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The Western media relentlesly trumpeted the "suffering of Gorazde". For couple of years American pretend-left station NPR (we call them "Nazi PR") even used Gorazde as a symbol of their "objective" reporting. Here is what Western media "forgot" to mention... Read an informed view for a change. This report was made by two American top experts on anti-terrorism.



Task Force on Terrorism & Unconventional Warfare
MAY 04, 1994.

CHIEF OF STAFF'S NOTE: All wars by their nature "kill the truth," and the current war in the Balkans must rank with the others of this century in the damage that has been done to the facts. The Task Force reports on the Balkans have been among the most contentious for our membership because we have been perceived to have taken sides. Indeed, the combatants on all sides of the Balkan conflict have accused the Task Force of supporting their opponents.

I take this as a compliment to the professionalism and objectivity of our staff. Our task has been to discover the truth wherever it leads in order to give our membership a basis for informed and independent decision making in the face of disinformation especially when American lives may be on the line. Given that fact, this report will be seen as no less contentious by those who have themselves chosen sides.

- Vaughn S. Forrest

In recent weeks, the small industrial town of Gorazde in Bosnia- Hercegovina has come to symbolize in the eyes of tne Western media the brutality of the latest Balkan war. The siege of Gorazde has been portrayed as a ruthless act of aggression against Bosnia's Muslim population and has become the focal point of Western efforts to put an end to the bloodshed. However, while Bosnian Serb aggressiveness has undoubtedly played a large part in the Gorazde tragedy, what is less known is the role played by the Bosnian government and military in instigating the conflict and in effort to draw the West, particularly the United States, into the war generally.

The roots of this situation derive from the events of the Fall of 1992 at a relatively early stage of the war in Bosnia- Hercegovina. At that time, the Gorazde area was one of the first places where Islamist guerrillas -- a combined force of 'Afghan' volunteers (mainly Arab 'Afghans') and Bosnian Islamists - had embarked on a systematic campaign against the local Christian population in order to secure a predominant military position.

The Islamists operated in detachments of some 15-20 highly trained and well equipped men and conducted repeated attacks along various roads, including the road to Gorazde, between Sarajevo and Muslim strongholds near the Serbian border. The growing frequency of these ambushes, many committed against Serb civilians, made them a dominant feature of the civil war in Bosnia-Hercegovina (It is noteworthy that these Bosnian detachments were following exactly the principles of "the war of the weak" as outlined by the Hizballah's Ayatollah Fadlallah.)

As a direct outcome of this campaign, the Bosnian Muslims were able to expand and consolidate their hold over the Gorazde enclave, allowing them to use it as a staging point, for future military actions. It was at this point, in early 1993, that the Bosnian Muslims began rebuilding Gorazde as a military center

Thus, beginning in March 1993, and more so in the first half of April, Sarajevo succeeded in completing the deployment of large Muslim reinforcements into Gorazde. Indeed, many of the Bosnian Muslim forces traveled into the pocket in the wake of UN relief and humanitarian assistance convoys. This was possible because UNHCR demanded that the Bosnian Serb forces withdraw from the immediate road between Sarajevo and Gorazde in order to assure that there would be no interference with its humanitarian work. Consequently, the flow of Bosnian Muslim military supplies increased to the point that, by the end of April 1993, the Muslim forces had effectively relieved the siege of Gorazde.

As it turned out, the Bosnian Muslims' success was shortlived. For later in the Summer, Bosnian Serb pressure on Sarajevo, as well as on the Gorazde corridor itself, resulted in the resumption of the siege. Nonetheless, for the high command in Sarajevo, the critical lesson of Gorazde was that it was possible to rely on the UN "facilitate" active support to its military operations against the Bosnian Serbs.

Indeed, during 1993, the Bosnian Muslims continued to smuggle items of military importance into Gorazde through UN-related0 channels. Most important was the delivery of tools, spare parts and even expert personnel to repair the Pobjeda Ammunition Factory and Gorazde's chemical factory. (The latter was reportedly in the process of being converted into a chemical weapons factory.) The assistance for the ammunition factory was "justified" on the grounds that it's water storage system was being used as a resource for the city, and that for the chemical factory was "justified" on the basis of the fact that it was capable of producing fertilizers needed for the locally grown crops.

In light of these developments, by the Fall of 1993, the Bosnian Serb High Command in Pale had concluded that it was only a matter of time before the Bosnian Muslims would attempt a military offensive from Gorazde. Since the main military build-up was in the city itself, especially in the eastern part of the enclave, it was assumed that the main thrust of such an offensive would be eastward, in the direction of Serbia.

* * *

The Winter of 1993-94 was harsh in eastern Bosnia, and the shipment of goods into the besieged Muslim pockets, including Gorazde, remained difficult until mid-March. Nonetheless, there were reports of Bosnian Muslim military activity in the Gorazde area as early as the first couple of weeks of February 1994. These reports were given sufficient credence to warrant a decision by Pale to begin moving Bosnian Serb reinforcements into eastern Bosnia. However, even as late as mid-March 1994 most Bosnian Serb forces were still concentrated in central Bosnia - away from the Gorazde pocket.

In the meantime, in March 1994, there was a significant reorganization of the Bosnian Muslim armed forces in anticipation of the last phase of Sarajevo's preparations for the 1994 Spring/ Summer offensive against the Bosnian Serbs. Sarajevo considered the offensive to be the key to its efforts to draw the West into the Balkan War on the side of the Muslims, and in this connection the battle in Gorazde was be the opening salvo for the offensive.

Indeed, the chain of command of the Bosnian Muslim forces in Gorazde clearly demonstrates the significance that Sarajevo attached to the city. The main Bosnian Muslim unit in Gorazde was the 2nd Brigade (over 2,000 troops), answering directly to the 1st Corps, also known as the East Bosnian Operations Group, in Sarajevo. Sarajevo also deployed to Gorazde a number of Mujahideen and Islamist Commandoes operating under the 1st Tactical Group. In addition, deployed to Gorazde were several Special Forces teems comprised of the best formations of the 'Delta' and 'Laste' units. This entire force was rounded out by units drawn from the local population and organized by the Interior Ministry and was, in turn, augmented by Troops of the Interior Ministry who were highly trained and politically dedicated.

