Sunday, August 10, 2008

Operation Storm in Georgia?

It is amazing to read the news about Georgia's new little war. Article after article has the same pattern: they mention many instances of Georgian aggression and duplicity. But in the end they seem inable to take the final step: to see Georgia instead of Russia as the main aggressor.

It is clear that Georgia started the war with the attack on the capital of South-Ossetia. Georgia tries to avoid the blame by saying that they were shelled from Ossetian territory. One source points out that the Ossetians might have liked to provoke a major Georgian attack. But for violations of an armistice you have procedures that Georgia didn't follow. Also the occurrence of the attack on the opening day of the Olympic Games suggests that Georgia had planned this long before. Besides that: this source (Jamestown Foundation) is closely related to the CIA and the articles don't even pretend to be neutral. A more balanced account of the the run-up to the war gives this article.

We see also the same Western attempts to mediate that somehow don't seem to be totally sincere. Specially as at the same time the conflict is painted as a classical east-west fight with Russia as the bad guy.

The big question is the US role. There are many US military trainers in Georgia and I suspect that they not only knew about the imminent attacks but actually were and are involved behind the screens - just like in the Krajna. The same strategy (burning of houses of the minority and driving them out while claiming "this is our land") is used in both places. Some sources mention black soldiers and uniforms that might be from US military contractors like Blackwater.

It looks that Russia - unlike Serbia - doesn't let it happen. That may be a disappointment for the Georgian government. But I have the feeling that they have calculated this. First of all this seems an opportunity for the US to test Russia's military capabilities. For Georgia with its inferiority complex a few symbolic victories (like the shooting of some planes) will be enough for Saakashvili to claim some kind of victory. And we will be bombed with propaganda about those pitiful Georgians - propaganda aimed to isolate Russia and bring Georgia closer to NATO membership.

Some neo-cons try to paint the present conflict as the next phase in a long history of Russian aggression. But somehow they always forget to tell that the Chechen rebellions were supported from Georgian territory. That is also a reason that a Georgian NATO membership is taboo for Russia.

Russia has now invaded Georgia proper. Their aims are not totally clear. But without doubt they want to teach Saakashvili that his military adventurism is no longer acceptable and should stop.

A few months ago Georgia amassed troops in order to attack Abchazia. Russia thwarted this by increasing its number of troops and by shooting down a unmanned plane. In my opinion this was a moderate and justified answer to the challenge. Yet despite this Russia became the target of fierce American criticism. It looks like Russia has concluded from that episode that it doesn't matter how they behave: this will be criticized anyway when Washington feels hindered in its expansionism.

During discussions in the UN Russia proposed a 3 line resolution that asked all parties to renounce violence. But Georgia opposes giving up this "right" and instead wants to a resolution that only stresses Georgia's territorial integrity. The US, the UK and France supported Georgia and defeated the Russian resolution.

A final question is why the US would support such an attack and at this moment. There are at least two options:
- the heating up of the Cold War might help McCain in the presidential elections. McCain's top foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann worked at the same time for McCain and for Georgia.
- this may be a maneuver to keep Russia busy while the US prepares a boycott (or more) of Iran. Many US warships are at the moment sailing to Iran.

For news about Georgia see here and here.

