The logic of the war in Bosnia

The war in Bosnia (and Croatia) in the 1990's had a logical structure. Much of it is only apparent when considering the ethics of the war, and it is ignored by historians. Nevertheless it is possible to construct a model of the war, which explains some apparently incompatible features. Similar issues arose in all the wars following the break-up of Yugoslavia, and similar issues will arise in any future western interventions related to the disintegration of large states. However the model distinguishes the war in Bosnia from war in Afghanistan or Iraq, where a different logic of intervention applies. Revised December 2002, minor changes and map, May 2006.

The logic of the war in Bosnia can be seen at three separate levels, which are not in chronological order. The central element is the 'western' intervention, an intervention by liberal market-democratic nation states. It had the purpose of establishing liberal market-democratic nation states on the territory of former Yugoslavia and Albania. In long-term historical perspective the liberal market-democratic nation states are engaged in a global war of conquest, to impose a global order of similar states. The intervention which ended the hostilities - IFOR enforcing the Dayton accords - also partly caused the hostilities.

Within the western states, primarily the NATO allies, a political coalition was built in support of intervention. That coalition appealed to various images, models and visions of Bosnia - wartime and prewar Bosnia. These visions form the second level of the model of the Bosnia war. The most important was the 'Holocaust model'. Promoted by governments and media, and generally accepted by western public opinion, it presented the war as a genocidal war by Serbs against the Bosnian Muslim (Bosniac) population. The war was presented as morally equivalent to Auschwitz - and western intervention as a moral crusade, which no reasonable person could oppose.

Thirdly, there are images and visions of Bosnia, Croatia and the whole region, which are supported by inhabitants of the region itself. These are geopolitical visions: they correspond to a territory. The most important are the nationalisms within former Yugoslavia - classic nationalist movements claiming territory for a nation state, existing or proposed.

The chronological order was different. First, several NATO states supported nationalist secessionist movements within Yugoslavia, especially Croatian separatism. A war in Croatia followed - incidentally diverting attention from the successful Slovenian secession. The war spread to Bosnia, and the NATO powers encouraged atrocities, to justify NATO intervention there. A political coalition for an anti-Serbian intervention was formed in the NATO states, and an occupation force was stationed in Bosnia: first IFOR, then SFOR. Bosnia became a de facto protectorate. Nevertheless Serbia itself was not targeted at that time , and the Republika Srpska (Bosnia Serbs) got half of Bosnia. In the subsequent Kosovo war, Serbia was attacked: the regime collapsed under internal and external pressure. And what was the purpose of this all? The World Bank later explained:

"...greater emphasis must be placed on establishing a viable institutional structure for effective and countrywide governance, as outlined in the Dayton Agreement, and on undertaking the key structural reforms for transforming the old socialist economic structure into a new, market-based economy." (World Bank 1997, p. xii)

In historical perspective, that is the moral crusade which underlies the whole episode: the crusade of the liberal market-democracies, to remake the world in their own image.

The logic of intervention

It is important to understand that 'intervention' also means non-intervention. Intervention in Bosnia did not mean total general intervention: it did not mean that the entire adult population of the planet went to Bosnia to fight. It did not mean that every group on the planet formed its own militia to pursue its own strategy in Bosnia. A 'NATO intervention' means in principle that the NATO intervenes, and only the NATO. In fact, intervening powers actively limit intervention by others in conflict areas - rivalry among intervening powers may be the only reason for an intervention.

Extreme cynicism about the motives for intervention is therefore appropriate, especially if it has the nature of a moral crusade. A true moral crusade would indeed be open to all the world's population - all support for a good cause is welcome. But if the moral crusaders exclude all others from their crusade, then they are evidently interested in their own power, not in their claimed ethical goal.

A good example is the rape camps in Bosnia, which played a prominent part in western media coverage (Burns 1996, 95-96). Whether they ever existed is irrelevant here: the subsequent Yugoslavia Tribunal did bring charges of mass rape, but without claiming that a camp was established for that purpose. Typically, the rape camps were quoted as a justification for western intervention, especially by womens groups. That is to say, the womens groups advocated a US or NATO intervention: they limited their demands for intervention, to intervention by western armies. But if women were angry at mass rapes in Bosnia, why did they not advocate a womens intervention? So far as I know, no person ever advocated the formation of a women's army, to protect women in Bosnia from rape. Yet if rape camps are wrong, then surely their opponents would welcome any intervention to stop them? The obvious explanation for the apparently illogical position is, that the opponents of mass rape were not interested in the fate of the victims, or their rescue. They were primarily interested in constructing a justification for western intervention.

This logic of intervention explains some events in Bosnia, especially the worst single incident of the war, the massacre of Srebrenica. Like many atrocities of the Bosnian war, the massacre was preventable by certain military interventions: however these military interventions were unacceptable to the strongest military powers. The same western allies who ultimately intervened in Bosnia maintained a naval and air blockade of Iraq, although an Iraqi military rescue of the Moslems in Srebrenica would have been possible. In fact hundreds or thousands of military interventions in Bosnia, by all kinds of armed groups, were possible - but not permitted. More generally, the existing global geopolitical order is itself one of millions of possible geopolitical orders. The existing order is maintained against the possible orders, by force. Geopolitical power, such as the power to intervene, consists not simply of the power to conduct an intervention, but the power to exclude the 'alternative worlds'. In the case of Bosnia, the pre-intervention strength of the NATO powers was such, that they could limit the possible major interventions to one: their own intervention. (There were small pro-Moslem forces, including Iranians and mujaheddin, and pro-Serb Russian irregulars).

The course of events in Yugoslavia after 1990 was therefore generally determined by the NATO powers. Their ultimate intervention was simply the final stage in that process. The victim status of the refugees in the Srebrenica enclave, and their ultimate massacre, was constructed in order to justify that intervention: more on that below. The Srebrenica massacre succeeded, where the rape camp stories had failed: it swung public opinion in the NATO states to support intervention. But, in order to make the Srebrenica massacre possible, the NATO powers had to prevent non-NATO interventions. The possible candidates for a rescue mission in Srebrenica were above all Iraq and Iran. Other possible interveners were irregulars from Afghanistan - the core of what became famous as Al-Qaeda - and from Chechnya, Libya, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. They could also have lifted the siege of Sarajevo, which had great impact on western public opinion. The victim status of that city was equally constructed by western 'intervention management' - by limiting the interventions of others, while creating the conditions for your own.

Without understanding that intervention also means anti-intervention, it is is impossible to understand western strategy in Bosnia. When the full list of possible interventions is considered, a western strategy of deliberate creation of massacres and sieges becomes visible. Yet that strategy had as ultimate goal an intervention that would end the atrocities. It is the strategy of the arsonist fireman - start fires in order to be the heroic rescuer of the victims.

In the last few years the western market democracies have become more interventionist. That was true before 11 September 2001, and this intervention is military, whatever the names used. Here is what the US Mission to the United Nations listed in 1995 as "humanitarian missions" (quoted in Weiss and Collins, p. 181):

armed forces deliver relief supplies unarmed; armed forces deliver relief and use force for self-defence; armed monitoring of sanctions; armed suppression of air traffic in offending country; air strikes against selected military targets such as artillery or airfields; air, ground or naval actions against the armed forces of one or more combatants; armed forces create safe havens and defend them; armed forces monitor cease-fire; military action to enforce terms not accepted by combatants.

The usual name for "air ground or naval actions against armed forces" is: war. Logically all interventions are simply wars of conquest: armed forces arrive, restrict the operations of other armed forces, and retain control of territory. That is what happened in Bosnia.

Western visions of Bosnia

The intervention in Bosnia would not have been possible without a political coalition in its support, inside the intervening nations. That coalition included supporters of various visions and ideals of Bosnia - people with ideas about what Bosnia is, and what it should be. The images of Bosnia and the war were important, because there was no direct military action against the intervening powers which would justify their war - no Pearl Harbour.

Such images can shift and change. Few people in western Europe today believe that Serbs are 'a nation of genocidal rapists', but that is how many people saw them in the mid-1990's. That in turn was a departure from a generally positive attitude to Serbia and Yugoslavia, which had existed since the first Yugoslav state was founded. Compare this quote from a 1923 history of the Balkans (Miller, p. 513):

In 1922 the new King, to the great satisfaction of his subjects, married, and at his wedding with a Roumanian princess the Duke of York represented the British Royal Family. Never have the ties between Great Britain and the Serbs been so close as since the late war, when they fought side by side. Many Serbs found a refuge in England; many were educated at Oxford, and to Englishmen Servia is no longer an unknown land.

The idea of a Serbia full of Oxford graduates is clearly absurd, but it shows how positive the western image of the first Jugoslavija was, at the time. The point is, it was an image, no more than an image - and so was the later image of Serbia as anti-western. Predictably, after the fall of Milosevic, western media rediscovered Serbia's 'pro-western tradition'.

The rape camps and other atrocity claims are an example of how images are politicised, used, and discarded as necessary. The high-profile anti-rape activists spoke of 'Serb rapes', or at least rapes by Serbian forces. But no-one campaigned against 'male atrocities in Bosnia', no-one spoke of 'male rapes' although the alleged and real rapists were men. No-one spoke of 'monotheist atrocities in Bosnia' - although Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim soldiers are all monotheists. Visions of the war were created, intended to secure military intervention by third parties, and to impose a plan for the post-war period. If you want to secure a NATO intervention against Serbia, it is useless to complain about rapes by Brazilian drug dealers, or about general male attitudes to women. A 'Serb rape camp' is a specific justification for a specific anti-Serbia war - suspiciously so.

In retrospect, most of the images and terminology which dominated western media coverage of the war in Bosnia were specific to that period, and were later forgotten. (New reports of rape camps, this time in Zimbabwe, appeared in western media as relations with the Mugabe regime deteriorated). Not all the images and visions were negative, not all were atrocity stories, but many were later abandoned, which suggests they had at least one thing in common: fabrication.

Two groups outside Bosnia took the Bosnia as an important symbol: supporters of multiculturalism in immigrant societies like the United States, and Islamists who wrongly identified the war as a Christian attack on Islam. The multiculturalists equated Bosnia with their own societies, and equated some parties in the war (usually Serbia) with the opponents of multiculturalism in their own societies. (Often they spoke of 'multiculturalism' as ideal, but used the word 'multi-ethnic' for Bosnia, possibly because this was standard academic usage).

Multicultural Bosnia

It is irrelevant for the vision of multicultural Bosnia, whether it actually existed. However, it is relevant that most of its supporters identified it with the policies, or at least the potential polices, of the Sarajevo government during the war. They feared that ethnic cleansing was directed against that ideal - the conscious replacement of a multicultural by a monocultural society. For an example of the use of Bosnia as model, see the Community of Bosnia Foundation website, apparently unchanged since 1997. The CBF works for "culturally pluralistic multi-religious Bosnia". It is a US-American interpretation of what the problem is - in cultural-religious terms - and a proposed solution to that perceived problem.

Support for 'multicultural Bosnia' was often accompanied by the accusation of genocide, as in Norman Cigar's book Genocide in Bosnia. Usually, genocide is defined as violence against an ethnic group, not against a social model such as multiculturalism. Nevertheless, that claim is closer to the original intent of the term 'genocide'. The word was first used by Raphael Lemkin in 1944 for activities directed against nation states, not against ethnic groups. His book is about Nazi policies in occupied Europe, yet it does not claim a genocide against a Jewish people. The perception of the Holocaust as the archetype ethnic genocide, dates from well after the Second World War. The word genocide originally meant something like: 'harsh occupation policies intended to subdue a nation state, weaken its identity, and destroy its own administration'. The word later acquired a meaning once described by a separate term: ethnocide. So despite current usage, it is accurate to define an attack on a Bosnian nation state, with a national identity defined by multi-ethnicity, as genocide. On this definition, however, mass murders of Muslims for being Muslim, are not part of the 'genocide'. Nor are murders of Croats or Serbs, for which Cigar invented the euphemism "spin-off war crimes". But such a Bosnian state never existed anyway. The Sarajevo government was primarily, and increasingly, a national government of an ethnic-Muslim national movement, claiming increasingly a Bosniac identity (options 8 and 9 in the list below). It was not a multiculturalist association being persecuted for its multiculturalism.

What however if reality did match the model? The implicit assumption of the multi-ethic model is that it can legitimise a state. This is why the Sarajevo government (and the SDA in particular) appealed to it, even though suspicious of it. What if the Sarajevo government had, as Norman Cigar claims (p. 122), a "stated and operative goal of a multi-confessional secular state"? This too is a nationalist claim, since it is linked to the inhabitants of a territory as a pre-existing group: the proposed secular state had to be in Bosnia, not Australia. In effect the qualities are claimed to be Bosnian characteristics, Bosnian in the sense of option 7 in the list. The supporters of this model did consistently refer to a specific 'Bosnian tradition' of multi-ethnicity. Regardless of whether it is true or not, this claim can not justify a nation, justify its claim to territory, or justify the exclusion of others from that territory. It is a stereotypical national identity, comparable to 'British fairness' or 'Dutch tolerance'.

Some of the claims made by supporters of multicultural Bosnia, imply a logic of enforced multiculturality. Is it for instance right, to deport Scots and Paraguayans to Antarctica, in order to create a multi-ethnic or multicultural Antarctica? If you believe in enforced relocation of refugees in Bosnia, to create artificially multi-ethnic areas, then you would have to accept this logic also. If there is a moral obligation to create multicultural areas, then why not create them everywhere, even in Antarctica? However, if there is a specific Bosnian reason to create them in Bosnia, then why appeal to a general principle?

The truth is that the principles of multiculturalism form a universalism, not a particularism. They are not specific to Bosnia: it was used as a role-model territory, as exemplar. What are these principles, in general terms? The philosophy of multi-culturalism is that human beings are primarily carriers of a transgenerational culture. They are believed to have a moral obligation to act as carriers, and therefore to protect heritage. Multiculturalism promotes the parallel co-existence of cultures, without being assimilated to each other. Inter-culturalism makes similar claims about humans as culture-carriers, but claims there is a duty to learn from other cultures, and to incorporate them. A multi-cultural society preserves a plurality of cultures, an inter-cultural society facilitates syncretism - the fusion of cultures. All forms of 'culturalism' see the individual as member of a transgenerational community: when they claim territory for these communities, these ideologies belong to the general category nationalist.

Morally there is little difference between a territorial claim on the basis of ethnicity, and a claim on the basis of multiculturalism, or multi-ethnicity, or interculturality. All of them can also serve as legitimation for violence. Here is the opening of Donia and Fines book on Bosnia:

On April 6 1992, a crowd of demonstrators gathered in front of the Bosnian Parliament building in Sarajevo to demonstrate for peace in Bosnia and Hercegovina....Directly across the street, form the upper floors of the ultra-modern Holiday Inn built for the 1984 Winter Olympics, heavily-armed Serbian militiamen fired randomly into the crowd and marked the demise of the few remaining hopes that moderation and compromise might prevail in Bosnia and Hercegovina....The victims were unarmed civilians who hoped for the preservation of a multiethnic society who hoped for the preservation of a multiethnic Bosnian society....the perpetrators were nationalist extremists bent on destroying Bosnia's multiethnic society and replacing it with the national supremacy of a single ethnic group, in this case the Serbs."

The rest of the book is an immoderate and uncompromising demand for support for a multiethnic Bosnia, if necessary by military intervention. Multi-ethnicists and multiculturalists can also be fanatical or violent in pursuit of their ideal - after all they are convinced of its absolute truth. The juxtaposition created by Donia and Fines (and many others) is false. They claim that the response to ethnic cleansing is the enforcement of a multicultural or multi-ethnic solution. They imply, that anyone who opposes multiculturalism approves ethnic cleansing: this is false. Fanatic inter-culturalists might open fire on a multiculturalist demonstration, without any intention of promoting ethnic cleansing. There are many possible social ideologies about culture. It is possible to have no culture at all, or to substitute multi-lingualism for multiculturalism: multi-religious and inter-religious models are also possible.

All of these are logical alternatives to both multiculturalism and mono-culturalism, and all of them can logically form the basis of a territorial claim, comparable to that of nationalists. The implied moral superiority of the multiculturalists is their own invention. In practice, the supporters of the fictional multicultural Bosnia formed part of the political coalition for a western military intervention - which had as its goal the establishment of liberal market-democratic nation states, rather than a multiculturalist utopia. The foreign policy elite of the intervening powers is satisfied with a non-multicultural option:

"Along SFOR's Route Arizona...a market has emerged spontaneously...patronized primarily by Serbs and Muslims, but Croats as well come from afar...In the microcosm the Arizona market represents may lie a clue to building a functioning multiethnic society in Bosnia....Bosnia can survive as a state in a loose confederation if the international community, led by the United States, explicitly acknowledges the right of the ethnic factions to live among their own and govern themselves" (Charles Boyd in 'Foreign Affairs', 1998)

That is almost certainly the tone for the coming years - and with new conflicts elsewhere, NATO forces in Bosnia will be reduced. The de facto ethnic partition of Bosnia will simply be accepted by the intervening powers, probably without publicity.

Bridge Bosnia: nation of transnationality

One of the most specific visions of Bosnia was the bridge metaphor. It probably originated in the threat to the old bridge at Mostar, which was already familiar as a a tourist-poster image of Bosnia. The bridge was destroyed by Hercegovina Croat forces, and the video of its collapse became a recurring feature of TV coverage of the war. But not just that: it soon became an icon of multicultural Bosnia. It symbolised Bosnia as a link between others, notably Croatia and Serbia. The logic is simple and geopolitical: the bridge metaphor is used to legitimise national and ethno-national claims - for instance in this article from Pogrom: Minderheiten sind lebenden Brucken: Beitrittskandidaten und Altmitglieder der EU sollen sie Fördern. Those who used the bridge metaphor of Bosnia generally favoured an intervention in support of the Sarajevo government, to establish a Bosnian state. (After the war, the UNESCO supervised the reconstruction of the bridge, but it does not serve as a unifying symbol).

Bridges were a symbol of intercultural or trans-national links, long before the war in Bosnia. The symbolism appeals to people with syncretic or pan-syncretic beliefs, and to supporters of global ethics. The Earth Charter, for instance, tells people to "be the heart of a network of global citizens, be a bridge for dialogue between civilisations, be a beacon lighting the way to a century of life". Smail Balic, in a 1992 book, called Bosnia "Europe's bridge to the Islamic world". That is at first sight in opposition to Huntington's fault-line thesis, but it is based on the same civilisational theory of world history.

However, when the metaphor is applied to a single nation, it is no more than a nationalist claim. It has emotional appeal, until you think about it - typical for nationalist propaganda. Nobody would justify the Sicilian Mafia as 'a bridge between the Chinese triads and the Colombian drug cartels' - even if it did in fact have that function. The logic is false: being a bridge justifies nothing, and no-one. A nation can not legitimately claim territory by saying it is a bridge - or a plant, or a person, or any of the other metaphors used by nationalists.

Western media sometimes saw the destruction of the Mostar bridge as a real-life validation of the metaphor - as if the Croatian artillerymen were enraged by multicultural political correctness. In reality, the bridge was shelled as an Ottoman symbol, not as a symbol of interculturality. The interpretation of the shelling as an attack on bridge-building between cultures comes, so far as I know, only from outside Bosnia. The fake emotion in these opening lines from Dona Kolar-Panov's book is an example of this deliberate mis-identification.

"Bridges, like no other structures built by people, symbolise meeting. Meetings of river banks, mountains, cities, but above all meetings of peoples, of cultures. I saw the empty space where the Mostar Bridge used to stand on the television news that very night when my friend called and I was still in a state of shock over the death of a bridge." (Dona Kolar-Panov 1997, p. 205).

The Mostar bridge also appears on the cover of Donia and Fines book, and at the Community of Bosnia Foundation homepage. A book by Michael Sells (co-founder of that organisation), speaks of "a bridge betrayed". Yet few people have any emotional attachment to bridges as such. In the 25 years before the war in Bosnia, 15 000 km of railways were closed in the EU: it is a reasonable assumption that hundreds of bridges were demolished. Much of the local rail network in Bosnia was also closed, by 1980. I never saw claims that this was a cultural genocide, or similar moral evaluations.

To summarise the pseudo-ethics: there are five claims implicit in the Mostar bridge metaphor and its use in the west. First that bridges can symbolise multi-ethnicity, second, that this applies to specific bridges only, third, that the Mostar bridge was one of these, fourth, that this symbolism was generally accepted in Bosnia, and fifth, that this was the reason it was attacked. When the elements of the bridge metaphor are listed in this way, its absurdity is soon evident.

