>Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 4:59 PM
>Subject: Re: Fwd: Edward Herman on "Atrocities Management"
>I am curious and ignorant. What has NATO done to help cause the >violence in Kosovo? Iris Young
The Western Powers wear many hats. Their disastrous, self-interested and short-sighted interventions in the Balkans over the past several years has been under the auspices of the United Nations, the EU and individual governments, as well as NATO. A few points:
(1) When first faced with the break up of Yugoslavia, Western leaders first supported holding the country together (all five permanent member of the Security Council, including the US, Britain and France, agreed), and gave enthusiastic support to Milosevic, even while full-scale repression was taking place in Kosovo following the revocation of its autonomous status in 1989.
(2) Policy changed when it became clear that Milosevic could not hold the country together with military force and repression. Now Western leaders (led by the German government) allied themselves with the equally nasty Tudjman regime. In late 1991, Germany (soon followed by the rest of the EU) backed Croatian independence without calling for any recognition of the rights of the substantial Serbian minority in Croatia, fuelling the war between Croatia and Serbia. (Recognition came despite warnings from the UN Secretary General that it was reckless and premature. But Germany refused to recognize Macedonian independence because Greece--an EU ally--objected.)
(3) At the same time, Western leaders gave tacit support to Tudjman and Milosevic's secret deal to carve up Bosnia between themselves, thus fuelling the war in Bosnia. This was followed by the disastrous recognition of Bosnian independence. In the context of supporting Serbia's and Croatia's "right" to grab various parts of the republic, this laid the basis for a brutal war along ethnic lines.
(4) In 1995, NATO's bombing of Bosnian Serbs at the end of the war in Bosnia was timed to coincide with a Bosnian and Croat offensive which drove tens of thousands of Serbs (referred to by Peter Galbraith, the US ambassador to Croatia, as "so called local Serbs") from their homes in the Krajina--the biggest act of ethnic cleansing that has taken place in the Balkans. Because by this time the US and the West were backing Croatian expansionism, reports of Croatian atrocities were played down. According to one diplomatic source, "Croatia is far too important geopolitically at the moment for the UN to make a fuss."
(5) In Kosovo, the Western powers completely ignored the campaign of non-violent resistance organized by the Kosovar Alabanians, which went on for several years. George Bush refused to even meet the Kosovan leaders. They were also ignored in the US brokered Dayton agreement which was shored up Tudjman, Milosevic and the other nationalist leaders. Only then did the Kosovo Liberation Army emerge. Last year, the West denounced the KLA as "terrorists", giving Milosevic a green light to step up his campaign against them.
(6) Two years ago, when the Milosevic regime was rocked by massive daily demonstrations, some sections of the opposition began to discuss freedom for Kosovo as one of their demands. That movement was defeated, partly because the Western-backed leaders of the opposition remained wedded to nationalist politics. The movement showed that Milosevic could be removed by his own people. Now NATO is making that process more difficult.
(7) Western intervention over several years has been based on the principle that Yugoslavia should be carved up on ethnic grounds, at each stage preparing the way for further bloodshed, and at each stage making it more difficult to achieve a multi-ethnic solution. Whatever emerges from the current catastrophe, it is already clear that it will not be good.
From: Phil Gasper
Date: Thursday, April 01, 1999 4:54 PM
Subject: Fwd: Report from 2 Belgrade Socialists