CNN Balkan Conflict News


Countries in the conflict

Regional map



Capital: Sarajevo
Population: Roughly 4.6 million
Ethnic mix: Muslims predominate in Bosnia-Herzegovina, comprising nearly 1/2 the population. The rest of the country is approximately 1/3 Serb and 1/5 Croat.
President: Alija Izetbegovic (1925 - )

Although Muslim, Izetbegovic says he's committed to a multi-ethnic Bosnia. In 1990, he founded the centrist Party of Democratic Action. By the end of the year, the party had become the largest political group and Izetbegovic, as its leader, was elected to the presidency of the seven-member state executive of Bosnia-Herzegovina. While Yugoslavia was under communist rule, Izetbegovic was a prominent dissident and political prisoner for "pan-Islamic activity."



Capital: Zagreb
Population: Roughly 4.8 million
Ethnix mix: Croatians make up the majority in this country. As of July 1995, Serbs comprised about 1/8 of the population.
President: Franjo Tudjman (1922 - )

Known as a right-winger, Tudjman led Croatia toward independence before the civil war. In 1941, Tudjman had joined communist partisans under Tito. After attaining the rank of major-general in the Yugoslav People's Army, Tudjman left the military in 1961 to pursue academic interests. His "dissident" activities led him to be expunged from the League of Communists, and he was imprisoned from 1972-74 and then again from 1981-84. In 1989 he founded the Croatian Democratic Union, and in 1990, he was elected president of Croatia. Although Tudjman had espoused nationalist Croatian positions, he took initiatives to bring conciliation with the Serbs before the war began.



Capital: Belgrade
Population: 9.8 million
Ethnic mix: Here a Serbian majority predominates, with Hungarian minorities.
President: Slobodan Milosevic (1941 - )

Although Serbia is technically part of Yugoslavia, the Milosevic government overshadows that of the Yugoslav Federation. Known for his nationalist rhetoric, Milosevic won the Serbian presidency with calls for a "Greater Serbia." After the U.N. embargoed his country, however, Milosevic ended overt assistance to Serbian military groups in Croatia and Bosnia. A war leader of the Belgrade Communists until 1986, Milosevic then assumed leadership of the League of Communists of Serbia. In May 1989, he was appointed to the Presidency of the republican State Presidency of Serbia. He was later re-elected by direct ballot. In December 1990, Milosevic was elected by direct ballot to the new post of sole executive president of Serbia.

Ethnic rivalries

In the Balkans, ethnicity is often more important than nationality. For more information about the region's complex ethnic rivalries, link to: Factions.

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