December 14th 2007 12:03:19 PM
As usual, we must rely on the letters sections of our newspapers if we want to glimpse any truth in print about Kosovo or the rest of the Balkans — since the papers themselves will print only the propaganda that the letters object to. Yesterday’s Financial Times carried an exceptional letter that spelled out Kosovo’s non-case for independence. From Oskar Lindström, of Sweden:
Sir, In your editorial “Decision time looms in Kosovo” (December 10) you write that “as many EU states as possible must publicly back the conditional independence plan”. However, you fail to mention that it is precisely this type of public support for independence by the US and its European Nato allies that has meant the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina have been dead in the water.
By backing the Kosovar Albanians’ demands for full independence, the Nato countries have effectively undercut the negotiations between the Kosovar Albanians and Belgrade – knowing that their maximum demands have full support from the US means the Kosovar Albanians have had no incentive to ask for anything but full independence.
No one, including Serbia, is advocating this. Serbia is clear that it is offering Kosovo complete autonomy only stopping short of formal independence. Serbia recognises that the Kosovar Albanians will not accept rule by Belgrade but at the same time demands that Serbia’s international borders be respected. Continued respect for Serbia’s international borders was also clearly a part of the ceasefire agreement ending the 1999 Nato bombing campaign. In it, Nato agreed to “preserving” Serbia’s “territorial integrity” in return for the withdrawal of Serbian troops from the province. For example, Serbia was to be allowed to continue to patrol the international border of Kosovo to Albania, Macedonia and, now, Montenegro. By advocating that Kosovo become a separate country, the US and its European Nato allies are reneging on this agreement.
Serbia has offered Kosovo full autonomy more far-reaching than that offered to the Serbs in Bosnia, the Albanians in Macedonia or, indeed, the Catalans, Basques, Scottish, Northern Irish, Hong Kong, Northern Cyprus or any other region or people in the world. Given that Serbia is today a democratic state negotiating for entry into the European Union, the Kosovar Albanians’ claim that only full independence can guarantee their safety is unreasonable. Indeed, Slobodan Milosevic, the west’s favourite Yugoslav bogeyman, was toppled by the Serbs themselves, a feat none of the other former Yugoslav republics has managed to achieve with their respective nationalist wartime leaders (including the Kosovar Albanians). Instead the Kosovar Albanians are using implicit threats of violence against international peacekeepers and the province’s remaining Serbs as an argument for why they must be granted independence.
By insisting on independence for Kosovo it is the US and its European Nato allies that are tearing open old wounds in the Balkans, not Russia and certainly not Serbia.
Indeed, please remember that the plan from the beginning was that if things fell apart because of the nasty, unprecedented, illegal and self-destructive nature of snatching Kosovo from Serbia and giving it to Muslims, the U.S. would point the finger of blame on Russian and Serbian “obstructionism” as Hillary Clinton recently parroted. But do not forget that this is a Made-in-America problem, as Jim Jatras calls it.
More importantly, let’s not forget the real reason that Albanians insist on independence. It has nothing to do with past, self-induced oppression or with a quick fix for the economy, electricity cutoffs or organized crime. Instead, anything short of independence is “unacceptable” because it’s all about creating more of what Chris Deliso describes in his book:
The danger of Kosovo becoming a terrorist transfer zone has been increased since the internationals handed over border control duties to the local Albanian authorities. What this means, in essence, is that there is no longer a border with Albania itself. While border policing was hardly stellar during the period of UNMIK’s direct control, it has now effectively vanished. For the United Nations, relinquishing control of Kosovo’s borders is just another of the scheduled “transfer of competencies” from international to local rule. In Macedonia, too, where an experiment in ethnic coexistence has left the western third of the country largely in the hands of former NLA [National Liberation Army, Macedonia] leader Ali Ahmeti’s men, there is no appreciable border with Albania either. According to one Macedonian military intelligence officer, even though small militant groups are “smuggling heavy weapons in every day from Albania,” there is no will to stop the trade, “because all the local police are Albanian, they are in it together, and they don’t talk [to outsiders].” The officer feared that the well armed groups could act to destabilize the country in the case of any failure to make Kosovo independent — indicating the complex trap the West has made of the region through its interventions.
It certainly makes the following all the more farcical:
Ceku said an independent Kosovo was keen to cooperate with Serbia on a range of issues, from cross-border freedom of movement [INDEED!] to the fight against organized crime. But he also warned that any “aggressive” response by Serbia — such as closing the border or imposing sanctions — “will be damaging not just for Kosovo but also for Serbia and the region.”
Translation of “the fight against organized crime”: the fight against crime syndicates that compete with the Kosovo government’s crime syndicate.
The reason the U.S. government is sponsoring this mess? We have it from U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Cameron Munter at a Ramadan dinner he hosted recently in Novi Pazar:
Munter read out a message from U.S. President George Bush, who said that the U.S. wanted to build stronger bridges with the Muslim community and hoped it would achieve unity.
Munter noted that Serbia would face many challenges in the coming period and promised that the U.S., as its friend, would do everything to help. [Translation: We’re going to continue feeding your people to the Muslims, but we’ll be there for you to help track down individual bad guys as they kill your people.]
As Stella Jatras wrote:
At the beginning of the Balkan conflict, Acting Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger made it clear that a US goal in Bosnia was to mollify the Muslim world. In a MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour interview on 6 October 1992, Eagleburger characterized the US government’s pro-Muslim position in Bosnia as a counter to the Muslim World’s perception of an anti-Muslim position regarding Iraq.
Dr. Ron Hatchett…commented [in] the essay “The Third American Empire,” in The New York Times, 2 Jan 96:
“In a recent opinion piece in The New York Times, Jacob Heilbrunn and Michael Lind of the New Republic editorial staff argue that the American commitment to the Islamic connection is so strong that the US design is to make the Islamic world part of a new American empire and that American support of the Bosnian Muslims is part of the implementation of this plan.”
We have just witnessed one of the biggest con games in recent history and as a result, the deliberate destruction of a sovereign nation and the needless deaths of thousands of innocent people, on all sides, although to read our media, we are led to believe that only the Croats and Muslims have suffered. Because of the lies that have been fed to the American people, we have a President, drunk with power, that was able to send our troops, with incredibly little resistance from our politicians and the American people, to a place where he wouldn’t have gone himself as a young man. Our venture into Bosnia also advances a One-World Concept, a concept that is, unfortunately, the agenda of both parties.
My fellow Americans, you should know that combatting Islamic terrorism and the caliphate it seeks to create is not a priority to our government and its clandestine operatives. Defeating the Islamists is not the end game; instead, the Islamists are a partner to be won over by the competing “great powers” as each tries to build its sphere of influence and interests. Though the government in this way endangers its citizens, you and your loved ones are merely the acceptable potential casualty of this adventurism and international power play; your life is just the cost of doing business.
Deliso summarized it thus: The U.S. and UN have “allowed former KLA leaders and the mafia to control society…Today, this chaotic situation has moved from the unfortunate to the scandalous, with the CIA, MI6, BND [German intelligence], and others eager to build ’special relationships’ with Islamic extremists bent on killing Christians, attacking Western targets, and creating a fundamentalist caliphate.”