Monday, November 13, 2000

War and rebirth in Bosnia

        After World War I, the collapse of former empires leads to the creation of Yugoslavia, an unstable state of Slavic peoples dominated by a Serbian king.

        1941: Communists under Josip Broz Tito overthrow a puppet government dominated by fascists. The regime kills tens of thousands of ethnic and political rivals under decades of Soviet-bloc rule.

        1980: Tito dies, sparking renewed upheaval among Serbian and Croatian ethnic factions.

        1991: As the Soviet Union's empire collapses, civil war erupts. Croatia and Slovenia proclaim independence from Yugoslavia. Fighting begins in Croatia between Croats and local Serbs.

        1992: The United States recognizes the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina from Yugoslavia. As the United Nations puts 14,000 troops in Croatia, war erupts in Bosnia, with heavy fighting in and around Sarajevo.

        1993: Heavy fighting continues, especially in the Bosnian city of Mostar, where a symbolic ancient bridge is destroyed. NATO begins combat patrols over Bosnia to enforce a U.N. no-fly zone.

        1995: Despite a U.N. arms embargo and NATO patrols, fighting rages. By mid-September, negotiations lead to the Dayton peace accords, drafted in November at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The accords commit NATO to send in a 60,000-member force.

        1998: NATO reports people can move freely across borders in Bosnia and Croatia. Major cities have power and water. Railroads and airports function. NATO troops shrink to about 20,000.

        2000: Troops remain, war damage can still be found and tourism remains a trickle. But for many, life has returned to normal.
       Sources: Associated Press, NATO reports and Enquirer research


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