A short history of Kosovo-Metochia



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The region of Kosovo & Metohija (Metochia in English) was a political center of mediaeval Serbia and makes the very essence of Serbian spiritual and cultural identity and statehood since the Middle Ages up today. The biggest and the most important number of Serbian Orthodox mediaeval monasteries and churches (for instance, Gračanica, Pećka Patrijaršija, Bogorodica Ljeviška and Visoki Dečani) are built exactly in Kosovo & Metohija and the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church – Patriarchate established in 1346 was located (till 1766) in the city of Peć in the western portion of the region called Metohija. The capital of Serbian Empire proclaimed in 1346 was also in Metohija in the city of Prizren which is known in Serbian history as the “Imperial city” or “Serbian Constantinople”. The term Metohija means the land in possession of the Serbian Orthodox Church and according to the archival documents c. 70% of the territory of Kosovo & Metohija was in the legal possession of the Serbian Orthodox Church till 1946 when the new Serbophobic Communist authorities, lead by non-Serb party cadre, “nationalized” the land of the church under the policy of agrarian reform and delivered it to the Albanian peasants.

However, contrary to the Serbian case, for Albanians Kosovo & Metohija is not central national land: moreover it is just peripheral for the very reason they started to settle Kosovo & Metohija from the northern Albania only after the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo & Metohija in 1690 during the Austrian-Ottoman War (Vienna War) 1683-1699. That the Albanians, contrary to the Serbs, are not aboriginal people in Kosovo & Metohija is clearly showing the first preserved Ottoman census (“defter”) related to Kosovo & Metohija done in 1485, i.e. only 30 years after this province became occupied by the Turks and included into administrative system of the Ottoman Empire (in 1455). By analysing the personal names and place names from this document already ex-Yugoslav linguists claimed that it is obvious that only 2% of them are of Albanian origin. However, after the First (when c. 100.00 Serbs emigrated from Kosovo & Metohija to the Southern Hungary) and the Second (during the new Austrian-Ottoman War in 1737-1739) Great Serbian Migrations from Kosovo & Metohija, the ethnic composition of the region gradually was changed for the reason that the Ottoman authorities invited neighbouring loyal Muslim Albanians (in Turkish language „Arnauts“) from the Northern Albania (the speakers of the Geg dialect of the Albanian language) to settle this region. Consequently, according to the Austrian historiography and statistoics, only at the end of the 19th c. a tiny Albanian majority became reality at Kosovo & Metohija: in 1899 it was 47,9% of Albanians compared to 43,7% of the Serbs, while in 1871 Serbian majority was clear with 63,6% of the Serbs vs 32,2% of the Albanians. According to official Serbian statistics made immediately after the Balkan Wars 1912-1913 when Kosovo & Metohija became re-included into the state territory of Serbia, it was 50% of all non-Albanians and 50% Albanians living in this region.

There are three reasons for such population change:

1) Constant Albanian immigration to Kosovo & Metohija from Northern Albania after 1699
2) Permanent Albanian terror against and ethnic cleansing of the local Orthodox Serbs (for instance, 150.000 Serbs are expelled from Kosovo & Metohija in the years 1878-1912)
3) A higher Albanian natural birth-rate in comparison to the Serbian one

Differently to the Serbian case, Kosovo & Metohija (except during the WWII) was never part of Albanian state that was, by the way, established for the first time in history only in 1912. Thus, undoubtedly, Serbs have pure historical and legal rights on Kosovo & Metohija in comparison to the Albanians (like Lithuanians on Vilnius and Trakai areas in comparison to the Poles).

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The most important Serbian Christian Orthodox shrines in Kosovo & Metochia from the Middle Ages

Kosovo and Metohija is very fertile and clement plane (differently from mountainous Albania – that was the main reason for ethnic Albanian migrations from Albania to Kosovo & Metohija) with mild climate, reach in water resources, with high mountain chains bordering with Albania. It has been God-blessed environment for a fruitful development of the highest achievements in all cultural fields in medieval Serbia. The cultural and demographic strength of the Serbs is best illustrated by the presence of c. 1.500 monuments of Serbian culture. Numerous outstanding noble Serbian families used to live in this province (known as “Old Serbia”), as families Branković, Hrebeljanović, Musić, Vojinović, some of which were the inceptors of Serbian dynasties. In addition, a great number of Serbian noble castles existed all over Kosovo with rich aristocratic life going on inside their walls. They were also meeting places of Serbian nobility and centers where important political and other decisions have been taken and places attended by foreign envoys and outstanding guests from the noble foreign ruling families. In Svrčin castle, for example, the famous Serbian Emperor Dušan (1331-1355) was firstly crowned king in 1331, and Pauni, famous for its beauty, were favoured place of Serbian king Milutin (1282-1321) – a founder of monastery of Gračanica. In Pauni in 1342 Serbian Emperor Dušan had received Jovan VI Kantakuzin, one of the pretenders to the Byzantine throne at that time. Nerodimlja, with the strong fortress over the castle, was favourite residence of Serbian king Stefan Dečanski (1321-1331) who built up the famous monastery of Visoki Dečani in Metohija – a meeting place of western (Roman Catholic) and eastern (Byzantine Orthodox) architecture styles.

However, for the mediaeval Albanian history Kosovo & Metohija is of no importance: no one Albanian feudal lord or dynasty originated in Kosovo & Metohija, no Albanian religious shrines (churches) in Kosovo & Metohija, and mostly important, no Albanian place-names in the province. Even today, 90% of place-names in Kosovo & Metohija are of Serbian-Slavic origin – even in Albanian language the name for the province („Kosova“) has Serbian-Slavic root/origin: „Kos“ (=blackbird).

Serbian elite and minor nobility has built in the Middle Ages in this region hundreds of smaller chapels and several dozens of monumental Christian monasteries and churches. Some of them have been preserved to date, such as Patriarchy of Peć (since 1346 site of the Serbian Patriarch), Dečani, Gračanica, Bogorodica Ljeviška, Banjska, Sveti Arhanđeli near Prizren and others. Serbian churches and monasteries had been for centuries owners of great complexes of fertile land. As it is said, Metohija, the name originated from the Greek word metoh, means church land (administratively, Kosovo province is divided by Serbian authorities into Kosovo covering the eastern part and Metohija covering the western part). Highly developed economic life was an integral part of a high level of civilization attained in the medieval Serbia. The city of Prizren, for example, was a famous economic and commercial center, with developed silk production, fine crafts, and numerous settlements where the merchants from Kotor (today in Montenegro) and Dubrovnik (historically independent republic) had their houses, and in the 14th c. Prizren was the site of the consul from Dubrovnik for the whole Serbian state. And many other commercial centers such as Priština, Peć, Hoča, Vučitrn, are testifying the strength of highly developed economic life in this region. The region of Kosovo & Metohija was also famous in Europe after its very rich silver-mining centers as Trepča, Novo Brdo and Janjevo, out of which in the 15th c. Novo Brdo had become one of the most important mining centers of the Balkans and Europe. Mainly silver, but in certain extent and gold, were exported to the big European centers in great quantities especially during the first half of the 15th c. However, the Ottoman authorities totally neglected mine exploitation in Kosovo & Metohija (likewise elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire) and at such a way this very rich province did not contribute to the economic prosperity of the Ottoman citizens.

Turkish-Ottoman invasion from the mid-14th c. (1354) means a fatal turning point in the Balkan and Serbian history during the second half of the 14th c. The military advance of the Turks towards the Central Europe via the Balkans was a rather slow process. Serbian ruler prince (known in Serbian epic songs as the “emperor”) Lazar Hrebeljanović (1370-1389) and Serbian nobility in the famous „Kosovo Battle“ on June 28th, 1389 did everything to stop the Turkish invasion towards the South Eastern Europe. It was not only a clash of two armies led by their rulers Serbian prince Lazar and Turkish sultan Murat I (1362-1389), who both are killed during the battle, but also a clash of two civilizations, one Christian-European and one Islamic-Asiatic. During the Ottoman yoke in Serbian national conscience the „Kosovo Battle“ has acquired a mythical dimension of a crucial historical event (even today chronology of Serbian national history is divided into two periods: before and after the „Kosovo Battle“), greatly affecting the national identity of the Serbs. The Serbian epic poetry is very rich and the cycle of poems devoted to Kosovo & Metohija are a pearl of that treasure and moral and psychological support to Serbian people during the centuries of slavery under the Turks till the 19th c. Kosovo & Metohija have been longest under the Turkish lordship in comparison to all other ethnic and historic Serbian lands as this region became finally liberated from the Turks only in 1912. On the opposite side, in Albanian national epic poetry there are no examples of devotion to the Kosovo & Metohija land and history. However, even the “father” of Albanian national pride – the feudal lord Georgie Kastriot Skanderbeg (1405-1468, ruler of Central Albania from 1443 to 1468) was in fact of Serbian origin. Contrary to Albanian case, in Serbian national poetry we find such a great number of representatives of Serbian nobility, of Serbian castles and outstanding Serbian monasteries from Kosovo & Metohija.

The Turkish-Ottoman invasion of the South Eastern Europe including and the Serbian lands, have not only brought about the fall of Christian civilization, but is also responsible for the destruction of all social structures, the elimination of the Serbian elite and the destruction of the most outstanding cultural achievements. One part of Serbian nobility was killed, one part expelled to Asia, one part took Islam (mainly voluntarily), and one part managed to emigrate north, west and to across the Adriatic Sea to Italy. Average people (the peasants) deprived from its national leaders had no option but to stick to the traditional national values. It is thanks to the Serbian Orthodox Church which managed to revive its work in 1557 (renewal of the Patriarchy of Peć by the sultan’s decree), that Serbian people kept alive the awareness of the mediaeval national state and high achievements of its civilization. Many mediaeval castles and towns were destroyed, many churches were raised to the ground, and even some of them turn into the mosques. For example, at the beginning of the 17th c., the church of the Holy Angels (Sveti Arhandjeli), where Serbian emperor Stefan Dušan was buried, that was in fact the monumental mausoleum of Emperor Dušan, was totally destroyed, and the stone of which the church was built was used for building the Sinan-paša mosque, still existing in the city of Prizren today. Bogorodica Ljeviška, the monumental church of King Milutin, in 1756 was turned into the mosque and only after the WWI it was again restored into the Christian church. Contrary, there is no one example of conversion of the Muslim mosque into the Christian church in the 20th c. when the Christians (Serbs) ruled the province.

Turkish invasion and the consequences of their conflict with Christian Europe, particularly since the siege of Vienna in 1683, had considerably changed the ethnic and demographic picture of that part of Serbia. The Orthodox Serbs were the absolute majority population until the end of the 17th c., and before the First Great Migration of the Serbs in 1690, due to the defeat of the Christian Europe (the Habsburg army) in the conflict with the Turks and the participation of the Serbs in that conflict on the side of the Christian Europe. After 1690 the Turks have been settled in Kosovo & Metohija’s towns and cities, but the turning point in history of Kosovo & Metohija was the fact that the Albanians have been coming from the mountains of Northern Albania to both (firstly) Metohija and (later) Kosovo. The colonisation of Kosovo & Metohija by Albania’s Albanians has been continued after 1941 up today. Surely, until the 18th c. there are no Albanians in Kosovo & Metohija in bigger agglomerations. In addition to the newly settled Albanians who were mostly Muslims, i.e. originally the Christians converted to Islam already in Albania or soon after settling in Kosovo & Metohija, it was also and the process of Islamization of the Serbs that brought about great changes in the cultural environment of the province. Many of Islamized Serbs (the „Arbanasi“) gradually fused with predominantly Albanian Muslims and adopted their culture and language. Thus, a great number of today Kosovo “Albanians” are in fact of Serbian ethnic origin. The process of Islamization and a change of ethnic structure of Kosovo & Metohija further continued at the beginning of the second half of the 19th c. when the Turks settled the Cherkeses in this province which at that time enjoyed a status of a separate Ottoman administrative unit („Kosovo vilayet“) but with a bigger territory in comparison to Kosovo & Metohija are today (including and Northern Macedonia and parts of present-day South West Serbia). Consequently, due to of all these artificial demographic changes, but also and due to high birth-rate of Kosovo Albanians, the Orthodox Serbs decreased for almost 50% of the total population living in Kosovo & Metohija c. 1900.

In the second half of the 19th c. and at the beginning of the 20th c. the Serbian middle class in Prizren, Peć, Priština and other cities was the main driving force of the urban and economic development of the province. The newspaper “Prizren” was published in both in Serbian and Turkish language. In 1871 the „Orthodox Theological School“ was founded in Prizren by Sima Igumanov. During the eighties and the nineties of the 19th c. a great number of new schools, cultural institutions and banks were founded and many of them have been sponsored by the independent Kingdom of Serbia whose consulate was established in Priština.