Postscipt 1: The Messenger - a Georgian newspaper - reports reports about senior US military commander Bantz J. Craddock visited Georgia on 21 august, holding a joint briefing with President Saakashvili.
Postscript 2: Asian Times discusses what the US administration knew of the Georgian attack.
Postscript 3: The Georgian version of the story keeps changing. Here and here is the latest version.
Postscript 4: Here is a map showing which areas of South-Ossetia were controlled by Georgia before the war.
Postscript 5: According to the Russian blogosphere the death count of 2000 for the Georgian offensive seems a reasonable estimate. And yes, they did interview the doctor that HRW spoke to.
Other englishlanguage Russian blogs of interest are Russian Navy Blog, Exercises in translation.
Postscript 6: Putin has accused the US that it orchestrated the Georgian attack. As evidence he mentioned that US military advisers had been in the border zone with South Ossetia.
Postscript 7: This story is by Georgian artillery men. They are very proud of the effiency of their bombing of the Russians in South Ossetia and they claim that Russia burnt the woods in Georgia in order to find artillery weapons that were hidden there.
Postscript 8: For a general overview over the military side see here. This article discusses the performance of the Russian air force. And this one that of the Russian and Georgian navy.
Postscript 9: The title of this article speaks for itself: How I became a soldier in the Georgia-Russia cyberwar.
Postscript 10: My dinners with Misha shows another side of Saakashvili.
Postscript 11: "This article gives a good overview of Georgia's relationship with Israel. Here another article with more links and discussion from an Israeli newspaper.
Postscript 12: The site Osetinfo gives the Ossetian view, including a casualty list. At the moment of writing it contained 365 names.
Postscript 13: This site describes a travel from Tskhinvali to the Roki tunnel.
Postscript 14: As Centralized Rule Wanes, Ethnic Tension Rises Anew in Soviet Georgia is a NY Times article from 1991 about how Gamsakhurdia drove out many Ossetians.
Postscript 15: According to this article Joseph R. Wood, Cheney's deputy assistant for national security affairs, was in Georgia shortly before the war began. Cheney claims Wood was just preparing a visit by Cheney ...
Postscript 16: Johnson's Russia List
Postscript 17: On 28 october the BBC published an article claiming that it had evidence that Georgia had committed war crimes by massively attacking a civilian building. With the article is a movie from Georgia and Ossetia.
Posscript 18: The South Ossetian leader blamed the OSCE for not warning them for the Georgian attack. In an interview with OSCE observer Ryan Grist he agreed that the OSCE had failed in this respect. According to him the observers on the ground sent a warning, but it was ignored in the higher levels of the organisation. Here is an audio track with an interview with Grist (item 741) on 9 august when he was still optimistic. Grist later resigned from the OSCE for unknown reasons. In this light South Ossetia's criticism of the OSCE mission seems justified.
Postscript 19: On 10 november Business Week had an article summing up the evidence so far.
Postscript 20: The article "Georgia: a danger to itself and Transcaucasian stability" by George Hewitt provides a nice overview of the Georgian and Western folly that led to the war.
Postscript 21: MPRI, the US defense contractor that trained the Croat army for Operation storm, was active in Georgia too.
Postscript 22: Circassion World is an interesting blog.
Postscript 23: Here an Amnesty International report published on 7 august 2009


Anonymous said...

Croatia did not "drive out" the Serbs from Krajina. The Serb leadership evacuated its own civilian population, just as they did in Eastern Slavonia, Sarajevo (1996) and Kosovo (1999). You cannot "drive out" people who have already left. Croatia no more "drove out" the Serbs than did NATO and the United Nations when they took over Kosovo and 160,000 Serbs left rather than remain under UN rule in Kosovo.

Anonymous said...

"Croatia did not "drive out" the Serbs from Krajina. The Serb leadership evacuated its own civilian population, just as they did in Eastern Slavonia, Sarajevo (1996) and Kosovo (1999). You cannot "drive out" people who have already left. Croatia no more "drove out" the Serbs than did NATO and the United Nations when they took over Kosovo and 160,000 Serbs left rather than remain under UN rule in Kosovo."

SOURCES PLEASE. Next you will say the Turks did not drive out the Armenians but rather the Armenians voluntarily decided to leave their homeland for a hike through the desert...

Anonymous said...

here's a source, how about the Krajina Serb leadership themselves having admitted that they ordered the evacuation?

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

August 24, 1995, Thursday

SECTION: Part 2 Central Europe, the Balkins; FORMER YUGOSLAVIA; CROATIA;

LENGTH: 423 words

Martic ordered Krajina evacuation - Tanjug

SOURCE: Source: Tanjug news agency, Belgrade, in Serbo-Croat 1359 gmt 22 Aug 95

[24] The Speaker of the Serb Krajina assembly, Rajko Lezajic, has told a
press conference in Belgrade that the order to evacuate the population of
Krajina was issued by Krajina leader Milan Martic supported by the commander of Krajina Serb army, General Mile Mrksic. The following are excerpts from a report
by the Tanjug news agency:

Belgrade, 22nd August: The president of the assembly of the Republic of Serb Krajina RSK; in Croatia , Speaker Rajko Lezajic, said today that the decision on the evacuation of the population from Krajina , made by the RSK president
Milan Martic and the commander of the main HQ of the Serb army of Krajina Mile
Mrksic , was unreasonable.

At a press conference in Belgrade, also attended by the interior minister in the RSK government, Milivoj Vojinovic, the prime minister' s adviser Milan
Ivanic, and RSK commissioner for refugees Milan Trbulin, Lezajic stressed that
"as the president of the assembly, he was neither consulted nor informed about
that decision" .

Ivanic distributed to journalists copies of the order to evacuate the
population, signed by RSK President Milan Martic. He added that " the session of
the Supreme Defence Council did not have a quorum because, instead of five
members, only two attended - Martic and (army commander Gen Mile) Mrksic" .

Stressing that the assembly and the government do not recognize the
occupation of the RSK, Lezajic put forward RSK authorities' 10 requests to the
international community.

They requested the international community to prevent Croatia from executing its genocidal plans, to ensure Croatia's army leaves the occupied area of the
RSK and proclaim it demilitarized zone, to protect the lives of the Serbs who
remained there and the property of the Serbs who have been driven out, and
immediately to initiate a negotiating process between the RSK and Croatia to
reach an agreement on the return of the expelled people.

"We demand that the sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia FRY be lifted immediately," Lezajic said and added that Yugoslavia "provided shelter
for the refugees and made utmost effort in caring for them" ...

Asked about the possibility of holding someone responsible for the fall of
the western part of the RSK, Vojinovic said that no order on military withdrawal
had been issued, but that Gen Mrksic offered to resign at a government session.

According to the president of the assembly, the resignation will be discussed
at a session of the assembly, which appointed the army commander...

Anonymous said...

"here's a source, how about the Krajina Serb leadership themselves having admitted that they ordered the evacuation?"

Did you read your own article? The "leadership" (if you can call it that - a decision was made without a legal quorum) EVACUATED the people because they tried " to prevent Croatia from executing its genocidal plans, to ensure Croatia's army leaves the occupied area of the RSK and proclaim it demilitarized zone, to protect the lives of the Serbs who
remained there and the property of the Serbs who have been driven out, and immediately to initiate a negotiating process between the RSK and Croatia to reach an agreement on the return of the expelled people."

The "leadership" said the departure was not voluntary when you have all the Croatian troops bearing down on you. Informative is the indictment against Gottovina.

See this link.

But in the end, believe whatever helps you sleep at night. If that means you believe 150,000 people "voluntarily" left their homes and land (in their family for generations) in the middle of a war, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

This should be the FULL link. It was cut off before.

realist said...

Mike is correct. During the 1990s, Serbia invaded Croatia and engaged in a brutal military occupation of 1/3 of it. The Croatians finally managed to kick the invaders out. The Serbian government pursuaded a lot of the Serb civilians of the region that it was not worth living under Croatian rule, so they left.

Serbia is pretty much 100% to blame for the problems of ethnic Serbs in Croatia.

Pierre said "The "leadership" said the departure was not voluntary when you have all the Croatian troops bearing down on you".

That is not true at all. Croatia would have let things go back to how it was before the Serbian war against Croatia, with a large number of ethnic Serbs in Krajina

Anonymous said...

wim, sorry for taking up so much space, I can't post the link in the space allotted. For the link I mentioned before, just click my name.

Anonymous said...

**Did you read your own article? The "leadership" (if you can call it that - a decision was made without a legal quorum) EVACUATED the people because they tried "**

That's exactly what I said in my first post, Pierre, that the Serb leadership EVACUATED its own civilian population, and you asked me to cite a source. I'm glad you now agree with me that in fact I was right and that the Serb civilians were indeed evacuated.

