For more than five years (from November 1996 to April 1992) the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) was studying "the events prior to, during and after the fall of Srebrenica." The Dutch Government instructed the institute to carry out this study. The results were presented on their official web site.
The Dutch Government study is far from being "pro-Serb." Quite the contrary is obvious. The report rehashes the accusations that the Bosnian Serbs committed "genocide." This horrible accusation is repeated often and quite flatly in the report, without giving any facts to support the claim. As we all know now, many years after the event, despite the persistent digging in and around Srebrenica, the Western "genocide" accusers could never (ever) present material evidence to support their crucial claim. Looking from that angle the report simply rehashes the old NATO lies and accusations not even coming with a single new one. So why is this report so interesting and so important?
Dutch Government Srebrenica Study:
while pretending to keep peace
[T]he Security Council adopted resolution 713 on
25 September 1991, [the] document... requested every member
state to stop supplying weapons and military goods to the
warring [Balkan] factions... Nonetheless, all the warring
factions attempted to purchase weapons, ammunition and military
equipment from abroad and to import them into the region.
The question now is what military impact these secret
weapons supplies had on the events in Yugoslavia...
The supply of arms to the warring factions also affected the stability in the region, and in many cases inflamed the armed conflict. It is no coincidence that military equipment was often delivered a few weeks before the start of new large-scale offensives... This often went according to a fixed pattern: clandestine supplies; training, possibly supervised by instructors, for operating the new weapons; and subsequently the start of military offensives. Logically this could lead, or did lead, to situations in which UN troops were put in immediate mortal danger...
[T]he secret operations are of interest because various statements pointed to the conclusion that the clandestine supplies usually led to rapid transit to the eastern enclaves, such as Srebrenica and Zepa. The VRS [Bosnian Serb Army] complained that the supply of new weapons usually facilitated new sorties from the enclaves into Bosnian-Serb villages and military positions, which in turn provoked a response from the VRS. This action-reaction cycle again put UNPROFOR troops in danger. In the enclaves, the ABiH [Bosnian Muslim Army] actually all too often used the [UN] Observation Posts (Ops) as a cover in military actions against the VRS. It is important to reconstruct the secret arms supplies from Iran via the "Croatian pipeline" and the Black Flights to [Muslim held town of] Tuzla, because this will make clear that different NATO member states had different political and military views on the possible consequences for the UNPROFOR troops on the ground.
As we will see, Pentagon supplied weapons to Bosnian Muslim fanatics, while the Dutch (but also French and British) NATO troops were sitting on the ground as a clear target to Bosnian Serb retaliation. Obviously, the American NATO leadership did not care about the destiny of non-American allies on the ground. The non-Americans were expendable.
This seems to be the only concern of the Dutch researchers. They do not venture to talk about the moral implications of the American support to Al Qaida geared toward cleansing and annihillation of a group of European Christians, which the Serbs are.
As is true with the entire civil war in Yugoslavia, the anti-Serb activity was first initiated by German-Catholic axis:
to transfer arms to Bosnian mujahedin
On 4 September 1992, the CIA discovered an Iran Air
Boeing 747 at Zagreb airport. Subsequent investigation
revealed that the jumbo jet was loaded with weapons,
ammunition, anti-tank rockets, communication equipment
and other military equipment, such as uniforms and helmets,
destined for the ABiH [Bosnian Muslim Army] in Bosnia.
[Croat] President Tudjman informed [British] mediator
Lord Owen accordingly... The Bush administration protested
in Zagreb and the arms were confiscated, after which
Croatia appeared to stop all further clandestine arms
transport via Zagreb.
On 29-30 October 1992, Bosnian President Izetbegovic paid a visit to Teheran and entered into an agreement according to which Iran would again attempt to supply necessary goods via Zagreb. Turkey and Saudi Arabia also offered assistance but attached the condition that Izetbegovic should not request assistance from Iran. This did not dissuade the Bosnian from reaching an agreement with Teheran... After Croatia had normalized its diplomatic relations with Iran in April 1992, it was represented in Teheran by the Croatian Muslim Osman Muftic, who elaborated the details of the agreement with the Bosnian ambassador in Teheran, Omer Behmen, and a confidant of Izetbegovic, Hasan Cengic.
[Only a month after the first, unsuccessful, covert arms shipment:] On 1 November 1992, an Iranian Boeing 747 landed in Zagreb with sixty tons of "humanitarian goods". A few days later the Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei donated $3.3 million to Sarajevo. At the end of November, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, paid a visit to Zagreb to discuss the further logistical details. This was surprising, because in this period there was heavy fighting between Croatia and Bosnia.
