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Why "unique" Kosovo
"must" become independent


Jan Oberg

June 20, 2007

Ten former foreign ministers write in the International Herald Tribune (June 16) that Kosovo is a unique case and that there is no alternative to making it independent. Among them are some of the main advocates of NATO’s illegal and counterproductive 1999 bombing of Kosovo and Serbia proper: Madeleine Albright (US), Joshka Fischer (Germany), Helveg Petersen (Denmark), Hubert Vedrine (France), Lloyd Axworthy (Canada), Bronislaw Geremek (Poland) and Jozias van Aartsen (Holland).

Jan Eliasson of Sweden – in spite of his well-known commitment to the United Nations - here represents the Social-Democratic bombing fraction at the time, Prime Minister Göran Persson and foreign minister Anna Lindh – who incidentally also thought that the destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq was an idea worth the support of the post-neutral, post-non-aligned, pro-US/NATO and pro-interventionst Sweden.

In terms of style, the authors make statements and serve platitudes without a single analytical argument. “Viable alternatives do not exist”, they say, but did they ever think of alternatives? Immensely complex problems by definition have more possible solutions provided a minimum of knowledge and creativity is applied. And defining Kosovo as a “territorial issue” as they do is indeed to really miss the whole point of that conflict!

The former ministers’ article comes as part of an increasingly panicking stream of propagandistic only-one-solution statements, articles and reports associated with the anything but independent International Crisis Group, Chris Patten, Bill Clinton, Wesley Clark, Richard Holbrooke…who were all, one way of the other, responsible for the destruction of Yugoslavia. And from George Bush in Albania, the last true lover of the United States.

Kosovo’s uniqueness and only-independence is manifestly not about independence as such and certainly not about peace, justice or principled conflict-resolution. It is an attempt to justify NATO’s Balkan Bombing Blunder that was the single most devastating blow to a mediated settlement of the incredibly complex issue called Kosovo in the Balkan region. If Kosovo does not become independent then NATO’s highly controversial, one-sided action against Serbs and for the Albanians must be seen as a – uniquely serious - intellectual, political, moral and legal disaster.

The argument that Kosovo is a unique case is equally flawed and non-proven. There are countless cases worldwide of minorities who are repressed (and the Kosovo Albanians indeed were) and want independence or struggle for nationalism, separatism and irredentism (as indeed most Albanian did and do).

Daniel Fried, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, explained on February 6 this year – probably inadvertently – the real reason that Kosovo is unique: “Kosovo is a unique situation, because NATO was forced to intervene to stop and then reverse ethnic cleansing. The Security Council authorized Kosovo to be ruled effectively by the United Nations, not by Serbia. UN Council Resolution 1244 also stated that Kosovo’s final status would be the subject of negotiation. Those conditions do not pertain to any of the conflicts that are usually brought up in this context. It’s not applicable to Abkhazia, or South Ossetia, or Transdniester. Nor is it applicable to Chechnya or to any separatist conflicts in Europe.”  [].

How gallant and courageous: NATO was forced to intervene! Who or what forced it? The honest answer is: the international community’s complete lack of serious attention and lack of even the smallest attempt to find a negotiated solution between 1990 and 1999. And its bizarre “blame it all on the Serbs” policies.

Oh, but wasn’t the Rambouillet process preceding the bombings such an attempt? Well, one of the authors behind this article, Madeleine Albright, should know at least three things if the others conveniently forgot:

  1. The Serb and Albanian negotiation teams never met face to face there;
  2. She herself in the second round introduced an Appendix that stated that NATO troops could be deployed and operate anywhere they please inside Serbia (not just in Kosovo), behave anyway they wanted and pay nothing for using facilities; they could also not be prosecuted by Serbia should they incur damage on property or otherwise misconduct. Milosevic of course said “no” as would any leader of a sovereign state. Politically correct media decided that that Appendix stood in the way of the myth that “the Serbs have chosen war while the Albanian chose peace” (James Rubin, US State Department to his wife, Christiane Amanpour, CNN) and left it unmentioned.
  3. The West, Germany and CIA in particular, had armed the Kosovo-Albanians extremists since 1993, creating the Kosovo-Albanian Liberation Army (KLA) and thereby deliberately undermined Dr. Rugova’s non-violent policy. 


If anything, it was NATO forcing itself upon the regionafter about a decade of conflict-ignorance.

It is true that SC Resolution 1244 stipulated negotiations. But it is untruthful to omit – as the article writers and Fried do – that its first paragraphs emphasizes the obvious: that Kosovo is an integral of Serbia which is an independent and sovereign state with a right to have its territorial integrity respected.

Kosovo simply cannot become independent unless the SC cancels that provision and endorses de facto and de jure recognition of the – extremely dangerous and slippery-slope – principle that powerful countries can decide to dismember states by force and take them away from existing states and present it all as “mediation” under an UN envoy.

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Kosovo is probably the largest, longest and most serious UN peace-building failure. But its mission there also started out as the most controversial since it entered the region in the wake of a unique UN Charter-violating “humanitarian” military intervention built on the never-documented propaganda argument that Hitler-like Milosevic planned to exterminate 1,5 million Albanians. Watch out for another Clinton in the White House, a Wesley Clark as Seretary of Defence and a Richard Holbrooke as Secretary of State..!

It is time to remember why NATO – “the international community” - bombed Serbia and Kosovo. It was the consequence of deep conflict illiteracy and of the fact that absolutely nothing serious and continuous had been done to manage what anyone who cared could see would blow up, particularly after the West’s collusion with the most murky and militant fractions in Kosovo.

KLA was first on the terror list of the US, then became an ally of the West. Some of them were war criminals. But since they were “the enemy of my enemy” they became the darlings of the West, running the illegal “government” in today’s Kosovo and having high make-believe titles such as prime minister.

The bombing-happy West of course can’t admit a failure. Can’t abandon its former terrorist friends. The bombing signalled "we are with you and your separatist aims". That’s why there is only one solution in Kosovo. And why similar solutions shall not be tried by, say, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transdniestria, Palestine, Tamil Eelam, Northern Cyprus, the Basque Province, Chechnya, Northern Ireland, western Macedonia, Republika Srpska, Tibet, Taiwan, Kurdistan…

Truth will out. By its peace-preventive policies and its bombing, the international so-called community has imprisoned itself in Kosovo.There is going to be more violence and misery there because of that.

How much more violence and human misery in the future are the “unique independence-only” militarists willing to unleash on others – Serbs and Albanians – to cover up their own illegal and immoral policies of the past?  


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