Unwavering Threat To Croatia From Serbia

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-KItarovic Photo: Reuters/ Kacper Pempel

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Photo: Reuters/ Kacper Pempel

The first Yugoslavia (1919-1941) was created in Versailles for Serbs and dominated by the Serbs, under a Serbian royal family. The Serb ideology led to centralist government policies and a dictatorship after 1929, which provoked greater resistance from other national groups – Croats, Slovenes, Bosniaks, Macedonians… However, in April 1941, the Axis powers bombed Belgrade and invaded Yugoslavia. The Germans proceeded to dismantle the Versailles division of territory by returning much of Vojvodina to Hungary and Macedonia to Bulgaria, while attaching Bosnia and Herzegovina to a newly proclaimed “Independent State of Croatia,” known as the NDH after its Croatian name: Nezavisna Dražava Hrvatska under the control of a Croatian nationalist party, the Ustashe and their leader Ante Pavelic. Despite Croatia’s claim to be independent, Germany and Italy divided Croatia into zones of influence, in which each stationed troops. The Germans occupied Serbia and the nationalist Serbian government headed by Milan Nedic administered the Nazi policies and politics.

The Allies won WWII and Yugoslavia’s communists were on that side and Allies utterly ignored the pre-WWII plights for independence from Serb-controlled Kingdom of Yugoslavia by Croats and Slovenes in particular,  thus strengthening the installation of communist Yugoslavia. Communist Yugoslavia set up headquarters in Serbia and was dominated by Serbs in all key positions of political and economic power. The forty-five years of communist Yugoslavia (1945-1991) did not produce the politically desired “brotherhood and unity” between its constituent nationalities/ethnic groups (Serb, Croat, Macedonian, Slovene, Bosnian and Herzegovinian). Instead, amidst blatant discrimination against non-Serb nationalities and oppression, the country gradually fragmented again into increasing pursuits in various states (Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina) towards independence and secession from communist Yugoslavia. The early 1990’s freedom and secession from communist Yugoslavia pursuits succeeded in all states of Yugoslavia bar Serbia and Montenegro, who united as self-proclaimed the natural heir to Yugoslavia.

Serbia contested and protested the right of the Yugoslav republics to self-determination. To them, the Croats could have their Croatia, but not within its sovereign and internationally recognized borders and, according to Serbs it could not include areas with large numbers of Serbs. Similarly, if the Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, it could not include regions with large numbers of Serbs. Hence, a most murderous and criminal clearing (ethnic cleansing via genocide, mass murder, forced deportations …) of non-Serbs ensued in 1991 in Croatia and 1992 in Bosnia. Military Operation Storm in August 1995 in Croatia liberated most of the Croatian Serb-occupied territory while later in the same year the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On 5 August Croatia celebrates its 1995 Operation Storm victory over the Serb aggressor and Serbs, including Serbian leadership have still not accepted anything from that aggression as their responsibility; heck, they keep denying it and keep supporting the evil myth that hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forcefully deported from Croatia in 1995 after the Operation Storm when in fact even the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague way back in November 2012 (in the case of Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac) found that there had been no forced deportations of Serbs by Croats or Croatian forces.

Ever since the Croatian court quashed the communist Yugoslavia verdict against the Blessed Alysius (Alojzije) Stepinac on 22 July 2016, Serbia’s government leadership and President (Prime Minster Aleksandar Vucic, Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic and President Tomislav Nikolic) have been escalating their hateful rhetoric against Croatia, alleging that this quashing of the verdict signals that Croatia is rehabilitating the WWII Ustashe regime and fascism! What a load of hateful stuff.

 

Relations between Croatia and Serbia have plunged deep in recent days to the level where one must ask why Croatia even bothers relating at all to its aggressor who has not even acknowledged its murderous ways let alone offered any decent podium for true reconciliation. Inflammatory protest notes and harsh statements have been flung across the border from Serbia that in effect constitute Serbia’s meddling in Croatia’s internal affairs. Impermissible!

 

Tension is expected to escalate even more in coming days as Croatia gears up for the annual anniversary celebration of its victorious 1995 military operation, Oluja, (Storm), on August 5, marking the day when the Croatian military quashed a Serb occupation and power-hold in south-west Krajina region.

