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Western peace prevention
continues in former


PressInfo # 234

March 9, 2006


Jan Oberg, TFF director

In English

In Swedish

In Danish


If you believe that Western politics should serve as a model of decency, fairness and principled policies, consider these topical news from ex-Yugoslavia:

Kofi Annan's envoy on Kosovo, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, tells Der Spiegel that Kosovo is heading for independence. In a tone that can only be characterized as arrogant, he tells the Serb side that they should know the rules of the game and know their own best interests. This simply means he is no mediator who listens to and respects all sides with a view to find a fair solution. He is an agent for powers who can dictate their solution. Is Kofi Annan concerned?

Kosovo which was bombed off from Serbia and occupied by NATO's illegal war in 1999 thus seems lost for Serbia. Will the remaining Serbs in Kosovo run away, start a guerrilla movement, try to join Serbia? Will there be a border war at some point? While all experts agree that Kosovo's leaders have not lived up to minimum standards for human rights, tolerance and refugee returns over the last seven years, the status will now come before standards; it is the exactly opposite of what the West decided a few years ago.

Kofi Annan's Representative, Danish diplomat Søren Jessen Petersen, running UNMIK in the province, for a second time praises a suspected war criminal. Is Kofi Annan concerned that top-level UN staff does that? Earlier it was Ramush Haradinaj, the former Prime Minister indicted in the Hague. Now it is Agim Ceku, the new PM. Denmark has enough of scandals on its desk right now, so Jessen Petersen's flirtation with ethnic cleansers perhaps doesn't add much.

Ceku was a leading officer in the Croatian Army when - in 1995 with the help of CIA and mercenary companies - it ethnically cleansed about 200.000 legitimate Croatian Serb citizens out of Croatia. 90% of them are still refugees in Serbia, no one supporting their return. Thus, all Yugoslavia's minorities were not and are not protected by Western human rights; Serbs are not worthy victims.

From 1993, Ceku went down and helped the most extremist people in his native Kosovo to build the KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army behind the back of Dr. Rugova, the only pacifist leader in the now chopped-up country. (I know what Ceku did because I have had him tell me the story himself). KLA and Ceku was generously assisted by the German Intelligence Service, BND and - after the US took KLA off its list of terrorist organizations - by CIA. The moderate, pragmatically non-violent Kosovo-Albanian leader Dr. Rugova, who recently passed away, was dangerous; imagine he had achieved an independent Kosovo by non-violent means: what a catastrophe for those who believe in violent intervention, bombings and occupations as roads to peace.

Immediately after the West's UN-NATO-EU-OSCE occupation of Serbia's province, we were told that they disarmed the KLA. They didn't, and everybody knew. KLA was a leading agency in effecting about 200.000 Serbs to leave Kosovo; proportionately it was the largest ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. But it was ours, so the Western free press turned a blind eye. KLA people also orchestrated the warfare across the border in Southern Serbia, and the 8-months war in Macedonia. It's all conveniently forgotten today; it has to be since Western interests are heading for an independent Kosovo/a. It's the logical consequence of NATO's bombing in 1999. And it does not seem to bother too many that this whole process is also a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1244. With Mr. Ceku entering the scene as the West's preferred statesman, Dr. Rugova is dead in more than one sense.

The West, NATO, the UN and lobby groups like the International Crisis Group (of which Ahtisaari has been a leading member) argued that Kosovo-Albanians should not be criticised for forcing another good 200.000 Serbs out of Kosovo in the months after NATO's KLA-assisted destruction of both Kosovo and Serbia proper. The reason? They had suffered so much under Milosevic. While there is no doubt that Albanians suffered heavily under Milosevic police-state repression in Kosovo, there is also no doubt that a) Serbia is the only country to have wiped out their old leader by non-violent means and that b) reverse ethnic cleansing is disgusting and unacceptable. Together with Serbs from Croatia and Bosnia, these Kosovo-Serbs are still living as virtually non-noticed and forgotten refugees in Serbia, there are about 500.000 of them.

Former Kosovo PM, Ramush Haradinaj - accused of serious war crimes - has been permitted by the Tribunal in the Hague to live in Kosovo. In contrast, Milosevic's request to be granted permission to go to Russia for urgent medical treatment in Russia has been turned down.

