SFOR in Bosnia in 1997: A Watershed Year


© 1999 John L. Cirafici

From Parameters, Spring 1999, pp. 80-91.

Historians may eventually identify NATO's 1997 operations in the Balkans as the basis for peace in that troubled region. To be sure, troops are still on patrol in Bosnia-Herzegovina, their presence having been twice extended by the UN. And as deadlines for withdrawing US troops have come and gone, domestic sources have frequently characterized US involvement in the operation as a hopeless exercise and in any case a European affair. The value of continued US presence in Bosnia, debated heatedly in Congress, has been probed by pundits and defended or assailed by regional experts. Consensus is elusive; the United States still copes with an uncomfortable situation.

The many different viewpoints demonstrate just how complicated, frustrating, and challenging the mission has been for NATO, other nations providing troops, and the participating international humanitarian relief and development agencies. With the emphasis on political goals established in December 1995 by the General Framework Agreement for Peace, deployed military units from more than 30 countries have deftly avoided the use of arms in pursuit of those goals. The force has been evenhanded in its efforts to reduce or eliminate friction while preserving its position as an honest broker to the three major factions: Serb, Croat, and Bosnian Muslim (the latter is also referred to as the "Bosniac" faction). NATO and other units have managed to defuse flash points without becoming involved as a "fourth faction" in Bosnian politics, and 1997 was a critical year in their success thus far.

This article examines significant activities of the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) during 1997. Constrained as it was by limited manpower and resources, and by restrictive rules of engagement, the Stabilization Force nonetheless skillfully exercised its authority over strongly confrontational local and regional elements seeking to undermine the General Framework Agreement for Peace. The events of 1997 define the environment within which the military forces continue to operate, often outside their more traditional roles. Their activities put a new twist on an often-invoked Clausewitzian dictum. The military instrument, rather than waging war to reach the political objective, was instead supporting the political process following a war in which it had not participated.

The Challenges

The initial force deployed under the terms of the General Framework Agreement for Peace was identified as the Implementation Force (IFOR). Its 55,000 troops began operations in December 1995 and relinquished responsibility for the mission a year later. The Stabilization Force, which replaced IFOR, had slightly more than 36,000 combat, engineer, and support troops located in Bosnia proper and in Croatia. The members of SFOR were drawn from the militaries of 37 NATO and other nations around the world. Operating in a country largely defined by its rugged terrain, the sparingly manned SFOR had the unenviable task of trying to be highly visible nearly everywhere without appearing weak and ineffective at any critical time or place.

The SFOR area of responsibility in Bosnia was subdivided into three multinational division (MND) areas, as shown in Figure 1 below: Southeast (MND SE), with a preponderance of French forces and commanded by a French general; Southwest (MND SW), with its largest contingent of troops from the United Kingdom and headed by a British general; and North (MND N), with two-thirds of its soldiers drawn from the US Army and led by an American general. NATO air forces provided reconnaissance, close air support, command and control, airlift, and other assets to support ground operations.

Figure 1. Bosnia-Herzegovina and the surrounding region.

The General Framework Agreement for Peace, variously referred to as the GFAP, Dayton Peace Agreement, or the Dayton Accords,[1] recognized a Bosnia divided into two political entities pending reintegration also shown in Figure 1. One entity, the Federation, was formed by a difficult merger of Bosniac and Croat territories, while the other--the Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska, or RS)--had been crafted from the remaining 49 percent of Bosnian territory. The boundaries of each SFOR multinational division were drawn to include territory of the two entities. This meant that all three divisions shared responsibility for patrolling the zone of separation between the ethnic groups. Each of the three divisions also had its share of hot spots.

. MND Southeast contained Sarajevo and Mostar, the latter a source of unending friction between Bosniacs and Croats. Pale, the center of gravity for Radovan Karadzic's recalcitrant Serb nationalists, was also in this divisional area.

