US Takes Small Step Forward as Bosnians Free Kupres
by from the Editors
On 11 November 1994 the Clinton Administration announced that, in accordance with the law passed by Congress earlier this year, the United States would no longer enforce the arms embargo against the Bosnian Government. The law on non-enforcement is contained in the Defence Authorization Act, the relevant section of which we publish overleaf. It requires that the US cease such activities as participation in NATO's flotilla of ships blocking arms from reaching Bosnia via the Adriatic Sea. However, the Executie Order prohibiting shipment of arms to Bosnia from the United States remains in effect.
The non-enforcement law was triggered by the Administration's failure to secure passage of a UN Security Council resolution ending the arms embargo. The public outrage of European governments at this decision is an act of bad faith, both because their policy of appeasement helped precipitate the US Congress decision in the first place and because they knew that President Clinton's move was inevitable once Congress had passed the law.
The governments in London Paris and Moscow miss no opportunity to express their concern whenever the Bosnian Army advances. They bemoan the prospect of the legal government of Bosnia-Herzegovina acquiring arms, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the persistent and extensive breaking of the arms embargo by the Russian military. The continuing disparity in military hardware between the two sides involved in the Bosnian war is illustrated by the table published below.
The embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina is not only unjust, it is also illegal and invalid. It was enacted to apply to the socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia not the Repub lic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; it violates Bosnia's inherent right to self defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter; it has enabled Serbian forces to kill hundreds of thousands of Bosnian citizens without the risk of counterattack. As our US counterpart, the Action Council for Peace in the Balmans, has repeatedly pointed out, UN Security Council action to terminate the embargo is unnecessary. Instead, 'President Clinton should immediately rescind the Executive Order enshrining the UN embargo as US law and comply with Sarajevo government requests for urgent military assistance to defend and save Bosnia'. The British Government would then have to review its policy; if it insisted on withdrawing its troops from UNPROFOR, there are others willing to take their place.