Perhaps Bonn put pressure on Zagreb to cooperate. Close connections happened to exist between the German Bundesnachrichtendienst and the Iranian services. For example, this German service allegedly supplied computer hardware to Teheran, and it trained Iranian intelligence officers in Munich in 1992. In the same period, a variety of clandestine arms supplies were set up for Croatia and Bosnia [Muslims] by Croatian Catholic relief organizations. They ran via Ludwigshafen under the leadership of Father Johannes, and involved walkie-talkies, helmets, sleeping bags, field kitchens and uniforms, which mainly came from old stocks from the GDR [the East Germany].
It was time for errand boys to step aside and let the boss take the control of quasi-covert, direct fueling of the war.
the Iran-Bosnia gate opens ajar
Everyone [in the US government] did realize that the
Balkans would provide the United States with better
access to the Middle East. They also looked at the
united Europe and constantly asked why the United
States always had to take care [sic!] of everything...
In the spring of 1993, [Clinton's National Security Adviser, Anthony] Lake was closely involved in 'selling' the so-called lift and strike strategy, which advocated lifting the embargo and a more rapid and heavier deployment of [NATO] air power. He discussed this proposal with Canadian officials, and said that his government envisaged only one option: 'lifting [the] arms embargo with arms going to Bosnian Croats and Muslims and air power to stop Serbian interference with these shipments.' According to Lake, lifting the arms embargo was the right path for the Americans. Training must be provided by a third party country, which must certainly not be the United States... As far as Lake was concerned, any country except Iran could supply arms to the ABiH [Muslim Army], preferably by lifting the arms embargo, but if necessary illegally.
Approximately 30,000 ABiH [Bosnian Muslim] soldiers would be armed in the subsequent 3 to 5 months, starting with small arms. The force would slowly be built up from this basis. Germany would put pressure on the Croats to prevent them from claiming too large a share of the supplies that were to run through Croatia and were destined for Bosnia. Germany would also put pressure on [Croat President] Tudjman to prevent an attack by Croats on the Bosnian Muslims. Humanitarian relief should probably be stopped because of these supplies, but should be reinstated later once the ABiH [the Muslims] had gained territory. ...
A Canadian official asked Lake whether account had been taken of the safety of Canadian UNPROFOR and other troops on the ground, Lake's answer was a revealing and at the same time disconcerting: 'no'. According to Lake there were 'no easy answers...' In Ottawa, highly placed officials responded indignantly to Lake's statement. As a Canadian functionary in the same time remarked: 'We are back to a world of big power politics and that is not kind to nations like Canada. We are just another troop contributor now, and no one is asking our opinion'.
Lake had evidently paid no attention whatever to the safety of the UN troops on the ground...
to be paid by the Serbian lives
In the spring of 1993,... [a]fter
the Gulf War it was
payback time for the United States: there was an
expectation in the Arab world (especially Saudi Arabia)
that Washington would support the Bosnian Muslims...
In June 1993, Clinton received the head of the Saudi
Arabian intelligence service, Prince Turki al Faisal,
who was a close adviser to his uncle, the King. The
Prince urged Clinton to take the lead in the military
assistance to Bosnia. The American administration did
not dare to do so: the fear of a rift within NATO was
too great. However, the United States did consider the
Saudi Arabian signal to be important, and therefore
a new strategy was elaborated. Its architect was to be
Richard Holbrooke, who started to look for a way to arm
the Bosnian Muslims. In the summer
of 1993, the Pentagon
- the American ministry of defence - was said to have
drawn up a plan for arms assistance to the ABiH [Bosnian
Muslim Army], which included supplies of AK-47s and other
small arms. This operation was to demand almost three
hundred C-130 Hercules transport aircraft flights.
between Catholic and Islam fanatics
In the meantime, Iran, and by then also Turkey, supplied
arms via Zagreb to Bosnia. In April 1993, there were again
discussions on this subject in Teheran between Bosnian
Muslims, Croats and Iranians, which were also attended by
the Iranian President Rafsanjani and the Bosnian [Muslim]
President Izetbegovic... [D]uring the visit Rafsanjani
expressed indignation to the Croatian delegation about
the bloodbath in Ahmici, a village in central Bosnia,
where more than one hundred Muslims were killed by
Croatian units on 16 April 1993...
As Sarajevo was very much aware of its dependence on Croatia, Izetbegovic visited Teheran again on 14 September 1993 to deepen the defence relationship.
