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So you're saying that Serbs were leaving Croatia as early as 1990 because Serb media was whipping up fear and telling them to leave (no harassment of any sort from Croatians)... and at the same time, there was a mass colonisation of Croatia by Serbs who lived in poverty?

That doesn't add up.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colonisation of ethinically cleansed territories. The two theories are not inconsistent - though they might be wrong.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:48:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though the actors must either be inconsistent or different actors - with different motives - to at the same time promote rumors designed to make the existing population flee and try to colonize. That is, when the existing population already is the desired one.

If there where rumors that made the serb population flee that is on the other hand conssitent with croatian colonising. And vice versa.

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by A swedish kind of death on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 06:02:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's the sequence of events which I think neither vladimir nor SteelLady will dispute (broadly):
  1. 1990: some Serbs flee (mostly but not only - Dubrovnik is elsewhere - Slavonia and Krajina in) Croatia for Serbia before the war starts due to "harassment" or "rumours"
  2. 1990: some other Serbs take up arms ("Log Revolution" in Krajina) also due to "harassment" and "rumours"
  3. 1991-2: war - Republic of Serbian Krajina is established in Slavonia and Krajina and Croats in those areas flee to central Croatia.
  4. 1993-4: ceasefire
  5. 1995: Croatia retakes the Republic of Serbian Krajina and Serbs flee.

Now we go to the interpretations which can (and will) be disputed:
Though the actors must either be inconsistent or different actors - with different motives - to at the same time promote rumors designed to make the existing population flee and try to colonize. That is, when the existing population already is the desired one.
No, the existing population is very mixed. So if you're going to turn the area into a war zone you first have your people flee to the rearguard so you can take a clean shot at the others. And then you move back in. And then you're driven back out and the others move back in.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 06:24:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you first have your people flee to the rearguard so you can take a clean shot at the others.

That's only if you're firing with heavy weapons. While these were used (and not only by Serbs with JNA material - since, as we know, Germany in particular sold billions of $ worth of Soviet arms inherited from East Germany to Croatia just before the war started) the most common form of "ethnic cleansing" was carried out by light, mobile paramilitary units. You don't need to move your people out for the paras to do their dirty work. You just need to know who lives where.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 06:50:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Slavonia the balance of power in 1991-2 was that the Serb paramilitaries had the artillery units left behind by the Armija on their way out of newly independent Croatia. There was extensive shelling of the whole area. The balance of power had reversed by 1995 when Croatia had managed to build its own army, which it didn't have before.

Let's be clear about who was cleansing whom when: Serbs were driving Croats out in 1991-2 and Croats drove Serbs out in 1995. Neither of these were done by "small mobile paramilitary units" - allegedly there was heavy artillery involved in both cases.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 06:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Croatia had been armed by Germany before 1990... and continued receiving military hardware from Germany and other NATO states up till 1995.

The balance of power was finally reversed in 1995, in part thanks to US military intelligence of key communications and logistics points used by the Croatian Serbs. NATO air support was also provided during Storm.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 07:00:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Croatia had been armed by Germany before 1990...
After 1990, possibly, but before? Can you substantiate that?

In addition, there was a weapons embargo imposed as soon as Croatia declared independence, which required Croatia to smuggle weapons in, and froze the balance of power where the Serb paramilitaries had JNA backing and Croatia effectively had no army. It took 3 years (and a side war in Bosnia to keep the JNA busy) for the balance to be reversed.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 07:17:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was waiting for that question. In 1995 I remember actually seeing a copy of a contract between the Order of Malta and the "Government of Croatia" for a 20 year, $10 billion loan at - I believe it was 0% interest. At the time, it was widely believed that the loan was intended to help Croatia procure arms.

