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Ask Croatian mothers...
"Yugoslav threat"

A commentator for the Split weekly "Feral Tribune", Marinko Culic, commented on the same subject in one of his regular contributions for the AIM, independent news pool, on as brought on July 3, Radio B92 e-mail service (recently discontinued).

Culic says that in a short period of time, the Croatian ruling top twice publicly stated its strong opposition to the reconstruction of Yugoslavia, so strongly that the traces of nervousness are so visible,as they were imprinted in fresh cement. It was obvious that the Croatian leadership took out its heaviest ideological artillery with its attack on the "Vukobrat conference", considering even "empty sessions of Yugo-nostalgics" a threat to Croatian independence.

Everything ended up as denunciation of the participants of the conference (Branko Horvat, Stipe Suvar...), and it was left to the readers of attacking commentaries in the official press to imagine what these people could have done at such a dangerous gathering, about which the highest security body of Croatia had to make a statement.

Besides the two statements of the Council for defense and national security, Tudjman himself went public on the matter, lastly during his recent tour of Australia, where he said that "on the fringes" of international security there are ideas cropping up about the reconstruction of "some South Slavic, Balkan or Adriatic confederation", but that nothing can return Croatia anymore into the "Yugoslav or Balkan hell".

What kind of "fringe" is in question, and who is dangerously walking in this manner on it, Tudjman did not say, but the new bone to the curious was thrown by the general secretary of the ruling HDZ party, Zlatko Canjuga. He attacked the "Harvard letter", about which, says Culic, there is no detailed information, so it is hard to say whether it is a project ordered by the White House or a student seminar project. Canjuga tied in the article of Flora Lewis, but did not go into any details, thinking, obviously that he did not need to do so - a respected journalist, a famous university... isn't that enough to alarm the public, even though a calming remark that none of this has any chance follows.

If Croatia is greatly threatened with a danger which it actually isn't, this suggests, thinks Culic, that HDZ is moving into a pre-election maneuvering, which is to paint Croatian surroundings as unreliable and dangerous, and to present itself as the only party which can resist this and in that manner save Croatia.

Confirmation that the "Yugoslav threat" was unleashed out of these notions is shown by the fact that the campaign against stronger opposition has started at the same time, first of all the Liberals(HSLS) of Drazen Budisa, who is not only blamed for "bloodless Croatianism", but also for direct engagement on the side of those who are paving the road to the same "hell". For this, HDZ used the recent meeting between Budisa and the leader of Bosnian social democrats, Nijaz Durakovic, who is accused as being a propagator of the idea of "unitarian" Bosnia, which is "the same thing as some form of a Yugoslav association".

This is, thinks Culic, an interesting statement, which actually discloses the intentions of the HDZ towards Bosnia. Since, if unitarian Bosnia is a road towards reconstruction of Yugoslavia, then the ruling Croatian party actually admits that against its reconstruction one can fight only by dismembering of Bosnia.

Budisa , who noticed this contradiction, returned the hot potato with a counter statement saying that by insistence on the confederal connections between Bosnia and Croatia, they have enabled such connections between Bosnia and Serbia, of which the end effect is not what Belgrade and Zagreb are hoping - but the actual reconstruction of Yugoslavia.

That Budisa might be right, thinks Culic, is confirmed by Flora Lewis, who does not advocate the reconstruction of Yugoslavia out of nostalgia, but sees this as a realistic outcome of a complicated crossword puzzle of interests in this region. But the correctness of Budisa's statement does not pose a threat to HDZ. It comes from another side.

For that, Culic cites the "Arkzin" article (above).This might explain the sudden engagement of the Croatian forces in the Bosnian war due to the astonishment of the Herzegovinians that they would, not only be left in Bosnia, but also returned to Yugoslavia.

(Source: AIM news pool, through "OdrazB" e-mail service, July 3,1995.)