America’s “Junkyard Dogs”: Operation “Storm” in 1995

Hits: 1359

A great explanation from an excellent analyst of what happened in Serbia 20 years ago, and why the Ukraine feels like Deja Vu

‘Operation Storm’ in August 1995, when Croatia overran the Serb-inhabited territory of Krajina, was the biggest single instance of ethnic cleansing in the Yugoslav Wars, Because the attack was backed by the US, however, it was never treated as a crime.

Between August 4 and August 7, up to 2,000 people were killed and over 220,000 driven from their homes by the Croatian army. No “invaders,” these Serbs had lived in the Krajina – their word for borderlands – for centuries. The 1995 onslaught was not just a final phase of the war that began in 1991, but a continuation of the 1940s Nazi atrocities, and a long, sordid history of oppression and betrayal going back to the 1800s.

In the late 1600s, the Hapsburg Empire (later Austria-Hungary) established a buffer zone along the border with the Ottoman Turks. in exchange for military service, the Orthodox Serb frontiersmen were granted religious liberties by the Catholic Hapsburgs. By the 1800s, the Ottomans were in retreat and Austria became obsessed with subjugating the Serbs and trying to subsume them into the Catholic Croat population.

When Austria-Hungary disintegrated in 1918, the Croats chose to join the Serbs in a new South Slav kingdom – Yugoslavia – rather than be partitioned between Hungary, Austria and Italy. In April 1941, as Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers, Croatian Nazis known as “Ustasha” declared an independent state with the backing of Hitler and Mussolini.

This Ustasha Croatia conducted a campaign of mass murder, expulsion and forced conversion of Serbs to Catholicism, which outright disgusted the Italians and made even some Germans recoil in horror. A Croatian legion was sent to the Eastern Front, where it perished under Stalingrad. When the Communist regime of Marshal Tito took over Yugoslavia in 1945, however, Croatian atrocities were hushed up for the sake of “brotherhood and unity.”

The end of Communism in 1990 saw a revival of Nazi symbols and vocabulary in Croatia. President Franjo Tudjman denied Ustasha atrocities and expressed joy his wife was “neither Serb nor Jewish.” Serbs were stripped of equal citizenship and declared a minority. When Tudjman declared independence in June 1991, the Serbs saw 1941 all over again. They took up arms and declared the Krajina Republic – not denying the Croats their right to independence, but disputing Zagreb’s claim to lands Croatia acquired under the same Yugoslavia it now sought to leave.

When the disintegrating Yugoslav Army backed the Krajina Serbs, Zagreb cried “Serbian aggression.” International pressure and UN sanctions sought to cut off Belgrade’s support for the rebels. When Tudjman failed to crush the Serb resistance, an armistice was arranged in January 1992. Krajina was placed under the protection of UN peacekeepers, dubbed UNPROFOR.

Meanwhile, the Clinton administration began backing Croatia and the Bosnian Muslims in their war against the local Serbs. In 1994, MPRI – a private company staffed with retired US military officers – was paid to train and equip the Croatian military. Officially, of course, they were teaching them democracy and human rights.

In May 1995, Croatia launched a strike on the Serb enclave of Western Slavonia. The UN did nothing, while the Western media was firmly focused on Bosnia. Everything was ready for the main event, dubbed “Operation Storm.” It began on August 4, with a predawn artillery barrage and the assault by 200,000 Croatian troops, trained by MPRI and armed with surplus Warsaw Pact weapons procured from eager Eastern European aspirants to NATO membership.

Three days later, most of Krajina’s Serbs had been expelled from their homes, while around 2,000 were dead. Churches, cemeteries and entire villages were razed to the ground, while refugee columns were strafed by fighter jets. Serbia did not react at all, prompting speculation to this day that Slobodan Milosevic was somehow “in on it” with Zagreb and Washington. A simpler explanation may lie in the fact that his Army Chief of Staff and spymaster were both working for the CIA at the time, as General Momcilo Perisic and Jovica Stanisic admitted years later.