Islamic Bosnia

The second influential 'model Bosnia' is that of Islamic Bosnia. Some Islamists outside Europe saw a future Bosnia as an Islamic bridgehead in Europe, cultural or military. In the opposite sense, some Muslims in Europe saw it as an example of an enlightened European Islam - a vision which also appealed to many non-Muslim European intellectuals. Islam and its relation to European values are now even more of an issue than in the mid-1990's, but Bosnia is no longer quoted in that debate.

Many Islamists would never support an 'Islamic Republic of Bosnia' anyway, because they oppose any sub-division of the Islamic world. (See this example of explicit Islamist anti-nationalism: The evils of nationalism). The most radical Islamists reject all existing states entirely, and support a global Khilafa, caliphate. So although they came to fight in Bosnia, and saw that as 'Jihad', that did not mean they supported the Sarajevo government, or any possible Bosnian state. Instead 'Islamic Bosnia' is a subtractive ideal: it came into existence because people looked at Bosnia and saw only the mosques. That idea of Bosnia inspired the limited Islamist intervention - an intervention in support of fellow Muslims, rather than for a future Islamic Republic of Bosnia.Nevertheless, Bosnia before the war was not an Islamic society with a Moslem majority. No doubt the media in Islamic countries did present Bosnia in this way: it was easy to find damaged mosques, implying an attack on an Islamic society. Yet there were also many damaged churches: simple selection could switch the image of the nature of the war. A similar Islamic identification of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo as 'fellow-Muslims' emerged during the Kosovo war. Again it was not accurate, since many ethnic Albanians are Catholic - but that is not relevant for the emotional identification.

Ethnic cleansing, age-old ethnic strife, and political manipulation

There were a large number of negative images of Bosnia, some of them recurrent media stereotypes. Here too, an examination of the logic often indicates the purpose behind the stereotype.

'Ethnic cleansing' was a recurrent theme in the coverage of the war. It seems at first sight simple: intolerant people seek to purify their communities, and drive out unwanted elements. Nationalists in Bosnia, especially Serb nationalists, were driven by a will to purify, according to the stereotype. The standard mythology about ethnic cleansing is restated by Andrew Bell-Fialkoff (p. 281) and summarised by Katherine Verdery:

"Notions of purity and contamination, of blood as carrier of culture, or of pollution are fundamental to the projects of nation-making." (Verdery 1996, p. 230)

Yet there is no historical evidence for a general will to purify communities. Expulsions are highly specific and relate to ethnic groups only, even in allegedly pre-national states. It seems absurd to think of of footballers driving out swimmers by force, and indeed 'sport cleansing' is totally unknown. So is age cleansing, occupation cleansing, and religious cleansing (unless religion coincides with ethnicity, as in the case of the Jews). If there were an underlying ideal of purity, why should it be blind to all except ethnic 'impurity'? Nationalism does not have an ideal of absolute purity: nationalists consistently claim, that all classes, sectors and professions are united in 'the people'. Most nationalists even claim, that the nation unites all religions: those nationalists who do not, rarely expel on religious grounds. Expulsions on ethnic grounds show that only the ethnic group is regarded as fundamental: that is the only impurity that counts. But even then, most of the worlds ethnic groups are not victims of expulsion: the general fault of nationalism is inclusion and assimilation, not exclusion.

The stereotype of ethnic cleansing is part of a wider ideological construction. Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia were characterised by extraordinary contrasts in the degree of ethnic segregation, long before the war. At a local and municipal scale, some areas are mixed, but some are almost mono-ethnic. It is however wrong to assume, that this is the result of the exercise of force and state power. It is especially misleading for people in immigrant societies, to project their immigration controversies back into the Bosnian past. Because anti-immigration politicians now call for ethnic homogeneity, that does not mean that ethnically homogenous areas were ruled by anti-immigrant racists, at some time in the past. If, for instance, rural Hercegovina was 99% Croat (no exaggeration) then the false logic implied that some Croatian 'Le Pen' had earlier expelled non-Croatian immigrants and limited immigration. However, there was no such ruler - and no 'immigration policy' in the present meaning, until the 20th century.

Ethnic homogeneity in the present, does not necessarily imply past expulsion. It may be the result of settlement on poor land, with no competing migration - as in Iceland. It may be the result of slow assimilation in a poor region with very little in-migration - the probable explanation in Hercegovina. The ideological construction suggests that pre-war Bosnia was similar to modern liberal-democratic immigrant societies, Canada for instance. No such society ever existed in the region, but the ideological construction served to equate the 'ethnic cleansers' with the anti-immigrant right within liberal-democratic states. It served to equate opposition to NATO intervention with racist anti-immigrant policies - a useful political weapon against left-wing opponents of intervention. And it also implied that a Canadian-style multiculturalism must be imposed on the Balkans - an unreal prospect in itself, but again a legitimising argument for military intervention. In retrospect, it was all very hypocritical. Even at the time, all the NATO member states operated rigid immigration controls themselves. Most have become more closed and more mono-cultural, since then. Even Canada and Australia are only relatively speaking 'immigrant societies' - the vast majority of the population are native-born and assimilated.

The stereotype of 'political manipulation' was also familiar in media coverage of the war, and it had serious academic and political support. Ian Brough-Williams writes (in Burns 1996, 23):

"...unscrupulous nationalists in Serbia and Croatia have mythologised the past (and, by extension, revived historical insecurities relating to national identity and geography) in order to build power bases for themselves in the political vacuum following Tito's death...."

That is a myth presented as de-mythologisation - no ethnic rivalry until politicians created it in 1989. Here is the BBC-Financial Times version (Silber and Little, pp. 209-210):

"National dreams - the emergence of ethnic parties and leaders - did not reflect ancient hatreds as was claimed later by some sectors of the frustrated international community while it struggled to comprehend the war. But the popularity of exclusively ethnic parties did serve to highlight the weakness of republican institutions when confronted by different national identities. They also illustrated a tradition of separate communities growing up side by side, while preserving - at least in part - their distinct identities. A fundamental difference among the three national groups was the collective perception of their historical experience.....For decades these contradictory perceptions had co-existed, but, by 1990, the rise of Serbian nationalism had turned history into the purveyor of hatred."

In this inverse conspiracy theory, no-one wanted war: they were manipulated by politicians, Milosevic especially. That assumes an extraordinary power of politicians, to hypnotise millions of people. It also assumes that national emotions are a product of this hypnosis. The theory absolves people from moral responsibility, at the same time as stereotyping them. Racist assumptions about 'emotional southern peoples' probably underlie the success of this theory among western media and academics.

Others rejected the stereotype of 'age-old ethnic strife' primarily because it hindered US intervention. Wayne Bert's 1997 criticism of Robert Kaplan in The Reluctant Superpower is an example:

"A book by Robert D. Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts, has been credited with a decisive influence on President Clinton's thinking on the advisability of US intervention in Bosnia. The book has been criticized for its sensational approach and lack of perspective on the problem of inter-ethnic relations in the Balkans. Reading it without any background on Yugoslav questions, one could certainly take away the impression that the Balkans is a uniquely conflict-ridden place with almost no tradition of negotiation or peaceful resolution of dispute. This travel account is an interesting read, but not perhaps the best guide to formulating foreign policy in the Balkans." (Bert 1997, p. 103)

The idea that there was no endemic conflict, paralleled the idea that politicians had hypnotised the populace into war. However it is equally wrong to claim centuries of peace in the area. There was a civil war of great intensity in occupied Yugoslavia, 1941-1945. There were violent nationalist movements: there was violence during the formation of most of the nation states in the region. There is also a tradition of rural violence, which intensified during periods of geopolitical instability. Mart Bax describes some of this background, in his book on the pilgrim village Medjugorje in Hercegovina (Bax, 1995).

Different and even contradictory models all contributed to the final political coalition, in support of NATO intervention. Their appearance in the political life of the NATO member states is related to the construction of that coalition. If the Balkans is a violent place ridden with ancient conflicts, then that was an argument for intervention to 'stop the bloodshed'. If the Balkans are an essentially peaceful place with a multicultural tradition, then that was an argument that a NATO intervention will be successful. And so on: the opponents of intervention were overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of the pro-intervention rhetoric. The end result was an intervention in Bosnia - and a later war for Kosovo. Yet almost all the arguments, which seemed so important at the time, have now disappeared from the public sphere, and returned to academic obscurity. Who cares, in 2002, whether there is a tradition of rural violence in Hercegovina?

Bosnia as the New Holocaust

By far the most significant model of the war in Bosnia, the one which contributed most to military intervention, was the idea that a second Holocaust was taking place in Bosnia. In this New Holocaust, the ethnic Moslems had the role of the Jews, and 'the Serbs' the role of the Nazis. By implication, this cast any intervening power in the role of the liberators of concentration camps. It cast the opponents of NATO intervention in the role of Nazi collaborators and apologists - and that was often said explicitly, especially in Germany.

Many people in the West sincerely believe in a wider 'Holocaust model of history'. In this philosophy, liberal market democracy constitutes the alternative - the only alternative - to a world of totalitarian atrocities. Its supporters believe that the avoidance of this 'Holocaust World' fully justifies liberal democracy and the free market - including any injustice which results from their operation. The Holocaust model is intended to confer an absolute and unquestioned moral superiority on the market democracies, and on the values of the Atlantic alliance. In reality, liberalism is as much a killing machine as Nazism: at the same time as the wars in ex-Yugoslavia began, the transition to a market economy in Russia caused an excess mortality of three million deaths. It is no surprise that the supporters of Atlantic market democracy were prepared to kill in Bosnia as well.

The Holocaust model is the key to the events at Srebrenica. Since there was no mass killing corresponding to the model, one was staged at Srebrenica. There is a story that President Clinton told Bosnian President Izetbegovic, that a massacre of at least 5 000 people was necessary, in order to generate western public support for an intervention. There is no hard evidence for the story, but there is no reason to doubt it either, for the simple reason that it was true. Even without such an explicit remark, both men must have known that massive Serb atrocities could only help their political goals. That applies to the NATO as well, and to the pro-intervention lobby within each NATO state: they all had an interest in facilitating atrocities.

In chronological order, the construction of the Srebrenica massacre began with western support for the Bosnian cause, after the war in Bosnia begun. That meant support for the Sarajevo government and their generally Bosniac nationalism, but it was ideologically justified in terms of the western images of Bosnia - multicultural, transnational, liberal, tolerant. It included support for the Bosnian nationalist media, such as the Sarajevo newspaper Oslobodenje, and a limited amount of covert military aid.

