The US government and its western allies - clearly frustrated by Radovan Karadzic’s continued grip on power in the so-called Serb Republic (the part of Bosnia reserved for the Serbs) despite indictment for war crimes, and loss of the presidency more than a year ago - has openly and unabashedly thrown their weight behind Mrs Silvana Plavsic, the current president, who is locked in a power struggle with her predecessor and his supporters. Mrs Plavsic, who was previously a Karadzic ally deeply involved in the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Muslims during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, has recently made a tactical decision to support the US-imposed Dayton ‘peace plan.’
Despite the lurid headlines that US president Bill Clinton has ordered the NATO force in Bosnia to arrest Karadzic and hand him over to the War Crimes tribunal at the Hague, Washington and its allies have no intention of bringing the Serb butcher to justice. All they want to achieve is to drive him out of politics, or to isolate him, so that the more compliant Mrs Plavsic can replace him as the Republic’s paramount leader.
Western officials know very well that she was Karadzic’s vice-president during the war; that during the negotiations leading to the Dayton accord, she publicly and frequently accused the Serbian side of making too many concessions; that despite her current support for Dayton, she will not hand in Karadzic or other Serb war criminals, or allow Muslim refugees to return to their homes in Serb-controlled areas; and that there is very little difference between her and her rival in their implacable hostility towards Bosnian Muslims.
Clinton’s main interest is to see the Dayton plan substantially implemented before the 1998 deadline for the pullout of the 8,500 US troops in Bosnia. Cutting Karadzic down to size is an essential precondition but arresting him is not, as a recent editorial in the New York Times argued.
The editorial said Clinton ‘well knows’ the dangers inherent in capturing the Serb leader. ‘An ill-conceived manhunt in Somalia in 1993 left 18 US soldiers dead,’ it said. In any case, the US leader has a ‘renewed commitment’ from Serbia’s president Slobodan Milosevic, the principal war criminal, to sideline Karadzic, and all that he has to do to intimidate the latter is to exert ‘sustained pressure.’
The more aggressive rhetoric by western leaders and Nato officers, including the ‘publicized movement of Pentagon commando units, help signal to Karadzic that ultimately he can be seized unless he stops his political activities,’ the editorial concluded.
It would, indeed, be odd if Clinton and Nato commanders were seriously interested in bringing Karadzic to justice for his role in the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Bosnian Muslims. For one thing, there are well-known figures indicted by the Hague tribunal of genocide and war crimes who are at large in areas controlled by Nato troops; for another, Clinton himself is deeply involved in Israel’s massacre of Muslims in Palestine and southern Lebanon and in the framing and oppressive prosecution of Islamic activists - some of them illegally kidnapped in other countries.
One of the many war criminals unchallenged by the UN and Nato troops, Dusko Sikirica actually tried to get on the ballot papers for the recent municipal elections in Bosnia, for which he would have been obliged to supply an address. The international group monitoring the poll, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, spotted this and had him vetoed. But no further action was taken.
Yet, Sikirica, a Bosnian Serb from Prijedor, was indicated of genocide and war crimes (as long ago as July 21, 1995) committed in the Kereterm concentration camp. He is wanted for the massacre of 140 Muslim and Croatian men in one night. General Ratko Mladic, who is accused of ordering the massacre of thousands of Muslim prisoners while military leader of the Bosnian Serbs is planning to cash in on his notoriety as the ‘butcher of Bosnia’ by writing his memoirs. He shows no fear of arrest and openly holidays in resorts and throws parties in leading hotels.
Earlier this summer, Mladic stayed in the Adriatic resort of Rezevici Rijeka in Montenegro for a week’s holiday. Although his presence was noticed, no one attempted to apprehend him.
On June 24, he held a party in the Jugoslavija hotel in Belgrade to celebrate the wedding of his son, Darko. Prominent Serbian musicians entertained more than 300 guests. But the United Nations officers who live in the hotel and are supposed to apprehend any war criminal who crosses their path, made no effort to challenge him.
In these circumstances, it is important for Muslims to see Clinton’s pro-Muslim rhetoric for what it is: a sinister ploy to implement Dayton for which he takes credit, while at the same time presenting it as evidence of his country’s claim to a sole super-power status to help Bosnian Muslims out of their predicament. In fact Dayton is as beneficial to Serbs as the Oslo accords are to Israel, although both are publicized as concessions to Muslims, in Bosnia and Palestine respectively.
Pro-US Muslim dictators are bound to seize on any pretext to ‘do business’ with anti-Islamic Uncle Sam, and Clinton’s pro-Muslim rhetoric is seen by them as handy. If the US president wants to show good faith, let him cease his war on the global Islamic movement and drop his support for Israel’s war on Muslims as first steps.
Muslimedia - September 1-15, 1997