The US-backed war crimes tribunal for Yugoslavia made a show of demanding the arrest and extradition of several Croatian generals involved in “Storm.” In April 2011, the tribunal convicted Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, while acquitting Ivan Cermak. However, the basis for their convictions was an arbitrary standard for artillery strikes never previously used – indeed, one that would have acquitted all the Serb officers charged with shelling civilians. The purpose of this became apparent when the tribunal cited this arbitrary standard as grounds for reversing Gotovina and Markac’s convictions on appeal, in November 2012.

By that time, Croatia had already been admitted to NATO (2009), and cleared for membership in the European Union, which it joined in 2013.

Washington claims to be engaged in Croatia to foster “a democratic, secure, and market-oriented society that will be a strong partner in Euro-Atlantic institutions.” Yet in his 1998 memoir ‘To End A War,’ US diplomat Richard Holbrooke paints a different picture, quoting a note from his colleague Robert Frasure written during a meeting with Croatian officials on August 17, 1995:

“Dick: We ‘hired’ these guys to be our junkyard dogs because we were desperate. We need to try to ‘control’ them. But this is no time to get squeamish about things.”

This was just ten days after the mass expulsion and murder of Serbs, as US diplomats directed the Croatian troops’ incursion into Bosnia. Meanwhile, Tudjman’s government gloated over achieving what their Nazi predecessors only dreamed of, thanks to its choice of sponsors. A 2001 census showed 380,000 fewer Serbs in Croatia than a decade prior, a change from citizens with equal rights to a statistical error. The US government was most certainly not “squeamish” – not then, and not now.

If all of this bears an uncanny resemblance to the crisis in Ukraine, that’s because it does. The US is using the same arsenal of accusations employed against Serbia in the 1990s to blame Russia for “aggression” in Ukraine. Those Ukrainians who refused to live under a pro-US coup regime in Kiev are demonized as “terrorists.” Meanwhile, the pro-Nazi elements in Ukraine are being given the same whitewash into “democratic reformers” as their colleagues in Croatia. They even have US troops training and equipping them, quite openly.

Last September, after Kiev’s forces suffered a crushing defeat in attempting to subdue the rebels, one Ukrainian lawmaker suggested following Croatia’s example. While tolerating the existence of Krajina for three years, wrote Yuriy Lutsenko, the Croats strengthened their military and the economy. “And then in a couple hours, a tank attack wiped the separatists off the face of the earth,” he said.

Lest there be any confusion, Lutsenko was the head of the majority Poroshenko Bloc in Ukraine’s parliament. Washington routinely describes the regime of President Petro Poroshenko as democratic reformers bent on bringing Western values to Ukraine – at gunpoint, apparently.

Croatia marked the 20th anniversary of its victorious crime with a military parade and a statue of President Tudjman in the formerly Serb city of Knin. The lands “liberated” in 1995 remain “scattered ghost villages strewn with shell-scarred houses overgrown with ivy and tall grass,” to quote a Reuters description from 2005.

Washington was not content with crushing Krajina. In 1999, NATO attacked what was left of Yugoslavia and occupied Kosovo, a southern province of Serbia, declaring it an independent state in 2008. In October 2000, the US organized a“color revolution” in Belgrade, the first of its kind, bringing into power a puppet government. Serbia has been ruled by client regimes ever since.

By rewarding Tudjman’s atrocities, the West has effectively endorsed the Croatian Nazi atrocities from the 1940s, of which the 1990s policy was a continuation. Two decades after “Operation Storm,” Krajina stands as a symbol of the conviction that the US and its “junkyard dogs” – whether in Zagreb, Kiev, or elsewhere – can act with absolute impunity. Likewise, the fate of Krajina and the Serbs in general is meant to be a message to the world that resistance to US goals is futile.

But the East remembers.


Originally published on 2015-08-05

Author: Nebojsa Malic

This article originally appeared at Russia Today

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
As Holocaust Memories Fade, Nazi Glorification must be Resisted
The Holocaust and the tragic events that befell the Jewish community in the Second World War are fast fading from Canadians’ memories.A recent survey by The Azrieli Foundation showed an alarming 52% of Canadian millennials cannot name even one concentration camp and 62% did not know six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.It is essential that Canadians help preserve Holocaust memory and speak out against those who engage in denial, distortion or obfuscation. This is a perilous time, particularly for Jewish communities in Europe.The rise of extremist forces on the right is a critical challenge. Witness the recent targeting ...
READ MORE
USA: False Flags and Fake Reality
Years ago, the terms “false flag” and “conspiracy theory” went hand in hand. Suggesting that a government would stage an attack on its own people or attack an ally and blame it on a “third party” was unthinkable. This is despite the glaring fact that “false flags” have been going on since before biblical times and have been a part of every nation’s policy. Intelligence agencies exist to do little else, they plan and execute false flag attacks to influence policy and set the course of events, based on analysis. This is, in fact, their greatest single tool, and one used ...
READ MORE
Breaking Yugoslavia: How the US Used NATO as its Battering Ram
November 1991 is a month and year that will forever live in infamy when it comes to one of the most grievous crimes committed under the rubric of Western foreign policy, as it was on this month in this year that the break-up and destruction of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) was set in train. The Arbitration Commission of the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia was a body set up in 1991 by the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Community (EEC) in response to the conflict that had broken out between separatists in Slovenia and Croatia and the ...
READ MORE
Donald Franciszek Tusk: “Blood is Thicker than Water”?!
Donald Franciszek Tusk, (born 22 April 1957) is a Polish politician and historian. He has been President of the European Council since 1 December 2014. Previously he was Prime Minister of Poland (2007–2014) and a co-founder and chairman of the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) party.Tusk began his public career as an activist in his home town of Gdańsk, supporting Solidarity and organizing his fellow university students. With the exception of one four-year stretch, Tusk has served in the Third Republic Sejm (parliament) continuously since its first elections in 1991. He was Vice Marshal (deputy speaker) of the Senate from 1997 ...
READ MORE
Edward S. Herman (ed.), The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics (PDF Book)
Read the truth about "Srebrenica Massacre" in 1995. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. The Al-Qaeda-linked ‘El-Mujahedeen’ brigade of the Bosnian Muslim Army parading in downtown Zenica in central Bosnia in 1995
READ MORE
The US-NATO Plan for Macedonia: Keep Serbia Down and Russia Out
The role of the United States in the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is often overlooked by people who are critical of Washington’s intervention in the internal affairs of independent, sovereign countries. For it was in the former Yugoslavia that the precedent was set for future American intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo provided the launch pad for the West’s concept of humanitarian intervention, which, in reality, is a pretext for safeguarding and enhancing US global hegemony. However, intervention by Washington in the Balkans in the 1990s served a more immediate objective for the ...
READ MORE
On the Geo-politics of “European Army”
French president Macron’s call for the creation of a “European Army” and the implicit end of NATO alliance reflects the changing global order, the credit for which must, in the first place, go to the US president Trump, who, through his series of actions, has unwittingly done enough damage to the alliance to force the EU to wean away from the so-called western alliance and project itself as an independent player in the international arena. On the one hand, the concept of a “European army” affirms the growing distance between the US and its allies in Europe, and on the ...
READ MORE
A Boomerang Policy: From Paris to Paris
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.Save
READ MORE
The Croatian National Revival Movement (1830–1847) and the Serbs (II)
A Greater Croatia according to the advocates of Illyrian Movement's ideologyPart IThe Illyrian  Movement until the creation of political parties (1841)Certainly, publishing of Lj. Gaj’s Kratka osnova horvatsko-slavenskoga pravopisanja/Die Kleine Kroatische-Slavischen Orthographie in 1830 marked the beginning of the Croatian national revival movement and made Ljudevit Gaj to be a leading figure of it. The essential political-national value of the book was that Gaj proposed the creation of one literal language for all Croats. It was a revolutionary act at that time, which was done, according to Gaj and other leaders of the movement, for the ultimate political-national purpose to ...
READ MORE
Twenty Principal Misconceptions about the Kosovo Issue
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.SaveSave
READ MORE
American Capitalism is Based on Plunder
American capitalism is based on plunder. With the continental USA plundered, American capitalism hoped to continue enriching itself by plundering Russia as it did under Yeltsin, carefully including the Russian “Atlanticist Integrationists” in the spoils in order to have support from the liberal, progressive forces in Russia for stripping Russia of its assets. But Putin more or less put a halt to the American/Israeli rape of Russia, although it still continues through the neoliberal economics that Harvard brainwashed into the Russian central bank and economics profession. Brainwashed Russian economists are the main reason Washington is able to punish a powerful ...
READ MORE
Book by Vladislav B. Sotirovic: “Global Research. Selected articles” (Second Edition), Vilnius, 2016
Book by Vladislav B. Sotirovic: Global Research. Selected articles (second edition), Vilnius: UAB “Mylida”, 2016 ISBN 978-609-408-840-7, UDK 911.3:32 So-121 Text of the printed book The book reviews by: Dr. João Carlos Graça, Lisbon School of Economics & Management, Lisbon University, Lisbon, Portugal Prof. Dr. Krisztina Arató, Vice-director of the Institute of Political Sciences at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary Dr. Christian Rossi, Department of Social Sciences and Institutions, Cagliari University, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. ...
READ MORE
Why Albanians Fled Kosovo During the 1999 NATO Bombing
Interview with Čedomir Prlinčević Formerly the Chief Archivist of Kosovo and President of the Jewish Community of Priština; driven from Kosovo by KLA terrorists in 1999 Interviewer: Jared Israel Translator: Petar Makara [Posted 3, December 2000 * New introduction, 4 April 2006] ======================================== Introduction This is the second Emperor’s Clothes interview with Čedomir Prlinčević (pronounced Ched-o-meer Pra-linch-eh-vich). Mr. Prlinčević, an historian, was chief archivist in Priština, capital of Kosovo, and head of the Jewish community there until, as he explained in his first Emperor’s Clothes interview, the terrorist KLA drove him and his family and thousands of others from their homes. Heavily armed British NATO forces stood by, ...
READ MORE
Аbout a Greater Serbia
The Western-backed myth of a Greater SerbiaMuch space, time and efforts have been devoted in the recent history of West Balkans, and in particular in the latest political upheavals, about the alleged project of a Greater Serbia especially by the Western authors either academic scholars or journalists.[1] The issue must be, however, considered together with its counterparts from Croatia (a Greater Croatia) and Albania (a Greater Albania). There are two focal questions that arose here:Were all these projects serious and what was the origin of this maximalist concept of forming the national states in the otherwise ethnically mixed area?Whose exact ...
READ MORE
America’s Role in the Creation of the State of Israel
Review of Alison Weir's "Against Our Better Judgement: How the U.S. was used to create Israel".Relevant to recent developments pertaining to the US-Israel alliance is this article first published on GR in May 2014.Weir’s fascinating history focuses on how the State of Israel came into existence through a cynical using of the United States and how it was defended from American critics who saw the support for Israel as violating US principles and damaging US interests.The significance of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the British “gentleman’s agreement” between the British government and Lord Rothschild that pledged British support for a Jewish ...
READ MORE
Ukraine’s NATO Referendum is a Vote for War
