Because of the army's status as Serbs, however, it aided only the rebels, leaving the Croats to fend for themselves.
But the conflict did not stay within the boarders of Croatia. Instead, it pushed past the boundaries of Bosnia Herzegovina and led to one of the most bitter and bloodiest battles of the war, which included the Serbs and Yugoslavian People's Army fighting against the Croats and Muslims of Bosnia. The violence of the conflict would allow Bosnia to take focus as one of the most disastrous sites of the war. The conflict not only caused massive amounts of bloodshed, but also fear that created an international attempt to aid victims and would-be victims on both sides ("Along Ethnic Fault Lines").
The extent of the ethnic conflicts, and the degree to which the violence flourished because of them, has been proved, primarily through the Serbian-Croatian conflict, the preferences of the Yugoslavian People's Army, and the violence and blood in Bosnia Herzegovina. Because some scholars suggest that the sate is disappearing from its modern position as sovereign, others believe ethnic conflict will become the primary outlet for conflict in the future (Salmon 13). The examples contained in the domestic ethnic origins of this war give credence to this theory. Thus, not only were domestic factors the most important, most developed, and most violent reasons for conflict in the Yugoslavian Civil Wars, but also are the sources of conflict that hold the most implications for the future of conflict and war.
III. Systemic Causes
Although one can clearly point to domestic causes as the primary source of the Yugoslavian Civil Wars, systemic causes helped lay a foundation for the conflict. This foundation can be seen primarily through the World War One Legacy. During the First World War, Axis and Allied powers had fueled the ethnic conflicts already thriving in the Balkans. Allied powers allowed Serbs to feel a burst of superiority and national pride, while Axis powers fueled and funded terrorist regimes whose written agendas included genocide. Although these may seem to be domestic concerns, they are a prime example of one of the most important observations in international relations -- the tendency of conflicts in one area of the world to fuel conflicts in another. Although the First World War had its roots in the Balkans, it was primarily a European struggle, yet it managed to fuel heated ethnic conflicts that lead to the Yugoslavian Civil Wars and breakup of Yugoslavia years later. In fact, in his monumental book the War of the World, Harvard International Relations Lecturer Niall Ferguson suggests World War One, World War Two, and the interceding and succeeding wars were simply one large world war, each smaller conflict using the steam of the larger conflict to explode into a full-fledged war. Although the breakup of Yugoslavia would probably have happened regardless of the European War's frustration of already tense ethnic situations, it may have happened with less blood or less ferocity if the First World War alliances had not complicated the matters.
IV. Conclusion and Implications
By studying the sources of conflict of the Yugoslavian Civil War in terms of individual, domestic, and systemic, one can quickly determine that the war had no single direct cause. Instead, it was fueled by a mixture of individuals' ideas and the ruling elite, domestic ethnic strife, and systemic alliances made during the First World War. The domestic causes of the war, however, can be quickly observed as the war's primary causes -- the ethnic conflict that left the region unable to stand unified. Because these ethnic conflicts are the center of the war, implications for the future of conflict in the international system are tremendous. With the state's decline as the system's primary actor, and ethnic conflict still boiling in the Middle East and Balkans, in addition to less severe cases elsewhere, a repeat this type of war may be in the future. Similarly, as large conglomerations of states, like the European Union, try to adopt that sovereignty shed by the state by unifying those of diverse cultures and ethnicities, a breakdown similar to that of the former Yugoslavian Federation may be observed. By studying the breakdown of Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav Civil Wars, students of international relations and foreign relations alike may be able to plan for the future.
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