Notes from underground

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Archive for the tag “Balkans”

Iraq Inquiry witness lies through his teeth

A top Foreign Office legal advisor, Sir Michael Wood, told the British Iraq inquiry that the invasion of Iraq had no basis in international law, and that he had told government ministers that.

Fair enough, so far, so good.

But then he went on to contrast it with the 1999 Nato attack on Yugoslavia, which he said was justified because of the humanitarian situation, with hundreds of thousands of people being driven from their homes.

That is pure propaganda spin.

Yes, thousands of people were driven from their homes in that conflict, but only after the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia had begun.

That doesn’t mean that driving people from their homes was a good thing, but the historical fact is that it was in retaliation for the Nato bombing, it was not the cause of reason for the Nato bombing.

Sir Michael Wood lied through his teeth.

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The ugly face of US imperialism just got uglier

The ugly face of US imperialism just got a whole lot uglier.

Notes from a Common-place Book: Time to Move On, We’re Told

Condeleeza Rice is losing patience with Serbia.

In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it was time for Serbs to accept that Kosovo is no longer theirs. She also suggested it was time to drop centuries of grievance and sentimentality in the Balkans. ‘We believe that the resolution of Kosovo’s status will really, finally, let the Balkans begin to put its terrible history behind it,’ Dr. Rice said Friday.

Oh, really. Her message to Serbia seems to be something like this: We are America and we know what is best for you. We have divvied-up your country in a manner we think best, and it is high time for you to stop your whining and learn to live with it.

But I have saved the best for last. Rice continues:

‘I mean, after all, we’re talking about something from 1389 – 1389! It’s time to move forward.’

With the President out of the country–last seen getting-down, so to speak, with some Liberian tribal dancers–this statement is easily the most inane commentary coming from the Bush administration in recent memory.

Of course, unlike the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, this one was not created by the Bush administration, but was one they inherited from the previous Clinton administration. But they seem to be handling it just as ineptly.

Any doubts that the USA saw its role as bully to the world have now been laid to rest — we’ve just had it from the horse’s mouth.

The ugly face of US imperialism just got uglier

The ugly face of US imperialism just got a whole lot uglier.

Notes from a Common-place Book: Time to Move On, We’re Told

Condeleeza Rice is losing patience with Serbia.

In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it was time for Serbs to accept that Kosovo is no longer theirs. She also suggested it was time to drop centuries of grievance and sentimentality in the Balkans. ‘We believe that the resolution of Kosovo’s status will really, finally, let the Balkans begin to put its terrible history behind it,’ Dr. Rice said Friday.

Oh, really. Her message to Serbia seems to be something like this: We are America and we know what is best for you. We have divvied-up your country in a manner we think best, and it is high time for you to stop your whining and learn to live with it.

But I have saved the best for last. Rice continues:

‘I mean, after all, we’re talking about something from 1389 – 1389! It’s time to move forward.’

With the President out of the country–last seen getting-down, so to speak, with some Liberian tribal dancers–this statement is easily the most inane commentary coming from the Bush administration in recent memory.

Of course, unlike the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, this one was not created by the Bush administration, but was one they inherited from the previous Clinton administration. But they seem to be handling it just as ineptly.

Any doubts that the USA saw its role as bully to the world have now been laid to rest — we’ve just had it from the horse’s mouth.

Kosovo UDI a headache for Canada

clipped from www.reuters.com

Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia is a headache for Canada, which needs to find a way of recognizing the new state without boosting the fortunes of separatists in its French-speaking province of Quebec.

Polls indicate that around half of Quebecers support the idea of independence for the province of 7.5 million.

The Parti Quebecois, now in opposition in the provincial legislature, said that if Canada recognizes a unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo it would have to treat a similar move by Quebec the same way.

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And then, of course, there was the speedy recognition granted to Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, and “homelands” like Transkei, Bophuthatswana, etc.

Taliban and UCK

What’s the difference between the Taliban and the UCK?

Not much.

The Taliban destroyed Buddha statues, and the UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army, which unilaterally declared Kosovo “independent” this week), destroys Christian churches.

On Sept. 13, 1999, the Church
of Saints Cosma and Damian, built in 1327, was obliterated by
a bomb blast. The initials of the Kosovo Liberation Army were
painted at the site. By that time some 20 Serbian religious sites
had been blown up, including the Dormition of Mother of God parish
church, built in 1315. Another 40 others had been attacked or
looted.