Further, in early April 1994, as the fighting around Gorazde developed into a Bosnian Serb attack on two main axes (south and east) with an additional thrust from the north, the main Muslim forces were reorganized into the 2nd Brigade (eastern approaches) and the 31st Brigade (southern approaches), as well as the Special Forces under centralized command. Later still, a third "Brigade" was established on an ad hoc basis to meet the northern thrust. Altogether, the Bosnian Muslims had in Gorazde at the beginning of the siege around 5,000 regular troops and over 5,000 militia and Interior Ministry troops. In addition there was an undetermined number of armed volunteers for the defense of various buildings. Taken together, the Bosnian Muslim command had a total of 12,000 to 15,000 armed men in Gorazde, with 8,000 troops in three organized Brigade-type units.

Against this backdrop, in the first two weeks of March, the Gorazde front was unusually quiet, with Bosnian Muslim forces remaining uncharacteristically passive even as fighting erupted elsewhere in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Yet, even still, there were indications that preparations were being made for major actions in the Gorazde pocket. As before, such preparations would not have been possible without the acquiescence of the UN.

Indeed, there is evidence that humaanitariarn aid convoys, sanctioned by the UN, assisted in the transfer of equipment and goods to Gorazde. For example, on 14 March, Bosnian Serb inspection teams in the Sokolac heliport discovered an attempt to smuggle electronic equipment, hard currency and Bosnian Government documents into Gorazde. (Since Gorazde is surrounded, the money may have been intended for use in cross-front line special operations and smuggling.)

* * *

In any case, as of mid March 1994 there was a significant increase in forward reconnaissance patrols by Bosnian Muslim Special Force. Many of these patrols were armed reconnaissance missions prodding the Bosnian Serb defenses through localized attacks. As it turned out, these attacks on the Bosnian Serb positions were the prelude for a full fledged assault. Thus, on 20 March 1994, the Bosnian Muslims opened artillery fire from the Gorazde pocket on Bosnian Serb positions between Foca and Cajnice, shattering a previously negotiated ceasefire.

Over the next few days there was an escalation in the Bosnian Muslim attacks, including major attacks by infantry assault groupings with fire support from mortars and small caliber automatic guns. By the 25th, the Bosnian Muslim activities had become a major region-wide offensive. As already noted, the main thrust of this offensive was aimed at a gap between Foca and Cajnice, merely 17-15 kms from the center of Gorazde which, if secured, would serve as an ideal invasion route into Montenegro. (Both Belgrade and Pale insist that the strategic aim of the Muslim offensive was to cross the Serb border in order to involve Serbia in the war in Bosnia-Hercegovira, thus creating a justification for Western military action against Belgrade.)

In any case, the Bosnian Serbs were caught unprepared and it was not until 28 and 29 March that their reinforcements reached the Foca and Cajnice area. By that point, the Bosnian Muslim forces had penetrated 5-7 kms into the Serb lines, a thin Special Forces spearhead reaching as deep as 10 kms. Subsequently, the Bosnian Serbs deployed their artillery and began shelling the rear area of the Muslim forces, mainly in the southern outskirts of Gorazde along the Drina river. Initially short of ground forces, the Bosnian Serbs were able to block the Muslims' advance with heavy artillery fire. Furthermore, the Bosnian Serb High Command decided to conserve its arriving infantry forces for a counteroffensive, and instead concentrated on inflicting attrition on the Bosnian Muslim units.

Meanwhile, on March 28, sensing that a Bosnian Serb counter-offensive was imminent, Sarajevo began a propaganda campaign focused or Bosnian Serb artillery attacks against civilians in Gorazde. It was the first time the Bosnian Muslims had raised issue of the humanitarian situation in Gorazde, and it would, time, come to represent a pattern.

Subsequently, or 29 March, the Bosnian Serb forces launched a major counteroffensive on the right bank of the Drina river, between Osanica and Ustipraca in the general direction of Cajnice. The Bosnian Serbs used artillery, tanks, and infantry and soon breached the Muslim lines. Muslim sources claimed that Serb reinforcements were arriving from across the Serb border, but this could not be independently confirmed and both Pale and Zagreb vehemently denied the allegation.

In point of fact, there were troop movements in Montenegro because Belgrade had ordered the reinforcement of its forces in the Montenegro-Bosnia border area. However, there is no independent evidence that any of these forces actually crossed the border into Bosnia, or that they had participated in the fighting in any other form up to that date.

On 30 March, the Bosnian Serbs began their counteroffense with infantry and tank attacks supported by massive artillery fire from both small caliber automatic guns and howitzers. The main accomplishment of this operation was the containment of the Bosnian Muslim advance. However, soon afterward, the Bosnian Serb forces began themselves moving toward Gorazde along the Praca valley, slowly pushing back the Bosnian Muslim bulge.

Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb reinforcements deployed all around the Gorazde pocket, especially from the north and south-east, and began preparations for a major assault in the hopes of seizing at least one of the main roads leading from east of the Drina River to the Adriatic. For its part, Sarajevo propaganda alleged that sizable reinforcements from Serbia proper were being deployed for the conduct of this offensive.

In any case, at about the time when it was clear to Sarajevo that its forces would not be able to maintain their offensive, a propaganda blitz about the fate of the civilians in Gorazde began. The campaign was not without effect, for the plight of the civilians in Gorazde, especially the children, rapidly became a major issue in the international media.

Indeed, or 30 March, the US Ambassador to the United Nations Organization, Ms. Madeleine Albright, and Gen. John Shalikashvili, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, arrived in Sarajevo for an unprecedented visit aimed at demonstrating US support for the plight of the Bosnian Muslims. In the aftermath of this visit, President Izetbegovic and his closest aides became convinced that the US Government was determined to ensure a Muslim victory in the war even if that meant American participation in the fighting.

Indeed, it has been reliably reported that the leaders in Sarajevo concluded that what was needed to get America involved in the war on its side was a major traumatic event that would galvanize American public opinion and drive Washington to intervene militarily in the Balkans. Thus, over the next few weeks, Sarajevo would use the fighting in Gorazde in an attempt to instigate such a US intervention.

In the meantime, on the morning of 31 March, in order to reduce the Bosnian Serb pressure, the Bosnian Muslims attempted a counter-offensive of their own in the direction of Cajnice. Special reinforcements of Bosnian Muslim infantry were rushed overnight to the front to support this action which it was hoped, if successful, would put the Bosnian Muslim forces once more on the short road into Serbia proper.

