by Nebojsa Malic
It has been more than three weeks since the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo declared dependence and gained recognition from a handful of countries presuming themselves above international law. Serbia has refused to accept this seizure of its territory. Serbs in Kosovo are engaging in civil disobedience to the Albanian-dominated regime, and the EU mission sent to "guide" it. There have been protests against the illegal separation of Kosovo around the world for the past two weeks [ed. emphasis] . In Belgrade, hundreds of thousands marched peacefully, gathering for a prayer service afterwards; a handful disgracefully used the protests as a cover for looting, while one group attacked foreign embassies, including that of the U.S.
Washington's reaction – howls of self-righteous indignation – exposed the full frontal hypocrisy of the Empire. The embassy attack was denounced as a gross violation of U.S. sovereignty, even as State Department officials were busily spreading falsehoods about the U.S. violation of Serbian sovereignty as something desirable, acceptable, and proper. American media just about declared an open season on Serbs.
Already, there is blowback from the decision to detach Kosovo from Serbia and recognize it as a EU protectorate. Separatists the world over have taken note of the development, and despite official proclamations from Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin, very much believe it is a precedent for the future. Last week, Costa Rica recognized Kosovo – and threw in Palestine while at it.
Failed From The Start
Declaring "independence" of Kosovo, leader of the terrorist KLA and "prime minister" of the separatist province, Hashim Thaci, boasted how he would get a hundred recognitions in no time. So far, there have been less than thirty, out of nearly two hundred states in the world.
Torturing the body and spirit of UNSCR 1244, the EU dispatched a mission to the province, ostensibly to "help out" the Thaci government. The incongruously named EULEX ("lex" meaning "law," where there just isn't any), however, bears more resemblance to the protectorate established in nearby Bosnia, with Dutch "diplomat" Peter Feith as acting viceroy. Feith, by the way, is no stranger to working with the KLA. In 2001, he was the NATO envoy who brokered an end to their banditry in southern Serbia.
Feith is also the head of the International Steering Group, a body of countries that have recognized the "independence" of Kosovo and are taking a hand in steering it. The ISG was envisioned by the failed Ahtisaari plan, never approved by the UN and vehemently rejected by Belgrade. It appears the KLA regime's sponsors are trying to implement it anyway. However, further complicating things, the UN has not authorized the EU mission, and there appears to be quite a jurisdictional conflict between it and UNMIK. Between the UN, the EU, the Albanians, and the Serbs' refusal to recognize the new regime, the province is an even bigger mess than at any point since 1999.
Both the Thaci regime and its international sponsors have spoken out against "partition" of Kosovo, with Thaci threatening he would not "yield one inch" of territory. Having just wantonly violated the borders of Serbia, the KLA and the Empire now dare claim the borders of Kosovo are sacred…
Lies Diplomats Tell
On February 27, the New York Times and International Herald Tribune published an op-ed by Serbia's Minister Vuk Jeremic, arguing against the carve-up of his country. Jeremic, educated in the U.S. and the UK, was personally appointed by Empire's fair-haired boy, Serbian president Boris Tadic. His appeal drew on themes from American history (borrowing the title from the Pledge of Allegiance) and used the very latest in politically correct phraseology.
It did him absolutely no good. The outgoing undersecretary of State, Nicholas Burns (for the past three years at the helm of the Bush administration's Clintonian Kosovo policy) condemned Jeremic's reasoned statement as "invective" and called it hypocritical (!). How dare they complain, said Burns, when they "marched into Kosovo" in 1999 and "tried to drive a million Kosovar Albanian muslims out of the country"?
It was a typical Burnsian torture of truth; the only people "marching into Kosovo" in 1999 were NATO occupiers. The alleged plan to expel Albanians was shown to be a fabrication. One more thing of interest; Burns has on multiple occasions emphasized the Albanians' Islamic faith. Yet U.S. officials and the Albanians themselves jeer when anyone brings up the issue of Islam. Well, which is it? Are they Muslims first and foremost (and therefore one can discuss Islamic radicalism), or not? It can't be both, or neither, whenever convenient.
Another U.S. "diplomat," Deputy Secretary for Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried, also engaged in wholesale torture of history in a C-SPAN appearance on February 22. As transcripts of the show demonstrate, he tried to justify U.S. actions in the province by invoking "facts" with little or no basis in reality.
Secretary Rice herself demonstrated either ignorance or stupidity when she told the press that Kosovo was a done deal and the Serbs should get over it: "I mean, after all, we're talking about something from 1389. It's time to move forward." Her spokesman, Tom Casey, told the press on February 25, "it ought to be clear to everybody at this point that Kosovo is never going to be a part of Serbia again."
One doesn't know where to start, confronted with such arrogance, hypocrisy, stupidity and mendacity. Perhaps it is best to quote an observation by Joshua Trevino of the Brussels Journal:
"They wished to bring to an illusory close the feel-good narrative of America's last 'good war,' in an era were such narratives are pitifully thin; and they simultaneously wished to isolate that narrative from history in toto. Their desire is strong enough that they will lie to the American people and the world as needed: see here, for example, Under Secretary Burns reversing the chronology of the 1999 Kosovo war, and egregiously mischaracterizing the explicit content of U.N. Resolution 1244. The exercise deceives no one but themselves."
From the remarks by U.S. "diplomats," it is pretty clear that their Serbophobia was not caused by the attack on the U.S. embassy on February 21, but was rather deep-seated and already established. Something similar can be said for the Washington Post, a paper noted for its rabid Russophobia. And what are Serbs but surrogate Russians, right? In an invective-laden editorial on February 23, the Post denounced Prime Minister Kostunica as a "thug" and his policies as "poisonous nationalist posturing." The latter mirrors the language used in a mid-2006 iditorial, also denouncing Kostunica (and president Tadic as well), and bearing equal resemblance to reality.
The Post editorial seemed to open a season on Serbs; within two days, it was followed by the Seattle Times, which also used the "thug" meme, and argued that Serbia ought to be "smacked down." By the end of the week, Serb-bashing had made its way to American politics. The Republican challenger running against Congresswoman Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) has brought up her Serbian heritage and "disturbing" support for Serbia as campaign issues.
Pompous pronouncements from Foggy Bottom notwithstanding, the declaration and recognition of the KLA regime in Kosovo has opened a veritable Pandora's box in international relations. Countries all over the world are observing the trampling of law and order by the American Empire, and wondering if they are next. By seeking to finish what Clinton started, the Bush administration has demonstrated that the Empire is a bipartisan project; that both John McCain and Hillary Clinton support "Kosova" is proof how little choice Americans actually have come November. (True to form, Barack Obama has issued an equivocating statement, supporting the false state but also claiming Serbia's place is in the West.)
Ten years ago, Kosovo was a local conflict, one that Serbs and Albanians have waged for control of the territory since the 1700s. By arming, training and funding the KLA, then stepping in as its air force, the Empire has made it into global issue. By recognizing the occupied province as an "independent," ethnically cleansed, Albanian Muslim state, it has rejected law in favor of force, and morals in favor of power. It is hard to predict what will follow, but whatever it is, it won't be good.