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Answer the questions!

April 24 2004 at 8:39 PM
Octopus  (no login)
from IP address

Response to Yer dense if you think that was a Canadian operation.

The questions are simple enough, even for you. I read several different reports on the matter, from various international bodies, including the UN and Dutch reports. They want to spread the blame around, but they don't answer the questions, either.

I repeat:
Why did the Canadians leave? Why did the UN tell them to leave? Why didn't they tell the UN what was happening?



(3) The decision to become one of the main suppliers of troops for a peace mission moved many at the time. Dutch politics were dominated by the call to intervene on moral grounds. This humanitarian motivation, coupled with the ambition to improve Dutch credibility and prestige in the world, led the Netherlands to offer to dispatch the Air Brigade. By playing down the possible risks of the behaviour of the warring parties so much, a large circle of those involved in this policy, and in particular its advocates, took on a large responsibility for it.
In practice, Dutchbat was dispatched:

on a mission with a very unclear mandate
to a zone described as a 'safe area' although there was no clear definition of what that meant
to keep the peace where there was no peace
without obtaining in-depth information from the Canadian predecessors in the enclave (Canbat)
without adequate training for this specific task in those specific circumstances
virtually without military and political intelligence work to gauge the political and military intentions of the warring parties
with misplaced confidence in the readiness to deploy air strikes if problems arose, and
without any clear strategy for leaving.

(4) Dutchbat arrived in 1994 in an enclave with extremely complicated relations, and it was badly prepared for the actual situation there. Apart from two exploratory parties, they made little attempt to obtain information from the Canadians, their predecessors, about their experiences. The Canadian government in Ottawa was not asked for information either.
The preparation and training were sufficient, generally speaking, for the military aspect, but were inadequate as regards the provision of information and insight into the situation of the population, its cultural background and experiences during the civil war. This meant that stereotypes and prejudices could already take hold during the training. All this did little to ease the relation between Dutchbat and the population. There were relatively frequent contacts during Dutchbat I, but they gradually grew less. That contributed to an introverted mentality and a reinforcement of negatively coloured stereotypes. Dutchbat was often negative about the population in the enclave, but there was no question of a deliberate anti-Muslim attitude. Contrary to what has been suggested, Dutchbat III was not conspicuous for a relatively high level of misbehaviour.

(4) Minister Voorhoeve, who as director of the Clingendael Institute had been a fervent advocate of intervention in the early 1990s, remarked in the summer of 1994 that it was an impossible assignment. The battalions often had to carry out their work in a spirit of frustration and lack of motivation. Especially in the case of Dutchbat III it became shaken and introverted. But that does not mean that it was dysfunctional. It performed its task, but that came nowhere near the desired effect. This is more the fault of the inadequate resources and the policy of the UN and UNPROFOR. Dutchbat grew less and less able to carry out its task.

(5) UNPROFOR was caught between two fires. The supposed demilitarisation in the enclave was virtually a dead letter. The Bosnian army (ABiH) followed a deliberate strategy of using limited military actions to tie up a relatively large part of the manpower of the Bosnian Serbian army (VRS) to prevent it from heading in full force for the main area around Sarajevo. This was also done from the Srebrenica enclave. ABiH troops had no qualms about breaking all the rules in skirmishes with the VRS. They provoked fire by the Bosnian Serbs and then sought cover with a Dutchbat unit which then ran the risk of being caught between two fires. On the other hand, the VRS blockade policy was a significant contributor to a frustrating and demotivating situation. As a result, the strength of Dutchbat III had been depleted by one third by the beginning of July 1995 and there was a serious shortage of supplies, from food to diesel oil for the vehicles. The last two battalions in particular became mentally and physically exhausted in the course of their mission.

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