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The United Nations and the Yugoslav Conflict

The Serbs wanted a centralized state, while the Croats and Slovenes wanted a confederation. Post-World War II constitutional reforms consistently went in the Croats' and Slovenes' favor. However, as the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic commenced his militant Serb nationalistic policy in the mid-1980s, separatist movements in Slovenia and Croatia grew. Fueled by Yugoslavia's economic problems and simultaneous international upheavals, the situation deteriorated rapidly in 1990 and 1991.

Although the Yugoslavia National Army and the Serb leadership tried to avoid national disintegration, they made a distinction between the republics. Ethnically homogeneous Slovenia fought a short and limited war before Belgrade lost interest. Croatia, with its large Serb minority, was different. Serbs in Croatia had long argued that, if Croatia left Yugoslavia, they would leave Croatia. The Croat declaration of independence thereby became a declaration of war. As fighting commenced, local Serbs and the Yugoslavia National Army took control of 30 percent of the territory. The war led to huge refugee movements and thousands of casualties. From early 1992 onward, the conflict became more static and politically deadlocked as U.N. soldiers were deployed.

Even though the U.N. had gained greater esteem since the end of the Cold War, the major European powers did not act upon it as the situation in Y


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