Day to Remember
continuing vivisection of Macedonia, terror in Kosovo and
political struggles in Yugoslavia, it was hard this week to
remember an important anniversary. Yet it was exactly six
years ago, on August 30, 1995, that NATO first entered the
Balkans' wars as a combatant, opening the path to all subsequent
interventions, occupations and "disarmament" missions in the
an explosion at the Sarajevo marketplace on August 28, blamed
immediately on Bosnian Serb artillery, NATO unleashed Operation
Deliberate Force a coordinated attack on Bosnian Serbs
by US aircraft and Anglo-French ground troops stationed near
Sarajevo. The bombing lasted three weeks, and was accompanied
by a massive offensive of Bosnian Muslim and Croatian armies,
driving hundreds of thousands of Serbs from their homes in
Western Bosnia. Richard Holbrooke, head US envoy in the Balkans,
described it as "bombs
for peace." One look at today's
Bosnia ought to be enough to see that what Holbrooke called
peace others rightfully call Hell.
Force ended the UN role of impartial peacekeepers, however
flawed it may have been. Blue Helmets were replaced by NATO
and other "regional organizations," responsible only to the
self-appointed rulers of the world. The road went on to Kosovo
Allied Force not "Merciful Angel," as some mistakenly
believe) and Macedonia 2001 (Operation Essential Harvest),
each cementing the position of NATO and the US as the masters
of the Balkans, always at the expense of people who actually
A SHOW OF FARCE
is this more evident than in today's Macedonia. Barely two weeks ago,
Imperial legates forced the Macedonian government to agree
to rewrite their Constitution, and institute a second official
language and ethnic quotas, submitting thus to the worst kind
of identity politics so beloved in the Empire itself. This
past week, the expeditionary force of 4,500 Imperial auxiliaries
(since the Legions were too busy elsewhere) arrived
in Macedonia, tasked with collecting a "credible" number
of weapons from the separatist UCK.
is to be but a glorified chambermaid, picking
up weapons voluntarily surrendered by the UCK (which
has no obligation under the Treaty of Ohrid to do so), it
would look extremely stupid if Operation Essential Harvest
produced a paltry yield. So its commanders negotiated
with the UCK a credible number of weapons to be
turned in, somewhere around 4,000. Macedonian government protestations
that the figure is absurdly low were met with scorn
and ridicule by NATO commanders and Western press alike.
strives to preserve its own credibility at the expense of
reality, UCK leader Ali Ahmeti gains stature by the day. Yesterday's
terrorist, Ahmeti is today's peacemaker. Already the media
point out that his credibility
is crucial to NATO's success as if the endless repetition
of the world "credibility" is calculated to create a credible
illusion of trust in both NATO and Ahmeti's (newfound) good
will. But it is just that an illusion.
It is a
testament to the twisted character of Imperial intervention
in Macedonia that the truth, usually the first casualty of
war, has now become the first casualty of peace.
Macedonian pilgrims and refugees streamed back into the torched,
looted and ethnically cleansed village of Leshok, to celebrate
a major Orthodox Christian holiday. This is the same village
rampaging UCK demolished a 13th Century Orthodox monastery
just ten days ago. Yet NATO was displeased
by the visit of ethnically cleansed Macedonians, fearing a
"confrontation" with Albanians and wary of a "nationalist"
presence among the pilgrims.
eve of NATO deployment, the UCK blew
up a motel near Tetovo. They tied two security guards
to the explosives, causing the blast to scatter
their body parts among the ruins. This gruesome act of
terror made no sense, until it emerged that the motel was
located in the hometown of Macedonia's patriotic Interior
Minister, Ljuben Boskovski, who has strongly opposed any concessions
to the UCK. Having failed to kill Boskovski once, the UCK
felt a need to send him another message. Not surprisingly,
the Western press brushed everything off as irrelevant to
the greater mission NATO's exercise in credibility....