As for the indictment against Gotovina, who cares? Haradinaj was indicted, Oric was indicted, Halilovic was indicted, and all of them were acquitted because the Prosecution's claims in their indictments were false.

You will soon see that Gotovina too will be acquitted because the claims of the Prosecution in Gotovina's indictment are false, just as in the cases of Haradinaj, Oric and Halilovic.

realist said...

Also, there is not much consistency here.

The fact of Kosovo's independence is recognized by most of the world's major democracies. Most of the desire to make Kosovo into a part of Serbia comes from countries that are empires that forcibly control other lands against their will, as Serbia used to do to Kosovo. Many in this blog think that Kosova should be joined to Serbia against its will.

In contrast, South Ossetia's independence is not recognized by any member of the United Nations. Not one. Not even Russia! But the person who runs this blog calls Georgia's military presence in territory that the entire world considers to be part of Georgia "military adventurism" or aggression.

There is not consistent. But is there perhaps a support for Serbia's claim to control the non-Serbian separate nation of Kosova?

Anonymous said...

They were evacuated because they were about to be slaughtered. Anyhow, you are just falling into the same practices that Wim has attributed to the mainstream media.

You acknowledge that Serbs were "EVACUATED" (look up the definition of that word - hint, they were not leaving to go on a picnic) but you refuse to take the final step and reveal that the Croats were the aggressors - had the Croats not been aggressors, the Serbs would not have left.

By the way, since all the thousands of people from New Orleans EVACUATED their homes when Hurricane Katrina hit, according to your logic, does that mean they shouldnt get their homes and property back?

Anonymous said...

Pierre, Croatia could not be an aggressor in its own country, and the so-called "krajina" was occupied Croatian territory under any standard of international law. There were numerous security council resolutions prior to Operation Storm which declared "Krajina" to be sovereign Croatian territory.

As for the rest of your post, you don't seem to understand international humanitarian law. As US Ambassador Peter Galbraith correctly stated, "You cannot ethnically cleanse people who have already left." Accordingly, because the "Krajina" Serbs left before the Croatians got there, it is not ethnic cleansing and they were not "forced out."

realist said...

Serbia engaged in a brutal military occupation of 1/3 of Croatia. This was aggression by Serbia.

Croatia did not invade Serbia.

@pierre: "They were evacuated because they were about to be slaughtered."

About to? A slaughter that was not threatened, or ever happened. It was only imagined. A genocide that existed only in the mind of Serbian government leaders. A "might happen". Not a "has happened" or "is happening". Historically, it is a never happen. A genocide that never happens is not a genocide.

This is in contrast to the actual genocides perpetrated by Serbia in its wars against Kosova and Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Mike once again is correct. The only aggression in the Croatia situation is the Serbian army occupying a large part of Croatia. Croatia was not being aggressive by re-asserting control overs its own land: control taken away by an enemy country's army.

Anonymous said...

Interesting you should mention Peter Galbraith. You probably are quoting info from his media campaign. But he painted a different picture and had to submit additional supplemental testimony when he went to testify in the Hague. Here are GALBRAITHs words about Krajina while being questioned. Now tell me who is ethnically cleansing who...And notice how Galbraith is quoting Operation Storm BY NAME.

Click on my name for the link and see pages 4949 etc. of the OFFICIAL HAGUE TRANSCRIPT without media bias.

Here's a relevant portion, page 4938 with the prosecutor asking Galbraith (the witness)

es. First, this was when -- this was an area without a

20 population. The people who were there were -- was the Croatian military

21 in the immediate aftermath of Operation Storm, so they were in control.

22 This wasn't like the Krajina Serb army or some of the other armed forces.

23 This was the most disciplined military and the best military in the

24 former Yugoslavia, in my view.