It was during the WWII, that the most drastic changes in the demographic picture of Kosovo & Metohija took place. In this region, which became part of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s protected Greater Albania from 1941 to 1944 (composed by Albania, Kosovo & Metohija, Western Macedonia and Eastern Montenegro), the Albanian nationalists got free hands to terrorize and exterminate the Serbs. Under such pressure no lesser than 100.000 Serbs left this region. In their empty houses about the same number of Albanians from Albania are settled (the „Kosovars“). Such policy definitely changed the balance in the Albanian favour. Thus, the first official census in post-WWII Yugoslavia (in 1948) showed 199,961 Serbs (including and “Montenegrins”) in Kosovo & Metohija and 498,242 Albanians. Moreover, the federal National Assembly in Belgrade issued a special law in 1946 according to which all expelled Serbs/Montenegrins from the region during the years of 1941-1944 are prohibited to return back to their homes under the official pretext that such move would provoke tensions between Serbs/Montenegrins and Albanians in Kosovo & Metohija.

After 1945, as a result of unbelievable demographic explosion (up today the biggest in Europe) Albanian population in Kosovo doubled till 1971. The official Yugoslav census for that year shows 916,168 Albanians living in Kosovo & Metohija, while Serb and Montenegrin (the “Montenegrins” as a separate nation from the Serbs are declared in 1945) population reached only to number 259,819. This demographic trend clearly demonstrates that the theory of Serb repression over Albanians after the WWII is absolutely not correct. The truth is that the Serbophobic Yugoslav Communist authorities (lead by Austro-Hungarian Croat Josip Broz Tito who was fighting in 1914 in Austro-Hungarian uniform at the territory of Serbia) gave favour to the Albanians at the expense of Serbs/Montenegrins allowing uncontrolled settlement of Albanian immigrants from North Albania and tolerating different methods of ethnic discrimination over the Serbs/Montenegrins which made more and more Serbs and Montenegrins leave the province to seek more secured life in Central Serbia or Montenegro. The new wave of Serbian and Montenegrin exodus from Kosovo & Metohija started after mass Albanian demonstrations in 1968 in the region with a requirement to transform Kosovo & Metohija into the new (7th) Yugoslav republic in order to easily secede the region from Serbia with a final aim to include it into a Greater Albania. By the 1990s more than 800 settlements in which Serbs lived with Albanians became ethnically pure Albanian villages. From 1974 (when a new Yugoslav (con)federal constitution was adopted) Kosovo & Metohija’s Albanians got extremely huge political-national autonomy only formally within Republic of Serbia. However, it became practically an independent seventh republic within Yugoslav (con)federation having its own president, government, parliament, Academy of Science, flag, police, territorial defence and school systems and even a constitution which was in many articles in direct opposition to the constitution of the Republic of Serbia.

Monah na rusevinama crkveDestroyed Serbian Christian Orthodox Church in Kosovo & Metochia by Muslim Albanians in March 2004

In an attempt to prevent the secession of Kosovo & Metohija after pro-Greater Albanian demonstrations in this province in the spring 1981 (when Albanians openly required unification with Albania), Serbian government in the 1990 abolished only Albanian political autonomy (i.e independence) at Kosovo & Metohija. When the rebels of Albanian classical terrorist „Kosovo Liberation Army“ (established in 1995 and sponsored by the USA) began attacks on both Serbian police forces and Serbian civilians in February 1998 the Serbian government brought the army and stronger police troops to put the rebellion down. In the course of the „Kosovo War“ in 1998 and 1999 which ended by the NATO intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) more than 500.000 Kosovo & Metohija’s Albanians, in order to escape from the NATO bombing and to perform a political refugee show-programme for the West) fled the province to Macedonia and Albania. After the war, despite the international presence, „Kosovo Liberation Army“ organized persecutions of Serbian, Montenegrin and all other non-Albanian population with a result that more than 200.000 Serbs and Montenegrins left Kosovo and Metohija. Only 90.000 Serbs remained living in total isolation, dispersed in several KFOR protected Serb enclaves. After the self-proclamation of Kosovo state independence on February 17th 2008 Balkan ethnic Albanians are living in two national states with a great possibility to create in the recent future a united Greater Albania following the borders from 1941-1944.

By means of the United Nations’ Security Council Resolution 1244 (June 1999), the mandate of the warrant for the effective protection of universal values of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family (which is foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the World) on the territory of the southern Serbia’s Autonomous Region of Kosovo & Metohija (in English known only as Kosovo) after the war against Kosovo Albanian secessionist terrorists (the so-called “Kosovo Liberation Army”, established, financed and supported by the USA administration) from February 1998 to June 1999 was given to the United Nations.

Responsibility for protection of human lives, freedom and security in Kosovo & Metohija was thus transferred to the international public authorities (in fact only to the NATO): the administration of UNMIK (United Nations’ Mission in Kosovo), and the international military forces – (KFOR, Kosovo Forces). Unfortunately, very soon this responsibility was totally challenged as more than 220.000 ethnic Serbs and members of other non-Albanian communities were expelled from the region by local ethnic Albanians. Mostly suffered the Serbs: it left today only 10% of them in Kosovo & Metohija in comparison to the pre-war situation. Only up to March 2004 c. 120 Christian religious objects and cultural monuments were devastated or destroyed.

The most terrible in the series of Kosovo Albanian eruptions of violence against the Serbs living in this region was organized and carried out between March 17th-19th, 2004, having all the features of Nazi organized Pogroms. During the tragic events of the March Pogrom, in a destructive assault of tens of thousands by Kosovo Albanians led by armed groups of redressed Kosovo Liberation Army (Kosovo Protection Corpus), a systematic ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs was carried out, together with destruction of houses, other property, cultural monuments and Serbian Orthodox Christian religious sites. However, the international civil and military forces in the region have been only “stunned” and “surprised”.

The March Pogrom, which resulted in the loss of several dozens of lives, several hundreds of wounded (including the members of KFOR as well), more than 4.000 exiled ethnic Serbs, more than 800 Serbian houses set on fire and 35 destroyed or severely damaged Serbian Orthodox Christian churches and cultural monuments, revealed the real situation in this European region 60 years after the Holocaust during the Second World War. Unfortunately, the attempts of the Serbs to call attention to the situation proved to have been justified in the most shocking way.
It is thus necessary to reiterate that ethnic cleansing of the Serbs (and other non-Albanian population) in the region by the local Albanians after the mid-June 1999 means putting into practice the annihilation of a Serbian territory of exquisite historic, spiritual, political and cultural top-level significance in terms of the Serbian nation, state and the Church, and its every-day visible transformation into another Albanian state in the Balkans with a real wish and possibility to unify it with a neighboring motherland Albania. The main geo-political goal of the First Albanian Prizren League from June 1878 is being brought to its attainment, including its implications for the Preshevo valley in South-East Serbia, Western Macedonia up to Vardar River, Greek portion of Epirus province and Eastern Montenegro.

The Albanian national movement, established in accordance with the program of the First Prizren League in 1878, is keeping on with its terrorist activities up today. It was before after June 1999 particularly active in the period of Italian and German Greater Albania from April 1941 to May 1945, when it undertook the organization of the Albanian Quisling network of agents. During this period of time c. 100.000 Serbs from Kosovo & Metohija have been expelled from their homes to addition to extra 200.000 expelled during Croat-run Titoslavia from 1945 to 1980. The process of articulation of the Albanian secessionist movement in the geo-political sense continued throughout the post-Second World War period marked by the rule of Yugoslav-Albanian anti-Serb communist partocracy. The process became particularly intense and successful in the period between 1968 and 1989. The entrance of the NATO troops in the region in June 1999 marks the beginning of the last stage of the Albanian-planned and carried out “Final Solution” of the Serbian question on the territory of Kosovo & Metohija – a “Cradle of Serbian nation”.
In the light of the main Albanian goal – to establish ethnically pure Greater Albania – it is “understandable” why it is so important to destroy any Serbian trace in the territory defined by the aspirations. Albanian terrorism has been developing for more than two centuries. It has the profile of ethnically, i.e. Nazi-racist style motivated terrorism (like Croat one), marked by excessive animosity against the Serbs. Its principal features are the following:

1. Repressive measures directed against the Serbian population
2. Carrying practical actions to force the Serbs to leave their homes
3. Devastation of the Serbian Orthodox Christian religious objects and other cultural monuments belonging to the Serbian people and testifying to its ten centuries long presence in Kosovo & Metohija
4. Destruction of the complete infrastructure used by the members of the Serbian community
5. Destruction of Serbian cemeteries

Long standing Muslim Albanian Nazi-style terror against the Serbian community in Kosovo & Metohija is a specific phenomenon with grave consequences not only for the local Serbs. It became, however, clear that sooner or later it will bring about severe problems for the whole Europe.

The origins of the endowments of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the heritage of the Serbian state and nation in Kosovo & Metohija, as well in other Serbian ethnographic territories, can be traced in historical sources and other relevant documents since the Early Middle Ages. Unfortunately, throughout the course of their long history, Serbian religious (and at the same time national) objects have often been exposed to physical attacks of numerous foreign invaders including and Albanians who came to the Balkans from the Caucasus’ Albania via Sicily and South Italy only in the year of 1043. In the centuries of the Islamic Ottoman rule (1455−1912) over Kosovo & Metohija, both Serbian nation and its cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, suffered very much by both Turks and especially (Muslim) Albanians who came to this region from present-day Albania after the Great Vienna War that is finished in 1699. However, not those sufferings can be compared to the hardship borne by them since mid-June 1999, when the region of Kosovo & Metohija became turned into the first NATO’s established concentration camp and U.S. 19th c.-style colony in Europe run by both the local Albanians and their numerous fellows emigrated to Kosovo & Metohija from Albania.

It is in Kosovo & Metohija that the richest group of monuments of religious endowments bequeathed by the Christian East to the European Christian civilization can be found. According to the official inventory of protected cultural properties of the Republic of Serbia, as of 1986 and 1994, more than 300 cultural properties, belonging to the “1st and the 3rd categories”, have been granted protected status in Kosovo & Metohija. There is also a considerable number of properties having status of “recognized heritage”, i.e. preventively protected properties.

A considerable number of cultural properties in the highest categories – mediaeval monumental heritage in particular – distinctly shows that the Serbian mediaeval state (early 9th c.−1459), marked by the Nemanjić’s dynasty (1167−1371), which gave ten rulers in the course of two centuries, once (before the Ottoman rule) belonged to the developed countries of Europe. This is the heritage that continued the tradition of the Byzantine architecture: numerous religious objects and cities (for instance Novo Brdo/Novaberda) were built on Byzantine foundations, while in some of them elements of Western European mediaeval architectural styles – before all Romanesque – were incorporated in a unique, original manner. The fact that Serbian king Stephen (Stefan) Uroš III Dečanski (1321−1331) dedicated to Christ Pantokrator his great burial church in the monastery of Dečani (in Metohija near Peć), entrusting its construction to the Franciscan Vito, a member of the order of Friars Minor from Kotor, is an obvious and respectable example of an unbiast approach. The architecture of Kosovo & Metohija acquired some specific features owing to the fact that some other Serbian royal mausolea were built in this region – like burial churches of king Uroš III Milutin (1282−1321) in Banjska and emperor Stefan Dušan “Mighty” (1331−1355) in the monastery of Holy Archangels (in Metohija near Prizren) – and that the Patriarchate of Peć, an important religious centre, with church of Holy Apostles, was the burial place of the highest prelates of the Serbian Orthodox Church since the 13th c. (more than 200 years before Columbus discovered America).

It has to be clearly noted that there is no a single Albanian built mediaeval shrine or profane object on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija for the very historical reason – the Albanians did not live in this region before 1699. Even the term “Kosova” used in Albanian language is in fact of Slavic-Serbian original “Kosovo” what means nothing in Albanian language but it means a kind of eagle in Serbian (“Kos”).

Both Kosovo and Metohija have been the homeland of numerous Serbian aristocratic families like the Musić’s, Lazarević’s or Branković’s. Their estates are situated in this region. The greatest portions of Kosovo & Metohija’s land, rich in ores, belonged to Serbian rulers and to Serbian Orthodox Church. The rulers have been periodically granted to the monasteries vast estates, including villages and shepherds’ settlements (the so-called “katuni”), so that the major part of the present territory of Kosovo & Metohija was occupied with church estates – metochies. It was for that reason that the western part of this region got the name of Greek origin – Metohija.

In the centuries of the Ottoman lordship, Serbian people gathered around their churches and monasteries. After the sudden change of fortune in the war operations of the Habsburg general Piccolomini, whose military campaign against the Ottoman Empire (Great Vienna War, 1683−1699) was readily supported by the Serbian population of Kosovo & Metohija, c. 100.000 of local Serbs were forced to migrate to northern areas, across the rivers of Sava and Danube in the year of 1690 (The First Great Serbian Migration) in order to escape retaliation. In the opening decades of the 18th c., the great Ottoman Empire, together with a policy of mass settlement in the region of loyal Muslim ethnic Albanians from the neighboring mountainous and poor Albania, began to show clear signs of political and military weakening. After the First Serbian Uprising against the Turks (1804−1813), the Ottoman authorities were compelled to accept requests of European great powers, and Russia in particular, regarding protection of the Christian population in the Balkans. When two Serbian states, Serbia and Montenegro, finally managed to liberate Kosovo & Metohija and the whole region of Old Serbia (Kosovo, Metohija, Raška and Vardar Macedonia) in 1912/1913, not a single of the most important monuments of Islamic architecture was destroyed or desecrated – Bayraki mosque in Peć (Metohija), Sinan-pasha’s mosque in Prizren (Metohija), built in the 17th c. of stones and fragments of sculptural decoration brought from the ruins of the monastery of Holy Archangels near Prizren (an endowment of Serbian emperor Dušan), the Imperial (Fetih) mosque in Priština (Kosovo) or Hadum-mosque in Đakovica (Metohija).

2177800481_785277bdf2_b_KosovoA rapid process of Islamization of Christian Kosovo & Metochia after June 1999

However, the major part of Serbian Christian religious objects, which despite all managed to survive centuries of hardship and Muslim Albanian attacks, could not withstand the latest devastations lasting since mid-June 1999 when NATO troops occupied the region. Destruction and devastation of Serbian Christian cultural heritage in Kosovo & Metohija, which in NATO’s countries acquires special treatment, is unprecedented in the whole history of Europe.

The most genocidal action committed by local Albanians under the auspicious by the NATO’s troops in Kosovo & Metohija from the mid-June 1999 was the “March Pogrom” from March 17th to March 19th of 2004. These three days and nights of Albanian vandalism and ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians from the region, primarily the autochthonous Serbs, in the Nazi “Kristallnacht”-style resulted in devastation of 19 cultural monuments, 6 of which fall into 1st category – churches from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, and 16 religious objects without heritage value, which makes a total of 35 recorded cultural properties and churches of Serb nation.

Only during the period between 1999 and 2004 (the first 5 years of NATO’s occupation of Kosovo & Metohija), in this region 15 cultural monuments from the 1st category and 23 from the 3rd category have been destroyed, which makes a total of 38 recorded cultural properties out of much more destroyed Serbian cultural properties of minor importance. The group of cultural properties at risk , i.e. preserved monuments, includes 88 properties: 31 from the 1st and 57 from the 3rd category.

After the “March pogrom” in 2004, as the most remarkable vandalistic assault of the Muslim Kosovo Albanian terrorists, the number of devastated most important cultural properties has reached 21 for the 1st and 36 for the 3rd category, which makes a total of 47 monuments and objects (end of March 2004). If we take into account all the other destroyed cultural properties, as well as ordinary religious objects, the total surpasses 140 cultural monuments, churches and other religious objects up to mid-2004.

It is clear that Europe is facing the organized and deliberate destruction of monuments and religious objects alongside with devastation of private property of Serbian nation in the cradle of Serbian civilization and history by militant-fanatic Albanians who took example of Catholic Croat-run genocide against the Serbs committed three times in the 20th century (1914-1918; 1941-1945 and 1991-1995) in Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Srem, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim in both cases was and is to erase any trace of Serbian Orthodox civilization and the Serbian cultural heritage westward from the Drina River and in Kosovo & Metohija. The genocide is accompanied with promotion of totally false historical data, undue claims to cultural and historic heritage belonging to other people and the changing and renaming of geographical names and toponyms. We have not to forgot that many Kosovo-Metohija Albanians took participation in ethnic cleansing of the Serbs from the Krayina region (Republic of Serbian Krayina) in Titoist-Tuđman’s Greater Croatia in 1991-1995 as volunteers or mercenaries in Croatian army or ultra-right party-military detachments. Some of these Albanians even received the rank of the generals in the Croatian Army like terrorist and war-criminal Agim Cheku who later became one of the leading commanders of the Albanian “Kosovo Liberation Army” and later the chief-commander of the “Kosovo Protection Corps” (transformed KLA). The other KLA top war criminals after the mid-June 1999 took an active part in political life in the region and one of them, Ramush Haradinaj (a leader of the “Alliance for the Future of Kosovo” and deputy-chief-commander of the “Kosovo Protection Corps”), even became “Prime Minister” of “Kosova” in 2004. Unfortunately, but not and surprisingly, such a situation in Kosovo & Metohija, likewise in Croatia, met no adequate response from the international professional circles coming from the “democratic West” with the exclusion of Serbian professionals and institutions from the heritage protection system.

During the time from the mid-June 1999 up today as the major problems in the context of protection and preservation of the Serbian Christian Orthodox cultural heritage in Kosovo & Metohija are:

• Access to cultural properties and work on their protection is impossible for the exiled Serbian experts,
• For the most monuments and objects no protection has been provided,
• Recommended regimes of protection are not being improved nor implemented,
• Measures of protection are not being put into effect, or, to be more precise, they are being implemented in a discriminative manner,
• Not a single process of rehabilitation of devastated or destroyed Serbian Christian Orthodox monuments has been initiated,
• Supervision by responsible higher rank institutions of the Republic of Serbia has been precluded,
• Vandalization of cultural properties is still occurring, but the offenders have not been condemned never mind apprehended,
• Disrespect for the international legal acts, and
• Application of a policy of “double standards” by UNMIK and NATO

Historically, Serbian Christian Orthodox artistic, cultural and religious heritage of Kosovo & Metohija (both movable and immovable properties) has been exposed to the most severe damages and devastation by local Muslim Albanians during the last 250 years, but particularly after the arrival of the civic “UN Mission in Kosovo” (UNMIK) and NATO military occupation of the region under the label of the “Kosovo Protection Forces” (KFOR) in the mid-June 1999. The territory of Kosovo & Metohija is Serbian centre of cultural, religious and artistic heritage of the highest value in European context that is, first of all, a testimony of historical presence of the Serbs, Serbian culture and Serbian civilization. This heritage belongs to the mankind and is thus worth of protection in accordance with the principle of the “European common heritage”. Salvaging and preserving the Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is a great challenge and duty to be undertaken by modern and democratic Europe if it is.


Source:

March Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija. March 17-19, 2004 with a survay of destroyed and endangered Christian cultural heritage (2004). Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia-Museum in Priština (displaced)

Improved and corrected by Prof. Dr.  Vladislav B. Sotirovic

Note:

The text is not approved by Noel Malcolm! We apologize for any inconvenience.

10 I morto i SerbiDestroyed Serbian Christian Orthodox Church in Kosovo & Metochia by Muslim Albanians in March 2004

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Is Kosovo a Contested Land?



guilty-ring-call-trade

Serbia entered on December 14th, 2015 a final stage of the negotiations to become a full member of the European Union’s (the EU). The western (the USA/EU) client Serbia’s Government is currently under the direct pressure from Brussels to recognize an independence of the narco-mafia Kosovo’s quasi state for the exchange to join the EU but not before 2020. It is only a question of weeks that a western colony of Serbia has to finally declare its position towards Kosovo’s independence. The President of Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, like all other western bots in Serbia, already publicly announced his official position in regard to this question: Serbia’s Government has to finally inform the Serbian nation that Kosovo is not any more an integral part of Serbia and therefore the recognition of Kosovo’s independence by Belgrade is only way towards a prosperous future of the country that is within the EU (and the NATO’s pact as well).

In the following paragraphs we would like to present the most important features of the “Kosovo Question” for the better understanding of the present political situation in which the Serb nation is questioned by the western “democracies” upon both its own national identity and national pride.

Prelude

The southeastern province of the Republic of Serbia – under the administrative title of Kosovo-Metochia (in the English only Kosovo), was at the very end of the 20th century in the center of international relations and global politics too due to the NATO’s 78 days of the “humanitarian” military intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (The FRY which was composed by Serbia and Montenegro)[1] in 1999 (March 24th–June 10th). As it was not approved and verified by the General Assembly or the Security Council of the United Nations, the US-led operation “Merciful Angel” opened among the academicians a fundamental question of the purpose and nature of the “humanitarian” interventions in the world like it was previously in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, Rwanda in 1994 or Somalia in 1991−1995.[2] More precisely, it provoked dilemmas of the misusing ethical, legal and political aspects of armed “humanitarian” interventions as the responsibility to protect for the very reason that it became finally obvious in 2008 that the NATO’s “humanitarian” military intervention in 1999 was primarily aimed to lay the foundation for Kosovo’s independence and its separation from Serbia with transformation of the province into the US−EU’s political-economic colony.[3]

Kosovo as contested land between the Serbs and the Albanians

The province of Kosovo-Metochia (Kosova in the Albanian), as historically contested land between the Serbs and the Albanians, did not, does not and will not have an equal significance for those two nations. For the Albanians, Kosovo was all the time just a provincial land populated by them without any cultural or historical importance except for the single historical event that the first Albanian nationalistic political league was proclaimed in the town of Prizren in Metochia (the western part of Kosovo) in 1878 and existed only till 1881. However, both Kosovo as a province and the town of Prizren were chosen to host the First (pan-Albanian) Prizren League[4] only for the very propaganda reason – to emphasize allegedly predominantly the “Albanian” character of both Kosovo and Prizren regardless to the very fact that at that time the Serbs were a majority of population either in Kosovo or in Prizren.[5] Kosovo was never part of Albania and the Albanians from Albania had no important cultural, political or economic links with Kosovo’s Albanians regardless the fact that the overwhelming majority of Kosovo Albanians originally came from the North Albania after the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo in 1690.[6]

However, quite contrary to the Albanian case, Kosovo-Metochia is the focal point of the Serbian nationhood, statehood, traditions, customs, history, culture, church and above all of the ethno-national identity. It was exactly Kosovo-Metochia to be the central administrative-cultural part of the medieval Serbia with the capital in Prizren. The administrative center of the medieval and later Ottoman-time Serbian Orthodox Church was also in Kosovo-Metochia in the town of Peć (Ipek in the Turkish; Pejë in the Albanian). Before the Muslim Kosovo’s Albanians started to demolish the Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries after June 1999, there were around 1.500 Serbian Christian shrines in this province.[7] Kosovo-Metochia is even today called by the Serbs as the “Serbian Holy Land” while the town of Prizren is known for the Serbs as the “Serbian Jerusalem” and the “Imperial town” (Tsarigrad) in which there was an imperial court of the Emperor Stefan Dushan of Serbia (1346−1355). The Serbs, differently to the Albanians, have a plenty of national folk songs and legends about Kosovo-Metochia, especially in regard to the Kosovo Battle of 1389 in which they lost state independence to the Ottoman Turks.[8]

Nevertheless, there is nothing similar in the Albanian case with regard to Kosovo. For instance, there is no single Albanian church or monastery in this province from the medieval time or any important monument as the witness of the Albanian ethnic presence in the province before the time of the rule by the Ottoman Sultanate. Even the Muslim mosques from the Ottoman time (1455−1912) claimed by the Albanians to belong to the Albanian national heritage, were in fact built by the Ottoman authorities but not by the ethnic Albanians. The Albanian national folk songs are not mentioning the medieval Kosovo that is one of the crucial evidences that they simply have nothing in common with the pre-Ottoman Kosovo. All Kosovo’s place-names are of the Slavic (Serb) origin but not of the Albanian. The Albanians during the last 50 years are just renaming or adapting the original place-names according to their vocabulary what is making a wrong impression that the province is authentically the Albanian. We have not to forget the very fact that the word Kosovo is of the Slavic (the Serb) origin meaning a kind of eagle (kos) while the same word means simply nothing in the Albanian language. Finally, in the Serbian tradition Kosovo-Metochia was always a part of the “Old Serbia”[9] while in the Albanian tradition Kosovo was never called as any kind of Albania.