NATO basically
empowered and legitimated forces that proceeded to destroy or
desecrate over 70 churches or monasteries by October 1999 (21
in the U.S. zone of responsibility). Meanwhile more than 200,000
Serbs fled the province. During the summer of 1999, 40,000 Serbs
fled Pristina.

President
Clinton had sent a special envoy, Robert Gelbard, to the region
in February 1998. At that time he stated that the KLA was, “without
any questions, a terrorist group” in Washington’s view.

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Disingenuous "fact" file on Kosovo

clipped from www.reuters.com
Here is a brief profile of Kosovo, an ethnic crossroads in the heart of the Balkans and the cause of NATO’s first “humanitarian war” in 1999.
WAR * Albanians have officially demanded independence since renegade elections in 1992 made pacifist leader Ibrahim Rugova president of a self-declared republic. The demand was ignored as Serbs fought for pieces of Croatia and Bosnia, and support shifted to armed struggle by the Kosovo Liberation Army, a guerrilla force. Serb forces hit back so hard in 1998 that 100,000 Albanians fled to the hills and NATO powers warned Milosevic they would not tolerate another round of “ethnic cleansing” in the Balkans. Peace talks in France failed and in March 1999 NATO started bombing to force Serbia to withdraw. Some 800,000 Albanians fled or were expelled to Macedonia and Albania before Milosevic gave in 78 days later. As his forces pulled out, up to 200,000 Serbs and other ethnic minorities left as well.
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“Peace talks in France failed and in March 1999 NATO started bombing to force Serbia to withdraw.”

What’s hidden in that bland statement is that the reason that peace talks failed was the intransigence of Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State, who was determined to have a war.

Kosovo UDI: the Clinton legacy

Notes from a Common-place Book: Kosovo: The Real Clinton Legacy just about says it all.

According to Kosovo Travelogue this is certainly not one of the things that Hillary Clinton is hoping to reverse. Under Bill Clinton the US bombed Belgrade and under Bush the US bombed Baghdad, and there is really little difference. Is that one of the things Barack Obama wants to change? I hope so.

Links to a news report with my own comments on the Kosovo UDI are in my Khanya blog.

Other comments:

  • The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle compares the Kosovo UDI to Sudetenland.
  • Jams O Donnell in The Poor Mouth: UDI says “I hope to God it’s peaceful”
  • A Lanson Boy worries that it might be an unviable state and a drain on Western taxpayers
  • David Lindsay criticises the BBC for giving a wholly-false version of the history of Yugoslavia
  • Chekov writes of the hypocrisy of the Western cheerleaders for Kosovo’s independence
  • The Western Confucian is sickened by the USA’s siding with terrorism and pravoslavophobia.

One thing that needs to be borne in mind is that though the majority of the population of Kosovo speak Albanian, they lack the religious tolerance of Albania.

The Albanian government deported Iranian Islamist teachers who incited young people attending a Muslim youth camp at Voskopoje to destroy Christian ikons that had survived the Turks and the Communists. In Kosovo dozens of Christian churches have been destroyed under the noses of Nato troops.

EU states vow not to recognise Kosovo’s independence bid

Several EU member states are worried that if a Kosovo UDI is recognised by other states it will destabilise the Balkans again, and also set a precedent for minorities in other countries to do something similar.

As the European Union struggles for a unified response to Kosovo’s expected
declaration of independence, several EU states – mainly those near the Serb
province – fear the move could destabilise the historically volatile Balkan
region.


Romania, Cyprus and
Slovakia were the loudest to state their opposition this week, all vowing not to
recognise Kosovo if it declares
independence.


Greece and
Bulgaria are also wary of potentially explosive border changes in their area
while Spain and Slovakia cannot ignore the possible effects on their respective
Basque and Hungarian
minorities.


Spain faces an
additional challenge as its northeastern region of Catalonia has long sought
greater autonomy.

Cyprus – which holds
elections on February 17 – has seen all this
before.


The island has been
divided into ethnic Greek and Turkish parts since 1974, and the breakaway
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declared independence in 1983, though
it is only recognised by
Turkey.
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And then, of course there is the possibility that a UDI will be followed by a resumption of ethnic cleansing.