25 So there they were, in control; and while they were in control,

Page 4948

1 almost from the start, the looting and burning is taking place. I

2 describe my own observations in Petrinja of going there, I think, on the

3 6th of August, a few hours after it fell. Again, the Croatian military

4 fully in charge; going back there on the 9th with increasing signs of

5 looting.

6 I had embassy officers down in Knin coming, I think, the 7th or

7 8th of August - it is in the diary, the precise date - reporting as they

8 were approaching, first through Drnis, seeing recent destruction; coming

9 into Knin where buildings on the outskirts were being burned; one of the

10 officers coming up to some Croatian soldiers and saying, "The house is on

11 fire. Are you going to do anything about it," and then realising that

12 these were the people setting the fires.

13 And, again, given the scale, I don't think that you can argue

14 that these were -- and how long it took or the period of time over which

15 it took place, I don't think that you can say these were isolated

16 incidents. So, to that, I guess I could add a further observation of

17 coming on September 20th to Donji Lapac, a town that was 90 per cent --

18 98 per cent Serb, I believe. The most Serb municipality in Croatian in

19 which, in my estimation, 70 per cent of the buildings in Donji Lapac -

20 and these were apartment blocks and things like - had been torched. None

21 much them had been damaged in fighting. They had been systematically

22 torched, and all the ones that hadn't been torched had been all looted.

23 So, again, given the nature of the Croatian state, given that it

24 was a disciplined military, given that it was an organised and efficient

25 state, I don't or I cannot accept the idea that this it was -- that these

Page 4949

1 things happened spontaneously. I can think that they only happened

2 because the Croatian state authorities, Tudjman and his -- the gang

3 around him, wanted this to happen.

4 I put that, then, in the context of Tudjman's desire for an

5 ethnically pure Croatia. His belief in ethnically homogeneous states.

6 I put this in the context of, as we have already discussed, of these

7 laws, the utterly unfair laws, that were intended to prevent, to deny

8 Serbs Croatian citizenship and to confiscate their property. I put this

9 in the context of comments, which I heard from lots of Croatians, that

10 the Serbs were a cancer on -- Krajina Serbs were a cancer on the stomach

11 of Croatia. And, finally, as I look at the transcripts of some of these

12 presidential meetings, you can see, for example, Susak talking, boasting

13 about how Grahovo is now ethnically clean.

14 So these are all the reasons why I believe that either this was

15 on orders or something that was permitted, and I can't say because I

16 don't have a smoking gun of some direct order. But I cannot believe that

17 this happened except for it being something that the Croatian authorities

18 that Tudjman wanted to have happen or was pleased was happening as it was

19 happening.

Anonymous said...

Pierre, you are misquoting what Galbraith said in his testimony. Yes he said that crimes were committed AFTER Operation Storm. He also said that the Croatian Army DID NOT force the Krajina Serbs to leave, that they left on orders of their own leadership. He also said that he did not believe that Operation Storm was launched in order to drive the Serbs out of the so-called Krajina. Finally, you ignore that Galbraith said:

20 A. I guess I would say my first point would be that this was --

21 this, of course, is a statement taken by the Prosecutor. Perhaps, as I

22 read this now, it could not look quite as I meant it.

23 What I meant was that there were not major violations of

24 international law that we observed in the early phases of the operation;

25 point one.

So, it is simple: Galbraith says that the Serbs left on orders of their own leadership, and that after the Krajina was already EMPTY of Serbs, crimes were committed by Croats seeking revenge for everything that Serbs did to them for four years.

This was not easy to stop. The Albanians did the same thing in Kosovo after Nato and the UN arrived, and both NATO and the UN (like the Croatians) were unable to stop revenge acts like burning and looting from taking place.

Accordingly, Galbraith supports my view and rejects your view that the Croatian Army DROVE OUT the Serbs.

Anonymous said...