The province became contested between the Serbs and the Albanians when the later started to migrate from the North Albania to Kosovo-Metochia after 1690 with getting a privileged status as the Muslims by the Ottoman authorities. A Muslim Albanian terror against the Christian Serbs at the Ottoman time[10] resulted in the Abanization of the province to such extent that the ethnic structure of Kosovo-Metochia became drastically changed in the 20th century. A very high Muslim Albanian birthrate played an important role in the process of Kosovo’s Albanization too. Therefore, after the WWII the ethnic breakdown of the Albanians in the province was around 67 percent. The new and primarily anti-Serb Communist authorities of the Socialist Yugoslavia legally forbade to some 100.000 WWII Serb refugees from Kosovo-Metochia to return to their homes after the collapse of the Greater Albania in 1945 of which Kosovo was an integral part. A Croat-Slovenian Communist dictator of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito (1892−1980), granted to the province of Kosovo-Metochia a considerable political autonomous status in 1974 with a separate Government, Provincial Assembly, President, Academy of Science, security forces, independent university in Prishtina and even military defense system for the fundamental political reason to prepare Kosovo’s independence after the death of his Titoslavia.[11] Therefore, Kosovo-Metochia in the Socialist Yugoslavia was just formally part of Serbia as the province was from political-administrative point of view an independent as all Yugoslav republics. A fully Albanian-governed Kosovo from 1974 to 1989 resulted in both destruction of the Christian (Serb) cultural monuments[12] and continuation of mass expulsion of the ethnic Serbs and Montenegrins from the province to such extent that according to some estimations there were around 200.000 Serbs and Montenegrins expelled from the province after the WWII up to the abolition of political autonomy of the province (i.e. independence) by Serbia’s authority in 1989 with the legal and legitimate verification by the Provincial Assembly of Kosovo-Metochia and the reintegration of Kosovo-Metochia into Serbia.[13] At the same period of time, there were around 300.000 Albanians who illegally came to live in Kosovo-Metochia from Albania. Consequently, in 1991 there were only 10 percent of the Serbs and Montenegrins who left to live in Kosovo-Metochia out of a total number of the inhabitants of the province.[14]

Fighting Kosovo’s Albanian political terrorism and territorial secession

The revocation of Kosovo’s political autonomy in 1989 by Serbia’s central Government was aimed primarily to stop further ethnic Albanian terror against the Serbs and Montenegrins and to prevent secession of the province from Serbia that will result in the recreation of the WWII Greater Albania with the legalization of the policy of Albanian ethnic cleansing of all non-Albanian population what practically happened in Kosovo after June 1999 when the NATO’s troops occupied the province and brought to the power a classical terrorist political-military organization – the Kosovo’s Liberation Army (the KLA). Nevertheless, the Western mainstream media as well academia presented Serbia’s fighting Kosovo’s Albanian political terrorism and territorial secession after 1989 as Belgrade policy of discrimination against the Albanian population which became deprived of political and economic rights and opportunities.[15] The fact was that such “discrimination” was primarily a result of the Albanian policy of boycotting Serbia’s state institutions and even job places offered to them in order to present their living conditions in Kosovo as the governmental-sponsored minority rights oppression.

Gazimestan 2

In the Western mainstream mass media and even in academic writings, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, a political leader of Kosovo’s Albanians in the 1990s, was described as a person who led a non-violent resistance movement against Miloshevic’s policy of ethnic discrimination of Kosovo’s Albanians. I. Rugova was even called as a “Balkan Gandhi”.[16] In the 1990s there were established in Kosovo the Albanian parallel and illegal social, educational and political structures and institutions as a state within the state. The Albanians under the leadership of Rugova even three times proclaimed the independence of Kosovo. However, these proclamations of independence were at that time totally ignored by the West and the rest of the world. Therefore, Rugova-led Kosovo’s Albanian national-political movement failed to promote and advance the Kosovo’s Albanian struggle for secession from Serbia and independence of the province with a very possibility to incorporate it into a Greater Albania. I. Rugova himself, coming from the Muslim Albanian Kosovo’s clan that originally migrated to Kosovo from Albania, was active in political writings on the “Kosovo Question” as a way to present the Albanian viewpoint on the problem to the Western audience and therefore, as a former French student, he published his crucial political writing in the French language in 1994.[17]

One of the crucial questions in regard to the Kosovo problem in the 1990s is why the Western “democracies” did not recognize self-proclaimed Kosovo’s independence? The fact was that the “Kosovo Question” was absolutely ignored by the US-designed Dayton Accords of 1995 which were dealing only with the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina.[18] A part to the answer is probably laying in the fact that Rugova-led Albanian secession movement was in essence illegal and even terroristic. It is known that Rugova himself was a sponsor of a terroristic party’s militia which was responsible for violent actions against Serbia’s authorities and non-Albanian ethnic groups in Kosovo.[19] For instance, in July 1988, from the graves of the village of Grace graveyard (between Prishtina and Vuchitrn) were excavated and taken to pieces the bodies of two Serbian babies of the Petrovic’s family.[20] Nevertheless, as a response to Rugova’s unsuccessful independence policy, it was established the notorious KLA which by 1997 openly advocated a full-scale of terror against everything what was Serbian in Kosovo.

The KLA had two main open political aims:

  • To get an independence for Kosovo from Serbia with possibility to include the province into a Greater Albania.
  • To ethnically clean the province from all non-Albanians especially from the Serbs and Montenegrins.

However, the hidden task of the KLA was to wage an Islamic Holy War (the Jihad) against the Christianity in Kosovo by committing the Islamic terror similarly to the case of the present-day Islamic State (the ISIS/ISIL) in the Middle East. Surely, the KLA was and is a part of the policy of radicalization of the Islam at the Balkans after 1991 following the pattern of the governmental (Islamic) Party of Democratic Action (the PDA) in Bosnia-Herzegovina.[21]

That the KLA was established as a terroristic organization is even confirmed by the Western scholars[22] and the US administration too. On the focal point of the Kosovo’s War in 1998−1999 we can read in the following sentence:

Aware that it lacked popular support, and was weak compared to the Serbian authorities, the KLA deliberately provoked Serbian police and Interior Ministry attacks on Albanian civilians, with the aim of garnering international support, specifically military intervention”.[23]

Conclusions

It was true that the KLA realized very well that the more Albanian civilians were killed as a matter of the KLA’s “hit-and-run” guerilla warfare strategy, the Western (the NATO’s) military intervention against the FRY was becoming a reality. In the other words, the KLA with his Commander-In-Chief Hashim Thaci were quite aware that any armed action against Serbia’s authorities and Serbian civilians would bring retaliation against the Kosovo Albanian civilians as the KLA was using them in fact as a “human shield”. That was in fact the price which the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo had to pay for their “independence” under the KLA’s governance after the war. That was the same strategy used by Croatia’s Government and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslim authorities in the process of divorce from Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, as violence in Kosovo escalated in 1998 the EU’s authorities and the US’s Government began to support diplomatically an Albanian course – a policy which brought Serbia’s Government and the leadership of the KLA to the ceasefire and withdrawal of certain Serbian police detachments and the Yugoslav military troops from Kosovo followed by the deployment of the “international” (the Western) monitors (the Kosovo Verification Mission, the KVM) under the formal authority of the OSCE. However, it was in fact informal deployment of the NATO’s troops in Kosovo. The KVM was authorized by the UN’s Security Council Resolution 1199 on September 23rd, 1998. That was the beginning of a real territorial-administrative secession of Kosovo-Metochia from Serbia sponsored by the West for the only and very reason that Serbia did not want to join the NATO and to sell her economic infrastructure to the Western companies according to the pattern of “transition” of the Central and South-East European countries after the Cold War. The punishment came in the face of the Western-sponsored KLA.

2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

Mykolas Romeris University

Institute of Political Sciences

Vilnius, Lithuania

vladislav@sotirovic.eu

ENDNOTES:

[1] The FRY became renamed in February 2003 into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (the SCG) and finally the federation ended in June 2006 when both Serbia and Montenegro became independent states.

[2] On the “humanitarian” military interventions, see [J. L. Holzgrefe, R. O. Keohane (eds.), Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemmas, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003; T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007; D. Fassin, M. Pandolfi, Contemporary States of Emergency: The Politics of Military and Humanitarian Interventions, New York: Zone Books, 2010; A. Hehir, The Responsibility to Protect: Rhetoric, Reality and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention,  London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; G. Th. Weiss, Humanitarian Intervention, Cambridge, UK−Malden, MA, USA: 2012; A. Hehir, Humanitarian Intervention: An Introduction, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013; B. Simms, D. J. B. Trim (eds.), Humanitarian Intervention: A History, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013; D. E. Scheid (ed.), The Ethics of Armed Humanitarian Intervention, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014].

[3] H. Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009.

[4] On the First Prizren League, from the Albanian viewpoint, see [S. Pollo, S. Pulaha, (eds.), The Albanian League of Prizren, 1878−1881. Documents, Vol. I−II, Tirana, 1878].  

[5] In 1878 the Serbs were about 60 percent of Kosovo population and 70 percent of Prizren inhabitants.

[6] On the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo in 1690, see [С. Чакић, Велика сеоба Срба 1689/90 и патријарх Арсеније III Црнојевић, Нови Сад: Добра вест, 1990].

[7] On the Serbian Christian heritage of Kosovo-Metochia, see [M. Vasiljvec, The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija: The Historical and Spiritual Heartland of the Serbian People, Sebastian Press, 2015].

[8] On the Kosovo Battle of 1389 in the Serbian popular tradition, see [Р. Пековић (уредник), Косовска битка: Мит, легенда и стварност, Београд: Литера, 1987; R. Mihaljčić, The Battle of Kosovo in History and in Popular Tradition, Belgrade: BIGZ, 1989; Р. Михаљчић, Јунаци косовске легенде, Београд: БИГЗ, 1989]. The President of Serbia – Slobodan Miloshevic, started his patriotic policy of unification of the Republic of Serbia and promulgation of the human rights for the Kosovo Serbs exactly on the 600 years anniversary of the Kosovo Battle that was celebrated on June 28th, 1989 in Gazimestan near Prishtina as the place of the battle in 1389. However, this event was commonly seen by the Western academia and policy-makers as an expression of the Serb nationalism [R. W. Mansbach, K. L. Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, London−New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2012, 429] and even as the Serb proclamation of the war to the rest of Yugoslavia.

[9] Р. Самарџић et al, Косово и Метохија у српској историји, Београд: Друштво за чување споменика и неговање традиција ослободилачких ратова Србије до 1918. године у Београду−Српска књижевна задруга, 1989, 5; Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија: Историја и идеологија, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, 17−29.

[10] See, for instance, a Memorandum by Kosovo and Macedonian Serbs to the international peace conference in The Hague in 1899 [Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија у српско-арбанашким односима, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2006, 118−123].

[11] From Josip Broz Tito, however, the Serbs in Croatia or Bosnia-Herzegovina did not receive any kind of political-territorial autonomy as Kosovo Albanians or Vojvodina Hungarians enjoyed in Serbia. Nevertheless, for the matter of comparison with Kosovo Albanians in Serbia, the Kurds in Turkey are not even recognized as a separate ethno-linguistic group.

[12] For instance, the Muslim Albanians tried to set arson on the Serbian Patriarchate of Pec’s church in the West Kosovo (Metochia) in 1981, but just accidentally only the dormitory was burnt.

[13] J. Palmowski (ed.), A Dictionary of Contemporary World History From 1900 to the Present Day, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 428.

[14] On the history of Kosovo from the Western perspective, see [N. Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, New York: New York University, 1999; T. Judah, Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2008].

[15] T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, 79.

[16] Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869−1948) was an Indian national leader against the British colonial occupation of India. He became well-known as a leader who organized an Indian civil disobedience movement against the British colonial authorities which finally led to the independence of India. On his biography, see [J. Lelyveld, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his Struggle with India, New York: Knopf Borzoi Books, 2011].

[17] I. Rugova, La Question du Kosovo, Fayard, 1994. It has to be noticed that Rugova’s father and grandfather were shot to death by the Yugoslav Communist authorities at the very end of the WWII as the Nazi collaborators during the war.

[18] On the Dayton Accords, see [D. Chollet, The Road to the Dayton Accords: A Study of American Statecraft, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005].

[19] On this issue, see more in [В. Б. Сотировић, Огледи из Југославологије, Виљнус: приватно издање, 2013, 190−196].

[20] We cannot forget as well that the KLA-led “March Pogrom” of Serbs in Kosovo (March 17−19th, 2004) was executed when I. Rugova was a “President” of Kosovo. The pogrom was in fact “…a systematic ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs…together with destruction of houses, other property, cultural monuments and Orthodox Christian religious sites” [D. Kojadinović (ed.), The March Pogrom, Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia−Museum in Priština (displaced), 2004, 8].

[21] On the threat of radical Islam to the Balkans and Europe after 1991, see [Sh. Shay, Islamic Terror and the Balkans, Transaction Publishers, 2006; Ch. Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate: The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West, Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007].

[22] T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, 79.

[23] Ibid.

Serbs fighting ISIS

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The history of “Humanitarian Warfare”: NATO’s reign of terror In Kosovo, the destruction of Yugoslavia



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The following text was written in the immediate wake of the 1999 NATO bombings of Yugoslavia and the invasion of Kosovo by NATO troops.

It is now well established that the war on Yugoslavia was waged on a fabricated humanitarian pretext and that extensive war crimes were committed by NATO and the US.

In retrospect, the war on Yugoslavia was a “dress rehearsal” for subsequent US-NATO sponsored humanitarian wars including Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), Syria (2011), Ukraine (2014).

Who are the war criminals? In a bitter irony, the so-called International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague is controlled by those who have committed extensive war crimes.

US-NATO started the war on Yugoslavia. President Milosevic was indicted on charges of war crimes. He was poisoned in his prison cell under the auspices of the ICTY. 

According to Nuremberg jurisprudence, the ultimate war crime consists in starting a war. According to William Rockler, former prosecutor of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal:

“The [1999] bombing war violates and shreds the basic provisions of the United Nations Charter and other conventions and treaties; the attack on Yugoslavia constitutes the most brazen international aggression since the Nazis attacked Poland to prevent “Polish atrocities” against Germans. The United States has discarded pretensions to international legality and decency, and embarked on a course of raw imperialism run amok.”

According to Nuremberg jurisprudence, NATO heads of State and heads of government are responsible for the supreme crime: “the crime against peace.”

Reagan’s NSDD 133 (1984) “Secret and Sensitive”

There is evidence that the US administration in liason with its allies took the decision in the early 1980s to destabilise and dismantle Yugoslavia.

The decision to destroy Yugoslavia as a country and carve it up into a number of small proxy states was taken by the Reagan adminstration in the early 1980s. 

A “Secret Sensitive” National Security Decision Directive (NSDD 133) entitled “US Policy towards Yugoslavia.”  (Declassified) set the foreign policy framework for the destabilization of Yugoslavia’s model of market socialism and the establishment of a US sphere of influence in Southeastern Europe.

Yugoslavia was in many regards “an economic success story”. In the two decades before 1980, annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 6.1 percent, medical care was free, the rate of literacy was 91 percent, and life expectancy was 72 years.

While NSDD 133 was in itself a somewhat innocous document, it provided legitimacy to the free market reforms. A series of covert intelligence operations were implemented, which consisted in creating and supporting secessionist paramilitary armies, first in Bosnia then in Kosovo.

These covert operations were combined with the destabilization of the Yugoslav economy. The application of strong economic medicine under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank ultimately led to the destruction of Yugoslavia’s industrial base, the demise of the workers’ cooperative and the dramatic impoverishment of its population.

Kosovo “Independence”

The record of US-NATO war crimes is important in assessing recent developments in Kosovo.

From the outset of their respective mandates in June 1999, both NATO and the UN Mission to Kosovo (UNMIK)  have actively supported the KLA, which has committed numerous atrocities.

It is important to understand that these atrocities were ordered by the current and former prime ministers of the Kosovo “government”.

Since 1999, State terrorism in Kosovo has become an integral part of NATO’s design.

The present government of prime minister Hashim Thaci (a former KLA Commander), is an outgrowth of this reign of terror. It is not a government in the common sense of the word. It remains a terrorist organization linked to organised crime. It is instrument of the foreign occupation.

Michel Chossudovsky, 23 February 2008, 5 August 2015


NATO HAS INSTALLED A REIGN OF TERROR IN KOSOVO

by Michel Chossudovsky

10 August 1999

This text was presented to the Independent Commission of Inquiry to Investigate U.S./NATO War Crimes Against The People of Yugoslavia, International Action Center, New York, July 31, 1999.

PART I: MASSACRES OF CIVILIANS IN KOSOVO

While the World focusses on troop movements and war crimes, the massacres of civilians in the wake of the bombings have been casually dismissed as “justifiable acts of revenge”. In occupied Kosovo, “double standards” prevail in assessing alleged war crimes. The massacres directed against Serbs, ethnic Albanians, Roma and other ethnic groups have been conducted on the instructions of the military command of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

NATO ostensibly denies KLA involvement. These so-called “unmotivated acts of violence and retaliation” are not categorised as “war crimes” and are therefore not included in the mandate of the numerous FBI and Interpol police investigators dispatched to Kosovo under the auspices of the Hague War Crime’s Tribunal (ICTY). Moreover, whereas NATO has tacitly endorsed the self-proclaimed KLA provisional government, KFOR the international security force in Kosovo has provided protection to the KLA military commanders responsible for the atrocities. In so doing both NATO and the UN Mission have acquiesced to the massacres of civilians. In turn, public opinion has been blatantly misled. In portraying the massacres, the Western media has casually overlooked the role of the KLA, not to mention its pervasive links to organised crime. In the words of National Security Advisor Samuel Berger,

“these people [ethnic Albanians] come back … with broken hearts and with some of those hearts filled with anger.”1

While the massacres are seldom presented as the result of “deliberate decisions” by the KLA military command, the evidence (and history of the KLA) amply confirm that these atrocities are part of a policy of “ethnic cleansing” directed mainly against the Serb population but also against the Roma, Montenegrins, Goranis and Turks.

Serbian houses and business have been confiscated, looted, or burned, and Serbs have been beaten, raped, and killed. In one of the more dramatic of incidents, KLA troops ransacked a monastery, terrorized the priest and a group of nuns with gunfire, and raped at least one of the nuns. NATO’s inability to control the situation and provide equal protection for all ethnic groups, and its apparent inability or unwillingness to fully disarm the KLA, has created a serious situation for NATO troops…2

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), confirms in this regard that:

“more than 164,000 Serbs have left Kosovo during the seven weeks since… the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) entered the province… A wave of arson and looting of Serb and Roma homes throughout Kosovo has ensued. Serbs and Roma remaining in Kosovo have been subject to repeated incidents of harassment and intimidation, including severe beatings. Most seriously, there has been a spate of murders and abductions of Serbs since mid-June, including the late July massacre of Serb farmers.”3

POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS

The self-proclaimed Provisional Government of Kosovo (PGK) has also ordered assassinations directed against political opponents including “loyalist” ethnic Albanians and supporters of the Kosovo Democratic League (KDL). These acts are being carried out in a totally permissive environment. The leaders of the KLA rather than being arrested for war crimes, have been granted KFOR protection.

According to a report of the Foreign Policy Institute (published during the bombings):

“…the KLA have [no] qualms about murdering Rugova’s collaborators, whom it accused of the `crime’ of moderation… [T]he KLA declared Rugova a `traitor’ yet another step toward eliminating any competitors for political power within Kosovo.”4

Already in May [1999], Fehmi Agani, one of Rugova’s closest collaborators in the Kosovo Democratic League (KDL) was killed. The Serbs were blamed by NATO spokesperson Jamie Shea for having assassinated Agani. According to Skopje’s paper Makedonija Danas, Agani had been executed on the orders of the KLA’s self-appointed Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.5 “If Thaci actually considered Rugova a threat, he would not hesitate to have Rugova removed from the Kosovo political landscape.”6

In turn, the KLA has abducted and killed numerous professionals and intellectuals:

“Private and State properties are threatened, home and apartment owners are evicted en masse by force and threats, houses and entire villages are burned, cultural and religious monuments are destroyed… A particularly heavy blow… has been the violence against the hospital centre in Pristina, the maltreatment and expulsion of its professional management, doctors and medical staff.”7

Both NATO and the UN prefer to turn a blind eye. UN Interim Administrator Bernard Kouchner (a former French Minister of Health) and KFOR Commander Sir Mike Jackson have established a routine working relationship with Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and KLA Chief of Staff Brigadier General Agim Ceku.

ATROCITIES COMMITTED AGAINST THE ROMA

Ethnic cleansing has also been directed against the Roma (which represented prior to the conflict a population group of 150,000 people). (According to figures provided by the Roma Community in New York). A large part of the Roma population has already escaped to Montenegro and Serbia. In turn, there are reports that Roma refugees who had fled by boat to Southern Italy have been expelled by the Italian authorities.8 The KLA has also ordered the systematic looting and torching of Romani homes and settlements:

“All houses and settlements of Romani, like 2,500 homes in the residential area called `Mahala’ in the town of Kosovska Mitrovica, have been looted and burnt down”.9

With regard to KLA atrocities committed against the Roma, the same media distortions prevail. According to the BBC: “Gypsies are accused by [Kosovar] Albanians of collaborating in Serb brutalities, which is why they’ve also become victims of revenge attacks. And the truth is, some probably did.”10

INSTALLING A PARAMILITARY GOVERNMENT

As Western leaders trumpet their support for democracy, State terrorism in Kosovo has become an integral part of NATO’s postwar design. The KLA’s political role for the post-conflict period had been mapped out well in advance. Prior to Rambouillet Conference, the KLA had been promised a central role in the formation of a post-conflict government. The “hidden agenda” consisted in converting the KLA paramilitary into a legitimate and accomplished civilian administration. According to US State Department spokesman James Foley (February 1999):

“We want to develop a good relationship with them [the KLA] as they transform themselves into a politically-oriented organization, …[W]e believe that we have a lot of advice and a lot of help that we can provide to them if they become precisely the kind of political actor we would like to see them become.’”11

In other words, the US State Department had already slated the KLA “provisional government” (PGK) to run civilian State institutions. Under NATO’s “Indirect Rule”, the KLA has taken over municipal governments and public services including schools and hospitals. Rame Buja, the KLA “Minister for Local Administration” has appointed local prefects in 23 out of 25 municipalities.12

Under NATO’s regency, the KLA has replaced the duly elected (by ethnic Albanians) provisional Kosovar government of President Ibrahim Rugova. The self-proclaimed KLA administration has branded Rugova as a traitor declaring the (parallel) Kosovar parliamentary elections held in March 1998 to be invalid. This position has largely been upheld by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) entrusted by UNMIK with the postwar task of “democracy building” and “good governance”. In turn, OSCE officials have already established a working rapport with KLA appointees.13

The KLA provisional government (PGK) is made up of the KLA’s political wing together with the Democratic Union Movement (LBD), a coalition of five opposition parties opposed to Rugova’s Democratic League (LDK). In addition to the position of prime minister, the KLA controls the ministries of finance, public order and defence. The KLA also has a controlling voice on the UN sponsored Kosovo Transitional Council set up by Mr. Bernard Kouchner. The PGK has also established links with a number of Western governments.

Whereas the KLA has been spearheaded into running civilian institutions (under the guidance of the OSCE), members of the duly elected Kosovar (provisional) government of the Democratic League (DKL) have been blatantly excluded from acquiring a meaningful political voice.

ESTABLISHING A KLA POLICE FORCE TO `PROTECT CIVILIANS’

Under NATO occupation, the rule of law has visibly been turned up side down. Criminals and terrorists are to become law enforcement officers. KLA troops which have already taken over police stations will eventually form a 4,000 strong “civilian” police force (to be trained by foreign police officers under the authority of the United Nations) with a mandate to “protect civilians”. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has already pledged Canadian support to the formation of a civilian police force.14 The latter which has been entrusted to the OSCE will eventually operate under the jurisdiction of the KLA controlled “Ministry of Public Order”.

US MILITARY AID

Despite NATO’s commitment to disarming the KLA, the Kosovar paramilitary organisation is slated to be transformed into a modern military force. So-called “security assistance” has already been granted to the KLA by the US Congress under the “Kosovar Independence and Justice Act of 1999″. Start-up funds of 20 million dollars will largely be “used for training and support for their [KLA] established self-defence forces.”15 In the words of KLA Chief of Staff Agrim Ceku:

“The KLA wants to be transformed into something like the US National Guard, … we accept the assistance of KFOR and the international community to rebuild an army according to NATO standards. … These professionally trained soldiers of the next generation of the KLA would seek only to defend Kosova. At this decisive moment, we [the KLA] do not hide our ambitions; we want the participation of international military structures to assist in the pacific and humanitarian efforts we are attempting here.” 16

While the KLA maintains its links to the Balkans narcotics trade which served to finance many of its terrorist activities, the paramilitary organisation has now been granted an official seal of approval as well as “legitimate” sources of funding. The pattern is similar to that followed in Croatia and in the Bosnian Muslim-Croatian Federation where so-called “equip and train” programmes were put together by the Pentagon. In turn, Washington’s military aid package to the KLA has been entrusted to Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI) of Alexandria, Virginia, a private mercenary outfit run by high ranking former US military officers.

MPRI’s training concepts which had already been tested in Croatia and Bosnia are based on imparting “offensive tactics… as the best form of defence”.17 In the Kosovar context, this so- called “defensive doctrine” transforms the KLA paramilitary into a modern army without however eliminating its terrorist makeup.18 The objective is to ultimately transform an insurgent army into a modern military and police force which serves the Alliance’s future strategic objectives in the Balkans. MPRI has currently “ninety-one highly experienced, former military professionals working in Bosnia & Herzegovina”.19 The number of military officers working on contract with the KLA has not been disclosed.

PART II. FROM KRAJINA TO KOSOVO. A FORMER CROATIAN GENERAL APPOINTED KLA CHIEF OF STAFF

The massacres of civilians in Kosovo are not disconnected acts of revenge by civilians or by so-called “rogue elements” within the KLA as claimed by NATO and the United Nations. They are part of a consistent and coherent pattern. The intent (and result) of the KLA sponsored atrocities have been to trigger the “ethnic cleansing” of Serbs, Roma and other minorities in Kosovo.

KLA Commander Agim Ceku referring to the killings of 14 villagers at Gracko on July 24, claimed that: “We [the KLA] do not know who did it, but I sincerely believe these people have nothing to do with the KLA.”20 In turn, KFOR Lieutenant General Sir Mike Jackson has commended his KLA counterpart, Commander Agim Ceku for “efforts undertaken” to disarm the KLA. In fact, very few KLA weapons have been handed in. Moreover, the deadline for turning in KLA weaponry has been extended. “I do not regard this as noncompliance” said Commander Jackson in a press conference, “but rather as an indication of the seriousness with which General Ceku is taking this important issue.”21

Yet what Sir Mike Jackson failed to mention is that KLA Chief of Staff Commander Agim Ceku (although never indicted as a war criminal) was (according to Jane Defence Weekly June 10, 1999) “one of the key planners of the successful `Operation Storm’” led by the Croatian Armed Forces against Krajina Serbs in 1995.

General Jackson who had served in former Yugoslavia under the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was fully cognizant of the activities of the Croatian High Command during that period including the responsibilities imparted to Brigadier General Agim Ceku. In February 1999, barely a month prior to the NATO bombings, Ceku left his position as Brigadier General with the Croatian Armed Forces to join the KLA as Commander in Chief.

FROM KRAJINA TO KOSOVO: THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME

According to the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Operation Storm resulted in the massacre of at least 410 civilians in the course of a three day operation (4 to 7 August 1995).22 An internal report of The Hague War Crimes Tribunal (leaked to the New York Times), confirmed that the Croatian Army had been responsible for carrying out:

“summary executions, indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations and “ethnic cleansing” in the Krajina region of Croatia….”23

In a section of the report entitled “The Indictment. Operation Storm, A Prima Facie Case.”, the ICTY report confirms that:

“During the course of the military offensive, the Croatian armed forces and special police committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law, including but not limited to, shelling of Knin and other cities… During, and in the 100 days following the military offensive, at least 150 Serb civilians were summarily executed, and many hundreds disappeared. …In a widespread and systematic manner, Croatian troops committed murder and other inhumane acts upon and against Croatian Serbs.” 24

US `GENERALS FOR HIRE’

The internal 150 page report concluded that it has “sufficient material to establish that the three [Croatian] generals who commanded the military operation” could be held accountable under international law.25 The individuals named had been directly involved in the military operation “in theatre”. Those involved in “the planning of Operation Storm” were not mentioned:

“The identity of the “American general” referred to by Fenrick [a Tribunal staff member] is not known. The tribunal would not allow Williamson or Fenrick to be interviewed. But Ms. Arbour, the tribunal’s chief prosecutor, suggested in a telephone interview last week that Fenrick’s comment had been `a joking observation’. Ms. Arbour had not been present during the meeting, and that is not how it was viewed by some who were there. Several people who were at the meeting assumed that Fenrick was referring to one of the retired U.S. generals who worked for Military Professional Resources Inc. … Questions remain about the full extent of U.S. involvement. In the course of the three yearinvestigation into the assault, the United States has failed to provide critical evidence requested by the tribunal, according to tribunal documents and officials, adding to suspicion among some there that Washington is uneasy about the investigation… The Pentagon, however, has argued through U.S. lawyers at the tribunal that the shelling was a legitimate military activity, according to tribunal documents and officials”.26

The Tribunal was attempting to hide what had already been revealed in several press reports published in the wake of Operation Storm. According to a US State Department spokesman, MPRI had been helping the Croatians “avoid excesses or atrocities in military operations.”27 Fifteen senior US military advisers headed by retired two star General Richard Griffitts had been dispatched to Croatia barely seven months before Operation Storm. 28 According to one report, MPRI executive director General Carl E. Vuono: “held a secret top-level meeting at Brioni Island, off the coast of Croatia, with Gen. Varimar Cervenko, the architect of the Krajina campaign. In the five days preceding the attack, at least ten meetings were held between General Vuono and officers involved in the campaign…”29

According to Ed Soyster, a senior MPRI executive and former head of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA):

“MPRI’s role in Croatia is limited to classroom instruction on military-civil relations and doesn’t involve training in tactics or weapons. Other U.S. military men say whatever MPRI did for the Croats and many suspect more than classroom instruction was involved it was worth every penny.” Carl Vuono and Butch [Crosbie] Saint are hired guns and in it for the money,” says Charles Boyd, a recently retired four star Air Force general who was the Pentagon’s No. 2 man in Europe until July [1995]. “They did a very good job for the Croats, and I have no doubt they’ll do a good job in Bosnia.”30

THE HAGUE TRIBUNAL’S COVER UP

The untimely leaking of the ICTY’s internal report on the Krajina massacres barely a few days before the onslaught of NATO’s air raids on Yugoslavia was the source of some embarrassment to the Tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour. The Tribunal (ICTY) attempted to cover up the matter and trivialise the report’s findings (including the alleged role of the US military officers on contract with the Croatian Armed Forces). Several Tribunal officials including American Lawyer Clint Williamson sought to discredit the Canadian Peacekeeping officers’ testimony who witnessed the Krajina massacres in 1995.31

terorista-pripadnik-ovk-uck

Williamson, who described the shelling of Knin as a “minor incident,” said that the Pentagon had told him that Knin was a legitimate military target… The [Tribunal’s] review concluded by voting not to include the shelling of Knin in any indictment, a conclusion that stunned and angered many at the tribunal”…32

The findings of the Tribunal contained in the leaked ICTY documents were downplayed, their relevance was casually dismissed as “expressions of opinion, arguments and hypotheses from various staff members of the OTP during the investigative process”.33 According to the Tribunal’s spokesperson “the documents do not represent in any way the concluded decisions of the Prosecutor.” 34

The internal 150 page report has not been released. The staff member who had leaked the documents is (according to a Croatian TV report) no longer working for the Tribunal. During the press Conference, the Tribunal’s spokesman was asked: “about the consequences for the person who leaked the information”, Blewitt [the ICTY spokesman] replied that he did not want to go into that. He said that the OTP would strengthen the existing procedures to prevent this from happening again, however he added that you could not stop people from talking”.35

THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN CROATIA

The massacres conducted under Operation Storm “set the stage” for the “ethnic cleansing” of at least 180,000 Krajina Serbs (according to estimates of the Croatian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International). According to other sources, the number of victims of ethnic cleansing in Krajina was much larger.

Moreover, there is evidence that chemical weapons had been used in the Yugoslav civil war (1991-95).36 Although there is no firm evidence of the use of chemical weapons against Croatian Serbs, an ongoing enquiry by the Canadian Minister of Defence (launched in July 1999) points to the possibility of toxic poisoning of Canadian Peacekeepers while on service in Croatia between 1993 and 1995:

“There was a smell of blood in the air during the past week as the media sensed they had a major scandal unfolding within the Department of National Defense over the medical files of those Canadians who served in Croatia in 1993. Allegations of destroyed documents, a coverup, and a defensive minister and senior officers…”37

The official release of the Department of National Defence (DND) refers to possibility of toxic “soil contamination” in Medak Pocket in 1993 (see below). Was it “soil contamination” or something far more serious? The criminal investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) refers to the shredding of medical files of former Canadian peacekeepers by the DND. In other words did the DND have something to hide? The issue remains as to what types of shells and ammunitions were used by the Croatian Armed Forces ie. were chemical weapons used against Serb civilians?

OPERATION STORM: THE ACCOUNT OF THE ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT

Prior to the onslaught, Croatian radio had previously broadcasted a message by president Franjo Tudjman, calling upon “Croatian citizens of Serbian ethnicity… to remain in their homes and not to fear the Croatian authorities, which will respect their minority rights.”38 Canadian peacekeepers of the Second Battalion of the Royal 22nd Regiment witnessed the atrocities committed by Croatian troops in the Krajina offensive in September 1995:

“Any Serb who had failed to evacuate their property were systematically “cleansed” by roving death squads. Every abandoned animal was slaughtered and any Serb household was ransacked and torched”.39

Also confirmed by Canadian peacekeepers was the participation of German mercenaries in Operation Storm:

“Immediately behind the frontline Croatian combat troops and German mercenaries, a large number of hardline extremists had pushed into the Krajina. …Many of these atrocities were carried out within the Canadian Sector, but as the peacekeepers were soon informed by the Croat authorities, the UN no longer had any formal authority in the region.”40

How the Germans mercenaries were recruited was never officially revealed. An investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) confirmed the that foreign mercenaries in Croatia had in some cases “been paid [and presumably recruited] outside Croatia and by third parties.”41

THE 1993 MEDAK POCKET MASSACRE

According to Jane Defence Weekly (10 June 1999), Brigadier General Agim Ceku (now in charge of the KLA) also “masterminded the successful HV [Croatian Army] offensive at Medak” in September 1993. In Medak, the combat operation was entitled “Scorched Earth” resulting in the total destruction of the Serbian villages of Divoselo, Pocitelj and Citluk, and the massacre of over 100 civilians.42

These massacres were also witnessed by Canadian peacekeepers under UN mandate:

“As the sun rose over the horizon, it revealed a Medak Valley engulfed in smoke and flames. As the frustrated soldiers of 2PPCLI waited for the order to move forward into the pocket, shots and screams still rang out as the ethnic cleansing continued. …About 20 members of the international press had tagged along, anxious to see the Medak battleground. Calvin [a Canadian officer] called an informal press conference at the head of the column and loudly accused the Croats of trying to hide war crimes against the Serb inhabitants. The Croats started withdrawing back to their old lines, taking with them whatever loot they hadn’t destroyed. All livestock had been killed and houses torched. French reconnaissance troops and the Canadian command element pushed up the valley and soon began to find bodies of Serb civilians, some already decomposing, others freshly slaughtered. …Finally, on the drizzly morning of Sept. 17, teams of UN civilian police arrived to probe the smouldering ruins for murder victims. Rotting corpses lying out in the open were catalogued, then turned over to the peacekeepers for burial.”43

The massacres were reported to the Canadian Minister of Defence and to the United Nations:

“Senior defence bureaucrats back in Ottawa had no way of predicting the outcome of the engagement in terms of political fallout. To them, there was no point in calling media attention to a situation that might easily backfire. …So Medak was relegated to the memory hole no publicity, no recriminations, no official record. Except for those soldiers involved, Canada’s most lively military action since the Korean War simply never happened.”44

PART III. NATO’S `POST CONFLICT’ AGENDA IN KOSOVO

Both the Medak Pocket massacre and Operation Storm bear a direct relationship to the ongoing security situation in Kosovo and the massacres and ethnic cleansing committed by KLA troops. While the circumstances are markedly different, several of today’s actors in Kosovo were involved (under the auspices of the Croatian Armed Forces) in the planning of both these operations. Moreover, the US mercenary outfit MPRI which collaborated with the Croatian Armed Forces in 1995 is currently on contract with the KLA. NATO’s casual response to the appointment of Brigadier General Agim Ceku as KLA Chief of Staff was communicated by Mr. Jamie Shea in a Press Briefing in May:

“I have always made it clear, and you have heard me say this, that NATO has no direct contacts with the KLA. Who they appoint as their leaders, that is entirely their own affair. I don’t have any comment on that whatever.”45

While NATO says it “has no direct contacts with the KLA”, the evidence confirms the opposite. Amply documented, KLA terrorism has been installed with NATO’s tacit approval. The KLA had (according to several reports) been receiving “covert support” and training from the CIA and Germany’s Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND) since the mid-nineties. Moreover, MPRI collaboration with the KLA predates the onslaught of the bombing campaign.46 Moreover, the building up of KLA forces was part of NATO planning. Already by mid-1998, “covert support” had been replaced by official (“overt”) support by the military Alliance in violation of UN Security Council Resolution UNSCR 1160 of 31 March 1998 which condemned: “…all acts of terrorism by the Kosovo Liberation Army or any other group or individual and all external support for terrorist activity in Kosovo, including finance, arms and training.”

NATO officials, Western heads of State and heads of government, the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan not to mention ICTY chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, were fully cognizant of General Brigadier Agim Ceku’s involvement in the planning of Operation Storm and Operation Scorched Earth. Surely, some questions should have been asked…

Yet visibly what is shaping up in the wake of the bombings in Kosovo is the continuity of NATO’s operation in the Balkans. Military personnel and UN bureaucrats previously stationed in Croatia and Bosnia have been routinely reassigned to Kosovo. KFOR Commander Mike Jackson had previously been responsible as IFOR Commander for organising the return of Serbs “to lands taken by Croatian HVO forces in the Krajina offensive”.47 And in this capacity General Mike Jackson had “urged that the resettlement [of Krajina Serbs] not [be] rushed to avoid tension [with the Croatians]… while also warning returning Serbs “of the extent of the [land] mine threat.”48 In retrospect, recalling the events of early 1996, very few Krajina Serbs were allowed to return to their homes under the protection of the United Nations.

And a similar process is unfolding in Kosovo, ie. the conduct of senior military officers conforms to a consistent pattern, the same key individuals are now involved in Kosovo. While token efforts are displayed to protect Serb and Roma civilians, those who have fled Kosovo are not encouraged to return under UN protection… In postwar Kosovo, “ethnic cleansing” implemented by the KLA has been accepted by the “international community” as a “fait accompli”…

While calling for democracy and “good governance” in the Balkans, the US and its allies have installed in Kosovo a paramilitary government with links to organised crime.

