On January 18th, Peter Andreas, a candidate for the endowed chair position at the Sie Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School, gave a well-attended lecture entitled, "Blue Helmets, Black Markets," which is also the title of his new book.
Andreas, a native of Denver and graduate of Cornell University and Swarthmore College, spoke for over an hour on the subject of Serbian siege of Sarajevo, which lasted from 1993-1995 and is commonly referred to as the longest siege in modern history. Andreas also referred to the siege as the "most internationalized" of any modern siege due to the involvement of so many multinational and non-state actors during the duration of warfare in Bosnia. The siege of Sarajevo also led to the longest airlift in history, surpassing the Berlin airlift of 1948-1949.
Using the phrase, "double-edged criminality," Andreas explained how upon the eve of Bosnia's declaration of independence from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Bosnian state possessed a negligible defense force. Existing criminal networks, mainly those based on smuggling, stepped into the breech and assisted the young Bosnian state by helping Bosnian forces to arm and defend themselves from repeated Serbian attacks, particularly with Sarajevo.
The siege of Sarajevo was also "not supposed to happen," said Andreas, "it defied conventional realist and liberal wisdom" that it lasted as long as it did. Calling it an "historically important case but also a fascinating case," Andrea made a compelling argument for the role of illicit networks in acting to fill the vacuum created by the collapse of Yugoslavia, and how those illicit networks worked in an unspoken alliance with the international forces, which, in many ways, prolonged the agony of the Bosnian people during the dark days of the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.
-Shane Hensinger, MA candidate in International Security
Josef Korbel School of International Studies