 

Some naïve political analysts have said “despite the angry rhetoric from politicians in both countries, the escalation in tensions between Croatia and Serbia is not expected to have long-term consequences for their relations or for regional security. Nor is it expected to be a setback for Serbia’s progress towards EU accession. Overall, this is a re-raising of tensions, which are always present.”  Such a light outlook on such a serious matter is most damaging because the Croatian people continue to suffer vilification and fear a resurgence of Serb aggression within their own country, and which fear had not been removed by the victory of Operation Storm in 1995.

 

The absolute need for Croatia to block the closing of Chapter 23 in Serbia’s path to EU membership unless Serbia changes, does away with its laws through which it, Serbia, gives itself the right to prosecute people across the territory of former Yugoslavia for crimes committed anywhere on that territory during the 1990’s war of aggression, in which Serbs were the aggressors, must be pursued by Croatian authorities. According to its current law, Serbia has universal jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and can prosecute all crimes, no matter where they took place or who were the perpetrators. This  potentially and actually means that a British, Irish, French, German, US, Canadian, Australian or Middle East national could also be prosecuted by Serbia as individuals from those countries did join the fight for freedom against Serb aggression in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina etc.

 

Trumped up charges are no strangers to Serbia in its quest to clear its name as aggressor using denial and false assertions.

 

Furthermore, that which corroborates the fact that Croats justifiably fear Serb aggression to this day is found a reported Open letter to the President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, reportedly written on 25 July 2016 by a bunch of thugs living in Serbia who call themselves “The Government of the Serbian Republic of Krajina (RSK) in Exile” – the thugs and criminal their associates who ethnically cleansed of non-Serbs one third of Croatian territory (Krajina) and occupied it between 1991 and 1995! The letter reportedly includes the following demands:

1. That she express remorse and apology to Serbs who were expelled from the RSK and Croatia. (Now, the facts are that Serbs, after having ethnically cleansed and destroyed much og Krajina fled voluntarily, fearing any possible repercussions to their murderous deeds in Croatia, as Croat forces regained the occupied territory in 1995 and ICTY in the Hague ruled there had been no expulsions/forceful deportations of Serbs in Croatia).

2. Stop the Ustashe events on 5th August in Knin (Operation Storm celebrations). Stop gloating and pour salt over our painful wound of early August, because you have not defeated anyone, except the elderly women and children you killed in their homes. Moral nations are ashamed of such victories. Milosevic’s officers had pulled the Krajina army out, probably fearing threats from your NATO patrons, not your defence forces. (While being a demand of florid lunacy, in here the Serbs admit they pulled their army out of Croatia [who by the way took the Serb civilians with them] and yet in the demand above they say Serbs were expelled.)

3. Return to us Serbs our stolen land Serbian Republic of Krajina (This corroborates the pathetic and dangerous belief that Serbs maintain regarding owning part of Croatia’s sovereign territory. This territory had always been Croatian despite the fact that under the Austro-Hungarian Empire Serbs from Serbia were centuries ago permitted to settle on Croatian land.)

4.Return our to us our property in the same condition as we had left it when we fled and that you had destroyed. You destroyed property, you fix it. (Well now, while Croatia has done a great deal in ensuring housing etc for those Serbs who had returned to live in Croatia after the war, Serbia and Serbs have done absolutely nothing in paying for damages to properties belonging to non-Serbs they had destroyed in Croatia. It’s time Croatia does more on this with view to demanding compensation from Serbs.)

5.Return the Serbs into the Constitution of R. Croatia, as an equal and constitutional people. (Well Croatia has never been populated in such a way that would justify this. Furthermore, majority Serbs in Croatia had never been loyal to Croatia as their hiomeland but always looked to Serbia as their only homeland and wanted to annexe part of Croatia for Serbia.) … etc to 14 demands.

As far as we, the representatives of the people of Krajina, are concerned we are ready for talks and negotiations on all the points of our demands. If anyone considers that we will give up Krajina they are terribly fooled. Throughout the history Serbs have been coming in and out of Krajina but they had always returned to it! We also will return. It’s only a matter of time and worldly circumstances… In Belgrade, 25 July 2016, Rajko Lezaic, president of RSK Assembly.”
Can anyone believe this appalling state of affairs? Croatia’s president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic should ignore this letter if it reaches her office abut she should not discard its implications. It constitutes an important part of the threat that has been incessantly, with increasing force, coming from Serbia into Croatia. It should form a part of firm and resolute policie in dealing with these threats and vilification against the Croatian people for the good of peace and piece of mind. The inflammatory diplomatic notes, the distressing statements and claims Serbia and Serbs are making against Croatia currently may tone down after the 11 September 2016 general elections in Croatia but they will never tone out unless Croatia’s leadership shows some teeth in Serbia’s direction and rejects publicly, so the whole world can hear, all such vilifying rhetoric from Serbia and Serbs against Croatia. In order to prove EU still desirable after Brexit the EU may regretfully show a lighter hand in its requirements for Serbia to become an EU member state, but that does not mean Croatia must accept those lighter standards. No way!  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Martell says:

    “What A Fucking Liberty”
    Usually used as an expression of how the actions of someone can be seen to be quite aside from what is expected in a civilised society.
    It can be heard on British Catherine Tate show often, but, oh by God, it applies to these Serbs from Krajina and others. Not only that, there’s moves by groups of suspect morality in Croatia who are putting up road-signs and petitions for apologies to victims of Operation Storm to belittle Croatia’s independence but there seems to be no end to the communist attacks within Croatia that try and protect Serbia from the unprotectable ! For Christ’s sake, which free world country has ever apologized for defending itself from death and destruction. Sure, apologies for any innocent civilians or collateral damage are OK and they have been expressed but this is just too much. I hope the president is strong enough to voice Croatia’s protest at these Serb-led attacks on Croatia. Ina you are right in this.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s it! I am moving to Croatia! That president lady is so fine there should be a law against her! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I swear my Serbian buddy says the opposite:) He’s third generation in the US and he says Croatia is to blame… This too will pass… Peace

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have no doubts about that, Juan – but truth is there so all it needs is good vision. Croats never attacked anyone’s land. There are so many Croats in Serbia and have been there for centuries, never in their mind had they even thought they’d just start killing off Serbs and chasing them away from their homes so they could attack that land to Croatia… I have Serbian friends who say the way it is and it was…I’m just so glad to think one day complete peace will come in Croatia with or without Serbs. I may not live long enough to see it, though

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stephen J says:

    Prof Vukic. A number of things come to mind. 1. Serbs have the gall to claim aggrievement, despite their open atrocities. 2. Croats need to learn public relations from Serbs. It seems the more vehemently one argues a case, the more legitimacy it gains. 3. Croats and its leadership need to tell these folk to take a long walk off a short pier. Say it loudly, say it repeatedly, indeed demand it. 4. Argue the case in the EU, with documented facts to prevent Serbia’s entry. They do not deserve to be included with civilised people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Somewhat strong language in parts, Stephen but given everything else that’s happening with the utterly unfair statements emanating from Serbia the strong language is perhaps deserved.

      Like

  5. Michelle M says:

    No ones getting anywhere with the lying version of history and incorrect ‘antifasist’ policy that articles such as this support.
    Sdp/Hdz have caused Croatia great harm unwilling to speak the truth about Croatian history.
    Their lies from the top to the bottom are basically Greater Serbia ideology in the name of ‘Croatian Patriotism.
    The only thing its generated in the last 25 years is a criminal stealing mentality and a raping of Croatian resources.
    Soldiers of the homeland war and Stepinac compromised.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good article overall, as per usual from Ina. However, I don’t agree with the commentary about Bosniaks: it was terrorist Tito’s action that gifted so called Bosniaks their own state in the constitution. Prior to that Bosnia was a part of Croatia, a pokrajina, as is Slavonia, Dalmacia, Istra etc. “Bosniaks” were and are a people of Muslim religion, but ultimately Croatians (or Serbs if some so choose). I, like many people, do not recognise the state of Bosnia. Maybe temporarily at best. I guess it’s better they’re not a part of Serbia or Srpska Republika. Or, are they?

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, Vic, Tito did allot a news state Bosnia and Herzegovina after WWII; it has never worked because of the ethnic mix or 3 different ethnic groups as constitutional people in it…Bosniaks are not better off with Serbian Republic created on genocide breathing down their neck incessantly – indeed another war there may well be on the cards in a not so distant future, sadly.

      Like

  7. Stevie10703 says:

    -„Mi lažemo da bismo obmanuli sebe, da utešimo drugoga; lažemo iz samilosti, lažemo iz stida, da ohrabrimo, da sakrijemo svoju bedu, lažemo zbog poštenja. Lažemo zbog slobode. Laž je vid srpskog patriotizma i potvrda naše urođene inteligencije. Lažemo stvaralački, maštovito, inventivno.“

    -„Laž je srpski državni interes.“

    -„Laž je u samom biću Srbina“.

    -„U ovoj zemlji svaka laž na kraju postaje istina.“

    -„Srbe je toliko puta u istoriji spašavala laž…“

    This was said and written by the Serbian Nationalist Dobrica Cosic. Translated this says:

    “We lie in order to deceive ourselves and console others. We lie out of compassion, we lie out of embarrassment, to hide our misery, we lie for honestly. We lie for freedom. A lie is a form of Serbian patriotism and proof of our intelligence. We lie creatively, imaginatively, and inventively.”

    “A lie is a Serbian National Interest.”

    “A lie is in the very being of the Serbs.”

    “In this country (Serbia) every lie, in the end becomes the truth.” (sounds very much like what both Goebbels and Stalin said about lies (You lie enough and often it eventually becomes the truth).

    “Many times throughout history, lies have saved the Serbian people.”

    Remember what he also said and it was basically a call to exterminate the Croatian people after WWII when the second Yugoslavia was formed and he was working closely with Tito, “In order for Yugoslavia to live, Croatia must die.”

    We are now at the point where all the Serbian leaders in their parliament are followers of the Greater Serbian myth, all radicals. Nikolic, their President, is a war Criminal who still calls Vukovar “Serbian Vukovar.” This is a guy that took part in rapes and also took part in the murders at Ovcare.

    The Prime Minister, Vucic was a follower of Seselj and also openly calls for the return of a greater Serbian state… the third most seats in Parliament are those held by Seselj’s Party..so you’re looking at a majority of their Parliament being Greater Serbia dreamers. this is who their people voted for to represent them in their government so, this is how their people still think.

    Let’s also not forget what is going on there. Just last week, another Croatian Catholic Church in Srijem was vandalized and this isn’t new. Croatian priests have been attacked in their own homes many times, the representative of the Croatian minority in Vojvodina have had their offices ransacked and torched, they have been beaten and threatened and have had their cars burned. Not a word from the Serbia government about this but what is more disappointing is that our own Croatian government has not even said a word nor defended the rights of the Croatians living there. The truth is, between 20,000 and 40,000 Croatians in Vojvodina have been kicked out when the war Started in 1991. Even in Boka Kotorska ((now Montenegro) in 1918 the Croatians were 95% of the populatin there, now its at 5%. What does this tell you is really happening? Croatians aren’t guaranteed a seat in Serbian Parliament whereas Serbians are guaranteed 3 seats in the Croatian Parilament and 2 of the 3 (Pupovac and Stanimirovic) are war criminals or have times to war criminals. Have any of the Serbs even explained what happened to all the Croatians in the terrority they tried to carve out in Croatia? Why don’t they mentioned how many Croatians they kicked out, raped, and murdered in that territory of “SAO Krajina” they keep mum about that, don’t they?

    Serbians are much like their Russian brothers…when the Soviet Union was first formed under Lenin and then continued under Stalin, what you saw was the forced expulsion of large chunks of the native populations of the non-Russian republics and in their place, Russians moved in. The point was simple, populate those republics with Russians and eventually they will becomes Russian territories. The same happened in Yugoslavia in 1918 where the Serbian king “ethnically cleaned” large chunks of Croatian and Bosnian territory and populated them with Serbs, this was know as the land grabs. Later under Tito’s Yugoslavia, many more Serbs moved in, especially in Croatia and he filled the police and the military in Croatia with Serbians…many army conscripts from Serbia were put in Croatia and many ended up staying after their army service was done.

    But, at the end of the day, you have to follow the money and the influence…Putin is arming the Serbs, but he is also egging them on as well…then there are people like Soros who openly funds the more Yugoslav leaning parties like the SDP and just like the Democrats here in the USA, they control the media and the story being told…anyone that disagrees with them is labeled a “fascist,”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I never fully understand the politics – but I enjoy trying to get my head round it

    Liked by 1 person

    • As politics have become rather confusing and changeable, often leaving one scratching his/head as to “why”, trying to understand can be both fun and no so much, Scott. Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Buna seara Ina !
    Suprba fotografie ! 🙂
    Aveti o Doamna Presedinte foarte frumoasa ! 🙂
    Sa va traiasca si Croatia sa infloreasca !!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Cu stima,
    Aliosa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I
      TRANSLATION OF PHOTO BY ALIOSA: na Hello! Gorgeous photo! You have a very beautiful Madam President. May Croatia live and flourish !!! Regards, Aliosa
      REPLY: Thank you Aliosa. It helps to look good and let’s hope her words on 5 August are just as beautiful for those who defended Croatia from that awful and brutal aggression in 1990’s

      Like

      • Hello Ina !
        Thanks for the reply and translation! 🙂
        I’m really sorry for those suffered by Croats in 1990! 😦
        I wish you all over ❤ all the best and health and Croatian people prosperity! 🙂
        Respectfully,
        Aliosa.

