The Balkans' Lesson for Afghanistan
has been four weeks since the war against Afghanistan began,
and already the B-52s are carpeting Taliban frontlines with
an assortment of weapons, including the largest
conventional bombs in the world. Despite the Taliban's
failure to surrender as expected, the US and UK are already
speculating about making Afghanistan a UN protectorate, probably
under US military occupation, upon their assumed eventual
the New War is nothing new, after all. Afghanistan is being
bombed the same way Serbia was in 1999, only then it had lasted
for 78 days, the B-52s were deployed much later (without effect),
and there was a different official explanation
for a mass exodus of refugees. Furthermore, the original goals
of both campaigns (forcing Milosevic to sign the Rambouillet
ultimatum/forcing the Taliban to extradite Osama Bin Laden)
were quickly abandoned after the enemy failed to cave in after
plan to occupy Afghanistan, and "protect" what is left of
its people through a Bosnia/Kosovo-style colonial regime,
is entirely consistent with this re-fighting of the last war.
Having suffered through two decades of warfare and repression,
the Afghans can now look forward to these two most shining
examples of benevolent imperialism. If they could read and
watch the news this week, this is what they would see.
a Kosovo Serb these past three years has been no easy task.
Those who endured almost fifty years of Albanian violence,
and survived the NATO bombing and the subsequent KLA terror,
found themselves living in ghettos, surrounded by barbed wire
and guarded from the KLA by those very same NATO troops that
had brought the KLA to power. Killed on their farms, on the
streets for speaking Serbian, blown to bits by bombs detonated
under refugee buses often in plain sight of NATO's guards,
who never bothered to find the perpetrators Serbs nonetheless
refused to leave their homes in Kosovo and surrender the occupied
province to the Albanians.
year, the UN occupation authorities (UNMIK) organized elections
for local authorities. Serbs boycotted the vote, contending
that voting while being subjected to pogroms and held in concentration
camps was pointless and offensive. Albanians cheerfully participated,
campaigning for independence and spending millions of foreign
taxpayers' dollars which funded the futile exercise. Futile,
because one year later nothing in Kosovo has changed whatsoever.
Serbs are still indiscriminately killed, they still live in
ghettos and ruins surrounded by barbed wire, while even ordinary
Albanians are being terrorized by "former" KLA turned "respectable"
citizens some of whom ended up on a US terrorist list just
before Black Tuesday. It
has been mentioned previously that
UNMIK seems to consider arson and terrorism as legitimate
means of political expression. Since drug, weapons and slave
trade continue undeterred, one could also assume that UNMIK
considers them legitimate economic activities though, since
the UN charges import tariffs on goods from unoccupied Serbia
(but not Macedonia or Albania), this can hardly be seen as
support of free trade.
worries, though, since the very same UNMIK has decreed everything
to be just fine. Kosovo now has an UN-imposed Constitution,
and in nine days will have elections for a "legislative assembly."
Yes, elections. Again. Only this time, UNMIK has managed to
force the "democratic" government in Belgrade to betray
the Kosovo Serbs, and order them to vote. All in the
name of democracy and human rights, of course.
OF GOOD PAPER
imperial satrap for Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, doubtlessly applied
all the diplomatic skills acquired as Denmark's Defense Minister
Serbia's commissar in charge of Kosovo, Nebojsa Covic,
to "strongly recommend" to the Kosovo Serbs to take part in
UNMIK's splendid little election. Covic and Haekkerup signed
an agreement to that effect in Belgrade on Monday.
though. It reaffirms UNMIK's "unchallenged authority," agrees
with UNMIK's claim that the occupation authorities have done
everything to make Kosovo a multiethnic paradise, and pledges
unconditional Serb support to the occupation of their territory.
Yet Covic, a spineless flunky of Serbia's statist Prime Minister
Zoran Djindjic, had the gall to say this represented a "beginning
of Serbia's and Yugoslavia's return to its territory of Kosovo."
In his own words, Serbia is "entering an important process."
Of what? Rhetorical futility?
agreement, much like the treaties the US Congress made with
the Native Americans in the 19th century, is worth
less than the paper it was printed on. Like other "agreements"
American and European diplomats made with Balkans politicians,
it will last only as long as UNMIK wants, and only its portions
that serve UNMIK's purposes will see any implementation.
there ever was a clear-cut case for boycotting elections
that are being used as a means
of bestowing undeserved legitimacy on the state Kosovo
is it. Fortunately, Kosovo Serbs seem to think so as well.
