Sports FAQ
Home / Europe Football

Bosnia- From Utopia To A Just Peace

herceg_jadran2010-05-10 14:20:48 +0000 #1
hey guys

i came across this article..its quite dated however..i think some good points a raised and i think it would be worth some time to think about

do you think this would be a good solution to have a functioning unified bih the way the article suggests? , where all constituent nations would be fairly example switzerland

or do you think the dayton bosnia is good enough or

do you think seccesion is the way to go for both croats and serbs as a solution?
herceg_jadran2010-05-10 14:26:26 +0000 #2

Utopia and Conflict

The apocalyptic conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina can no longer be explained by one-sided judgements or conspiracy theories. Bosnia means a different thing to each of its three contestants as well as to the international community who pursue their own utopian aims, turning in never ending circles. As in a conflict of this nature, there cannot be rational argument, force has been argument by different means. If this scenario is to be properly understood, one has to test these utopian aims as ideological and political hypotheses fuelling this war in order to establish their plausibility and also to uncover the hidden agendas pursued by all sides involved in this conflict.

Great Serbia

(The primitive conquest as a utopian aim)

The realisation of the utopian aim of a Great Serbia, which would include Bosnia- Hercegovina, has been tested in fire for the past four years and found to be unachievable, due to the strong reaction of the opposing forces.

Tough resistance from the Croats initially and the Muslims subsequently, coupled with encouragement by the US to the Sarajevo Government in the rejection of the EU- brokered plans, reduced the Serbian conquest in practice to less than 50% of the Bosnian-Hercegovinian territory with the ultimate aim of unification with Serbia after a stage-managed referendum. However, such unification would lead inevitably to continuous wars and thus the utopian cycle would continue.

Great Croatia

(Historical reconquest as a utopian aim)

The utopian plan for the realisation of a Great Croatia within its historical borders, i.e., including the territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina, stems from the memories that this territory belonged, de facto, to the ethnic and statehood sphere of the Croatian medieval fiefdoms. Thus, there is an enormous difference between the Croatian and the Serbian claim on Bosnia. The Croats in Bosnia are almost 100% indigenous, unlike the Muslims and even less like the Serbs. President Izetbegovic (of Turkish origin) and Vice President Ganic (of Serbian origin) are very good examples of this phenomenon. Due to numerical weakness after appalling annihilation from 1463 to 1995, as a Western Christian people, by all the laws of logic, the Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina should be the greatest concern of the Western Powers. In the course of only the last 4 years, the Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina have lost half of their total population of 750,000 (census 1991). Yet the West, and particularly the US, the home to 3 million Croats, for their own political ends, has directed its concern solely towards the Muslims.

Thus the realisation of a Great Croatia obviously remains a utopian aim, due to the Serbian and Muslim opposition and, most importantly, due to strong opposition within Croatia itself. The last attempt at such a Croatia was tested between the years 1941 and 1945 and ended tragically. Yet the spectre of Great Croatia is used by the Serbs and the Muslims for their own propaganda purposes. On the other hand, the Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina have created a respectable military force for their own protection. In my opinion this is the limit of how far the Croats there wish to go. Any departure from this point, in the direction of the utopian historical conquest, would lead to continuous war.

Integral Bosnia

(Muslim religious-cultural conquest as a utopian aim)

‘Izetbegovic possesses a consistent vision (for the future Bosnia-Hercegovina) which, however, will not be so easy to realise’ stated the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, in an interview to the newspaper Ljiljan (25th October 1995, p.6).

