The fourth occupation in one hundred years: ItaUan NATO troops roll across thernbridge on the Drina.rntransparent that even those who mightrnbenefit from it have voiced consternation.rn”It’s insane to indict Karadzic andrnnot Izetbegovic,” a Bosnian MusHm andrnformer Yugoslav diplomat stated. “IfrnAmericans are going to behave as imperialists,rnthey should at least be evenhanded.”rnMurder by instigation and proxy is alsorna crime. Srebrenica is one example.rnMuslim forces under the command ofrnNasser Oric launched attacks againstrnSerb villages from what was supposed tornbe a demilitarized, U.N.-protected SafernArea. This diversionary force was tacticallyrnsuccessful in drawing overextendedrnSerb forces from primary confrontationrnzones. Despite an estimated 1,000 Serbrncasualties and 30 villages sacked, thernMuslims demanded U.N. protectionrnfrom the “aggression” of Serb retaliatoryrnfire. In what bears the hallmarks of arncovert American operation, Oric receivedrnIranian weapons smuggled intornthe Safe Area in 40 pound flour bags ofrnhumanitarian aid. (The Serbs reportedlyrnfurther fell for the bait when Americanrnand British diplomats encouraged themrnto “settle the territorial dispute on thernground.”) Overrun after heavy fighting,rnas many as a thousand Muslim malesrnwere rounded up and summarily executed:rnan atrocity by any standard, but onernmuch less horrific than accounts of it byrnthe media. A similar level of brutalityrnwas committed a month later by thernAmerican-backed Croatian Army, whenrnit sacked the Serbian Krajina: this time,rnno histrionics and no indictments.rnIt is a remarkable accomplishment ofrnthe international press corps that the ethnicrngroup which now constitutes thernlargest body of refugees can be demonizedrnfor committing the majority of ethnicrncleansing. Indeed, many events ofrnthe Balkan War were plays behind thernstage. In what was largely a commercialrnconflict, perhaps second in recent memoryrnonly to Chechnya, several front linesrnaround Sarajevo were fixed by mutualrnagreement of military officers involvedrnin blackmarketeering. These racketeersrntraded everything: consumer goods,rnweaponry, factories, even people. UNPROFORrnpersonnel participated widelyrnas middlemen, much to the organization’srndiscredit.rnBoundaries were redrawn when politicallyrnexpedient. Under internationalrnthreat, Serb leaders west of the Drina surrenderedrnenormous tracts of territory,rnand politicians kept their positions andrnaffluence at the expense of thousands ofrncasualties among their constituents. Butrnin lieu of partition—the most logical solutionrn—there are options other than militaryrnexpansion by the Sarajevo regime.rnCase in point: the Dayton Accords providedrnfor freedom of movement; subsequently,rnmobility has increased, andrnfamilies and friends have been reunited.rnSome Serbs are retiirning from Serb territoryrnand abroad to live in Sarajevo, andrnothers stayed in its environs acquired byrnthe Dayton Accords. Some describe lifernthere as “infinitely better” than amongrntheir kinsmen in Serbia. Serbs in thesernareas have also reported favorably on thernprofessionalism and impartiality of thernnew Federation police forces—a creditrnto them, and to their international monitors.rnAdditionally, the multiethnic localrnstaff employed by the NATO-led forcernhave helped to build confidence in thernpossibility of coexistence.rnThe Republika Srpska, compared tornSarajevo, is like a Third World country;rnthe evidence of economic deprivationrnand political isolation is everywhere.rnWages average a third of those in thernFederation, yet the Republika Srpska receivesrnonly two percent of the humanitarianrnaid, though its needs are muchrngreater than the Federation’s.rnThe Serbs could be given further incentivesrnto participate in a tripartiternBosnian Federation. What preventsrnthem from cooperating is the fear of livingrnunder the Muslim extremist plutocracyrnthat the United States has so enthusiasticallyrnsupported. One requisite forrnlasting peace, therefore, is a change inrnleadership in the Sarajevo regime, whichrnthe United States could easily arrange. Arnsecond requirement is that either toplevelrnCroats and Muslims are indictedrnfor their crimes (making the Tribunalrntruly impartial and lending it legitimacy)rnor a general amnesty is offered (howeverrnunpalatable that might be for domesticrnAmerican consumption). Third, Serbianrnsecurity should be protectedrnby their own territorial defense forcesrnand joint police forces. Bosnian Serbsrnshould also have true veto power overrnpolicies that affect them and enjoy thernsame special relationship with Serbiarnthat the Croats of Bosnia have with Zagreb.rnAnd however late. Federationrnforces should be limited to defensive,rnrather than offensive, capabilities. Thernrhetoric about balancing power in the regionrnis too often a crass attempt to negaternSerb defenses. Forcing the Serbs to livernunder the Muslims will not work: forcingrnthe Muslims to cooperate with the Serbsrncan. The shotgun marriage of the DaytonrnAccords cannot succeed, but thernMuslim-Croat marriage of conveniencerncould. Show the Serbs that they are secure,rnencourage investment and economicrncooperation, and ethnic reintegrationrncan occur.rnReconciliation has occurred amongrneven more polarized and brutalized populationsrnin recent memory, and it can occurrnin Bosnia, if given a chance. Fromrnthe beginning, the United States hasrnheld the keys to creating a climate ofrnpeace. Instead, we seem to be maneuveringrnfor a resumption of conflict thatrnwill justify the perpetuation of our ownrnregional satellite.rnWorld affairs photojoumalist RussellrnGordon has been covering the BalkanrnWar for Zuma Press.rn48/CHRONICLESrnrnrn