Balkan Primer III Kosovo Fallout: 
Ethnic Tensions Rising in Vojvodina

April 14, 1999


Comment: #258

Discussion Thread:  #s - 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 257

Reference:

[1] STRATFOR, Inc., "Ethnic Tensions Rising in Vojvodina," Global Intelligence Update,
April 13, 1999

Several commentators have suggested that a possible military strategy for ending the Kosovo Crisis would be to attack the source of the problem by invading Yugoslavia from Hungary. Heavy armored forces could sweep down the Danube plane and quickly conquer Belgrade from the north, grab Slobodan Milosevic, put him on trial at the Hague, chop off Kosovo and make it a NATO protectorate, and establish a more responsible government in Serbia. Obviously, such an attack would have serious repercussions to our relations with Russia, but even if these were overcome, it would also include political ramifications to Vojvodina, raising ethnic issues with the usual Balkan complexity . The attached article by STRATFOR, a private open source intelligence company, presents a point of view that bears consideration.

Vojvodina is an autonomous region in Yugoslavia north of the Danube River. It has a large Hungarian population and is also the breadbasket of Yugoslavia. The attached report from the STRATFOR, Inc. indicates that armed Serbian refugees, fleeing the bombing or Kosovo, are increasing ethnic tensions in this region. It also discusses some possible ramifications that might flow out of a NATO invasion of Yugoslavia from Hungary. The authors speculate that such an invasion might unleash suppressed Hungarian territorial aspirations affecting Slovakia and Romania, both of which have substantial Hungarian minorities, as well as Vojvodina. Since NATO planners are aware of theses complications, STRATFOR speculates the Hungarian invasion option may not be a politically acceptable strategy. If true, that leaves a direct attack on Kosovo as the leading the ground force option.

Excerpts:

"Hungarian radio, on April 11, reported that ethnic Hungarians living in the Vojvodina autonomous province of Serbia are becoming increasingly wary of an influx of armed Serbian refugees fleeing NATO attacks in Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia

"However, if Hungary begins to make an issue of the plight of the Vojvodina Hungarians, neighboring Romania and Slovakia will balk at what appears to be a NATO slicing off a chunk of Serbia for the Hungarians like it appears to be doing for the Albanians "

Chuck Spinney

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