Michael Onyiego, Associated Press
South Sudan emerged into the world as a new nation less than a year ago and already it is at the brink of war with its archenemy Sudan, with soldiers from both sides carrying out incursions and Sudan bombing the south with warplanes. But history shows that nascent nations often are plagued by troubles, while others have relatively easy early lives. Some fairly recent examples:
East Timor was a Portuguese colony for more than four centuries before Indonesian troops invaded in 1975. When it voted for independence in 1999, withdrawing Indonesian soldiers and militia went on a rampage, killing up to 1,500 people and destroying East Timor's limited infrastructure. The U.N. poured billions of dollars into the new nation and deployed thousands of troops but after scaling back — too early, critics say — gang violence and splits in the army and police turned deadly. It led six years ago to the collapse of the government and the return of international peacekeepers. Today, East Timor remains desperately poor and its institutions weak. But a successful presidential election earlier this month — the third since the nation of 1 million was born — is widely seen as a sign of growing political maturity.
In 1991, Slovenia fought a brief war for independence from the Serb-led Yugoslavia when former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic decided to let it go. It was the first ex-Yugoslav state to become an European Union member in 2004, and still is the most prosperous of the former six Yugoslav republics.
Bosnia was the scene of the bloodiest carnage as Yugoslavia fractured, and the worst in Europe since World War II. More than 100,000 people were killed and millions left homeless during the 1991-95 civil war in Bosnia. The war ended with a U.S.-brokered peace agreement between Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats. The country remains deeply split between the three ethnic groups, preventing Bosnia from getting closer to the EU, NATO and other international organizations.
It took a four-year war with the Yugoslav Peoples Army and local Serbs who refused to live in an independent Croatia before Croatia became a nation. Some 10,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands left homeless. It liberated the territory in 1995 by chasing ethnic Serbs out of a pocket in western Croatia in an offensive. Two Croatian generals were convicted by a U.N. war crimes tribunal for their role. Croatia is slated to become the 28th EU member in 2013.
Macedonia was the only ex-Yugoslav republic that split peacefully in 1991, but its name has been a sticking point with Greece that has created a roadblock to its joining the EU. Athens argues that the name Macedonia implies territorial claims against the northern Greek province of the same name, and has also blocked the country's efforts to join NATO. Macedonia has a restive Albanian minority that adds to ethnic tensions and occasional flare ups.
Independence-seeking Kosovo Albanians fought a 1998-99 war for independence from Serbia. The clashes stopped only after NATO warplanes bombarded Serbia for 78 days in 1999. The former Serbian province unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Serbia, Russia, China and the Serb minority in Kosovo do not recognize Kosovo's statehood, which was supported by the United States and most EU countries. Since it is not recognized by a majority of world states, it is not a U.N. member. Some 5,500 NATO-led troops are still deployed in Kosovo to prevent clashes between majority Kosovo Albanians and the Serbs who control a tense northern area on the border with Serbia.
- British judge hears arguments in case LDS...
- Final words from jet came after comms systems...
- Missing heroines: Why Hollywood believes only...
- Utah National Guard's 142nd Military...
- South at heart of close fight to control US...
- States explore free community college
- Crimeans vote to leave Ukraine, join Russia
- Analysis: Obama administration more often...
- British judge hears arguments in case... 69
- BYU chemist makes breakthrough... 29
- Student who sued parents to get them to... 21
- States explore free community college 19
- President Obama calls for a... 15
- Obama says health care program is stable 14
- Senate investigation of CIA dogged by... 9
- Analysis: Obama administration more... 9