Sarajevo assumed, correctly as it turned out, that under such circumstances the Bosnian Serbs would divert forces to block the Muslims before they reached the border and crossed into Serbia. For its part, Sarajevo hoped that it would be sufficient for its forces merely to reach, without actually crossing, the border to provoke the Serbian Army to enter the fighting. In the event, the Bosnian Muslim forces failed to breach the Bosnian Serb lines and began to retreat. Subsequently, the Bosnian Serbs shelled the Bosnian Muslim reinforcements throughout their withdrawal into Gorazde.

Meanwhile, the main Bosnian Serb counteroffensive began on 31st March. Newly arrived forces, still haphazardly organized, began advancing toward the Gorazde pocket from several directions. The Bosnian Serbs used artillery fire both to cover the advance of their infantry and to shell the Muslim rear, including the town itself. Because of the small size of Gorazde, the Bosnian Muslim Army began using the tallest buildings in town, especially the roof of the hospital, as observation posts and command centers for directing their artillery against the advancing Bosnian Serbs. The Bosnian Serb artillery sought to silence these facilities and therefore fired upon the hospital despite the propaganda ramifications that such an action entailed. In any case, by the end of 31 March, the arriving Bosnian Serb forces, although still unorganized, had completed the encirclement of the Gorazde pocket

On April 1, the better organized Bosnian Serb forces began rolling back the Bosnian Muslim bulge, capturing most of the territory gained in the Muslim offensive. The containment of this offensive convinced Sarajevo that its strategic gambit in the Gorazde area was already doomed from the military point of view. Therefore, Sarajevo shifted its emphasis in this crisis from a mission to secure a strategic-military objective (getting Serbia involved in the Bosnian war) to the more explicitly political-military objective of getting the U.S involved. Indeed, on 1 April, the Bosnian Prime Minister, Harris Silajdzic, began urging Western/US/UN active intervention against the Bosnian Serbs in order to prevent a "humanitarian tragedy" in Gorazde.

In the meantime, on 2 April, the Bosnian Serb forces continued to push back the Bosnian Muslim bulge. With a growing number of senior officers in the area, the Bosnian Serb forces were becoming better organized and therefore more effective. Consequently, the Bosnian Serbs began gravitating toward two main axes of advance on Gorazde, from the east and from the south.

On 3 and 4 April, the Bosnian Muslims decided to exploit this concentration of the Bosnian Serb forces by trying to disrupt their balance through attacks from other directions. Therefore, a series of hastily organized offensives was launched from inside the Gorazde pocket. The first offensive was westward in the direction of the road to Sarajevo. This maneuver was launched not in the slim hope of breaking the siege, but mainly in order to draw Bosnian Serb forces away from their advance on Gorazde. (It was assumed in Sarajevo that the UN would soon break the siege even though the Bosnian Serbs would not permit humanitarian aid convoys to reach Gorazde.)

The other Muslim offensive moved northward, toward Zepa, in tandem with the Bosnian Serb southward offensive. Here the idea was for the Muslim force to encircle the Bosnian Serb spearhead that had just begun advancing toward the Pobjeda ammunition factory. If successful, the Bosnian Muslim Special Forces would be in a position to hit the Bosnian Serb forces from the flanks and rear. As it was, the Bosnian Muslims committed a force that was too small to accomplish its intended objectives and its success was therefore negligible. Meanwhile, the Bosnian Serbs continued to push reinforcements of infantry and trucks into what was rapidly escalating into a major battle.

Meanwhile, in late March, on the order of the Sarajevo High Command, Special Forces (reconnaissance-intelligence units) of the East Bosnian Operations Group -- components of the Delta and Laste Special Forces units -- were deployed to Gorazde by infiltrating them on foot through Serb-held territory. Subsequently, the Bosnian Muslim Special Forces in Gorazde were regrouped into detachments, including a mix of both Bosnian Muslims and 'Afghan' Mujahideen.

By the first days of April these forces began operating against the Bosnian Serb columns advancing from the Foca area. In one of their first operations they attacked a convoy of 30 trucks carrying -- according to Sarajevo -- Russian and Romanian mercenaries arriving from Serbia. Meanwhile, the Bosnians continued to blame the Bosnian Serbs for indiscriminately bombing Gorazde.

On April 4, emboldened by the early success of their special operations, Sarajevo decided to use irregular warfare in a strategic attempt to reverse the collapse of the Bosnian Muslim offensive. Detachments of Bosnian Muslim Special Forces (both Bosnian Muslims and 'Afghan' Mujahideen) advanced from Podkozare, Paljike and Oglecevo in the direction of the Foca-Cajnice salient. Their mission was to attack Bosnian Serb forces in rear in order to slow their pressure on the remnants of the original bulge. When clashes erupted, the Bosnian Muslim units provided their Special Forces with fire cover from light artillery and mortars. Fierce but localized infantry and artillery clashes ensued and the Special Forces were compelled to withdraw to their start line.

It was only on the night of 4 April that the Muslims finally abandoned their or final plan to advance toward Cajnice. That evening they began pulling their forces back from the bulge and into the confines of Gorazde. The Bosnian Serbs were slow to exploit this success, as well as reluctant to change the main axis of their own advance which was from the east.

Meanwhile, also on 4 April, the Bosnian Serb forces began advancing westward toward the east bank of the Drina, capturing several villages and turning them into fortified areas. For their part, the Bosnian Muslims evacuated all civilians except for those capable of rendering service to the military and interior ministry forces. In the meantime, the Bosnian Serb forces -- infantry escorted by a few tanks - continued their slow but steady advance under intense fire support (artillery and MBRL) barrages. At this point the Bosnian Muslim defense lines began to crumble. (The Bosnian Serb assault forces, according to Sarajevo, was composed of 50 tanks. This suggests a reinforcement of under 15 tanks, taking the Serb losses into consideration.)

Despite the active resistance of the Bosnian Muslims all around Gorazde, the Bosnian Serbs continued their own renewed offensive on the night of 4 and 5 April. On the road to Sarajevo, the local Bosnian Serb forces were able to contain and then defeat the Bosnian Muslim assault after a brief yet fierce clash. The Bosnian Muslim detachments then withdrew back behind their lines, but the Bosnian Serb forces were too small to give chase and the action was broken off.

In the meantime, in the northern corridor, Bosnian Serb Special Forces began moving against their Muslim counte-parts. The Serbs ambushed the Muslims, neutralizing them to some degree, thereby allowing the main Bosnian Serb advance toward the ammunition factory to proceed. Additional reinforcements of tanks, artillery and trucks were rushed by the Bosnian Serbs to support this advance and soon the Serb heavy guns began destroying the Pobjeda factory.