Before you asked me to substantiate, I sent a mail to the person who sent me a copy of that contract... some 13 years ago. I hope I'll get my hands on it again and if I do, I'll be more than happy to post it on ET.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 07:30:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And here's more from: http://www.emperors-clothes.com/articles/carr/carr.html

GERMANY AND CROATIA: RESURRECTION OF THE "PURE" CROATIAN NATION STATE

Reliable intelligence sources claimed in 1990, that in 1988 Mr. Tudjman paid a secret visit to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and met with Chancellor Kohl and other senior Government Ministers. It was said that the aim of the visit was to formulate a joint policy to break-up Yugoslavia, leading to the re-creation of a new independent State of Croatia with international borders in the form originally set up by the German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, in 1941. At a secret meeting in Bonn, the German Government pledged its political, financial, and covert military support for Croatia's secession from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia the intelligence source claimed such an action fitted neatly into Germany's strategic objectives in respect of the Balkans, which included bringing Roman Catholic Croatia and Slovenia within the German economic zone, gaining direct access to the Adriatic and Mediterranean, and securing a favored nation status with the oil and gas producing Arab states. The latter to be enhanced by recognizing Bosnia-Herzegovina as a predominantly Muslim nation state, an entrée to modern Europe for Islam along a traditional path from Turkey via Albania and the Serbian areas of Kosovo and the Sandzak occupied by Muslim majorities.

In the period leading up to Croatian secession there were signs that indicated the re-emergence of the historical axis previously seen in the days of the Holy Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Third Reich. There is no "conspiracy theory" in this: merely the reappearance of a geopolitical pattern.

It was a $2 billion interest free loan for 10 years. Not a $10 billion loan for 20 years.

Evidence of the axis in action occurred on October 4, 1990, when, even though still a part of Yugoslavia, Croatia was covertly provided with a US$2-Billion interest free loan, repayable in full after 10 years and a day. The loan was provided by the Ordre Souverain of Militaire de Saint-Jean de Jerusalem, Chevaliers-Hospitaliers de Malte. This ancient Order of Roman Catholic Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem was based in Malta during the Christian Crusades against the Islamic forces in Jerusalem. Today, the headquarters building of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem is located at 61 Via Nizza in Rome from where these modern Catholic Knights wield the influential power of high finance. There is a known strong link between the headquarters in Rome and Germany, with reports indicating the organization is even directed by German nationals. Ostensibly the loan was to fund priority civil engineering projects with a statement of conditions that the loan should not be used to fund military projects. However, well-placed sources said the loan freed-up other finances earmarked for civil projects, thus enabling the money to be redirected to equip armaments factories and to purchase weapons. The same source said that despite the "no funding of military projects' condition, a significant percentage of the US$2-billion loan was misused on armaments. Signatories to the contract on behalf of the Croats were Vice President Dr. Mate Babic and Madamme Maksa Zeleu Mirjana, Counseler at the Ministry of Finance authorized to act on behalf of the Minister of Finance.

This US$2-Billion loan has never appeared in any Croatian Government financial statement. When Waterman Associates, on behalf of the Croatian Embassy in Washington D.C., sent out a press release in 1994 purporting to show a very low amount of foreign debt/loan, I challenged their figures, mentioning the US$2-Billion loan from the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. The embassy said they had no knowledge of the loan, so I offered to send them a complete copy of the "Object du Financement". My offer was declined as they said such a document did not exist.

It should be remembered, that this loan was made to Croatia prior to secession. At time when Croatia was still a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and obliged under the Federal Constitution to disclose any such transactions.

And German arming of Croatia began as early as 1989.

The reunification of the two Germanies and modernization of the East German armed forces, made available a substantial pool of weapons and military instructors for arming and training of a Croatian militia. During late 1989, and throughout 1990, arms flowed from Germany to Croatia to equip militia units. After HDZ party (Croatian Democratic Union) won control of Sabor in the May 30, 1990, multi-party elections, the newly elected President Tudjman formed a National Guard Corps (ZNG). In effect, the ZNG was not a "national" force in the accepted meaning of the word, rather it was the ultra-nationalist, neo-Ustashi military wing of Tudjman's HDZ political party, in the same way that the "Brownshirts" of the 1930's acted as the vanguard enforcement wing of Hitler's National Party.

