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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

War in Bosnia: The Evolution of the United Nations and Air Power in Peace Operations

 

CSC 1997

 

Subject Area - Strategic Issues

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

Title: War in Bosnia: The Evolution of the United Nations and Air Power in Peace Operations

 

Author: Major John R. Snider, USMC

 

Thesis: The end of the bi-polar world brought with it a significant increase in peacekeeping operations. The war in Bosina-Herzegovina soon became the most troubling of these operations. This study will discuss the historical foundation of the war that destroyed Bosnia. It will critically analyze United Nations operations in Bosnia, highlighting their departure from traditional peacekeeping principles to a new form of multi-functional peacekeeping. In this regard, it will focus on Security Council resolutions, detailing the Council's liberal interpretations of Chapter VII mandates that blurred the lines between peacekeeping and peace enforcement. The paper then traces the evolution of air power and its undefined role in peace operations in Bosnia. It will study the test of air power as a replacement for ground reinforcements, and highlight the political implications of U.S. dominated air power in support of European controlled ground forces. The focus of this study examines the dilemma of UN peacekeepers and NATO air power caught between the lines of peacekeeping and peace enforcement.

 

Discussion: With the end of the Cold War, UN leadership sought to redefine its role in the maintenance of international peace and security. The Security Council and the Secretariat envisioned a more capable UN role in the "new world order." Bosnia became the proving ground for this new role. Concurrently, the Gulf War displayed the lethality of air power. Many felt it represented a fundamental transformation in the nature of warfare, a "military-technical revolution." This mystique brought air power to Bosnia as a low cost replacement for ground combat forces to protect UN peacekeepers and the safe areas.

 

Conclusion: The conflict in Bosnia provides many hard lessons for peace operations in the post Cold War era. The United Nations is a very effective peacekeeper, not a peace enforcer. The international community's unwillingness to make a commitment to peace in Bosnia propelled the UN into a mission it is not structured, equipped, trained, and, most importantly, supported to perform. Lightly armed peacekeepers supported by air power does not equal peace enforcement. Air power provided many important ingredients for success, but it can be to little avail if a credible ground force and the political will to implement enforcement is lacking. To resolve the difficult challenges of peace and security in the next millennium, UN member nations must be willing to assume their responsibilities as the enforcers of the international will.

 

iii


 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

page

Section I. Introduction.................................................................................... 1

 

Section II. Prelude to War: Regional and Historical Setting............................. 3

 

Section III. Historical Foundation of Peace Operations..................................... 11

 

Section IV. Peacekeeping in the Former Yugoslavia.......................................... 15

 

Section V. NATO Air Power........................................................................... 24

 

Section VI. Success In Bosnia........................................................................... 45

 

Section VII. Lessons from Bosnia....................................................................... 50

 

 

Map:

 

Former Yugoslavia..................................................................................... 3

 

Figures:

 

1 United Nations Command Relationship (UNPROFOR)........................... 20

2 NATO DENY FLIGHT Command Relationship..................................... 25

3 NATO DENY FLIGHT Sturcture and aircraft........................................ 26

4 Dual Key System 1993........................................................................... 36

5 Final Dual Key System 1995................................................................... 48

 

Appendix A...NATO air power committed to DENY FLIGHT (1994)

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................................................................. 54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iv

WAR IN BOSNIA:

THE EVOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND AIR POWER IN

PEACE OPERATIONS

 

 

 

I. INTRODUCTION

 

In the summer of 1991, two years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, civil war broke-out in Yugoslavia. This horrific war, on a scale not seen in Europe since World War II, raged out of control for four and a half years. Bosnia-Herzegovina (referred to hereafter as Bosnia), with its richly mixed population of Serbs, Croats, and Muslims, quickly became the main battle ground, in which tens of thousands died and hundreds of thousands were left homeless. Unable to negotiate a peaceful solution, the international community turned to the United Nations for help. Using traditional peacekeeping methods, the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was able to contain the conflict and provide some relief for the victims, but it was unable to stop the bloodshed and soon found itself a victim of this brutal war. As conditions continued to deteriorate, the UN Security Council expanded UNPROFOR's mandate, established safe areas, and called upon NATO air power as the protector and enforcer.

 

This study will discuss the historical foundations of the war that destroyed Bosnia. It will critically analyze the United Nations' departure from traditional peacekeeping principles to multi-functional peacekeeping in the post Cold War era. In this regard, it will focus on Security Council resolutions, detailing the Council's liberal interpretations of Chapter VII mandates that blurred the line between peacekeeping and peace enforcement. Finally, this paper traces the evolution of air power and its previously undefined role in peace operations. It will study the test of air power as a replacement for ground reinforcements, and highlight the political implications of United States dominated air power in support of European controlled ground forces. The focus of this study examines the dilemma of UN peacekeepers and NATO air power caught between the lines of peacekeeping and peace enforcement.


 

 

 

 

 

 

II. Prelude to war: HISTORICAL SETTING

 

In the aftermath of World War II, Josip (Tito) Brozovich dominated Yugoslavia's political, economic, and social structure. The Croat communist's mixture of personal rule, semicapitalist economics and communist rhetoric served to unite Yugoslavia for nearly four decades.

While Tito's totalitarian regime provided regional stability, his leadership fostered an environment for conflict with Serbs. The Serbs felt that Tito, "the half-Croat, half-Slovena," was plotting against Serbia's historic interests. In post 1945 land settlements, Tito did not acknowledge the Serbs' territorial rewards gained from previous wars in 1912 and 1918. Serb armies conquered Macedonia, the northern region of Vojvodina, and the region of Kosovo, but Tito later declared these regions autonomous. This action infuriated Serbs who perceived "Southern Serbian" areas as a rightful part of their territory.[1]

In addition, the 1966 death of Aleksandar Rankovich, Tito's brutal Security Chief of Kosovo, induced anti-Serb riots causing thousands of Serbs to flee the region. The rapid Albanianazation of Kosovo, completed by 1968, forced Serbs to realize their minority status in an area they perceived as historical Serbia. Finally, Tito recognized the national status of Bosnian Muslims who supported his communist rule. Tito relied on hard-line communist leadership from Bosnian Muslims. In return for their compliance he propelled Muslims into increasingly favored government positions. Consequently, the Muslims emerged as the dominant community in Bosnia, to the chagrin of Bosnian Serbs.[2] These actions incited Serbian resentment towards Tito and led to the revival of Serbian Nationalism.

Yugoslavia's stable environment began to dissolve after Tito's 1980 death as old animosities quickly surfaced. Although Yugoslavia continued as a national entity, resentful ethnic hatred quickly spread throughout the Serb population as they began shaping nationalistic goals. In 1985, the Serbian Academy of Sciences in Belgrade hosted a party embracing the revival of Serb nationalism. This event was a major turning point. It symbolizied that the intellectual establishment in Belgrade could now openly support a resurgence of Serb nationalism. A year later, the Academy published a Memorandum, signed by over two hundred prominent Belgrade academics and writers, legitimizing Serbian integrity. It stated that the Communists had thwarted Serbian people at the end of World War II in not giving them their own state as other peoples[3], and asserted that Tito's policies had purposely aimed at weakening Serbia.[4] The memorandum called for "territorial unity of the Serbian people," and, more importantly, provided the intellectual justification for a "Greater Serbia."[5]


AGENDA FOR A GREATER SERBIA

Slobodan Milosevic, a long time Communist party leader, took control of Serbia's Communist party in 1987. Two years later, after eliminating his rivals in Serbia and gaining the support of the Yugoslav army, he became president of Serbia. Milosevic entered the Serbian presidency with an agenda to restore Serbs and Serbia to their "rightful place."[6] He quickly displayed his powerful rule by having the political autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina abolished. This decisive leadership and ideology for Serb nationalism, which had restored Vojvodina and Kosovo to Serbian control, gained strong support from Serbian people. Milosevic's power and his gathering of Serbs into a single political unit would now either dominate Yugoslavia or break it apart.[7] This set the stage for the turning point in Yugoslavia and the creation of a Greater Serbia.

Yugoslavia experienced post-Cold War nationalism among its ethnic constituents as communist eastern Europe decomposed. The revolutions of 1989 awakened these nations and the former territories known today as Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro looked for independent national status. In September 1989, Slovenia passed a new constitution giving itself legislative sovereignty, and by spring the following year, both Slovenia and Croatia conducted multi-party elections.

To counter the elections in Croatia and launch his agenda for a greater Serbia, Milosevic organized militia opposition against the new nationalist party in Croatia. The


Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), led by Franjo Tudjman, a former Partisan and Yugoslav army general, won the election in Croatia. Milosevic alleged that Tudjman's ruling party represented a new Ustasa regime. Croatian Ustasas in World War II had massacred Serbs in an extreme nationalist and terrorist movement. Milosevic used Ustasa history to establish fear in Croatian Serbs that they would be the victims in a second round of massacres.

Tensions first appeared in the Knin region of Croatia, known as the "Krajina" zone, on the northwest border of Bosnia which had a majority of Serbs. Fears of previous Ustasa atrocities rallied old sentiments in Serbian Knin areas. Organized under the control of a new extremist leader, who maintained close contact with Milosevic, the Krin Serbs declared autonomy from the newly elected Croatian government. Militia began appearing on the streets of Knin, aided by officers of the federal army garrison, whose commanding officer was General Ratko Mladic. The Serb militia incited continual riots among the local Serbs and the Croatian police. The situation in Croatia worsened as Tudjman sought international recognition and Milosevic attempted to unite Croatian Serbs with Serbia. Milosevic was the driving force behind increased tensions as part of his overall plan to carve out a greater Serbia.[8]

On 25 June 1991, Croatia and Slovenia declared independence from the Serbian controlled government in Belgrade. Milosevic's pursuit for a Greater Serbia would now lead to war. Two days later Serb troops crossed the Slovenian border and Yugoslavia effectively ceased to exist.[9]

 

THE BOSNIAN QUAGMIRE

In Bosnia a set of national or nationalist parties replaced Communist rule by Summer 1990. Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs all founded their own party. The Bosnian Croat's party was an offshoot of Tudjman's HDZ, while the Bosnian Serbs founded a party under the same name as the Krajina Serbs in northern Croatia. The population in Bosnia was roughly 44 percent Muslim, 31 percent Serbian, and 17 percent Croatian.[10]

December elections in Bosnia elected Muslim Alija Izetbegovic as the new Bosnian President. Izetbegovic, a former lawyer and retired director of a building company, had recently completed an eleven year prison sentence. The Communists had convicted Izetbegovic of treason for writing the Isamic Declaration, which they claimed was a manifesto for the creation of an ethnically pure Muslim Bosnian state. Izetbegovic denied this, pointing out that the text said nothing about making Bosnia ethnically pure.[11] Throughout his jail term Izetbegovic still maintained strong Muslim support which led to his election as the Bosnian President in 1990. Izetbegovic formed a government of national unity, constructed from a coalition of the three major parties.

The Bosnian Serb leader was Radovan Karadzic, a Montenago born Sarajevo psychiatrist, who openly admitted his close relationship with Serbian President Milosevic. Within five months, Karadzic began challenging Izetbegovic's government, demanding the secession of northern and western Bosnia to join the Krajina Serbs to form a new


republic.[12] Additionally, Milosevic and Tudjman began openly expressing the desire to redraw the Bosnian borders.[13]

On 14 October 1991, the Bosnian Parliament, in a landmark session, voted for Bosnian sovereignty. This ignited Radovan Karadzic, who denounced the government vote for sovereignty and warned that dire consequences were inevitable if they decided for independence stating that the "Muslim community would disappear from the face of the Earth."[14] Karadzic further remarked that the "Muslims are the most threatened. They are the most threatened not only in the physical sense, and I did not think that they might disappear only physically; rather, this is also the beginning of the end of their existence as a nation."[15] Karadzic marched his deputies out of the assembly and, two days later, set up his own government, the Serb National Assembly, in the federal army stronghold of Banja Luka.[16] The downfall of Bosnia had begun.

Closer examination of this period in Bosnia further exemplifies the complexity of the conflict. As stated, Alija Izetbegovic became president of Bosnia in 1990 and the communist government dissolved. The Bosnian election gave 99 seats to Muslims, 85 to Serbs, and 49 to Croats; these were percentages that roughly matched the population as a whole.[17] Izetbegovic consistently championed a secular, multinational Bosnian state, which guaranteed and protected the rights of the three constituent communities.[18]


Bosnian Muslim fears grew as Serb and Croat discussions to redraw the map increased. Serbs talked of a greater Serbia, and Croats discussed views that Muslims were really Croats. These fears provoked the new Bosnian government to denounce redrawing of the map. Milosevic tried to block support for this move; however, thousands from all three parties rallied in support of keeping Bosnia united.

Strong support for a united Bosnia prompted Milosevic to instill the unfounded fear that the Islamic fundamental goal was to turn Bosnia into an Islamic state. Through propaganda he contrived a fear campaign to rally Bosnian Serbs to turn against Izetbegovic. He based his tactic on Izetbegovic's, Islamic Declaration. Milosevic used this document as proof of an Islamic Fundamentalist movement in Bosnia, a charge that instigated Bosnian Serbs to revolt against Izetbegovic. This set the ground work for integrating Bosnia into "Greater Serbia" and the eventual ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.

 

INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT

As the Yugoslav Army (JNA) crossed the border into Slovenia on 27 June 1991, in an attempt to restore national unity, the unraveling of Yugoslavia began and international involvement was initiated. The first international group to respond was the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), now called the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Austria initiated a special meeting of the newly adopted crisis action team on 28 July, just one day after the invasion. However, the complexity of the situation and the inability of the CSCE crisis action team to make a unanimous decision caused the CSCE to recede as a locus of efforts to resolve the crisis. The European Community (EC) took a more active role, sending the three EC foreign ministers to Slovenia to mediate a settlement. They were successful in establishing the Brioni Accords, which called for a cease-fire, a three-month moratorium on implementing the Slovenian declarations of independence, and a commitment to begin political negotiations on Yugoslavia's future. As part of the Brioni Accords, the EC agreed to send 30 to 50 observers to monitor compliance. Following the agreement, the JNA withdrew its forces and appeared to concede Slovenia's independence. "The decision was presumably based on the fact that there is no significant Serb minority in Slovenia."[19]

With Slovenia mounting a well-planned resistance, Milosevic turned his attention to Croatia. Ethnic Serbs totaled 12 percent of the population in Croatia, with the majority located in the Krajina area. To bring a stop to the inter-ethnic fighting, the EC pursued a two-track policy. Their first priority was to establish a cease-fire supported by EC monitors. This was followed by political negotiations under an EC-sponsored peace conference chaired by Lord Carrington, former British foreign secretary and secretary-general of NATO. Initially Carrington, backed by most EC leaders, pressed to keep Yugoslavia together. However, due to pressure generated by Germany's stubborn insistence to recognize Croatia's independence, the European community gave in and recognized both Croatia and Slovenia as independent states on 15 January 1992, while deferring action on Bosnia and Macedonia. In pursuit of a peaceful settlement, the EC continued to broker a durable cease-fire and considered sending peacekeepers to Croatia under the aegis of the Western European Union (WEU). However, there was little consensus in support of this measure, and the European states, led by France and Austria, turned to the United Nations.[20]


Iii. HISTORical foundation of peace operations

 

The inability of the U.N. Security Council to play an effective role in maintaining peace and security after the Cold War began led the United Nations to develop peacekeeping. In 1945 the free nations of the world met in general assembly to establish a postwar order that would secure the peace. Forty-five years later the United Nations again wanted to establish a post Cold War order that would secure peace and international security. The Security Council and the Secretariat envisioned a more capable UN role in the "new world order." Bosnia became a proving ground for this new role. The United Nations Charter was intended to provide rules and procedures to manage the behavior of states toward each other. However, the main purpose for the Charter soon became the maintenance of international security through either Chapter VI, peace maintenance operations, or Chapter VII, operations using force or threat of force to establish peace and order. Peacekeeping is a UN invention and not specifically defined in the charter. "Former UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, recognizing the improvised nature of any type of UN collective security attempted during the Cold War, labeled UN peacekeeping operations as 'Chapter Six and a Half' to characterize their tenuous legitimacy under the Charter."[21]

PRINCIPLE OF PEACE OPERATIONS

Normally the first step in UN peacekeeping operations is for neutral mediators to persuade the parties to stop fighting and agree to a truce. After the situation stabilizes, UN observers or peacekeeping forces monitor the cease-fire arrangements reassuring all parties that truce terms are being respected. In general, a peacekeeping mission supervises demarcation lines or cease-fire agreements, separates military forces upon agreement of warring parties, and fosters an environment in which the population can return to normal pursuits.[22]

The role of peacekeeping has evolved over the last four decades. The first peacekeeping operation established by the Security Council was the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). The organization was created to supervise the truce and Armistice Agreements between the newly formed state of Israel and her Arab neighbors in 1948-49. The first armed or modern peacekeeping force was the UN Emergency Force (UNEF I) in Egypt, established in 1956 to separate Egyptian and Israeli military forces.[23] Though armed, the peacekeeping force was clearly deployed for peaceful purposes. These two successful Chapter VI operations operated under the complete consent of both parties, avoided the appearance of partiality, carried light weaponry, and restricted the use of force to the maximum extent possible.

