Of The Empire: Decision in Kosovo
American empire may often be a one-eyed Cyclops,
with one focus and no depth perception. But its true nature
is more reminiscent of the hundred-handed Hecatoncheires.
the eye of the Empire is focused on the Middle East – where
bogus diplomacy and a keen sense of detachment from reality
greatly contributed to the current developing bloodbath –
its many hands are still at work, undeterred. In Colombia,
U.S.-backed government troops suffered a bloody setback
last weekend. In the Far East, the formerly "rogue" North
Korea now has thousands of its semi-starved citizens entertain
Madeleine Albright. And in the Balkans, agents of the empire
are busy destroying the last remains of Serb presence in Kosovo.
to the media’s habit to slavishly follow the Eye of the empire,
the Hands are often left to do their work in relative privacy.
So it is no wonder that an event of major importance for the
future of the Balkans is developing virtually unnoticed.
week before the United States votes for its next leader, Kosovo
Albanians will vote in municipal elections, designed by the
province’s UN governor Bernard Kouchner to legitimize the
Albanian control of the occupied Serbian territory. I say
Albanians, rather than people of Kosovo, since few non-Albanians
bothered to register to vote at the October 28 polls. They
have plenty of problems surviving the Albanian terror to leave
their homes and risk death in order to legitimize the rule
of their oppressors.
doubt in the mind of Kosovo Albanians about their ultimate
goal: independence. Their national consensus on the matter
is astonishing. An assortment of Albanian leaders, supposedly
from all ends of the political spectrum, speaks in unison
about the issue. The main difference between Albanian political
parties – whose names all include the words "democratic" and
"Kosova" (the bastardized Albanian name for the province)
– seems to be one of personal leadership, rather than policy.
But does it really matter who will lead the secession – Thaci,
Rugova, Hajredinaj or someone else – if there already is a
widespread consensus that there will be a secession?
this poll represents, then, is a primary between various factions
of a supra-political entity; let’s call it the "Albanian Separatist
Party," which is also the only Albanian party
in Kosovo. If there are Albanians who want to coexist with
Serbs and others inside Yugoslavia, they are either silent,
or the media is turning a deaf ear to their statements.
of Kosovo are so uncompromising about their goal that they
even coined a name for themselves that conveys the essence
of it: "Kosovars." Like Bosnians or Californians, it is at
best only a geographic designation. But through its persistent
use in the media and on part of Albanians’ foreign friends,
"Kosovar" has become a synonym for Albanian and also a synonym
for a "citizen" of Kosovo. Using the power of names, Albanians
have effectively claimed the province for themselves and avoided
any questions about the legitimacy of that claim – given that
Albanians already have a nation-state (Albania), and that
their "self-determination" has therefore been fulfilled, even
following the Wilsonian doctrine. But Kosovars don’t
have their own country…
A LITTLE HELP FROM THEIR FRIENDS
United States repeatedly stated it did not support independence
for Kosovo. On October 15, however, high-ranking "anonymous"
sources said the U.S. favored Kosovo as the third
republic in Yugoslavia, rather
than a province of Serbia. Interestingly enough, Albanian
separatists have demanded this status since 1968, as it would
give them legal grounds to secede. One need only think of
the criterion applied in 1991, when the EU ruled it would
recognize the right of Yugoslav republics, not peoples,
to self-determination. For the Albanians, the Kosovo-republic
idea is water under the bridge now; they already have virtual
independence. But for the US, declaring a republic would be
a perfect way to avoid responsibility for Kosovo’s inevitable
secession, and allow Foggy Bottom to recognize it much like
Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia eight years ago.
US policymakers actually favor Kosovo independence. The International
Crisis Group has been firm in its support for over two
years now. Run by influential people in US policy-making circles,
ICG has made numerous hawkish recommendations that have been
heeded several times in the past, notably in the Trepca
takeover affair. Finally,
the government-funded US Institute of Peace actually charted
a roadmap for Kosovo independence as early as September 1999,
when Albanian separatist leaders signed the Lansdowne
declaration under its auspices.
days before the poll, the self-styled "Independent International
Commission on Kosovo" recommended "conditional
independence" for this occupied Serbian province. It is
not the first time that a self-appointed commission sits in
judgment of Yugoslavia’s future. By ruling that communist
administrative borders would become internationally recognized
in case Yugoslav republics declare independence, the infamous
Commission contributed greatly to the bloodbath of the
early 1990s. But this commission is more than just self-appointed.
Though it labels itself as "independent of governments and
international organizations," the commission’s chairman is
no other than the first ICTY prosecutor, Richard Goldstone.
is a coincidence that the former prosecutor of the imperial
War Crimes Tribunal now heads an "independent" commission
that recommends Kosovo’s independence? The Tribunal – actually
under the UN charter has repeatedly demonstrated its
character as a pseudo-judicial arm of NATO, with indictments
of the Yugoslav government during the Kosovo war and against
Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik a week before Bosnian
municipal elections being just the most glaring examples.
stated in his commission’s report that it was not "realistic
or justifiable to expect Kosovo Albanians to accept rule from
Belgrade after the ethnic cleansing by Serb forces and terrible
human rights violations that took place." Given that the Tribunal
stated in August that less than 3000 people were killed in
Kosovo, that numerous reports clearly indicated many Albanians
left voluntarily to avoid being bombed, and that since NATO’s
occupation the non-Albanian population of Kosovo has been
treated worse than anything Albanians alleged they had been
subjected to, Goldstone’s argument holds water like a sieve.
But arguments are often insignificant in and of themselves.
When such a statement is made a week before the poll in which
the Albanians are expected to legitimize the hard-line separatists
in local positions of power, it represents a clear message
that they have the full support of the unofficial Western
foreign policy apparatus in doing so.
the beginning of KFOR occupation in June 1999, over 950 Serbs,
150 Roma and 400 "disloyal" Albanians were killed by Albanian
militias. Albanians torched and looted over 50,000 Serbian
and Roma houses, then pleaded for donations in construction
materials to repair "their homes." Eighty-seven Serbian churches
were destroyed. On Tuesday, the Pristina ghetto – where a
handful of remaining Serbs lives surrounded by British soldiers
and barbed wire – was attacked with an antitank
Ivanovic, chairman of the Mitrovica Serb National Council
who is loathed by the US, did not even mention the elections
in his recent interview
in Belgrade papers. Momcilo Trajkovic, leader of a Serb party
allied with the current ruling coalition in Belgrade, rejected
Serb participation in the poll "under
any circumstances." Trajkovic, formerly a close associate
of the third Serb faction in Kosovo, led by Bishop Artemije,
warned the Bishop that his efforts to help Kouchner mean "giving
legitimacy to Albanian extremists."
assailing those among his endangered community who see salvation
in collaborating with the UN and their Albanian wards, Trajkovic
speaks of "many lies of Kouchner." Given that the entire NATO
campaign in Kosovo, from the bombing to the occupation, was
based on transparent lies about thousands of dead Albanians
and a "genocide" perpetrated by the Serbs – while in reality
the death toll was less than 3,000, and it was the Albanian
crimes against Serbs that were open and documented – Kouchner’s
deceptions about the upcoming poll sound rather tame. However,
that is only because they rest on the shoulders of the Big
Lie itself – the notion that Kosovo independence was somehow
deserved by the Albanian suffering.
course, Kosovo Albanian politicians all speak the language
of "democracy." Their statements abound with mellifluous words
promising tolerance, justice, peace, coexistence and democratic
prosperity. If the continuing attacks on Serbs and non-Albanians
in general are not enough to unmask the fallacy of such sentiments,
perhaps something else would.
just awarded Jamie Shea its highest medal for "protecting
the values of humanity, democracy, freedom and human rights."
Shea, let us recall, was the NATO spokesman responsible for
inventing and placing the propaganda now being substituted
for reality. He justified massive bombings of civilians, infrastructure
and refugee columns, brazenly denied NATO’s culpability for
these acts of terror, and repeated ad nauseam the stories
about "genocide" that later turned to be as ephemeral as his
integrity. This, in the mind of Albania’s president Meidani
constitutes "humanity, democracy, freedom and human rights."
BOXES AND WINDOW DRESSING
the first elections in Communist Yugoslavia, voting consisted
of dropping a ball into a box. There were only two boxes –
one marked The People’s Front and the other without a label.
If someone dared drop a ball into this "blind box," they would
be seen by the new regime’s armed election monitors, and their
fate would be sealed – not to mention that their vote would
be effectively thrown away, since the "blind box" only served
to identify those against the new government, without
giving them an alternative to vote for.
non-Albanian population can, of course, democratically toss
their votes into the metaphorical "blind box," lacking
the basic conditions that would enable them to vote. Even
if they all abstain, the Airlie
Declaration that one Serb group signed with the Albanians,
under US government auspices, authorized the UNMIK governor
to appoint Serbs and other non-Albanians to the Albanian-dominated
municipal councils, there to serve as window-dressing for
Kosovo’s Potemkin democracy.
after all this someone believes that the Empire is serious
about honoring its legal obligations regarding Kosovo, no
amount of arguments can convince them otherwise. NATO did
not seek legal justification for its savage attack on Yugoslavia
in March 1999, and it only honored those parts of UNSCR 1244
that enabled it to occupy Kosovo and turn it over to the KLA.
Empires, after all, see law as something to be used as a weapon,
not respected. Though from a moral perspective it might make
sense for Kostunica’s government to claim Kosovo on legal
grounds, law by itself will certainly not suffice to counter
the twin effect of imperial might and Albanian physical presence.
even the imperial military and Albanian separatist physical
control of Kosovo is not by itself enough to secure the province’s
independence. The battle over Kosovo is far from over, and
though its first two rounds are finished, the third one is
about to begin.
contribution of $50 or more will get you a copy of Ronald
Radosh's out-of-print classic study of the Old Right conservatives,
Prophets on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics
of American Globalism. Send contributions to
520 S. Murphy Avenue, #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Contribute Via our Secure Server
Credit Card Donation Form
Have an e-gold account?
Contribute to Antiwar.com via e-gold.
Our account number is 130325
Contributions are now Tax-Deductible