Croatia's Role in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Regarding the editorial, "Croatia's Sellout," July 10, the contention that local self-organization of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina constitutes "betrayal of Muslims" that is "difficult to overstate" contradicts even the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina himself.

On July 8 in Helsinki, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and the Croatian President Franjo Tudjman jointly stated the commitment of their respective countries to territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina as guaranteed by the United Nations charter and CSCE documents.

Rather than blame Bosnian Croats and Mr. Tudjman, the US and the West should acknowledge their own responsibility for the perceived fragmentation of that country: Had the West provided timely and effective political and military assistance, the Bosnian government might not have failed to provide protection, social infrastructure and leadership.

The refusal by many in the West, including some United Nations officials, to side with the legitimate government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a UN member state, has not been helpful. The overt resolve by the US administration not to commit ground troops to Bosnia shows to ethnic Croats that the Sarajevo government does not enjoy genuine international support.

To back a government without credible strategy, military muscle, and effective foreign support, is too much to expect from anyone. Yet it is the Bosnian Croat forces that saved the Sarajevo government from total military defeat. It is time for the West either to help that government or to stop pointing the finger. Stanimir Vuk-Pavlovic, Rochester, Minn.

Your editorial, "Croatia's Sellout," July 10, seemed to have been prompted more by your desire for evenhandedness than by the desire to objectively analyze the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Unlike Serbia, Croatia recognized the sovereignty, independence, and inviolability of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In contrast to Serbian Army offensive actions in Bosnia, Croat troops are conducting defensive actions. The Bosnian government has repeatedly asked for international help.

Consequently, the republic of Croatia has lent support to refugees in Croatia. Does anybody expect Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina to preach pacifism - only to be routed and slaughtered, and later to be bewailed by vicarious United Nations world-improvers? Last year, when the Yugoslav Army attacked Croatia, Croats learned that the best way their new state can obtain recognition and deal with the aggressor is through military resistance.

The decision by the Croats in Herzegovina to set up their own administrative region within Herzegovina must be put in perspective. This decision by no means suggests that Croats are carving up Bosnian territory.

There has been no "secret" deal between Serbia and Croatia - as Serbian continuous shelling of Croat towns both in Herzegovina and Croatia demonstrates. By contrast, not a single town in Serbia has so far been attacked by Croat troops. Tomislav Sunic, Ph.D., Huntingdon, Pa., Professor of Political Science, Juniata College

A holocaust has been going on for more than one full year in the former Yugoslavia. These are not "ethnic" wars but a full-scale and unbelievably brutal war of aggression by the third-largest Army in Europe. Whole cities have been destroyed together with civilians. This is not "fighting," ... this is a full-scale genocide, on a scale unseen in Europe since World War II, which can be stopped only by force. Boris Petrovchich, Los Altos Hills, Calif.

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