Meanwhile Holbrooke was becoming increasingly frustrated that the Croatian pipeline was not progressing well. Lake once described Holbrooke as 'high-maintenance'. Holbrooke therefore proposed to deliver arms and ammunition to the ABiH [Muslim Army] via third party countries. Lake, who had always welcomed such covert operations, nonetheless found the plan 'too risky'...
The head of the Croatian intelligence service - the son of the Croatian president - Miroslav Tudjman, visited Washington DC in the autumn of 1993. He spoke there with James Woolsey, the director of the CIA, and others... Tudjman stated later to the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) that intelligence for a stable regional solution to the conflict [and cleansing of Srebian population from Western parts of Yugoslavia] should not be sought in Bosnia, but in Washington...
Meanwhile, from mid 1993, the idea arose within the American administration of establishing a Muslim-Croat federation. Washington wanted to bring an end to the conflict between Bosnian Muslims and Croats [and concentrate this Hitler-formed alliance in fighting the Orthodox Serbs].
The US diplomats Charles Redman and Peter Tarnoff were dispatched to Europe... The message that they took with them was that the United States ... wished tougher actions against the Bosnian Serbs. [America forged] a suspension of hostilities [between Croats and Muslims] on 23 February and the formation on 13 March 1994 of the [anti-Serb] federation of Croatia and Bosnia, in which Redman played an important role...
The Americans were aware that Iran had been supplying arms via Croatia since 1992, but that this had stopped or had been significantly reduced temporarily because of the conflict between Muslims and Croats in Bosnia. The establishment of the federation now offered an opportunity to reopen the Iranian pipeline. That, and the increasing American involvement, were important milestones in boosting the arms pipeline between Iran and Croatia. ...
[Croat President] Tudjman need have no more worries that UNPROFOR would take action against the supplies: in spite of all the resolutions, there was no mandate to monitor violations or to enforce the embargo. Observers were not even allowed to inspect aircraft...
urges the reopenning of Iranian arms pipeline
Classified CIA documents to which the Los Angeles Times
managed to gain access, proved that the American ambassador
in Zagreb, Peter Galbraith, had already taken initiatives
for supplies. In February or March 1994, he spoke with
his CIA station chief about the option of secret arms
supplies to Bosnia, to which the United States would
turn a blind eye. The station chief reported this
immediately to his headquarters.
On 16 April 1994, Galbraith spoke with the religious leader of the small Muslim community in Zagreb, Iman Sefko Omerbasic, who later informed the Iranian ambassador that American diplomats had urged him to purchase arms for the ABiH. The CIA managed to gain access to a report of this discussion, and they suspected that Galbraith was engaged in a secret operation.
On 27 April 1994, the Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Granic, visited the American ambassador, Galbraith. The Croatian government wished to reinstate the Iranian pipeline...
Later that day, Galbraith reported to the State Department: 'This matter is time-urgent.' ... Galbraith proposed using disguised Iranian Boeing 747s for the supplies. Half of the consignment of arms would be destined for Croatia and the other half for the Bosnian Muslims.
[T]he disadvantage was that Iran would be drawn into the region. This could have major consequences and could even cause the sudden collapse of the Muslim-Croat Federation. The advantage was that it would finally assure assistance to the Bosnian Muslims...
On 27 April 1994, Lake and Talbott discussed this with Clinton on board Air Force One. It was then decided to give a green light to the arms supplies from Iran to Croatia.
From 29 April to 2 May 1994, the Croatian prime minister, Valentic, and the Bosnian deputy prime minister visited Teheran for consultations with President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani. A tripartite agreement was drawn up for arms supplies...
The first consignment from Iran landed in Zagreb
on 4 May , with sixty tons of explosives and
military equipment on board. The arms were transported
in Croatian army trucks along the Adriatic coast to
Bosnia... Because the supplies attracted too much
attention at Pleso Airport in Zagreb, the flights
subsequently went mainly to the Croatian island of Krk.
Shortly after Iranian cargo aircraft had landed there,
a number of Croatian helicopters arrived to continue
transporting the load after dusk. Moreover, Albania
was prepared to act as a transit port...
Iran would be provided unhindered access to Bosnia via Croatia... [T]he American services no longer provided intelligence on violations of the embargo...
