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Source: 1996 Srpska Mreza, Posted by Kanadski Srbobran on July 10, 1997
Once again about Srebrenica
It has been two years since the Bosnian Serb Army (BSA) has retaken the
small town of Srebrenica -
The Economist, 15-21 July 1995
Call that safe?
"...It is not the first time that the Serbs have "liberated" Srebrenica. In
1992, during the first weeks of the Bosnian war, they also took the town but were driven out. Later, in blazing sunshine, Muslims and Serbs sat down in the middle of the road to hammer out a peace deal. The Serbs offered Srebrenica's Muslims autonomy within the Bosnian Serb republic, but that was rejected. Since then the war in eastern Bosnia has seen the most vicious fighting in the benighted republic..."
- and it is the right time to give a historical retrospective of the events that have happened in the area during Bosnia's civil war.
How did it start? As every other civil war, with the killing of the neighbours. Two Bosnian Muslims, accused by the Republica Srpska for the war crimes, Naser Oric (commander of the Bosnian Muslim Army - BMA - in Srebrenica) and Hakija (Husein) Meholjic organized on May 18,1992 killing of the Bosnian Serb, Goran (Drago) Zekic, who was deputy in the
Bosnia-Hercegovina Assembly .
Shortly after, the BMA, led by Naser Oric, Hakija (Husein) Meholjic, Zulfo
"Suceska" Tursunovic and Akif (Enez) Ustic have attacked a several Bosnian Serb villages in Srebrenica's area. The following Bosnian Serbs villages were burned and destroyed: Osredak May 1992, Oparke June 01,1992, Zagora July 05, 1992, Zalezje July 12, 1992 Pajici and Hrahna July 25, 1992, Brezani July 30, 1992, Fakovici October 1992, Kravice January 07, 1993 (Christmas Day for the Orthodox Bosnian Serbs).
Then the BSA strikes back and as the result of that counter-offensive, on April 16, 1993, the Security Council adopted Resolution 819, which designated the enclave around Srebrenica a "safe heaven". Two days latter, the BSA commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, joined his BMA counterpart in agreeing to the demilitarization of Srebrenica.
The following are quotations from various sources and published articles that will explain more in-depth how "demilitarized safe area of Srebrenica" actually was:
The Times, 14 July 1995
Muslim soldiers 'failed to defend town from Serbs'
By Michael Evans, Defense Correspondent:
"...Srebrenica was officially demilitarized on April 17, 1993, but the government soldiers were not short of weapons. Before the Serb advance on the town, the Muslims had been shelling Serb units along the main road to the south. The intelligence sources said it was that harassment which precipitated the Serb attack on the 1,500 Muslim defenders inside the enclave...."
The Economist, 15-21 July 1995
Call that safe?
"Safe" Srebrenica was supposed to be demilitarized but this did not stop Mr. Oric's soldiers from raiding nearby Serb villages. A recent raid, occurring soon after the collapse of the heavy-weapons exclusion zone around Sarajevo, plus the slow gathering of the West's reaction force, gave General Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb commander, the reasons he needed for extracting the thorn of Srebrenica from the Bosnian Serbs' eastern side. But Mr. Oric escaped...."
New York Times News Service, 07-11-95
"The commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Gen. Ratko Mladic, said in a letter to Gen. Rupert Smith, the UN commander in Bosnia, that the Serbian offensive had been undertaken to ``neutralize'' what he called terrorists in Srebrenica.
Mladic accused the United Nations of failing to demilitarize the so-called safe area of Srebrenica. He said civilians and peacekeepers were not endangered by Bosnian Serb military activity. The United Nations has confirmed that the Bosnian government used the safe areas for staging attacks....."
Associated Press July 11
"...Lt. Col. Gary Coward, a UN spokesman in Sarajevo, confirmed that Muslim-led government troops had used the "safe area" to make attacks on Serbs surrounding the enclave, but said the raids were not large-scale...."
Reuters ZAGREB, Croatia
"...Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said the Serbs seized the enclave because Moslem-led government troops were staging what he called "terrorist" attacks out of the area....."
June 27, General Ratko Mladic
"...According to him, "UNPROFOR did not carry out its main task nor implement the agreements signed by its generals, from Morilion to Rose.
"The protected zones of Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde are not demilitarized, while Sarajevo, Tuzla and Bihac were not the subject of talks between the warring sides and they are not defined as protected zones," said Mladic..."
N.Y. Times News Service
GOVERNMENT TROOPS ATTACK BOSNIAN SERB VILLAGE
By STEPHEN KINZER
1995: VISNJICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina: In a raid before dawn that again illustrated the weakness of UN forces here, Bosnian government soldiers apparently slipped past UN posts on Monday and attacked this isolated Bosnian Serb village, burning several houses, stealing livestock, and leaving a dozen families homeless, a Bosnian Serb spokesman said.
Although the assault had no great military significance, it reflected both the growing frustration of government troops and the inadequacy of UN peacekeepers who have pledged to prevent them from leaving supposedly demilitarized enclaves in eastern Bosnia.
Visnjica is a miserable settlement perched on a mountainside a few miles from Srebrenica, one of the Muslim towns in eastern Bosnia which the United Nations has designated as demilitarized ``protected areas.'' But Monday's raid was apparently launched by troops based inside Srebrenica, leading Bosnian Serb officers to denounce the United Nations for failing to comply with its promise to keep the town free of soldiers and weapons.
"There have been a number of incidents like this in the last 15 to 20 days,'' said Lt. Col. Milovan Milutinovic, chief spokesman for the Bosnian Serb army.
``The Muslim soldiers who carried out this attack crossed lines patrolled by Dutch UN troops whose job it is to prevent just this kind of action. We therefore conclude that the UN forces are aligning themselves with the Muslim army.''
Several of the impoverished farmers who live in Visnjica said they had assumed they were safe here because of UN pledges. "We thought that no one could attack us from Srebrenica because the town was demilitarized and surrounded by UN soldiers,'' said Ljubomir Vukovic, 67, as he stood in the smoldering ruins of the house he shared with two other families. "But they came from right over that hill.'' Vukovic pointed toward a peak separating his village from Srebrenica. A UN post there is supposed to prevent soldiers from passing in either direction...". But as Monday's raid showed, they are still able to strike fear into the hearts of Serb villagers. Their goal may be to terrorize these villagers into abandoning their homes, thus leaving formerly Serb areas uninhabited...."
What kind of living Srebrenica's Muslim commander Oric was providing to refugees in the "safe area" explains the following:
"Globe and Mail" July 12, 1995 "
...The refugees in Srebrenica, most of them Muslim women and children who fled into Srebrenica ahead of a massive and brutal wave of Bosnian Serb "ethnic cleansing" in eastern Bosnia in the spring of 1993, have been desperate to leave the town ever since they arrived. Instead, they have been forced to remain by the local Muslim warlord, Naser Oric, who drove around town in a Mercedes while the refugees sustained on meager UN handouts and were, occasionally, sold water by Srebrenica residents during the brutally-hot summers.
Mr. Oric and the Bosnian government knew that if the majority of refugees were allowed to be trucked across Serb-held territory to Tuzla or some other viable sanctuary, both the UN protection and any hope of holding on to the remote and surrounded enclave would be lost.
The Srebrenica residents treated the refugees atrociously. When the refugees elected a representative to present their demands to Oric, the representative was murdered within hours..."
As seen so many times before in Bosnia's civil war, the Bosnian Muslim led government had no scruples and did not hesitate to use the refugees misery in order to gain "International support". At the same time a "courtesy" that BMA treated UN troops with - those very same troops that were feeding the "safe area" for almost three years - could be read in:
The Electronic Telegraph Tuesday 11 July 1995 World News
"...Dutch UN peacekeepers formed a barrier of personnel carriers between
advancing Serb tanks and Muslim soldiers defending the town. One of the personnel carriers rolled off the road as it maneuvered after Muslim forces opened up on it with a grenade and small arms. When another carrier tried to pull it back on to the road, a Muslim soldier of the Bosnian army fired an anti-tank rocket at it, but missed..."
CHRIS HEDGES .1995 N.Y. Times News Service
"...The captured observation posts came under tank fire, and a peacekeeper was shot dead the 67th to be killed in the conflict by Bosnian government forces as the Dutch troops retreated from the advancing Bosnian Serb forces..."
What was going on among the BMA defenders inside the "safe area":
New York Times, July 23, 1995 by Alan Cowell
"The Dutch accounts, by soldiers, officers and the Defense Minister, were unanimous in asserting that the Bosnian Muslim soldiers who had been under siege in Srebrenica for three years abandoned the town around two days before it fell.
Before the defenders left the town, General Couzy said, Dutch soldiers saw: "in two locations there was fighting between those who wanted to stay and those who wanted to go.
Many Dutch soldiers said they had been upset and troubled by the sight of soldiers seeming to abandon their wives and children to the advancing
How many of BMA soldiers actually have died from the "friendly fire" it will remain a secret , but the victims are certainly submitted by the Bosnian Muslim led government as "missing civilians killed by the Serbian aggressors".
