CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence
24 July 1996
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Much has been accomplished since the Dayton accords were signed
December 14th in Paris. Although progress has been better than
expected, many hurdles still must be leaped before we can be assured
of long-term peace in the region.
THE ACHIEVEMENTS ARE LARGE
IFOR's operations have gone surprisingly smoothly as the military
deadlines stipulated by the agreement have generally been met. The
cease-fire held through winter and into the spring and summer, ending
the bloodiest fighting in Europe since World War II. The warring
parties withdrew from the territory they lost at Dayton, the armies
have been demobilized and the weapons moved to cantonment sites.
True, the demining of the country has proceeded too slowly, partly
because of inclement weather and the lukewarm attitude of the former
warring parties to clearing areas they were withdrawing from anyhow.
Most recently, in June, the arms-control agreement mandated by Dayton
was signed in Florence after protracted negotiations.
With the apparent end of fighting, people are beginning to rebuild
their lives and return to peacetime activities, thanks to the combined
effort of 32 nations in IFOR.
-- New shops and cafes are springing up, goods are becoming widely
available, people are repairing their houses, children will soon be
returning to school. Tens of thousands of people, albeit temporarily,
have crossed the line separating the Serbs from the Federation.
-- The first round of elections were held in Mostar without violence,
and preparations for the September elections are in full swing.
Forty-eight parties have registered to participate in elections, as
well as numerous independent candidates for local elections. Over
30,000 candidates will be running for local, regional, and national
elections. Polling also shows that a sizable majority of people
across Bosnia believe the elections are important and intend to vote.
-- Even on the troubling issue of foreign forces, there has been
substantial progress. After receiving the assurances of the Bosnian
government that foreign forces it knows of have departed, President
Clinton recently certified the Bosnian government in compliance. The
Administration has worked closely with the Bosnian government on this
issue and will continue to do so.
MANY HURDLES REMAIN
Freedom of Movement: This issue will have significant influence on
elections in the short run and the prospects for a multi-ethnic
society in the long run. There has been some gradual improvement as
the various parties have become more willing to allow other
nationalities to cross the inter-ethnic boundary line to visit former
homes or grave sites of loved ones. The problems arise when there is
an attempt at a permanent return. All of the formerly warring parties
have been guilty of this, have destroyed homes of other ethnic groups,
and otherwise harassed each other's nationals to discourage permanent
War Criminals: The failure of the Croat and Serb ethnic groups to
cooperate with the War Crimes Tribunal continues to be a problem. The
U.S. intelligence community continues to provide information through
the Department of State to the War Crimes Tribunal to assist in
identifying and bringing to justice the perpetrators of war crimes and
atrocities in Bosnia. As of now, there are indictments against 75 (18
Croat, three Moslem and 54 Serbs), but The Hague only holds six of
them. A particular problem is that some of them persist in trying to
remain politically active in contradiction of Dayton, which clearly
states that anyone indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal cannot hold
Karadzic and Mladic: They are the most dramatic illustrations of the
problem. After Dick Holbrooke's mission last week, Karadzic on July
19 announced he was relinquishing the power of the presidency of both
the government and the party and would end his public appearances. As
of July 22, none of the media monitored by the FBIS (Foreign Broadcast
Information Service) have carried any comments or reports on Karadzic
since the July 19 agreement. This is a positive step, but he must go
to The Hague. Moreover, Ratko Mladic still remains free and in
control of the army,
Karadzic and the nationalist SDS party he headed have clouded the
prospects for free and fair elections and the long-term development of
a democratic Bosnian state. The party leadership was used to
intimidate potential opposition, such as the leaders of the Bosnian
Serb Socialist Party, who have been purged from local government and
state-run enterprises and whose homes have been vandalized. Predrag
Radic, the Banja Luka mayor, was kicked out of the local party after
he spoke against Karadzic and announced he would head the Democratic
Patriotic Bloc. This created a climate in which potential opposition
figures felt too intimidated to voice dissent.
Elections: Even if his announced departure from the political scene
announced last Friday is real, and it is too soon to tell, that is
only the beginning of working for free and fair elections. New SDS
party chief Buha in an interview published July 22 in Der Spiegel
noted that Karadzic would still retain influence in his country's
politics. In all of the camps, however, the forces of nationalism are
still in the ascendancy. The departure of Karadzic and hopefully
Mladic from the scene is not overnight going to build a Bosnian Serb
desire to remain part of a multiethnic Bosnian state. Even the more
moderate Bosnian Serbs prefer to be more closely aligned with Serbia
Moreover, lacking a democratic tradition, none of the leading parties
for either the Serbs, Croats or Muslims are doing more than the
minimal necessary to give their opposition parties an equal chance in
the elections. Throughout Bosnia, denying access to the print and
broadcast media is the norm as is intimidation of opposition elements.
Moreover, the opposition parties lack the know-how to mount effective
-- The Federation: Here too, the tendency toward separation rather
than integration, particularly among Bosnian Croats, remains strong.
For example, the lengthy effort to arrive at a Federation defense law
reflects the reluctance of the extremist elements on both sides to
share power with the other ethnic group. The Federation defense law
took months to reach despite offering the carrot of equip and train;
even then, key issues of chain of command were left unresolved and
kicked further down the road.
-- Brcko -- a potential flash point. After the Dayton negotiations
were unable to resolve the disposition of the Brcko corridor, the
final agreement included provisions for its arbitration. This area is
of vital strategic interest to both parties and was the scene of
ethnic cleansing in the first part of the war. Both sides even differ
over the scope of the arbitration, so finding a satisfactory
resolution for all by the yearend deadline will be a challenge.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
In the short term the threat of war is low. Recent polling (USIA)
reveals that the Bosnian people -- Serbs, Muslims and Croats -- are
tired of war and are ready to rebuild their lives. Open confrontation
and violent clashes have become the exception rather than the rule in
resolving inter-community disputes -- as evidenced by the recent
election in Mostar.
Nonetheless, the Bosnian people face enormous challenges in devising
ways to live with each other in peace and creating lasting democratic
institutions, especially after IFOR has departed the scene.
-- After the elections in September, new institutions will be tested
as they attempt to define their roles in relations to other entities
and organization. There is a legacy of bitterness and a lack of
democratic traditions to overcome. A key post-election test will be
what happens if the absentee refugee and displaced person vote elects
candidates in areas where the other ethnic group is now dominant.
Will these elected officials be allowed to take their seats on
municipal councils or cantonal sub-assemblies, power or will they
-- Although an arms-control agreement was signed, the willingness of
all sides -- both in Bosnia and the other involved states -- to comply
with the agreement remain untested. As long as they distrust each
other, compliance may be problem.
-- The powers of hatred and the still-fresh memories of the horrors of
the war will be hard to overcome. The trend toward separation among
the Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats remains strong and will be
difficult to reverse in the near future. As in the case of Western
European recovery after World War II, economic integration will be the
key to long-term peace and regional stability.