YPA: igniting the Balkan fires

Regarding the editorial "Balkan Fires," Oct. 4: The United States media generally frame events in Yugoslavia as ethnic conflicts, especially between Croats and Serbs. The Monitor's analysis has been more balanced than most, but I would like to offer a deeper analysis.The key factor in the war is the Yugoslav People's Army (YPA). This war is not an ethnic conflict, but rather an unhappy consequence of an otherwise "happy" event - the end of the cold war. The YPA, the fifth largest European Army, has had special status since World War II because Yugoslavia was preparing for attack from both sides during the cold war. When that era ended, there was no longer a need for such a huge Army. YPA leaders were also part of the communist political elite, and the democratic elections in some areas eliminated their privileges. Using national rivalry to provoke a war was the only way to stay in power after the failed Soviet coup left them with no direct outside help. The YPA is extremely vulnerable, once unmasked. Antiwar feeling is growing among their now mostly Serbian conscripts. The economy in YPA-controlled areas is precarious and their stocks of strategic minerals are low. Primoz Juznic Ljubljana, Yugoslavia

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