than two years since the savage NATO attack on Yugoslavia,
and a little more than five years since a similar attack in
Bosnia-Herzegovina, the "American peace" imposed
on the Balkans is beginning to unravel.
Bosnia, American troops have been "keeping the peace"
for over five years, though President Clinton promised to
have them back in one. Over those five years, the UN administration
and the occupying NATO troops have pushed the local authorities
to build a stronger central government, deliberately ignoring
the fact that centralization had been one of the underlying
causes of the war. A major Bosnian Croat party, marginalized
by a coalition backed by NATO and the UN governor, declared
the Muslim-Croat federation dead earlier this month, and vowed
to organize their own entity within the Bosnian protectorate.
A linchpin in making the Dayton Agreement possible, they believe
they’d been shut out of power and marginalized by the centralist
UN governor. If they have their way, the Dayton Bosnia would
unravel like a ball of yarn.
the south, Albanians in Kosovo have been pushing hard for
independence, while their kin in the rest of southern Serbia
and Macedonia escalated their attacks on local authorities
and demanded NATO intervention. Most militant activity occurs
on the borders of the US occupation zone, a fact that has
not escaped the increasingly angry Europeans, Macedonians
in the Balkans are definitely challenging
imperial assumptions about the region. It is far more
likely that the Empire would rather go to another war against
Belgrade, than admit any wrongdoing, ever.
American assumptions were simple:
is not required, only obedience; and
is no problem that a large amount of money can’t solve.
well-being – or lack thereof – may have played some part in
the inception of the Yugoslav crisis in 1990, but was soon
eclipsed by ethnic concerns. In some places, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina
and Kosovo, wars were fought over power and territory, not
money. Throwing money at them could only further disrupt the
situation and encourage corruption and crime, which is exactly
political forces in the Balkans itself continue to believe
in the economic approach – mostly because they desire money
now that they’ve won power. They also exhibit the least amount
of understanding and the most obedience. It is the allies
and vassals of the US who are currently showing a complete
lack of either.
for the London Observer confirmed last week what Slobodan
Milosevic had been saying all along – that the CIA
trained and equipped the KLA, and used it as a weapon
against Serbia. Now this "bastard army" is "rampaging"
across the Balkans, and the US has no idea how to stop it.
several days of shuttling between the Serbian government outpost
in Bujanovac and the Albanian militants in Dobrosin, NATO
political officers did manage to have them both sign a document.
Albanians flat-out refused at first, but abruptly changed
their mind when a clause
was added to their version of the document, allowing them
to shoot at Serbs freely.
troops deployed into the zone Wednesday, under the watchful
eye of NATO helicopters. As the London Times noted
earlier, NATO would be monitoring Yugoslav forces, while observing
the militants’ compliance would be entrusted to an unarmed
handful of EU monitors.
far, the "ceasefire" appears to be holding, but
with the Albanians determined to achieve their objectives,
which are completely incompatible with Serbian and Yugoslav
interests, it is hard to say if the ceasefire would be of
any use, or if it would just precipitate another bloodbath.
OF THE BORDER
the murkiness of American involvement in resolving the problem
of Albanian separatism is the fact that KLA’s other branch,
operating in the hills of northern Macedonia, seems unperturbed
by the "truce" in Serbia.
week, the militants evacuated their positions on the Macedonian
border and moved deeper
into the country, in full sight of the peacekeepers who
nothing to stop them. The following morning, US paratroopers
triumphantly entered the abandoned village and declared victory.
That same day, the militants ambushed Macedonia’s top security
official and his entourage, and held them surrounded for hours.
for their cause came from seemingly unexpected quarters. Arben
Xaferi, most powerful Albanian politician in Macedonia, claimed
this past week that he fought
for the same goals the militants professed – more rights
for Albanians inside Macedonia, but in a different, peaceful
way. He also rejected the official government position that
the insurgency was imported from Kosovo, giving the "UCK"
legitimacy by claiming it was an indigenous force.
booster for Albanian militants came from Kosovo itself, where
the UN occupation authorities unveiled a plan to turn
over daily administration of the province to the Albanians,
nudging the occupied territory a step closer to independence
despite all the statements indicating otherwise.
former top cop, Pavle Trajanov, accused the current government
the Albanian militants, ignoring their criminal activities
as long as they got their share of the drug-and-guns racket.
Trajanov also glumly noted that NATO would never turn on its
former allies, as that would mean having its troops held hostage
words sound almost prophetic, but also very rational. The
only way NATO – and the US, the real power behind the Alliance
– could deal with Croat and Albanian actions would involve
repudiating some of the basic principles that justified the
occupation of the peninsula. Acknowledging that the Bosnian
war was a civil war over ethnic rights and land ownership,
or admitting that the real cause of the Kosovo conflict was
Albanian separatism, would be career-ending heresy in the
State Department, the White House and the HQ in Mons.
with this impossible choice, the US chose to assail – Belgrade!
called the "Centre for European Policy Studies"
in Brussels, blamed Milosevic for the actions of Albanians,
Croats and even the separatist regime of Milo Djukanovic in
was able to keep together an artificial state through terrorism,
but now that he’s gone we’re seeing old fault lines re-emerging,"
said analyst Nicholas Whyte. (AFP,
from the fact that it directly flies into the face of all
public announcements supporting the integrity of Yugoslavia
("artificial state," held together by "terrorism")
in the face of separatist attacks ("old fault lines"),
this argument also implies that Milosevic was the key to Serbia’s
strength and that the US pushed for his removal for that very