[This is an excerpt, chapter seven, from Gilles and Alexis Troude's Balkans: un Éclatement programmé. The book came out in 2011 and an epilogue will be appended to the recently translated CM/P version to bring it up to date. But the geopolitical forces in play in this crucial region, this military borderland, this Krajina or Ukraine, shine a particularly vivid light on the events of this election season.
If one wonders how the U.S. could have come to such an abdication of moral authority as is presented in this presidential contest between Hillary Clinton, one of the driving forces in glossing over the destruction of Yugoslavia as a victory for Humanitarianism, and Donald Trump, a 'know-nothing' stooge for the very Private Capital that bought up then sold off the territories of the old Soviet Union: this book's description of the controlled demolition of the Balkans--like the twin towers of the WTC--will whet the appetite for information while stoking the anger over the West's craven betrayal of History.
Watch this space for further chapters. --mc]
American, Russian & European Géostrategies
in the Balkans since 1991
All the recent history of the Balkans shows that U.S. géostrategy has for some time aimed not only at projecting influence toward the eastern Mediterranean (with the presence of the U.S. 7th Fleet), but also that the destruction of Yugoslavia was part of a far-ranging program. In his oft touted 1997 book “The Great Chessboard,” Polish/American Zbigniew Brzezinski coldly admits his adopted country’s plans in Eurasia. With an eye toward perpetuating its role as the master of the world, the U.S.A. must see to the breaking up of Russia into three parts: European, Asian and Central, with a corridor joining them opened up through the Balkan peninsula, the Caucasus and Turkestan. The oil from the Caspian Sea would come straight to the West thanks to two new pipelines: one across the Caucasus and Turkey, and the other cutting through the Balkans by way of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania, and ending up in the Adriatic. It is not a coincidence that only a few weeks after the NATO terror-bombing of Yugoslavia began, a cynical Brzezinski wrote: “What is at stake here is infinitely more important than the future of Kosovo.”
An American writer well-informed on these matters has stated that since 1992, President George H.W. Bush, threatened Yugoslavia with military intervention if its civil war ever spread into Kosovo and that, from 1997, secret plans for the bombing of Serbia and Montenegro were developed. A high-ranking French military official visiting an American aircraft carrier two years before the bombing confirmed this point. The Humanitarian argument was only a pretext for the highly strategic operation that was the 1999 NATO intervention.
1 - Russia returns to the stage in the Balkans
But there is one thing the Americans’ strategy did not anticipate: the return of Russia to the International stage, fifteen years after the breakup of the USSR. Faced with this deliberately aggressive U.S. strategy, Russia’s ‘tag-team’ leadership of United Russia’s Putin and Medvedev clearly set out its foreign policy in 2008. The five principles of this program were to be: Defense of International Law, the creation of a multi-polar world, a policy of “neither confrontation nor isolation,” the defense of the rights of Russian citizens, wherever they may be (e.g., the Baltic countries), and finally the protection of the “regions of most-favored interests” (e.g., Serbia).
The Russian State began to apply this géostrategy of counter-attack in three stages:
1. The inviolability of the Russian Federation, which indicated that Russia would never tolerate a foreign intervention into Federation territory (e.g., the retaking of Chechnya, which only exists in its current state because of statements made by the U.S. State Dept.).
2. Defense of the “Near Abroad,” typical Russian strategic terminology for most of the Republics of the former U.S.S.R. now independent (e.g., Ukraine, Byelorussia, the Caucasus, Central Asia). The Baltic States are not included here because they have become part of the West (the Baltics are close to Scandinavia and predominantly of Protestant or Catholic religion). From this perspective, the Russian Federation has created the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), realigning Russia, Byelorussia, Moldovia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Medvedev & Putin of United Russia Party
This second phase of the defense of the “Near Abroad” seems to have begun in August 2008 with the very quick Russian response to Georgia’s armed assault on the Russian-speaking populations of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, followed by the declaration of independence of the two regions. On 1 September 2008, then-Russian president Dmitri Medvedev explained very clearly this idea of a buffer-zone in the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Slavic bloc in Europe: “We will defend our interests outside our borders; to each attack on these borders, we will respond.”
3. Penetration into Europe along the energy corridors with gas pipelines like “North Stream” under the Baltic Sea supplying Germany and Northern Europe, and “South Stream” traversing the Balkans (Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia) and destined for Austria and Italy, with the Italian firm ENI being responsible for 50% of the construction.
On 21 January 2008, during his last trip abroad at the end of his first, constitutionally-limited two-term (eight-year) tour as Chief of State, Vladimir Putin gained the agreement of Bulgaria for routing the future 2,500 km-long gas pipeline “South Stream” that would connect Russia with southern Europe in 2015, passing under the Black Sea. Its construction required an investment of €10 billion to bring in 10 billion square meters of natural gas per year for openers.
4. A “third circle”—to borrow an expression from Soljenytsin—of renewed Russian power effected the Orthodox Slav countries of the Balkans: Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, as well as the non-Slav countries: Romania, Greece, Cyprus. Although not part of the “near abroad,” these countries could become most-favored nations in the international plan, but without Russia having to use its troops. According to Medvedev, these States like Serbia, hold “traditional friendly relations and these relations were particularly historical” with Russia.
It is in this spirit that Russian support of Serbia in November 2008, at the time when Serbia was appealing to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to refuse the self-declared independence of Kosovo, could be considered a great diplomatic victory. A majority of the member States of the United Nations General Assembly agreed that Serbia should take its case to the ICJ. Moreover, President Medvedev affirmed on 1 September 2008 that “Russia considered Serbia a favored nation.” After Kosovo’s declaration of independence on 18 February 2008, the CIF held a limited summit meeting where an eventual Russian military intervention was debated. The one thousand Russian soldiers in the KFOR battalion would be redeployed to the North of Kosovo, into Mitrovica where they would protect the Serb minority; but this option was finally not retained because Serbia was not considered part of the “Near Abroad” according to the Russian strategists, and the borders of the Russian Federation were not directly threatened. In fact, the Russians considered the current Serbian government to be “Pro-Western” and were not prepared to support it beyond the question of Kosovo.
Indeed, Russia decided to give its full support to Serbia in its judicial struggle to refuse recognition of Kosovo independence for two reasons:
a/ This self-proclaimed declaration of independence created a precedent that could lead to redrawing the boundaries of Europe as well as several countries around the world. Contrary to the Helsinki Accords that called for inviolable borders in Europe and the principle of non-intervention into sovereign States, this dangerous precedent was rejected by Spain (because of the Basques territories), by Romania and Slovakia (because of their Hungarian minorities) and by Cypress (whose northern half is illegally occupied by Turkey). Outside of Europe, China vigorously supported this position because of Tibet and Taiwan, as did most of the Arab (Egypt, Algeria) and African (Nigeria) countries.
b/ Kosovo’s declaration of independence is considered by Moscow to be contrary to the “fundamental national interests of Russia.” It actually encourages secessionism in the Muslim Republics of the Russian Federation (Tartarstan, Chechnya, etc.).
As a sort of conclusion, it should be noted that the dangerous game played by the U.S. in Europe for geostrategic advantages (protection of the “European Corridors,” and access to oil and gas from the Caspian Sea) were described with rare foresight by the last president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbatchev—to whom the world should be infinitely grateful for bringing down the Berlin wall without a bloodbath—in an interview on 15 May 2009 with the “Daily Telegraph”:
“The Americans promised that NATO would not be extended beyond the German borders after the end of the Cold War. The Result: Half the States of Central and Eastern Europe are now members of the Atlantic Alliance, which shows very well what becomes of these promises. That proves that they cannot be trusted. (. . .) We spent ten years, after the end of the Cold War, trying to build a New World Order. Those ten years were wasted, without any result.”
In response to statements from the U.S. Secretary of Defense, who referred to the threat posed by “the general developments in China and Russia,” the former Soviet president said:
“The problem is not Russia. Russia does not have enemies, and has no intention of getting into a war against the United States or anyone else. It sometimes seems that Washington would like to go to war against the whole world.”
Mr. Gorbatchev went on to describe the proposed deployment of elements of a missile shield in Eastern Europe (Poland and Romania) as “a dangerous move that resumes the arms race at heretofore unknown levels.” It is only in a very wide-angle view, it seems to us, that the pressures the Americans are applying for the quick recognition of the self-proclaimed independence of the “NATO-State” Kosovo can be explained.
The American strategy in the Balkans was laid out more than twenty years ago. It is public knowledge that in a 1988 report the CIA anticipated the explosion of Yugoslavia. In 1989, well before either Poland or Hungary, this country signed a pre-membership agreement with the EEC, so it would be well-placed for integration into the Western system. Moreover, its program of self-management left a good deal of room for private initiative, as demonstrated in 1990 when Yugoslavia ranked third in Europe behind France and Spain, but ahead of Italy and Germany, in hotel capacity. Finally, the Yugoslav Army, founded on the idea of a decentralized territorial defense, was the premier army in Southeastern Europe.
This middling power had to be broken. The United States, and the West which rode its coattails, needed to destroy this model that, after the dissolution of the Soviet bloc, represented a sort of third-way. This model, neither liberal nor communist, mixing capitalist efficiency with social progress, presented an attractive ideal and called into question both systems of the two Great Powers. The Russians were also interested in getting rid of the old leader of the Non-Aligned Movement that they had greatly distrusted. In the early 1990s, Russian generals remembered that, after the 1948 break-up between Tito and Stalin, the Yugoslavs refused the occasional Russian military exchange and even began to develop their territorial defenses with the expectation of an attack from the Red Army. Despite repeated calls from Milosevic to Yeltsin at the time of the conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia, the Russian generals chose to get back at the presumptuous Yugoslavs by not rendering aid to General Veljeko Kadijevic, the Yugoslav Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army (1988 to 1992).
But beginning in 1992, while Russia was struggling through the ravages of its own economic transition, Bill Clinton and his foreign policy team developed a strategy for gradually imposing its imperialist logic on Yugoslavia, and breaking up, one piece at a time, this nation of 24 million people, the largest country in the Balkans. The Democrat’s administration led by Bill Clinton was at first hesitant to become involved in the Yugoslav conflicts, but very quickly it chose its side. In Croatia, under the heavy influence of the Croatian lobby in the US Congress made up predominantly of pro-Ustashi exiles from WWII, influential political leaders and intellectuals had been working for more than 30 years to develop a Croatian national program around the idea of a Croatian state: an idea that contravened the Yugoslav constitution strongly supported by the Serbs.
From 1993, the Americans surreptitiously armed the Croatian Army through the port at Split. Then in 1995, the actions of US Private Military Contractor (e.g., MPRI), working over a two-year period to train and finance the Croats, allowed them to defeat the Serb militias while massively displacing Serb civilians from the Krajina in two military campaigns: Operation Hurricane in May, then Operation Storm in August.
But these two operations, led by retired U.S. military personnel [i.e., mercenaries] from the American military/industrial complex, provoked a good deal of what the official media had already misnamed “collateral damage”: the success of Operation Storm was measured in the killing of several hundred civilians as they fled along the roads and the irrevocable displacement of 230,000 Serbs in that summer of 1995*.
* Often cited in International Courts as the largest incident of ‘ethnic cleansing’ during the entire Balkans conflict. [See, Johnstone, Diana, Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions, 2003—cm/p]
When the war broke out in Bosnia in April 1992, the US did not have a plan at first and hesitated as to just what tactics to adopt. But ever pragmatic, they took advantage of this conflict in the heart of Europe to advance their imperial march toward Russia and the Muslim world. Bill Clinton chose the Muslim side for three reasons. At this moment of a resurgent Intifada in Palestine, the Americans wanted to show the whole Muslim world that they could also take the side of a so-called “Islamic Liberation” movement: Bosnia served to realign US foreign policy in favor of the Muslim world. By sending military support to Bosnian President Izetbegovic and the Bosnian Muslim Army through Zagreb, Clinton wanted to back the weaker force against the Serbs, who at that time held an advantage in troop-strength and territory. Finally, the US had found its niche in this new Cold War that had just sprung into existence: By directly supporting a second Muslim state in the Balkans, it both weakened Europe and fired a warning shot across Russia’s front porch.
Driving around the international arms embargo it have found so desirable just two years before, the Clinton administration began arming the Bosnian Muslim in 1994: this was Bosnia-gate. In a gambit that marked the height of American utilitarianism in the mid-1990s, the three national leaders involved in the Bosnian conflict, Franjo Tudjman of Croatia, Iljza Izetbegovic, the Bosnian Muslim president, and Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia (who was standing in for Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic, then under threat of a war crimes indictment from NATO and the UN.), were summoned in November 1995 to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, to negotiate separately a peace deal that carried minimal diplomatic authority. But that was not all. Through the private contractors of Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI), the US, in its struggle against the “barbarian Serbs”, facilitated the arrival of jihadis onto Bosnian soil. But the real purpose was not to fight “Serbian barbarism”, but to stake out a permanent presence in the heart of the Balkans. From 1996, the program “Equip and Train”, run directly out of the Pentagon, handed off the tidy sum of $400 million to the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina: in the space of one year no fewer than 5000 Bosnian soldiers were trained by 200 American special advisors.113
Yet the American policy of supporting the Muslims in the Balkans was carried out simultaneously on two fronts in accordance with the principles of “small is beautiful”, by which the Bosnian Muslims would be sacrificed to the Serb ogres, and of “the Fight for Freedom”, which would see the plucky little Albanians throw off the horrible yoke of Serbian communism. But we now know that these two principles, in which Americans sincerely believe, are false. The Center for Historical Documentation in Sarajevo, after ten years of scrupulous investigation, has shown that 102,622 Bosnian citizens were killed during the civil war in Bosnia. This death toll breaks down proportionally to the demographics of each of the peoples before the war: 69.9% Bosnian Muslims and Croats (who made up 68% of the population in 1991), and 30.1% Serbs (32%) lost their lives between 1992 and 1995 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.114
In 1997 the US State Department decided to arm the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA or UCK in Albanian). However, this ultra-violent Maoist group, founded in 1993 with support from the Albanian diaspora in Europe, was fighting for the very antithesis of the American ideal of Democracy. They began in 1995 planting numerous bombs in Serbia and at one time were even placed on the CIA list of terrorist organizations. But no matter, because already by the end of the 1990s they were well on their way to achieving their goals of quashing any resurgence of Russian influence while impeding all European defense construction in the region. In 1998 the KLA, working from rear-guard bases in Albania, began to intensify armed violence where they felt the struggle was going against them: as the Balkans specialist Christopher Chiclet described it, “this was when the US decided to use the KLA to get rid of Milosevic.”115
During the NATO bombing in the spring of 1999, the KLA infiltrated the entire territory of Kosovo using the KFOR as cover and did not miss a chance to murder certain moderate Albanian leaders.116
The American Takeover of Kosovo
Working in parallel with systems set up for Kosovo by the UN and NATO, the Americans tried to control the situation on the ground there. Bearing this out is that between 1999 and 2009:
— The Chief of Staff of NATO forces, himself under the direct control of NATO’s Southeast command, was always, from 1999 on, an American general.
— The second in command of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), between 1999 and 2009, was always an American.
— The US diplomatic mission to Pristina in 2004 was made up of more than 80 people, while, for example, at the same time, the French liaison office had only a staff of 4.
— The US base at Camp Bondsteel, built in 1999, is the largest American military outpost in Southeastern Europe (7,000 personnel). It is at the heart of a Balkan/Middle Eastern strategy that includes no fewer than 4 bases in Rumania and 2 in Bulgaria.