It has been asked why did Yugoslav Government in Belgrade not prevent the formation of the ZNG. The answer is quite simple. At the time, all the senior positions in the federal internal security organizations, and many senior posts in the General Staff of the JNA, were held by the Croats. For instance, Croatia's first Minister of Defence, Martin Spegelj, was a senior general in the Yugoslav Armed Forces at the time of secession.

With the full support of Germany, and against the wishes of other members of the EC, the HDZ ruling party declared Croatian sovereignty in the Sabor on December 22, 1990, despite strong objections raised by the opposition parties.

Shortly after the declaration, President Tujman introduced a new Croatian constitution which defined Croatia as the national state of the Croatian people and others, pointedly relegating the Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and Muslims to second class status. This was an exact repeat of what had happened in 1941 when nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia and set up Croatia as the national state of the Croatian people and others. After the HDZ dominated Government passed the new constitution, discrimination against the Serbs began immediately. Serbs lost government jobs in the civil service, police, local authorities etc...they were evicted for their homes, many lost the ownership of their own businesses, and Serb newspapers were closed down etc. A special property tax applicable only to Serbs was introduced, and Croatian militia openly looted and closed down shops selling expensive products such as jewelry. These measures clearly indicated to the Serbs living within the administrative borders of Croatia that they must leave the land where they had lived for three centuries, or face the consequences of staying.

One of the most sinister changes was that every identified Serb in Croatia was issued with a new identity card which incorporated the figure 3 as the eight figure in the identity number. The figure 3 thus became the Croatian equivalent for Serbs as nazi Germany's Star of David was for all Jews residing in countries dominated by Germany. When the time came for ethnic cleansing to start, the figure 3 would ensure no Serb would escape.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:16:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was living there on the military frontline. In '91 as you say yourself, Croatian army still was not formed. We lived in a little town that was connected to the Serbian village where from a distance of 500m only where shooting on us with mortars while in town there was nobody to defend it. Then, some neighbours united, took the locomotive that was close to our buildings and did some home made explosive sending the locomotive to the border between the town and Serbian village and detonating it there because there were gas installations that then provoked mass explosion that scared to death those who were there so they left running to the other end of the village and left the mortar. The whole idea of the action is to capture that mortar that they did, bringing it to town and trying to shoot from it. So then people got angry because they were hiding with it among the people and made them go outside to the fields. There they took the truck moving it along the road and shooting from it every now and then so on the other side it would appear that there are more weapons in various places. Well, if this is what I saw in late '91 with my own eyes in the region of the heaviest shooting at that time, where were those German weapons Vladimir is talking about?!
by SteelLady on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 at 05:44:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough, that is a possible interpretation. Tough it is geared towards large-scale violence - bombing, artillery, WMDs, starvation - where you have problem discriminating the violence.

If on the other hand the attacker has mostly infantry, local population on the attackers side is an asset as they know terrain, hide-outs etc. And in an ethnic conflict where both parties speak the same language and look the same, local knowledge is essential in determining who is in the desired cathegory and who is not. Of course, you can argue that anyone who does not to as they are told are the enemy in one way or the other.

I have not enough data to form a real opinion on the case here myself, so I'll let you argue which case this is.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 08:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tough it is geared towards large-scale violence - bombing, artillery, WMDs, starvation - where you have problem discriminating the violence.
Well, there was a large number of "internally displaced people" fleeing from Slavonia and Krajina, either from the areas forming the RSK or from the frontline areas still held by Croatia. But part of this might have been just part of the "general mobilization" in the Autumn of 1991.

Similarly, in the days preceding Operation Storm in 1995, the authorities of the RSK initiated a mandatory evacuation of the civilian population, resulting in a wave of refugees into Bosnia.

Now, in both cases a large part of the flow of refugees/internally displaced is an "evacuation towards the rearguard" rather than being driven out at gunpoint, but the distinction is not very useful. The flow of refugees is the same and the cause of the flow is the general condition of fighting.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 08:34:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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