The BSA did not use thousands of troops as it was suggested by the PR
companies hired by the Bosnian Muslim led government. As a matter of fact it was published that:
The Times, 14 July 1995
Muslim soldiers 'failed to defend town from Serbs '
By Michael Evans, Defense Correspondent
"...The Muslim defenders of Srebrenica put up only a brief fight against the Serbs, and their commanders left the night before the Serb tanks entered the town, according to Western intelligence sources yesterday.
The abandonment of Srebrenica to a relatively small Serb advancing force caused surprise in the West, especially after the largely Muslim government army had demonstrated considerable infantry skills in recent attacks. There were reports that up to 1,500 Serbs were involved in the assault on Srebrenica, but intelligence sources estimated the main attack was carried out by a force of about 200, with five tanks.
"It was a pretty low-level operation, but for some reason which we can't understand the BiH (government) soldiers didn't put up much of a fight," one source said...."
"....However, the advance into the town was seen by intelligence assessors as an opportunist move. "I don't think the Serbs had predicted the timing of this operation," one source said. The apparent decision by the Muslims to abandon the town provided the Serbs with a sudden opportunity to occupy Srebrenica, bypassing the Dutch on the road a mile south of the town.
The intelligence source said: "The BiH just melted away from Srebrenica and the senior officers left the night before." The source said the Muslim defenders were "adequately armed" for street-fighting..."
Losing (deliberately?) the Srebrenica enclave, the Bosnian Muslim led government started to play the pre-arranged PR campaign with innocent refugees from Srebrenica:
The Daily Telegraph, July 15, 1995 "Muslims manipulate refugees' agony
The Bosnian government deliberately increased the suffering of the Muslim refugees fleeing Srebrenica to put pressure on the international community, according to the documents made available to the Daily Telegraph.
The papers include instructions to the United Nations from the government of Alija Izetbegovic in Sarajevo that the refugees must be taken in their thousands to a single location rather than being spread around the numerous available centers.
The resulting television pictures and media reports of chaos among aid workers overwhelmed when the refugees arrived at the UN base in Tuzla were intended to bring about a decisive international response..."
Once again victims of the civil war were paying the price for the unspeakable crimes that their - Bosnian Muslim - representatives were orchestrating. As so many times before, killing their own people (bomb massacres in Sarajevo), increasing the suffering of the innocent refugees...nothing was secret to Alija Izetbegovic and his Islamic followers.
Then, in order to put more pressure on the UN, Security Council, International Community, they (The Bosnian Muslim Government) came out with "the victims story". The amounts of "massacred" BMA soldiers was going from 1,000 up to 15,000. Without considering the astonishing fact that in the "demilitarized safe area" there were several brigades of BMA troops, let's read the following:
Reuters May 29, 1996
"....The six investigators are searching for evidence to convict Bosnian Serbs involved in the massacre of at least 3,000 unarmed Muslim men from Srebrenica, a UN declared "safe area" overrun by the Serbs last July.
After two hours of digging with shovels, picks, rakes and hoes, investigators allowed reporters to approach the site, where at least four corpses were found...."
(Mass graves and the proof of mass killings!!)
The Times, August 02, 1995
"Missing enclave troops found"
by Michael Evans and Michael Kallenbach
"...Thousands of the missing Bosnian Muslim soldiers from Srebrenica who have been at the centre of reports of possible mass executions by the Serbs, are believed to be safe to the Northeast of Tuzla.....
...For the first time yesterday, however, the Red Cross in Geneva said it heard from sources in Bosnia that up to 2,000 Bosnian Government troops were in area north of Tuzla. They had made their way from Srebrenica "without their families being informed", a spokesman said, adding that it had not been possible to verify the reports because the Bosnian Government refused to allow the Red Cross into the area.
Although the Red Cross refused to speculate why the Bosnian Government was keeping secret the presence of the Srebrenica troops near Tuzla, it probably is doing so for military reasons..."
New York Times, July 17, 1995 by Chris Hedges
Some 3,000 - 4,000 Bosnian Muslims who were considered by United Nations officials to be missing after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave have made their way through enemy lines to Bosnian Government territory.
The BMA troops were ordered to attack the northern flanks of the BSA positions and not to surrender to enemy. It is more that logical to expect that the BSA troops were fighting back at BMA attacks and were not welcoming BMA soldiers with flowers. It is rather ridiculous to expect one army to "greeting" the enemy firing on them with smiles and welcoming words...
Reuters, January 30, 1996 ".....
Melvudin Mandzic, 22, released by the Bosnian Serbs on Sunday, told Reuters how he had fled the capture of the U.N. "safe area" of Srebrenica, where thousands of his comrades are believed to have been killed in ambushes and massacres then buried in mass graves.
Mandzic's epic escape took him through the wooded hills of Northeast Bosnia, across Serbia where he was captured and sent back to a Bosnian Serb jail, and then finally to freedom in Sarajevo on Sunday. Pale, smoking heavily, Mandzic recalled how commanders of the Muslim-led Bosnian government army on July 11 ordered their 13,000 heavily-outgunned fighters in the area to try to break through Serb forces closing in on Srebrenica..."
At the several occasions UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali tried to present "charade" performed by the Bosnian Muslim led government to UN Security Council.
On May 30, 1995, Secretary general writes (UN document S/1995/444) that there never was an enforcement concept behind the ``safe areas'' six towns surrounded by Serb-held territory. The Security Council
did not require the Bosnian Government to withdraw its forces from the areas but muttered about how naughty it would be to carry out attacks against them or from them. On page 18 there is this passage from the secretary general:
"In recent months, government forces have considerably increased their
military activity in and around most safe areas, and many of them, including Sarajevo, Tuzla, and Bihac, have been incorporated into the broader military campaign of the government's side. "The headquarters and logistics installations of the Fifth Corps of the government army are located in the town of Bihac and those of the second Corps in the town of Tuzla. "The government also maintains a substantial number of troops in Srebrenica (in this case a violation of a demilitarization agreement) Gorazde and Zepa, while Sarajevo is the location of the General Command of the government army and other military installations. There is also an ammunition factory in Gorazde. "The Bosnian Serb forces' reaction to offensives launched by the government army from safe areas have generally been to respond against military targets within those areas, often at a disproportionate level."
The Secretary general heavily criticized some media reports: Calling Bosnia Crisis Overrated, UN Chief Focuses on Africa
By BARBARA CROSSETTE
"....The international press, he remarked in one of several interviews on his trip, made the battle for Srebrenica sound "like Stalingrad."
"There is a kind of dialectical relation between the attention of a great power and the power of the media," he said. "It creates a distortion in our work. What I am trying to do, without great success, is to correct this distortion."
Finally there were independent witnesses like UN Dutch troops .
This is what they said about "mass killings":
BBC Ceefax, 23 July 1995 23:59 BST
NO EVIDENCE OF MASS KILLINGS: DUTCH UN
Dutch UN peacekeepers in Srebrenica when the enclave fell to Bosnian Serb troops, have said they saw the summary execution of ten Bosnian Muslims.
But Dutch commander Lt-Col Ton Karremans said he and his men had seen no evidence to corroborate reports from fleeing refugees of mass killings by Bosnian Serb troops.
DIE WELT, 25.7.1995 By HELMUT HETZEL
".... Neither Struik nor other Dutch soldiers who were stationed in Srebrenica want to publicly confirm what minister of development- help Jan Pronk and later the minister of defense Joris Voorhoeve claimed: That genocide happened in Srebrenica..."
The personal representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was appointed to investigate what happened in Srebrenica and this is what he said:
The Electronic Telegraph Monday 24 July 1995
SERB ATROCITIES IN SREBRENICA ARE UNPROVED
By Tim Butcher in Tuzla:
After five days of interviews the United Nations chief investigator into alleged human rights abuses during the fall of Srebrenica has not found any first-hand witnesses of atrocities...
....The lack of clear evidence facing Hubert Wieland, personal representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, proved the near-impossibility of establishing what happened when the Serbs overran the Muslim enclave in eastern Bosnia.
"Of course the whole ejection of a civilian population is an enormous abuse of human rights," Mr. Wieland said yesterday. "But we have not found anyone who saw with their own eyes an atrocity taking place."
...Mr. Wieland travelled to Tuzla, the Bosnian city where almost all of the
Srebrenica refugees were taken, with a team of investigators to gather evidence of human rights abuses...
He said his team had spoken to scores of Muslims at the main refugee camp at Tuzla airfield and at other collective centres but no first-hand witnesses had been found...
There is only one fact proven during the last two years after the Srebrenica story. The "massacre" in Srebrenica was just another master-piece of the PR campaign done by Bosnian Muslim led government of Alija Izetbegovic. They didn't care about sufferings of the people, death or destruction. For these Islamic fanatics only one goal has no price the creation of an Islamic Bosnia and Hercegovina. The Bosnian Serbs and Croats have realized Izetbegoivc's intentions and they fought against it.
It is about time for the International Community to accept the reality.
There will be no peace until the Bosnian Muslims who are responsible for lightning up the brutal Bosnia's civil war will stand in front of Hag's War Crimes Tribunal. It is time to get Alija Izetbegovic, Ejup Ganic, Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, Omer Behmen, Haris Silajdzic to stand and face the historical judgment. Their blindness (fanaticism) has created enormous disaster to the Bosnian Muslim people as well as for the Bosnian Serbs and Croats. It is time to pay the price for their religious fundamentalism.
Compiled by M.V.
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