Tudjman weighs risk of wider war
CROATIAN AMBITIONS : KRAJINA AFTERMATH
Wednesday 09 August 1995
A Serbian tank division was reported yesterday to be moving on the border of the Serb-controlled area of eastern Slavonia in the far east of Croatia. The Croatian government has said it has no intention of ceding eastern Slavonia to Serbia, but the Croatian claim to the area is recent and may be negotiable.
The Croat defence of Vukovar, a major town in the area, from August to November 1991 against great odds, has become a widespread source of national pride in Croatia. But before the 1990 elections President Franjo Tudjman indicated that eastern Slavonia was not part of his vision of Croatia. Popular sentiment suggests the Croats will fight to recover control of the area: realpolitik suggests that they are not so concerned.
Eastern Slavonia contains oil fields and some of the richest agricultural land in the former Yugoslavia. Until the end of the Second World War it was part of Vojvodina, not Croatia. Thus, when President Tudjman said, on several occasions, that he envisaged a Croatia within its 1939 boundaries, he implied eastern Slavonia need not be included.
The area is of great potential strategic importance to Serbia because control of it means commanding both banks of the Danube. During the 1991 war two important bridges over the Danube, at Batina and Bilok, near Vukovar, were not destroyed by the Croatian Army. Drago Hedl, a Croatian editor of the Balkan War Report and an authority on the region, said that had given rise to rumours of a deal under which President Tudjman was ready to exchange eastern Slavonia for parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
But the dynamics of the 1991 war between Serbia and Croatia may have upset his plans. The three-month siege in the autumn of 1991 pitted fewer than 2,000 Croat soldiers against vastly superior forces of the mainly Serb Yugoslav National Army. They held on for three months, with an estimated 6,000 civilian deaths in Vukovar. Claims of 30,000 Serbcasualties are as implausible as those of medieval battles but Vukovar has entered modern Croatian folklore and in many towns thoroughfares have been renamed Vukovar Street.
- 1 Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
- 2 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 3 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 4 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 5 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGH VALUE REAL ESTATE / RESID...