The quasi-religious connotation of this utopian statement is a riddle that begs clarification in order to enable us to make some progress in the resolution of this conflict. Izetbegovic’s lack of inhibition in spelling out that vision was displayed at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the SDA in Fojnica on 20th October 1995, where he formulated his utopian aim for the sovereign, integral, centralist and unitary state of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Defence, foreign affairs, currency, customs, foreign trade, budget and the exchequer, topped up by the presidency, central government, constitutional court and the central bank, would be in the service of this vision. Yet, ignoring the reality of Serbian and Croatian opposition to this vision leads, inevitably, to continuous war and the eventual destruction of the state. Izetbegovic himself acknowledges this fact by stating ‘Pregovaracemo gdje god mozemo, a I ratovati ako moramo. Zahvaljujuci nasoj vojsci imamo jaku pregovaracku poziciju . . ’(We shall negotiate where we can, and fight if we have to. Thanks to our army we have a strong negotiating base . . .’) (Oslobodjenje, 26th October to 2nd November 1995, p.3. But Izetbegovic’s ‘consistent vision’ does not stop at a centralist state. His utopian aim is to create a ‘Bosnian Nation’ (Bosnyaks, the term to which he was violently opposed in 1992) and a bizarre ‘Bosnian’ language (officially acknowledged in the Dayton Agreement Document!) The identification of the Bosnian State with the Muslims is another of his ambitions. It is no secret that the generals of Izetbegovic’s army see the possibility of any peace now as an obstacle to that utopian aim but, at the moment, the US is curbing their worst ambitions. Izetbegovic’s Minister of Culture went even further when he stated: ‘For the Muslims in Europe there is no future until they have their own state.’ (Glasgow Herald, 12th September 1995). This may be a parody of Milosevic’s notorious slogan, but the utopian aim, that all the Muslims in Europe should live in one state (in Bosnia-Hercegovina?), has now been clearly spelled out.

Although Milosevic’s war for the creation of a Great Serbia was the main cause of the conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina, the fact that the US have, for their own ends, encouraged the Muslims to reject the EU plans (utopian as they were) and egged them on to obtain a better bargain under its own auspices (as Clinton badly needs a quick international success) has added fuel to the fire.

Multi-ethnic tolerance (suzivot) is a utopian aim that cannot be realised in the centralist Bosnian state, as the present war is fought against such an aim. Bosnia-Hercegovina is not an old nation state with a dominant nationality, established democratic institutions and relatively small minorities willing to integrate into such a state (as in Britain and France). Nor is it a melting pot state with relatively new immigrants, such as the US. In fact, Bosnia-Hercegovina is a compound state, a relic of history, and not a nation. Even if such a utopian centralist state in Bosnia-Hercegovina were possible, its fate would be the fate of the former Yugoslavia. Zehrudin Isakovic asked the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, ‘Why was the break-up of Yugoslavia so bloody in comparison with the peaceful break-up of Czecho- slovakia?’ (Interview, Ljiljan, 25th October, 1995, p.6). Havel’s reply was ‘The Czechs and Slovaks are not so mixed as are those (national groups) in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Czechs and Slovaks, from time immemorial, have had their own clearly defined territories’. Thus, the refutation of the hypothesis of a territorially and administratively centralist state, with intricately mixed population, spelled out by the most democratic European statesman, is a warning to all those who are inviting more bloodshed. Izetbegovic’s right-hand man, Ejup Ganic, put it in a nutshell: ‘It is immaterial to us if 200,000 or even 300,000 more of our compatriots lose their lives in the realisation of our final solution’.

The International Peace Plans

(The ethnic break-up of Bosnia-Hercegovina as a utopian aim)

The peace plans for Bosnia-Hercegovina, put forward by the EU, were initiated at the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia in Geneva on 3rd September 1992. Firstly, the Carrington/Cutilero plan for a Con-federation, before the war in Bosnia- Hercegovina started, was supported by all the three contestants, but Izetbegovic later withdrew his support.

The second plan was the Vance-Owen plan, which was jettisoned at the US State Department’s briefing in Washington on 20th May 1993. This plan was also rejected by the Bosnian Serb Assembly, after an initial acceptance thereof, at the Conference in Athens in 1993.

The third proposed settlement, for the Union of Three Republics, was rejected by the Muslim Assembly in September 1994, probably with a push from the US.

A characteristic of all these plans was their highly utopian content, whereby the international powers insisted that any solution must obtain and hold three party-agreement, which gave a virtual veto to any one of the contestants in the conflict. Thus, international diplomacy exacerbated the utopian visions of the future Bosnian-Hercegovinian state which led to the Croato-Muslim war during 1993, in addition to the Serbian aggression against both sides. The US Administration assumed this gave them the ‘moral right’ to take the side of the Muslims, which, in fact, was only an excuse to take over the leadership from the European powers in this conflict.