NATO's cordial acceptance of terrorists, it is no wonder that
betrayed. Yet Reuters, for example, feigns ignorance.
It claims the Macedonians see NATO as
having sided with the UCK in Kosovo, and believe
it failed to stop the influx of weapons from that
occupied province, as if neither were factual truth. Who exactly
is living under delusions here?
there were any truth to claims
of one British paper of a "relentless government and media
campaign" against NATO, Macedonians did not need any more
reasons to stone a British jeep and kill sapper Ian Collins
in the process. He and the other 4,499 Imperial troops camping
with the UCK represent the Empire's rape of Macedonia
brought to its most ironic extreme even more ironic than
the media using
the young soldier's death for an anti-Macedonian campaign.
adventure in Macedonia predictably drew back to the surface
a refrain of numerous warmongering pundits that peace in Macedonia
would be accomplished through the independence of Kosovo.
Following no discernible logic, proponents this argument
among them, recently, Albanian
president Rexhep Meidani and a Blairite
pundit in Britain claim that an independent, Albanian
Kosovo would discourage Albanian separatism in Macedonia,
Serbia's Presevo valley and Montenegro. And since water boils
at 100 Celsius, at 200 it will surely freeze, right?
NATO-occupied Kosovo is indeed a paragon of virtue in
the Balkans. Ten days ago, an Albanian family was machine-gunned
to death as it drove through the UCK heartland. Kosovo's
occupation authorities, military and civilian, immediately
condemned "acts of violence [that] threaten the progress toward
self-government and a democratic future," while the Reuters
report tried to fit the attack in the context of Albanian
"revenge attacks" against Serbs for "repression" under Milosevic.
few days later, it turned out that the father of the massacred
family was a police
officer in pre-1999 Kosovo, loyal to his country and not
the UCK. Immediately, it was the victim's own fault that his
family was massacred; it was due to his involvement in allegedly
"terrible crimes" supposedly committed by Serbs, local Albanians
told the London Sunday Times. Thousands routinely showed
up to funerals of UCK members killed in battles with Serbian
police and the Yugoslav Army. Few came to the funeral of the
50-year old Hamza Hajra and his family, who, in the words
of a local Albanian, "deserved to die."
IN THE BEGINNING…
almost surreal, but what has happened both in Kosovo and Macedonia
can be directly traced to August 30, six years ago. Though
there is ample evidence
of covert US operations in Bosnia and Croatia as early as
1992, it was on this very day in 1995 when the line was clearly
crossed and NATO entered the Bosnian War.
of long-term consequences and numerous voices of dissent,
the Empire decided to set its boot on the Balkans and enter
the same morass that has ruined the Romans, the Ottomans,
the Austrians, the Germans, and perhaps even the Soviets to
some extent. The die was cast. With every new intervention,
every new "humanitarian" war or "peace," the clearer
it becomes that Empire has become a reality. Garet Garrett's
description seems eerily fitting.
in their own inexhaustible
righteousness, the Empire is slowly crushing the Balkans
under the boots of its troops, which now count on memories
of their Nazi predecessors to maintain morale.
tempting, it would also be disingenuous to pin the blame for
the bloodshed in former Yugoslavia on the Empire alone. The
existing ethnic politics, religious fanaticism, old-fashioned
greed and power-lust were more than enough to ignite conflicts.
But without Imperial intervention, these conflicts would not
have taken such a high toll in lives and property.
Imperial intervention that tied a complex, post-Communist
region into a Gordian knot. The road from EEC (today's EU)
interference in the secession of Slovenia and Croatia to US
meddling in Bosnia, Kosovo and now Macedonia was long and
curvy. But, predictably, as local leaders scrambled to enlist
diplomatic and military support from outside powers, diplomatic
interference quickly grew into military involvement, then
the Imperial intervention, formalized six years ago, liberty,
progress and peace in the Balkans were already hard to attain.
Until the Empire leaves one way or another they will