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Dark Side of Srebrenica

12.07.2006 14:05

Mikhail Panin

Bosnia and Herzegovina commemorates the tragic events in Srebrenica. Yet about 10 years passes from the date of the tragedy, the causes and facts of it still leave the people asking more questions than receiving answers.

For whom the bell tolls?

Last year on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy the commemorative ceremony was held with a special dimension and pathos. Large delegations from the USA, EU countries, Balkan neighbors, as well as representatives of the UN, NATO, OSCO and other international organization arrived to Srebrenica. For the first time the events were visited by a delegation of Serbia led by President Boris Tadic.

Culmination of the ceremony was the reburying of 610 Srebrenica residents whose remains were recovered from mass burials and identified by the DNA code. The impressive picture of several hundred coffins enveloped in green cloth carried by several thousand men to the graves was broadcasted by all global TV networks. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw addressing to the ceremony clamed: “It is a shame on the entire world community that the evil was right under our very nose. I am very sorry about it and deeply regret”.

According to the official international version of the events, on July 11, 1995 the troops of Bosnian Serbs captured mining city Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia proclaimed a “zone of security” by the UN, and killed there during two days 7 – 8 thousand Moslem men. Due to efforts of Western mass media Srebrenica today in the eyes of the world community is a symbol of crimes against humanity and example of “inherent ani-humanism” and brutality of the Serbs.

The search and prosecution of former Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadjic and General Ratko Mladic declared main butchers of the massacre in Srebrenica became a key task of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in Hague and all international structures in the Balkans.

"The massacre in Srebrenica” also became a key argument in favor of “unconditional guilt” of the Serbs for all bloody conflicts in the Balkans in the early 90s. The words of late leader of the Bosnian Moslems Alia Izetbegovich that “the events in Srebrenica are the gravest human tragedy in Europe since WWII” today are repeated and quoted by Western politicians and journalists as a established truth. By the way, shortly before his death Izetbegovich confessed to American journalists that he intentionally provided the Western press with whipped-up myth about “brutalities of the Serbs” in order to accelerate intervention of the USA and NATO into the Bosnian conflict on the side of the Moslems. He has succeeded in it.

Reticence

Independent observers indicate that today the events in Srebrenica are discussed in the West completely out of the context of the Bosnian conflict in 1992-1995, and in the manner that, chose my words carefully, suffers partiality and smells of double standards. Moreover, the events in Srebrenica are surrounded with myths, stereotypes and political cliché aimed at representation of the Serbs as “evils” and whitewash of the Moslems and Croats attractive to the West.

Independent experts believe that yet military crimes actually took placer in Srebrenica however their scope and exclusiveness in the framework of the armed conflict in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina were intentionally overstated, and many undisputable facts were just concealed. In this context it is necessary to remind that there was a civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, both parties of which were practically equally committed military crimes and outrage against peaceful people.

Many absolutely uncontrollable mercenaries (who fought in turn in the sides of the Serbs, Moslems and Croats), paramilitary formations and just gangsters were involved in this conflict. It was them who were guilty of the majority of out-of-court executions and crimes against peaceful people. All sides of the Bosnian conflict practiced “ethnic cleansings” but it is the Serbs who are declared their originators today.

As for Srebrenica, Western politicians and journalists conceal the fact that before July 1995 this city was a base of armed Moslem formations headed by notorious warlord Naser Oric. Oric’s cutthroats from the very beginning of the Bosnian conflict unleashed a ruthless terror against local Serbs. During three years they smashed 105 villages around Srebrenica and killed several thousand Serbs including women, children and old men. Oric was proud to show videos to visiting journalists demonstrating “acts of bravery” of his combatants beheading Serbs, torturing prisoners and raping women including Moslems. Several weeks ago Oric was released by the Hague Tribunal.