A high-ranking French official in the UN administration explained to us the intricacies of the American presence in Kosovo. The US emissaries pay special attention to having the last word on all the important decisions made by UNMIK. In Kosovo-Albanian municipalities, American advisors are very careful to maintain good relations with Albanian-speaking mayors and, through US agencies like USAID, have indirectly seeded a great deal of financial assistance to these towns over the last ten years; these are often second-tier economic projects, like libraries or thermal baths, but very effective for maintaining the loyalty of the towns’ elected officials.
As a final example of the American takeover of the state of Kosovo, consider the police. In 1999 the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) was created. It was made up of many ex-KLA fighters who had been turned into “peace officers.” While financed by the European Union, the KPC was from its beginning organized and instructed by the American private military contractor Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI). The Americans trained the KPC recruits in such a way as to turn them into a real military force, while it was supposed to be an agency for civilian peace-keeping.
The US controls Kosovo’s police agencies without even having to refer to the UNMIK. So on 17 February 2001, near the village of Livadice, some Albanian terrorists blew up a “Nis Ekspress” bus killing 11 Serbs—two of them children—and wounding 40. Though after an inquiry a few suspects were arrested, all were released but one, Florim Ejoui, who was known to have direct connections with Albanian organized crime as well as with old KLA circles. Ejoui was transferred for “reasons of security” to the American base at Camp Bondsteel, from whence his escape was arranged a few days later. But the escape was organized by the US Army without ever asking for any authorization from the UNMIK. On 29 July 2001, the London Sunday Times explained that some UN informants suspected Florim Ejoui of working for the CIA, and that his trial would have proven very embarrassing to his employers. This is just another example of how the actions of the CIA, like the entire organization of Camp Bondsteel, are completely outside the control of the High Representative of the UNMIK.117
HAITI/MACEDONIA/KOSOVO: SAME SUPPORT FOR SEPARATISTS
But the system set up by the American government in Kosovo was to be a model for future territorial break-ups around the world, all planned by the American government. We can see that the highest American officials in Kosovo were later sent out to destabilize other countries far from the Balkans. The best example is Philip S. Goldberg, recently named ambassador to Bolivia. During the 1990s, Goldberg was an important player in the break-up of Yugoslavia. From 1994 to 1996 he was head of the US State Department’s Bosnia office. He worked closely with Washington’s Special Envoy, Richard Holbrooke, and played a fundamental role as the Secretary General of the Negotiations Committee for the US at Dayton, negotiations that led to the signing of the 1995 Dayton Accords, the agreement that brought about the division of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1996, Goldberg worked as a Special Assistant to Under-Secretary of State Strobe Talbot (1994-2000), who, in collaboration with then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, contributed decisively to launching the war against Yugoslavia in 1999. In Kosovo, Goldberg worked as US Mission Chief in Pristina (2004-2006) and maintained constant relations with the paramilitary KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army), whose leaders now head the government of Kosovo and were known to have close ties with organized crime, especially narcotics trafficking. In Kosovo, Goldberg contributed to preparing it for separation from Serbia, leading to the establishment of an “independent” Kosovo government.118
But this was not the first time the “Kosovo model”, that is to say, supporting separatist movements, was applied in Latin America. Goldberg was appointed American Ambassador to Bolivia in 2007, at the very moment when, as if by chance, a strong independence movement broke out in Santa Cruz, that region with the greatest mineral riches in Bolivia; there he applied the lessons learned in Bosnia and Kosovo, the indirect appropriation of natural resource by separatists sent into these mineral-rich regions.119
In February 2003, Washington named James Foley its ambassador to Haiti. Ambassadors Greenberg and Foley were from the same “diplomatic stable”. Foley was the State Department spokesperson in the Clinton administration during the war in Kosovo. Previously, he had contributed to directing support toward the KLA. At the time of the war in Kosovo, Foley, then ambassador to Haiti, organized information meetings at the State Department and worked closely with his NATO counterpart in Brussels, Britisher Jamie Shea. Barely two months before the NATO-led assault on Yugoslavia was launched on 23 March 1999, Foley called for a “transformation” of the KLA into a politically responsible organization:
“We want to develop good relations with them (KLA) so they can convert themselves into a politically engaged organization, [. . .]. We think we can give them a good deal of help and advice if they become exactly the kind of political players we want them to become[. . .].”
The KLA advisors had been used precisely to help restructure the Haitian police forces, folding into their ranks former members of the FRAPH and Ton Ton Macoutes. “[In support of] the Office of Transition [. . .], the USAID is paying for three advisors to help integrate this once brutal army into the current Haitian police forces. And who are these three advisors? They are members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.120”
Since 1991, Macedonia has been a choice platform for America’s strategy in the Balkans. A few months after this tiny enclave-state that is home to two million people declared its independence, the government sent 300 troops supposedly to guard the borders. The Americans wanted to contain the Bosnian conflict and counter any possibility of an attack from Serbia. But this force, which grew progressively until it was replaced in 2004 by EU troops, became a means by which the US could interfere in the internal affairs of the young republic. During its bombing of neighboring Serbia in the spring of 1999, NATO, as a way of compensating the Macedonian economy that had suffered so greatly from the aggression against Serbia, delivered $40 million of supplies. This was an unprecedented contribution to a GNP that was only $3 billion in 2001.
At the time of the civil war between Macedonians and Albanians in 2001, a unit of 80 American soldiers went into Skopje to protect the Albanians from the Macedonian police. On 28 June 2001, there was evidence of an even greater intervention when the Albanian guerillas who had taken the Macedonian village of Aracinovo were evacuated back into Kosovo with the aid of American logistics. At the height of the civil war between the KLA and the Macedonian Army, a unit of Albanian extremists was surrounded. EU envoy Javier Solana broke them out of this bind without any interference from Macedonian forces. The KLA unit was rescued thanks to 17 MPRI military advisors.121 All these facts demonstrate the support of the American Secret Services to the rebels, in Macedonia as in Kosovo. Moreover, Albanian legislators in Macedonia stressed, during the ethnic conflicts of 2001, that the US bore a certain responsibility for the abusive behavior of the Macedonian police. By the end of the 1990s, the US had actually trained at least 329 Macedonian police officers, including a group specifically schooled in the most “strong-armed” of police methods.122
MACEDONIA: A GOVERNMENT OF AMERICANS
As the analyst Nadège Ragaru has pointed out, the Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, has since 2006 “surrounded himself with a team of young polyglot executives who have worked frequently in the United States.”123 But the backgrounds of this crack team show to what extent the Macedonian government is under American control:
Lazar Elenovski: President of the Euro-Atlantic Club (an Atlantist), has been Defense Minister since 2006.
Zoran Straveski: Former executive with the World Bank, was Vice-Prime Minister in Charge of Economic Affairs from 2006 to 2009.
Gligor Taskovic: Vice-President of the oil consortium AMBO and an American citizen was Minister Without Portfolio from 2006 to 2009.
Gabriela Konevska: Former President of the NGO Transparency Macedonia was minister in charge of European integration from 2006 to 2008.
The Germans Play the Albanian Card
The United States is not the only power playing on the Balkan chessboard. In this region, the Europeans have not sinned through militant activism but rather through inertia.
The Germans have played an eminently important role in the Western Balkans for the last 20 years. A continental power in the age-old search for connections with the Middle East, Germany is today developing a global policy of expansion into the southeast of Europe. The Bundeswehr has set as its objective to be able quickly to intervene in the Balkans theatre of operations.
In Croatia, Germany, which has since the 1970s aided the separatist movement there, was the first to recognize the independence of Croatia and Slovenia in December 1991, forcing President Mitterrand to sacrifice the unity of Yugoslavia on the altar of the Euro. German Chancellor Helmut Köhl then politically supported the authority of Franjo Tudjman, a confirmed anti-Semite and a true believer in a ‘Greater Croatia’. But it was especially after the 1995 Dayton Accords that a reunified Germany chose to expand its influence in the Balkans. Against the advice of Bill Clinton, German Foreign Affairs Minister Klaus Kinkel came out in favor of independence for Kosovo. In 1997, the German secret services (BND) opened their largest mission in the Balkans at Tirana and helped build up the KLA. On the 23 September 1998-broadcast of the TV show “Monitor,” from Germany’s First Channel, the public was shocked to learn that part of arms going to the KLA were being furnished by Germany.
During the anti-Serb riots of March 2004 in Kosovo, the gendarmes were notable for their inaction, having permitted the sacking of the Serb quarter of Prizren. After that, their zeal in rousting and shaking down Serbs in the Western zone of Kosovo, even keeping them from going into their churches for “security” reasons, says a great deal about the Germans’ will to take over territory, a sort of pay-back for their 1944 defeat in region. More broadly, the Bundeswehr can be counted on to intervene as part of the structure of NATO or the EU when the next conflict breaks out along the borders of Serbia (Macedonia, Bosnia or even the Sandjak)126/
The German Secret Services support of Croatian Separatism
Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, head of the Research Institute at Valheim, stated that the German Special Services (BND) began their collaboration with the Croat secessionists at the end of the 1970s. He shared the opinion of Antun Duhacek, chief of the Yugoslav intelligence services (UDBA) from 1955 to 1968, on the fact that at the moment of Tito’s death, the decisions made in Zagreb at the strategic level all had the agreement of Krajacic, the head of Croatian intelligence services at that time. But, this collaboration between the German and Croatian foreign services, begun under Klaus Kinkel, were continued at the beginning of the 1990s. Hans Dietrich Genscher, then German Foreign Minister, authorized the delivery of 800 million marks to the Croatian Special Services in March 1990. A few months later, a plane from Germany landing in Zagreb was found to be illegally trafficking arms. In 1991, newspapers like “Die Welt” and “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” started a campaign for the separation of Croatia from Yugoslavia. Even “Der Spiegel”, with its ‘leftist’ reputation, published in July of that year “Yugoslavia: A Prison of Peoples: The Serb Terror,” according to which the head of the SPD delegation, Norbert Gansel, just back from Zagreb, returned with the conviction that “we have to put a stop to Serb hegemony.” It is easy to understand the eagerness of the Germans to recognize an independent Croatia in December 1991. Logically, Germany was a principal defender of the embargo issued in May 1992 against Milosevic’s Yugoslavia: the Spring 1992 declaration by Klaus Kinkel was eloquent in its firmness and distrust: “Serbia must be brought to its knees.”
This German return to the Balkans also corresponded with the increased attention being paid to linking up the Black Sea with the center of Europe by way of the Rhine-Main-Danube canal and the Danube river system. The section of more than 500 km of the Danube in Voïvodine is essential to this project. This strategic corridor through southeastern Europe is what brought German private investment, after the Spring 1999 NATO bombing, into the repair and rebuilding of the ports of Apatin and Smederevo, just as with the reconstruction aid for the bridge at Novi Sad. Generally, Germany supported Corridors IV—Budapest/Constantza via Subotica—and Corridor X—Budapest/Thessalonica via the Morava Valley.
