The Bosnian War

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Bosnian War (1992-1995)

Major Causes of the War

Essentially, the Bosnian war was fought because Serbs and Croats living in Bosnia wanted to annex Bosnian territory for Serbia and Croatia respectively. There were several mitigating factors in addition to ethnic tensions. The Nationalist leader of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, was pushing for what he called a "Greater Serbia". The Bosnian Croats and Muslims, fearing that Milosevic would try to take their land if they were still under Yugoslavian control, called for Bosnian independence.

Just before the war began, Radovan Karadzic created a renegade army within Bosnia with the support of Milosevic in Belgrade. In 1992, under Karadzic's leadership, Bosnian Serbs began a policy of "cleansing" large areas of Bosnia of non-Serbs. After the war, a tribunal declared that the "cleansing" was actaully genocide, and convicted Karadzic and his military commander of war crimes.

On April 6, 1992, the Bosnian Serbs began their siege of Sarajevo. Muslim, Croat, and Serb residents opposed to a Greater Serbia were cut off from food, utilities, and communication. For three years, food was scarce and the average weight loss per person was more than 30 pounds. More than 12,000 residents of Sarajevo were killed during the 43 months of siege. Throughout Bosnia, Bosnian Serb nationalists and the JNA began a program of ethnic cleansing in order to create a "pure" Serbian territory.. Entire villages were destroyedand thousands of Bosnians were driven from their homes, held in detention camps, raped, tortured, deported, or killed. Rape was a military tactic to destroy the bonds of families and communities. An international arms embargo was in effect throughout the war, preventing the Bosnian government from obtaining the heavy artillery and arms that it needed to fight the more sophisticated arsenals of the Serbian and Croatian armies.

(Above: Ethnica Majorities in Bosnia by area. Yellow: Croat; Green: Muslim; Red: Serb; Taupe: No Majority present)

 

 

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