Fortunately, in my opinion, no international power was prepared to use force to back any of these utopian plans. The gap between the US and Europe in these proceedings is best illustrated in the statement by Lord Owen that ‘the US had given up on Bosnia-Hercegovina and would not intervene in any way’. (My meeting with Lord Owen in London on 16th November 1993, ironically enough, just before the US actually took over “the management of this conflict”.)

The Washington Agreement and the Dayton Agreement on implementing the Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina of 10th November 1995. (Two-way Break-up of Bosnia-Hercegovina as a utopian aim)

In March 1994, the US fathered the Washington Agreement between the Croats and the Muslims in Bosnia-Hercegovina, but according to the State Department ‘this was just the beginning of the critical period’. The Agreement established formally a Muslim-Croat Federation, an Arcadia, (the boundaries of which shall ultimately be defined in the Peace settlement for Bosnia-Hercegovina) in which both contestants declared wholehearted adherence to this new utopian construct, which has not, after a year, produced any substantial agreement about the fundamental principles from which it should proceed. This is acknowledged in the Dayton Agreement Document of 10th November 1995 ; ‘20 months after the adoption of the Federation Constitution the process of strengthening the Federation and building trust between its constituent peoples has still not produced satisfactory results.’ At the Third General Assembly of the HDZ of Bosnia-Hercegovina, President of the Federation Zubak (a Croat) expressed ‘uncertainty’ in respect of the intentions of the political partners in the Federation (i.e., the Muslims), and articulated the ‘necessity of the link between Croatia and the Bosnian-Hercegovinian Federation’. So this utopian aim (Federation) is nebulous (in spite of the present ‘radical steps’ taken in Dayton) because the question of Muslim-Croat relations in Bosnia-Hercegovina (apart from stopping the recent fighting) cannot be the subject of a cheap and cobbled-together compromise produced by the US State Department bureaucracy, as it affects the very existence of both protagonists. Paradoxically, a condition of the Washington Agreement, that the Federation be linked in future to Croatia in a con-federation in order to protect the Bosnian-Hercegovinian Croats, has had the opposite effect: it gives the Serbs the ‘moral’ right to link with Serbia, thereby resulting in the break-up of Bosnia-Hercegovina. So, the search for the realisation of the utopian Washington Plan takes place in the fantasy world of Dayton without taking into account the Bosnian- Hercegovinian Serbs who, under present conditions, plainly wish to break up with the Croats and the Muslims. Neither does it take into account the Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina as a constituent nation (however small) who also, if asked, do not wish to be dumped into a Federation in which the Muslims, who outnumber them by at least 4:1, will sooner or later monopolise all the levers of power. This, for sure, will lead to a further conflict. The utopian cycle will, thus, be completed.

As the Clinton administration needs a quick-fix solution in order to show Europe who is the boss, the rough justice partition, based on the inherited Washington Agreement and the Contact Group Plan of 51:49 ratio between the Muslim-Croat and Serbian entities that, hopefully, might exist next to each other, has been forcefully pushed forward by Richard Holbrooke of the State Department, using the carrot and stick method of diplomacy.

The creation of the two entities means, de facto, the break-up of the state, because the Bosnian-Hercegovinian Serbs know instinctively that, on the basis of this Agreement, no-one can stop them joining Serbia. The Dayton Agreement is, de facto, a Milosevic plan, which proves again that utopian plans imposed under international pressure are the cheapest kind of deception leading to future wars.

As far as the Muslim Government in Sarajevo (defined in the Dayton Agreement Document of 10th November 1995 as "The Government of the Republic (which must retain only those functions that enable it to act as the Government of the internationally recognised state of Bosnia-Hercegovina") is concerned, it is a government without a state and without people, recognised by considerably less than 50% of the total population of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

A signature on the Dayton Agreement by this Government amounts to treason.

For the imposition of the Dayton Agreement considerable force is necessary to ensure that such a crude division will hold on the ground. The question is, what will happen after 18 months or so when this force leaves?

