September 27, 2001

War Without End

Far from the eyes of the American public, still intently focused on a scorched patch of mountains in central Asia, the first battle of "Operation Enduring Freedom" ("Supreme Irony" having been too obvious) has already been fought. No shots were fired. No lives were lost, not yet. But the battle – and with it, perhaps the entire war – was lost.

Throughout the Balkans, the first test of the Empire’s asserted readiness to combat "terrorism" crumpled as Washington chose to continue supporting local terrorists by fortifying their conquest of the peninsula.


In Bosnia, where foreign mujahideen made their first appearance in the Balkans, things seemed to go well. Afraid it would be called to account over alleged links of its wartime Muslim regime with militant Islamic movements, including al-Qaeda, Bosnia’s government hurried to deny any knowledge of bin Laden’s operations on its soil. It is, however, reviewing the citizenship status awarded during the 1992-95 war to some eleven thousand people. Haris Silajdzic, wartime Foreign Minister of the Sarajevo regime and a major player in the current ruling coalition, abruptly and without explanation retired from political life last week.

Just this Monday, all of Bosnia’s rulers (three governments, five Presidents and three Parliaments, by the last count) agreed to join America’s war on terrorism. It was a truly magnificent sight: a U.S./NATO protectorate, strapped for funds and stripped of meaning, making terrorists tremble at the news that "The Bosnians are coming!" If only Bosnia’s governments could agree what "Bosnian" means…


In the immediate aftermath of Black Tuesday, media in the Balkans were buzzing with stories of bin Laden’s connections in the region, and of massive infiltration of Iranian and Saudi Wahhabi influence in Albania and Kosovo. These facts have been well-known but largely ignored over the past five years.

Reports from the Interpol, as well as German, British and even American media have claimed that militant Islamic groups have operated in and out of Albania at least since that country’s descent into anarchy in 1997. The Interpol even said that bin Laden himself passed through Albania in 1999, amidst the US war on behalf of the KLA. Albania, of course, flatly denies this. So does the KLA leadership, while pledging undying loyalty to the US.

Given that Albania has been a major base for US troops in the past decade, and that the Empire’s Balkans policy rests on support for Albanian causes, it is not surprising that Albanian denials are echoed by the US government. Those very same FBI and CIA that claim to have known nothing about Black Tuesday until it happened, now state with certainty that bin Laden never had anything to do with the Albanians. And the KLA was a peaceful, democratic caucus of freedom-loving patriots, fighting for American values.



Earlier this year, the US-supported Albanian militants sought to eviscerate the Macedonian nation through acts of terror – bombing, ethnic cleansing and murder. First pledging "total support" while "urging restraint," US and EU envoys eventually embargoed weapons shipments to Macedonia and forced its government to give in to Albanian demands by signing the Treaty of Ohrid. In exchange for special privileges and virtual apartheid, disguised as "greater civil rights," Albanian terrorists were supposed to turn some 3000 of their weapons over to NATO troops and thus officially "disarm." That they did so enthusiastically, while treating NATO troops as allies and "liberators," ought to have testified about the impartiality of this alliance – the same one that brought the terrorist KLA to power after occupying Serbia’s Kosovo province over two years ago.

Having experienced the horrors of terrorism and American death from above, Serbs and Macedonians dared to hope that America’s post-September 11 proclamation to fight terrorism would be honest and consistent. Imperial Legate James Pardew, one of the authors of the Ohrid Treaty, immediately dispelled that illusion. In no way are terrorists who attack America and terrorists who attack Macedonia comparable, Pardew said. The former attacked Americans

Adding insult to injury was NATO’s GenSec George Robertson, who cheerfully announced a continued military presence in Macedonia and brought a "message of hope and reassurance that NATO will not leave this country alone."