With this aid, the Sarajevo government was encouraged to extend its military control to areas it could not permanently defend. Some were enclaves accessible only through corridors in mountainous areas, with roads blocked in winter. Western mediators further encouraged the Sarajevo government to hold these enclaves, by suggesting that they could later be exchanged for full control of Sarajevo. This was in fact later agreed at Dayton. Of these enclaves, the most inaccessible was Srebrenica, a small town with a 'Moslem' majority, in a thinly-populated Serb-majority region bordering on Serbia itself. In 1993, the United Nations declared Srebrenica a 'safe area'. The UN was the nominal authority for western intervention in Bosnia, but the de facto military and political power rested with the NATO powers, operating under UN mandate. The non-NATO forces serving with the UN in Bosnia had nothing to say about policy.

The Sarajevo government had already been encouraged to hold the enclave: now the Moslem population was encouraged to stay there also, although they were a target for atrocities. The UN Protection Force, UNPROFOR, at first stationed Canadian troops in the enclave. In 1994 they were replaced by three successive Dutch UN batallions - DUTCHBAT . The political responsibility for the stationing of DUTCHBAT lay primarily with the new coalition government led by Wim Kok. The new defence minister, Joris Voorhoeve, was a former director of the Clingendael Institute - an aggressively pro-western and pro-intervention think-tank linked to the Netherlands foreign ministry. The commander of the third DUTCHBAT was Lt-Colonel Thom Karremans.

From his arrival, Karremans, on the instructions of Kok and Voorhoeve, followed a strategy aimed at creating an atrocity - the 'Holocaust' to justify the intervention. The population was encouraged to stay where they were, a sitting target. The local Bosniac militia, led by Naser Oric, was allowed to commit atrocities against the Serb population in the surrounding areas, knowing that this would provoke a Serb attack on the enclave. (The main Serb offensive was directed against Sarajevo). Karremans deliberately advertised to the Serb forces, that he had insufficient forces to withstand any assault on the enclave.

Although the Moslem population in the enclave was in acute danger, and nominally under Dutch protection, Premier Kok refused them Dutch citizenship, or even refugee status. At the same time, naval and air forces of the western coalition, including Dutch naval forces, blockaded Iraq - cutting off any rescue attempt. Naval forces in the Adriatic, and air power operating from NATO bases, blocked any other 'Islamic' rescue attempt. In effect, Karremans ran a prison camp, full of people waiting to be massacred. He was not there to protect the population: he was there to arrange their deaths at the hands of Serb forces, and he did that. In 1995, Bosnian-Serb units led by General Ratko Mladic overran the enclave and massacred several thousand, mainly men of military age. Naser Oric and his men conveniently escaped. So did DUTCHBAT - they left in convoy to Zagreb, to join a victory celebration attended by Wim Kok and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. The celebration showed a racist contempt for the lives of the victims, and this differential valuation of human life is characteristic of the democracies. If thousands of Dutch citizens had been massacred, there would have been no question of a victory party. That racism still affects Dutch elite attitudes: a parliamentary enquiry into Srebrenica, which reported in January 2003, did not hear a single Bosnian witness.

In the end, Bill Clinton, Wim Kok and other NATO leaders had their 5 000 dead, the cynical 'Holocaust-in-Bosnia' lobby had its Holocaust, opposition to intervention collapsed. The Dayton accords (November 1995) led to the stationing of an occupation force, and the creation of a western protectorate in Bosnia. The governors of the protectorate decreed a free market economy, and a liberal democracy. The first has proved easier to implement than the second: the population continues to vote along ethnic lines, so the model multi-ethnic democracy is still deferred.

Geopolitical visions of Bosnia in the region itself

If Yugoslavia had been an entirely peaceful, ethnically and culturally homogenous nation state - such as Iceland - the NATO strategy would have been different. The intervention reacted to, but also encouraged and intensified, pre-existing territorial conflicts and incompatible geopolitical claims. These 'underlying wars' in ex-Yugoslavia were mainly conflicts between classic European nationalist movements, seeking territory for their ideal configuration of states. The movements, some of which control governments, are not 'centuries-old', but they have existed since the end of the 19th century.


L'évolution territoriale de la Yougoslavie entre 1815 et 1999, Le Monde Diplomatique.
Az Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia népei
Nations of the Double Monarchy.

Dismemberment of the Kingdom of Hungary by the Trianon Treaty, 1920. The map shows the extent of possible Hungarian claims on Croatia and Serbia.
L'évolution territoriale de la Yougoslavie entre 1815 et 1999
Bosnie, le partage de Dayton - inter-entity boundaries and territorial gains.
Les Albanais, un peuple dispersé, maps the extent of 'ethnic Albania'.

Almost everyone in the region supports one of these state-formation ideals: the main geopolitical ideals and visions are listed below. The people of the region have been divided in their geopolitical ideals, at least since the first Kingdom of Yugoslavia. No mass manipulation or hypnosis of the population was needed, to create this division. And these nationalist ideals were not suppressed under Tito, but legitimised - in the ethnic federal structure of the second Yugoslavia. With the exception of the two 'entities' in Bosnia, the present states in ex-Yugoslavia are Tito's creation. (Similarly, several of the post-Soviet nation states are personal inventions of Stalin). The 1975 Südosteuropa-Handbuch Jugoslawien describes 'Tito Yugoslavia' at its high point. Yet the sections on industry and infrastructure emphasise both the regional inequalities, and the republic-based economic development policy. Both contradicted the image of an emergent single Yugoslav state. In the chapter on population structure, Michael Petrovich comments (p. 344):

"There is a world of difference between the starting bases of a more modern and industrialized Slovenia and Croatia in the Central European north and of a still primitive and underdeveloped Macedonia and Montenegro in the Balkan south. Though the ideological framework of the controversy is a Marxist one, the historian can detect the undertow of the pre-war tension in the Yugoslav Kingdom between a centralistic 'integral Yugoslavism' under Serbian auspices, and a desire for a loose confederation, advocated by the Croats." (Petrovich in Grothusen, p. 344)

So most of the options listed below existed long before the war in Bosnia, only option 13 is new. They certainly did not emerge in the late 1980's, as a product of internal Yugoslav politics. The constellation of nationalisms had in fact emerged in the Austro-Hungarian period - before Yugoslavia, before Tito, before economic crisis, three generations before Milosevic. During both the First and Second World Wars there was a de facto civil war in Bosnia. And if Sarajevo was free of nationalist violence before 1990, then who shot the Archduke in 1914? Aleksandar Pavkovic comments:

"By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Balkans and the South Slav lands of the Austro-Hungarian empire became an area of fierce competition for territory among numerous mutually conflicting national ideologies of the dominant nation type....By the 1980's....the number of such ideologies had increased: in addition to the Serb, Croat, and Slovene ideologies, there were now Muslim, Albanian and Macedonian ideologies of the same type. Since each of these ideologies now claimed the dominance of one nation over others on a given territory and several of them competed over the same territory, the stage was set for renewed conflict." (Pavkovic 1997, p.19)

Since then another separatism became significant: Montenegro (Crna Gora) voted for independence in 2006. In Macedonia, on the other hand, there is no new geopolitics: the conflict of Albanian and Slav-Macedonian nationalisms was already recognisable by the end of the First World War.

______1. The Croats in Bosnia (-Hercegovina)

This geopolitical vision is the easiest to understand: a simple irredentist claim. The Croat areas in Hercegovina are very homogeneous, see the statistics in the Atlas of the Republic of Croatia. They also border on the long-standing Dalmatian territory, which is generally accepted as Croatian (except for Italian irredentist claims). The commune of Grude was 99,8% Croat at the 1991 census: 15 939 Croats, 4 Muslims, 8 Serbs, 5 Yugoslavs, and 20 others. If no-one else objected, such areas would almost certainly vote for peaceful annexation to Croatia. The problem is, others did object, and had other plans for the region. (For maps of pre-Second World War ethnic mix, see the maps of ethnically homogeneous, majority and mixed areas, in the Atlas of Central Europe, pp. 104-109). In this case there was a simple military intervention: Croatia supported the HVO army of the Hercegovina Croats. The logic was simply the liberation and defence of fellow nationals. However, it was followed by a formal annexation: that will happen if and when the international community abandons its support for a Bosnian state.

Mart Bax describes the reaction of pilgrims arriving in post-war Medjugorje, controlled by the Croat HVO - happy that "these people can now live in freedom". In the logic of ethno-nationalist groups, all ethnic minorities without full autonomy are imprisoned by a state. Logically, therefore, they should be freed, and given their own state. The slogan that Russia was a 'prison of the peoples' was used both by the Bolsheviks, and later by anti-Soviet lobbies during the Cold War. It is this ethno-nationalist logic which shapes this reaction of the western pilgrims. To work, this logic needs clear ethnic boundaries, so that no person has to live as a member of a minority. In Croat Hercegovina, this is almost true: Croats live among other Croats, almost exclusively. However, it does not follow from this ethnic homogeneity, that they have any legitimate territorial claims - or indeed any right to anything at all.

The Croats have other supporters besides the existing Croatian state. There is Croatian ethnic sympathy, including that of emigrant communities. Croatia as a 'catholic nation' has some general Catholic sympathy. There is a more specific lobby in the Catholic Church: the order of the Franciscans, who were for centuries the only Catholic presence in Bosnia. (Mart Bax describes this background in his book on Medjugorje). A pre-war international support network for Medjugorje pilgrims was influenced by the Franciscans, who used it as a de facto pro-Croat lobby during the war.

______2. "Bosnian Muslims are Croats, (Bosnian Serbs are not)"

Nationalism means inclusion, at least as much as exclusion. Although it may seem comical in the present anti-Islamic climate, Catholic Croatian nationalists once tried to claim Bosnian Muslims as their fellow Croatians. That was during the Second World War, at the time of the German puppet state of Croatia.
"In order to substantiate their claim to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ustashas proclaimed the Moslems of that province to be the purest of all Croats....This was a gross exaggeration. The overwhelming majority of Moslems considered themselves neither Croat nor Serb, but simply Moslem." (Tomasevich, p. 105 and note 40).

In 1941 - before Ayatollah Khomeini, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden - a Muslim national minority could not have seemed a threat to a European state. Present-day Croatian nationalists, however, are unlikely to want 2 million Islamic cousins - although they may want their land, see option 3. In terms of military intervention this option would have implied wide-scale conquest of territory in Bosnia. In reality, the intervention of Croatian forces was not directed at the military conquest of all Bosnia. It was pro-Croat and anti-Serb, not an attempt to bring Moslems into the fold of the Croatian nation.

