Croatian Operation Storm 1995 and the Serb Self-imposed Exodus From Croatia

 

In honour of the 25th Anniversary of the Croatian August 1995 Operation Storm that within a matter of days liberated much of its Serb occupied territory I would like to share with the public and my readers the documentary film in the English language that clearly, verifiably and with absolute and irrefutable truth demonstrates the magnificent courage of the Croatian Defence Forces in bringing to the people a free and independent Croatia. This video focuses on some of the crucial military tactics employed by the Croatian Defence Forces, ensuring that there were no victims of the shelling of Knin, which was usurped by rebel Serbs as the capital city of the area they occupied via ethnic cleansing of Croats, via murder and destruction and gave it the name of Serbian Republic of Krajina. The video demonstrates with historic evidence that Croatia did not forcibly expel Serbs from Croatia in August of 1995 and is in itself a document of truth. Very worthwhile watching, and I trust you will watch this video and share it. It begins with:

“Hello and welcome to my Youtube presentation entitled “What caused the Serb exodus from Croatia during Operation Storm”. My name is Luka Misetic, I am an attorney in New York, I spent seven years before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia as defence counsel in the case of General Ante Gotovina which dealt extensively with Operation Storm. So, I have spent many years looking at the evidence in the case. At the end of this presentation hopefully you will learn three important things about Operation Storm. The first is what caused the Serb exodus from Croatia during Operation Storm. The second important thing is that you will learn the critical role that General Ante Gotovina played in Croatia’s victory in Operation Storm and the third thing that you will hopefully learn is the importance of a little village in the Southern part of Croatia known as Otric and the importance that that village played in Croatia’s victory in Operation Storm and in the departure of Krajina Serb civilians and military from Croatia during Operation Storm.

As I record this in August of 2020 and we are approaching the 25th Anniversary of Operation Storm, which took place between 4 August and 8 August 1995. Every year around this time tensions rise between Croatia and Serbia over the anniversary of Operation Storm. There are competing narratives between the two countries about the Operation. Operation Storm is celebrated in Croatia because it liberated 10,400 square kilometres or 4,000 square miles of Croatia’s territory that had been occupied by rebel Serbs for more than 4 years. The territory liberated by Operation Storm accounted for more that 1/5 of Croatia’s overall territory. Croatia celebrates Operation Storm every year on the 5th of August as a national holiday. In Croatia it is known as Victory Day and Day of Homeland Thanksgiving.

In Serbia the anniversary of Operation Storm is a Day of National Mourning. The Serbians view Operation Storm is that it is the biggest ethnic cleansing in modern Europe with the claim that hundreds of thousands of Serbs were expelled by Croatian authorities in 1995.

It is true that many Serbs left Croatia during Operation Storm… many civilians packed up and left and exited Croatia in long columns that took several days, leaving for the Serb occupied territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina known as Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic) or going on to Serbia itself. But the key question that has to be asked is why did the Serbs leave during Operation Storm? The issues or questions are were they forcibly expelled by Croatia or were they encouraged to leave by their own Serb leadership which caused a panic among the civilian population and a mass exodus.

The fundamentally contradictory historical narratives are at the centre of the dispute between Serbia and Croatia which arises every year in August during the anniversary of Operation Storm. In this video I will explain the true reasons that caused the Serb population to leave Croatia in 1995….”

 

Thank you Luka Misetic for this detailed video of Croatia’s victory in its harsh path to independence, corroborated by facts, that stands tall in the line of magnificent Croatian truths. Happy Victory Day to all Croats around the world! Ina Vukic

 

 

HERE ARE SOME SCREENSHOTS FROM LUKA MISETIC’S VIDEO. PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE:

 

Croatia: A Seriously Flawed Democracy

Photo: The Economist Intelligence Unit, eiu.com

The rise of disinformation about politics and public affairs represents an existential threat to democratic governance in many countries, and Croatia is no exception. After all, democracy rests on citizens having access to accurate and reliable information sources in order to make judgments about how they should be governed.

