Intro to International Relations
The U.N’s attempt at peace in Bosnia
In this essay the question that I am going to answer is “Was the United Nations effective in its activities in the Bosnian War?” I am going to show that the U.N was not effective in the activities regarding Bosnia Herzegovina by first providing background on the cause of the war. I will then talk about the U.N’s beginning mandate and the formation of UNPROFOR and how they have attempted to aid Bosnia. That will transition into different perspectives on the U.N’s effectiveness in this world. I will end my paper with the resolution for the Bosnian war and finally conclude with a summary of the essay.
Yugoslavia was once a country that bordered Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. In the 1990’s there were a lot of disputes with Yugoslavia from the U.S and Germany. The U.S wanted Yugoslavia to break up because they “were interested in the more recently established states” (Mahiras) because they controlled key routes through the Balkan Mountains. Germany was interested because as territory of its “vital interest” Slovenia and Croatia.” In order to obtain this goal the U.S decided to give Yugoslavia and ultimatum that was backed by Germany, and other countries that the U.S “influenced”, the ultimatum was that “If Yugoslavia did not announce multi-party elections, it would face economic isolation.” This was the ultimate cause of Yugoslavia’s dismemberment into six different republics which included Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The individual states turned countries sovereignty would be put to the test in the Bosnian war.
In each separate republic of what was formerly known as Yugoslavia they had a majority ethnic group. This, however, was not the case of Bosnia, Bosnia in 1991 “Muslims comprised 44% of the population, Serbs 31%, and Croats 18% with the remainder mixed.” (GOA pg 1)When Bosnia achieved independence there was a civil conflict between the Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Serbs. In order to try and keep the peace the UNPROFOR was first established (UNPROFOR stood for United Nations Protection Force) and they later created a mandate that was extended to Bosnia. Their original mandate was as follows, “UNPROFOR's mandate was to ensure that the three "United Nations Protected Areas" (UNPAs) in Croatia were demilitarized and that all persons residing in them were protected from fear of armed attack”. (Department of Public Information)
The mandate was then extended “In June 1992, as the conflict intensified and extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNPROFOR's mandate and strength were enlarged in order to ensure the security and functioning of the airport at Sarajevo, and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to that city and its environs.” There were also hidden dilemmas in the U.N. People were beginning to question whether they were keeping the peace, or forcing the peace unto others. Author Ivo Daalder brought up a controversial point when saying, “U.N. Protection Force in Bosnia confronted a fateful dilemma. UNPROFOR could actively oppose the Bosnian Serb effort and side with the Muslim victims of the war. But this would entail sacrificing the evenhandedness that is the hallmark of U.N. peacekeeping. Alternatively, UNPROFOR could preserve its much-vaunted neutrality and limit its role to protecting humanitarian relief supplies and agencies. But this would effectively leave the Muslims to face the Bosnian Serb assault virtually unprotected.” (Daalder). After the war the U.N is criticized with not having allocated enough time and effort into the Bosnian War. They did not help out enough until the very end and in some regards are held accountable for the Mass Genocide that occurred on their watch. This is what happened with the case in Rwanda. They did not offer aid or assistance until the...