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Yugoslavia: Internal Security
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Internal Security


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. 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

Last Updated: December 1990

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Yugoslavia was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Yugoslavia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

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