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Aftermath of the Bosnian Civil War

Later the Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo brought about direct NATO intervention, leading ultimately to the fall of the Milosevic regime. However, this chain of events was never imagined at Dayton.

Nevertheless, the Dayton peace accord was not formulated in a political vacuum. It is not possible to fully evaluate either the objectives of the Accords or their success or failure in meeting those objectives without viewing them in the context of the events that led up to them. This is particularly the case, perhaps, in the Balkans, where historical memory is extremely intense if not necessarily accurate. To take an example drawn from another facet of the Balkans conflict of the 1990s, Serbia's determination to hold onto Kosovo was very much bound up with memory of the Battle of Kosovo in the 14th century.

The battle -- an Ottoman Turkish victory over the Serbs -- looms vastly large in the Serbian national self-image, and it was as much because of that long-ago battlefield as for any more immediate reason that Slobodan Milosevic was able to make Kosovo a central element of his nationalist propaganda. We will not attempt here to detail Balkan history back to the 14th century or beyond, but that history is so central to the background of the Dayton Peace Accords and their provisions that it must be taken into account [Deak 38-39].


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