Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"The Fall of Yugoslavia" by Misha Glenny [23]

Epilogue 1996: Return to Purgatory

This epilogue was written a few years after the rest of the book; triggered by the end of the war, obviously, but Glenny begins his return with news of the mortar attack of February 5, 1995. Given that the rest of the book came to a close in 1993, quite a bit has happened since then. However, Glenny does not try to summarize the rest of the war. Rather, he picks up where things stand now and takes it from there.

His account of this event was written at the time, and Glenny very explicitly accepts the validity of General Rose's claim that the shell was fired by Bosnian government forces. He does not himself opine one way or the other. He also does not consider the possibility that the incident was simply a statistical probability given that the Bosnian Serbs had lobbed thousands of shells at the city, day in day out, for years.

At any rate, the main result of all this was a new cease-fire, and that both the United States and Russia got more involved. Glenny speaks highly of the unilateral Russian decision to occupy part of Sarajevo to keep the Bosnian government forces in check. Again, the moral and legal ramifications of an international community taking such action against a UN-member state fighting an insurgency are not discussed here. I suspect Glenny doesn't take such issues seriously.

The Russians, he argues, help create a situation in which shelling stops for awhile and Sarajevo becomes almost normal. Of course this situation cannot last, and Glenny himself admits that the cease-fire deteriorates over time and that no progress towards either peace or justice are made. These questions, again, don't seem relevant to him.

Ultimately, he credits the United States and Russia with forcing an alliance of convenience between the Muslims and the Croats in Bosnia. The result of this--and here I think Glenny is absolutely correct--is that Croatia becomes a direct beneficiary of resulting US support. The Bosnian government no longer has the leverage with Washington, even within its' own borders, that it used to.

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