The 5th of April saw fierce infantry clashes on the eastern approaches to Gorazde as the Bosnian Serbs continued breaking through the Bosnian Muslim defense lines. In due course, the High Command in Sarajevo conceded that the Bosnian Serbs had succeeded in breaching the Bosnian Muslim defense lines to such an extent that the whole front was in danger of collapse. (Most important was the collapse o the Muslim defenses in the villages of Vinkovici and Mravici.)

It was at this point, on 5 April, that Pale began considering exploiting its counteroffensive in order to severely hit the Gorazde pocket, if not destroy it Bosnian Serb forces could reach at least one of the major strategic highways along the Drina River, and Pale was now convinced that the Muslim offensive was finally crushed. Thus, some of the Bosnian Serb truck-mounted infantry was now diverted from facing the Muslim offensive and was sent to complete a deep encirclement of the Bosnian Muslim front lines. This maneuver brought the Bosnian Serb infantry to the banks of the Drina river and signalled the beginning of yet another advance on Gorazde. By the end of the day the Bosnian Serb forces had reached between 3 and 10 kilometers from the center of Gorazde, arriving from the east and south.

The strategic decisions of Pale were reflected in the final organization of the Bosnian Serb armed forces. Pale now nominated the Chief of Staff, General Manojlo Milovanovic, as the supreme commander of the Gorazde front and immediately ordered the rushing of additional reinforcements to the eastern approaches of Gorazde in order to support and sustain the advance. By now, the Bosnian Serbs had amassed a powerful force in the area with Gen. Radovan Grubac, Commander of the Herzegovina Corps, as the senior field commander.

The Bosnian Serb forces included most of the Hercegovina Corps (which carried the main brunt of the first phase of the fighting), components of the Uzice Corps (that would arrive in early April) and the Sarajevo-Mt.Romanija corps (impacting on the Gorazde pocket from the west but not involved in the main action), as well as Special Forces from the Nis area. At the beginning of the counteroffensive the Bosnian Serbs had around 5,000 high quality troops, and by mid-April this number had reached some 7,000. The Bosnian Serb forces also had a few thousand paramilitary and militia troops, organized in small units, for auxiliary tasks.

Meanwhile, the Bosnian Muslim Special Forces and other elite units began attempting to infiltrate the Bosnian Serb lines from Sarajevo in order to link up with Gorazde. These attempts developed into a hot pursuit operation and involved clashes with Bosnian Serb forces in the mountains surrounding Sarajevo. Subsequently, Sarajevo complained to the UN that the Bosnian Serbs were violating the ceasefire and the NAT0 ultimatum.

On 6 April, large units of Bosnian Serb forces began their advance from the Cajnice and Foca salient toward the Drina river.

Ultimately, the Serbs came within a half a kilometer of Vitkovici. Meanwhile as the Bosnian Serbs were consolidating their advance through the breaches of the Muslim lines, they brought more artillery pieces - heavy and automatic small caliber -- to forward positions and began hitting greater parts of Gorazde.

All this time, Bosnian Serb infantry continued to mop up pockets of resistance in the fortified areas captured from the Bosnian Muslim forces. There was extremely bad weather that day, including 10 hours of snowfall, which slowed down activity in the northern approaches to Gorazde. Still, the shelling of Gorazde persisted.

During the night of 6 April and early morning of 7 April, Bosnian Serb forces continued their advance northward. By morning the Serbs had consolidated positions on the banks of the Drina river near Vitkovici, some 4 kilometers from Gorazde itself. Meanwhile, the Bosnian Muslim defense lines in the Oglecevo zone collapsed and the Gorazde command ordered the evacuation of its positions in that area.

Also on 6 April the double character of Sarajevo's depiction of events in Gorazde became clear. On the one hand, Sarajevo was presenting an impression to the Western media that a near defenseless Gorazde, full of civilians and innocents, was on the brink of collapse. On the other hand, the government propaganda depicted for domestic consumption a case of heroic and successful combat by the Muslim troops defending Gorazde against a Serb offensive. While admitting the collapse of certain defense lines, Sarajevo nevertheless stressed that the Muslim defenders were inflicting "heavy losses" on the Serbs.

Significantly, the Sarajevo propaganda also introduced, for the first time, explicit demands that the West intervene militarily to save the city. In fact, Sarajevo introduced the theme of Western intervention because it already knew that the US, UNPROFOR, and NATO, had decided to create in Gorazde circumstances permitting NATO airstrikes within the confines of the existing UN resolutions and guidelines.

Thus, on 7 April, the UN deployed 8 soldiers to Gorazde in order to give itself a legal pretext for its planned airstrikes. (Under the existing UN Resolutions, military action could only be undertaken to defend UN personnel.) Furthermore, the troops deployed by the UN belonged to the British elite SAS who were qualified and specially equipped to call in and direct airstrikes. In other words, UNPROFOR deployed at one stroke both the excuse and the means to deliver airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs. In addition, 7 UN liaison officers were also deployed to the Bosnian Muslim forces in Gorazde. No attempt was made to deploy a comparable force of UN liaison officers with the Bosnian Serbs.

Meanwhile, after hectic negotiations between UNPROFOR, Sarajevo and Pale, the Bosnian Serbs agreed to a ceasefire. On the evening of 5 April, the Bosnian Serbs ceased the shelling. "Gorazde is no longer under attack since 1800 local time," UN spokesman Joe Sills announced. However, the Bosnian Muslims complained that the Bosnian Serb forces were continuing to advance, consolidate and improve their positions virtually until the last moment of the fighting.

Nonetheless, the next day even Radio Sarajevo admitted that the Bosnian Serb shelling of Gorazde had "abated somewhat" even though, the Muslims insisted, the Bosnian Serbs continued to violate the ceasefire. Perhaps unsurprisingly, by nightfall the ceasefire had all but collapsed with both Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Muslim forces provoking each other into exchanges of gunfire. At the same time, Sarajevo resumed its propaganda accounts of intense Bosnian Serb shelling and mounting civilian casualties. It was at this point that the saga of the Gorazde hospital began.

The night of 7-8 April saw the first large scale use of Bosnian Serb Special Forces. They crossed the Muslim defense lines from south to east of Gorazde and began attacking the Muslims from the rear. The Serbs created havoc and hastened the collapse of Muslim defense positions in some areas. Later, on 8 April, the Bosnian Serb infantry forces overwhelmed the defenders of Oglecevo after a fierce battle and then proceeded to clear Vitkovici.

