Bosnian carve up

THE WAR in ex-Yugoslavia is about to enter a new phase. By the end of the week it is likely that advance units of a 60,000-strong Nato force will arrive in Bosnia and Croatia, to impose a United States-brokered ‘peace’.

The peace implementation force (I-for) clearly means business. The American ambassador to the United Nations, Madelaine Albright, put the record straight once and for all: “Any rogue elements are going to get whacked. As simple as that.”

The ‘peace’ plan hatched in Dayton, Ohio, demonstrates the confidence of US imperialism. By all accounts Richard Holbrooke, US chief negotiator, treated his counterparts with contempt - to such an extent that the European delegates were frequently locked out of rooms, denied access to the ‘peace’ maps, and even saw Holbrooke openly refer to the Bosnian government team - President Izetbegovic, Haris Silazdic, Muhamed Sacirbey - as Izzy, Silly and Mo.

Predictably, the Dayton deal sees Bosnia partitioned into two separate mini-states: the Serb Republic with 49% of the land, and the ‘Muslim-Croat Federation’ with 51%. However, the ‘federation’ itself will be sub-divided into distinct muslim and Croat areas. The Serb suburbs of Sarajevo have been allocated to the muslim-dominated Bosnian government. This has already led to angry demonstrations by the Sarajevo Serbs, who see the ‘peace’ deal as a sell-out.

Even though the Pope himself has blessed the Dayton deal, the new Bosnian ‘homelands’ will provide fertile soil for nationalist and chauvinist agitators.

It is all very well for Workers Press - the main movers behind Workers Aid to Bosnia - to maintain stubbornly that we should “support the Bosnian people, and side with their government and armed forces should they decide to resume their struggle at any time in the future” (November 25). But this approach is part of the problem, not the solution. The authority of the ‘Bosnian’ government is being imposed against the wishes of a large chunk of the ‘Bosnian people’. The democratic rights of all the people of this area must be respected.

Eddie Ford