The first occasion for peace enforcement came in 1950, after North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea. Although the UN operation in Korea purposefully used vague Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, generally without specific reference to the UN Charter, it was clearly a Chapter VII mission. This Chapter of the Charter was more powerful, giving the UN authority to use armed forces of member states to "maintain or restore international peace and security."[24] In recent years, the Security Council cited Chapter VII authority in the Gulf War, UNITAF (Operation Restore Hope), and UNOSOM II in Somalia. In the case of Korea, the Gulf War, and UNITAF, the UN authorized the United States to carry out the operation, in effect serving as a kind of subcontractor to the United Nations, to organize and lead a coalition of members. Korea and the Gulf War were clear military operations to "maintain or restore international peace and security," and thus represent a fundamental shift from traditional peacekeeping operations.[25] They were clear combat operations authorized under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.


BEYOND TRADITIONAL PEACEKEEPING

The end of the Cold War brought new challenges to the United Nations. These new operations blurred the line between Chapter VI and Chapter VII peace operations. Chapter VI peacekeeping is defined as the deployment of neutral military and/or civilian personnel with the consent of the state or states involved to assist in preserving or maintaining the peace. Chapter VI operations are traditionally non-combat operations and are undertaken to monitor and facilitate implementation of an existing truce agreement.[26] These operations depended on consent, a cessation of hostilities, and the cooperation of local parties. Chapter VII operations involve the use of force or the threat of force, and are authorized by the Security Council to preserve, maintain, or restore international peace and security or breaches of the peace or acts of aggression. Such operations do not require the consent of the states involved, a cease-fire, or cooperation by the local parties. Since the end of the Cold War, the Security Council's interpretation of Chapter VII mandates has become more liberal. A chronological review of Bosnia highlights the Security Council's failure to differentiate between Chapter VI peacekeeping and Chapter VII peace enforcement. A failure that deployed traditional peacekeepers into a violent civil war without consent, cooperation, or a lasting cease-fire.


IV. PEACEKEEPING IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

 

EMBARGO ON YUGOSLAVIA

On 25 September 1991, the United Nations became actively involved in the former Yugoslavia. The Security Council viewed the conflict as a threat to international peace and security and thus adopted UN Security Council Resolution (UN SCR) 713, under Chapter VII, calling for a "general and complete embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Yugoslavia." NATO agreed to sign on as the enforcement agency. NATO ships belonging to the Alliance's Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED), assisted by NATO Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), established monitoring operations in the Adriatic Sea in July 1992. In addition, the Western European Union (WEU) conducted separate but parallel maritime monitoring operations. Although established under Chapter VII, the initial Operation was restricted to registering possible violators. It was not until the approval of UN SCR 757 that enforcement procedures were authorized. In November 1992, under the new mandate, both NATO and WEU forces began stopping, inspecting, and diverting ships to enforce sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). By June 1993, the North Atlantic Council and the Council of Western European Union combined both NATO/WEU operations under a single command and control arrangement called "Operation Sharp Guard." The operational control was delegated through NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to the Commander Allied Naval Forces Southern Europe (COMNAVSOUTH).[27]


UNPROFOR 1: CROATIA

In the Fall of 1991, Serbian and Croatian forces continued to wage war in western and northeastern Croatia. The Serb militia, supported by JNA forces, attacked many cities in these regions, reducing building to ruble and killing hundreds of inhabitants.[28] In response to the European community's ineffectiveness and call for help, U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar sent Cyrus Vance, former United States Secretary of State, to Yugoslavia in pursuit of a peaceful settlement. By November the Yugoslav parties agreed on an immediate cease-fire. The Security Council stressed in Resolution 721 that no peacekeeping force could be sent without full compliance by all parties. On 21 February 1992, the Security Council authorized Resolution 749. Although it did not specifically mention Chapter VI or VII, the language of the mandate was in concert with traditional Chapter VI peacekeeping missions. The resolution stated a cease-fire had to be in effect between the warring factions and required all parties to accept the United Nations peace plan. Cyrus Vance pursued an unconditional acceptance, but was never able to achieve full compliance from all the political groups. Newly elected UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the members of the Security Council felt a peacekeeping force had to be sent, regardless of complete compliance. Consequently, the Council authorized the full deployment of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in spite of these less than desirable circumstances.[29]


Under the command of Indian General Satish Nambiar, UNPROFOR began deployment on 8 March 1992. The initial peacekeeping force totaled 13,870 personnel configured with light armor, blue helmets, and white-painted equipment.[30] The peacekeepers deployed to areas in Croatia designated as United Nations Protected Areas (UNPAs). These areas contained either a Serb majority or a substantial minority of the population. The heaviest fighting had taken place in the UNPA areas of Eastern and Western Croatia and the Krajina. UNPROFOR's main objective in Croatia was the withdrawal of JNA forces and demilitarization of the UNPAs.[31] The operational mandate of UNPROFOR extended to five Republics of the former Yugoslavia -- Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia -- and it had a liaison presence in the sixth, Slovenia. UNPROFOR established its initial headquarters in Sarajevo, but as the situation there deteriorated in the summer of 1992, the headquarters relocated to Zagreb the capital of Croatia.

 

UNPROFOR 2: Mission Creep into Bosnia

 

Although UNPORFOR's entry into Croatia was under less than desirable conditions, the deployment of the peacekeeping force followed the established principles for consent, a cease-fire, and local party cooperation. In Bosnia, however, the Security Council propensity to authorize humanitarian interventions in the face of an ongoing war departed from the principles of peacekeeping. On 30 April 1992, Boutros-Ghali sent 40 military observers from Croatia to the Bosnian city of Mostar. The force was assigned to monitor fighting between Bosnian Croats and Muslims on one side and Bosnian Serbs on the other. The observers did not have the consent of the parties and were immediately subject to violent attacks. Two weeks later the observers were removed for their safety. When the situation in Bosnia continued to deteriorate, the Security Council passed resolution 757, imposing wide-ranging sanctions on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It demanded the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian supplies to Bosnia, and established a security zone encompassing Sarajevo and its airport.[32] The interesting fact is that the Bosnian government did not formally request UN humanitarian aid. The government was ambivalent about relief efforts, indicating it preferred the lifting of the arms embargo, at the cost of UN humanitarian aid.[33] Nevertheless, on 8 June 1992, the Security Council authorized the deployment of military observers to Sarajevo to supervise a heavy weapons withdrawal agreement under the command of Canadian Major-General Lewis MacKenzie. By July, despite continued fighting in the security zone, more observers were deployed to reopen the Sarajevo airport.

Throughout the summer of 1992 the UN came under increasing pressure to take a more activist approach to humanitarian relief efforts in Bosnia. This, in part, was due to CNN television coverage of the genocide taking place in Bosnia and the escalation of the war. In response, the Security Council increased its commitment in Bosnia by adopting Resolution 770 to provide humanitarian assistance in Sarajevo and the rest of Bosnia. The resolution called upon regional states to support implementing the resolution. However, a month later, the Security Council assigned UNPROFOR the task. Resolution 776, adopted on 14 September, formally authorized the UNPROFOR mission in Bosnia to assist the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) humanitarian relief efforts. Although UN SCR 770 asked for assistance under Chapter VII, UN SCR 776 did not.[34] UNPROFOR's mandates continued to enlarge during the remainder of 1992 to include: observation posts for the no-fly zone, observation and search operations at 123 border crossing points, and the deployment of a third UNPROFOR force to Macedonia.

Figure 1 details the United Nations command relationship, established in late 1992, and highlights the key personnel, in both the UN hierarchy and UNPROFOR in Bosnia, during the operation.


 

Figure 1.


The Security Council essentially sent UNPROFOR down a doctrinal black hole with its deployment to Bosnia. They were asked to provide humanitarian aid with a peace force when no peace existed.[35] As discussed earlier, the past unambitious observation and buffer-zone peacekeeping missions of the Cold War era reflected the basic principles of peacekeeping. Korea and the Gulf War were large scale operations conducted according to the principles of war and proven operational doctrine. But the new role the Security Council pursued, termed "second-generation peacekeeping,"[36] had no basic operational doctrine. The UN force in Bosnia thus had no examples on which they could base their actions and, more importantly, their force structure. The mission had crept into Bosnia where forces were being deployed outside its own guidelines. Lightly armed forces were deployed in the middle of a violent civil war with limited organic means of protecting themselves. They lacked a reliable consent from warring parties, and were dealt mandates beyond their capability.

