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Belgrade, Serbia, 19 November 1988: This is the man whose embrace of nationalism is blamed for all the wars in Yugoslavia today: Slobodan Milosevic. The Death of Yugoslavia I: Enter Nationalism, BBC 1996
In 1980 Marshall Tito made his final journey through communist Yugoslavia: the country he had created. For thirty-five years he held Yugoslavia’s six republics together with an iron hand. ibid.
He [Milosevic] asked the Yugoslav state council to grant him emergency powers in Kosovo. ibid.
So began a secret operation that would culminate in Croatia’s war of independence from Yugoslavia. The Death of Yugoslavia II: The Road to War
With the collapse of communism, the two major republics – Serbia and Croatia – fell under the sway of rival nationalism. ibid.
The bleak land of southern Croatia was home to large numbers of Serbs. It was here that the fuse was lit that would lead the whole of Yugoslavia to ignite. ibid.
The Yugoslav high command faced the fact that the government of Croatia was equipping itself to form a rival army. ibid.
With a mixed population of Muslims, Serbs and Croats, Bosnia had most to lose if Yugoslavia descended into civil war. ibid.
The republic of Croatia declares itself independent from Yugoslavia and pleads for the world’s recognition. Behind their smiles, Croatia’s leaders were nervous. They feared that Serbia, the biggest Yugoslav republic, would crush them. The neighbouring republic of Slovenia also declared independence that day. The Death of Yugoslavia III: Wars of Independence
The Slovenes blocked every major road in the country. The thousands of Yugoslav troops in their barracks were trapped. Yesterday, they were there to protect the Slovenes. Today, they were their hostages. ibid.
The Slovenes agreed to a ceasefire and negotiations. But the army and the Slovenes kept fighting. ibid.
‘If we grant the Croat people the right to leave Yugoslavia, then they can’t deny others the right to make their own choice.’ ibid. Milosevic
Once the army was done, the local Serbs walked in. The Yugoslav flag was raised as the army seized Croat town after Croat town. ibid.
Milosevic’s generals, unimpressed by peace plans, had just begun shelling the ancient walled city of Dubrovnic. ibid.
One by one the other presidents approved the plan and voted for independence. Soon, Serbia would not have another republic to stay federated with. ibid.
Now they controlled one third of Croatia. ibid.
Bosnia, April 1992: Serbia’s president Milosevic has repeatedly said that the conflict in Bosnia was a civil war for which he could not be blamed. But the men in charge of the murder and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia now describe his role. The Death of Yugoslavia IV: The Gates of Hell
‘I warn you. You’ll drag Bosnia down to hell. You Muslims aren’t ready for war – you could face extinction.’ ibid. Radovan Karadzic, leader Bosnian Serbs
Sarajevo, March 1992: For centuries Muslims, Serbs and Croats had lived here together. Now they had to choose a future. ibid.
The streets of the capital fell into the hands of the rival militias. ibid.
In the first months of the war, Srebrenica had become a refuge for thousands of Muslims driven from their homes. The Bosnian Serb army laid siege to the town, attempting to starve its population into submission. In the spring of 1993 they began a final offensive. The Death of Yugoslavia V: A Safe Area
‘Ethnic cleansing: What does that remind you of? And what is our responsibility?’ ibid. The Donahue Show
The Bosnian Croats turned on their former Muslim allies … Responsibility for the camps went right to the top of the Croat government. ibid.
‘The UN stood by and watched. How ironic.’ ibid. Ejup Ganic, vice-president of Bosnia
In August 1995, three months after the fall of Srebrenica, NATO began a huge bombing campaign against the Bosnian Serbs. ibid.
25 June 1995: Year Four of the Bosnian War. Another village in Bosnia was in ruins: this time Muslims from Srebrenica had launched a raid against the Serbs. The Death of Yugoslavia VI: Pax Americana
Those Muslims who couldn’t face the trek clung to the UN for protection. 25,000 Muslims now overwhelmed the UN base in Srebrenica. ibid.
Croatia had lost a quarter of its territory to rebel Serbs. ibid.
‘A real bombing campaign.’ ibid. Warren Christopher, US Secretary of State
The Bosnian Serb leaders surrendered. ibid.
The conquering armies drove a new wave of Serbian refugees into Serbia and Montenegro. ibid.
The longest siege in modern history was over. ibid.
No country of people’s democracy has so many nationalities as this country has … The reason why we were able to settle the nationalities question so thoroughly is to be found in the fact that it had begun to be settled in a revolutionary way in the course of the Liberation War, in which all the nationalities in the country participated, in which every national group made its contribution to the general effort of liberation from the occupier according to its capabilities. Neither the Macedonians nor any other national group which until then had been oppressed obtained their national liberation by decree. They fought for their national liberation with rifle in hand. The role of the Communist Party lay in the first place in the fact that it led that struggle, which was a guarantee that after the war the national question would be settled decisively in the way the communists had conceived long before the war and during the war. The role of the Communist Party in this respect today, in the phase of building socialism, lies in making the positive national factors a stimulus to, not a brake on, the development of socialism in our country. The role of the Communist Party today lies in the necessity for keeping a sharp lookout to see that national chauvinism does not appear and develop among any of the nationalities. The Communist Party must always endeavour, and does endeavour, to ensure that all the negative phenomena of nationalism disappear and that people are educated in the spirit of internationalism. Josip Tito, speech 1948, cited Concerning the National Question and Social Patriotism
In the case of Yugoslavia v NATO, one of the charges was genocide. The US appealed to the court, saying that, by law, the United States is immune to the charge of genocide, self-immunized, and the court accepted that, so the case proceeded against the other NATO powers, but not against the United States. Noam Chomsky
The many questions about the bombing of Yugoslavia by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – meaning primarily the United States – come down to two fundamental issues: What are the accepted and applicable rules of world order, and how do these apply in the case of Kosovo? Noam Chomsky
‘I’ve always wanted to kill legally.’ Inside Story: Dogs of War, British mercenary, BBC 1992
‘A lot of the time you’re doing it for the buzz.’ ibid.
The bloody Yugoslavian civil war has become a magnet for many men attracted to violence. Not since the Spanish Civil War have so many foreigners signed up for another country’s cause. ibid.
‘… Liberated two televisions and a video …’ ibid. mercenary
‘You’re going to get riff-raff; a lot of them.’ ibid. Carl
‘I’m very choosy about the people I work for.’ ibid.
In Europe the 20th century ended as it began with war in the Balkans. The last of these wars started in early 1999: Serbian troops entered the province of Kosovo. Secrets of War s1e46: The Balkans Tinderbox
The conflict in Kosovo was just another in a long series of wars in the region formally known as Yugoslavia. ibid.
We went to Kosovo in 1999 because there were mass killings that looked a lot like genocide. Lynette Nusbacher, military historian
All sorts of artillery installations, rockets and tank units that are firing on civilians in Kosovo should be neutralized. If that means air strikes, then Nato should carry out air strikes. Fatos Nano