2a. Serbs from Africa

Nationalist historiography is obsessed with origins, often in a classically racist way. Many nationalist movements have detailed and often conflicting origin myths. In territorial conflicts, the 'foreign origin' of the opposing side can be used as a propaganda weapon. Here is a typical example, in this case about the Croatian Serb minority, from Stanko Guldescu (p. 59-73). A long list of non-Croat minorities have settled in Croatia, according to the author: Serbs, Albanians, Greeks, Kutzo-Vlachs, Macedo-Rumans, Wallachs, Black Vlachs, Magyars, Arumanians, Moldavians, Rascians, Rumanians. However, it is the Morlachs who are the most 'foreign' in this history, and they were not a pleasant people - at least not at altitude:
"Professor Dominic Mandic has recently adduced evidence to prove that they were the descendants of Mauretanian military units stationed by the Romans in the Balkan and Danubian areas...The mountain Morlachs were superstitious, dishonest, and distinguished by lax morals and low living standards."

Having displaced the original Croatian inhabitants, these lax people became Serbianized, and "their descendants today, the so-called Croatian Serbs, often consider themselves to be ethnically Serbian." Guldescu's book was written in the US, when Tito was solidly in power in Yugoslavia. His historical claims were meant to support an ethno-national Croatian state, which is approximately the present reality. The 'Krajina Serbs', the rural Serb minority in Croatia, organised the first irredentist greater-Serbian movement during the Bosnia war. However, the tide of war turned against them, and the successful Croatian campaign 'Operation Storm' drove most of them out of Croatia in a few days. In itself this improved the prospects for a US-backed accord at Dayton: see Pavkovic 1997, p. 178-182.

______3. "All Bosnia is Croatia"

The 1940's claims that Muslims were Croatian, were primarily a territorial claim on Bosnia: the ethnic inclusion converted 60% of its inhabitants into 'Croats'. The historical precedent for the wider Croatian claim on all Bosnia was created in 1941. Germany partitioned Yugoslavia after its rapid invasion and occupation, creating the Independent State of Croatia (maps in Tomasevich, p.90; and Wheeler, opposite p.1). This short-lived state claimed to approximate to the boundaries of a mediaeval Croatian kingdom (see the map of early Mediaeval Croatia in the Atlas of the Republic of Croatia, p. 94). It is the basis of Croat irredentist claims to all Bosnia. The present Croatian government regards the 'Independent State of Croatia' as a legitimate predecessor: most non-Croats see it as a fascist puppet state.
"The Ustashas insisted that all of Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of the Croatian "historical and ethnic" territory, and they had been successful in getting the eastern frontier of their state placed along the line of the Drina River and the pre-1918 border between Herzegovina and Montenegro." (Tomasevich, p. 105)

The 1990's version of this claim was grounded in the logic of 'national liberation'. Croat emigrant groups, like similar groups during the cold war, stated their claims in terms of resistance to 'Yugoslav incorporation' of Croatia (see option 1 above). The Yugoslav Croatian republic was, in this logic, simply the occupied fatherland, or part of it. A claim to Bosnia was simply a claim to restoration of the former Independent State of Croatia - in their eyes unjustly occupied and partitioned. Support for such claims came from Croatian nationalists, some pro-Croatian intellectuals and groups in Europe, and some in the Catholic Church. The military intervention associated with this option was a possible extension of the Croatian army's Krajina offensive, toward Sarajevo. However, the United States successfully pressured President Tudjman not to exercise this option.

3a. Nazi Bosnia

Although events reduced the attempt to a historical curiosity, some Muslims tried to go beyond minority status in the Independent State of Croatia: "Some of then sided with the Chetniks, some with the partisans, and others were trying to achieve a special autonomous positions for somewhat truncated Bosnia and Herzegovina directly under the Third Reich." (Tomasevich, p. 105, note 40). Nazi Germany had a generally pro-Muslim policy, or perhaps more accurately a pro-Arab policy. Present German right-wing hostility to Muslims is a product of 1960's and 1970's immigration from Turkey. Conversely, the equation of Bosnia Muslims with Jewish victims of Nazism would have seemed ridiculous during the Second World War.

______4. The Serbs in Bosnia

This is the option represented by the Republika Srpska. It existence is based on the claimed oppression of a national group, and its claimed right to self-determination. However, it was also an irredentist claim - there was already a core Serbian state. The Serb areas in Bosnia do not all adjoin Serbia, nor are they as ethnically homogeneous as the Hercegovina Croat areas. The irredentism was not a simple borderland-annexation demand, but merged into option 6, the greater-Serbia claim to Bosnia.

The military intervention in support of this option is the best known of the war: the actions of the former Yugoslav army JNA, in support of the Bosnian Serbs. Outside support for this irredentism came from Serbia, from Serb nationalists in emigrant communities, and from pro-Serbian groups in eastern Europe. In western Europe, some small groups supported claims that Serbians were a 'persecuted minority' in Bosnia: the mirror image of common pro-Bosniac attitudes, and equally without foundation.

______5. "Bosnian Muslims are Serbs (Bosnian Croats are not)"

This option is largely hypothetical: there is apparently no historical equivalent of the Croatian irredentist / inclusionist claim in option 2. The intensity of Serb nationalist myths about 'the struggle against the Turk' would make that difficult. Logically it implies a program of forced conversion to orthodox Christianity, but while conversion of Serbs was an open demand of the Croatian fascist Ustasa, no similar tradition apparently exists among the Serbian right. In any case, this option is more a denunciation of Islam as a 'foreign element' in the region, than an attempt to reclaim lost brothers and sisters for the nation. Any forced conversion would be directed against the Muslims, not at their religious salvation. The pattern of intervention and support is essentially that of option 6, a territorial claim on all Bosnia.

______6. "All Bosnia is Serbia"

One of the two main visions of Yugoslavia was that it was essentially Greater Serbia (see below, option 14). However, although the 1941-45 'Independent State of Croatia' incorporated both Croatia and Bosnia, there has never been a Serbian equivalent - a state which neatly included both Serbia and Bosnia. This option represents the claims of a pan-Serbian movement, even if it does not use that term. Pan-Serbianism is a pan-nationalism with relatively small claims, compared to pan-Germanism or pan-Turkism. The best comparison is with pan-Magyarism, with which pan-Serbianism disputes territory. As with option 4, the corresponding military intervention was that of the former Yugoslav army JNA. However that intervention was primarily in support of Bosnian Serbs, rather than to incorporate all Bosnia into a greater Serbia. Certainly Milosevic consistently sought to partition Bosnia rather than annex all of it.

______7. "All Bosnians are Bosnians: some are Muslims and may call themselves Bosniac"

The claim of this option is that there is a separate Bosnian nation, and that there should be a sovereign nation state of Bosnia. Bosanac seems the only term that would cover the associated identity. It certainly corresponds to the meaning of Bosanac as given by Bringa (p. 36):
"The term Bosanac as a term for all the three former nacije in Bosnia-Hercegovina seems to been losing its meaning as a regional identity with the disintegration of a united and mixed three-nation Bosnia-Hercegovina." (Bringa, p. 36)

This Bosnian nation is typically claimed to be characterised by multiculturalism, multi-ethnicity, co-existence, tolerance, harmony, multi-confessionalism, or some combination of these. This is not unusual in itself: all national myths include some element of internal diversity. No nationalist claims to represent a nation of clones. In Bosnia, however, this shared diversity was apparently the only common factor that its supporters could think of. All the other possible unifying factors are specific to one of the three nacije. The most specifically Bosnian identity, that of the ethnic Muslims, is unacceptable for the non-Muslims.

Tension between the three visions of identity - Islamic, ethnic-Muslim (Bosniac), and national-Bosnian - dominated the internal politics of the Sarajevo government from 1990 on. In June 1991, the SDA and associated groups issued a Proclamation, quoted in German translation in Balic (p. 371-372). This document is a classic example of the conflicting logic of multiple Bosnian identities:

Das Volk der Muslime steht ....vor einer Wahl, die nicht mehr aufgeschoben kann. Wir bekräftigen die volle Ubereinstimmung aller Teilnehmer....dass dieser Wahl nur ein souveränes und einheitliches Bosnien, einschliesslich der Herzegowina, sein kann. Für Bosnien als Heimat der bosnischen Muslime und als Vaterland aller Jugoslawische Muslime sind wir bereit zu kämpfen.

At least five separate geopolitical visions are identifiable in these in these 52 words. The most obvious contradiction is between a unified Bosnian state (ultimately, option 12), and an ethnic group called Muslims (Bosniacs). The expression "Volk der Muslime" is in itself unacceptable for orthodox Islam - there is no Islamic equivalent of the 'the Jewish people'. In the proclamation it was intended to include all Yugoslavian Muslims, and the preamble refers explicitly to the Sandjak of Novi Pazar, now split between Serbia and Montenegro. Further on, the proclamation decides for a multi-ethnic homeland:

Die Republik Bosnien und die Herzegowina ist die heimat der Muslime, der Serben und der Kroaten, sowie aller Bürger die in ihr leben.....Die einheit Bosniens und der Herzegowina hat sich durch das jahrhundertelange harmonische Zusammenleben ihrer Völker bewährt. Jegliche Aufteilung des Landes müsste mit Tausenden von geopferten Menschenleben bezahlt werden.

Appeals to national unity, and for defence of the Fatherland, are common in nation states. Yet here they were made by representatives of 'a people', who did not claim to be the nation. By declaring themselves 'a people' within the nation Bosnia, the ethnic-Muslim leaders of the SDA undermined it before it even existed. However, logical inconsistencies never deterred any nationalist. In the course of the war, the SDA increasingly used multi-ethnicity in support of its claims for a nation state with a mono-ethnic identity - their own non-Serb, non-Croat, ethnic-Muslim identity. Any Bosnian 'tri-nation' is a logical inconsistency in itself - an undivided nation, characterised by harmony among its divisions. (Like the Holy Trinity, it would be one and three at the same time). The political development of this nationalism has in any case been side-tracked. The word 'Bosnian' became identified with the Muslims, with options 8 and 9. The Bosniac identity replaced the Bosnian.

However, the Bosnia of option 7 had an enormous influence outside Bosnia. This is the Bosnia which was falsely identified with western multiculturalism. It is this geopolitical vision which generated most demands for intervention in western Europe and the United States. Conversely, its western supporters tended to regard Bosnia as their property, as a mascot of their politics. Sarajevo especially became dependent on its image among its foreign friends, and some of them tried to rebuild the city to conform to their image of it. In the immediate post-Dayton period, several hundred NGO's were active, in and around Sarajevo. Their monopoly of aid and funds enabled them to modify social structures - but not to bring national identity politics into line with their expectations. With economic recovery, their influence diminished, their interest in Sarajevo faded, and they found new mascots.

7a. Bosnia as Museum

The Dayton Accords established a Commission to Preserve National Monuments, with diplomatic status. Its task is to travel around Bosnia, and declare monuments 'national'. The three groups in Bosnia can each ask for such a declaration: they must supply the Commission with arguments for their proposal. The mentality behind this procedure is typically nationalist: claims of transgenerational groups have priority over those of other groups, and the past has priority over the present. The Dayton Accords established no Commission for Innovative Architecture in Bosnia. This priority of the past, the priority of tradition and monuments, is widely accepted as inherent and normal. In nationalist state philosophy, a primary task of the state is to protect the past, almost always described with the metaphor of 'heritage'.

The philosophy is not specifically Bosnian: the European Union, for instance, has similar but larger programmes for 'Europe's heritage'. Preservation of heritage is an unquestioned value in EU and national policy: its ultimate logic would be a museum society. (For an unintended statement of the goals of such a society, see the Centre for Heritage Policy site). During the Bosnia war, a strong lobby outside Bosnia was active, for the protection of Bosnia cultural heritage. The Muslim, Serb, and Croat groups each demanded protection of their own specific heritage, and deplored its destruction by their enemies. No-one ever protested that the war was hindering innovative architecture - although it obviously was. The massive destruction of the 'Yugoslav Style' architecture of the 1970's and 1980's attracted no specific protest either.

An implicit ideological vision underlies these specific priorities. It is a vision of Bosnia as a museum-like zone: a museum either for its own sake, or as the property ('heritage') of a people or nation. The moral negative for this ideology is a zone with no heritage: the existence rights of heritage are considered absolute. Heritage destruction is seen as wrong even if there is no economic damage or risk of human injury. A 1996 guide to Dalmatian archaeology (Chapman 1996), for instance, complains about prehistoric hill forts being used as artillery observation posts. This pro-past ideology can be extreme. The pro-Bosniac Community of Bosnia Foundation explicitly equated destruction of heritage with genocide: see Resisting genocide: preserving Bosnian culture. An accompanying video is titled "Killing Memory" - an implicit moral equivalence with murder. That claim is repeated in a speech by a CBF founder. Taking this logic further, in Mémoricide ou la purification culturelle Vesna Blazina makes implicit moral claims about destruction of libraries. It implies that destroying books is morally equivalent to genocide, because the books are collective memory. Yet if no books were ever destroyed, they would slowly cover the planet's surface. In reality, tons of books are pulped or burned every day in peaceful democracies. However, in cultural-nationalist logic, their claimed function as memory confers sacral status on books. The wartime destruction of libraries in Bosnia was used to promote this sacral status of memory - without any concern for the objective losses in the library stocks.

______8. "All Bosnian inhabitants are Bosniacs, a separate people"

This ethnic nationalism for all Bosnian inhabitants is the 'missing nationalism' in the Bosnia conflict. This option implies that Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, and Bosnian Muslims would all describe themselves as Bosniac. In reality, there is no widespread pan-Bosnianism equivalent to the pan-south-Slavism which inspired the Yugoslav state. A Bosnian identity comparable to the Yugoslav identity never developed. In some of the literature listed below, 'Bosniac' is used for both option 8 and 9. Usually, however, the text makes clear that the emphasis is on the use of Bosniac as a synonym for 'ethnic Muslim'. No military intervention in support of this all-Bosnia Bosniac nation was possible.

The Bosniac identity, more than the others, is said to have been deliberately created - by the de facto governor of Austro-Hungarian Bosnia, Benjamin Kallay. Smail Balic denies the invention of Bosniac identity (see item 9 below), but he is talking about another sense of 'Bosniac'.

"Kallay, when he came to Sarajevo in 1882 to begin his term as joint finance minister, tried a unifying rather than a dividing approach to elicit loyalty by attempting to introduce an official Bosnian nationality, to which all religious groups of the province would belong, and which would separate them from the Serbs.....First and foremost it would have been an obstacle to South Slav unity. He tried for example to have the local language called Bosnian, but in the absence of any common basis in real historical experience of any of the groups in Bosnia, the notion never took hold." (Pinson, p. 103)

Insofar as this nationalism had supporters in western Europe, it was through mis-identification with the 'multicultural Bosnia' ideal. Even if there was a pan-Bosnian nation in the mid-1990's, it was not a multicultural nation. National cultures can certainly incorporate social or political models - the free-market ideology has become part of American culture. But Bosnians could not have done that with western multiculturalism, simply because it was unfamiliar to them.

______9. "All ethnic Muslims in Bosnia are Bosniacs: Serbs and Croats are not"

This is the far more significant use of 'Bosniac', and it existed before the war. It finalised the process of recognition of Muslims inside Yugoslavia as narod - a full nation. It gained support because of the racist exclusion of the same Muslims (documented by Norman Cigar). The insistent claims that Muslims were neither Croat nor Serb almost forced this third national identity into existence. Attempts to emphasise a Bosniac identity in a positive sense were limited. Kallay, in emphasising the specifics of Bosnian history, may also have created this Muslim-only Bosniac identity. Smail Balic denies this interpretation (p. 42-43):
"Immer wieder wird behauptet, Kallay habe die bosnische Nationalität erfunden, um sie den imperialistischen Zielen des Wiener Hofes dienstbar zu machen...Kallay....war es klar, dass das Bosniakentum als lebendiges Volksbewusstsein Jahrhunderte hindurch einen geschichtlichen, emotionalen und sozialen Faktor bildete. Der bosnische Landespatriotismus was allerdings der österrechisch-ungarischen Monarchie weiniger gefährlich als die von umstürzlerischen Ideen durchsetzten nationalen Bewegungen der Serben und Kroaten."

This Bosniac nationalism could appeal to a traditional basis for military intervention: outside support for a claimed war of liberation against an invader. It continues to win support among the ethnic Muslims, although it implies neither a 'multicultural Bosnia', nor the administrative-constitutional Bosnian state planned in the Dayton accords. Its external support often came from people who support other ethnic liberation movements, for instance the Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker. In the long term, such groups will probably reverse their opposition to the partition of Bosnia, and support a separate Bosniac state on this model, with perhaps half the present territory of Bosnia.

______10. "A Bosniac is Islamic: those who are not religious are not Muslim - and therefore not Bosniac, even if they are not Serb or Croat either"

Muslim-majority nation states can have a non-Islamic identity, an Islamic identity, or can in theory dissolve themselves completely into the Islamic world state, khilafa, favoured by radical Islamists. This option 10 implies an Islamic nation state in Bosnia - an Islamic nation in the sense that Poland is a 'Catholic nation'. Catholicism is the 'default religion' in Poland: there are few protestant churches, and a tiny Muslim minority in eastern Poland: any non-Catholic Pole is usually an atheist. Many Polish nationalists believe that a non-Catholic can not be a true Pole. An Islamic Bosniac state would imply a similar pattern in Bosnia, or at least on the present ethnic-Muslim territory. A religious revival might be followed by a coup or revolution, and the expulsion or emigration of the non-religious ethnic-Muslims. This Bosniac state with a religious identity would then correspond more closely to the Islamic world's false image of Bosnia - an 'Islamic state in the heart of Europe'. In theory, other Islamic nation states would support this Bosnia. However - assuming the NATO would tolerate such intervention - most have internal problems with Islamists. These could get worse if the government promoted an Islamic crusade. Iran is probably the only state that would intervene in support of this vision of Bosnia.

______11. "Islam is the religion of Bosnia, and that applies to all its inhabitants - Serb, Croatian, Hungarian, whatever"

This option does not necessarily imply forced conversions: it is a geopolitical claim to 'territory for a religion'. It resembles the geopolitical status of the original Islamic territories: in practice, it would probably be an Islamic theocracy. For this option, intervention by existing Islamic powers is extremely unlikely: support for a non-national theocracy would undermine these states themselves. This applies even to the Islamic Republic of Iran - if an Islamic caliphate is ever re-established, Islamic republics will be the first states to disappear. But geopolitical realities are not so relevant here: the point is that this option appealed to Muslims as a model. Just as European intellectuals discussed a non-existent 'multicultural Bosnia', Muslim intellectuals could talk about the ideal without reference to the reality.

The idea of a specifically Islamic geopolitical unit was influential in the west, but in another form: the Clash of Civilizations. After the end of the bipolar Cold War, multi-polar conflict theories became popular: Samuel Huntington's version is the best known. It explains the war by claiming Bosnia lies at the crossing of two 'fault lines' between civilisations: the Slavic-Western line, and the Western-Islamic line. Slavoj Zizek explains how clash-of-civilisation theories were used for propaganda purposes in ex-Yugoslavia:

"Every actor in the blood-play of its disintegration endeavours to legitimise its place by presenting itself as the last bastion of European the face of oriental barbarism. For the Austrians this imaginary frontier is Karavanke, the mountain chain between Austria and Slovenia; beyond it the rule of Slavic hordes begins. For the nationalist Slovenes, the frontier is the river Kolpa, separating Slovenia from Croatia: we Slovenians are Mitteleuropa, while Croatians are already Balkan, involved in the irrational ethnic feuds that do not really concern us....For Croatians, of course the crucial frontier is the one between civilisation and the eastern Orthodox collective spirit....Serbians, finally conceive themselves as the last line of defence of Christian Europe against the fundamentalist danger embodied in Muslim Albanians and Bosnians." (Slavoj Zizek in Basic-Hrvatin 1996, 162)

The map of European battles in Fragments d'Europe (p. 34-35) does not support the popular fault line thesis. European battles are concentrated in Belgium, not along the claimed fault lines of civilisations. But such theories are not interested in evidence anyway, they present a long-term historical pattern with a quasi-esthetic value. World history as a history of civilisations is primarily a historical style: Arnold Toynbee is the classic English-language historian of this worldview. It is often paralleled by a form of civilisational pan-nationalism. (That is how it was interpreted by neo-conservatives in the United States after the September 11 attacks: they want a Western neo-Crusade against the Islamic world).

______12. "Bosnia is a state, a former republic of Yugoslavia, inhabited by members of certain nationalities, which deserve formal recognition, but no more than that"

Few people advocated this option before or during the Bosnian war, but it resembles post-Dayton Bosnia, a state divorced from its constituent populations. In most western political theory, the pure state is considered totalitarian, and Dayton Bosnia is not an attempt to create a 'pure state' - far from it. It is still a de facto protectorate, the first phase of an intended stable settlement. Its backers would prefer to simply establish a successful nation state, like Croatia or Slovenia. The general tradition of liberal political philosophy is also hostile to secession and partition of any existing state (see Chwaszcza 1997; Koller 1997; Kumar 1997; and Oldenquist 1997). However, there is no Bosnian nation at present corresponding to a Bosnian nation state. The three groups are so divided that not even a multi-national Bosnian federation would be accepted in a referendum.