Macedonia represented the one bright spot in UN operations. In line with traditional peacekeeping operations, UNPROFOR established a presence to maintain the existing peace and received full consent of the local parties. The President of Macedonia requested the deployment in view of the possible impact fighting elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia could have on Macedonia. On 11 December 1992, the Security Council approved the deployment of forces to Macedonia. The initial force included 800 Danes, Finns, Norwegians, and Swedes under the command of Brigadier General Finn Saemark-Thorsen of Denmark. Subsequently, in the summer of 1993, the Security Council welcomed the United States offer to provide about 300 troops to reinforce UNPROFOR's presence in Macedonia.[37] The first American forces deployed were the soldiers of Company C, 6-502d Infantry, drawn from the Berlin Brigade.[38]

 

HUMANITARIAN AIRLIFTS

Meanwhile in Bosnia, UNPROFOR was successful in keeping the Savajevo airport open. Despite interruptions from hostile military fire, the Secretary General noted the success of humanitarian airlifts organized by UNHCR. During the seven month period from 3 July 1992 to 31 January 1993, the UN had flown in almost 2,500 aircraft carrying nearly 28,000 tons of food, medicines and other relief goods.[39] The 435th Airlift wing, out of Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany, initially oversaw the American driven relief effort named Operation Provide Promise. Normally three C-130s, drawn from Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard squadrons, flew two missions per day into either Split or Zagreb Croatia, and Sarajevo. In November 1992, OPERATION PROVIDE PROMISE expanded to over two dozen flights per day into Sarajevo and deployed the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) to Camp Pleso, just outside Zagreb, to provide a main treatment center for UNPROFOR and UNHCR forces in Bosnia. The United States provided the majority of the relief flights, along with the British, Canadians, French, Germans and Swedes.[40]

While needed supplies were getting to Bosnia, UNPROFOR was faced with the vexing problem of delivering the supplies in the middle of an ongoing war. Humanitarian convoys were persistently thwarted by obstructions, mines, hostile fire and the refusal of the parties on the ground (particularly, but not exclusively, the Bosnian Serbs) to allow the convoys to pass through the front line checkpoints. In addition, the Bosnian government continued to openly criticize the UN performance for its shortcomings in providing humanitarian aid.

When the Security Council framed its ambitious mandate for Bosnia, it failed to evaluate the feasibility of success and equally miscalculated the warring factions' respect for a UN presence. According to Marine Colonel Richard W. Roan, the current military advisor to the US Ambassador on the Security Council, the UN believed the credibility of its peacekeeping force would gain respect from the warring factions, and therefore they did not sense the need for robust military capability.[41] In the end it was the lack of military might that ultimately denied UNPROFOR credibility. The United Nations was trying to help the victims of the war, mainly the Muslims, but even they were critical and combative towards UN forces. Boutros-Ghali expressed anger and frustration with the Bosnian government and the overall operation in early 1993. He stated that, "criticism in the performance in the Republic had largely been directed at its failure to fulfill tasks that the Force had not been mandated, authorized, equipped, staffed or financed to fulfill." [42] This frustration would eventually lead to the continued expansion of the UN mandate to protect the Muslims.

V. NATO Air Power

 

NO-FLY ZONE ENFORCEMENT

In March 1993, after Bosnian Serbs conducted air attacks on two villages east of Srebrenica, the United Nations determined it needed to enforce the no-fly zone. The ban on military flights had been ineffective. Before the bombings in March, over 500 violations had been recorded by the UN; however, the majority of these were believed to be unarmed training flights. Nevertheless, the UN Security Council, frustrated by continuing no-fly zone violations and the increasing threat to peacekeepers, chose to enforce the no-fly ban. On 31 March, UN SCR 816 was adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter. One week later the North Atlantic Council approved NATO's plans for the enforcement of the ban. On 12 April, Operation Deny Flight started with aircraft from France, the Netherlands and the United States.[43]

NATO's combined air operation was heavily supported and controlled by the United States. Operational control of Deny Flight was delegated from Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) through Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH). The daily mission tasking and control of operations were then delegated to the Commander, 5th Allied Tactical Air Force (5th ATAF). Command and control operations were run from the 5th ATAF combined air operations center (CAOC) located at the Del Molina Air Base in Vicenza, Italy. NATO and UN coordination were arranged through an exchange of representatives between 5th ATAF and the United Nations headquarters in Zagreb and Sarajevo. The dual chain of command worked effectively to enforce the no-fly zone, since neither operation overlapped. By late 1994, the Commander Allied Air Forces Southern Europe (AIRSOUTH) was established in the chain of command to control air operations for CINCSOUTH. Figures 2 and 3 highlight NATO's command relationship, structure, and aircraft assigned to DENY FLIGHT in 1994.


Figure 2.



Operational support for Deny Flight came primarily out of air bases throughout Italy. The United States Air Force base in Aviano, Italy provided the majority of sorties, along with US aircraft carriers. To enforce the mandate NATO aircraft maintained a presence over Bosnia twenty-four hours a day. The war planes were configured with variations of air-to-air missiles, with U.S. fighters carrying both AIM-9M Sidewinder heat seeking missiles and the long range AIM-120 AMRAAM (advanced medium range air-to-air missile). To maintain complete coverage over the skies of Bosnia, all fighters were under the radio and radar control of the NATO Air Early Warning (NAEW) aircraft, the E-3 Sentry AWACS (airborne warning and control system). NAEW aircraft had been monitoring the no-fly zone since its inception and provided complete radar coverage of the entire Bosnian air space. When a possible violation was discovered, the AWACS would vector NATO fighters to the target.

Although mandated under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, fighters were prohibited from firing on a no-fly zone violator unless the aircrew either witnessed a hostile act or had to act in their own self-defense. The fighters were instructed to identify the violating aircraft and escort it out of Bosnian airspace. Any hostile acts would result in violating aircraft being fired upon immediately by NATO. Although a limited response, this policy represented a shift from previous mandates by being the first authorized use of military force in Bosnia other than in self-defense. It was the first major step by the Security Council across the divide between peacekeeping and peace enforcement.[44] As a result, two separate and fundamentally antipodal operations unfolded in Bosnia that further deviated from traditional principles of peacekeeping. NATO enforced peace in the air, while UNPROFOR provided humanitarian aid and peacekeeping on the ground. Though the enforcement actions were only authorized against aircraft violating the no-fly zone, the UN hoped the presence of NATO air would ultimately help the besieged humanitarian efforts.

 

The EXPANSION OF Air Power

Even as NATO air power kept the skies clear, the ground situation remained depressingly familiar. UNPROFOR forces were continually harassed and targeted while the pattern of cease-fires and increasingly brutal conflicts continued, despite the presence of peacekeepers. In early 1993 in eastern Bosnia, Serb paramilitary forces stepped up attacks on many small cities including the town of Srebrenica. UNHCR reported that thousands of Muslims were seeking refuge in Srebrenica as a result of the Bosnian Serb attacks. The UN estimated that 30 to 40 people were dying daily from military action, starvation, exposure to cold, and lack of medical treatment.[45] With growing frustration over continued interruptions of humanitarian aid and the failure of diplomatic pressure to compel lasting cease-fires, the debate over air power increased.

While NATO enforcement of the no-fly zone received considerable support from Western governments, the use of air in support of ground operations did not. The United States was the main proponent of air strikes. When UNPROFOR first entered Bosnia in early July 1992, then US Defense Secretary Cheney offered carrier-based or Air Force fighters and other intellegence-gathering resources to pick out targets that threatened or attacked the humanitarian relief efforts.[46] However, he clearly distinguished between such specific limited objectives and wider use of force to "stop the bloodshed and separate the warring factions [in which case] you need to have an understanding of how the application of military force will let you achieve your objectives . . . there are a lot of questions that are unanswered when you analyze the situation."[47] Later, Ms. Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the UN, in a note to President Clinton argued that "air strikes would reduce the military threat against the relief forces and slow the supply of arms to the front line."[48] Similar comments came from USAF Chief of Staff General Merrill McPeak, who was frustrated by the limited role of air power in DENY FLIGHT operations. McPeak commented that aircraft could effectively bomb Serb gun positions at "virtually no risk" to the attacking planes, and went on to say, "Give us time and we will order strikes on every one of those artillery positions and put it out of business." The United States, which refused to send ground troops into Bosnia mainly because the American public was against it, felt the proven capability of air power would at least diminish the intensity of the conflict by suppressing the use of heavy weapons and tanks. Essentially, the US political leaders felt they could play a decisive role without risking the lives of American soldiers. Yet, for every American voice exhorting the decisive capability of air power there were Europeans adamantly opposed.

The main opposition to the use of air strikes came from Britain and France, who together were contributing over 8,000 peacekeepers to UNPROFOR in Bosnia.[49] One British government official stressed the difficulties of bombing "the Serbs into submission" was with the communities being so "totally intertwined you could not separate refugee from murderer . . . you could not put it past them to start hiding their heavy guns in orphanages, hospitals, refugee centers and schools."[50] The primary concern from British and French officials was that military action of any sort would further impede the flow of humanitarian aid and put the UN forces at risk of retaliatory attacks.