Read my response, Tudjman supported an "ethnically pure" Croatia. FACT Serbs were not going to wait to be ethnically cleansed. Galbraith quoted Operation Storm existed, plain and simple.

let me remind everyone this was a "supplemental" testimony on the part of Galbraith who changed his story. Originally he said Storm did not exist, however evidence was produced that he knew it existed so he had to correct his testimony lest he be convicted of PERJURY. Who knows how much else he will change. His admissions of Operation Storm are valid evidence because they are statements against interest and first hand observations. His other comments about Serb "atrocities" are second hand hearsay (what he heard from someone else), that is, unreliable, and I don't know how they were admitted in that court.

PS Why didn't the Croats let the Serbs have their property back? Why is Croatia allowed to have an "ethnically pure" state yet allegations that Serbia was pursuing that same avenue got them bombed?

I advise you to read the WHOLE transcript (I was honest and gave you the whole link for a reason), because Galbraith goes back and forth on the evidence he gives - he keeps changing his story all throughout the proceeding. Of course, you are free to take one sentence out of context...

Anonymous said...

Pierre, unfortunately you don't know the facts. Galbraith NEVER EVER said that Operation Storm "did not exist." Nor has Galbraith EVER changed his testimony from 1995 to the present. EVER. He has consistently said three things: 1. The Croatian Army DID NOT ethnically cleanse Serbs from the "Krajina" because the Serb leadership evacuated the civilians before the Croatian Army got there; 2. There were NO MAJOR VIOLATIONS of international law during Operation Storm; and 3. SEVERAL WEEKS AFTER OPERATION STORM, crimes began to take place including burning and looting. This has been Galbraith's testimony from 1995 to the present, and he has NEVER been inconsistent about it.

As for your claims about Serbian property, you are also wrong. All Serbs who had private ownership of their real estate, have never had that ownership taken away from them, EVER. There is indeed an issue of whether Serbs can retain TENANCY RIGHTS in government owned property, if they abondoned that property and didn't try to reclaim it in a period of SEVEN YEARS. The fact is that under the laws of the former Yugoslavia (which then became Croatian law when Croatia became independent), the tenancy rights are lost WHENEVER THE TENANT ABANDONS THE PROPERTY FOR MORE THAN SIX MONTHS. That was the law under communist Yugoslavia in all six republics!

Accordingly, Pierre, I think you have got your facts wrong.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I did not get them wrong, there was an operation Storm. IT was meant to cleanse the Serbs in the Krajina. Your simple statement that I am simply wrong is unfair, I have referred to sources of newspapers as well as legal transcripts - I did not simply make a statement with no evidence.

What is this talk that Serbs have a right to reclaim their property? did you not read the transcript? Croats burned, looted, and occupied Serbs houses - THAT IS IN THE TRANSCRIPT. HOW CAN SERBS GO BACK AND RECLAIM THEIR PROPERTY.

But I will stop and concede and let you win the argument, if you just admit, Franco Tudjman, president of the Croats, wanted an ethnically pure Croatia. - just like Galbraith testified to in court - the same Galbraith you quoted to approvingly as being "correct" earlier before I brought up the transcript. That is all.

Anonymous said...

Galbraith testified that Operation Storm did NOT have as its goal to "cleanse the Serbs."

As for the right to reclaim their property, you must not be aware of the fact that Croatia has rebuilt the homes of Serbs whose houses were burned down. So yes, all Serbs who wish to return to Croatia do indeed have someplace to go back to.

And finally, no I do not agree that Franjo Tudjman wanted an ethnically pure Croatia. The proof of that is the fact that Tudjman agreed to the peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia into Croatia under UN administration. As a result, in 1998 Eastern Slavonia became part of Croatia and all Serbs who lived there were allowed to stay. To this day, those Serbs have little or no problems.

That is the point. Had the Serbian leadership been wise enough to accept the peaceful reintegration of the so-called "Krajina" into Croatia, there would have been no need for Operation Storm and Tudjman would gladly have accepted Serbs staying in Croatia.

Anonymous said...

I thought so...

If you don't believe Tudjman wanted an ethnicly pure Croatia despite Galbraith's testimony, why do you refer to and quote Galbraith to support your position.

again, Galbraith in the court.