Although I receive email comments, letters and submissions by readers of my blog articles from all over the world on a daily basis, I have not written an article about these before. Several weeks ago, I received an anonymous three-page letter that caught my particular attention, perhaps because it, more than any other, made me ask myself the question as to why I started this blog “Croatia, the War, and the Future” in the first place in October of 2011. The anonymous writer claims to be a leading member of the Australian-Croatian community (I have no way of knowing whether this is true) and questions the need for me to write about the Serb aggression against Croatia and ultimately about the need to decommunise Croatia (for which rivers of Croatian blood were spilled in the 1990’s Homeland War)! The writer claims that such content of my articles (indeed anyone’s) serves as fuel for hatred between Croatian and Serbian community in Australia etc.! Well, for one, I personally have never felt that hatred on Australian soil and am not aware of it. All efforts to try and help Croatia develop a decent functional democracy in Croatia have always to my knowledge concentrated on issues within Croatia, not the diaspora, not in Australia.

In a recent survey UK poll regarding information available to the public, the role of government and the journalists more generally, it has been claimed the public want health information not adversarial journalism at a time of national crisis to do with Covid-19.

Some participants, for example, echoed those politicians asking for a “rally-round-the-flag” approach to reporting, saying that it’s not appropriate to criticise the government at a time of national crisis. But most people called for more – not less – scrutiny of political decision making. While the BBC and ITV were singled out for not being critical enough, many respondents wanted both broadcasters to hold the government to account more robustly.

And so, I return to the above mentioned three-page letter I received a few weeks ago. When it comes to the development of a functional democracy Croatia has been in a national crisis since year 2000, that is, after Franjo Tudjman’s death in late 1999. Former communists and sympathisers of the former Yugoslavia communist regime increasingly took power or came into power and the intent and goal to decommunise Croatia post the Homeland War was pushed further and further away from the national forward plan or goal. And to answer the above letter anonymous writer:

Yes, it is absolutely essential for me, and everybody else that cares, to write about the Serbo-Yugoslav aggression against Croatia in the 1990’s. It is absolutely essential particularly because, although the Homeland War had officially ended in 1998, it continued and continues on moral, cultural and national goals levels! The turn in politics during the decade starting with year 2000, to equate the victim with the aggressor has been a particularly troubling platform that ensured communist heritage in Croatia had a life even in a supposedly developing democracy! And this is particularly evident in a dysfunctional public administration that promotes and aids corruption and nepotism as part of that heritage. It is also evident in the almost aggressive and nationally destructive imposition of ethnic minority rights that saw the Serb aggressor wielding their way into the Croatian government, thus belittling, even damning Croatia’s right to defend its citizens’ lives during the war aggression.

As a reminder, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 cleared the way for the formation or restoration of democratic institutions not only in Eastern Europe, but also in Croatia. This surge of progress towards a fully functional democracy conceived by Franjo Tudjman and detailed in 1990 in his inaugural speech for the new Parliament in Croatia had almost immediately after his death begun to roll back.

The reversal in the case of Croatia is evidently the result of Croatia not having a leader that would stand in Tudjman’s decisive shoes of complete abandonment of the communist regime and its laws. Hence, the euphoria for the free and democratic Croatia that had expanded among Croats worldwide during 1990’s experienced increased pressure of dampening as former communist “bigwigs” (who rejected the idea of a free and democratic Croatia from the very start) took hold of power. As that momentum of the euphoria wore off, Croatia struggled to accommodate the political swings and contentious debates intrinsic to democracy and the meaning and the values of its Homeland War. Rapidly erected so-called democratic institutions, most of whom promoted values of former communist Yugoslavia regime rather than a desired democratic Croatia, have resulted in sustained attacks of the Homeland War values and notched up fights to suppress responsibilities of the 1990’s Serb-rebel crimes against Croatians; creating a false but unnerving picture of ethnic rivalries where there are none if one accepts the realities that minorities are only minorities and should not interfere in national aspirations generally.

Amidst all this Croatia remains an economically fragile country. Its internal politics that have since year 2000 abandoned the focus on national identity as a fully developed democracy, away from former communist Yugoslavia regime, in 2019 Croatia still remains in shambles as a democracy. The 2019 world Democracy Index, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, registered Croatia at the bottom of the Flawed Democracy category. Indeed, in 2020 it is blatantly clear that there is further decline and deterioration of democracy in Croatia. Power is being centralised to an almost dictatorship level where fear of losing ones livelihood due to political opinion expressions or disagreements with the government is widespread; exodus of young and middle-aged people during the past five years has almost surpassed the alarming levels of emigration or fleeing from oppressive communist Yugoslavia during 1950’s and 1960’s; the control of mainstream media in Croatia is foul; the courts are manipulated and protests or dissenting opinion – squelched; denial of reasonable access to polling stations at times of general elections is widespread in selected electorates akin to voter suppression.

Democracy in Croatia has a competitor and that competitor wears the robes of denying the Croatian people the dignity of developing a democracy for which they fought for in the Homeland War and the undergarments are weaved from communist mindset that includes not calling the Serbian aggressor to account for all the Croatian suffering in their own country at the hands of Serb aggressor.

The challenges for Croatia now are more fundamental than political slogans waved around during elections. The challenges are how to stimulate democracy in Croatia and discourage and stamp out the communist mindset laced authoritarianism that has sadly outwitted the democratic trend since year 2000, and how to support democracy where it is under siege because of government’s poor performance, appalling judiciary, distancing from national cohesion for democracy, failure to condemn the former communist totalitarian regime. Responding to these challenges has required and requires a greater willingness to pressure authoritarian leaders who offer short-term economic and security benefits to Croatia but spell long-term trouble. Hence, dear anonymous letter writer, I simply cannot write only about the magnificent physical beauty of Croatia’s tourist attractions. I have a responsibility like all others to write about the flaws of Croatia’s political scenes that cause suffering in everyday life of citizens because of the intolerable flawed democracy and try and act in such a way that may contribute towards obliteration of those flaws. I want full democracy to thrive in Croatia one day. I wanted that in 1989 and I want it now! To achieve that one must show and criticise firmly the things that stand in the way of full democracy and citizens’ enthusiasm and thirst for life and national pride. Ina Vukic

 

 

Croatian Operation Storm – A Moral And Military Victory By An Exceptional People

General Slobodan Praljak
“played an enormous role in the protection of Jews. It is a historical truth that needs to be repeated thousands of times” (Jakov Bienenfeld, Bet Israel of Croatia)
Photo: Screenshot

Operation Storm – a new documentary film by Nikola Knez. In English.

Operation Storm was the single-most decisive battle of the Croatian War for Independence. Launched by the Republic of Croatia in August 1995, it was the largest European land battle since the Second World War. The success of this remarkable military action by Croatia came after four years of brutal fighting. Outnumbered, outgunned, but not outmaneuvered, this tiny new democracy prevailed in a David versus Goliath battle, a moral as well as military victory by an exceptional people. Storm ended the massive humanitarian disaster and genocide committed by the Serbian Army and Chetnik terrorists. It led to the liberation of one third of Croatian territory seized by the enemy, and it made possible the Dayton Agreement that brought peace to the region. This film documents the events surrounding this extraordinary battle, demonstrating that Croatia, along with its army and generals, deserve commendation from the world community, if not a Nobel Peace Prize.

 

 

(Operacija Oluja – novi dokumentarni film Nikole Kneza

Operacija Oluja bila je najodlučnija bitka hrvatskog rata za neovisnost. Pokrenuta od strane Republike Hrvatske u kolovozu 1995., bila je to najveća europska kopnena bitka od Drugog svjetskog rata. Uspjeh ove izuzetne vojne akcije Hrvatska postigao je nakon četiri godine brutalnih borbi. Ova malena nova demokracija brojčano nadmašena, oružano nadmašena, ali ne i izmanevrirana, prevladala je u borbi Davida protiv Golijata, u moralnoj i vojnoj pobjedi izuzetnog naroda. Oluja je okončala masovnu humanitarnu katastrofu i genocid koji su počinile srpska vojska i četnički teroristi. To je dovelo do oslobađanja jedne trećine hrvatskog teritorija koje je neprijatelj zauzeo, i omogućila je Daytonski sporazum koji je donio mir regiji. Ovaj film dokumentira događaje oko ove izvanredne bitke, pokazujući da Hrvatska, zajedno sa svojom vojskom i generalima, zaslužuje pohvalu svjetske zajednice, ako ne i Nobelove nagrade za mir.)

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