The other problem for Clinton is that he has promised 25,000 US troops to police this arrangement, if he pretends that he is now in charge. But, should there be the possibility of casualties, it may threaten his re-election next year. Congress will accept nothing less than an absolute victory, and yet any likely prospect of victory for Clinton would put a stop, by the Republican Congress majority, to funds for US military participation in this venture.

What is curious about all the above international community peace proposals is not just the contradiction between their words and deeds, i.e., their highly utopian content, but also their insistence that there are no other alternatives to these plans.


The plan that I published in 1993 was based, first and foremost, on the premise that the preservation of the state of Bosnia-Hercegovina is desirable, realistic and is in the long-term interest of all three parties, as well as for peace in that part of Europe. To prove that this is both desirable and the best of all the worst solutions, we have to dispose of the utopian solutions previously analysed. What we are left with then is a process of elimination of these impurities from present political and military thinking on the subject on the Bosnian- Hercegovinian conflict.

The most creative way to approach this subject is to look at what is worth retaining in this process. The essential element of any just solution, which must be either accepted in full or partly imposed, is that the ethnic map of Bosnia-Hercegovina must be retained as the ‘status quo ante’ the census of the year 1991. This includes the return of all the refugees to their homes and lands.

Apart from the fact that this prerequisite is essential for the future membership of the European Union, it is also the most pragmatic way of approaching the peace: to each his own.

It is apparent from the analysis of the previous utopian plans that the primary aim of all of them was (theoretically or factually) the imposition of political and military control and acquisition of territory, and only the secondary aim was the shifting, or extermination, of the population for the purpose of this aim. Utopian aims and programmes, by their very nature, recede and are very often forgotten by the protagonists half-way along the path to their unachievable end. In this case, the utopian aim of occupying and holding territories was bogged down in the impossible effort to divide Bosnia ethnically by force when really this was a secondary issue. Protracted cartography actually prolonged the war.

If we further pursue the creative idea that a just peace here can be achieved only if all the contestants both win and lose in equal proportions, then we come to the apparently contradictory conclusion that, in order to preserve the wholeness of Bosnia-Hercegovina, it is imperative to divide it.

The next question is how to achieve this division? When we consider the territorial division, the best possible option is not to indulge in re-inventing the wheel, i.e., re-inventing the regions, but to stick to the historical provinces (e.g., Hum, Vrhbosna, Podrinje, etc.) which developed organically, having taken into account historical, geopolitical and economical factors. The next step is the division of political control of these provinces between the Muslims, Croats and Serbs, and how to allocate it.

On the principle that all win and, at the same time, all lose, the obvious solution is that the territory of these provinces is divided equally, or almost equally, between the three contestants, a kind of Alexandrian cut of the Gordian knot. The reason that this should be acceptable, or nearly acceptable to all three sides, is again the use of creative and rational thinking rather than a utopian aim. The secret lies in the nature of that political control, which should be only an administrative and not a sovereign exercise of political power.

The final objective of this proposal would be the establishment of the Con-federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina on the cantonal pattern, as in Switzerland. However, as the wounds of this war, and fear and mistrust, will take a long time to heal, I propose a 50-year long EU protectorate with all sovereign powers, though with defence placed under the NATO military umbrella (see details in the attached Memorandum). 50 years of the Protectorate should be long enough for the stability and establishment of democratic institutions, and for the diffusion of this stability from the Bosnian epicentre to the rest of the Balkans. Only thus can the international intervention be justified and legitimised.


FINAL OBJECTIVE The Confederation of the cantons of Bosnia-Hercegovina (Muslim, Croatian and Serbian). After 50 years as an EU Protectorate, the state to be called ‘Confederation of Bosnia- Hercegovina’.


