This column is a purely personal view of events as I had no dog in that fight [the disintegration of ex-Yugoslavia]. The only allegiance I had in the events was to Bosco Radonjic, a long standing friend and client. See “Requiem for a Don”. The attorney/client privilege was extinguished upon his death on March 11, 2011.
I am moving offices next week. This is called downsizing these days and you throw out a lot of outdated stuff, old computer keyboards, dead mice, floppy disks that can no longer be read and cables that connect devices that time has passed by. There is also a lot of shit to shred, years of income tax returns no longer relevant, the statute of limitations has run, old cases settled long ago when I came across a thin blue file folder simply entitled “Carter”.
The blue file folder stood out like a sore thumb among the many tan legal folders I used practicing law. I opened it. It held but seven pieces of paper all dated September/October, 1994, almost twenty years ago, but these flimsy pieces of paper triggered memories.
History records that former President Jimmy Carter as a private citizen traveled to Sarajevo, Bosnia & Hercegovina in December, 1994 in an effort to bring peace and an end to the Bosnian War. The Carter Center notes that “[following extensive discussions with the White House and UN officials, and after a briefing at The Carter Center by representatives of the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the US State Department, President Carter sought approval from President Clinton to travel to Bosnia Herzegovina. His trip was approved, and the Clinton administration made arrangements for the Carter Center party to be transported by military plane from Germany to Zagreb, Croatia, and then by UN plane to Sarajevo.” Carter was “successful in brokering terms that resulted in a four month cease-fire agreement and a pledge to resume peace talks.”
What prompted Jimmy Carter to travel to Bosnia? The first document in my “Carter” file is a September 24, 1994 “To Whom It May Concern” letter signed by Dr. Radovan Karadzic, President, Republic of Srpska “confirm[ing] that Mr. Bosko Radonjic is authorized to pass on my letter to Mr. Jimmy Carter dated 24 September 1994.”
The second is a letter of the same date addressed to “The Hon. Jimmy Carter” asking him to visit the Republic of Srpska and urging him to use his statesmanship, his experience and best efforts to “ease the path towards a just and lasting settlement [peceful [sic] resolution] in this unhappy land”.
Bosco Radonjic had those two letters hand delivered to me in New York and I believe they started the still born Carter peace initiative only to be aborted by third parties intent on their own agenda.
The next two pieces of paper are a copy of my September 30, 1994 letter of transmittal directed to “The Honorable Jimmy Carter, Carter Center, One Copen Hill Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307” requesting that I be granted a personal meeting to present the original [still in my possession] of the Karadzic letter and “to further expound on the position and the request contained.” The letter notes that it was “Sent by Facsimile 401/331-0283 and Federal Express”.
The next two pieces of paper in the file are facsimile confirmation “Transmission Reports” attesting that on September 30, 1994 at 3:13 PM and 3:16 PM four pages of documents + a cover sheet were sent to Jimmy Carter.
I never heard from Jimmy Carter and never met with him as requested. It seems that I did have some contact with the Carter Center for the last piece of paper in the file is a “facsimile transmittal notice” resending the letters on October 12, 1994 to the attention of a “Miss Fayedill” at the Carter Center.
I had been by-passed and whatever negotiations then ensued were handled by more important others. I was small fry but I really didn’t give a damn as at that time my plate was more than full; diplomacy and politics were never my shtick.
In retrospect and with passage of time I see things more clearly and in context. My initial non comprehension as why peace could not be brokered led me to suspect a conspiracy bent on seeing peace fail. Especially after the March, 1992 Cutileiro peace plan had been agreed to and signed by all three sides only to be rejected by Alija Izetbegovic a week later after meeting with US Ambassador Warren Zimmerman.
In March, 1994 with the signing of the Washington Agreement, the Croatian-Bosnian conflict ended paving the way for US sanctioned “private military contractors” [Military Professional Resources Inc.] to train and assist the Croatian military. In November, 1994 the Krajina in Croatia was about to implode and to be overrun by the forces of the VRS [Army of the Republic Srpska]. Bihać was under siege and about to fall. In November the United States had unilaterally ended the arms embargo, which allowed arms shipments to Croatia. On November 29, 1944 General Wesley Clark, the military advisor to Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrook, met with Croatian Brigadier General Krešimir to plan future military operations culminating in Operation Storm [Operacija Oluja], August 4-7, 1995.
A peace solution was not in the cards in December, 1994. Time had to be bought to allow Croatia to solidify its position and to execute Operation Storm. Jimmy Carter’s brokered cease fire was the perfect cover for the time necessary. Rather than moving towards peace at the end of the four months war resumed.
In December, 1994 Madeleine Albright was ensconced as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations with her own agenda. Richard Holbrooke, that immoral son-of-a-bitch and Assistant Secretary of State had his own personal agenda. See “The Death of a Diplomatic Fraud” http://deyanbrashich.com/home/
In September, 1994 Radovan Karadzic wanted peace. The other players in the game didn’t give that peace a chance.
Deyan Ranko Brashich, an attorney, Op-Ed columnist, resides and writes from New York City and is a frequent contributor. He is the author of “Letters from America,” and “Contrary Views”. His contact and blog “Contrary Views” is at www.deyanbrashich.com.