Since 1999, German soldiers of the KFOR have controlled the zone southwest of Kosovo and are charged by the Kumanovo Accords with maintaining security. In 1999, on its arrival, the German contingent was known for his benevolent passivity in not trying even to impede the Albanian extremists in their ‘small-business’ of hunting down Serbs by first burning down their homes then killing them. In Prizren, the principal town in the Metochia, when the March 2004 anti-Serb riots were taking place, at a time when the Albanian crowds were excited and led by former jihadists, destroying houses and burning up most of the Serbian quarter, German soldiers were tucked away in their barracks. Near Prizren, the same German troops who were supposed to control the comings and goings of the extremist Albanian groups to keep them from getting into the monastery of Holy Archangels again, were busy, several years after the 2004 riots, with keeping the Orthodox monks out of their monastery. Still today, rather than keeping the peace, the German troops of the KFOR are content to stay in Prizren to shield the many churches in the town and to cut off all access to them with the help of barbed wire.
But the presence of the German military doubled and developed into a veritable war of the secret services with the Germans (BND) pitted against the Americans (CIA), which indicated the growing influence of Germany on the Balkan chessboard. At the end of November 2008, three Germans were arrested in Pristina, charged with having set off an explosion in front of the offices of the “EU mission” in Pristina. After first denying it, the Germans officially acknowledged that these three men had been working for the BND. Some analysts confirmed that they were also working for extremist groups within the KLA; others that they had been on “special missions.” But already in 2001, a German agent had been arrested in Pristina, suspected of preparing an attack against a Serb police colonel. It was also proven that the German had been the “architect” of the attack against a Serb bus in Kosovo that killed 12. But besides this activism to destabilize Serbia, the BND considered Kosovo as a first-rate platform of influence. The events that followed the arrest of the three Germans showed to what extent Germany was bound up with the politics of Kosovo. To evacuate its citizens from Kosovo, the German government had to threaten to freeze its most impressive economic aid: €280 million of direct aid from 1999 to 2008, placing Germany as the second largest contributor after the U.S.A! A second point of interest, the element that triggered a bad mood among the Albanian leaders was the seizure by the BND of “bloc-notes’ containing information on contacts between “the government structure” and the Albanian mafia. The director of the BND revealed that his three agents had gathered “new” information on Hashim Thaçi. Certain voices were raised then from the left to push for a change in Berlin’s strategy toward Kosovo, which was described as being a “hub of organized crime.” Thaçi, the Prime Minister of Kosovo at that moment, had wanted, according to experts, to strike back in kind.
At the heart of this affair is the Germans’ desire to accuse the Kosovo government of certain felonious schemes. In February 2005, the BND published a “Report on Organized Crime in Kosovo,” wherein Hashim Thaçi and Ramush Haradinaj are clearly tied to organized crime. The report stresses that “the key actors, Haliti, Haradinaj and Thaçi, are personally involved in tight connections between politics, the economy and organized crime.” In February 2008, the “Institut für Europäische Politik” in Berlin once again called out the “politico-economic structures, which are responsible for the trafficking of drugs, people and weapons” in Kosovo. In fact, Haradinaj was described in a BND report as the “protégé of the United States.” Two CIA agents have already protected him from questioning by whisking him off into an American base in Italy aboard an Italian military helicopter. Kosovo has become a real battlefield between the German and American intelligence services who flout any sense of sovereignty with their Albanian charges.
France is carrying out shaky policies
On the one hand, the French government refused during the Bosnian war to choose between the belligerants. This was the policy of François Mitterrand who always resisted making such choices: “While I’m alive, we will not bomb Serbia.” The Serbs knew how to appreciate these few signs of French support. A good example of this was the Marchiani mission in1994 to recover two French pilots being held as prisoners by the Bosnian Serbs, without getting anything in return. Sometimes this happened with an understanding of Serb interests and a reduction in the bombing policy: from multiple sources it is known that Jacques Chirac avoided bombing the bridges of Belgrade, targets assigned to NATO pilots in 1999. In the fall of 1999, French gendarmes also stopped Albanian extremists from crossing the bridge at Mitrovica to provoke the Serbs.
But a deeper and more durable movement was that of supporting, in the name of Human Rights and the R2P (Right to Protect), the Bosnian and Albanian Muslims. In Bosnia, Bernard Kouchner set up Humanitarian Corridors from Sarajevo to the Muslim enclave in Gorazde, in contravention of the UN’s traditional policy of neutrality. This started in 1993 with the episode of General Morillon’s bringing about peace by forcing the evacuation of the Gorazde enclave in front of the Bosnian Serb army, but without getting authorization from the UN Security Council. In 1994 at the request of Jacque Chirac, NATO bombed the Bosnian Serb positions, acting in de facto support for the cause of the Bosniaks.
Media intellectuals fell in line. Bernard Henri Levy introduced the Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic to François Mitterrand in 1994, and in the film “Bosna” he goes so far as openly to support the Bosnian-Muslim Army: this was the beginning of ‘Military Humanitarianism.’
“Médecins du Monde” and the Demonization of the Serbs
In January 1993, the Humanitarian organization “Médecins du Monde” put up signs in all French cities comparing the Serbs to the Nazis. The journalist Jose Fort claimed in “L’Humanité” of 6 January 1993 that Health Minister Bernard Kouchner, co-founder and former-president of Médecins du Monde, sponsored this publicity campaign. There were images comparing Slobodan Milosevic to Adolph Hitler and showing starving refugees behind barbed wire, supposedly Bosniaks in a Serb camp. The poster accuses the Serbs in its text in a suggestive manner, stating that they go on to carry out “mass executions,” as did the National Socialist in 1940-45. But these two allegations are huge lies because Milosevic is a dedicated communist, as shown by his disavowal of the Serb Royalists of Bosnia in 1993. More significant still is that the camp pictured in the poster is, in fact, a displaced persons shelter, and the central figure, an emaciated tuberculosis victim, Fikret Alic, is a Serb. A dozen years later, Kouchner acknowledged that there never were systematic executions in the Serb camps. But this disinformation campaign co-directed by Kouchner in 1993 has paid dividends as can be seen in French public opinion’s association of Serbs with torturers!
Bernard Kouchner in Kosovo
While Bernard Kouchner served as the second UN Special Representative to Kosovo, from July 1999 to January 2001, he showed himself to be incompetent and incapable of acting in a situation marked by the ceaseless violence led by Albanian extremists. For a year and a half, during a transitional period where all local authority was voided, Bernard Kouchner amassed administrative, economic and judicial power throughout the province as director of the UN Interim Mission for Kosovo (UNMIK). But under his pro-consul (July 1999-January 2001), more than 990 murders and disappearances of non-Albanians took place. Their perpetrators are seldom pursued, and, if they are arrested, they are released within a few days: pressures from the Albanian mafia networks are very strong on the police and the UNMIK investigators. In the autumn of 1999, Bernard Kouchner explained the innumerable violent acts committed against non-Albanians as retribution for the daily discoveries of mass graves containing thousands of bodies; but after this period there was an evaluation of the number of Albanian victims of the war in Kosovo from 1998-1999 (4,000 to 6,000 dead), which was a little higher than the number of Serb victims. This verbal carelessness, that must appear unfounded, was tantamount to a justification of the KLA crimes committed in such a climate of ethnic violence.
Above all, a very small number of judicial inquiries were opened during the reign of Bernard Kouchner. It must be considered that although more than 17,000 complaints of violence, theft or destruction of civilian houses, were filed between 1999 and 2006, it was not until 2004 that the international judges of the UNMIK began to study these complaints. Bernard Kouchner, himself, admitted that in the course of the six-month the UN was present in Kosovo, justice was not done: “In five months, only 35 cases were brought to trial, while more than 400 murders were committed. Why? Because the culture of silence kept the witnesses from testifying and because our forty-eight judges and prosecutors named in an emergency procedure refused to rule on the basis of Serbian law.”
Not only did the UN High Representative, who controlled the judicial system of Kosovo at this moment, admit to being powerless, but he seemed to bend over for the customary rules, a posture quite unlike that of his fight for Human Rights in France. In fact, Kouchner fought singly for the Albanian cause and made no effort to demand that the professional judges, functionaries of UNMIK then under his direct responsibility, apply the laws in effect, that is the Serbian penal code. It is important to see that when the UNMIK and KFOR were set up in June 1999 in Kosovo, Serb civil servants and public functionaries were laid off by the new Albanian authorities. For some months, these authorities could not find enough judges in Kosovo because there was not adequate training; the UNMIK then put in place some international judges who knew very little about the local scene.
However, a veritable ethnic cleansing, a horror against which he had always battled in Africa or in Bosnia, was taking place under Kouchner’s mandate in Kosovo. Between July and December 1999, the non-Albanian majority of 235,000, which had fled at the arrival of NATO, was forced again to flee the violence of Albanian extremists. Even inside Kosovo, in Pristina, the town where he was supposed to be living, endured two forced migratory movements without Kouchner, the champion of Human Rights, ever doing a thing. Pristina went from 180,000 to 250,000 inhabitants under Dr. K’s reign, notably with the arrival of Albanians from Albania crossing through a very porous border. In the other direction, 60,000 Serbs left Pristina in just a few days at the beginning of July 1999, getting out quickly accompanied by British forces.
Kouchner & Thaçi serve their fellow man
Serbs Massacred by the former-KLA on Kouchner’s Watch
Several massacres of Serbian peasant took place in 1999 and 2000. They happened all over the territory of Kosovo during Bernard Kouchner’s mandate. Here are two examples:
The Gracko Massacre
On 22 July 1999, fourteen Serb peasants were killed in a field near the village of Staro Gracko. Despite many indications the perpetrators were members of the KLA from the Albanian village of Mali Alas, no one has as yet been apprehended.
The Gnjilane Massacre
On 28 November 2008, the Serb police with the help of UN forces arrested ten ex-members of the KLA in southern Serbia. These young Albanian men who for years had been hiding in Macedonia and southern Serbia were charged with having kidnapped 159 Serbs and killed more than 50 of them in Gnjilane in Kosovo between June and October 1999.
