Genocide in Bosnia: The Policy of "Ethnic Cleansing"

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Few events in history have received as much real-time exposure as the atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Few dilemmas have perplexed peacekeepers and negotiators as has the victimization of Muslims in the former Yugoslavia. With the memories of the Jewish holocaust so freshly etched in people's memories, could such genocide have happened again? What catalysts vault nationalism across the threshold into inhumanity?

In this compelling and thorough study, Norman Cigar sets out to prove that genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina is not simply the unintentional result of civil war nor the unfortunate by-product of rabid nationalism. Genocide is, he contends, the planned and direct consequence of conscious policy decisions taken by the Serbian establishment in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Its policies were carried out in a deliberate and systematic manner as part of a broader strategy intended to achieve a defined political objective—the creation of an expanded, ethnically pure Greater Serbia.

Using testimony from congressional hearings, policy statements, interviews, and reports from the western and local media, the author describes a sinister policy of victimization that escalated from vilification to threats, then expulsion, torture, and killing. Cigar also takes the international community to task for its reluctance to act decisively and effectively. "The longer the world did nothing concrete about Bosnia-Herzegovina, the more unlikely it became that the situation would be reversed, as the country was torn apart or its population scattered or killed."

Genocide in Bosnia provides a detailed account of the historical events, actions, and practices that led to and legitimated genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It focuses attention not only on the horror of "ethnic cleansing" and the calculated strategy that allowed it to happen but also offers some interesting solutions to the problem. Cigar's book is important reading for anyone interested in the inherent violence of overzealous nationalism—from Rwanda to Afghanistan and anywhere else.

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Editorial Reviews

Roy Gutman

"Cigar . . . breaks two taboos in this meticulously documented, lucidly written study. He focuses attention on the Serbian Orthodox Church . . . And he indicts the political 'opposition' in Serbia across the spectrum. . . . Cigar has provided a unique resource that answers the immediate questions and lays out a roadmap for further research."--Roy Gutman
Library Journal
Cigar, a professor of national security studies at Quantico, claims that the crime of genocide in Bosnia has been committed as a "rational policy" in pursuit of a greater Serbia "by the Serbian establishment in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina." The author's command of most published sources enables him to depict systematic "ethnic cleansing" throughout the region; the persistent "denial" of the policy by the international community, among others; and the ineffectual consequences of Western involvement. There is little doubt that genocide has taken place in Bosnia, although the question of its origins and those responsible is not so obvious. Too, a work concerning so heinous and infrequent a crime should offer comparison with episodes elsewhere, as well as more attention to the United Nations-sponsored war crimes tribunal for Bosnia. Although lacking Cigar's detail, David Rieff's Slaughterhouse (LJ 2/15/95) discusses much of the same events with greater balance. Libraries with strong Balkan collections should acquire both.-Zachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie
Cigar, professor at the US Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting in Quantico, VA and former Pentagon analyst, argues that genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina is the direct consequence of policy decisions by Serbian leadership to establish an ethnically homogeneous "Greater Serbia," and critiques the international community's reluctance to act decisively. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Norman Cigar is professor of national security studies at the U.S. Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting in Quantico, Virginia and former senior analyst for the Army staff at the Pentagon.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 Genocide: The Terms of Reference 3
2 The Historical Context: Analytical Tool or Straitjacket? 11
3 The Preparatory Phase: Paving the Road to Genocide 22
4 The Responsibility Dilemma: Did the Muslims Have an Option? 38
5 The Implementation Phase: Fortunes of War or Recognizable Pattern? 47
6 Motivating the Perpetrator: The Serbian Establishment's Calculations 62
7 The Denial Syndrome: The Serbian Perspective 86
8 The Denial Syndrome: The Victims and Bystanders 107
9 Spin-Off War Crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina: The Victimization Process 123
10 Stopping Genocide: Could More Have Been Done? 139
11 Must a Victim Remain Defenseless? A Case for Self-Defense 166
12 Heading for the End-State: The Continuing Humanitarian Dilemma 181
Appendixes 201
Notes 209
Index 243
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