Letter: Military intervention, not dithering, is needed in Yugoslavia

Share
Sir: Last November, a leading article in the Independent expressed the fear that the Western world would come to accept 'a low-level civil war in Croatia, a war in which a dozen or so Croats and rather fewer Serbs lose their lives daily'.

Several months on, Croatia, having lost 10,000 people and still under daily attack on a number of fronts, is scantily reported by the press; and Bosnia, with more than 7,000 dead in weeks, and several hundred thousand near starvation, is still under bombardment, with a real threat of Kosovo and Macedonia being pulled in, too. It is an altogether more horrific scenario than that painted by your leader - and the Western world still, de facto, accepts it.

There is now the danger that President Mitterrand's visit, although positive in the immediate sense, may nonetheless throw a smokescreen over the real issue of a relentless war, being waged in many areas, which nobody is yet doing anything effective to stop.

As an onlooker, who did, however, spend several months recently in various parts of what used to be Yugoslavia, and witnessed the build-up of tension resulting from the political stalemate, I am stunned by the apparent absence of understanding on the part of the international community, of events - and indeed people - in that area.

While Serbia was busy restructuring the military zones and rebuilding the infrastructure, well before the annexations of Vojvodina and Kosovo, the West continued to turn a blind eye, evidently hoping that the Yugoslavs could sort out their own 'squabbles' - a policy endorsed by the US Secretary of State, James Baker, on his visit to Belgrade a year ago.

Now, with thousands dead, more than two million refugees, and the danger of a full-scale Balkan war which may yet drag in Western Europe, the Western powers are still dithering about what and how and when and even whether to do anything at all to stop the indiscriminate slaughter in what is, not without reason, known as the powder keg of Europe.

As it was obvious more than a year ago that the Yugoslavs were unable, for a number of complex reasons, to arrive at a political compromise by themselves, so it is now even more obvious that the war will not end of its own accord.

Economic intervention by the West a year or more ago could have saved 20,000 lives; military intervention will now be needed to prevent a European tragedy turning into a European disaster.

Yours,

CAROLE GIRBIN

Glasgow

29 June

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Muslim men pray at the East London Mosque  

Sadly, it needs to be said again: being a Muslim is not a crime

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible