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On the British role in the Bosnian War.


It was with mixed feelings that I finally saw Radovan Karadzic sitting in the Hague dock. Not because it had taken so long to place him there (indeed, European justice has been relatively swift with this particular war criminal: 85% of the 8,000 active employees at Auschwitz, for example, never even saw the inside of a courthouse) but because the sight of him brought back the frustration of reading about Bosnian civilians being burned alive, raped en masse, bombed and snipered to death in their own capital or massacred in farm sheds, while the (mainly British) negotiators dilly-dallied their way through all this bloodshed with less firmness of purpose than if dealing with a conflict over fishing rights.
A slew of recent books – among them, Daniele Conversi's 'The Disintegration of Yugoslavia' – have provided a credible explanation for this dithering. In 1992, Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, having been foiled in his attempts to dominate Yugoslavia by Germany's prompt recognition of Slovenian and Croatian independence, opted for an ethnocentric Greater Serbia for which he annexed whole swathes of Bosnia through his dead-keen proxy, Karadzic. Britain, opposed on principle to Bosnian secession and wanting to counteract what it perceived as excessive Teutonic influence in the Balkans, took over the 'peace' process, blockaded arm sales to all sides (a move which weakened only the Bosnians), and then did its level best to play down the butchering of some 32,000 Bosnian civilians while trying to accomodate the Serb perpetrators, whom it wished to emerge as both winners and allies. No wonder the now universally vilified Karadzic – whose official wartime spokesman, the English academic John Zametica, had strongly influenced the Foreign Office's Bosnian policy - has the beady, vengeful look of someone just itching to blow his whistle.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -