PUBLISHED LETTERS IN WASHINGTON TIMES
ON OPERATION STORM
Below are two letters by myself and Hilda Foley
published today in the Washington Times. It is the
first time - as far as I know - that the Savo Strbac
affair has been mentioned in the mainstream media. It
shows that people are interested. Perhaps Zagreb
should take note.
Conflict in the Balkans
Helle Dale claims that Croatian troops forced tens
of thousands of Serbian civilians out of Croatia
("Balkan ghosts," Op-Ed, Wednesday). This claim — also
made by the International Criminal Tribunal — is
untrue. The Croatian Serb leadership publicly admitted
that it ordered and coerced its people to leave
Croatia ahead of the Croatian offensives. The
U.S.-backed Croatian actions recovered
Serbian-occupied territory that had been conquered on
the back of ethnic cleansing. The U.S.-Croatian
actions also saved Bosnia, saving untold thousands of
Mrs. Dale should take a closer look at the
tribunal she says should be supported. One of the top
Serbian officials involved in the occupation of
Croatia, Savo Strbac, far from being investigated, is
a top associate of the U.N. prosecutors. He is helping
them prosecute the very Croatian generals who, with
vital American support, stopped Slobodan Milosevic in
his tracks. They will not get a fair trial.
The United Nations will smear the United States
for helping the Croats stop Mr. Milosevic, Radovan
Karadzic and Ratko Mladic — a "crime" in the eyes of
many at the United Nations who were happy to indulge
the Serbian rampage across Croatia and Bosnia.
While reading the Op-Ed column "Balkan ghosts" by
Helle Dale, I found two statements disturbing because
they do not represent the truth.
Mrs. Dale writes, "Croatian troops swept through
the Serb-controlled region of Krajina, forcing tens of
thousands of Croatian Serbs to flee." The fact is that
it is not only the Vukovar region that Serbs
destroyed, but these ethnic Serbs in Croatia's Krajina
region also occupied, with the help of the
Serbian-Yugoslav army and paramilitary, one-third of
Croatia after their aggression started in 1991.
They "ethnically cleansed" the Croatian
population, looting and destroying their homes and
committing untold atrocities. When the Croatian army
finally liberated its territory in August 1995, these
Serbs were not "driven out," as the article states,
but were ordered by their own leadership to leave
before the arrival of the Croatian army. Testimony to
that fact was given in Politika, a Serbian newspaper,
in August 1995 in Belgrade by the Serb Krajina
leadership. Anything else is a revision of history.
In addition, only Serbia and the so-called Serbian
republic in Bosnia have dragged their feet and not
cooperated with the International Criminal Tribunal,
according to the tribunal's Judge Theodor Meron, while
the tribunal is pleased with Croatia's cooperation.
HILDA M. FOLEY
National Federation of Croatian
Santa Ana, Calif.
Washington Times, letters to the Editor 18 June.