They also conceal the fact that the assault on Srebrenica by the troops of General Mladic was actually provoked by the Moslem command that in summer 1995 gave an order to the 28th Division located there to attack the Serbian positions and conduct several acts of sabotage in the Serbian territory. There are many questions to the UN Force and general policy of the USA and Western countries about the Bosnian conflict. For example, why did the UN Forces having established several “zones of security” in Moslem enclaves of Eastern Bosnia fail to ensure their demilitarization and prevent delivery of arms and ammunitions there? Meanwhile, the US and NATO leadership made advances alternatively to all conflicting parties inciting them to each other.

A few people remember that there were not only residents but more than 5000 armed Moslem combatants in Srebrenica during the Serbian assault on it. Besides, the 2nd Moslem Corps armed with tanks and heavy artillery was located in Tuzla not far from Srebrenica. However, the Moslem command in Sarajevo gave an order to its troops to retreat from the city and expose it.

Finally a weak UN Dutch battalion located in Srebrenica became “an endman”. The Blue Helmets were blamed by the Sarajevo authorities and Western press for “criminal omission that resulted in massacre of peaceful people”. Today the West prefers to forget that prior to the assault the Serbian command proposed to the UN authorities to evacuate all residents of Srebrenica but failed to receive a replay.

Dances with bones

Serious researches inclusive of Western ones also have questions about the number of killed: up to 8000 and even 12000. Many experts believe that not all burials around Srebrenica relate to the events of July 1995. They include also burials of Moslem combatants killed during three preceding years and even mass burials of Serbs (!) killed by Oric’s cutthroats in surrounding villages. As their number is taken into account, an actual number of killed during the assault on Srebrenica is about 2.5-3 thousand people, including killed in action.

Basing on the evidence of witnesses including UN officers, certain experts believe that the Serbian troops actually executed out of court several hundred men and youngsters in Srebrenica. Undoubtedly it is also a tragedy and heavy military crime, and the guilty persons should be punished. But in terms of the scale and nature it may be hardly refereed to “the act of genocide”.

Meanwhile, the West almost doesn’t care. Anybody who tries to ask inconvenient questions about Srebrenica is immediately blamed for “blasphemy” and fellow feeling to “Slav fascists”. The leaders of todays Serbia and Serb Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina who were forced for years to recognize the Western version of the Srebrenica events, actually already have surrendered.

Under the Western pressure the Serbian TV on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy showed a video of Serbian special team “Scorpios” shooting away 6 Moslems. This video is used by the ICTY as an evidence, and yet it was shot not in Srebrenica it should confirm guiltiness of the Serbs for mass murders of Moslems. A question arises: What about the videos of Oric’s combatant brutalities, did the West forget about them?

Certain observers pay attention to the fact that the PR-campaign around the tragedy in Srebrenica incidentally coincided with “evaluation of progress” in Kosovo that is regarded as preparation for proclamation of independence by Kosovo and its final secession from Serbia. The Serbian leaders disabled by the guilt for Srebrenica will hardly successfully resist it.

However, as distinct from the actual Serbian leadership the majority of the Serbian population still is not inclined to unconditionally agree with the Western version of the Srebrenica events. Not diminishing the scale and nature of the tragedy, representatives of the Serbian public reasonably indicate that this event was one of numerous not less horrible episodes of the Balkan conflict, in which the Serbs were victims too.

Many people in Serbia feel deep indignation that the Western officials annually condemning “genocide” in Srebrenica absolutely ignore other tragic events of that 1995. For example, when the Croat army during operations “Flash” and “Storm” mercilessly expelled all Serbs from Eastern Slavonia and completely destroyed the Republic of Serbia Krajina. During these operations several thousand peaceful Serbs were killed and more that 200 thousand people were expelled from their residences. But the West is used to conceal this tragedy.

The wounds given to the peoples of former Yugoslavia by the civil war are skinning slowly. This process needs not only time but also publication of all unbiased truth about those events. However, certain forces in the West stubbornly try to impose only one historical version of this conflict to secure favorable geopolitical realities and evade responsibility for the Balkan tragedy.