THE CREATION OF SAFE AREAS: MISSION CREEP

By April 1993, despite the attempts of the international communities and the Security Council to control the situation in eastern Bosnia with strong diplomatic pressure, the humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate. As a result, the Security Council, acting out of frustration, declared Srebrenica and its surroundings a "safe area," which would be free from any armed attack or any hostile acts. UN SCR 819 was adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The commanders of both the Serb forces and the Muslim forces signed an agreement for the demilitarization of Srebrenica. Two weeks later the Security Council enlarged the UNPROFOR mandate, declaring the towns of Tuzla, Zepa, Gorazde, and Bihac, as safe areas along with Srebrenica and Sarajevo.[51] The safe areas extended to a ten kilometer perimeter surrounding each town.

This was the turning point in UNPROFOR's mission. To this point the UN forces had been concerned primarily with humanitarian relief. They had been mandated to use force for self-defense or to protect relief convoys delivering humanitarian supplies. To date, UNPROFOR commanders had shown a resistance to use force for fear of greater attacks by the heavily armed and larger military forces in Bosnia, mainly the Serbs and Croatians. The expanded mandate now required UNPROFOR to protect the safe areas, which included deterring any attacks against them. It also included monitoring the cease-fire and promoting the withdrawal of military or paramilitary units other than those of the Bosnian Government. The new mandate authorized the use of force in reply to bombardment against the safe areas or to armed incursion into them.

With adoption of UN SCR 836 and the protection of the safe areas, the Security Council changed UNPROFOR's mission in two significant ways. First, by allowing Muslim forces to remain in the safe area, the Security Council forfeited impartiality in the operation. In establishing safe areas and authorizing military force to protect Muslims, who had suffered the greatest atrocities, the peacekeeping force had now taken sides. Second, the mandate expanded the requirement for military force. UNPROFOR units were now a protection force for the safe areas. In this regard, the mandate shifted UN forces across the already shadowy line between peacekeepers and peace enforcers.

In order to meet the demands of the mandate, UNPROFOR Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Jean Cot of France in Zagreb, requested an additional 34,000 troops to carry out the enlarged mandate and provide deterrence through strength.[52] The Secretary General could only provide 7,600 troops, a full 26,400 less than requested by the UN Commander in theater dealing with the war. General Cot was informed it would be possible to implement the resolution under what the Secretary General called the "light option." He went on to explain this option represented an initial approach and had limited objectives, and assumed the consent and cooperation of the local parties.[53] Bosnian UNPROFOR commander, Belgian Lieutenant-General Francis Briquemont complained bitterly of the decision stating, "There is a fantastic gap between all these Security Council resolutions and the means available to execute them."[54] In not sending reinforcements, the Security Council was seeking to avoid the steps that would cross the line between ensuring humanitarian relief and enforcing a peace. Doctrinally, peace enforcement operations are conducted in phases, beginning with the insertion of combat forces to establish a presence. Army Peacekeeping Operations Manual FM 100-23 states that "crossing . . . the consent divide from peacekeeping to peace enforcement is a policy level decision that fundamentally changes the nature of the operation."[55] The Security Council felt the warring parties would honor the mandate and therefore, reinforcements would not be required. Thus they ordered Chapter VII mandated peace enforcement, but rather than supplying adequate forces, they depended on consent of the parties involved in keeping with a more typical Chapter VI operation. UNPROFOR commanders, therefore, would have to depend on external sources to accomplish their mandate.

In addition to ground reinforcements, Cot also requested the support of air power.

On 10 June 1993, NATO ministers, meeting in Athens, offered aircraft to defend UN troops. On 18 June, the Security Council authorized the additional 7,600 reinforcements and affirmed the use of air power in and around the declared safe areas to support the force. Air would essentially be UNPROFOR's main source of fire power. UN forces would continue to provide humanitarian relief and monitor the safe areas, while NATO would provide the means of enforcement. The mandate, however, stressed no commitment to using air strikes and specified it would only consider air power as a last resort. Eliot Cohen points out, "Air power is an unusually seductive form of military strength, in part because, like modern courtship, it appears to offer gratification without commitment."[56] The success of the air campaign in the Gulf War has led many to believe the lethality of air power now represented a fundamental transformation in the nature of warfare, and could essentially replace the need for ground forces.[57] It appears the Security Council could not solicit the troops required to accomplish its mandate, so they called on NATO air power to bridge the gap.

The new role required NATO to reinforce Deny Flight forces with air-to-ground attack airplanes. The US continued as the major contributor, providing over 70% of the air support, while Britain and France together totaled under 30%.[58] (Reference Appendix A) On 18 August, after extensive training between UNPROFOR Tactical Air Control Parties (TACPs) and NATO Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft, the Secretary General informed the Security Council that the United Nations now had the operational capability for the use of air power in support of UNPROFOR.[59] NATO aircraft trained daily with UNPROFOR forces stationed in and around the designated safe areas. On average, about twenty sorties per day were allocated to close air support training with UNPROFOR TACPs. If forces came under attack, air support requests would originate at the local TACP, be passed to the Air Operations Coordination Center (AOCC) located in Kiseljak, Bosnia, who in turn would contact the CAOC in Vincenza, Italy. While the coordination was in place for use of air strikes, the political consensus was not.

 

THE CONTROVERSY OF AIR STRIKES

The US, NATO, and UN officials debated over when, where, and how to use air power. The US felt Admiral Boorda should be given extensive freedom of action to launch air strikes on a wide range of targets, including Bosnian commanders and "those responsible, Bosnian Serbs and others." Belgian Lieutenant-General Francis Briquemont, who was outspoken about the lack of ground reinforcements, made his opposition clear stating that "air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs surrounding Sarajevo could complicate the situation on the ground."[60] The debate also continued, not only on when to use air power, but where it should be used. NATO Secretary General, Dr. Manfred Worner, stated that air strikes would only be used specifically for troops in safe areas, while US Secretary of State Warren Christopher proclaimed that air enforcement would cover all UN forces in Bosnia that were attacked and requested help.[61] Even France and Britain could not agree on how or where to use NATO air. The British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd agreed with Christopher, while French minister Juppe restricted the offer to troops in six Muslim enclaves.[62] The confusion and continual debate over the role of air power would ultimately restrict NATO air from being used during its first nine months in Bosnia. UNPROFOR commanders were hesitant to request air support and, if they did, the request would travel a seemingly endless maze to ensure everyone had a say before the first bomb was dropped.

 

DUAL KEY ARRANGEMENT

When NATO agreed to support the UN with air missions, Britain, France, Norway, and Canada argued that air strikes would have to be approved by the UN. Three originators of air strikes were authorized: the United Nations, a NATO member state, or the NATO military authority. Any request would go to the NATO Council, comprising either foreign ministers or ambassadors in Brussels. A unanimous decision would be required and the request would then go to the UN Secretary General in New York, who, in turn, would consult the negotiators in Geneva as well as the Security Council. Once the decision was made it would then go to General Cot and Admiral Boorda, either of whom could block a decision.[63] Figure 4 depicts the original Dual Key system in 1993. This complex system with duplicate command chains made it difficult to imagine that an actual air strike could ever be approved. Thus UNPROFOR's only fire power would be limited to threat of force rather than the use of force since the political objectives remained uncertain.

 

Figure 4.

Initially the threat of air power provided some relief to humanitarian convoys and safe areas. On many occasions during the fall of 1993, UNPROFOR would request the presence of air to free humanitarian convoys. As Major J. D. McMaster, the Operation Officer for the Marine F/A-18D squadron flying out of Aviano air base noted, "When we were overhead making noise, the Serbs and Croats would pull back and allow convoys to continue to their destination."[64] As time went on, this became the exception and humanitarian efforts were again subject to violence and destruction. The cease-fire agreement had once again proven futile and, by early 1994, the Serbs had taken complete control of the area surrounding Sarajevo. The Serbs made it clear that the safe areas were really not safe. NATO and the UN would now have to redefine air power's role.

At the NATO summit meeting in Brussels on 10 January 1994, US President Clinton warned his colleagues against making idle threats. NATO threatened the Bosnian Serbs with air strikes if they did not allow relief supplies into the besieged city of Sarajevo. President Clinton went on to say "if we are going to reassert this warning it cannot be seen as mere rhetoric."[65] NATO concluded the summit with an official statement reaffirming its readiness to carry out air strikes to prevent the strangulation of Sarajevo.[66] The dual key was modified when Secretary General Boutros-Ghali said he would approve air strikes if requested by his special representative to the UN in Zegreb, Mr. Yashushi Akashi. On 5 February a Serbian fired 120-mm mortar round landed in a central market of Sarajevo killing at least 58 civilians and wounding over 142 others. This was the worst single incident in the twenty-two month war. NATO prepared to launch air strikes at the request of the United Nations, against artillery or mortar positions in and around Sarajevo. A ten-day deadline was set for the Serbs to move all heavy weapons out of the 20 kilometer weapons exclusion zone surrounding Sarajevo. The Serbs complied with the deadline and air strikes were canceled. The second evolution of air power had started. The UN and NATO realized that idle threats would no longer persuade the Serbs to comply, and another step toward peace enforcement was taken.

 

USE OF AIR POWER

The first decisive enforcement measures came in defense of the no-fly zone. During the early morning hours of 28 February 1994, the Serbs decided to test the no-fly zone and NATO. Patrolling the skies this day were U.S. Air Force F-16s from the 86th fighter wing. AWACS controllers detected possible violators at about 0630 coming from the Banja Luka area. NATO fighters were vectored to the area where they subsequently visually identifed six Jastreb aircraft bombing a Muslim factory. The Jastreb is a single-seat light attack version of the Galeb trainer designed and built in Yugoslavia in the 1970s. Informed of the hostile actions taking place, General Chambers authorized NATO aircraft to engage at 0643 and four of the six Jastrebs were shot out of the sky. The remaining two were able to escape to the Serb held positions in Croatia.[67] NATO's ability to enforce the no-fly zone was clear. It came under a single well-organized chain of command that was able to act quickly when required, possessed overwhelming force, and operated clearly as a peace enforcer.

NATO air power made its first step across the line to ground peace enforcement on 10 and 11 April in defense of the Gorazde safe area. Again the Serbs were the aggressors. New UNPROFOR commander, British Army General Sir Michael Rose, demonstrated strong character by calling for bombing missions at 1630 on 10 April. Local UN political and military hierarchy approved the request and passed it to NATO. Admiral Leighton Smith, who had just taken over for Admiral Boorda the day before, forwarded the request to General Chambers at 5ATAF. After nearly a year of idle threats, the use of air power finally evolved. Initially two US Marine F/A-18 Hornets were vectored to Gorazde with clearance to attack. Radio problems with the British UNPROFOR controllers on the ground prohibited any strikes on the Serb tanks that were shelling the city. The Hornets could visually see the tank firing into the city and could have easily destroyed it with the 500 pound laser guided bombs they were carrying, but the British controller was unable to authorize the strikes due to his intermittent radio problems. Subsequently two F-16 Falcons established sufficient radio contact but were unable to locate the actual target. In frustration, to show NATO resolve to use force, the two Falcons targeted a Serb tent located in the same area. The first use of air power had been virtually ineffective and failed to deter the Serb attacks on the city of Gorazda.[68]

On 11 April, as attacks continued to take place, General Rose once again called on the use of NATO air. Limited by extremely poor weather, NATO air would have to work below its normal altitude sanctuary of 10,000 feet. Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Schmidle, Commanding Officer of VMFA- 251, configured his aircraft for the mission with 500 pound MK 82 bombs containing a low altitude option. When Rose requested NATO air strikes, Schmidle and his wingmen descended beneath the thick cloud cover and established communication with the British ground controller, callsign Fortune 05. The two F/A-18s made numerous warning passes over the Serbian assault vehicles to stop their attacks. When the Serbs failed to respond, both aircraft attacked and destroyed the vehicles. Following the first strikes, another section of F/A-18s entered the area to continue the attack on Serbian aggression. Major Douglas Yurovich, the flight lead, visually identified more Serbian armored vehicles firing into the safe area and waited for the British controller to clear him live. UN officials, however, denied any further attacks, stating the term "measured force."[69]

In reviewing the Gorazde air strikes, it can be concluded their purpose was mainly symbolic. The UN and NATO had used the hollow threat of air strikes for over nine months and their usefulness to deter Serbian aggression had waned. It is clear that the UN now needed to display its resolve to use force. Would the use of measured force intimidate the combat tested Serbs and deter them from further attacks on UNPROFOR? After the air strikes, Serbs attacked the British TACP killing two soldiers. The unit that called for strikes against the Serbs now paid the price. Serbs were not intimidated by a symbolic show of force, nor were they intimidated by NATO. Five days later, the Serbs shot a British Sea Harrier out of the sky while attempting another attack on Serbian positions. Gorazde displayed the limits of air power in Bosnia; limits that would symbolize NATO's role for the next year.


The Limits of Air Power

NATO offered air strikes but not in a form that could protect the safe areas or UNPROFOR, while punitive strikes risked retaliation against the vulnerable UN troops. Once allowed, strikes would be continually plagued with the problems of being a peace enforcer in support of peacekeeping. The result of these two conflicting missions is that air strikes could never be more than a symbolic use of force. Since its inception, NATO had flown over 27,000 sorties in direct support of UNPROFOR and the safe areas.[70] Despite continuous violence on the ground, on only nine occasions were air strikes authorized prior to the fall of 1995. Air power was generally restricted to a proportional show of force in response to Serbian aggression towards UN troops and the safe areas.

Further actions failed to bring an end to Serbian aggression and, more importantly, they further exposed the vulnerabilities of UNPROFOR. Four months after the strikes in Gorazde, NATO air punished the Bosnian Serbs after they seized a number of heavy weapons from the Ilidza Weapons Collection site near Sarajevo. On 5 August 1994, two A-10s strafed a Bosnian Serb M18 Tankbuster (a tracked 76mm anti-tank gun) south of Sarajevo. This was followed in September with a retaliatory strike on a Bosnian Serb T-55 tank for its attack on French peacekeepers, which had severely wounded a French soldier.[71] These strikes were limited proportionally to the Serbian aggression. In November the safe haven of Bihac came under heavy attacks from Serb forces. Aircraft flying from the Serbian controlled air base of Udbina were able to assist in the attacks by crossing the border, attacking the safe area, then escaping back into Croatia. Udbina is located in the Croatian Krijina area. Frustrated by continued Serbian transgressions, the UN approved NATO to increase the force of air strikes. On 21 November, a combined air operations (COMAO) strike package of 36 aircraft delivered over 80 pieces of ordnance. Two days later air power flexed its muscle again by attacking surface-to-air missile sites in the area of Dvor, a town on the edge of the Bihac safe area. The strikes came in retaliation for attacks on two British jets.[72] But even these actions failed to deter Serbian aggression and, more importantly, they exposed the vulnerabilities of UNPROFOR. Serbs retaliated for the modest and ineffectual airstrikes by seizing over 400 French and other peacekeepers as hostages.[73] In addition to detaining UN personnel, the Serbs stopped most humanitarian and supply convoys in the territories under their control. Radovan Karadzic responded stating, if General Leighton "Smith orders air strikes against us, we will treat the United Nations as enemies."[74] The UN would not call on air strikes for the next six months for fear of retaliation.

The Serbs had learned the limits to NATO air power and were now able to exploit its vulnerabilities through UNPROFOR. As Eliot Cohen points out "to use air power in penny packets is to disregard the importance of the menacing and even mysterious military reputation . . . [t]he sprinkling of air strikes over an enemy will harden him instead of hurting him."[75] The mismatch between the separate peacekeeping and peace enforcement missions deterred meaningful action by the United Nations and the international community. Placing peacekeepers in an environment not intended for them, that is one in which consent does not exist, and expecting symbolic displays of force to protect them resulted in the peacekeepers themselves becoming hostages (literally and figuratively) to the situation. NATO Secretary General Claes stated on Belgium TV, "the UN cannot enforce peace; it can at best help feed people and monitor agreements between the parties once they are ready for it. Herein lies its credibility . . . NATO's credibility lies not only in being available to do whatever the UN demands but also in demonstrating its ability to force an adversary to do what he would not otherwise do."[76] When the Serbs exploited the vulnerabilities of UNPROFOR in the form of hostages, NATO lost its credibility.