So Dayton Bosnia remains a collection of constitutional provisions and administrative structures, imposed by occupation troops. The governors of the protectorate try to encourage identification with a Bosnian state - 'nation-building'. Their decision to impose a flag was the ultimate expression of this logic, which at least creates the appearance of a nation state. If the international community accepted a 'statist state' in Bosnia - not corresponding to any nation, and with no loyalty from its pseudo-citizens - they would undermine the logic of the nation state itself. Paradoxically, intervention in Bosnia created a territorial unit which no-one fought for during the war. The intervening powers do no see it as a legitimate permanent form of territory, and are obliged by their own logic to transform it into something which its inhabitants do not want. It is therefore no surprise that support for a Bosnian state in the international community is eroding. Partition between Croatia, Serbia and some form of Bosniac territory is the probable outcome.

______13. "Bosnia is a state with a separate culture formed by the war in 1991-1995, a process amounting to the creation of a new nation"

Some nations have foundation myths of common suffering in civil wars - Ireland and the USA, for instance. The partisan myth in Tito Yugoslavia ignored the civil war fought during the German occupation. It presented instead a picture of a common anti-fascist struggle - with only a minority of collaborators on the side of the Germans. Could Bosnians come to believe that in 1990-1995 they all fought together against a common enemy? A common-struggle mythology could be derived from the political-manipulation myth. If the Serbs were manipulated by Serb nationalists, then you could say that Croats and Muslims were fighting with the Serb people, against the politicians. And so on, for each of the groups in Bosnia - all helping each other against the wicked politicians. Other nations accept this level of absurdity in their national mythologies, so it is not impossible.

There is certainly an existing myth of the common Sarajevo identity, of the Sarajlije - often accompanied by the claim that it is threatened by less tolerant migrants from rural areas. This urban Bosnian nationalism appealed to intellectuals in the west, in a way that a rural nationalist mythology might not. (See the pro-Sarajevo website Sarajevo over the Centuries). The western supporters of this Sarajevo ideal generally favoured western intervention - but never intervention in Sarajevo alone. The logical geopolitical consequence of the ideal - a Sarajevo city-state - had no support. The Sarajevo ideal formed part of the 'multicultural-Bosnia' vision, rather than inspiring any movement for a separate city-state.

______14. Jugoslavija

Before and during the First World War, Great-Serbism spread outwards from Serbia itself. At the same time, a southern pan-Slavism spread south from the Slovenian and Croatian provinces of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The result, twice, was a state that extended from Austria to Greece, and called itself South Slavia, Jugoslavija. It had two foundational visions: to the pan-Slavists it was a federation of brother peoples, to Serb nationalists it was Serbia enlarged.
"But in Yugoslavia before 1941 there did exist the ideological basis for an assimilationist Yugoslav 'unitarism'. It was the theory that the Croats, the Serbs, and the Slovenes (the Macedonians and the Bosnian Muslims were at that time not recognised as separate entities), were three sections, or tribes (plemena) of one 'Yugoslav' people. In reality, the very linguistic closeness of the southern Slavs, which had been seen as a good basis for harmony, turned out to be a divisive factor because it brought the prospect (or threat) of assimilation closer." (Civic, p. 201)

These conflicting visions dominated the political life of both Jugoslavijas, 1929-1940, and 1945-1991. The first South Slav state, established in 1918, was at first called the 'Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes'. In 1929, King Aleksandr renamed it Jugoslavija, and abolished the Serb, Croat and Slovene administrative units. They were restored under Tito, the alleged 'Yugoslav'.

"The branding of the Yugoslav idea as utopian explains nothing and can only be a rhetorical notion. On one hand, this idea was never just a single idea, but rather several, such that even political representatives of the same peoples had various notions about what kind of Yugoslavia they wanted.....A merely superficial glance at the more than 70 years of Yugoslav history shows immediately that Yugoslavia fell apart in 1991 because of its incapacity to confront the contradictions attending it all the way from its inception in 1918." (Vodopivec, p. 26)

As for western support of Yugoslavia during the war, it only existed in Croatian propaganda. In fact, Croatian nationalists still fear political re-integration into 'the Balkans'. Any suggestion of political or economic union with its neighbours to the south is seen as 'a western attempt to re-instate Yugoslavia'. The issue will become more important as the EU begins membership negotiations with the Balkan states (exact dates will be fixed in 2003). Western intervention has historical precedent: after World War II, the western allies and the Soviet Union both resolutely supported the re-instatement of Yugoslavia. However, it is not a serious option at present. The US and EU support the SECI, Southeast European Co-operation Initiative, a Balkan intergovernmental organisation established in 1996, but it is not intended as a political union of any kind. The admission of Slovenia to the EU has probably closed the door on any future restoration of a specifically South Slav union: any future integration and co-operation will be 'South-East European' in character. In February 2003, Serbia and Montenegro abandoned the name Yugoslavia, a symbolic end to southern pan-Slavism.

14a. Prussia from Hamburg to Basra

The emergence of the first South Slav state was not driven entirely by internal nationalism: it had support in Britain, where it was seen as a block to German expansionism. Pan-Germanism influenced Yugoslavia in a negative sense: British fear of pan-Germanism created maps of future pan-German superstates, and strategies to counter them with new Slavic states. By the end of the First World War, this had become accepted policy among the western allies. In The Meaning of Europe (1998), Michael Heffernan describes the period of early geopolitical theory in Europe - a time of pan-ideologies, and imperial projects such as the Berlin-Baghdad-Basra railway. Thomas Masaryk, the founding father of Czechoslovakia, campaigned in London during the First World War against a future German superstate, together with British geopolitical theorists:
"Seton-Watson and Masaryk hoped (like Renner) that multi-ethnic federal democracies in the heart of Europe would demonstrate the viability of devolved and decentralised government and would, in time, spawn a wider European federation. These states would also serve an important strategic role: they would be powerful enough to prevent a resurgent Germany expanding to the south. Sir Arthur Evans, a leading archaeologist and a member of the editorial board of The New Europe, was a passionate advocate of the new 'South Slav' (Yugoslav) state on these grounds. Germany's ultimate objective, he argued in 1916, was the creation of "a great state running from Hamburg to Basra, from the North sea to the Persian Gulf...It is for us to devise a counter plan based on the existence of a South Slav state capable of democratic and progressive culture and [a] life of [its] own." (Heffernan 1998, p. 92).

Heffernan reproduces maps from 1917: one of the feared expansion of Prussia to the Persian gulf (p. 89), another of the feared pan-German state, and one of Seton-Watson's proposed South Slav state, corresponding to the later Jugoslavija (p. 93).

Possible geopolitical orders

So the list of possible Bosnia's is long - but even this list is over-simplified. Remember that many other areas have similar clusters of geopolitical visions: the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) has at least ten alternatives. The existing world order is a selection from a quasi-infinite number of possible world orders.

For instance, the list generally uses 'Bosniac' for Bosanac and Bosnjak. Many English texts do not even use the separate term Bosniac, although it is now standard for the international organisations. Similarly, narod, narodnost, and nacija are all translated as 'nation'. Bringa's book on Bosnian Muslims has more on these differences (especially p 33-36), and there are other comparable variants of the main nationalisms. There are also historical geopolitical models in the region, such as the city-state of Ragusa/Dubrovnik (see Carter, 1972). The range of options and visions in Bosnia is therefore even larger than listed above.

The transition from an existing geopolitical pattern to any alternative option can be used to justify a military intervention. If the United States wants to invade China, then it can claim it is 'liberating' a national minority. In fact, it can choose any one of 56 national minorities from the Chinese official list. The point is that the explanation for such a military intervention can never be sought in the existence of the minority, or their geopolitical ideas. It there is a future war between the United States and China, it origins are not in the territorial claims of the Pumi or Achang peoples (about 30 000 people each). Whatever the propaganda might say, their 'liberation' would never be the true reason for a US attack on China. Similarly, the historical origins of the war in Bosnia lie primarily the long-term expansion of the liberal-democratic ideal, not in the geopolitical details of the region itself. They supplied the material, to make the wars, that needed the intervention, that made the Balkans market-democratic.


Antic, Ljubomir, ed. (1993). A Concise Atlas of the Republic of Croatia and of the Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina. Zagreb: Miroslav Krleza Lexicographical Institute.
Includes tables of population, by ethnic group, for each commune, from the 1991 census - for both Croatia and Bosnia.

Balakrishnan, G., ed. (1996). Mapping the Nation. London: Verso.

Balic, Smail (1992) Das unbekannte Bosnien: Europas Brucke zur islamischen Welt. Koln: Bohlau.
Pro-Bosniac, with detailed information and bibliography on Bosnian Muslim culture (in the anthropological sense). Ethnic map of Bosnia according to 1991 Census, facing p. 42.

Basic-Hrvatin, Sandra (1996) Slovenia and Croatia. In Gow, James, R. Paterson and A. Preston, eds. (1996) Bosnia by Television: 159-165.

Bax, Mart (1995) Medjugorje: Religion, Politics, and Violence in Rural Bosnia. Amsterdam: VU Uitgeverij.

Bell-Fialkoff, Andrew (1996) Ethnic Cleansing. London: Macmillan.

Bennett, Christopher (1996) Yugoslavia's Bloody Collapse: Causes, Course and Consequences. London: Hurst.
Almost a summary of the standard western view: "The Yugoslav wars were not the consequence of an unfortunate series of misunderstandings, but of a calculated attempt to forge a Greater Serbia out of Yugoslavia" (p. 238). However, the emphasis is on the present states of ex-Yugoslavia as units: consequently the book treats the war more as a classic international conflict. It also covers a usually ignored aspect: the development of separate national economies and infrastructure under Tito: "Each federal unit appeared to require its own strategic industries, oil refineries, steel works, and for those republics with a coast, commercial harbours." (p. 75).

Berghorst, Drea (1995) Very good news : de besluitvorming over de uitzending van een luchtmobiel bataljon naar Bosnie-Herzegovina. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit.
This thesis is not about Bosnia, but about the internal Netherlands decision-making process, seen by an ambitious policy studies student. Devoid of any morality, this paper applies an actor-network analysis to the foreign policy elite in the Netherlands. This amorality is itself the way to build a career in that elite, which is clearly the intention of the author.