. MND Southwest had its headquarters close to the Serb stronghold of Banja Luka, epicenter for Serb opposition to the Karadzic hard-liners and permanently locked in a power struggle with the Serb radicals of Pale. This MND also contained Jajce, scene of many clashes between Croat nationalists and Bosniac displaced persons. Croat-occupied Drvar was also in this division's area; displaced Serbs repeatedly attempted to return to their homes in that area despite strong local opposition.

. MND North included Brcko, an ethnically cleansed city on the Sava River. The city sits astride the narrow and strategically important Posavina Corridor, which joins the two halves of the Bosnian Serb Republic. Consequently, Brcko was of great importance to the Bosnian Serbs during the war; Bosniacs and Croats trying to return there in 1997 consistently encountered stiff resistance.[2] To the west was Doboj, an ethnically cleansed city located at the throat of Serbian territory protruding southeastward into the Federation, which had been the scene of frequent clashes between Serbs and Bosniac displaced persons.

All the MNDs contained communities that at one time or another became points of friction between those who had seized control over the locality during the war and those who wished to return to their homes. Annex 7 of the GFAP, agreed to by all parties, guarantees the right of all Bosnians to regain lost property and to return home safely. To facilitate their return they were further assured of the right to move freely throughout the country. Organizations actively engaged in supporting those rights included SFOR, the UN International Police Task Force, the Office of the UN High Representative (OHR), and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). But by early 1997 a large number of the approximately one million refugees and displaced persons driven from their homes by three years of unrelentingly brutal civil war had not yet returned to their own villages, towns, and cities. Many tried to do so during the year, which contributed to the large number of clashes in all the MNDs.

Successes and Failures

The range and complexity of the work undertaken in 1997 by SFOR personnel is seldom recorded. Yet the missions that were successfully carried out demonstrate repeatedly why only a strong warfighting force could succeed in an environment as volatile as the Balkans. What follows is a sample of those tasks; few of them are common to the military forces, NATO or other, whose mission it was to ensure that they were conducted successfully.

Regional Elections

In early 1997 the most important activity facing SFOR and various political organizations, such as the Western European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, was the municipal elections scheduled to take place throughout Bosnia in the autumn. Annex 3 of the GFAP, the Agreement on Elections, stipulated that displaced persons would be allowed to vote for local government in the communities from which they had been expelled. Difficulties encountered as displaced persons tried to return to their homes led to a concern that during an election hot spots could erupt into open violence and perhaps precipitate involvement by elements of the armed forces.[3] A more hopeful view envisaged successful elections that led to greater stability and encouraged the return to Bosnia of the more than 700,000 refugees who had fled to nearby European countries.

For the countries hosting Bosnians the prospective exodus of refugees was a long-awaited peace dividend. Germany in particular wanted stability in the region. It was already doubly burdened by the immense costs of unification and by a large influx of eastern Europeans seeking the economic benefits of life in western Europe. Germany became the reluctant host to another 320,000 refugees, mostly Bosnians, during the course of the war in former Yugoslavia. Had Dayton failed and war resumed in Bosnia, the number of refugees would once more be expected to increase.

But if the elections could foster a lasting peace, then an environment conducive to the return of refugees would likely follow. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was responsible for conducting the Bosnia-wide municipal elections, while SFOR had been directed by NATO's North Atlantic Council to provide a secure environment in which to conduct them. In April the events that would measure Dayton's effectiveness in 1997 began to unfold. Over the course of the year the former warring factions would launch serious challenges to the provisions of the GFAP and the UN-mandated submission to SFOR's authority.

Across the country displaced persons began moving toward territory now held by those who had expelled them, seeking their former homes or attempting to visit family grave sites. In nearly every case the returnees were met by planned resistance ranging from restrained hostility to mob violence and murder. Opposition to the displaced persons and refugees by those already entrenched in the ethnically cleansed areas was a product, for the most part, of three fundamental fears:

Layered over these issues and exploiting the unsettled conditions through the region was greed. Ethnic leaders exercised a strong grip on local economies; many of them profited enormously from local near-monopolies on the import of common consumables such as gasoline, alcohol, coffee, and tobacco products. Their power bases and illicit business activities stood to be undermined if ethnically cleansed populations returned in large numbers to their former communities.