The West requires Serbia to deliver Karadzic and Mladic to the Hague. The problem is that both CIA and FBI have been granted access to Serbia long ago and they have not been able to locate them. What game do Western powers play when they pretend that they have not been able to arrest these two people in Bosnia or elsewhere since 1995?

Just a few days ago, the EU decided that Montenegro, the smaller partner in today's Serbia and Montenegro, may hold a referendum on independence. Remember, EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, was S-G of NATO at the time, the highest civilian person behind the destruction of Yugoslavia.

The International Herald Tribune writes that the EU suggests "that Montenegro be allowed to secede from the two-state federation if 50 percent of the electorate takes part in the vote and 55 percent of voters opt for independence." Amazing indeed; a new European state can be created with only 27.5% or less that 200.000 voters behind it. And, remember, there are more Montenegrins living in Serbia than in Montenegro. So, the EU here uses a recipe for a) deep divisions or civil war inside, and b) population exchanges - Montenegrins in Serbia to Montenegro, Serbs in Montenegro to Serbia.

Furthermore, an independent Montenegro and an independent Kosovo will make the Serbs in Bosnia ask why on earth they should keep on being loyal with the independent "Dayton" Bosnia that 99% of them never voted for and which they - like all other citizens in Bosnia - was never asked to accept in a referendum.


The international "community's" peace prevention continues

Today few remember or know what happened 15-25 years ago in the Balkans. Few if any bother to see patterns and underlying structures. Few dare be politically incorrect and challenge the basic interpretations and the conflict (mis)management by the "international community" or the Balkanization of the EU and the U.S. Peace-making has become interventionism and occupation in disguise. The free Western media feel free to turn the blind eye to the absurdities and lack of principle that has become the brand of Western politics. If they did, there would be some who could point out the complete moral bankruptcy on which the above-mentioned policy initiatives are based.

Imagine that Serbia - the predictable net loser par excellence in the Yugoslav dissolution process since the 1980s - reacts to all the above by stalling, dragging its feet as they say, seeming to be uncooperative and even embittered. Imagine that these developments will make life impossible for moderates and Western-oriented actors in Serbia and play into the hands of the nationalist hardliners such as the Radical Party and that, together with other Chetnik sentiments, it wins the next election. Imagine that Serbia and its citizens turn inward, feel humiliated and become nationalist again.

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Then all those who have understood absolutely nothing of Yugoslavia the last 15 years will ask oh-so-innocently: How come these Serbs are so stubborn? Why don't they modernize themselves and become good European like the rest? Why don't they see their own best interest which is what we offer them? How strange that they won't just give up everything they cherished - Yugoslavia, autonomy for Croatian Serbs, Republika Srpska, Kosovo, Montenegro and - who knows when in the future - Voivodina and Sandjak in exchange for - exactly, you're right - nothing!

After 15 years of conflict mismanagement the West still seems to understand none of the complexities, psychology or history here. So be sure of two things: the U.S. and various EU members have their interests and when the next Balkan crisis erupts, they will stand united with two arguments: 1) we did nothing wrong and 2) the Serbs remain the problem! Remember Ahtisaari - the UN and State Department in one - says it bluntly: it is in Serbia's best interest to play according to our rules and forget whatever interests it may have.

We have not seen the end of the suffering in former Yugoslavia. Whether sooner or in a few decades ahead, we are likely to see violence erupt again.

The Holbrookes, Ahtisaaris and Jessen-Petersens as well as those whose puppets they are will know to blame one or more local parties and never ask: did we, the international community, perpetuate the Balkan tragedy?

Perhaps with the exception of Slovenia, genuine peace is found nowhere in former Yugoslavia. If Western actors were able to learn any lessons, we would see some change in the conflict "management" policies in the region. But that won't happen, because that would amount to a recognition of the counterproductive policies pursued the last 15 years. Thus, predictably, Western peace prevention continues, and -how cruel! - innocent Balkan citizens, not the conflict mismanagers, will pay the prize.


* The PressInfo is purely critical. The constructive, principled alternatives concerning Kosovo have been presented earlier in the Kosovo Solution Series and in PressInfo 228.


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