After this secret agreement to resume arms supplies, the ball started to roll in the United States. The CIA gathered an increasing amount of evidence of Iranian arms supplies via Croatia to Bosnia, in the form of photos taken by spy satellites that revealed aircraft on Turkish airfields. Two days later, the CIA saw the same aircraft in Zagreb or other airports in Croatia. The aircraft flew via Turkey, where a stopover was sometimes made, before resuming the flight over the Black Sea via Bulgarian and Romanian air space to Zagreb, where the arms were unloaded. Part of the consignment was forwarded to Bosnia; Croatia was said to have received thirty per cent of the supplies. The CIA recorded approximately eight flights a month and also received reports from the Croatian intelligence services...
The chief of [CIA] station [in Croatia] raised the alarm with his headquarters in Langley, which subsequently wondered who knew about this at the State Department and in the National Security Council (NSC). A parallel was drawn with the Iran-Contra affair, which was also led from the NSC. The CIA wondered, although the ambassador can do what he wants, whether Ambassador Galbraith might have encouraged Tudjman to make requests for arms supplies. This ... did lead rapidly to speculations that the CIA had begun spying on State Department staff. [T]he station chief in question had indeed decided to watch Galbraith's movements...
According to Langley, a covert operation had indeed been started in which the CIA was not involved. In response, the CIA in Washington took action at the highest level. The director of the CIA, Woolsey, approached in succession Lake, Christopher, and Talbott. On 5 May 1994, Talbott told Woolsey 'the essence of what had been decided'... Woolsey did not ultimately approach President Clinton. Once it was clear that the ambassador was acting on the authority of the White House and the Secretary of State and not off his own, the CIA interest stopped except to report the arms flows as intelligence.
to train Bosnian Islamic Army
In the summer and autumn of 1994... [p]lans were
elaborated for training the ABiH [Bosnian Muslim
Army]. An US 'mercenary outfit' was to arrange this
training. This was carried out by Military Professional
Resources Incorporated (MPRI), a company based in
Virginia that employed various retired [sic!] American
generals and intelligence officials, such as the former
director of the DIA, Lieutenant General Harry Soyster.
With the consent of the State
Department, MPRI trained
the Hrvatska Vojska (HV, the Croatian Army) and later also
the ABiH. MPRI's role arose from the signing of the
agreement between the United States and Croatia on military
collaboration. By engaging MPRI, Washington also reduced
the danger of 'direct' involvement.
Meanwhile, arms flowed liberally through the Croatian pipeline.
In early 1995, Iranian cargo aircraft
landed in Zagreb three times a week. The CIA and the
White House and State Department continued to have different
opinions, this time regarding the scale of the military
support via the Croatian pipeline: the CIA settled on
14,000 tons between May 1994 and December 1996.
According to the State Department
from May 1994 to January 1996 Iran delivered a total of 5000
tons of arms and ammunition via the Croatian pipeline to Bosnia.
The clandestine Iranian arms supplies were to stop only in
January 1996, after American ground forces were stationed
in the region...
Even UNPROFOR was... also involved in smuggling light arms [to Muslims] worth $ 15 million with the involvement of Turkish and Malaysian UNPROFOR troops. Not only Turkish or Malaysian, but also other UNPROFOR detachments brought more arms than they needed for themselves. For example, soldiers from Bangladesh sold ammunition on a large scale to the ABiH [Bosnian Muslim Army], which was officially to have been used during exercises, and the battalion from Malta ordered four thousand mortar-shells while they only had four mortars. In other words: in spite of the international arms embargo, Bosnia [the Bosnian Muslims!] was to receive arms through a variety of channels.
American Special Forces were present throughout Bosnia:
a British officer had personally witnessed an US
Special Forces colonel scouting out the territory
during a visit to the British headquarters in Gornji
Vakuf in 1993.
When asked what he was doing there,
the American answered that he was looking for suitable
helicopter landing places.
In a night-time operation
one day later, American C-130s dropped equipment,
ammunition and arms, which were apparently
transported in helicopters for the ABiH [Muslim Army],
and a few days later ABiH soldiers were walking around
in brand new American uniforms carrying M-16 rifles.
This was remarkable, because those were nowhere
to be found in the Balkans.
All this massive arming of the Bosnian Muslim faction in the Bosnian civil war did not still satisfy Washington. As year 1995 was approaching, Clinton wanted a more direct and massive arming of Bosnian Muslim fanatics. The solution was covert flights and delivery of weapons to the large, Muslim controlled airport in North-East Bosnia, at town of Tuzla. The "Black Flights" over Tuzla was also part of the Dutch government report.
Where am I? PATH:
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Last revised: October 16, 2004