[From Marcos Rodrigues (930426.1640 BST-British Summer Time)]
Rick Marken -- (930424.0800)
We must remember that ethnic conflicts existed well before the
Communists in Yugoslavia. Marshall Tito was able to keep the
conflicts under control by force, as any sign of conflict was
immediately suppressed. Glasnost and the perestroika of
communist rule in the Soviet Union acted as the green light
for the creation of many new countries. I'm sure that Croatia,
Bosnia, Serbia, etc. will be followed by even newer countries like
Macedonia, perhaps in a very near future.
The tragedy in the creation of these new countries is that it
trapped ethnic minorities within a hostile region. The Serbs
can justify their actions in Bosnia because they are rescuing
their own people trapped inside that country. In the process,
they committed horrible war crimes, perhaps by just releasing
their fossilised hatred (which is with them for generations).
The Bosnians replied by committing their own atrocities, so
that on the subject, both groups must be put on trial.
Although rescuing minorities was used as a first excuse for
intervention (as I see it), at this very moment it is NOT what
is driving the conflict. The Serbs now want a territorial
advantage over Bosnia, and thus, some economic advantage as well.
It seems that the Serbs are the bad guys, but not necessarily.
I'll explain it.
The Owen-Vance Plan (for the British, for the Americans it
should be Vance-Owen Plan. As I'm neither British nor American,
it doesn't make much difference) would be the best solution
for the conflict from my point of view. Bosnia would be divided
in ten regions based on ethnic distribution with self-government
under the watchful eyes of the Bosnian Parliament. A Bosnian
Constitution would be drawn up so that to respect the relative
self-determination of the ethnic groups. The regions were careful
drawn in the Plan so that ethnic groups would not have to move
from their original region to neighbouring ones; such a move
would be disastrous for the people concerned (for instance, the
Plan is to have three or four Muslims regions, the same for Serb
I heard on BBC Radio this morning that the Serbian Parliament
has rejected the Plan yesterday. This tells me only one thing:
the Serbs are not mainly concerned with the well-being of
their brothers living in Bosnia; their main concern now is to
have control of the Serb-inhabited regions in Bosnia. THAT'S what
they are controlling for. Is that unacceptable? I think that
depends on who one considers to have the legitimate right to
govern the groups involved, so that the Serbs are not necessarily
the bad guys in this respect, that is, in claiming the right
to govern the Bosnian-Serbs; but they are indeed guilty of
the perpetrated war crimes, which is another subject altogether.
To solve this impasse, my PCT solution would be:
1) make the Serbs stop their military actions in Bosnian
territory immediately. This can be achieved by several actions:
bombing the Serb supply line is one option; ask the Russians
to stop supporting Serbia is another; arms and goods embargo
is yet another, etc. I would leave to the UN military command
to come out with a "nice" military option (I personally think
that the use of force would be necessary to achieve this
objective, as threatening has proved to be ineffective). I
think the Serbs deserve the use of force and, if it happens,
it will be entirely for their choice. They brought it upon
themselves, I would say;
2) the same with the Bosnians, that is, stop their military
actions immediately. The point is that there must be a cease
fire before any negotiations begin;
3) put the Plan to the Bosnian peoples. Each ethnic group
would be allowed to vote on the solution they find the best.
Some people may want to move to Serbia, but I am sure most
of people wish to live where they are living at the moment
(or where they were, before the Serbs displaced them);
4) implement the Plan as chosen by the people. I believe that
after using force against Serbia to stop their military actions,
the Serbian government would understand that the UN mean business,
so that they would be willing to accept what the people living
in Bosnia want.
Dag Forssell (930424 10.30) --
I would add to your list as number 0:
0) we can only understand what we already know, that is,
we can only understand in the context of previous experience.