Balkans: August 6, 2005


: Croatia held a ceremony on August 4 commemorating the tenth anniversary of Operation Storm. This was the Croat offensive against Serbian gunmen and civilians in the Krajina region. The Serbs were driven back into Bosnia. Croatia now says that Operation Storm "prevented a second Srebrenica" (ie, the mass slaughter committed by Bosnian Serbs against Bosniak Muslims in the town of Srebrenica, during the summer of 1995.) A Croatians came up with this line after critics claimed that Operation Storm resulted in many civilian deaths (civilians were indeed killed) and amounted to "ethnic cleansing" against Serbs. The Croat spokesman said the offensive "freed Croatia" and ended a Serbian siege of the predominantly Muslim town of Bihac (in Bosnia). Operation Storm will be debated for years. Serbia's losses put Slobodan Milosevic's regime in a very tight corner, and eventually led to Serbia signing the Dayton Accords. Here's another sidelight on Operation Storm: in the Fall of 1995 several military analysts noticed that Operation Storm was unusually sophisticated compared to other combat in the Balkans. For example, the Croat attackers used multiple axes of advance and did a very good job coordinating fire support. The Croats said their own officers planned the offensive but acknowledged that many of their officers military had received planning and training courses from retired US officers working for a US military contractor. 


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