PEACE SABOTEURS, AND THEIRS
yet again the flexibility of "agreements" in the Balkans are
recent events in Macedonia. The troubled country is still
struggling to implement the monstrous Treaty of Ohrid,
shoved down its incompetent leaders' throats, at Albanian
militants' gunpoint, by the US, EU and NATO.
than two weeks ago, Macedonian politicians managed to make a deal
with the Empire to amend the potentially lethal provision
of the Treaty that would have stripped Macedonians of nationhood
in their own country. Now, members of the parliament representing
one Albanian political party have threatened to boycott
the vote on this key amendment, thus derailing the new Constitution.
Macedonians who objected were immediately criticized by the
Western press as "hard-liners," "nationalists," and threats
to peace. Meanwhile, Macedonian police are increasingly becoming targets
of the officially "disbanded" and "disarmed" Albanian militant
in Kosovo, guns and bombs are perfectly legitimate when used
by people who enjoy US and NATO support in both cases,
the Albanians but they become unacceptable the moment they
are even contemplated by Macedonians, or Serbs.
ISLAM AS VIRTUE
the aftermath of September 11, several Islamic militants were
arrested in Bosnia, some with Bosnian identity documents.
Hundreds of mujahideen, some admittedly connected to
Osama Bin Laden, still live in the country, unhindered. Settled
in a village ethnically cleansed of Serbs, the militants defiantly
claim: "Osama is our brother… we trust him more than anyone
current government of the Muslim-Croat Federation has given
them little reason to fear. The left-leaning, secular ruling
coalition still includes many defectors from the militant
Muslim party (SDA) whose leader, Alija Izetbegovic, invited
the mujahideen during the 1992-95 war with Serbs and
Croats. Izetbegovic and his idea that he and the SDA single-handedly
defended the Bosnian Muslims from Serbo-Croat aggression
are still revered by many Muslims in Bosnia, as well as sympathizers
across the world. Izetbegovic himself denounced the calls
to crack down on the mujahideen, claiming it was more
important to pursue his Serb enemies, indicted by the Hague
Inquisition for war crimes.
Izetbegovic's statements and International
Crisis Group's recent characterization of the Serb part
of Bosnia as a "genocidal creation" the current Imperial
satrap in Sarajevo, Wolfgang Petritsch, dutifully
reacted by attacking the Bosnian Serb Republic (RS) this
to Petritsch, the RS is "not pulling its weight" in the Bosnian
state, "obstinately trying to go it alone" and "not supporting
the central institutions," reported the BBC. Not only that,
but the RS was "still too much trying to preserve its own
autonomy," though it was "too small to be economically viable
on its own."
much autonomy? Insufficient obedience to central government?
Virtues to any decent libertarian, these are crimes and vices
in the Most Enlightened Protectorate. Never mind that the
Bosnian Constitution, written by its current occupiers, stipulates
only a minimal role for the central government, or that last
time anyone checked, Bosnia was not economically viable
on its own. From Lisbon and Dayton to Kumanovo and Ohrid,
agreements are there to be manipulated and used, then discarded
as the Empire sees fit.
today’s Washington Post, for example, one Richard
Cohen recommends that the US launch a manhunt for two
wartime leaders of the Bosnian Serbs, who stand accused of
genocide against the Bosnian Muslims. Showing the Islamic
world that the US was actually on "their" side in
the Balkans would "give the Bush administration a debating
point not to mention a needed lift in the propaganda
war," Cohen says, even as he derides Muslims in general
as delusional and extols the virtues of Joseph Stalin.
Bosnian bloodbath was first abused to expand NATO authority,
legitimize interventionism and create a precedent for occupation.
It has now become propaganda chump change in the attack of
killer moronic pundits.
it chooses to maintain a pretense of independence, as in Yugoslavia
and Croatia, or runs protectorates as in Bosnia and Kosovo,
the Empire is still the ultimate arbiter of everything in
the Balkans. Whomever the locals elect or appoint has little
chance to last in power if they refuse to dance to the Emperor's
tune. In the face of such helplessness, burdened with the
aftermath of wars that in retrospect appear to have been quite
futile, the Balkans "democracies" sink ever deeper into despair
almost seems too painful to remember that the Socialist Yugoslav
federation was a prosperous country, a champion of independence
and anti-colonialism, always believing in a better future.
the former Yugoslavs so desperately need right now are such
ideals: a hope for a better life, a hope for freedom and
the great responsibility that comes with it. They have had
enough occupation, repression, exploitation and lies. Yet
that is all they are ever going to get, so long as the Empire
continues to hold the peninsula in its clutches.
I were an Afghan, I would remember that.