Monday, July 11, 2005

Srebrenica: Why Muslims Despise Us

10 years ago today, Serbs committed the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II. The UN "safe haven" of Srebrenica surrendered to a depraved Serbian army. The civilized world's culpability in this, and its indifference to the the resulting mass rape of the women and girls and murder of 8,000 men explains why many Muslims hate and despise us. Which makes it particularly important that we continue to prove to them that we are not cowards.

Here's what happened (my ellipsis).

6 - 8 July 1995: Bosnian Serb forces laid siege to the Srebrenica enclave, where tens of thousands of civilians had taken refuge from earlier Serb offensives in north-eastern Bosnia.

They were under the protection of about 600 lightly armed Dutch infantry forces.

Serb forces began shelling Srebrenica. Bosnian Muslim fighters in the town asked for the return of weapons they had surrendered to the peacekeepers but their request was refused.

9 July 1995: The Bosnian Serbs stepped up their shelling and thousands of refugees fled to the town from southern camps ahead of advancing Serbs, who attacked Dutch observation posts, taking about 30 soldiers hostage.

One peacekeeper was fatally wounded when Bosnian Muslims fired on retreating Dutch troops.

10 July 1995: Dutch Commander Colonel Karremans filed a request for UN air support after the Bosnian Serbs shelled Dutch positions. (French) UN Commander General Janvier initially refused, but agreed after another request from the colonel. Serb attacks stopped before the planes arrived and strikes were postponed.

11 July 1995: The Serb forces did not withdraw, but at 0900 Colonel Karremans received word from Sarajevo that his request for close air support had been submitted on the wrong form.

At 1430, two Dutch F-16 fighters dropped two bombs on Serb positions surrounding Srebrenica. The Serbs responded with a threat to kill their Dutch hostages and shell refugees, causing the suspension of further strikes.

The Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic entered Srebrenica two hours later, accompanied by Serb camera crews. In the evening, General Mladic summoned Colonel Karremans to a meeting at which he delivered an ultimatum that the Muslims must hand over their weapons to guarantee their lives.

12 July 1995: Buses arrived to take women and children to Muslim territory, while the Serbs begin separating out all men from age 12 to 77 for "interrogation for suspected war crimes".

It is estimated that 23,000 women and children were deported in the next 30 hours. Hundreds of men were held in trucks and warehouses.


Mladic exhorted his army to "enjoy" the Muslim women and girls as a reward for their victory.

In a July 19 confidential memorandum, (US) Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights John Shattuck described "credible reports of summary executions and the kidnapping and rape of Bosnian women."

Then:

About 8,000 Muslims, mainly men and boys, were butchered.

Here was what Muslims concluded from this.

The Serbs. A killer Christian nation, which spent the 90s raping and murdering Muslims under the protection of the non-Muslim world. And which under its new supposedly democratic government is still negotiating with Mladic.

The UN. Which was at least negligent and possibly complicit in this massacre.

The Dutch. Once great and brave nation, now cowards. They have paid for it since, most recently with the murder of Theo Van Gogh. They will continue to pay through the hate and contempt of the Muslims who live there.

The French. Whose General insisted on the "safe havens" as an alternative to arming the Muslims, then left them to die.

The British. Who insisted on an arms embargo on the Muslims to placate the Russians and increase their sense of power.

The Russians. Who sponsored the Serbs, providing them with enormous amounts of weapons and a complete air defense system. And who have since employed Mladic as an instructor at a Russian military academy.

The Germans. Who triggered the break up of Yugoslavia by recognizing Slovenia.

The US. Which did this.

The United States remained disengaged from Srebrenica even while our bombers were flying overhead and our politicians were well briefed.

None of this justifies the subsequent Muslim campaign of murder. But it explains it - they think we are cowards. We must work to convince them otherwise.