Country Listing

Yugoslavia Table of Contents



The internal security situation in Yugoslavia threatened national security in 1990. Internal ethnic tensions were a potential hindrance to defense against external threats. As was demonstrated in World War II, such discord could be exploited by an aggressor to overcome the Yugoslav armed forces and occupy the country. Even without external pressures, open civil war among different nationalities seemed a real possibility in 1990. Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Croats, and Slovenes felt that internal security provisions were applied against them with unwarranted severity. After the fall of East European communist regimes in 1989, the internal forces aroused by such suspicions and resentments overshadowed any external threat to national security.

Although ordinary crime was an increasing problem in Yugoslav society of the 1980s, political crime or dissidence was more widely publicized. Dissident activities ranged from peaceful protest and publication to the sensational politically motivated violence, assassination, and terrorism that had marked the country's history (see The Public and Political Decision Making , ch. 4). In the 1980s, nationalism was the force behind the most visible dissident activity. Deemed a threat to the unity of the Yugoslav federation, the advocacy of nationalism was officially considered criminal. Military courts exercised jurisdiction in all cases of dissidence, because all forms of such activity were considered a threat to national security. In the 1980s, civilian internal security forces proved unable to manage large-scale political unrest effectively; they depended increasingly on YPA intervention in internal security matters.

Data as of December 1990