The return of refugees to their former homes proved to be a major challenge for the UN High Representative, who had primary responsibility for civilian efforts to rebuild damaged or destroyed property, to the International Police Task Force (whose members were unarmed), and to the Stabilization Force. Returnees were frequently met by hostile local police, protesting mobs, violence, and homes booby-trapped or set afire. When confrontations occurred the International Police Task Force (IPTF), working in an advisory role to local police, encouraged its counterparts to restrain crowds and violent protesters. The local police, however, answered to local ethnic leaders and were often part of the problem.[4] Members of the IPTF themselves frequently became the focus of angry crowds and were sometimes compelled to withdraw to safety.

In early May 1997 Serb returnees to Croat-held Drvar (which had been 97 percent Serb before the war[5]) were quickly dissuaded from remaining in the district when their homes were set afire. The practice of burning returnees' homes spread to other communities. The Croats used the same tactic in the Jajce enclave (35 percent Croat before the war[6]), expelling Bosniac displaced persons from Donja Sibencia and Kruscica. The Serbs resisted both Bosniac and Croat returnees to ethnically cleansed Brcko (ante-bellum Brcko had been 21 percent Serb[7]) with booby-trapped or torched dwellings. Similarly, the Serbs intimidated Bosniac returnees to Doboj.[8] To counter this hostile behavior by all of the three ethnic groups, US forces aggressively patrolled the areas of friction, escorted returnees, and generally made their presence felt within MND North. The British, initially caught off balance by mob violence in and around Jajce, soon took the initiative and enforced an uneasy peace which suppressed violent opposition to returnees.[9]

Infrastructure Maintenance and Repair

All elements of the Stabilization Force were committed to missions other than the returnee crisis in support of specific aspects of the Dayton Accords. SFOR engineers were fully engaged in reconstruction projects and in de-mining. Under Annex 1-A, Article IV, of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, engineers were to map extant mine fields, conduct de-mining training for specific elements of the three entities' armed forces, and supervise de-mining activities. The engineers also restored surface infrastructure, rebuilt bridges, repaired roads, and graded new accesses where needed. For example, military engineers built a new road to provide all-weather access to Gorazde, which was on the Drina River, at the tip of a Bosniac-held finger of territory thrusting deeply into Republika Srpska, the Serb state.[10]

Other engineers--from the Hungarian army--were involved with the reconstruction of the historically significant and culturally important 16th-century Old Bridge of Mostar. Targeted by Bosnian Croat militia forces in 1993, the bridge was hit repeatedly by mortar fire until it collapsed into the Neretva River. The bridge was a traditional symbol of Herzegovina; its collapse was a symbol of the wanton destruction caused by the war. Another 1997 project, conducted by Italian engineers, was the restoration of the damaged railroad network that linked Bosnia to Croatia and thence to western Europe.

Control of Warfighting Materiel

In compliance with Annex 1-A, Article IV, of the GFAP, SFOR was required to exercise control over heavy weapons of the former warring factions through frequent inspections of weapon storage sites and continual observation of units of the respective armed forces. All three factions had placed their heavy weapons in designated cantonment or barracks sites.[11] To assure strict accountability, SFOR teams periodically inspected each site. Ammunition, weapons, gun barrels, and other key components were carefully tallied and checked against mutually established listings. Any item not on the list or discovered to be outside a cantonment site was subject to confiscation. When SFOR discovered violations it acted quickly, firmly, and consistently.

The SFOR commander used a format called Instructions to the Parties to inform all concerned of inappropriate behavior; the Instructions identified activities that were inconsistent with Annex 1-A of the GFAP and that consequently would not be condoned. One such prohibition addressed air defense systems.[12] This particular Instruction stipulated that system components, including missiles, launchers, radars, and command vans, could not be interconnected, missiles could not be placed on launchers, nor could radars emit without specific authorization.[13] On several occasions during the spring and summer the Serbs were found to be noncompliant, prompting SFOR in one instance to react to unauthorized radar operation by confiscating an offending self-propelled "Straight Flush" fire control and target acquisition radar. In response to other violations the SFOR commander imposed a ban on Serb military flights, both fixed- and rotary-wing, allowing exceptions only for medical evacuations and presidential flights, and then only after SFOR had approved each mission.

Each time equipment was to be confiscated, SFOR prepared to react firmly in the event of defiance. In the radar incident, a force was positioned around the site prior to seizure and extraction of the system to ensure that there would be no surprises when the equipment was seized. Such planned missions, when added to necessary reactions to incidents, ensured a sustained high operational tempo for SFOR. New developments in early summer 1997, however, soon overshadowed previous events.

Local and National Politics

The level of confrontation between SFOR and Serb hard-liners took on an entirely new dimension in mid-1997. Biljana Plavsic, President of Republika Srpska, challenged her predecessor and former mentor, Radovan Karadzic, in a head-to-head struggle for political control of that entity. Paralleling and often affecting the power struggle was SFOR's effort to arrest indicted war criminals, to "defang" and disband Serb specialist police who were not in compliance with Annex 11 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, and to curtail the activities of media that were disseminating inflammatory material. Responding to this convergence of four separate but related activities was the greatest challenge to the Stabilization Force during the year.

Madame Plavsic had been a wartime vice president who rose to the Bosnian Serb presidency in 1996 as a trusted member of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) and as Karadzic's surrogate. Karadzic himself was expressly forbidden to remain president by the terms of Annex 4 of the GFAP, which prohibited indicted war criminals from holding office. He had hand-picked Plavsic to serve as titular president, fully intending to remain de facto leader of the country. In June 1997 Plavsic abruptly cut her ties with Karadzic, intending to halt the decline of the RS caused by its implacable defiance of the Dayton Peace Accord. The Serbs had so far been denied access to millions of dollars in reconstruction aid because they had not yet met UN and NATO expectations regarding the terms of the GFAP. As this struggle was being worked out, the Karadzic clique was amassing millions of dollars from smuggling, from its control of coffee, alcohol, cigarette, and gasoline sales, and by extracting payoffs from Serb businessmen. The average Serb, meanwhile, was unemployed and living in poverty.

Plavsic dismissed Dragan Kijac, Serb Internal Minister and a key Karadzic lieutenant, and boldly accused Karadzic of gross corruption. Plavsic then engaged in a full-blown power struggle with Kijac (who refused to leave his post) as well as with the most powerful members of Karadzic's clique.[14] Her goals were to establish a moderate, democratic government that would cooperate with the international agencies and with SFOR. She intended to end corruption, privatize the economy, and guarantee equal rights for all citizens. In return, she anticipated the release of some $400 million in reconstruction aid.[15] As Serb politics in the Republika Srpska became contentious, actions taken against indicted war criminals by SFOR and by the criminal tribunal in the Hague increased the tension.

In early July 1997 SFOR special forces sought two indicted war criminals, Simo Drljaca and Milan Kovacevic. The notorious Drljaca, former police chief of ethnically cleansed Prijedor in northwestern Bosnia, had played a key role in the operation of horrific concentration camps for Muslim and Croat prisoners during the war. He was shot dead while firing on SFOR soldiers and resisting arrest. Kovacevic, also charged with complicity in genocide, was taken without a struggle and flown to the Hague to face charges. Four days later another Bosnian Serb, Dusan Tadic, who had already been tried at the Hague, was formally sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment for his crimes in the Prijedor area.

The Bosnian Serb reaction to these events was swift, shrill, and often violent. The Serb radio and television network, controlled by Karadzic's clique in Pale, played to the radicals by broadcasting inflammatory statements and images likening SFOR to the Ustase, the World War II Croat fascists responsible for the murders of some 300,000 Serbs. In one especially pointed piece of propaganda on the evening news, RS showed current footage of British SFOR soldiers and armor positioned in Banja Luka interspersed with film from the archives showing Ustase and Nazi soldiers marching under the gaze of Ante Pavelic, brutal leader of the notorious World War II Croat state. The Serb message was clear: the British murdered Drljaca just as the Ustase had murdered defenseless Serbs during the Second World War. Drljaca's funeral was pointedly held in Pale and not in his home community, which was in the part of RS controlled by Madame Plavsic. Karadzic lieutenant Krajisnik gave the eulogy, declaring that NATO had "killed a patriot without a trial, perfidiously, from the back."[16]

Not surprisingly, Serb reaction to these events appeared in many cases to be carefully staged. Retaliation occurred frequently in the weeks following SFOR's involvement with the indicted war criminals. Bombs were detonated under vehicles used by officials and soldiers assigned to OSCE and to other international agencies. Military and civilian personnel were injured by bombs and in assaults and grenade attacks. Overnight, posters of Karadzic appeared throughout much of the RS with the English captions "He means peace" and "Don't touch him."[17] In a crude effort to exploit the perception that the American public would quickly withdraw its support for a contingency if it were made aware that casualties could be taken, fliers were circulated that stated "Somalia was too gentle" and "It's time for another Somalia."

Paralleling the campaign against SFOR was the effort by the Pale clique to oust Plavsic from the RS presidency. She had, in early July, dissolved the RS parliament in an attempt to curtail the authority of the Pale faction. By the third week of July, Pale countered by expelling Plavsic from the Serb Democratic Party, which leveled two charges against her: abetting SFOR's efforts against indicted war criminals, and dividing and weakening the Bosnian Serbs.[18] She reacted by creating a new Bosnian Serb party--the Serb party of Republika Srpska--to combat the SDS radicals at the polls.

The radical Serbs in Pale next used the Serb army as a means to undermine Plavsic. The Bosnian Serb chief of staff, Major General Pero Colic, wrote a letter critical of her actions which he indicated had brought the RS to the brink of collapse. In response to the Colic letter, the SFOR commander warned him that SFOR would not tolerate military intervention. French and Italian forces moved into Pale in strength while the SFOR commander met there with Krajisnik to put him on notice that the spree of attacks must cease immediately. SFOR's firm but measured responses and the SFOR commander's ultimatum to the Pale clique brought the violence to an abrupt halt.

After SFOR placed a damper on the agitation prompted by the fate of the indicted war criminals, it took the initiative to undo Pale's hold on the Republika Srpska. SFOR and its civilian counterparts moved to neutralize the means being used by the Pale clique to enforce discipline within the Serb factions, to consolidate their grip on the RS, and to resist the requirements agreed to in the Dayton Accords. In early August the SFOR commander issued an Instruction to the Parties which notified all parties that Serb police units faced one of three possible changes to their operations: train and perform as legitimate police, integrate with the army, or disband. Few outside the region understood that the Serb anti-terrorist brigade (PATB), known as "specialist police," was anything but a professional police force. It operated directly under the interior minister, Kijac, who had been Karadzic's right-hand man until fired by Plavsic. These so-called police organizations were for all practical purposes the enforcers for Karadzic's clique. They provided the muscle to intimidate opposition members, enforce control over the economy, and provide security for Karadzic and his lieutenants. At the time, these special police organizations posed the most immediate threat to Plavsic.

Special police units aligned with Plavsic quickly came into compliance with instructions from SFOR and the International Police Task Force. Those that did not were disarmed and restricted, and none too soon. British and Czech troops, when seizing a police station in Banja Luka, discovered illegally stockpiled weapons--enough for some 2000 persons--which intelligence indicated were in all likelihood intended for a coup against the RS president. A week earlier, when British forces and the IPTF took over a special police security center in Banja Luka, they discovered surveillance equipment that had been used to eavesdrop on communications within the presidential palace.

In Brcko, American forces and the IPTF came under attack by a Serb mob when they seized a noncompliant police station and turned it over to a unit of special police which subscribed to the standards stated in the Instructions to the Parties. The mob, clearly directed by the Pale faction, was urged by the Serb radio and television network (SRT) to "repel the invaders."[19] Paralleling the "defanging" operation were actions taken to rein in the Serb media. When the SRT again broadcast anti-SFOR, anti-Dayton, and strongly nationalistic, anti-democratic messages, it too was targeted. Transmitters seized by American troops were delinked from the Pale SRT studio. Eventually, stations in northern RS were linked to SRT Banja Luka, which refused to transmit Pale propaganda.

The SFOR actions against the PATB and the SRT were too successful for those in Pale to accept without response. Hard-line Serbs were bused to friction points, including Brcko, Doboj, and Banja Luka, to confront SFOR and the IPTF. Mobs attacked American forces with stones, staves, bottles, and occasional gunfire. SFOR, demonstrating strict discipline, repelled the mobs with tear gas and warning shots. In response to the growing violence, the supreme allied commander of NATO forces, General Wesley Clark, warned, "We will use all means necessary, including lethal, to protect our forces and continue our mission."[20] In early September the pro-Karadzic forces relented and the violence halted.

Shortly thereafter the long-awaited municipal elections were conducted with a high degree of success and were almost free of incident. An additional success story for the Office of the High Representative, the OSCE, and SFOR, which had not even been anticipated at the beginning of the year, was the Bosnian Serb parliamentary elections. Strongly endorsed by the international community over the objections of the Pale hard-liners, the elections were conducted throughout the RS in October and gave Madame Plavsic a majority in the Bosnian Serb Assembly. The results, a crucial victory for the Serb president, significantly eroded the hard-liners' political power base. Although problems periodically surfaced during the rest of the year, SFOR and the international community had clearly taken control of the situation.


With hindsight it is not too difficult to envisage 1997 as a watershed year for Bosnia. Although Karadzic remains free, his hold on power has been critically eroded, and the forces of responsible government have taken root in the RS. In January 1998 Madame Plavsic's hand-picked candidate for prime minister of the RS carried the vote in the RS Assembly. He promised to hand over war criminals, promote democracy, and implement the Dayton Accords. The two chief entities within Bosnia--the RS and the Federation--sought common ground on outstanding issues, and the arrest of indicted war criminals increased enough that the court in the Hague requested that only key war criminals be brought before it.

The successes, which include the 2 December 1998 arrest for genocide of the Serb commanding general of the Republika Srpska 5th Corps, have been tempered by other developments. Although Madame Plavsic's moderate faction continues to maintain a majority within the Serb Assembly, she lost the presidency in the September 1998 RS presidential elections to a nationalist from within the Karadzic clique. It is probable, however, that the nationalist success in the election is a consequence of the Muslim-Serb struggle in Kosovo. The fighting there, which has ironically driven Muslim refugees seeking a safe haven into Bosnia, is giving new life to Serb fears of Muslims within Bosnia. It is a measure of success, however, that the Serbs expressed their differences within the framework of the election process and not through armed struggle.

The achievements realized in 1997 did not satisfy all critics because the end state sought by Dayton remained elusive. Yet when the accomplishments are measured against the limited capability of SFOR and the breadth of its responsibilities, there were far more successes than failures. SFOR's steadfastness, discipline, and focus produced results without resorting to lethal force. The almost irreversible stigma that comes with lethal force, even if its use had been unavoidable, could have been counterproductive in the long run, even to the point of seriously undermining the Dayton Peace effort. Instead, peace has taken a strong hold in Bosnia, the recalcitrant Serb hard-liners have been forced away from the center of gravity in the RS, and normalcy is slowly making its way back into Bosnian life.


1. For all annexes and references to specific items contained within the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, see US Dept. of State Dispatch Supplement, March 1996, v. 7, supplement no. 1, The Dayton Peace Accords.

2. See the article by Anthony A. Cucolo III, "Grunt Diplomacy: In the Beginning There Were Only Soldiers," in this issue of Parameters, pp. 110-26.

