Yugoslav War

When Yugoslavia was formed, like Africa, it pushed several ethnic groups together, most notably the Serbs, Albanians, Slovenes, Muslims, and Croats. These ethnic groups were spread out all across Yugoslavia, not necessarily together in communes. Many of these groups differed strongly in political and ethnic ideals. The Yugoslav war took place throughout towns and cities—which created many homeless and maltreated refugees—because of the high distribution of different ethnic groups throughout Yugoslavia.

The government, being Serbian dominated, gave differing taxations to different ethnic groups.1 At the same time, Croatians and Slovenes believed they paid the countries bill and were therefore annoyed when factories were built in Serbia and Macedonia. Serbs on the other hand believed Yugoslav laws, which didn’t give them minority laws, placed them at a disadvantage.2 Annoyed by the failure to improve their living, Albanian riots, which turned anti-Serbian, began. In 1986 a memorandum was drawn up, stating Serbs were oppressing communist Yugoslavia. In December, Serb Slobodan Milosevic, promising to carry out a Serbian nationalist program, was brought to power by a coup.3

10-Day-War (1991 June-July)

The 10 days war is the least bloody of the four Yugoslav wars with casualties well below five hundred. It began when the Slovenian Republic declared independence from Yugoslavia. The war was an incredibly limited war, very little bloodshed most deaths coming from skirmishes between Slovenian guerilla bands and squads of Serbian soldiers instead of pitched battles between armies. The war, although it was called the Slovenian War of Independence, did not actually end with an independent Slovenia as the Slovenes agreed to delay their independence for three months.

Bosnian Civil War (1992-1995)

he Bosnian War took place between the Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim and Croat population of Bosnia.4

As Milosevic attempted to take over the federal government and repressed the citizens of Kosovo, Bosnia’s government held a vote in March 1992, which’s outcome was for independence.5 However, the Serbs wanted to remain part of Milosevic’s Greater Serbia because of his favor of Serbs.

When the war began, Bosnians had to not only avoid starvation, but the constant fire between the Bosnians and Bosnian Serbs. In Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital, 12,000 people were killed, 1,500 of them children. In the rest of the country, villages were destroyed, ‘ethnic cleansing’ swept the country, and people were expelled from their homes. Sixty percent of the housing, half of the schools, and a third of the hospitals were destroyed.6

There were refugees by the hundreds throughout Bosnia and they were all hungry and
Zineta Fazlic sits with her daughter Halida, 9, in their home in Kljuc, Bosnia Herzegovina, August 17, 2000. Zineta Fazlic was raped during the Bosnian war by 15 Serb neighbors who beat her to unconsciousness in the presence of her then 6-years-old son Halid http://www.crimesofwar.org/icc_magazine/images/glasius01.jpg
without shelter. Many of them were rounded up by Serb troops, who separated men, who were often sent to concentration camps and killed, from the refugees and dispelled the rest.7 Many refugees had no idea where they were going, which for many was somewhere where they would be killed.8 40,000, many Muslims, were captured from UN ‘safe haven,’ Srebrencia, on a march across northeast Bosnia. The ‘ethnic cleansing’ of 8,000 Muslims followed.9

For numerous refugee camps, Tuzla specifically, food, water, medicine, and clothing were short. The refugees had few belongings and came reporting rape and murder, explaining that dead bodies were left out on the streets. Even for these people, as they attempted to leave Bosnia, when the media was not present the soldiers guiding them out would pull people from buses, some of them being raped and some of them not returning.10

Finally, in early 1995 the Dayton Peace Accords was signed.11 The treaty split Bosnia into two ethnically based entities. After the treaty was signed, the Implementation Force (IFOR) arrived in Bosnia with 60,000 soldiers. But, in Serb held areas many non-Serbs were not allowed to return home. And even though elections were held in 1996, many believed the elections were neither free nor fair. Along with election, expensive reconstruction need to take place, rebuilding factories, returning people home, and finding citizens jobs.12

Kosovo War (1998-9)

In 1992, Ibrahim Rugova was elected president of the self proclaimed ‘Republic of Kosovo.’ Rugova encouraged the repeal of discrimination and separatism, and achieving these terms through peaceful means.13 Radicals, unsatisfied by Rugova’s peaceful terms, formed the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The KLA wanted to make Kosovo an independent state, and in 1996 they demanded that the Yugoslav government stop occupying Kosovo.14 But the KLA aimed to unite the Albanian populations of Macadonia, Albania, and Kosovo.

Children at a refugee camp in April 1999 http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01375/kids-refugee-camp_1375838i.jpg
Serbs considered Kosovo the cradle of their culture, religion and national identity.15 While Serbs only made up about 10% of the area’s population, Milosevic frequently stated that to lose the territory would threaten national interests. The conflict quickly became violent as the KLA began attacking Serbian police officers and detonating bombs in Serbian refugee camps. In 1998, Serbian forces retaliated and fights broke out in the streets of Kosovo. Over 1.5 million Kosovo Albanians—at least 90 percent of the estimated 1998 Kosovo Albanian population—were forcibly expelled from their homes. Tens of thousands of homes in at least 1,200 cities, towns, and villages have been damaged or destroyed.16 Many refugees began fleeing to Albania and the U.S.

The acts of violence drew international attention to the conflict, causing NATO to repetitively tell Milosevic that they would involve themselves militarily if he did not withdraw.17 The countries concerned with the conflict were known as the ‘Contact Group,’ consisting of representatives from the US, Britain, Germany, France, and Russia.18 In early 1999, NATO organized the Rambouillet peace talks, hoping for Yugoslav and Kosovo Albanian leaders to agree upon a peace plan. A few months later, the KLA signed a peace agreement negotiated by NATO, stating that the KLA would disarm within three months and Yugoslav forces would withdraw. The agreement also allowed NATO to occupy the territory in order to enforce the peace treaty. Yugoslav leaders refused to sign the treaty and the conflict continued.

Following the failed peace agreement from the Rambouillet peace talks, NATO bombed Yugoslavian military installations in Serbia and Kosovo for eleven weeks. Milosevic responded by agreeing to end the conflict, and signed the peace agreement.19 NATO troops dedicated to keeping the peace entered Kosovo in June that year, and Kosovo became an independent nation.

1 Ramet, Sabrina Petra
2 Sowards, Steven W
3 Ramet, Sabrina Petra
4 Ibid
5 <http://www.friendsofbosnia.org/edu_bos.html>.
6 <http://www.friendsofbosnia.org/edu_bos.html>.
7 Sowards, Steven W
8 Came, Barry
9 Sowards, Steven W
10 Came, Barry
11 Sowards, Steven W
12 <http://www.friendsofbosnia.org/edu_bos.html>.
13 <http://www.pcr.uu.se/>.
14 Ibid
15 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5165042.stm>.
16 U.S. State Department Report
17 <http://www.pcr.uu.se/>.
18 <http://www.bookrags.com/eb/kosovo-conflict-eb/>.
19 Ibid

Works Cited

Came, Barry. "The outrage of Bosnia." Maclean's 108.30 (24 July 1995): 22. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. UAHS, Upper Arlington, OH. 28 Sep. 2009 <http://search.ebscohost.com/>.

Ramet, Sabrina Petra. "War in the Balkans." Foreign Affairs 71.4 (Fall 1992): 79-98. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. UAHS, Upper Arlington, OH. 13 Sep. 2009 <http://search.ebscohost.com >.

Sowards, Steven W. “Lecture 25: The Yugoslav Civil War.” Twenty-Five Lectures on Modern Balkan Hisotry (The Balkans in the Age of Nationalism). (11 June 2009). Sep 11, 2009 < http://staff.lib.msu.edu/sowards/balkan/lect25.htm>.

“Flashback to Kosovo's war.” BBC News. (July 10, 2006). Sep 30, 2009. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5165042.stm>.

“Kosovo conflict.” Book Rags <http://www.bookrags.com/eb/kosovo-conflict-eb/>.

“History of the war in Bosnia.” Center for Balkan Development. (May, 1996). Sep 21, 2009. <http://www.friendsofbosnia.org/edu_bos.html>.

“Yugoslavia (Serbia).” Conflict Summary. (2008). Sep 21, 2009. <http://www.pcr.uu.se/>.

U.S. State Department Report. “Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo: An Accounting.” Department of State. (December 1999). Sep 30, 2009. <http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/kosovoii/homepage.html>.