        Like

      • Thank you, Aliosa, much appreciated 🙂

        Like

  10. therealamericro says:

    In preparation for the media and online Chetnik trollfest that will insue on this August 4 like every one prior, here is THE link to shut up a shoddy State Department / Foreign Office subsidized propagandist and or Chetnik troll: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8btHCWVxilI. No room for debate.

    Second, it must be noted that the organization with the circus freak demands to the President is funded overtly and covertly by the Serbian government. This is the Serbian government speaking.

    On that note, ALL Croatian governments now and in the future must oppose Serbian accession to the EU until the following criteria is fulfilled:

    1. The Serbian government ,must cease to fund the agitprop organization founded by Milosevic’s government in Belgrade in 1993 and funded by every single Serbian government since Milosevic, namely, the lie factory known as “Veritas.”
    2. The Serbian government cease any relations with the unindicted war criminal Savo Strbac and “Veritas.”
    3. Serbia must denounce Ilija Garasanin’s maniacal greater Serbia ideology.
    4. Serbia must denounce the crimes of the 1st Yugoslavia – the murders (starting on Dec. 5, 1918 on Jelacic Squre), the imprisonment(s), the state sponsored terrorism, the cultural imperialism, the detooling of Croatian industry and moving it to Serbia, everything.
    5. Serbia must denounce the crimes of the genocidal Chetnik Fascists as well as their genocidal war plan penned by Stevan Moljevic, “Homogeneous Serbia.”
    6. Serbia must denounce the crimes of Tito’s regime and the continuation of the 1st Yugoslavia’s cultural imperialism.
    7. Serbia must denounce and renounce its own SANU I and II plans.
    8. Serbia must accept responsibility for its role as a state and through state security apparatuses and state control media, in the propagandizing of Serbs into a genocidal mania / frenzy from 1986 to 2003.
    9. Serbia must accept its role as sole instigator and sole flame fueler of all the wars in fmr. Sugoslavija in the 1990s, as well as their responsibility for well over 95% of all crimes and war crimes committed.
    10. Serbia must acknowledge its concentration camps – especially for Vukovar / Podunavlje residents, build memorials from them and pay them pensions for torture.
    11. Serbia must put pressure on Croatian Serbs to acknowledge where all the graves of the 1700 still missing Croats and non-Serbs are in the Republic of Croatia.

    If *ALL* of these requests are not met, well, enjoy life as a 3rd rate Russian satellite.

    Like

  11. All common sense and dignity is coming to an end, the Serbian foreign minister now submits as evidence of continued fascitization and rehabilitation of the Ustasha the increasing popularity of the name Ante in Croatia. Serioulsy? I am I dreaming or is this the reality we face with these lunatic chetniks? Let’s build a wall…if we start now we may be done before Christmas…because as we celebrate a catholic Christmas the chetnik horde will accuse us of continuing Ustasha ceremonies conducted by the vicar of the fascists.

    Like

    • It’s getting seriously unnerving, Sunman – livid with rage that Croatian politicians can’t at least organise a “response team” to trigger/channel prompt replies to this aggression from Serbia.

      Like

  12. Buktinje Mile Gojsalić says:

    Saying Middle East nationals joined the fight for freedom against Serb aggression in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina omits quite a bit.

    The Muslim volunteers from the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey were organized as the mudžahedin battalion which was sanctioned by Alija Izetbegović and eventually integrated into the ARBiH.

    Before the Washington Agreement was inked, the mudžahedin carried out a campaign of terror on Croats in Hercegovina and central Bosnia, burning homes and slaughtering civilians. Since they were not a very effective fighting force against VRS or HVO, they preferred to prey on civilians and poorly-defended Croat villages. They did this to please their rich financial backers in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

    They even tortured and mutilated Croat defenders before killing them. I won’t describe in what ways here. They did all this while flying the black flag of jihad and shouting allahu akbar.

    This is very important history to the story of modern Islamic jihad as well, which is why it bears mentioning. Two of the 9/11 hijackers, Saudi nationals, were also mudžahedin veterans of the Bosnian War.

    Like

  13. Ivančić Franjo says:

    SRBIJA IN EU = Russia in EU!
    DOES EU KNOW IT?

    Like

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