3. SFOR conducts quarterly a Joint Military Commission (JMC) meeting to be attended by all three entities' chiefs of staff and chaired by the SFOR commander or by the SFOR Deputy Commander for Operations. At the June 1997 meeting, the subject of entity armed forces and the impending elections was addressed by Lieutenant General Cordy-Simpson (United Kingdom), the Deputy Commander, SFOR. He specifically cautioned the entity armies to ensure that their role remained entirely constructive in the September elections.

4. Croat police officers in the city of Mostar were cited by international investigators for beating and firing on Bosniacs, without cause, during a cemetery visit in February 1997. The police killed one and wounded 20 others. See The New York Times, 26 February 1997.

5. Ethnic Map of the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Miroslav Krleza Lexicographical Institute, Zagreb, Croatia, published 1992.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid. Before the war Doboj had been 40 percent Muslim and 39 percent Serb.

9. Drvar continues to be a contentious city. A Croat riot against Serb displaced persons broke out in April 1998. At the time there were already 1500 Serbs reestablished in the city of 6000 Croats, and more were arriving. The relatively large presence of Serbs in a city from which they had been previously expelled was a significant change from the situation during the spring and summer of 1997. At that time, hundreds of Serbs, against strong opposition, were just beginning to filter back into their former homes. See reports in The New York Times, 24-26 April 1998, and The Washington Post, 25 April 1998, 2 May 1998.

10. As authorized by GFAP, Annex l-A, Article IV.

11. Under the terms of the GFAP, the former warring factions agreed to place in storage all "heavy weapons," which included all tanks and armored vehicles, all artillery 75mm and above, all mortars 81mm and above, and all anti-aircraft weapons 20mm and above. See GFAP, Annex 1-A, Article IV, Paragraph 5 (Phase III).

12. Bosnian Serb air defense systems had, during the Bosnian War, brought down several NATO aircraft.

13. Radar maintenance technicians may be authorized, on a case-by-case basis, to emit while performing maintenance. The Commander, AIRSOUTH, SFOR's air component commander, reviews all requests and makes the determination whether to approve or not.

14. The others in the ruling group included Prime Minister Klickovic, Speaker of the Serb parliament Dragan Kalinic, and Momcilo Krajisnik, Serb member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina tripartite cooperative presidency.

15. "Best of a Bad Lot," The Economist, London, 5 July 1997, pp. 55-56.

16. "Slain War Crimes Suspect Gets Hero's Funeral in Pale," Stars and Stripes (European edition), 14 July 1997.

17. Deedee Doke, "Karadzic, A Poster Boy in Bosnia," Stars and Stripes, 19 July 1997.

18. The Serb people believed that the survival of their culture and faith throughout the Ottoman, Austrian, and Nazi occupations was founded upon unity in the face of adversity. The symbolic representation of this belief is a cross with a Cyrillic "C" in each corner standing for "Only Unity Saves the Serbs." The symbol was painted on surfaces throughout Bosnia during and after the war, and it is incorporated in the national symbol of the RS. The same symbol can be seen throughout Kosovo.

19. Steven Erlanger, "NATO at Crossroads in Bosnia, Serb Power Struggle Is Seen as Defining Moment," The New York Times, 31 August 1997.

20. Philip Shenon, "NATO Commander Issues a Warning to Mobs in Bosnia," The New York Times, 4 September 1997, p. 1.

Colonel John L. Cirafici, USAF, is the Defense Attaché, Algiers, designate. His military career, spanning 35 years as an NCO and a commissioned officer, has included service in the Vietnam War, the Dominican Republic contingency, Somalia, Desert Storm, Just Cause, and Bosnia. His service in Bosnia included duties during hostilities in support of the Vance-Owen peace initiative and later as Chief, SFOR CJ-3 Air. He has taught European history at the US Air Force Academy and commanded AFROTC at the University of Delaware. A master parachutist and master navigator, Colonel Cirafici is the author of Airhead Operations: Where AMC Delivers, The Linchpin of Rapid Force Projection, and numerous professional articles.

Reviewed 10 March 1999. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil