Croatia Standing Up Against New Peaks In Vicious Cycle Of Serbian Nationalism

Croatian military parade Photo:Dusko Jaramaz/Pixsell

Croatian military parade
Photo:Dusko Jaramaz/Pixsell

Increasing pressure and uneasy disquiet is building up in many Croats’ hearts as 5 August 2015 approaches – 20th anniversary of Operation Storm, of liberating Croatia from the brutal, murderous, dark forces of ethnically cleansing Serb occupying forces.
The uneasy, painful disquiet, which wants to scream with protestation, comes with the relentless and aggressive campaign waged by Serbia’s leadership, in particular Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, that denies the aggression, war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs in Croatia during 1990’s. Serbia also keeps on harassing justice for the victims of aggression by saying that anyone attending the victory parade in Zagreb on 5 August will be considered anti-Serbia and that Serbia will ensure it marks on that day a day of mourning for Serbs killed in that war and Serbs who fled Croatia after the Operation Storm in 1995!
In other words, Serbia has made its vicious mind up to spoil the due glory of Croatia’s victory over brutal Serb aggression. One could say this is to be expected given that Serbia keeps on denying its crimes.

It may be expected, but it cannot be accepted; even if the current Croatian leftist government has evidently been going out of its way, many a time, to ‘accommodate’ Serbian insults against Croatia!
A member of the European Parliament from the opposition HDZ party (Croatian Democratic Union), Andrej Plenkovic, has said that the failure of NATO member states to attend the 20th anniversary of military Operation Storm in August is a failure of the Croatian government’s diplomacy and a message of yielding on the foreign policy front to Serbia, which he says downplays the 1990s wars.

The politics of Nikolic-Vucic-Dacic (Serbia’s President-PrimeMinister-Foreign minister) are clearly implementing revisionism of what had happened during 1990’s, and that is the Greater Serbia policy and Milosevic’s aggression against the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH),” Plenkovic told reporters on Saturday 18 July in Zagreb.


Plenkovic said another example was the vetoby the instrumentalised (UN) Security Council permanent member Russia on a resolution on Srebrenica which mentions genocide, not because somebody politically wanted to mention it but because it was mentioned in rulings by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice in 2007.”
Plenkovic said such a policy was also visible in a joint decision by the governments of Serbia and the Bosnian Serb entity to proclaim August 5, Croatia’s Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian War Veterans Day, “the day of the Croatian army’s greatest victory“, a day of mourning for Serb victims.

It’s all part of a broader activity by Serbia and recent messages by (Foreign) Minister (Ivica) Dacic are just a continuation of such a policy.”

He said the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) had a “very clear position” that the 20th anniversary of Operation Storm “should be celebrated in a dignified way as a liberating, defensive military and police operation which not only liberated Croatian territory but changed strategically and in the long term the balance of power in Europe’s southeast.”

Plenkovic said Croatian forces, together with those of the Army of BiH and the Croat Defence Council (HVO), had liberated Bihac, BiH, a UN-protected zone at the time, sparing it Srebrenica’s fate. “Only then were the Dayton peace agreement and the American diplomatic initiative possible.”

The Croatian government’s failure to have “our allies’ units” take part in a military parade on the anniversary of Operation Storm “sends a very clear message that this government has failed, with its yielding to Serbia on the foreign policy front and its insufficiently engaged explaining of Operation Storm’s strategic role for the West and our allies, for stability in the region and peace in BiH.”

He said the HDZ considered this “a big failure” of the incumbent government. Asked if this was only the government’s failure or if the entire diplomacy and the president, who signed the invitations to the allies to attend the parade, had also failed, Plenkovic said this was first and foremost a diplomatic failure of the government and its ministry of foreign affairs.
I do not agree entirely with what Plenkovic says here as do believe there will be NATO member states representation at the victory parade in Zagreb on 5 August but I do agree with his assessment of the pathetic and destructive work done by the current government and its foreign affairs field. It has been too soft and too anti-Croatia when it comes to Serbia’s tantrums and crime denials.

The 20th Anniversary of Croatia’s victory over Serb aggression; the 20th Anniversary of freedom from communism on 5 August will officially be celebrated in the town of Knin in the morning and then with the victory parade in Zagreb late in the afternoon/evening. The victory parade event is the part of the celebrations that has given rise to distressing political quarrels and fighting fueled by the current government’s (Social Democrats) push to hold the parade – which, by the way is the first one ever of its kind to mark the victory over Serb aggression – and HDZ’s (opposition – Croatian Democratic Union) opposition to it at this time.
Serbia’s Prime Minister’s (Aleksnader Vucic) statement last week that attending the military parade in Zagreb, Croatia, on 5 August will constitute an insult to Serbia, and Croatia’s defence minister Ante Kotromanovic offered a reply on Friday 17 July:

I have refrained from reacting up until now, but today I really must respond. Radical rhetoric is not a good way to communicate. However, there are moments when one simply must direct people towards facts. All this time, our intentions were to keep our national holiday of our country’s liberation away from the international relations. Celebrations of 4th and 5th August are far above that. The comments given by the person who had during 1990’s, with a rifle in his hand, encouraged only the worst and called for killings and hatred – are not trustworthy. I want to be clear regarding these new attempts in balancing the guilt and equating the victim with the aggressor and say – we know very well who the aggressor was, and places like Vukovar and Srebrenica tell us who the victim was. Operation Storm was a legitimate action that stopped, among other things, another massacre that would have been much larger than Srebrenica!”

Croatia's First POresident Dr Franjo Tudjman Standing at Town Knin August 1995 - As Croatia  Was Liberated From Serb Aggressor

Croatia’s First POresident
Dr Franjo Tudjman
Standing at Town Knin
August 1995 – As Croatia
Was Liberated From Serb Aggressor

Those who think that Croatia’s military parade will not succeed on 5 August because soldiers of members of NATO countries will not be marching there are quite wrong in my book! Why would Croatia bother about which country will march with it and which will not for that Anniversary? After all, Croatian soldiers and Croatian military were the only ones who actually liberated Croatia from Serb occupation in August 1995 and they are the ones who should be marching and parading with pride. Anyone else is so very welcome to come and watch and marvel at the courage that still prevails in Croatia despite the vicious aggression flowing from Serbia. Perhaps on 5 August 2015 Croatia will learn who its friends are and who should be left behind and who should not? Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

US General Martin Dempsey Awarded Croatian High Ranking Medal Of Honour

General Martin Depmsey in Croatia 22 September 2014

General Martin Depmsey in Croatia
22 September 2014


United States Army General Martin Dempsey, who is the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was awarded the Order of Duke Trpimir with Neck Badge and Morning Star (Red kneza Trpimira s ogrlicom i Danicom) in Zagreb on Monday 22 September 2014


Order of Duke Trpimir  with Neck Badge and  Morning Star

Order of Duke Trpimir
with Neck Badge and
Morning Star

The Order of Duke Trpimir ranks fifth in the Croatian order of precedence after the Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir. It is awarded to Croatian and foreign ministerial level officials and others for merit in contributing to the independence, integrity and international reputation of Croatia, the construction of Croatia, and development of relationships between Croatia and other countries.
This is an order which Croatia awards only to true friends,” said Croatia’s Minister of Defence Ante Kotromanovic during the award presentation ceremony. Furthermore, Kotromanovic reminded all of the enormous part played by the USA at the beginning of 1990’s, during the actions of liberating Croatia from its occupiers, but also later as Croatia moved closer to NATO and the European Union.
General Dempsey appreciated Minister Kotromanovic for awarding him the distinctive Croatian decoration , which he viewed as recognition to the numerous American soldiers who served in international missions worldwide side-by-side with the Croatians as well. “Croatia has grown into a strong and reliable partner and a solid platform for the rest of the region. I wish to see the partnership continued and enhanced,” Dempsey said and spoke of his wish for the USA and Croatian partnership to grow even more stronger than what it has.
In this sense, US State Department’s recent public announcement in which Croatia is listed, among more than fifty other countries, as a member of the coalition which has as its goal oppose ISIL that controls significant parts of Syria and Iraq.
“Nobody knows yet what our responsibilities will be but this is an opportunity for the whole world to unite against that perilous evil,” said Croatia’s minister Kotromanovic regarding ISIL.
In the afternoon, after being received by Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, Dempsey was present at the delivery of several army vehicles which the US government has donated to Croatia: 212 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP), comprising 162 combat vehicles M-ATV, 20 MRAP HAGA (heavily armed ground ambulance) vehicles and 30 MaxxPro MRAP vehicles to the Republic of Croatia.

The donated MRAP vehicles will be distributed to the Croatian Army, Support Command and the Special Operations Battalion units, to replace the formerly used TAM vehicles.
General Martin Dempsey has not contributed to Croatian independence when it was fought for but Croatia did have strong US support in its eventually successful endeavours to free its occupied territories from Serb aggressor. I tend to see this important Medal or order bestowed upon General Dempsey as a reflection of post-war efforts to further and assist where possible the development of and strengthening of Croatia’s position internationally – in all walks of life that are worthwhile walking for the betterment of friendships and humanity – I believe.

USA donates military vehicles to Croatia

USA donates military vehicles to Croatia

But it does concern me as a matter of Croatian democratic processes or informing the public that Croats did not hear from their President or Minister for defence that Croatia is a member of the international coalition against the Islamic State. Croatian Public heard this via televised news State Department public statement! And while the Croatian public is asking itself why it was that they were faced with finding out about this in a roundabout way rather than from their own country, the jihadists are calling upon their supporters to kill citizens of every country that is a member of the coalition. I wonder if Croatia will re-assess the risks from the jihadists in its midst or neighbourhood after such calls to murder? I hope so! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Corruption investigators knocking on Croatia’s former president’s – Stjepan Mesic – door!

Stjepan Mesic

Corruption seems woven deeply into the fabric of  that part of Croatian society where former, and perhaps some current power brokers, politicians and public company directors roam. No big surprise there, all former communist countries are tarnished with the same brush. The challenge is to pluck out the rotten threads, one by one, and free the society from having to tolerate individuals who have amassed personal wealth through corruption and bribery, and impoverished the country’s industrial base to such alarming proportions that sees new companies either bankrupt or at the brink of bankruptcy every day.

One doesn’t need to be highly street-wise to conclude that the ever climbing, disastrous levels of unemployment in Croatia are directly correlated to the gradual, allegedly corruption driven, depletion of jobs and winding down of hundreds of companies.

To see grown men cry on the streets, in front of daily TV News cameras, not knowing how they will feed their families without a job, is a motive that must mobilise all appropriate authorities into more action against corruption. Not only to process any justified corruption charges but to confiscate all property acquired through the crime that corruption is.

During the past three or so years in particular, the former HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) government of Croatia, led by Jadranka Kosor, had declared war on corruption. The strongest message for this warfare was sent when the former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader ended up behind bars on corruption charges (currently still being heard in court).

Croatia’s new government, led by Zoran Milanovic, SDP (Social Democratic Party), has just this week demonstrated that it, too, has the hallmarks and stamina to engage in war against corruption.

Croatia’s Defence Minister Ante Kotromanovic stated, for the media, last Tuesday, that all documents pertaining to allegations of bribery in the 2007 purchasing of armoured vehicles worth 112 Million EURO from Finnish company Patria during the presidency of Stjepa Mesic have been sent to the State Prosecutor’s Office for investigation.

This investigation is sparked by the recent “allegation made by Wolgang Riedl, Patria’s go-between person during the sale of armoured vehicles in Slovenia and for a short period of time in Croatia as well, about meetings that allegedly took place in the Office of the President during the time when Stjepan Mesic was in office”.

Riedl told investigators the names of people in Croatia to whom he gave bribes, after which investigators started checking his claims.

The media claims that the Office of the President was included the process of purchasing armoured vehicles and that Mesic, as the supreme commander, was very well informed of the events and that given his position he could have directly influenced the selection of the weapons providers.

In a Media release, the former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic said on Thursday 5 April “that he had not participated at any moment in the decision making process concerning the purchase of armoured vehicles or in any way influenced a commission which made a decision to purchase armoured vehicles from Finland’s producer Patria”.

However, a year ago Mesic said to Media services that there was no talk of bribery at meeting with Patria, but remembered that someone came after the contract with Patria was signed.

At the end of the day, it seems highly unlikely that Reidl would fabricate allegations of bribery and it seems highly likely that people from the Office of Croatian President while Mesic occupied it received bribes. If the latter is confirmed then it’d be the only responsible action by the State Prosecutor to trace the path of that money and where it trickled to, in buckets it seems.

The fact that corruption (bribery) charges in Patria case, similar scenario, have reached high echelons of government power in Slovenia over the past few years is an indication that the Croatian leg of this  sorry and angering story of bribery is valid.

Obviously, while Mesic’s memory in this case may be correct, he has certainly demonstrated appalling inconsistencies when it comes to remembering events during the past decade or so. His memory had especially been misleading and confused when it came to “lost” moneys, in form of cheques, given to him to take to bank accounts for humanitarian aid Croatian émigrés held in Villach, Austria, during the years of the Croatian Homeland War. But this is an another issue, well publicised in Croatian press, which, with perseverance, may see resolution in not too distant a future. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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