The UN's highly dispersed and lightly armed peacekeeping force never had enough troops available to sustain any consistent policy other than to supply food and medicine when the consent of the warring parties allowed it. When consent was withdrawn the UN troops became hostages. This fundamental constraint on policy inhibited all initiatives, including the effective use of air strikes. Even with the entry of NATO air power, UNPROFOR's efforts were failing. "The New York Times noted that 'the United Nations erred badly in straying from traditional peacekeeping into peace enforcement'."[77] The Secretary General showed explicit recognition that the ambitious mandates for peacekeeping in the former Yugoslavia were failing. In a written statement he cites that the UN did not have the "capacity to deploy, direct, [or] command and control operations . . . [and] it would be folly to do so at the present time . . . ."[78]

The Secretary General, therefore, instructed UNPROFOR to finalize plans for a withdrawal at short notice. By the spring of 1995, US Defense Secretary William Perry assured the UN that "NATO could deploy more than 50,000 troops to protect any withdrawal of UNPROFOR." He reported that "the operational plan was essentially complete and overwhelming force was at the heart of contingency plan 4104."[79] Hopes of bringing a peace to Bosnia were deteriorating rapidly. In May, the Serbs disregarded NATO air threats, and moved tanks from the hills around Sarajevo into the city. Under heavy pressure from the international community, the UN ordered air strikes. Admiral Leighton Smith described the attacks as "very limited strike in terms of objective . . . We agreed upon these targets as the kind of proportional response that the UN wished to use to send a signal to the Bosnian Serbs . . . We hope that the signal that it sends will be the one that we don't want to have to come back . . . We want to send the right signal the first time."[80] On 25-26 May 1995, NATO planes destroyed six of eight targeted ammunition bunkers near the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale. But the strikes once again failed to be convincing and, as before, exposed the fragility of UNPROFOR. Serb reaction resulted in over 300 UN hostages and the shelling of five safe havens, including Tuzla where they killed seventy-one people.[81] One week later a Serbian SA-6 shot down an American F-16 fighter. The Serbs had succeeded in making a mockery of the UN and NATO. The summer of 1995 would determine the failure or success of the international community's commitment to peace in Bosnia.

 

VI. SUCCESS IN BOSNIA

 

Two significant events occurred in the summer of 1995 that changed the UN and NATO's ability to operate in Bosnia. First, the international community realized air power could not protect UNPROFOR when they witnessed CNN's coverage of peacekeepers handcuffed to radar sites and bridges. Five days after the 26 May air strikes and resultant hostage crisis, France urged the US and its European allies to create a multinational airmobile rapid reaction force (RRF) to protect UNPROFOR. French President Jacques Chirac in a statement released by his new Defense Minister, Charles Million, states that the peacekeepers "need to have means in troops and equipment. We want the United Nations to re-define their mission and their means . . . If the international community does not want to review the means and objectives, then withdrawal will be the last resort." [82] US Secretary of Defense William Perry, in a speech to the Senate Armed Services committee, proclaimed that the RRF would allow UNPROFOR to do their mission, and serve as a deterrent from future attacks.[83] On 13 June, the Security Council approved the RRF deployment. Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Kofi A. Annan explained that UNPROFOR has only two sources of protection, air power and a soldier with a rifle. The deployment of the RRF will now provide greater flexibility.[84] UNPROFOR had operated in Bosnia for three years under continuous hostile attacks that had resulted in nearly 300 fatalities and close to 1,200 wounded.[85] After witnessing CNN's display of the fragile UN peacekeepers chained to NATO targets, the international community realized the need for a robust ground presence. The essential lesson for the UN was peacekeeping forces mandated to a peace enforcement role must possess organic combat capability.

The RRF consisted of over 10,000 heavily armed troops. It contained two multi-national brigades, dominated by 1,500 British soldiers, 2,000 French soldiers, and the 5,500-strong British 24th Airmobile Brigade. The heavily armed force contained attack helicopter gunships, armored vehicles and field artillery. The United States also provided additional combat power with the use of attack helicopters, artillery-locating communication gear, global positioning satellite navigation systems, night vision equipment, and intelligence gathering equipment.[86] Control of the RRF came under the normal UN chain of command, with General Janvier, the Commander of United Nations Peace Forces, maintaining operational control, and British General Rupert Smith, the current Bosnian UNPROFOR commander, having tactical control. British Brigadier General Freddie Viggers, head of the RRF planning unit, emphasized that the "Rapid Reaction Force will provide a robust and combat-capable force to enhance the security of UNPROFOR so it can perform its mandate . . . No one has a veto over its use."[87]

The second significant event occurred on 11 July 1995, when Serbian forces overran the Srebrencia safe area and subsequently massacred thousands. Admiral Smith best summed up the significance of the Serbs attack by stating, "the fall of Srebrenica . . . for the Serbs, was a tactical victory, but a strategic defeat. It galvanized the international community and jolted it into laying out clear conditions, which, if violated, would bring NATO air strikes at a level not previously contemplated."[88] British Prime Minister John Major opened the London conference of 16 nations on 21 July stating, "I believe we've reached a turning point . . . We cannot afford different noises from different capitals." Major added that the Bosnian Serbs should be made to "pay a very high price" if they attacked another safe area, indicating the British clearly supported the US proposal for massive air strikes.[89] On 26 July, under extreme pressure from the United States, the United Nations civilian hierarchy was removed from the dual key process. Boutros-Ghali finally delegated authority of air strikes to General Bernard Janvier. The new dual key arrangement, depicted in figure 5, streamlined the decision making process down to Admiral Smith for NATO and General Janvier for the UN .[90]

Figure 5.

 

The UN took even further action to protect UNPROFOR after witnessing the fall of Srebrencia. After UN soldiers helplessly looked on as Serbian forces overran the safe area with no organic means to prevent or deter the attack, General Rupert Smith pulled all forces out of the remaining safe areas, with the exception of a few observers. Air power was now free to use decisive force without fear of Serbian aggression towards UNPROFOR.

These two significant events, knowingly or not, changed Bosnia to a clear peace enforcement operation. UNPROFOR still supported humanitarian aid, but possessed credibility through the RRF and reorganization. The United Nations and NATO still lacked unity of command, but with the streamlined approval process and commitment to use force, it now had unity of effort. This new resolve and unity of effort would come to a test on 28 August 1995.

PEACE ENFORCEMENT

On 30 August, NATO and the UN put behind them years of hesitation and humiliation by launching a determined offensive peace enforcement campaign in Bosnia. This decisive action came after the Bosnian Serbs shelled a Sarajevo market, killing 37 civilians on 28 August.[91] At 0200, on 30 August over 60 NATO aircraft commenced offensive air operations against Serb targets. OPERATION DELIBERATE FORCE's common objective was to stop attacks on safe areas and to convince all parties to the conflict that the peace would now be enforced and their differences would best be settled at the negotiating table rather than on the battle field.

NATO targeted storage depots, ammunition depots, repair facilities, and command and control nodes. After three days, air strikes were suspended to assess Serb adherence. On 5 September, Admiral Smith and General Janvier recommenced strike operations as a result of Bosnian Serbs' failure to comply. Admiral Smith stressed mandate compliance was not negotiable and it would be a grave mistake for the Serbs to question NATO and the UN resolve.[92] The newly deployed RRF also engaged in significant enforcement operations when Bosnian Serbs attempted to shell Sarajevo in response to the strikes. The heavily armed RRF aggressively attacked Serb gun positions and quickly silenced them.

The Serbs now faced a credible land and air force and had no choice but to comply. On 14 September, air operations ended after mandate compliance was achieved. The decisiveness of peace enforcement was clear. Sixty-four days after the Sarajevo market explosion all parties were in Dayton, Ohio negotiating a peaceful settlement. On 20 December 1995, UNPROFOR transferred authority to the NATO led Implementation Force (IFOR) for Bosnia.

 

VII. LESSONS FROM BOSNIA

The conflict in Bosnia provides many hard lessons for peace operations in the post Cold War era. The Serb desire for a "Greater Serbia" and the ferocity of ethnic hatred challenged the international communities' readiness to maintain peace and security in this new era. For the UN, Bosnia represented a move beyond traditional peacekeeping to humanitarian and regional security operations, overriding the principles that all parties to a conflict consent to the interposition of UN forces. In this the United Nations envisioned an expanded role of peace enforcement.

Secretary General Perez de Cuellar, in post Gulf War observations, stated the war while "made legitimate by the Security Council, was not a victory" because the UN could only claim victory if it had "controlled and directed" the hostilities.[93] In 1992, just three months after sending the initial forces to Croatia, Boutros-Ghali in his report to the Security Council titled "An Agenda for Peace" recommended that the Council consider the utilization of peace enforcement units made available by member states. The units would deploy and operate under the authorization of the Security Council and would, as in the case of peacekeeping forces, be under the command and control of the United Nations.[94] Bosnia taught the UN that member states were reluctant to provide peace enforcement troops under their command and control in possible combat operations. This was highlighted when only 7,600 troops were offered instead of the 34,000 required to protect the designated safe areas.

In a recent interview, Marine Colonel Richard W. Roan explained the changes that have ensued from Bosnia. The United Nations no longer subscribes to peace enforcement. If traditional peacekeeping principles are not in place, then the UN will not send their peacekeepers. The Security Council clearly understands that the UN is not capable of conducting enforcement operations. Hostile conflicts like Bosnia are now the responsibility of member states and local organizations such as NATO. The Security Council will provide the mandate to legitimize intervention, but the international community must bare the burden of enforcement. In addition, the Security Council recognizes UN forces must have credibility, even in peacekeeping, to deter hostilities. Colonel Roan notes the deployment of UN forces in Eastern Slovania as a perfect example of the new peacekeeping standards.

