distorts a clear concept of just what sort of political solution can be obtained in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Despite media claims to the contrary, this is patently not a war of Serbian "aggression." The conflict is a confusing civil war, reminiscent of what happened in Bosnia during World War II: central leaders with little control over their followers in outlying areas, and a bewildering array of small, independent forces based on local or clan ties. In some areas, the Serbs fight the Muslims; in others, the Croats fight the Muslims; in yet others, the Serbs and Croats together fight the Muslims, or the Muslims and Croats join forces to fight the Serbs. There have even been reported incidents of rival Croatian forces fighting each other. Whatever the case, it is clear the fighting is based on dictates of local expediency. Leaders in Sarajevo, Zagreb or Belgrade have little control over what happens in the rugged karst mountains of Herzegovina.
The Serbs fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina, moreover, are not invaders from Serbia proper; they are indigenous to Bosnia and one of the three recognized constituent nations of the state. The Serbs (who prior to the war made up approximately 33 percent of Bosnia's population) now control approximately 60-70 percent of Bosnia. For a variety of historical reasons, the Muslims (about 44 percent of the pre-war population) are the most urbanized ethnic group in Bosnian society, with most of their population concentrated in cities and towns. The Serbs, on the other hand, are mostly farmers, and literally own 60 percent of the land in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thus, the land they "occupy" is literally their own.
The Bosnian Croats (roughly 17 percent of the population) have done much the same, yet little international opprobrium has been brought to bear on them. In contrast to the Bosnian Serbs, who are in large part fighting for their own land, it is mainly Croatian military units from Croatia that occupy the approximately 30 percent of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which Croats predominate.
The result, as we have become all too aware, has been a war of almost unimaginable brutality. But while much of what is being reported is both true and morally repugnant, we should also regard many of the claims coming out of the region with a great deal of caution. All sides in this conflict are fighting a fierce battle for the sympathy of international public opinion.
The conflict in Bosnia is a dirty war waged by desperate people. But foreign military intervention will only add oil to a fire that may take years to extinguish. The lesson for Western policymakers should be clear: Avoid military involvement in a region and conflict made for small-scale guerilla action. Instead, the West should concentrate on putting pressure on all the participants to reach a political solution. Threats of military retaliation or eventual prosecution for war crimes will do little to deter people so embittered by hate and bent on revenge. The way to end the conflict and all its attendant atrocities will be to find a compromise all sides can accept. Once this is achieved, justice can be meted out to those found guilty of war crimes. We must, however, have a clearer understanding of what is going on, and of the limits of our power to influence the course of events.
[ ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH TEXT ENDS HERE ]
The data below is
from the 1991 Census, as represented by National Geographic.
CROATS MUSLIMS SERBS
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