U.S. Mulls Giving Bosnia Weapons Aid
Portsmouth Daily Times, p.A5
18 November 1994.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States would provide the Bosniak-led Bosnian government with military trainers and up to $5 billion in weapons and aid under a classified option presented to congressional leaders this week, according to sources.
Even as the Clinton administration prepares, under congressional pressure, to defy its allies and take sides in the Balkan conflict, officials are warning lawmakers that the move could severely strain the Atlantic alliance.
The package of assistance presented by Pentagon and State Department officials to key congressional leaders is preliminary and subject to debate and change within the administration and on Capitol Hill.
Two sources familiar with a classified briefing to congressional leaders earlier this week said Thursday that Pentagon and State Department officials presented “heavy” and “light” options for aiding the Bosnian government once the United States decides to openly defy the international arms embargo.
The heavy option would involve up to $5 billion in weapons, supplies and other aid, according to a source who attended the meeting in the Capitol Building’s secure room used for intelligence briefings. The light option would be far more modest, about $500 million in weapons and aid, said the source.
Because many of the weapons might come from surplus supplies in America’s shrinking military, the assistance would have less of an impact on the Treasury than the dollar amounts under consideration suggest.
A second source said Pentagon officials also discussed the possibility of U.S. military forces training the Bosnian government forces, much as was done in the early stages of the Vietnam War. The lawmakers attending the meeting raised concerns about this option and said any direct help provided on the ground should be limited, the source said.