The massive artillery bombardment of the peoples of the Donbass, that has been raining down shells and fire on them since Christmas, is a war crime of horrific proportions designed to terrorise the people and bring their refusal to be subject to the NATO-installed regime in Kiev to an end. It is also becoming clear that it has a political purpose, which is to increase anti-Russian, pro-NATO propaganda among the Ukrainian people to influence them to vote to join NATO in a referendum, the consequences of which will be dramatic because a vote for NATO will be a vote for ...
READ MORE
The U.S. Government Backs Ukraine Nazi-Fascists
The Nation  published an outstanding article on March 9th, by James Carden, which described the remarkable extent to which the Obama government (and virtually all of the Washington Establishment) are supporting (financially and otherwise) fascists who want to destroy Russia.  One such example was a recent event in Washington. According to Carden: It featured the deputy speaker of Ukraine’s Parliament, Andriy Parubiy. According to the program bio, Parubiy served as the “commandant” of the Euromaidan (why did an ostensibly peaceful protest require a “commandant” anyway?) and, later, as secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. The bio provided to attendees might fairly be described as selective. ...
READ MORE
US Serbs, Angry about Being Bombed by Bill, May Have Cost Hillary the Election
The reason Hillary Clinton was crushed in the electoral college during this election is because she lost Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania . The reason behind the unprecedented loss can be summed up in two sentences. We will not forget. We will not forgive. These three states are home to the Serbian-American community. For most of them, their traditionally Democratic ticket vote turning Republican was a clear repudiation of Hillary Clinton's role in the Balkan genocide. "An American Serb generally doesn't vote FOR anyone, but AGAINST a Biden, a Clinton, a McCain, against whoever Madeleine Albright supports, against whoever bombed Serbia, recognized Kosovo... Wait, was Dubya a ...
READ MORE
Zionism, Anti-Semitism, BDS, and the United Nations
An earlier abridged version of this post was published by Middle East Eye under a different title on June 5, 2016. The focus is upon the misuse of anti-Semitism by those defending Israel to deflect a rising tide of civil society activism and public criticism of Israeli policies and practices.Zionism as Racism? Zionism and the State of Israel8 Jun 2016 – More than 40 years ago the UN General Assembly adopted controversial resolution 3379 by a vote of 72-35 (with 32 abstentions), determining “that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” This resolution was bitterly opposed by Israel and its ...
READ MORE
The US Military Bases Abroad are Disrupting the World Order
In years before 2014, the Afghan think tanks would opine that the US may wind down Afghanistan’s conflict through the end of this year, inferring that the goal of founding the nine large military bases across the country is almost accomplished. Many would delightfully say that Afghanistan is phasing into a new chapter with the flames of war quelled as the US government insisted on troop withdrawal.Entrenching military headquarters in strangers’ territories has no excuse or legal ground under any circumstances. The Afghan nation would cast aside objection to this permanent military foothold thanks in most part to the bitter ...
READ MORE
As Holocaust Memories Fade, Nazi Glorification must be Resisted
USA: False Flags and Fake Reality
Breaking Yugoslavia: How the US Used NATO as its Battering Ram
Donald Franciszek Tusk: “Blood is Thicker than Water”?!
Edward S. Herman (ed.), The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics (PDF Book)
The US-NATO Plan for Macedonia: Keep Serbia Down and Russia Out
On the Geo-politics of “European Army”
A Boomerang Policy: From Paris to Paris
The Croatian National Revival Movement (1830–1847) and the Serbs (II)
Twenty Principal Misconceptions about the Kosovo Issue
American Capitalism is Based on Plunder
Book by Vladislav B. Sotirovic: “Global Research. Selected articles” (Second Edition), Vilnius, 2016
Why Albanians Fled Kosovo During the 1999 NATO Bombing
Аbout a Greater Serbia
America’s Role in the Creation of the State of Israel
Ukraine’s NATO Referendum is a Vote for War
The U.S. Government Backs Ukraine Nazi-Fascists
US Serbs, Angry about Being Bombed by Bill, May Have Cost Hillary the Election
Zionism, Anti-Semitism, BDS, and the United Nations
The US Military Bases Abroad are Disrupting the World Order

Leave a Reply