On 9 April, the Bosnian Serb forces advancing from the east were finally able to reach and seize a strategic plateau overlooking Gorazde called Mount Gradina. Although there are easy approach routes from there into Gorazde, the Bosnian Serbs did not show any inclination to continue into the city itself. Instead, they began to consolidate their position, organize fire observation posts and prepare the area for the arrival of their artillery. Indeed, UNPROFOR concluded that the Bosnian Serbs did not want to take Gorazde and estimated that, in any case, the Serbs were already holding 75% of the territory of the original Gorazde pocket.

Meanwhile, Bosnian Muslim Special Forces raided Bosnian Serb positions, instigating a Bosnian Serb shelling of Gorazde. This incident was depicted by the Western media in Sarajevo as an example of Bosnian Serb aggression against innocent civilians in Gorazde. Indeed, special attention was paid to the frequent fire aimed at the hospital -- which was also the main Muslim observation and battle management post - to drum up support for Western action against the Serbs. Subsequently, the UN and NATO were asked to launch airstrikes in order to protect the UN troops that had been inserted into Gorazde.

It is also noteworthy that on 9 April the Bosnian Serbs agreed to a UNPROFOR initiative to begin ceasefire negotiations in the Sarajevo airport. The Bosnian Muslims refused to attend this meeting.

On 10 April, Bosnian Serb forces continued to advance slowly, mainly consolidating positions and accomplishing tactical improvements. These forces were also able to complete the capture of a few Bosnian Serb villages on the approaches to Gorazde. The Bosnian Serb forces were now only some 6 kms from Gorazde and were increasing their effort to advance in the direction of Metvici and the ammunition factory.

At this point, the road was opened for the Bosnian Serbs to capture a major Muslim stronghold in Uhotici Brdo, some 700 m from the Drina, a key to the defense of the southern approaches to Gorazde. Subsequently, the Bosnian Serbs destroyed the bridge over the Drina at Sadba, complicating any effort to resupply Gorazde. Another bridge, at Bacci, was damaged by Bosnian Serb artillery and Bosnian Serb Special Forces crossed the Drina to the west bank of the river for the first time on 10 April. All this time the shelling of Gorazde itself continued.

The NATO bombing raids, carried out by US fighters, were conducted on 10 and 11 April against Bosnian Serb positions in the Gorazde area. The UK SAS FACs guiding the strike aircraft were within visual range of the intended objectives and the bombings were clearly aimed at stopping the Bosnian Serb advance on Gorazde. Nevertheless, undaunted, the Bosnian Serbs continued their shelling of Gorazde. Sarajevo used the Bosnian Serb defiance to justify the second raid.

Significantly, even though the airstrikes were officially launched in order to protect the lives of the UNPROFOR personnel in Gorazde, there is some evidence of coordination with, or at the least advance knowledge among the Bosnian Muslim forces that these strikes were coming. For example, Bosnian Serb military intelligence claims that the Muslim forces in Gorazde and Sarajevo were discussing both air raids by radio about four hours before the raids were actually launched. Indeed, Bosnian Muslim Special Forces deployed to advanced positions in the areas to be bombed in order to be ready to exploit the confusion caused to the Serbs by the NATO attacks.

It was at this point that UNPROFOR arranged for another ceasefire on 11 April. At first, the Bosnian Serb artillery honored the ceasefire and UNPROFOR acknowledged that the Bosnian Serbs were holding their fire. However, soon afterward, several Muslim raids were finally answered by the Bosnian Serbs. A clash ensued and quickly escalated into a firelight that included the use of artillery and mortars on both sides. Frustrated and defiant, Pale announced that it was no longer recognizing Gorazde as a safe zone and proceeded to order the resumption of fighting and shelling.

Thus, on 12 April, the Bosnian Serbs resumed their pressure on Gorazde. At the same time, the Serb infantry was expediting preparations for a major offensive. Indeed, the movement of fresh forces toward, and the regrouping of, the locally deployed forces suggested preparations for a major thrust into the Gorazde pocket. In response, the Bosnian Muslim forces attempted a localized counterattack southward along the Drina river but were contained by the Bosnian Serbs. The Bosnian Muslims also opened artillery and mortar fire from inside Gorazde. Exchanges of fire ensued and reports of civilian casualties inside Gorazde increased.

Meanwhile, deep raids by Bosnian Serb Special Forces continued increase both in number and in the depth of their penetration major byproduct of these Serb efforts was that Gorazde had to divert several of its own Special Forces to hunt their Bosnian Serb counterparts inside the Muslim held area rather than raid behind the Bosnian Serb lines. The aggregate impact of the continued Bosnian Serb shelling and special operations brought Gorazde near to collapse.

Thus, by 13 April, the fighting near Gorazde had become completely politicized with a fundamental difference between the objectives of UNPROFOR and those of the Bosnian Government becoming manifest. The UN was determined to arrange a ceasefire so that the killing of civilians inside Gorazde would be stopped. By contrast, Sarajevo, with massive support from the US, was adamant on reversing its military defeat -- itself a result of the failure of the Bosnian Muslims' own offensive -- through "diplomatic processes," namely, international pressure on the Bosnian Serbs. Therefore, it was in Sarajevo's own interest to ensure that the ceasefires collapsed as that would increase the pressure on the Serbs to withdraw and on the West to launch military action against the Serbs.

Indeed, a cyclic routine aimed at instigating a major Western intervention on behalf of the Bosnian Muslims now developed in Gorazde. It went as follows: At first, the Bosnian Serbs declared a unilateral ceasefire, negotiating details with UNPROFOR. The Serb forces would then cease fire - more or less, given their endemic problems with command control over the various militias. Then the Bosnian Muslims would provoke the Bosnian Serbs with mortar attacks, special raids, etc. Within a short time the Bosnian Serb forces would respond, sending a massive barrage into Gorazde. In due course, the Western media would then report unprovoked Bosnian Serb shelling of the civilian population, which would then prompt the US/UN/NATO to threaten military action. The Bosnian Serbs would then agree to declare a new unilateral ceasefire and the whole cycle would begin again.

At least initially, UNPROFOR seemed to recognize this pattern. For example, Gen. Rose, the UN ground commander, asked the Muslims "to stop their provocations in Gorazde." Indeed, in an interview with French TV (TF-1) on April 12, Gen. Rose acknowledged that the Muslims "shoot on the Serbs to step up the pressure and to obtain a fresh intervention from NATO."