The foreseeable outcome is the outright “criminalisation” of civilian State institutions and the establishment of what is best described as a “Mafia State”. The complicity of NATO and the Alliance governments (namely their relentless support to the KLA) points to the de facto “criminalisation” of KFOR and of the UN peacekeeping apparatus in Kosovo. The donor agencies and governments (eg. the funds approved by the US Congress in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions) providing financial support to the KLA are, in this regard, also “accessories” to the de facto criminalisation of State institutions. Through the intermediation of a paramilitary group (created and financed by Washington and Bonn), NATO ultimately bears the burden of responsibility for the massacres and ethnic cleansing of civilians in Kosovo.

STATE TERROR AND THE `FREE MARKET’

State terror and the “free market” seem to go hand in hand. The concurrent “criminalisation” of State institutions in Kosovo is not incompatible with the West’s economic and strategic objectives in the Balkans. Notwithstanding the massacres of civilians, the self-proclaimed KLA administration has committed itself to establishing a “secure and stable environment” for foreign investors and international financial institutions. The Minister of Finance Adem Grobozci and other representatives of the provisional government invited to the various donor conferences are all KLA appointees. In contrast, members of the KDL of Ibrahim Rugova (duly elected in parliamentary elections) were not even invited to attend the Stabilisation Summit in Sarajevo in late July.

“Free market reforms” are envisaged for Kosovo under the supervision of the Bretton Woods institutions largely replicating the structures of the Rambouillet agreement. Article I (Chapter 4a) of the Rambouillet Agreement stipulated that: “The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles”. The KLA government will largely be responsible for implementing these reforms and ensuring that loan conditionalities are met.

In close liaison with NATO, the Bretton Woods institutions had already analysed the consequences of an eventual military intervention leading to the military occupation of Kosovo: almost a year prior to the beginning of the War, the World Bank conducted “simulations” which “anticipated the possibility of an emergency scenario arising out of the tensions in Kosovo.”49

The eventual “reconstruction” of Kosovo financed by international debt largely purports to transfer Kosovo’s extensive wealth in mineral resources and coal to multinational capital. In this regard, the KLA has already occupied (pending their privatisation) the largest coal mine at Belacevac in Dobro Selo northwest of Pristina. In turn, foreign capital has its eyes rivetted on the massive Trepca mining complex which constitutes “the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans, worth at least $5 billion.”50 The Trebca complex not only includes copper and large reserves of zinc but also cadmium, gold, and silver. It has several smelting plants, 17 metal treatment sites, a power plant and Yugoslavia’s largest battery plant. Northern Kosovo also has estimated reserves of 17 billion tons of coal and lignite.

In the wake of the bombings, the management of many of the State owned enterprises and public utilities were taken over by KLA appointees. In turn, the leaders of the Provisional Government of Kosovo (PGK) have become “the brokers” of multinational capital committed to handing over the Kosovar economy at bargain prices to foreign investors. The IMF’s lethal “economic therapy” will be imposed, the provincial economy will be dismantled, agriculture will be deregulated, local industrial enterprises which have not been totally destroyed will be driven into bankruptcy. The most profitable State assets will eventually be transferred into the hands of foreign capital under the World Bank sponsored privatisation programme. “Strong economic medicine” imposed by external creditors will contribute to further boosting a criminal economy (already firmly implanted in Albania) which feeds on poverty and economic dislocation.

“The Allies will work with the rest of the international community to help rebuild Kosovo once the crisis is over: The International Monetary Fund and Group of Seven industrialized countries are among those who stand ready to offer financial help to the countries of the region. We want to ensure proper coordination of aid and help countries to respond to the effects of the crisis. This should go hand in hand with the necessary structural reforms in the countries affected helped by budget support from the international community.”51

Morever, the so-called “reconstruction” of the Balkans by foreign capital will signify multibillion contracts to foreign firms to rebuild Kosovo’s infrastructure. More generally, the proposed “Marshall Plan” for the Balkans financed by the World Bank and the European Development Bank (EBRD) as well as private creditors will largely benefit Western mining, petroleum and construction companies while fuelling the region’s external debt well into the third millennium.

And Kosovo is slated to reimburse this debt through the laundering of dirty money. Yugoslav banks in Kosovo will be closed down, the banking system will be deregulated under the supervision of Western financial institutions. Narcodollars from the multibillion dollar Balkans drug trade will be recycled towards servicing the external debt as well as “financing” the costs of “reconstruction.” The lucrative flow of narcodollars thus ensures that foreign investors involved in the “reconstruction” programme will be able reap substantial returns. In turn, the existence of a Kosovar “narco State” ensures the orderly reimbursement of international donors and creditors. The latter are prepared to turn blind eye. They have a tacit vested interest in installing a government which facilitates the laundering of drug money.

The pattern in Kosovo is, in this regard, similar to that observed in neighbouring Albania. Since the early 1990s (culminating with the collapse of the financial pyramids in 1996-97), the IMF’s reforms have impoverished the Albanian population while spearheading the national economy into bankruptcy. The IMF’s deadly economic therapy transforms countries into open territories. In Albania and to a lesser extent Macedonia, it has also contributed to fostering the growth of illicit trade and the criminalisation of State institutions.

NOTES

1. Jim Lehrer News Maker Interview, PBS, 26 July 1999.
2. Stratfor Commentary, “Growing Threat of Serbian Paramilitary Action in Kosovo”, 29 July 1999.
3. Human Rights Watch, 3 August 1999.
4. See Michael Radu, “Don’t Arm the KLA”, CNS Commentary from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, 7 April, 1999).
5. Tanjug Press Dispatch, 14 May 1999.
6. Stratfor Comment, “Rugova Faced with a Choice of Two Losses”, Stratfor, 29 July 1999.
7. Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Yugoslav Daily Survey, Belgrade, 29 June 1999.
8. Hina Press Dispatch, Zagreb, 26 July 1999.
9. Ibid.
10. BBC Report, London, 5 July 1999.
11. New York Times, 2 February 1999.
12. Financial Times, London, 4 August 1999.
13. See Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Mission in Kosovo, Decision 305, Permanent Council, 237th Plenary Meeting, PC Journal No. 237, Agenda item 2, Vienna, 1 July 1999.
14. Statement at the Sarajevo Summit, 31 July 1999.
15. 106th Congress, April 15, HR 1425.
16. Interview with KLA Chief of Staff Commander Agim Ceku, Kosovapress, 31 July 1999.
17. See Tammy Arbucki, “Building a Bosnian Army”, Jane International Defence Review, August 1997.
18. Ibid.
19. Military Professional Resources, Inc, “Personnel Needs”, http://www.mpri.com/current/personnel.htm
20. Associated Press Report.
21. Ibid.
22. The actual number of civilians killed or missing was much larger.
23. Quoted in Raymond Bonner, War Crimes Panel Finds Croat Troops Cleansed the Serbs, New York Times, 21 March 1999).
24. Ibid.
25. Ibid.
26. Raymond Bonner, op cit.
27. Ken Silverstein, “Privatizing War”, The Nation, New York, 27 July 1997.
28. See Mark Thompson et al, “Generals for Hire”, Time Magazine, 15 January 1996, p. 34.
29. Quoted in Silverstein, op cit.
30. Mark Thompson et al, op cit.
31. Raymond Bonner, op cit.
32. Ibid.
33. ICTY Weekly Press Briefing, 24 March 1999).
34. Ibid.
35. Ibid.
36. See inter alia Reuters dispatch, 21 October 1993 on the use of chemical grenades, a New York Times report on 31 October 1992 on the use of poisoned gas).
37. Lewis MacKenzie, “Giving our soldiers the benefit of the doubt”, National Post, 2 August 1999.
38. Slobodna Dalmacija, Split, Croatia, August 5 1996.
39. Scott Taylor and Brian Nolan, The Sunday Sun, Toronto, 2 November 1998.
40. Ibid.
41. United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-first session, Item 9 of the provisional agenda, Geneva, 21 December 1994).
42. (See Memorandum on the Violation of the Human and Civil Rights of the Serbian People in the Republic of Croatia,
http://serbianlinks.freehosting.net/memorandum.htm
43. Excerpts from the book of Scott Taylor and Brian Nolan published in the Toronto Sun, 1 November 1998.
44. Ibid.
45. NATO Press Briefing, 14 May 1999.
46. For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Kosovo `Freedom Fighters’ Financed by Organized Crime, CAQ, Spring-Summer 1999.
47. Jane’s Defence Weekly, Vol 25, No. 7, 14 February 1996.
48. Ibid.
49. World Bank Development News, Washington, 27 April 1999.
50. New York Times, July 8, 1998, report by Chris Hedges.
51. Statement by Javier Solano, Secretary General of NATO, published in The National Post, Toronto May 1999.


By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best America’s “War on Terrorism”  Second Edition, Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization.

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/nato-s-reign-of-terror-in-kosovo/8168

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Ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and the rights of the Serbian minority: Ten years after the “March Pogrom 2004”



10 I morto i Serbi

This article deals with the question of political and human/minority rights in the region of Kosovo & Metohija ten years after the „March Pogrom 2004“ and fifteen years after the NATO’s military aggression on Serbia and Montenegro and occupation of the region. An importance of this research topic is in a fact that for the first time in the European history a terrorist-style and mafia-ruled (quasi)independent state was created by a full diplomatic, political, economic, military and financial sponsorship by the West under the umbrella of the NATO’s and the EU’s protective administration. The precedence of Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence in February 2008 already had several negative „domino effect“ consequences elsewhere in Europe (the Caucasus, the Crimean Peninsula…). The aim of the paper is to present a current situation in Kosovo & Metohija and possible consequences of the Kosovo case for the international relations and the post-Cold War world’s order.

Global Pax Americana and post-modern colonialism

It passed ten years after the „March Pogrom 2004“ in Kosovo & Metohija against the local Serbs organized and done by Kosovo Albanians, led by the veterans from the Kosovo Liberation Army – the KLA and logistically supported by the NATO’s occupation troops in Kosovo & Metohija under the name of the Kosovo Forces – the KFOR. That was simply a continuation of the last stage (up to now) of dismemberment of ex-Yugoslavia – the Kosovo War (1998-1999) and the NATO’s military intervention (March 24th–June 10th, 1999) against and aggression on Serbia and Montenegro (at that time composing the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – the FRY) by violating the international law.[1] In this context, we can say that at the end of the 20th century the fate of ex-Yugoslavia was being determined by several international organizations, but not decisively by the Yugoslavs themselves.[2]

The NATO’s military intervention against the FRY in March-June of 1999 (led by the USA) for the formal reason of protection of the human (Albanian) rights in Kosovo,[3] marked a crucial step toward finishing the process of creation of the global „Pax Americana“ in the form of the NATO’s World Order – the NWO.[4] As the NATO used force against the FRY without the UN Security Council sanctions and permission and also without an official proclamation of the war we can call this military intervention in fact as a pure „aggression“ against one sovereign state.[5] In the Balkans NATO acquired not only a big military experience and an opportunity to exhaust old and use new weapons,[6] but also managed to enhance its activities, making its way to a global organization.

After the Kosovo War the UN’s Security Council Resolution 1244 (from June 1999) gave the mandate for the effective protection of the universal human and minority rights values of all inhabitants on the territory of the southern Serbia’s Autonomous Region of Kosovo & Metohija (in English language known only as Kosovo).[7] At such a way, the responsibility for protection of human lives, freedom and security in Kosovo was thus transferred to the “international” public authorities, but in fact only to the NATO: the administration of the United Nations’ Mission in Kosovo – the UNMIK, and the “international” military forces – (the KFOR, Kosovo Forces). Unfortunately, very soon this responsibility was totally challenged as around 200.000 ethnic Serbs and members of other non-Albanian communities were expelled from the region by the local ethnic Albanians led by the KLA’s veterans. At any case, mostly suffered the ethnic Serbs. It left today only up to 3% of the non-Albanians in Kosovo in comparison to the pre-war situation out of a total number of the non-Albanians in this province that was at least 12%. Only up to March 2004 around 120 Serb Orthodox Christian religious objects and cultural monuments were devastated or destroyed.[8]

However, the most terrible in the series of Kosovo Albanian eruptions of violence against the Serbs living in this region was organized and carried out between March 17th-19th, 2004, having all the features of the Nazi-style organized pogroms. During the tragic events of the “March Pogrom 2004”, in a destructive assault of tens of thousands by Kosovo Albanians led by armed groups of redressed the KLA’s veterans (the Kosovo Protection Corpus – the KPC, a future Kosovo Albanian regular army), a systematic ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs was carried out, together with destruction of houses, other property, cultural monuments and Serbian Orthodox Christian religious sites. Nevertheless, the international civil and military forces in the region have been only “stunned” and “surprised” what was going on. The “March Pogrom 2004”, which resulted, according to the documentary sources, in the loss of several tens of lives, several hundreds of wounded (including and the members of the KFOR as well), more than 4.000 exiled ethnic Serbs, more than 800 Serbian houses set on fire and 35 destroyed or severely damaged Serbian Orthodox Christian churches and cultural monuments,[9] surely revealed the real situation on the ground in Kosovo even 60 years after the Holocaust during the WWII. Unfortunately, the attempts of the Serbs and especially by the government of Serbia at that time led by dr. Vojislav Koštunica (a leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia) to call an international attention to the human and minority rights violation situation in this region proved to have been both unsuccessful and justified.

