THE BALKAN HOLOCAUST
The end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union also inspired the nations which comprised former Yugoslavia to seek independence from one another. The dissolution of the country lead to the most violent conflict in Europe since World War Two.
Balkans, "The Powder-keg of Europe", is where World War One began, and where acts of genocide were the worst of World War Two. Now history was repeating itself as different ethnic groups confronted one another with brutality unseen in Europe in forty five years: a quarter million dead, mostly civilians; three million refugees driven from their homes by "ethnic cleansing"; destruction of several major cities and many towns, villages, and historic landmarks; massive and barbaric atrocities, including torture, rape, use of human shields, indiscriminate shelling of cities, and mass executions.
From 1991 to 1995, the war among Serbs, Croats and Muslims raged, with intensive diplomatic efforts by the international community having little effect. When the atrocities became too unconscionable, NATO, under U. S. leadership, finally acted with decisive air strikes that halted he war. A large, heavily armed multinational peacekeeping force was deployed, including more than twenty thousand Americans. The adversaries were literally forced to sign the Dayton Agreement, a blueprint for restoring peace and normalcy to the fragments of former Yugoslavia.
Since 1995, peace has held, but the tensions that started the war persist. Only the continued presence of NATO peace-keepers has kept things relatively quiet in Bosnia.
Now a new conflict is developing in Kosovo, a small, landlocked province over which the Serbs and the Albanians have irreconcilable claims. It is more serious than the earlier wars in Croatia and Bosnia: there is a much greater danger that the war will spread to the neighboring countries, possibly dividing NATO, and renewing east-west hostilities.
What are the root causes of these wars? What's right and what's wrong with the Dayton agreement? Why is Kosovo so dangerous? Is U. S. military intervention necessary and justified? What are the likely short-term and long-term scenarios?
Ed Schreiber was born in Zagreb, Croatia during World War Two, and emigrated to the United States in 1956. He has lived in Croatia and in Serbia, and has been a Denver resident since 1968.
Since 1989, he has been deeply involved in the Balkan crisis, working with contacts on all sides of the conflict, and with humanitarian and lobbying organizations in the U. S. He is a co-founder of the Denver-based Bosnian Refugee Resettlement Committee, and has served on the board of the Washington-based Croatian-American Association.
Ed is a computer scientist and entrepreneur, active in politics and many volunteer organizations. In 1980, he was a candidate for Congress. He has been a computer science lecturer, an amateur actor, a professional musician, and a radio talk show host. He is listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering and in Who's Who in the World.
Ed Schreiber 4046 South Magnolia Way, Denver, CO 80237 (303) 692-8535http://estival.com