May 24, 1993 Vreme News Digest Agency No 87

The recollections of Veljko Kadijevic

What did we Fight for?

by Milos Vasic

Recently asked about the goals of the 1991 war, general Veljko Kadijevic, former Defence Minister, said that the "prevention of ethnic clashes" - in fact - meant the seizure of Serbian regions in Croatia and the withdrawal of Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) units to "the borders of a future Yugoslavia"

The general was very careful not to say what those borders would be. He - of course - did not remember that, already in the spring of 1991, general Andrija Silic proposed to him to besiege Vukovar, Osijek and Vinkovci and to penetrate speedily towards Zagreb, without wasting time; in that case, these towns would fall anyway. General Silic's plan was logical: he was going for the "gravity center" (fon Klauzevic) of the indicated enemy, understanding the political goal as formulated by the propaganda. Neither general Silic, nor other military personnel (with a few exceptions) were told that the propaganda was a lie: no "anti-fascist war" was being waged.

Witnesses from the JNA claim that, already in May 1991, they were warned that the JNA would withdraw from Croatia and told to take measures for the purpose of "carrying out activities on the temporarily seized territory". While the JNA was breaking its teeth on the fortified and poorly defended town during the insane Vukovar operation, the Croatian National Guard (ZNG) acceleratedly armed itself, taking advantage of the world public's outrage because of the destruction of towns.

General Kadijevic defends the even less successful Dubrovnik operation - which finally turned the entire world against the JNA and Serbia - by saying that it meant "preparing the basis for activities towards Split"; that would have been great on two conditions: that Dubrovnik had been seized and that there had been "activities towards Split". This way, it all sounds quite miserable (even without the claim that mothers and peace-makers prevented a glorious victory). General Kadijevic described the Pyrrhic victory at Vukovar as "the breaking backs of 'their' army" (the fact is that Western Slavonia was lost after Vukovar, and that the Croatian army became an equal partner).

If things were as general Kadijevic claims, why didn't they go for Zagreb immediately, or when things turned out as they did, why didn't they do so after the fall of Vukovar, when their "back" was "broken"? "We did not go for Zagreb", says the army general and defense minister, "because the Vance plan was signed and we did not want to violate it". When was the Vance plan signed? Not before December 1991. From July until then, the Yugoslav People's Army could have taken Zagreb several times if it had not been busy with Vukovar and Dubrovnik, waiting for something...

The other question is: Who signed the Vance plan, priding himself on it as a great peace-maker and politically liquidating - on the way - former leader of Krajina Serbs Milan Babic and who tripped up the heroic JNA, which would have taken the entire Balkans, only if it weren't for the damned Vance plan? Whom did Cyrus Vance fall in love with in December 1991, just as lord Owen did in May 1993? Since the memory of our public is like that of an ordinary orthodox hen - it lasts around 8 minutes - it should be reminded: Mr.Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Serbia, the former personal friend of army general and retired defense minister Veljko Kadijevic.

The end was the most terrible of all: asked who prevented the Yugoslav People's Army from preserving the borders of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the army general said: "The Assembly of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the federal government asked that we intervene, but then the war in Slovenia broke out, so the Presidency decided not to conduct it". Which "Presidency"? A four-member gang?