US, Germany agree to recognize Kosovo after Serbia elections – The Boston Globe

The US and Germany, which fuelled the Wars of the Yugoslav succession in the 1990s, are planning to fan the embers to a flame again.

US, Germany agree to recognize Kosovo after Serbia elections – The Boston Globe:

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia – The United States and Germany have agreed to recognize Kosovo and get the rest of Europe to follow suit after the province declares independence following the Serbian elections next month, according to senior European Union diplomats close to negotiations over the future of Kosovo.

In a recent conversation about the future of Kosovo, EU officials said President Bush and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had agreed it was imperative to secure the stability of the western Balkans by coordinating the recognition of Kosovo after the second round of Serbian elections planned for Feb. 3.

They said Washington was aggressively pressing the EU to ensure that the recognition of Kosovo was not delayed by even a week.

Remember how it started?

As Samuel Huntington (1998:282) described it in his book The clash of civilizations:

The breakup of Yugoslavia began in 1991 when Slovenia and Croatia moved toward independence and pleaded with Western European powers for support. The response of the West was defined by Germany, and the response of Germany was in large part defined by the Catholic connection. The Bonn government
came under pressure to act from the German Catholic hierarchy, its coalition partner the Christian Social Union Party in Bavaria, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and other media. The Bavarian media, in particular, played a crucial
role in developing German public sentiment for recognition. ‘Bavarian TV’, Flora Lewis noted, ‘much weighed upon by the very conservative Bavarian government and the strong, assertive Bavarian Catholic Church which had close connections with the church in Croatia, provided the television reports for all of Germany when the war began in earnest. The coverage was very one-sided’… Germany pressured the European Union to recognise the independence of Slovenia and Croatia, and then, having secured that, pushed forward on its own to recognize them before the Union did in December 1991.

Austria and Italy promptly moved to recognize the two new states, and very quickly other Western countries, including the United States, followed. The Vatican also played a central role. The Pope declared Croatia to be the “rampart of Christianity,” and rushed to extend diplomatic recognition to the two states before the European Union did. The Vatican thus became a partisan in the conflict, which had its
consequences in 1994 when the Pope planned visits to the three republics. Opposition by the Serbian Orthodox Church prevented his going to Belgrade, and Serb unwillingness to guarantee his security led to the cancellation of his visit to Sarajevo. He did go to Zagreb, however, where he honored Cardinal Alojzieje Stepinac, who was associated with the fascist Croatian regime in World War II that persecuted and slaughtered Serbs, Gypsies and Jews.

The focus then moved to Bosnia, where John Major agreed to recognise Bosnia’s independence in return for German support for Britain’s position on the Maastricht Treaty, thus condemning Bosnia-Herzegovina to a bloody civil war. And what was the result?

As Brendan O’Neill (Comment is free: The Bosnian connection) notes:

Far from being radicalised by the failure of the west to act, large numbers of Muslims were radicalised by western intervention in the Balkans. Their movement to Bosnia was facilitated by Washington’s support for a military gateway between the Islamic world and Bosnia, and inside Bosnia they fought with a military outfit that Washington armed. They were also inspired to take up arms against the Serbs by western media depictions of the Serbs as sub-human savages who deserved ‘punishment’. The mujahideen meted out such punishment, in the form of stabbings, beheadings and forced circumcisions, as well as ordinary warfare.

Many of the mujahideen who fought in Bosnia went on to become al-Qaida operatives. They learned their trade of simplistic moral fury and brutal violence on the battlefields of Bosnia, where they were enticed and inflamed to execute holy war against the Serbs by western meddling and western media coverage.

And now it’s Kosovo — deja vu all over again!

Lakota Sioux Indians declare Sovereign Nation Status

If the US government is promoting independence for Kosovo, they should have no problem in supporting this.

Straight Goods – Lakota Sioux Indians declare Sovereign Nation Status – Sioux cite UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous people to claim real estate over Five State Area in US West.:

“WASHINGTON, DC (December 20) — Lakota Sioux Indian representatives declared sovereign nation status today in Washington DC following Monday’s withdrawal from all previously signed treaties with the United States Government. The withdrawal, hand delivered to Daniel Turner, Deputy Director of Public Liaison at the State Department, immediately and irrevocably ends all agreements between the Lakota Sioux Nation of Indians and the United States Government outlined in the 1851 and 1868 Treaties at Fort Laramie Wyoming.

‘”

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