By the setting up of a European Conference on Bosnia-Hercegovina, to include the USA and Russia.


a) Imposition of a 50-year long European Union Protectorate in Bosnia-Hercegovina (precedent - Congress of Berlin 1878).

b) Establishment of administrative cantons of approximately equal total superficial areas without political sovereignty and without the right of secession. The administrative cantons will be as follows:

1. Croatian - (2 cantons) historical provinces of Vrhbosna and Hum with municipalities of Odzak, Bos. Samac, Orasje and Bos. Brod. Total area - 15,029 km2 . Total Population - 1,139,911 Croatian 497,223 Muslim 460,273 Serbian 182,415

2. Serbian - (2 cantons) historical provinces of Donji Kraji, Usora (with Bos. Novi and Bos. Dubica) and Travunja. Total area - 15,685 km2. Total Population - 646,538 Serbian 450,881 Muslim 133,700 Croatian 61,957

3. Muslim - (2 cantons) Bihac (without Bos. Novi and Bos Dubica), Podrinje and Soli (without Odzak, Bos. Samac, Orasje and Bos. Brod). Total area - 18,366 km2. Total Population - 1,780,418 Muslim 1,063,420 Croatian 159,192 Serbian 557,806

4. Sarajevo - (confederal area) 2,049 km2. Total Population - 382,418 Muslim 224,391 Serbian 127,002 Croatian 31,025

c) Each of the cantons to be administered by the Muslim, Croatian and Serbian adminis- tration respectively, under the supervision of a European Union Protector. Cantonal administrations will be developed on the basis of the political and cultural traditions of each national group (as in Switzerland), but not to the detriment to each of the others. They will include education, culture, media, social services, planning, energy, judiciary, civil and public services. Finance and development, local defence corps (under NATO supervision), police and tourism. Each of the cantons will be headed by a Governor (Zupan) and the Protectorate by the EU Protector (Ban).

The Sovereignty of the Protectorate will be within the EU for 50 years. During that time, the foreign policy of Bosnia-Hercegovina will be in the domain of the EU council, and the defence by the Home Defence corps under NATO supervision. The Sarajevo Government, the Herceg Bosnian and Republika Serbska governments will be extinguished. The Bosnia-Hercegovina Army, HVO and Serbian forces will be disbanded. After 50 years as an EU Protectorate, the final constitution of the Bosnian-Hercegovinian Confederation will be agreed on the basis that there is the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina but that there is no Bosnian Nation.

d) All the cantons to have a mixed population, according to the census of 1991, in order to balance out the unequal numbers of the three national groups.


NATO troops initially, with a continuous review of the security situation.


a) NATO to take control of the Serbian occupied areas and the territory under the Bosnian- Hercegovinian Government and HVO control.

b) NATO to train and control a well-paid voluntary Home Defence Corps made up of volunteers from all three Bosnia-Hercegovina nationalities, each to be stationed in their respective administrative territory, thereby reducing the number of NATO troops to an absolute minimum - estimated total number of militia 100,000.

c) Large economic aid financed mainly by the USA (in lieu of having their troops stationed in Bosnia-Hercegovina).


a) Solving finally the national problem of Bosnia-Hercegovina, the root cause of this conflict.

b) Creating a democratic state and institutions in the heart of the Balkans.

c) Using the above for the control and stability of the Balkans and stopping future wars.

d) Eliminating the causes that can be used by Serbia as an excuse for future expansion (i.e. Great Serbia).

e) Preserving minority populations (Croat, Muslim, Serbian) in the cantons other than under their own administration.

f) Creating good co-operation with the neighbouring states of Croatia and Serbia.

g) Cultural, traditional and religious links between the Croatian cantons and the Republic of Croatia, the Serbian cantons and the Republic of Serbia and the Muslim cantons and the Islamic world will be guaranteed.

Paul Tvrtkovic, London, U.K. From March 1992 to October 1993 Paul Tvrtkovic acted as the Spokesman for the Government of the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina in London. He is a descendent of the mediaeval ruling family of Bosnia (whose family’s coat of arms have now been appropriated by the Government of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as the state emblem, without permission). He was born in Sarajevo in 1927, and settled in London in 1955 where he continued to practice as an architect and lecturer. He has published a booklet “Bosnia- Hercegovina - Back to the Future” (London, 1993) and over the past 30 years has written many essays and articles on the Croato-Serbian conflict and related subjects in various international publications.



Other posts in this category