Nevertheless, faced with repeated threats of airstrikes, as well as intense NATO air activities around Gorazde, the Bosnian Serb High Command in Pale ordered that NATO aircraft involved in such activities be considered as legitimate targets. By now, the NATO aircraft, mainly US strike aircraft, were repeatedly conducting "dry runs," that is simulated strikes, aimed at deterring and stopping Bosnian Serb troop movements. Since no ordinance was actually dropped, such "maneuvers" were permitted by the "letter" of the UN/NATO mandate, although their clear objective to harass the Bosnian Serbs was stretching it a bit.

Against this backdrop, on 13 April, fighting around Gorazde was limited to localized infantry clashes, mainly attempts by both sides to make tactical adjustments and prevent the other side from doing the same. In this context, the Bosnian Serb shelling of Gorazde was limited to brief but intense responses to Muslim provocations. However, on 14 April, there was a major escalation of the Bosnian Muslim provocation effort, as well as in the Bosnian Serb response to it, that was both militarily futile and politically disastrous.

What transpired went as follows: The Bosnian Muslim forces, including a majority of their mortars and artillery, were concentrated next to the facilities of the Red Cross - a clearly marked building in the center of Gorazde. When the Muslim infantry launched a series of coordinated localized attacks on the Bosnian Serb forces advancing northward on both banks of the Drina river, infantry fighting and clashes soon expanded along the entire front line east of Gorazde. All this time, the attacking Bosnian Muslim infantry were provided with intense fire support from the mortars and small caliber automatic guns deployed in the immediate vicinity of the Red Cross building.

Needless to say, it did not take long for the Bosnian Serbs to reach to this action. In due course, the Bosnian Serb infantry, with direct fire support from tanks and small caliber guns, after hours of intense fighting, were able to block and reverse the Bosnian Muslim attacks. Indeed, in some sectors, the local Bosnian Serb commanders exploited the collapse of the Bosnian Muslim attacks to make local advances with their own forces, tightening the siege on Gorazde. An outgrowth of this was the link-up of all Bosnian Serb forces advancing from the south and southeast so that a unified thrust was formed.

Once that was done, the Bosnian Serbs directed their attention on the source of the long-range fire being aimed at them from the area of the Red Cross building. Thus, Bosnian Serb artillery began intense counter-battery fire into the concentration of Bosnian Muslim fire, hitting the Red Cross building in the process. Other Bosnian Serb guns shelled Gorazde itself.

The moment Bosnian Serb shells began falling in the vicinity of the Red Cross building, the Muslim propaganda machine went into action. "Ham radio" reports out of Gorazde began giving accounts of intentional Bosnian Serb shelling of the hospital and the Red Cross building. These reports came in addition to the regular reports of heavy casualties among the civilian population. Needless to say, Sarajevo capitalized on these reports to coax the UN/NATO into taking further military action against the Bosnian Serb forces.

Or 15 April, realizing that the fighting in the Gorazde area was only going to escalate, Pale ordered the Bosnian Serb forces to resume their advance on the city. The primary objective was to establish Bosnian Serb control over the eastern bank of the Drina so that at least one of the highways to the Adriatic would remain under Bosnian Serb control. Consequently, the Bosnian Serb forces advancing from the east resumed their attack.

By the end of the next day (16 April) the Serbs had completed the capture of two strategic peaks -- Gradina and Jartiste -- located some 5 kms east of Gorazde. This area was the launching place for the main Bosnian Muslim offensive in the direction of Cajnice and also benefited from the fact that it was an ideal site for launching long range artillery fire.

In mid April, with Gorazde seemingly on the verge of collapse, NATO air operations and related military activities intensified. The British SAS teams significantly expanded the zone of their infiltratlon activities in order to identify, locate and mark Bosnian Serb targets for subsequent air attacks. On 15 April, one team operating in the Jabuka Sedlo mountain pass deep inside Bosnian Serb territory clashed with a local Bosnian Serb unit. One of the SAS troops was killed and another wounded in the ensuing firefight.

Meanwhile, NATO aircraft also expanded their reconnaissance and simulated strikes against Bosnian Serb forces in the Gorazde area as the Bosnian Serbs, in turn, continued firing on NATO aircraft. One 15 April, the Bosnian Serbs hit a French Super Etendard IV-P on a reconnaissance mission. Or 16 April, a Sea Harrier from the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal was shot down as it was attempting, along with several U.S. A-lOs, to strike (still conducting preparatory dry runs) Serb positions. The Sea Harrier was shot down with an SA-7, and the pilot bailed out safely and landed inside Gorazde.

Subsequently, the Bosnian Serbs denied shooting down the British warplane. Indeed, the Bosnian Serb High Command insists that Muslim forces shot down the Sea Harrier. They point out that the aircraft was shot over Gorazde itself and that the the pilot landed in the middle of the Muslim area. Furthermore, Bosnian Serb military intelligence claims to have intercepted a message from the High Command in Gorazde to the General Staff in Sarajevo informing them of the successful completion of the order to shoot down a NATO plane.

Whatever the truth of the matter was, soon afterward several US and UK planes launched simulated bombing and strafing runs over the Bosnian Serb forces around Gorazde that were so realistic that even the UNPROFOR spokesman in Sarajevo first described them as actual bombing raids in retaliation for the downing of the Sea Harrier. It was only a few hours later that UNPROFOR rushed to deny its own announcement, stressing that no ordinance was actually dropped in the course of these airstrikes.

Meanwhile, UN observers were randomly deployed in the forward Bosnian Muslim positions, at times only 500 meters from the front line, without any advance warning to the Bosnian Serb side. Consequently, UNPROFOR personnel would suddenly appear in a Bosnian Muslim position in the middle of a firefight demanding that the Bosnian Serbs hold their fire or else risk NATO airstrikes. In other cases, the Muslims simulated a bogus UNPROFOR presence, trying to affect a unilateral Bosnian Serb cessation of fire the moment things went bad for themselves.

Against this backdrop, around 15 April, Sarajevo's propaganda campaign began to significantly intensify. The leaders of Sarajevo began complaining to the world media that the UN was not protecting the innocent in Gorazde -- overlooking the fact that such action was never contemplated in the UN mandate -- and began urging resolute armed intervention against the Bosnian Serbs. At the same time, reports of atrocities in Gorazde continued to flow in along with calls for help from the city.

In the meantime, the Bosnian Serbs were firmly holding all the strategic points surrounding Gorazde and their forces were ready to launch an advance into the city proper if instructed to do so. However, at this point, the Bosnian Serb leadership was still against such a move. Instead, the local Serb forces were instructed to send in patrols to map and test the defenses of Gorazde.

Some of these Bosnian Serb patrols, usually comprising an infantry platoon with 1 or 2 tanks, were able to enter the city itself, though they normally withdrew after a short rime In addition, Bosnian Serb Special Forces deployed in the immediate vicinity of the town, directing sniper fire at Bosnian Muslim military personnel in order to prevent the Muslims from directing their forces. Even though the highest levels at Pale repeatedly assured the UN that they had no intention of seizing Gorazde, the Sarajevo propaganda machine continued to warn of the imminent fall of the city.

In this context, on 17 April, in a passionate speech on radio Sarajevo, Izetbegovic called on the defenders of Gorazde to hold out despite the intense casualties they were suffering. At the same time the Bosnian government continued to urge the West/US/UN/NATO to launch airstrikes on the Bosnian Serbs near Gorazde.

Meanwhile, by about this time, the Bosnian Serbs had developed a routine for dealing with the Gorazde situation militarily. The Bosnian Serb forces would conduct a combination of sporadic shelling and prodding patrols in and out of Gorazde, at times getting close to center of the city in order to demonstrate their ability to take it at will. These operations were augmented in raids by the Bosnian Serb Special Forces that would be undertaken during the night. The aggregate impact of such tactics proved highly effective at increasing the level of tension among the Muslim forces in Gorazde while requiring only minimal effort by the Bosnian Serbs themselves. The Bosnian Serbs also concentrated or better dispersing and camouflaging their equipment in view of the intensifying NAT0 air reconnaissance and simulated strikes.

Then, on 17 April, pursuant to their own unilateral ceasefire, the Bosnian Serbs withdrew their main tanks and guns to a distance of 3 kms from the hospital area. The Bosnian Muslim forces exploited the absence of the heavy guns and opened fire on the Bosnian Serb positions, and in two strategic sectors -- the approaches to Ustiprica and Kopaci -- tried to launch infantry attacks to seize the Bosnian Serb positions. The Bosnian Serbs responded by shelling and deploying tanks back to their positions, effectively negating their promise of a ceasefire and unilateral disengagement.

However, in the aftermath of one Bosnian Muslim infantry attack, Bosnian Serbs counterattacked and seized strategically located Biserna Hill, thus assuring their control over the entire east bank of the Drina all the way to the approaches to Gorazde itself. The forward Bosnian Serb units established positions virtually inside Gorazde, while in the north the withdrawal of Bosnian Serb forces toward Kopaci was reversed and the tanks and infantry stormed the Bosnian Muslim positions, penetrating deeply through their defensive lines.

With the Bosnian Muslims complaining of ammunition shortages, the Bosnian Serbs insisted on thorough inspection of humanitarian convoys before they were allowed to go to Gorazde through the Bosnian Serb lines. Considering that the UN had been instrumental in building the Bosnian Muslim forces in Gorazde, it was not an illogical demand. However, Sarajevo would hear nothing of it, stressing that it would not permit convoys "to be tampered with" by the Bosnian Serbs to enter Gorazde. An impasse developed and the Bosnian propaganda machine intensified its outcries of a humanitarian disaster in Gorazde, citing huge numbers of wounded and fatalities.

Meanwhile, on 18 April, Karadzic promised to implement yet another unilateral ceasefire and withdraw some of his heavy weapons 3 kms away from the outskirts of Gorazde as the first phase of a regional ceasefire. Once again, soon after the Bosnian Serb withdrawal began, the Bosnian Muslim forces opened fire on the Bosnian Serb positions, and again the Bosnian Serbs turned around and resumed their shelling.

Also on 13 April, the Bosnian Muslims established a new long-range fire position in a five story building that had been used previously by UNPROFOR observers. Indeed, the UN was still using the 5th floor facility while the Bosnian Muslims fortified the 3rd and 4th floors. (The Bosnian Muslims established fire positions for heavy machine guns on the 4th floor, and for automatic small caliber guns on the 3rd. Ultimately, the Bosnian Muslims would even go so far as to establish a fire control and command post on the 5th floor.) Firing from this building enabled the Bosnian Muslims to extend the range of their weapons. Not surprisingly, it was not long before the Bosnian Serbs were accused or deliberately attacking a UN facility.

Beginning on l9 April, the overall situation was further complicated when the Bosnian Serbs yet again tried to implement a unilateral ceasefire and withdraw 3 kms from the center of Gorazde. Under extreme pressure from Pale, the local Bosnian Serb commanders finally restrained their forces, gradually reducing the level and intensity of their operations.

In this connection, a problem developed regarding the locally recruited Bosnian Serb militias. Many of the troops in these militias had been recruited from Gorazde and nearby villages that had been overrun by Muslim forces in 1992. Now returning to their destroyed villages, these troops were supposed to serve as a home guard and police force for the Bosnian Serbian rear. However, with the main Bosnian Serb forces being withdrawn, these militiamen suddenly found themselves at the front where, needless to say, they could not resist firing (mainly small arms) at their Muslim adversaries.

These Serb militia were the source of numerous ceasefire violations from the Bosnian Serb side as the Serb commanders had difficulty controlling and restraining them. Thus, these militiamen turned into a serious political problem for the Bosnian Serbs. Indeed, the Pale command should have known better than to deploying such units to the front, but senior officials in Pale insisted that they had no choice.

In the meantime, on 20 April, Pale reiterated the Bosnian Serb commitment to the conditions of the unilateral cease fire and partial withdrawal, and agreed to the deployment of 100 UNPROFOR personnel to observe the ceasefire. Nonetheless, reacting to reports of widespread civil an casualties and damage, NATO "considered in a favorable light" the request by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary-General, for wider airstrikes to protect not just Sarajevo and Gorazde, but all six "safe areas" declared by the UN.

In the meantime, on 20 April, the Bosnian Serbs continued to have difficulties implementing their ceasefire due to Bosnian Muslim provocations and their own uncontrollable militiamen. The Bosnian Muslim forces fired intense but brief barrages from their positions in the UN building, near the Red Cross building, and similar sites, instigating the inevitable Bosnian Serb reaction. At this time Sarajevo propaganda described the Bosnian Serb withdrawals as the massing of Serb forces for a final assault on Gorazde.