Of course not. Leaving countries alone is absolutely beyond the pale in this brave new world, where the definition of terrorism depends on people who waffle on the meaning of "is," and the fate of nations is decided by "democratic" imposition of apartheid from abroad. Blow up Macedonians and occupy their country, and you’re a paragon of human rights. Blow up Americans, and you are the vilest threat to civilization that has walked the face of the Earth, meriting nuclear holocaust. Is Richard Nixon’s "Madman Theory" alive and well, acting as the Empire’s guiding light in these times of descending darkness?


Of course, when one represents civilization itself and has absolute power to wage war throughout the world, nothing so pesky as facts can be allowed to stand in the way. That which does not suit the official position is either denied or ignored. This deranged behavior goes as far as to impart selective credibility to sources, based entirely on the acceptability of what they say.

One obvious example is Serbia’s Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic. Earlier this year he claimed to have discovered bodies of hundreds of allegedly massacred Kosovo Albanians, thus "proving" NATO’s allegations of president Milosevic’s crimes in Kosovo. Shortly thereafter, Serbia’s servile government delivered Milosevic to the Hague Inquisition, in exchange for empty promises of foreign money. Washington watched from the sidelines and applauded, while British and American papers took Mihajlovic’s words – and those of his mouthpiece, Dragan Karleusa – as holy writ. Now, however, when Mihajlovic claims he has evidence of Albanian connections with bin Laden, such claims are ignored, denied or even ridiculed by those very same reporters. All of a sudden, Mihajlovic is no longer a reliable source.


One cannot fight terrorism "everywhere" and then look the other way – or even support it – in the Balkans, or anywhere else in the world. With that in mind, His Determined Majesty’s crusade seems to be less of an honest commitment to fight terrorism and more of an open-ended excuse to attack anyone opposed to unfettered exercise of America’s absolute power, especially since Black Tuesday so tragically showed that America's power is nowhere near as absolute as it was widely believed.

Bush has called for countries around the world to stand "with" or "against" America. Apparently, in the world of freedom and democracy, minding one’s own business is punishable by US invasion. In that light, proclamations of absolute loyalty and never-ending friendship from US vassals and colonies are not a testimony to the righteousness of America’s cause – whatever that may be – but merely proof of some people’s endless capacity for sycophancy, motivated by survival instinct. Fail to grovel, and risk becoming a "terrorist." How convenient.

The cold-blooded murder of over 7,000 people in New York and Washington sixteen days ago should have awoken America to the perils of playing with terrorism as a means of creating and securing an Empire few of its citizens wanted anyway. This week’s events in the Balkans clearly show that the war on terrorism is anything but, and that the only benefactor of Black Tuesday will be the apocalyptic vision of American Empire, now finally able to assert itself in a war without end.

Text-only printable version of this article

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo, and contributed to the Independent. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia and Serbian politics, many of which have been published by the Serbian Unity Congress. His exclusive column for appears every Thursday.


Past Articles

War Without End

Battle in the Balkans

Intersections of Fate

Macedonia's Tragedy Masquerading as Farce

A Day to Remember

The Serbian Standoff

Macedonia's Futile Surrender

Murdering Macedonia

Rambouillet Repeated?

Empire's Willing Servants

Kostunica's Choice

Betrayal in Belgrade

The Empire Shows Its Hand

The Return of Kings

Meditations On The Edge Of The Abyss


Terms of Betrayal

Presevo – A False Victory

The Balkans: Land of Delusions

Enemies at the Gates

ICG's Blueprint for Destruction

Kosovo: Between Death and Taxes

Madness in the Mountains: Montenegro's Looming Secession

A House Divided


Empire at the Gates

Macedonian Maelstrom

Pax Americana

The Fourth Balkan War

Mayhem in Macedonia

Surreal Realm

Santayana's Curse

The Croatian Conundrum

March of the Black Eagle

Showdown in Belgrade

Out of the Shadows

With a Grain of Salt

Crusade's End

The Worst of Times

Moments of Transition

Déja Vu

The Crucible

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