Even as the situation in central Bosnia deteriorated in late January and early February, 1994, UNPROFOR and ECMM monitors began to receive an increased number of reports that the Croatian Army was intervening in the Muslim-Croat conflict in Herzegovina. Convoys and troop movements from Tomislavgrad toward Prozor and the Gornji Vakuf area were reported, and the ABiH claimed—incorrectly—that some ten thousand Croatian soldiers in seven or eight HV brigades were in the central Bosnia area. However, Croatian official Jadranko Prlic conceded only that a few former HV soldiers were there: some twenty-six hundred “volunteers” born in BosniaHerzegovina who had returned to defend “their country.”1
As the Croatian Army’s involvement in Herzegovina became increasingly obvious, the UN Security Council considered sanctions against Croatia. Then, despite a year of often intense conflict between the Muslims and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the United States succeeded in bringing off something of a diplomatic coup by getting both sides to the conference table, forcing them to agree to stop the fighting and once more cooperate in their common defense against the Serbs. This was accomplished by showing a bit of carrot as well as the Security Council stick as the United States offered Croatia economic aid in return for the withdrawal of its forces and assistance in bringing about a Muslim-Croat cease-fire in BosniaHerzegovina. The combination was effective, and the cease-fire agreed upon in Washington went into effect on February 25, 1994, thus ending the Muslim-Croat civil war. A new Muslim-Croat federation was formed that subsequently entered into a defense pact with Croatia against the Bosnian Serbs and their Serbian/Yugoslav allies.
Although the fundamental issues dividing Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats were not resolved, the Washington agreements did end the fighting and allow the Muslim-Croat alliance to concentrate on fending off the principal aggressor in the region, the Bosnian Serbs. Indeed, the ABiH was able to mount an offensive against the BSA in north-central Bosnia the same month that the Muslim-Croat alliance was renewed. However, as Sir Martin Garrod noted: “There is still basic mistrust of the Muslims by the Croats, particularly in Hercegovina, who will not forget that it was they with, they say, just a small contribution from the Muslims who ‘liberated’ Mostar from the Serbs, armed the BiH to fight with the HVO against the Serbs and welcomed the Muslim DPs into Mostar and