The Destruction of Yugoslavia
During the 1980s it became more and more obvious that the Cold War might end as the diplomatic discourse among the major European powers - France, Russia and Germany - moved away from the East-West confrontation focusing instead on pan-European concepts.
The NATO planners and politicians were preparing the post Cold War military role and design for Europe. Without the communist threat, what would NATO be for? How to justify the huge burden of military budgets in the midst of major cutbacks in social services? How can people be prepared for a new line of propaganda to justify military intervention and power projection? Major differences between European Great Powers about the future design and direction of NATO were to manage. Germany and the U.S.A. came up with a concept to move things forward: war was needed in Europe.
The issue was to organize war and manage to keep it from spreading. The isolation of the war region was of critical importance for the whole operation and depend on both political and geographical factors.
The end of the Cold War and Yugoslavia
With the Cold War ending Yugoslavia lost its importance as a buffer state between the blocks. It increasingly became just some state without much to offer for international capital and politics alike. Its history and location would prove to be fatal for the country and its people.
Most probably it was the Germans and we should especially name Dietrich Genscher, the German Foreign Minister during all the 1980s and early 1990s, who initially promoted the plan to destroy Yugoslavia, which was created by the Allied Powers after WW I. The Yugoslav constitution was the most federalist of all i ever heard of. The Republics had far reaching autonomy and veto rights including the right to secede from the federation by vote of their parliament. This made it easy for the Western Powers to move against Yugoslavia by promoting and financing separatist politicians and organizations in Slovenia and Croatia.
The ethnization of Yugoslav politics was promoted by separatists forces who needed something to base their aspirations upon. They began to organize unrest and grow hate among the people and systematically discriminate against Serbs. By far the largest group of refugees within Yugoslavia are Serbs from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina with large numbers of Serbs also fleeing from Kosovo.
During the summer of 1991 350.000 Serbs were fleeing Croatia which engaged in systematic racist attacks and discrimination against them.
On December 22, 1990 the Croat Constitution was amended: "Croatia is the state of Croats" (Article 1)
. That goal was finally achieved after the military annihilation of the Republic of Serbian Krajina by the Croat Army, totally equipped by Germany, in August 1995 resulting in the expulsion of 200,000 Serbs.
Yugoslavia was a truly secular and multi-ethnic state and Bosnia was no exception.
It was Tito who initiated the Bosnian question, by progressively recognizing during the sixties the Muslims as a new "nation". This nation was not called "Bosnian" but "Muslim" with a capital M. This "innovation" was definitely instituted in the new Federal Constitution of 1974. The Muslims being Islamized Slavs, speaking Serbo-Croat language, did not differ from Serbs (Orthodox) and Croats (Catholics) except for their religion (Sunnite). Thus, a religion was transformed into a people and the worm was implanted in the fruit.
With 44% Muslims, 35% Serbs and 17% Croats, any effort to gain supremacy of an ethnic or religious grouping would mean escalating conflict and civil war and was therefor carefully avoided. Only when the EU offered independence to all the Yugoslav republics in December 1991, the road for secession and therefor the war was open.
Croatia and Serbia were both fighting for territorial control over parts of Bosnia applying a strategy of ethnic separation and pressuring the Bosnians to accept and reorganize along ethnic or religious categorizations. Bosnian muslims turned to their faith in search for identity in the ethnicized climate forced upon them. The multi-ethnic character of the Bosnian society was no longer practical. Families and friends would split and find themselves on opposite sides of the fighting. The war began spring 1992 lasted until the winter of 1995 and resulted in tens of thousands of dead people and numerous atrocities committed by all sides.
Western Europe needed NATO attack
The Western European powers had gotten what they most desperately needed. Stories and pictures of war and death in Europe. All the time they were propagating the need for military intervention. But they had no intention to end the war which they created in the first place and continued to throw oil in the fire. Moreover, any large-scale military intervention by NATO in Bosnia was out of question due to conflicting positions among the European Great Powers and the U.S.A.
Serb groups eventually had certain advantages in the early stages of the war because they were many and had some support from the Yugoslav army. But Western intervention in the form of diplomatic and propagandistic support, weapons and intelligence would in time shift the balance in favor of the Croats and the Bosnian political leadership would form an alliance with Croatia against the Serbs. Primarily the Croatian and Serbian efforts in the war were concentrated on the creation of ethnically based communities and areas which they would then try to connect with each other to form a continuous area occupied by their ethnicity.
In 1995 it became clear that the conflict had developed into a situation in which none of the sides was in a position to make any further substancial gains and the war was about to end. The U.S.A. and Germany, having organized and prolonged the war all these years, moved for a final claim of territory. NATO launched the operation "Deliberate Force" meaning daily air raids against the Bosnian Serbs from August 30 to September 14. It was the preparation for a large scale Croat-Bosnian offensive the following days.
In a big show of U.S.-hegemony the Dayton Accords of November 1995 were imposed upon Muslims and Serbs while the good old allies of (Nazi-)Germany in Croatia were the only ones truely pleased with the outcome. 60.000 NATO soldiers were deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina making it the first NATO protectorate in Europe and try on colonization. But this was merely laid the foundation for more ambitious intervention plans ahead. NATO now prepared to attack what was left from Yugoslavia.
NATO and KLA together for War
The conflict in the Kosovo was of a different kind. Kosovo/Metohia was not an independent Republic within Yugoslavia, but a region within Serbia. Albanian extremist forces saw the opportunity to come closer to realize their goal of an separate state of Albanians or a Greater Albania, including not only Kosovo, but other parts of Serbia and Macedonia. Mass protest was organized while paramilitary troops would launch armed attacks against police and state buildings and increasingly against civilians as well. They were not only attacking Serbs but also Albanians opposed to their agenda. The Yugoslav police and military forces would respond with conventional counter-insurgency tactics used everywhere around the world.
As the process would be moved closer to NATO military attack, the US would gradually take over more responsibility. They were using the KLA as a tool to escalate the conflict in the Kosovo. The Contra (Nicaragua) or Unita (Angola) are only two of a long list of similar examples. The KLA, supported by U.S. covert action to provide weapons and money and stuffed by right extremists and mercenaries would step up their attacks.
Whatever you can say about the activities of the Yugoslav police and military in the Kosovo you won't find any evidence that they were executing a strategy of ethnic cleansing. It simply made no sense because the minority of Serbs in Kosovo was in no position to even remotely hope to succeed on that path even if they would have intended to do so. What indeed happened was that the Yugoslav forces were launching counter-insurgency attacks against positions or strongholds of the KLA. Reports and rumors about atrocities and massacres circulated among both sides and both ethnically Serb and Albania people were fleeing.
Until the NATO attack began we still had some access to moderate Albanian voices from inside Kosovo. Although being completely one sided and anti-Serbian we find no reports of masses of Albanians fleeing or being killed. They were silenced on the first day of NATO bombing. NATO was systematicly escalating the conflict on all levels to prepare the story for their bombing campaign against the Kosovo in particular and Yugoslavia in general. 'War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength'.
Resisting Racism and Nationalism could have prevented War
The destruction of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with hundreds of thousands forced to flee and dead, secessionist wars and massive NATO bombardment of what was left of Yugoslavia was a showcase of long term planning and systematic execution of the Great Powers. Using separatist right extremist groups who would promote and commit hate crimes and propaganda against other peoples to create an ethnically defined front for their nationalist ambitions. Ethnicity and religion were not a reason behind the conflict but just a means to work with. Many people in Yugoslavia were willing to let themselves be manipulated into conflict and war without understanding much about the forces and causes of that war. Without them responding to racist war propaganda there wouldn't have been war in Yugoslavia.