As the UN-run trial of ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic began in The Hague it was clear that there were many others who could also be put in the dock on charges of genocide. This bloodthirsty killer and rabid nationalist was only a pawn in a much wider game going on in the Balkans in the early 1990s. All the major powers, with the exception of China and Japan, who were too far away, manoeuvred and jostled for positions of power and influence and attempted to undermine their rivals.
Representatives of the ruling classes of Germany, Russia, France, the USA, Turkey and Britain are not on trial though their culpability in setting-off and maintaining the murderous Balkan war, the bloodiest in Europe since World War II, is far greater than local gangsters like Karadzic and Milosevic before him. This current trial is a farce and cover-up organised by a nest of guilty UN vipers engineering an ideological campaign and trying to pin the blame on one or two individual snakes.
The context for the Balkan War of 1992 was the collapse of the Russian bloc in 1989 and the New World Order of US imperialism. After the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein, where the US attempted to impose its global domination on its erstwhile ‘partners' and adversaries alike, the Balkan war, showed the open development of the centrifugal tendencies of ‘every man for himself' that is still a major characteristic of the international situation. Germany tripped the war by its recognition of Slovenia and Croatia and its attempt to cut a path to the warm-water seas of the Mediterranean. Britain, France and Russia immediately conspired to back their old Serbian ally in order to counter German imperialism and carve out their own spheres of interests. The USA, lacking much direct influence in the region, first aligned itself with Germany through Croatia and then built up the Bosnian army from scratch.
Britain was involved, in the guise of an ‘humanitarian' role, positioning the British military, in their UN Blue Helmets, to facilitate the murderous siege of Sarajevo, which it did for months alongside French imperialism, its partner in massacre. But it's in the context of the cold blooded murder of 8000 men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995 that the ‘humanitarian' role of British imperialism is worth examining. According to BBC's Newsnight at least 2 UN Security Council members knew of the imminent attack on the Bosnians (or the "towelheads", as British High Command called them). It's a reasonable assumption that those two were Britain and France who were working closely together in order to facilitate the Serbian advance. On the programme, Richard Holbrooke, then a US envoy to the region, suggested that Britain knew that a massacre of Muslim men and boys was planned. Britain was very close to the Serbian war machine: Lt. General Sir Michael Jackson, who had a background in intelligence and was commander of the Anglo-French Rapid Reaction Force, was a drinking partner of the Serb high command, including General Mladic (who is still very much at large). General Rupert Smith was instrumental in overseeing the Serbian advance, the aim of which was the creation of a Greater Serbia, perfectly in accordance with the policies of British imperialism in the region and beyond. All the talk about Britain's ‘special relationship' with, or being a ‘poodle' of the United States was wrong. The Balkans conflict was a war with Britain and France backing one side and the USA backing another as competing national interests compelled imperialisms to clash.
The current Bosnian Serb leader, Milorad Diodik, has demanded the right of the Serbian part of Bosnia to secede. This has raised concerns that the countries of ex-Yugoslavia will be plunged into another round of ethnic killings. As the media watches the circus of Karadzic's trial, the attention of all the rival imperialisms is focussed on how to defend their interests, without any regard to the human consequences.