The True Culprits in the Balkans (Evening Standard, September 28, 1993)

Evening Standard 28 September 1993

The True Culprits in the Balkans The race for victim status in Bosnia-Herzegovina appears to be over. The Serbs, as the main aggressors and initial perpetrators of “ethnic cleansing” hardly qualify. The international press has obviously decided that the Croats do not qualify either, despite the fact that the Bosnian Croats have lost considerable territory to the Moslems since the break-up of their alliance. The Moslems seem to have realised, after months of hope, that the international community is unwilling to help them take on their real enemies, the Serbs. Consequently, they have turned on their former allies, the Croats. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the lines between the Croats and Moslems have moved exclusively in the Moslem’s favour, resulting in more than 100,000 Croatian refugees and displaced persons from Bosnia-Herzegovina. While the Press and international organisations have free access to Moslem fighters in Croat POW camps – thanks to the vigorous intervention of Croatia’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Mate Granic – the fate of thousands of Croats in similar Moslem camps remains unknown. The current goals of the Moslem side have been made clear by their spokesman, Chuck Sudetic, recently quoted in the New York Times: “The international community will recognise our right to the territories we win. The international community has said in no uncertain terms that it is ready to legitimise the acquisition of territory by force, and that’s the way it will be in the future.” He went on to state that while the Serbs were too strong to fight against, the Croats were weak. Unfortunately, it is this recent Moslem calculation which has precipitated Croat-Moslem fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina, no Croatian aggression. Fighting between Moslems and the Croats would never have erupted had the international community reacted promptly to early Serbian aggression against both of those communities. Maybe by the time this conflict spreads throughout the Balkans, Europe and the world will finally figure out who the real culprit is.