Izetbegović, Alija

Izetbegović, Alija, 1925–2003, Bosnian political leader. As a Muslim nationalist in what was then part of Communist Yugoslavia, he served time in prison (1946–49, 1983–88). After helping to found the Muslim-centered Party of Democratic Action (1989) he was elected president of the Yugoslav constituent republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1990). As Yugoslavia disintegrated with the rise of Serb nationalist Slobodan Milošević, Bosnia and Hercegovina declared independence (1992), which initiated a devastating three and a half year war among Serbs, Muslims, and Croats. Following the 1995 Dayton peace accords, he served as head of a three-man presidency (1996–2000).

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