Thousands of coalition troops have not been able to forge a true peace, and every spring that becomes painfully obvious.
In the spring, farmers, driven from their ancestral homes by warfare and "ethnic cleansing," long to return to their old homes to plant. Under the Dayton Peace Accords, they have that right.But it isn't that simple.
"Most of them are Bosniacs (Bosnian Muslims) who would like to move back on the Serb side," said Col. Lars Nilsson, commander of the 403-soldier Swedish Battalion. "But we also have Serbs who would like to move back in on the federation side."
The two sides are the Republika Srpska, a republic set up by Bosnian Serbs, and the federation of Muslims and Croats. Both are within Bosnia.
"Two weeks ago they had roadblocks on the main road between Doboj and Tuzla because of the situation," the desire to return home for spring planting, Nilsson said. Serbs and Muslims set up separate roadblocks.
"We started negotiations, and after 26 hours, they took away the roadblocks. Because it's women, it's children, it's sticks and stones and everything . . . we would not like to use so much force," Nilsson said.
"It's very tense in some areas now, with the resettlements."
On April 21, he added, Swedish troops seized an illegal storage depot: "Ten tons of ammunitions and weapons . . . So, it's not all the people who would like to have peace in here in the future."
Also in April, Croats went to Derventa, hoping to celebrate Mass in a church they had attended before they were chased from their homes. Serbs threw stones at the buses and surrounded the church. Hours later, Norwegian soldiers rescued them.
"Derventa got out of control," said coalition spokesman Lt. Col. James B. Cronin.
Croats retaliated against Serb returnees at Drvar. Hundreds of Croats flipped cars, burned buildings where Serbs were living, beat the Serb mayor and injured four U.N. employees.
Speaking at Eagle Base, the main American headquarters, Cronin pointed out that spring isn't the only season for violence in this troubled country.
Last August, political differences among the Serbs boiled over into an attack against American troops at Brcko. "A crowd of about 2,000 people attacked the Americans who control the bridge there," Cronin said.
Reporters and tourists were mobbed as well. Two U.S. soldiers were injured.
Rioters were "throwing rocks, bottles, Molotov cocktails, attacking our soldiers, swinging 2-by-4s at them. We fired a couple of warning shots, but we never fired directly at the crowd."
The warning shots and tear-gas rounds dispersed them.