THE STATESMEN and diplomats announced the end of the Bosnian
war Tuesday, applauding and congratulating one another on the
achievement. But a look at the documents they initialed raises hard
questions, including whether there will be only a temporary truce,
with the final partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina the end result.
In theory, the accords hammered out here during three weeks of
intense U.S.-led talks preserve a single, multiethnic state, but
they skirt the entire question of military power.
"The principal anomaly of the agreement is that you will have
two-plus armies," a White House official told Newsday shortly
before the talks came to a close. He referred to the weakly
equipped Bosnian army, which the United States plans to train and
arm; the Bosnian Serbs, who are well-equipped by Serbia; and the
Bosnian Croats, who are well-armed and supported by neighboring
His remark suggests Bosnia may ultimately divide not into two,
but three, separate entities.
"Having two armies is unlike anything that exists in the world
today. It is one of the question marks over the viability of
everything," the official added.
This is not only the biggest difficulty in the accord but it
also raises questions for the plan by President Bill Clinton's
administration plan to deploy 20,000 U.S. troops as part of a NATO
force three times that size to implement the accord.
The purpose of the force is described as keeping the sides
apart by patrolling a zone of separation. It is to be deployed on
Bosnian government territory but is also supposed to circulate
freely even in the Serb-held area, an activity that most observers
of the region believe will be highly risky. But it is unclear what
is to stop the government and Bosnian Serbs from attacking each
other if NATO departs Bosnia as scheduled after a year.
To address the problem that local police in the Serb areas
supervised the concentration camps and organized the killing and
raping, a force of several thousand Western police is to be
deployed to select and train new police forces. But at the end of
the talks, the United States dropped its insistence that Western
police have absolute authority over the selection process.
"Milosevic has promised to help us," the White House official
said, referring to Serb President Slobodan Milosevic. "But there is
an element of risk. It is possible that some aspects won't play out
as we hope."
The map, worked out in five days, appears to include two
corridors - one Serb and one Bosnian government - but corridors are
militarily vulnerable constructions, which in the case of the
Polish Corridor after World War I and the Berlin corridors during
the Cold War were constant focuses of tension. …