The reports of an all out Bosnian Serb offensive continued on 21 April, with the Bosnian Muslims reporting an avalanche of tanks closing in on Gorazde. Sarajevo even insisted that surface to surface missiles had been fired from inside Serbia into Gorazde. Nevertheless, on the basis of political discussions with the US and the West, Sarajevo was confident that NATO was about to bomb the Bosnian Serbs yet once more.

Indeed, at the point when they expected further NATO action, Muslim infantry assembled near the bridges in Gorazde and other protected forward positions, ready to launch an attack that would exploit the NATO bombings. When the Bosnian Muslims opened fire on the northern front, the Bosnian Serbs capitalized on this and launched an attack in the direction of the Pobjeda ammunition factory - concentrating their artillery fire at the facility in order to cause maximum damage before their forces were compelled to withdraw beyond firing range.

By 22 April, the Bosnian Muslim military and propaganda strategy seemed to have worked, especially since the Bosnian Serbs could not hold their fire long enough for their efforts at self-restraint to be verified. Consequently, NATO issued an ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs, warning them that they would be subjected to intense bombing if they did not implement their unilateral plan for a ceasefire.

Thus, NATO demanded that all hostilities against Gorazde were to cease immediately. The Bosnian Serb forces were to pull back 3 kms from the center of Gorazde, while pulling their heavy weapons back 20 kms. In addition, the Bosnian Serbs were to permit UN and other humanitarian convoys to travel into and out of Gorazde as well as allow the evacuation of the wounded.

At the same time, Muslim propaganda intensified as the Bosnian Serbs geared up to comply with the NATO ultimatum. Furthermore, Washington was encouraged to expand NATO military intervention on the side of the Bosnian Muslims, prompting Defense Secretary William Perry to say that the US wanted NATO warplanes to launch "vigorous raids" against Bosnian Serb targets if the Bosnian Serbs did not stop shelling the Muslim safe havens. Ultimately, by late evening of the next day, April 23, with the first UN convoy about to arrive, Sarajevo acknowledged that Bosnian Serb fire had "diminished" though it was not yet completely stopped.

Thus, or 24 April, UNPROFOR units began deploying along the demarcation line between the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Serb forces. The UN confirmed that the Bosnian Serb forces had complied their withdrawal beyond the 3 km line, and a UNPROFOR team began assessing the damage and preparing for the evacuation of thousands of wounded civilians. For their part, the Bosnian Muslims deployed Special Forces into the hills and began ambushing the withdrawing Bosnian Serb forces. In response, the Bosnian Serbs began blowing up those facilities that they considered possible launching sites for such ambushes.

However, before withdrawing, the Bosnian Serbs also blew up segments of the Pobjeda ammunition factory as well as the water pumping and cooling system for the high explosives production line. As long as the ammunition factory was not working, the besieged pocket had used water from this system for drinking, cooking and bathing. Thus, the Western media inaccurately described the Bosnian Serb action as the intentional blowing up of the water system of Gorazde.

In the meantime, due to the mountainous terrain and Muslim attacks, the Bosnian Serb withdrawal was progressing slowly, prompting NATO to request permission to launch airstrikes on the withdrawing Bosnian Serb forces. UN representative Akashi vetoed the request, stressing that the Bosnian Serbs were doing their best to comply with the UN conditions.

Indeed, on 26 April, UNPROFOR expressed its satisfaction with the Bosnian Serb compliance of the withdrawal from the Gorazde area. Still Sarajevo continued to insist that the Bosnian Serbs were violating the agreement and to demand NATO aerial bombing. Meanwhile, ambushes by Bosnian Muslim Special Forces, as well as sporadic artillery and mortar fire, continued - all in an effort to provoke a Bosnian Serb response.

On the evening of 26 April, UNPROFOR confirmed the successful completion of the pull back of the Bosnian Serb forces. The next day, UNPROFOR teams began searching the exclusion zone for concealed Bosnian Serb forces and weapons, but none were found. Nevertheless, Harris Silajdzic continued to insist that Bosnian Serb infantry forces were in Gorazde and to demand that NATO bomb them.

* * *

That said, it was now possible to objectively asses the actual situation in Gorazde. It soon became clear that the Bosnian Muslims had overstated the plight of the city. The casualty levels were far below initial reports, with UNHCR, the most responsible among these reporting sources, having initially alleged that there were 715 killed and 1970 wounded, over 600 of them serious and requiring evacuation by air. Most of these casualties, the UNHCR had stressed, were innocent civilians However, post action inspection revealed that there were some 200 fatalities and some 200 seriously wounded, 70% of them Muslim soldiers.

The extent of the damage to the hospital and other buildings, not to speak of Gorazde overall, was far below what had been anticipated on the basis of radio reports. Indeed, on 28 April, General Rose went on an inspection tour of the Gorazde enclave. He returned full of criticism of the Bosnian Muslims, adding that they had exaggerated the number of wounded and the damage done to the town in the Bosnian Serb offensive in order to instigate NATO's military intervention. General Rose stated: "The situation was a lot better than I had been led to believe. One can only be pleased at that. There was obviously damage to the town and you can't fight a battle around a town without there being damage to the town. But the town had not been destroyed to the level which I had expected."

In Sarajevo, a senior UN officer who visited Gorazde was more explicit: "Reports of Gorazde were deliberately exaggerated in order to shame the world into doing something," he told The New York Times. "The attacks were not of the dimension suggested. A false impression was given to the international community to help stir the vision of the Bosnian Serbs as the enemy and, unfortunately, all this very nearly went out of control."

The UN officer went on to warn that Gorazde would not be the last case of Sarajevo's exploitation of a military engagement to involve the West in the fighting. "The big problem is that the Muslims believe they can bring the Americans into the war," the officer said. "A dangerous overreaction was stirred up in international capitals. The talk of wider use of NATO airpower, hitting ammunition dumps and infrastructure went well across the line that would have turned the UN forces here into combatants."

Unfortunately, the warnings of this senior UN officer appear to have been all too accurate. Immediately after the publication of his remarks, UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright lodged a strong complaint with the UN Secretary-General in which, the United States Government accused "in the strongest possible terms" top UN officials in the Balkans of, in the words of the New York Times, "failing to support a more aggressive policy toward the Serbs" in Bosnia. Washington, it seems, has not yet learned the lessons of the battle of Gorazde.

by Yossef Bodansky
& Vaughn S. Forrest


This article does not have permission of the copyright by owner, but is being offered for comment, criticism and research under the "fair use" provisions of the Federal copyright laws.


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History of the Balkans

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First posted: Jan. 08, 2004