Nato wonders which targets to hit next

WAR IN BOSNIA Bombing could stiffen, rather than weaken, Bosnian Serb resolve

Nato air attacks on the Bosnian Serbs intensified yesterday with the heaviest bombing yet against ammunition dumps around Sarajevo. Nato said they will go on until the Serbs withdraw all their heavy weapons from within a 20km radius of the city centre.

There was, however, confusion about what targets to hit next as Nato nears the end of its original list, now expanded to about 150 "aiming points".

Nato denied a report that its Secretary General, Willy Claes, had said he wanted to shift attacks from rear-area targets - ammunition dumps, command control and communications - to Bosnian Serb front-line troops. And the UN special representative, Yasushi Akashi, said he was reluctant to shift the focus in the opposite direction, to "option three": attacks on industrial infrastructure.

Despite criticism from Moscow and the risk that the continuing raids will upset wider peace negotiations, the UN and Nato are standing by their threat to tear the military structure apart until the Bosnian Serbs do as they have been asked.

For the moment, there are still enough targets. The highest priority are air defences like those attacked with cruise missiles on Sunday. Although the integrated air defence system has been severely damaged, military sources said there are still areas which are regarded as unsafe for Nato aircraft. Therefore, there may be further attacks, possibly using cruise missiles or, once Italian sensitivities are overcome, F-117 Stealth fighters which can evade radar, infra-red and electromagnetic detection, until Nato can use the skies unchallenged.

The 150 targets on the present Nato list were selected from thousands, most of which had to be discarded because they were too close to civilian areas. Nato is acutely conscious that a single bad error, leading to large numbers of civilian deaths, could turn world opinion against operation "Deliberate Force".

Nato's concern to avoid "collateral damage" is one reason why the air campaign is proceeding slowly. The Nato aircraft are using a high proportion of laser-guided bombs, which are delivered a few at a time, rather than deluging the targets with "dumb bombs". This has meant the campaign has taken longer. Whenever aircraft cannot find the target, or whenever bad weather intervenes, its progress is further delayed.

However, it takes time for the effect of destroying ammunition dumps to filter down to artillery positions. By the standards of conventional war, the ammunition expenditure in the Bosnian conflict is modest. The Serbs are believed to have about 300 guns around Sarajevo, all of which are believed to have three weeks' supply of ammunition to hand. Only when those stocks are used up will the destruction of ammunition depots begin to tell at the front.

But some military sources are slightly concerned that the Bosnian Serbs may prove more resilient than expected. "It's the world's biggest underground army," said one UN official. Tito's Yugoslavia was honeycombed with underground installations to enable it to withstand a nuclear attack or Soviet invasion. The Bosnian government believes Nato may have hit about 100 "heavy weapons" - tanks guns and mortars - out of an estimated Bosnian Serb strength of about 2,000, but Nato and the UN refused to make any estimate.

Still more uncertain is the effect on the will of the Bosnian Serbs who were believed to be overstretched and war-weary. It is possible, however, that the Nato bombing could stiffen rather than weaken their resolve. That has been the effect of previous bombing campaigns in Europe and Asia.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam