COMMENT: Slobodan Praljak Lieutenant General of Croatian Army
SEFER HALILOVIĆ: „CUNNING STRATEGY“ – SARAJEVO
Sefer Halilović, chief of the Main staff of the BH Army, former employee and associate of KOS, writes about when and where Alija Izetbegović and Ejup Ganić talk about their negotiations and plans of exchange of territory and people of Sandžak for the territory and people of East Herzegovina.
A part of Serbia for a part of BiH.
Sefer was already then appointed to the “Presidency of BiH”, as if the “Presidency of BiH” was a village fire patrol unit, and not a group of people elected in free elections.
In negotiations in Geneva, a place where discussions took place about how to REGULATE THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE of BiH, a delegation led by Izetbegović, Sefer Halilović considers as BOSNIAN, instead of BOSNIAN-HERZEGOVINIAN, while the delegations of Croats and Serbs are considered as delegations of Ustashas and Chetniks; therefore the situation is terrifying because the “UN palace is packed with Chetniks and Ustashas”.
Only Sefer Halilović and his company from the BASIC NATION of BiH constitute the real, original and democratic delegation of BiH.
We, from HVO (Croatian Defense Council) should have formed a joint command and efficient and joint army with this man, with his opinions and views formed in the classrooms of the KOS (Counterintelligence Service). How much effort and vain attempts went down the drain? How much damage is caused to the Croatian people?
In document D-8* is listed what was, while returning from Switzerland, in an airplane, Izetbegović saying about Arafat’s advices, how should one take his piece of land and make his own state.
Halilović disagrees with the views of his chief commander because Sefer “does not withhold any right to anyone who respects the Bosnian state”.
The supreme mind of Sefer Halilović will evaluate who respects what and how much respect is shown, especially which people or individuals respect the BOSNIAN STATE.
And if Halilović evaluates that some people don’t show respect for his Bosnia, he will defeat them with his PATRIOTIC LEAGUE and his BH Army, and they will have to go to Croatia (Ustashas) or to Serbia (Chetniks).
Reader, don’t you, in all this, recognize the FOUNDATION OF AGGRESSION OF BH ARMY AGAINST THE HVO?
How Bosnia was Divided up
Sefer Halilović: Cunning Strategy
Up to that point, the division of Bosnia was a behindthe-scenes affair: the story about a sovereign and integral state was regarded in public as authoritative. Even I fell for the integral part, and this was actually the fundamental and main reason why IZETBEGOVIĆ and I parted ways. I believed his public declarations even after I had first been presented with the “division” variant. This was as far back as November 1992. On that day I was in my office, planning to visit the units in the afternoon. At some point, the President phoned me in person. I was surprised:
“Oh, it is you Mr President.” He said: “My secretary is busy,” and he asked me what I was up to. I told him that I was preparing some short orders. “Could you come and see me?” he asked. “Of course,” I replied and immediately set off. I found IZETBEGOVIĆ and GANIĆ in IZETBEGOVIĆ’s office. When I entered, I greeted them: “Es-selamu alejkum /greetings/, Mr President. Hi, GANIĆ.” This was my usual joke with GANIĆ, which GANIC was usually cross about in private. Then I would say to him: “But you are a Yugoslav.” And that is how it usually finished. But on that occasion, as soon as I greeted them I asked if I was disturbing them, since I got that impression that they were in the middle of a serious discussion. They replied: “No, no, do sit down. You are a member of the Presidency.” I sat down, and they continued their discussion:
“What does Suljo say?” GANIĆ asked Alija. The President turned towards me and said:
“It is a good thing that you are listening to this discussion. I spoke on the phone to UGLJANIN and I asked him …” he turned to GANIĆ, “would the people in Sandžak agree to swap Sandžak for Eastern Herzegovina?”
“And what did Suljo say?” asked GANIĆ, who is all aflutter whenever he speaks to Alija and I constantly have the impression that he will end up any minute in Alija’s lap. And IZETBEGOVIĆ, cool and calm, as if he were talking about moving a box of matches from one pocket to another, replied:
“Suljo said that the people in Sandžak would embrace it enthusiastically.”
I was so disturbed that I lit a cigarette. At the time Alija was trying not to smoke, so all of us around him tried to control ourselves and not light up until he lit up himself. I lit up and they continued the discussion. GANIĆ said:
“That would be great.”
“Of course it would be great. To get the people together, sort out the country and to get on with our business,” the President contentedly replied. I had the impression that they had completely forgotten about me while they were considering this idea, when GANIĆ turned towards me and said:
“What do you think of this?”
“I do not think anything. The first thought that came to mind was that I was very surprised, Mr GANIĆ,” I replied seriously and continued: “because this will have several consequences that will need a head that is much cleverer than the head of a soldier like me. In any case, whenever we attempt to say anything that you would classify as politics, you get very cross. And you consider as politics anything that does not agree with your opinion, so I would rather not express my opinion on anything.”
By then I was already very much aware of the fact that you could dabble in politics as much as you liked, as long as you supported their views. Otherwise, as soon as you have an opinion of your own, they immediately remind you that you are a soldier. GANIĆ ignored my comment, but continued to try to engage me in the discussion. I stuck to my guns, saying that this was politics, that this should be discussed by the Presidency, the Government, political parties … Alija also joined in and said to me: “We know you have a good understanding of it and that you have your own opinion. But remember: only a fool never changes his mind. It is very important to us what you think and you should tell us.”
“All right,” I complied, “First, this would mean an division of Bosnia and Herzegovina on ethnic lines and the destruction of a thousand-year-long Bosnian state, which I think is unacceptable, to say the least. Nor do I think that we have the right to do this. Second, this would mean creating some sort of miniature Muslim state, and it is very debatable how this would be accepted by the international community. Third, this would include mass or, as MOLJEVIĆ called them, humane resettlement of people. Stalin did this in the Soviet Union and it proved to be completely wrong. Four, this would also represent a violation of the R BH /Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina/ Constitution and the rejection of the platform that we, as a Presidency, adopted with great difficulties. Five, in addition, this seems a little immature. Because, in the end, Eastern Herzegovina is for now firmly in KARADŽIĆ’s hold, and Sandžak is under MILOŠEVIĆ.
As soon as I said this, they both stood up. I stood up too. Alija said to GANIĆ:
“Didn’t I tell you that there was no point in talking to him about this subject? He insisted on the sovereign, integral, indivisible and he is sticking to it.”
There was only one more occasion when we spoke openly and directly about this matter: in the plane, on our way back from Geneva.
This was, in any case, a different journey. We set off from Sarajevo on 1
The first plenary session was the following morning at 11 o’clock. My escort came soon after 10 and we went out into the corridor. I went into the President’s suite and saw him in prayer. He was still in his dressing gown. I said to LUKAVAC: “Please could you knock on my door when you set off, so I don’t stand around waiting in the corridor.” Mido and I went back into my room and waited. I looked at my watch: 10 to 11. I was surprised that nobody had knocked. I came out of the room and saw Swiss policemen outside the door; a policeman gestured that they had already gone. I could not believe it, so I grab hold of the door handle, but it was locked. I asked Mido: “Do you speak any English?” He said: “Little /as printed/.” I will remember this ‘little’ for the rest of my life. We left the hotel, got into a taxi and went to the United Nations Office. Of course, we both used our hands to speak English, We were looking for the Bosnian delegation. But… KARADŽIĆ is also the Bosnian delegation, and BOBAN is also the Bosnian delegation. The Yugoslav delegation is also at the negotiations: ĆOSIĆ, MILOŠEVIĆ, BULATOVIĆ with the rest of the team, in which only the security numbered around 200 people. Therefore, the UN Office was full of Chetniks and Ustashas. We only just managed to stumble on to the right Bosnia and Herzegovina delegation.
Returning to Sarajevo, we were once more in the small plane, but now it was only our delegation and there was enough room. The President and I sat opposite one another, our legs were touching. It was narrow. All our things were there, and among them was something like a plank wrapped in ordinary cardboard and tied with some rope. I casually asked:
“What is this you have here, Mr President?” “Ah,” he said, “let me show you.” He took the plan, it was about 80 centimetres long and let’s say 50 or so centimetres wide, and he started unwrapping it. “Please, do not go to any trouble,” I said. “Never mind,” he replied and unwrapped a extremely beautiful picture of a mosque in Palestine, made from mother-of-pearl. At the bottom of the painting there was something written in Arabic. I asked: “Can you read Arabic?” “No,” he said, “but I know this prayer off by heart.” He was pointing at it and teaching me: “Bismillah irrahman …” After he had studied it, he said: “Arafat gave me this picture, I was with him. We had a long talk. The fate of the Palestinian people is very similar to our fate,” I did not agree: “The fate of our people is similar to that of the Jews, because when they expel the Palestinian, he takes his coat and goes off to Yemen, to Egypt, somewhere, while the Jew has nowhere to go.” “We can discuss this some other time, but you will see that you are not right,” the President replied and then went on: “But let me tell you what Arafat said to me. He said: ‘Alija, are they offering you anything?’ I replied: ‘They are, they are and a good chunk,’ And Arafat said: ‘Take it, Alija, They made offers to me too and I did not want them, I wanted everything. In the end, I am left with nothing. Take it, Alija, while the offer still stands, because you too will be left without anything.’” When he finished telling me this, he looked straight at me and continued: “You are seriously mistaken. We should take a part of Bosnia. Let the people come back to that piece of Bosnia, let the situation be sorted out and a state made. This way, we will be left with nothing.”
A discussion ensued. I started explaining: “We do not want everything. We want to live in equality with all those who have always lived in Bosnia, without depriving of their rights anyone who respects the Bosnian state. We want to live in the entire territory of BH, since we lived on 94% of its territory. Nobody wants to deny the Serbs and Croats the right to be sovereign and equal, but if we take a piece of Bosnia, we would then be destroying the Bosnian state and the outcome would be uncertain. And finally, the Muslims cannot fit on to the piece of Bosnia that they are offering us, because in that case there will be a tendency for all the Muslims to flock to this little Bosnian state.” The President said: “Wc need a piece that will accommodate around two million people. Some will come, some will leave and it will be just right.” We both fell silent.
Sefer Halilović, Cunning Strategy /orig.title: Lukava strategija/, Maršal, Matica Sandžaka, Sarajevo, 1997
Publisher: „Oktavijan“ d.o.o. Radnička cesta 39 HR-10000 Zagreb Croatia
Editor: Nikola Babić Praljak
Layout: GENS94, Zagreb
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available in the Online Catalogue of the National and University Library in Zagreb as 000956547
Translations and transcriptions of original documents contained in this book were compiled from a variety of sources. In order to preserve the authenticity of original documents, only the most necessary linguistic adaptations were made in translations.
Priručnik General -pukovnik Slobodan Praljak : 4.DIO SEFER HALILOVIĆ, ZAPOVJEDNIK “PATRIOTSKE LIGE”, TAJNE VOJNE ORGANIZACIJE MUSLIMANA U BiH, NAČELNIK GLAVNOG STOŽERA A BiH – MUSLIMANSKE VOJSKE U BiH
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