The Serbs from the north of Kosovo sought refuge in the camps of central Serbia, but they also jammed into the run-down public housing projects of Mitrovica-North, leaving prosperous farms to open up shanty-town shops. The Serbs from the south of Kosovo left Gnjilane or Urosevac for enclaves like that in Strpce, where since 2000 most of them had been out of work, packed into delapidated hotels dating back to the Communist era, often without electricity or water. Many old women even lived, in complete degradation, for years in trash bins, without aid from any International Humanitarian organization. It was also on Kouchner’s watch that 140,000 Roma from Kosovo were forced to flee. The entire Roma population of Mitrovica-South had one night to leave their burning homes (8,000 people, or one third of the Roma community of Kosovo), which led them into the grim camps of a ‘civilized’ Europe, like those in Leposavic or Zvecan, where they lived one on top of another and forgotten after 1999.
Indeed, like many of his Parisian intellectual pals from the same movement, Bernard Kouchner remained persuaded, even after his mission to Kosovo, that the racial murders and massacres of Serb villagers by extremist Albanians were purely individual acts; these killings were revenge for the humiliations of the 1990s and had nothing to do with the KLA. Facing the Commission on Foreign Affairs of the French National Assembly, he even claimed to a French legislator who had told him that an apartheid had been set up in Kosovo: “It is without question that in Kosovo one oppressive regime has replaced another: but the rule of the Serbs was organized and a function of the State, while that of the Albanians is based on individual vengeance. However, in July 1999, there were 50 Serb deaths per week, while today there are two or three, which is still far too many.” All the arguments by the UN High Representative are contorted by this bias: We understand the Albanians’ feelings of vengeance after what they went through in the 1990s. It is a complete distortion of the new reality.
But it really boosted the profile of this man with so many humanitarian campaign ribbons, a man ready to defend Human Rights in every corner of the world—except in Kosovo. Kouchner left the Assembly chambers before questions from Deputies could be posed, and went on to justify the unjustifiable: International institutions organized territories from which Serbs, for security reasons, could not leave: “The establishment of enclaves, which were really cantons for the people, was the only possible solution the International Community could come up with when the war was ongoing and between seven and eight thousand disappearances were reported and their families were waiting on their return.” He admitted here the essential ineffectiveness of the UNMIK in the face of KLA exactions in the Summer of 1999. The problem is that never before in its history had the UN failed to organize ‘safe havens’ for a minority population in peril—here the Serbs and Roma—because terrorists might threaten them. Furthermore, would this not mean that the UNMIK and KFOR had abandoned their duties from the beginning? Actually, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) opened several refugee camps in Kosovo after the anti-Serb riots of March 2004 in anticipation of the massive flight of non-Albanians.
So it is obvious that Bernard Kouchner saw the situation getting away from him and that his mission had failed. On 26 November 2000, before the UN Security Council in New York, he could no longer hide behind the arguments he habitually used with the French press. To the surprise of many, he revealed himself in these terms: “It must be recognized that the situation in Kosovo did not change. The war was not finished. The reestablishment of Peace is always necessary and difficult to work out. Despite the success of municipal elections, Kosovo remained a society in crisis. Extremists looking to destroy the chances for democracy in Kosovo were always many, and this is why we had to maintain the same vigilance, the same military presence and the same economic engagements for the time being.” But the solution offered at the end of 2000 to counter the Albanian terrorist killings was the organization of general elections and a form of government already available to the Albanians, what he called “institutions of self-government.” But persuaded that negotiations between Serbs and Albanians over the status of Kosovo might “lead to a new war,” he suggested quite simply: “It is because I am persuaded that we must continue to enforce UN Res 1244.” This is no less hypocritical in light of his tireless support for the independence of Kosovo than any of his positions as French Foreign Minister in 2008!
From the beginning, Bernard Kouchner did not hide his sympathies for the Albanians and went so far as to be photographed on multiple occasions alongside Hashim Thaçi, the 1998 head of the KLA, an Albanian guerilla group guilty of several village massacres and other war crimes. Kouchner, as UN Representative to Kosovo, allowed municipal authority to pass, in its entirety, to the members of the KLA, to the detriment of the moderates around Kosovo president Rugovo. This action required Kouchner to claim that the KLA were legitimized by the prestige of Resistance and that their popular support would be total, but this was not to be. When the first municipal elections in Kosovo since the arrival of the UNMIK were held, in October 2000, credit for the victories of LDK moderates was given to the extremists of the KLA. But it was too late; the KLA had already reached its objective of cleansing the territory, thanks directly to the support of Bernard Kouchner.
Fortunately, the sum total of France’s policies was not contained in the failed pro-consul of Bernard Kouchner. Great voices were heard pointing up the mistakes of the International Community in the Balkans: Pierre Marie Gallois, Régis Debray and even Jean-Pierre Chevènement held up the French tradition of a critical mind and an objective analysis of international situations. Chevènement, in his recent work La France est-elle finie?, (Is France Done For?) stated that “the wars in Yugoslavia were a chance to re-legitimatize NATO and, through that alliance, the American presence in Europe.” As proof he noted that “the intervention over Kosovo, outside any authorization by the UN Security Council” and “scorning the position of the International Community to respect the territorial integrity of Serbia-Montenegro.” This was an echo of a statement made during the war in Bosnia, at which time Mr. Chevènement said that, from 1994, by accepting the Bosnian and Croatian secessions, the Pandora’s box of future armed conflicts was opened. Here he makes a subtle allusion to the disappearances of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, nations created and allied with France in the period between the two World Wars, as the lifeless remains where recently had appeared “a myriad of small States reminiscent of the Kleinstaaterei of the Holy Roman Empire.” Such a vision truly emphasizes the strategies in play to blow up southeastern Europe.