Bert, Wayne (1997) The Reluctant Superpower: United States' Policy in Bosnia, 1991-95. London: Macmillan.
As the title suggests, this book is more about the US than about Bosnia. The book sees the Bosnia war in terms of obstacles to US intervention, including the perceptions of the American public.

Boyd, Charles (1998). Making Bosnia work, in Foreign Affairs 77, 1 pp. 42-55.

Bringa, Tone (1995) Being Muslim the Bosnian way : Identity and Community in a Central Bosnian Village. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Burns, John (1996) The media as impartial observers or protagonists - conflict reporting or conflict encouragement in former Yugoslavia. In Gow, James, R. Paterson and A. Preston, eds. (1996) Bosnia by Television: 92-100.

Carter, Francis W. (1972) Dubrovnik (Ragusa). A Classic City-state. London: Seminar Press.
An alternative geopolitical model, perhaps two alternative models: the city-state and the sea-state. In the Conclusion (pp. 546-554) Carter describes Ragusa as a "maritime city-state".

Chapman, J. et al. (1996) The changing face of Dalmatia: archaeological and ecological studies in a Mediterranean landscape. London: Leicester University Press.

Chwaszcza, Christine (1997). Sezession und Selbstbestimmung. In Koller, P. and Puhl, K. Aktuelle Fragen politischer Philosophie: Gerechtigkeit in Gesellschaft und Weltordnung, pp. 332-344. Wien: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.
Illustrates the antagonism of the dominant liberal political theory to secession.

Cigar, Norman (1995) Genocide in Bosnia: the Policy of "Ethnic Cleansing". College Station: Texas A&M University Press.
From the first sentence to the last the same message: genocide in Bosnia. And from the first page to the last, inconsistent. The book makes three irreconcilable claims: that Bosnia was a secular state including Serbs and Croats, that a genocide was committed against this state by Serbia and Bosnian Serbs, and that the victims were not Bosnian but Muslims. Logically, that would only be possible if Bosnian Serbs shot themselves for being Bosnian, and converted to Islam before dying. It is absolutely clear that the author believes in a inter-ethnic genocide, committed by Serbs against Muslims. Yet he also wants to identify Muslims with a secular state which included Serbs, and can therefore not identify them as a ethnic group: the result is permanent contradiction.

Civic, Christopher (1996) Croatia, in Dyker and Vejvoda, pp. 192-212.

Dedijer, Vladimir (1974) History of Yugoslavia. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Denitch, Bogdan (1994) Ethnic Nationalism: the Tragic Death of Yugoslavia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
Use the Bosnian wars to construct a justification of the liberal-democratic nation state. Denitch, a convinced liberal-democrat, defines nationalism more or less as ethnic cleansing. Since some nation states do not do this, they are on his definition not nationalist, but "a voluntary community based on democracy".

Donia, Robert and J. Fine (1997) Bosnia and Hercegovina: a Tradition Betrayed. London: Hurst.
A good example of the 'model Bosnia' approach. The authors attempt to construct Bosnian history, as if it were part of the liberal-democratic multicultural society in which they live at present (both teach at US universities). They also identify this with the Bosniacs (although less so than other authors), and therefore feel the US should have backed the Sarajevo government during the war.

Dyker, David and Ivan Vejvoda, eds. (1996) Yugoslavia and After: A Study in Fragmentation, Despair, and Rebirth. London: Longman.

Eicher, Joachim (1997). Die Zukunftsperspektiven Bosnien-Herzegowinas, in Südosteuropa: Zeitschrift für Gegenwartsforschung 46, 1-2 pp. 1-17.

Eicher, Joachim (1997). Minderheitenproblematik in Kroatien, in Südosteuropa: Zeitschrift für Gegenwartsforschung 46, 12 pp. 627-649.

Foucher, Michel ed. (1993). Fragments d'Europe: Atlas de l'Europe médiane et orientale. Lyon: Fayard.

Geokarta (1996) Bosna i Chercegovina 1:700.000. Beograd: Geokarta.
(Cyrillic text and legend). Clear map showing the relation of the Dayton line to relief.

Gow, James, R. Paterson and A. Preston, eds. (1996) Bosnia by Television. London: British Film Institute
Includes one dissenting piece by John Burns, but also the worst of west European intellectual approaches to the war. Sandra Basic-Hrvatin (p. 63-71) reduces Bosnia to a case study for once-fashionable cultural studies stereotypes, such as the 'European Stranger', and the 'construction of the Other'.

Grothusen, Klaus-Detlev (1975). Jugoslawien (Südosteuropa-Handbuch Band I). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck Ruprecht.

Guldescu, Stanko (1970). The Croatian-Slavonian Kingdom 1526-1792. The Hague: Mouton.

Heffernan, Michael (1998). The Meaning of Europe: Geography and Geopolitics. London: Arnold.

Hupchick, Dennis and H. Cox (1996). A Concise Historical Atlas of Eastern Europe. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Kolar-Panov, Dona (1997). Video, War and the Diasporic Imagination. London: Routledge.
The war as seen on video by Croatian emigrants communities, a 'diaspora' according to the author.

Koller, Peter (1997). National sovereignty and international justice, in Koller, P. and Puhl, K. Aktuelle Fragen politischer Philosophie: Gerechtigkeit in Gesellschaft und Weltordnung, pp. 175-185. Wien: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.
Legitimation of nation states through moral order among them, a common approach in political philosophy.

Krizan, Mojmir (1997). Kroatien unter Tudjman: Die missverstandene Europäiserung, in Osteuropa: Zeitschrift für Gegenwartsfragen des Ostens 47, 10-11 pp. 959-974.

Kumar, Radha (1997) Divide and fall?: Bosnia in the annals of partition. London: Verso.
This book's stated aim is to "counter the recently revived idea that partition can be a solution to ethnic conflict". But if there was no ethnic partition, all existing states except the Vatican would logically disappear - and the book is silent on this. Ethnic partition is, for instance, what divides the US from Mexico. In reality the book is another plea for US-backed nation-building in Bosnia.

Lemkin, Raphael (1944) Axis rule in occupied Europe. Washington: Carnegie Endowment.

Markert, Werner hrsg. (1954) Jugoslawien (Ost-Europa Handbuch). Köln: Böhlau Verlag.
This 1954 reference work, describes a Yugoslavia at first largely on Soviet lines: compare the similar 1975 volume on Yugoslavia edited by Klaus-Detlev Grothusen. However, even in 1954 competing infrastructure projects for the different republics were planned, the forerunners of economic autonomy and ultimately secession.

Miller, William (1923) The Balkans: Roumania, Bulgaria, Servia and Montenegro. London: Fisher Unwin.

Naval Intelligence Division. (1944-1945) Jugoslavia. Volume I, Physical geography; Volume II, History, peoples and administration; Volume III, Economic geography, ports and communications. Cambridge: Naval intelligence division.

Oldenquist, Andrew (1997) . Who are the rightful owners of the state?, in Koller, P. and Puhl, K. Aktuelle Fragen politischer Philosophie: Gerechtigkeit in Gesellschaft und Weltordnung, pp. 321- 331. Wien: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.

Pavkovic, Aleksandar (1997). The Fragmentation of Yugoslavia: Nationalism in a Multinational State. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Well informed about the details of US involvement, but with little explanation of its causes, or why the US followed this particular pattern of intervention.

Pinson, Mark, ed. (1993). The Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina: their Historic Development from the Middle Ages to the Dissolution of Yugoslavia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Supports a Bosnian identity, which turns out in the course of the book to be the SDA version: "Izetbegovic consistently has championed a secular, multinational Bosnian state..." (p. 147).

Reuter, Jens (1997). Die Bosnisch-Kroatische Föderation - Künstliches Gebilde oder lebensfähiger Staat?, in Südosteuropa: Zeitschrift für Gegenwartsforschung 46, 3-4 pp. 158-169.

Riedel, Sabine (1997). Die Politiserung islamischer Geschichte und Kultur am Beispiel Südosteuropas, in Südosteuropa: Zeitschrift für Gegenwartsforschung 46, 11 pp. 539-561.

Rónai, A. ed. (1945, digital facsimile 1993). Atlas of Central Europe. Budapest: Society of St. Steven.
With distribution maps of both 'Bosnians' and 'Mohammedans', circa 1930. On the religious basis Bosnia appears as the northern end of a wide Islamic zone: the ethnic map also shows Bosnians living outside Bosnia.

Selm-Thorburn, Joanne van (1998). Refugee Protection in Europe: Lessons of the Yugoslav Crisis. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
The legal aspects of refugee protection, including intervention (pp. 94-100), from a perspective of absolute, uncritical acceptance of the present international order.

Silber, Laura and A. Little (1996). Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation. Harmondsworth: Penguin
"Published to accompany the television series" - Bosnia as film script: dramatic meetings between powerful men, with background shelling.

Tomasevich, Jozo (1975). The Chetniks: War and Revolution in Yugoslavia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Verdery, Katherine (1996). Whither "nation" and "nationalism"? in Balakrishnan, G. (ed.) Mapping the Nation. London: Verso, pp. 226-234.

Vodopivec, Peter. (1997). Seven decades of unconfronted incongruities: the Slovenes and Yugoslavia, in Benderly, Jill, and E. Kraft eds., Independent Slovenia: Origins, Movements, Prospects, pp. 23-46. London: Macmillan.

Vuckovic, Gojko. (1997). Ethnic Cleavages and Conflict: the Sources of National Cohesion and Disintegration. The Case of Yugoslavia. Aldershot: Ashgate.
With a table of defining characteristics of nations ( pp. 41-43) and a general introduction to theory of nationalism.

Weiss, Thomas and C, Collins. (1996). Humanitarian Challenges and Intervention: World Politics and the Dilemmas of Help. Boulder: Westview.
Assertively pro-intervention, including direct comparison of wartime Bosnia with Nazi Germany (p. 172).

Wheeler, Mark C. (1980) Britain and the War for Yugoslavia, 1940-1943. Boulder: East European Monographs.

Wilkes, J.J. (1969). Dalmatia. (History of the Provinces of the Roman Empire).
A pre-Slav, pre-Christian, pre-Islamic Balkans: the province of Dalmatia coincided approximately with the mountain areas of later Yugoslavia, in the triangle Istria-Beograd-Albanian Drin Valley.

World Bank. (1997). Bosnia and Herzegovina: from Recovery to Sustainable Growth.

Genocide, world order, and state formation