The United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slovania (UNTAES) deployed as peacekeepers to monitor the transition of power from local Serbs back to the Republic of Croatia. The forces have consent, cooperation and a lasting cease-fire agreement. The UNTAES mission has two key innovations as a result of lessons from Bosnia. First, the peacekeeping force possessed robust combat capability. UNTAES deployed a heavily armed mechanized force supported by attack helicopters. In addition, the ground commander, Belgian Major-General Jozef Schoups, retains authority to request and authorize use of NATO air power supporting IFOR in Bosnia. Second, the force has offensive Rules of Engagement (ROE) to act quickly if conflicts erupt. UNTAES arrived with a credible force and an offensive ROE that has deterred conflict since the conception of its mandate.

In studying the differences between UNPROFOR and UNTAES the lessons from Bosnia are considerable. UNPROFOR was a traditional peacekeeping force caught in a peace enforcement operation. UNTAES is a peace enforcement force that provides considerable credibility in a peacekeeping operation. While the United Nations has toned down its expectations, the international community must also look on Bosnia as a lesson for the future. If the war in the former Yugoslavia represents the future, then the international community will face choices about getting involved in wars where there may be no direct threat to primary interests.

Violent conflicts will require member states to act decisively. The UN cannot make peace, only the international community can, and to accomplish this will require a commitment. In Bosnia, the international community viewed air power as a way to avoid the commitment of combat forces. The Gulf War displayed the lethality of air power. Many felt it represented a fundamental transformation in the nature of warfare, a "military-technical revolution."[95] This mystique brought air power to Bosnia as a low cost replacement for ground combat forces.

The greatest lesson from Bosnia is the need for unity of effort. Europe failed to solve the crisis in the former Yugoslavia and turned to the United Nations, which in turn sent a peacekeeping force to a war zone. In an attempt to avoid military commitment, European countries volunteered only peacekeepers while the United States offered only air power. This produced the dilemma of peacekeepers supported by peace enforcers. Therefore, Bosnia consisted of separate missions, two separate command relations and two equally separate political agendas.

What will ultimately determine the success of peace operations in the next century is the international community's political will. Air power provided many important ingredients for success, but it can be to little avail if a credible ground force and the political will to implement enforcement is lacking. To resolve the difficult challenges of peace and security in the next millennium, UN member nations must be willing to assume responsibilities as the enforcers of the international will.

 

 

NATO Air power committed to Bosnia no-fly zone: (1994)

 

 

United States

 

8 USMC F/A-18A/D Hornets fighter-bombers (Aviano, Italy)

12 USAF F-16C Falcon fighter-bombers (Aviano, Italy)

8 USAF F-15E Strike Eagle fighter-bombers (Aviano, Italy)

12 USAF A-10A Thunderbolt II attack aircraft (Aviano, Italy)

5 USAF EC-130E ABCCC command post aircraft (Aviano, Italy)

10 USAF KC-135R Stratotanker tankers (Pisa, Italy)

2 USAF AC-130H Spectre gunships (Brindisi, Italy)

 

USS Saratoga (Adriatic Sea)

24 USN F-14A Tomcat fighters

24 USN F/A-18C Hornet fighter-bombers

12 USN A-6A Intruder attack aircraft

5 USN EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft

5 USN E-2C Hawkeye AWACS aircraft

8 USN S-3B Viking antisubmarine aircraft

4 USN KA-6D tankers

6 USN SH-3 helicopters

139

Britain

 

12 Jaguar attack aircraft (Gioia del Colle, Italy)

8 F-3 Tornado fighter-bombers (Gioia del Colle, Italy)

2 K-1 tankers (Milan, Italy)

 

HMS Ark Royal (Adriatic Sea)

6 Sea Harrier bombers

28

France

16 Mirage 2000-D fighters (Cervia, Italy)

5 Mirage F-1 reconnaissance aircraft (Istrana, Italy)

8 Jaguar attack aircraft (Istrana, Italy)

1 E-3F Sentry AWACS aircraft (Trapani, Italy)

1 C-135 tanker (Istres, France)

 

Foch ( Adriatic Sea)

6 Super Etenard attack aircraft

37

 

Appendix A

 

NATO Air power committed to Bosnia no-fly zone: (1994)

CONTINUED

 

The Netherlands

 

14 F-16A Fighting Falcon fighter-bombers (Villafranca, Italy)

4 F-16A reconnaissance aircraft (Villafranca, Italy)

 

 

JOINT TASK FORCE PROVIDE PROMISE (HUMANITARIAN AIRLIFT)

 

United States

 

12 C-130E/H Hercules transports (Ramstein, Germany)

48th Air Transportable Hospital (Zagreb, Croatia)

 

France

 

2 C-160 Transall transports (Ramstein, Germany)

 

Germany

 

2 C-130 Hercules transports (Ramstein, Germany)

 

 

NATO Airborne Early-Warning Forces

 

8 E-3A Sentry AWACs aircraft (Trapani, Italy)

1 E-3D Sentry AWACs aircraft ( Aviano, Italy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] Noel Malcolm, Bosnia A Short History. London: Macmillan London Limited, 1994, 204-205.

[2] Ivo Banac, Bosnian Muslims: From Religious Community to Socialist Nationhood and Post-Communist Statehood, in The Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovian, ed Mark Pinson (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1993), 145.

[3] Norman Cigar, Genocide in Bosnia. College Station, TX: Texas A&M Press, 1995, 23

[4] Noel Malcolm, Bosnia A Short History. London: Macmillan London Limited, 1994, 206.

[5] Cigar, 23-24.

[6] William T. Johnsen, Deciphering the Balkan Enigma: Using History To Inform Policy. Carlisle Barracks, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 1993, 54.

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[11] Malcolm, 208.

[12] Noel Malcolm, Bosnia A Short History. London: Macmillan London Limited, 1994, 224.

[13] Malcolm, 218.

[14] Norman Cigar, Genocide in Bosnia. College Station, TX: Texas A&M Press, 1995, 37.

[15] Cigar, 37.

[16] Malcolm, 228.

[17] Malcolm, 222.

[18] Ivo Banac, Bosnian Muslims: From Religious Community to Socialist Nationhood and Post-Communist Statehood, in The Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovian, ed Mark Pinson. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1993, 147.

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[48] Mason, 173.

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[55] Department of the Army, FM 100-23. Peace Operations. Washington: US Government Printing Office, 1993, 12-13.

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[57] Cohen.

[58] Daniel Bolger, Lt. Col. USA, Savage Peace: Americans at War in the 1990's, Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1995, 362-363.

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[60] Tony Mason , Air Vice Marshal, Air Power: A Centennial Appraisal, London: Bookcraft (Bath) Limited, 1994, 176.

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[62] Mason, 176.

[63] Mason, 176-177.

[64] John D. McMaster, Maj, USMC, Assistant Operations Officer VMFA (AW)-533, interview by author, 14 November 1996.

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[80] "International Peacekeeping News."

[81] "International Peacekeeping News."

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[84] "International Peacekeeping News" Farndam House Information Trust and Bradford School of Peace Studies, Issue No.10, July 1995.

[85] Kevin Kennedy, Col. USMC (Ret), Deputy Director United Nations Complex Emergence Division, interview by author, 2 January 1997.

[86] William Perry, U.S. Policy on Bosnia Remains Consistent, Defense Issues 7 June 1995, under the keyword "Bosnia."

[87] "International Peacekeeping News," Farndam House Information Trust and Bradford School of Peace Studies, Issue No.10, July 1995.

[88] Leighton W. Smith, The Pillars of Peace in Bosnia, July 1996, NATO Review No. 4, Vol. 44, under the keyword "Bosnia."

[89] "International Peacekeeping News."

[90] Craig R. Whitney, NATO Gives U.N. Officials Veto on Airstrikes in Bosnia, Senate resolution 9, 26 July 1995, under the keyword "NATO and airstrikes."

[91] Lok Joris Janssen, Deny Flight' Turns to Affirmative Action, Janes Defense Weekly, 9 September 1995, 52-57.

[92] Leighton W. Smith, NATO Recommences Air Strikes Against Bosnian Serbs, Naples, Italy, 6 September 1995 Press conference at NATO Club, under the keyword " NATO in Bosnia."

 

[93] Lewis William H., Sewall John O.B., United Nation Peacekeeping: Ends versus Means, Joint Forces Quarterly, summer 1993, 50.

[94] Boutros-Ghali, Boutros, An Agenda for Peace: Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peace-keeping, United Nations, New York, 1992, 26.

[95] Eliot A. Cohen, The Mystique of U.S. Air Power: was the gulf a revolution?, Foreign Affairs, January/ February, 1994.



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