"the Croatian state authorities, Tudjman and his -- the gang

3 around him, wanted this to happen.

4 I put that, then, in the context of Tudjman's desire for an

5 ethnically pure Croatia. His belief in ethnically homogeneous states. "

So, let's recap, DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE THAT Croats wanted an ethnically pure state, DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE CROATS burned down Serb homes, yet Mike says it's alright for Serbs to return...Just like the illogical and irrational media Wim was mentioning in his original article...

That's all from me, folks. Anyhow, if you must insist on having the last word, by all means, go ahead.

realist said...

"Operation Storm" was about nothing other than driving a destructive, foreign, invading army out of Croatia. The Serbian army had no business being in Croatia whatsoever. The presence of the Serbian army in Croatia is the only aggression in the situation.

It is a major attempt to twist words, and twist history, to call the action of Croatia fighting off a malicious foreign army "aggression"

Anonymous said...

Pierre, more than 130,000 Serbs have returned to Croatia and had their homes rebuilt since Operation Storm. That says it all about whether Croatia wants to be an "ethnically pure state."

realist said...

More concrete evidence that the genocide against Krajina Serbs is entirely imaginary.

Wim Roffel said...

@realist: please read Edith Durham's "High Albania"! It is very popular among Albanians and freely available on the internet. It contains two chapters about her visit to Kosovo. Just enough to give you the impression that it was not fun to be a Serb in Kosovo a century ago (1908). Both sides had their part in the bad inter ethnic relations.

@Mike Baresic: Mike, you remind me of those Serbs who in the years after 1995 deflected accusations about mass murder in Srebrenica with "where are the bodies?" and who still maintain that hundred thousands of Albanians left Kosovo in 1999 because of pressure from the UCK. You have the same "our side can't do wrong" mentality.

You write that "You cannot "drive out" people who have already left.". Please explain how the ICTY can talk about hundreds of killed Serbs when all left?

Anonymous said...

Wim, it is intellectually cheap and lazy of you to respond by claiming that your interlocutor is a "denier" when you have no evidence to support your assertion of mass ethnic cleansing by the Croats. Please debate on the merits or don't make claims on your blog. Otherwise you appear to be either (1) intellectually lazy or (2) unable to debate the merits.

As for you question, the fact that some Serbs (150?) were murdered out of revenge after Operation Storm does not mean that the 150,000 Serbs who fled BEFORE the Croatian Army arrived were ethnically cleansed. Again, do you believe that NATO ethnically cleansed the Serbs from Kosovo just because some Serbs were murdered in Kosovo after NATO took control of Kosovo in 1999? If so, do you accuse your own country of complicty in ethnic cleansing?

Wim Roffel said...

Mike, I have seen how you answered both to Pierre's and to my arguments. You either ignore them or you say without arguments that it is not true. Adding more arguments would be just a waste of my time.

As for the Serb leadership evacuating the Krajna Serbs: they had seen the modus operandi of the Croatian army in its previous conquests, including Operation Flash and the Medak pocket.

Anonymous said...

I did not ignore a single argument of yours or Pierre's, Wim. I answered and rebutted every one of them. You obviously have nothing substantive to support your claims.

realist said...

"ust enough to give you the impression that it was not fun to be a Serb in Kosovo a century ago (1908). Both sides had their part in the bad inter ethnic relations."

Just as there were problems for Croatians in Serbia, Serbs in Croatia, etc. The big mistake was not making Kosovo a separate state of Yugoslavia on equal footing with Serbia, Croatia, etc. Instead, Kosovo was annexed against its will to Serbia, which long had a seething hatred of Kosovo and its people... .and Serbia twice during the 20th century tried to wipe out Kosovo's indiginous population.

Wim Roffel said...

It looks like you didn't read the Durham chapters. I haven't read something similar about Croatia in peacetime.

"Serbia twice during the 20th century tried to wipe out Kosovo's indiginous population"
It looks like you are exaggerating a bit. But you write in too general terms to be sure.