The post-Yugoslavia wars


Since my girlfriend is a fierce Serb patriot, I have been trying to get a grip on the wars in that general area after Yugoslavia broke up. Below is what I make of it:

The main conflict immediately after the breakup was between the Serbs and the Croats, which exist basically side by side geographically

in 1991 the Serb population in eastern Croatia (Slavonia) tried to secede from Croatia

The Serb army was however mainly aiming at capturing Dalmatia, under Croatian control. So they were busy in the South, trying to capture Dalmatian Dubrovnik from the Croats. But in the end, the Serbs failed to rip anything off Croatia, both in the South and in the North.

The Serbs in Bosnia however set up an independence movement in 1992. With the assistance of the Serb army, they prevailed and two big chunks of Bosnia were split off under Serb rule, to form a new territory called Republika Srpska which was formally recognized by the UN in 1995


Serbs had the best hats

It was part of the Bosnian war when a lot of Muslim civilians were killed at Srebrenitsa, while Dutch troops who were supposed to be there protecting them did nothing

It was also in that war that the long-lasting siege of Sarajevo took place, in which forces of the Republika Srpska blockaded the Bosnian capital. It was primarily to end that siege that the U.N. granted official recognition to the Republika Srpska

A soldier of the Republika Srpska in dress uniform -- holding her Serbian-made Zastava assault rifle. At its peak, the armed forces of the Republika Srpska numbered over 80,000.

My little Cetnik emigrated to N.Z. in 1995, foreseeing future trouble from Kosovo

So Serbs lost out in their wars with Croatia but had a big gain in Bosnia. Serbs now control roughly half of Bosnia. The Bosnian Serbs were not however allowed to unite with Serbia. They remained an independent State. So there are now two Serb political entities: The Republic of Serbia and the Serbian Republic -- not to be confused! Nothing in the Balkans has ever been simple

But just when eveything had settled down, in 1997 the Kosovars (Ethnic Albanian Muslims) in Southern Serbia rebelled, demanding independence

The Serbs however did not want to lose control of their South so tried to suppress the Kosovars militarily. That attracted a lot of international attention and support for Kosovo independence.

So NATO got involved to help the Kosovars, bombing the Serbs to make them retreat from Kosovo. So the USA under Clinton bombed Christian Serbia to help Muslim Kosovars! The Serbs more or less gave up after the bombing and all is mostly peaceful there now.

There were atrocities committed by all sides in the wars of the 1990s, causing most people living as minorities to flee to the heartland of their respective nations. So most Croatians now live in Croatia, most Bosniaks now live in central Bosnia and most Serbs now live in one of the Serbias. That is probably conducive to future peace. There are however some Serbs still living in Northern Kosovo so that has led to some unrest

An odd footnote. Immediately after the U.N. recognition of the Republika Srpska, its first President was a "Mrs Plavšic". Suprisingly feminist.



Although she never killed anyone, Biljana Plavšić was later convicted as a war criminal. She was in fact a distinguished academic. After serving an 11-year prison sentence in Sweden, she returned to Belgrade in 2009 where she has been living ever since. She is now in her 90s, having survived Covid-19



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