It is thus necessary to reiterate that ethnic cleansing of the Serbs (and other non-Albanian population) in the region of Kosovo by the local Albanians after the mid-June 1999 means putting into practice the annihilation of a Serbian territory of exquisite historic, spiritual, political and cultural top-level significance in terms of the Serbian nation, state and the Church, and its every-day visible transformation into another Albanian state in the Balkans with a real wish and possibility to unify it with a neighboring motherland Albania. At such a way, the main geopolitical goal of the First Albanian Prizren League from June 1878 is being brought to its attainment, including its implications for the Preševo Valley in South-East Serbia, Western Macedonia up to the River of Vardar, a Greek portion of the Epirus province and the Eastern Montenegro. It is known that the Albanian political workers required within a framework of the First Albanian Prizren League (1878-1881) a creation of a Greater Albania as an autonomous province in the Ottoman Empire composed by “all Albanian ethnic territories”. More precisely, it was required that four Ottoman provinces (vilayets) of Scodra, Ioannina, Bitola and Kosovo would be combined into a single Albanian national Ottoman province of Vilayet of Albania. However, in two out of four required “Albanian” provinces – Bitola and Kosovo, the ethnic Albanians did not compose even a single majority at that time.[10] Nevertheless, such a Greater Albania with a capital in Tirana existed during the WWII under Mussolini’s and Hitler’s protectorate.

The Albanian national movement, established in accordance with the program of the First Albanian Prizren League in 1878, is keeping on with its terrorist activities up today. It was particularly active in the period of Italian and German supported Greater Albania from April 1941 to May 1945, when it undertook the organization of the Albanian Quisling network of agents. During this period of time around 100.000 Serbs from Kosovo & Metohija have been expelled from their homes to addition of around 200.000 expelled during Socialist Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1980 lead by Josip Broz Tito who was of Slovene and Croat ethnic origin born in Croatia and notorious anti-Serb.[11] The process of articulation of the Albanian secessionist movement in Kosovo & Metohija continued during the post-WWII Yugoslavia and was carried out by Kosovo Albanian anti-Serb communist partocracy. The process became particularly intense and successful in the period between 1968-1989. For instance, only from 1981 to 1987 there were 22.307 Serbs and Montenegrins who were forced to leave Kosovo & Metohija.[12] The entrance of the NATO’s troops in the region in June 1999 marks the beginning of the last stage of the Albanian-planned and carried out the “Final Solution” of the Serbian Question on the territory of Kosovo & Metohija – a historical and cultural cradle of the Serbian nation, but in which only the ethnic Albanians have to live in the future.

In the light of the main Albanian goal – to establish ethnically pure Greater Albania – it is “understandable” why it is so important to destroy any Serbian trace on the territory defined by the aspirations. The Albanian terrorism has been developing for more than two centuries. It has the profile of ethnically, i.e. the Nazi-racist style motivated terrorism (like the Croat one), marked by excessive animosity against the Serbs.[13] Its principal features are the following:

1. All kinds of repressive measures directed against the Serbian population.
2. Carrying practical actions to force the Serbs to leave their homes.
3. Devastation of the Serbian Orthodox Christian religious objects and other cultural monuments belonging to the Serbian nation which are clearly testifying ten centuries long presence of the Serbs in Kosovo & Metohija.
4. Destruction of the complete infrastructure used by the members of the Serbian community.
5. Destruction of the Serbian cemeteries what means de facto destruction of the historical roots of the Serbs in the region.

A long standing Muslim Albanian oppression and terror against the Christian Orthodox Serbian community in Kosovo & Metohija is a specific phenomenon with the grave consequences not only for the local Serbs. It became, however, clear that sooner or later it will bring about severe problems for the rest of Europe as well.

Ten years have passed from the „March Pogrom 2004“ and fifteen years since the NATO’s military aggression against a sovereign European state of the FRY. At the moment, the crucial questions are:

1) What goals did NATO pursue?

2) Whether it managed to cope with its tasks in the following (15) years?

3) What did these years bring to those who threw bombs and those who were attacked?

It has to be made clear that during the Kosovo War the NATO did not achieve a military victory as it failed to destroy the army of the FRY and the soldiers’ morale. However, a campaign of bombing got the right political atmosphere for destroying Serbia (purposely not so much Montenegro) and for imposing their conditions on the Serbian government, including the rules of the cooperation with the EU, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (in the Hague) and with the NATO as well. After June 1999 Serbia lost almost all opportunities to control its own state’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security becoming in a pure sense of meaning a western political and economic colony. After several years of injustice and punishment by the West before 1999 the Serbs as a nation lost the will to fight, to resist as they were practically alone when tried to repel the attack of the powerful western military alliance in March-June 1999. As a consequence, after June 1999 it became much easier for the West to continue a process of destruction of Yugoslavia and to carry out a policy of transforming the region into its own colonial domain with occupied Kosovo & Metohija as the best example of „die rückkehr des kolonialismus“.[14]

In October 2000 Slobodan Milosević, who was a head of Serbia for ten years, was ousted by the street revolution putsch-style like it was done with Ukrainian president Viktor Janukovich in Kiev in February 2004.[15] At first sight, the move came as unexpected, easy and legal, in the other words – Yugoslavia’s home affair. However, the „Revolution of the Fifth October 2000“ in Belgrade, in fact, had been very thoroughly prepared by special divisions („Otpor“ or „Resistance“) sponsored by the West, especially by the CIA. The method proved to be so successful that, according to one western documentary movie based on the testimonies by the members of the Serbian “Otpor“ movement, it was later used in Georgia (the „Rose Revolution“ in November 2003) and Ukraine (the „Orange Revolution“ from late November 2004 to January 2005 and finally in 2013/2014), but failed in Moldova and Iran in 2009. The same source claims that the Georgian opposition were taught in Serbia, while their Ukrainian colleagues of the „Orange Revolution“ were drilled also in Serbia and in Georgia.[16]

From the time of the end of the Cold War (1989) Serbia remained as a symbol of independence and disobedience to the NATO’s World Order in Europe. However, the new authorities in Serbia after October 2000 obeyed to the NATO’s World Order and everything went smoothly. The dismemberment of the FRY started when having arrived in Belgrade in February 2003, Javier Solana, a top the EU representative and official, suggested to a group of officials from Serbia and Montenegro to admit that the FRY ceased to exist, and adopt the Constitution charter, written in Brussels. Its text was proclaiming, for the beginning, the appearance of a new country. Solana did not face any resistance. Consequently, the FRY was renamed to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and officially abolished the name ”Yugoslavia” that was in official use from 1929. In 2006 Montenegro and Serbia declared independence, thereby ending the common South Slavic state (only Bulgarians have been out from this state as the South Slavs) established in 1918 under the original name of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (this name was used till 1929). It was Javier Solana who did it regardless the fact that he up today remains a war criminal for majority of the Serbs as he bombed their country in 1999 as the General Secretary of the NATO killing 3.500 citizens of Serbia including and children and women with a material damage to the country around 200.000 billion US $.[17]

After the year of 2000 it was easier to implement the NATO’s plans which seemed simply fantastic under Slobodan Milošević as president of Serbia and later the FRY.[18] The last Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro) was undermined, its integration slowed down till final dissolution in 2006 and Serbia’s strength exhausted. What the NATO, USA and EU failed to achieve in the castle of Rambouillet (in France) in 1998/1999 (during the ultimatum-negotiations with S. Milošević on Kosovo crisis) and through 78 days of cruel and inhuman bombing in March-June 1999, they got on July 18th, 2005, when Serbia and Montenegro signed a deal with the NATO “On the Lines of Communication”. This was a technical agreement which allows the NATO’s personnel and equipment to transit through the country. Under the deal, the NATO could enjoy such opportunities for quite a long time – “until all peacekeeping operations in the Balkans are over”. Thus the NATO was given the green light to enlarge its presence in the region and control the army of both Serbia and Montenegro. On April 1st, 2009 Albania and Croatia have completed the accession process, and have joined the NATO as full members and at a such a way surrounding Serbia and Montenegro by NATO members from all sides except from Bosnian-Herzegovinian. Today the Balkans are NATO’s permanent military base. For instance, in October 2008 Serbia’s defense minister and the NATO’s officials signed agreement on information security, which allows the NATO to control everyone who deals with their documents or just cooperates with them. For the very reason the NATO insisted on secrecy of the negotiations with Serbia.

The aftermath of the 1999 aggression on Serbia and Montenegro for the NATO was the most favourable. Nobody condemned NATO and they felt even more confident in global perspective (Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003…). In the recent years the world has witnessed that the NATO was making several attempts of its own expansion. Currently, the NATO’s military bloc is occupying more positions at the Balkans, using old and building new military camps with attempt to include into its organization Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina (the later one after cancellation of the Republic of Srpska). Still existing a huge NATO’s military camp „Bondsteel“ in Kosovo & Metohija is the best proof that the region is going to be under the US/NATO’s dominance for a longer period of time if the balance between the Great Powers (the US/Russia/China) will not be changed. However, the current crisis over Ukraine is the first herald of such change, i.e. of the beginning of the new Cold War era.

The most disappointed fact in the present post-war Kosovo reality is for sure an ethnic and cultural cleansing of all non-Albanians and not-Albanian cultural heritage under the NATO/KFOR/EULEX/UNMIK umbrella. The proofs are evident and visible on every corner of Kosovo territory, but purposely not covered by the western mass media and politicians. For instance, on the arrival of the KFOR (an international, but in fact the NATO’s „Kosovo Forces“) and the UNMIK (the „United Nations’ Mission in Kosovo“) to Kosovo & Metohija in 1999, all names of the towns and streets in this province were renamed to have the (Muslim) Albanian forms or new names. The monuments to Serbian heroes like the monument devoted to duke Lazar (who led the Serbian Christian army during the Kosovo Battle on June 28th, 1389 against the Muslim Turks) in the town of Gnjilane, were demolished. The Serbs were and are getting killed, assassinated, wounded and abducted, their houses burned to the ground. As we mentioned earlier, the most infamous ethnic cleansing was done between March 17th and 19th 2004 – the „March Pogrom“.

As of today, a number of the Serbs that were killed or went missing in Kosovo & Metohija from June 1999 onward (after the KFOR arrived), is measured in thousands, the number of demolished Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries is measured in hundreds, and the number of burned down Serbian houses in tens of thousands. Even though the KFOR had as much as 50.000 soldiers in the beginning as well as several thousand of policemen and civilian mission members, mainly none of the above mentioned crimes have been solved. In fact, murdering a Serb in Kosovo is not considered as a crime, on a contrary, the murderers of children and the elderly are being rewarded as heroes by their ethnic Albanian compatriots. The province is almost ethnically cleaned like Albania and Croatia. For the matter-of-fact, according to the last pre-war official Yugoslav census of 1991 there were 13% of non-Albanians in Kosovo & Metohija (in reality surely more). However, it is estimated that today 97% of Kosovo & Metohija’s population is only the ethnic Albanian. In the light of the main national goal by the Albanians – the establishment of another Albanian state in the Balkans and Europe, as the first step towards the pan-Albanian state unification – we can „understand“ why it is important to destroy any Serbian trace in the „territory defined by the aspirations“.[19]

In the name of a Greater Albania

The final stage of cutting of Kosovo & Metohija from their motherland of Serbia came on February 17th, 2008 when Kosovo Albanians received Washington’s permission to proclaim its formal (quasi)independence what happened in fact later than expected by Russia and China. At the UN Security Council Moscow said „no“ to Kosovo’s independence as Russia respects interests of Serbia and officially condemns all attempts to impose decisions on other members of the international community by breaking the international law (in the Kosovo & Metohija case it is the UN Resolution 1244). The fact is that the Serbs have not forgotten Kosovo, but have not done much about it either. Now there are some 80 states that recognized Kosovo independence, including 23 EU and 24 NATO members (out of 192 UNO members).[20] Almost all of them are the neighbours of Serbia and with the exception of Bosnia-Herzegovina all the ex-Yugoslav republics have recognized Kosovo. Bosnia-Herzegovina did not recognize it for the very reason: the Republic of Srpska, still as an autonomous political unit within Bosnia-Herzegovina alongside with the Muslim-Croat Federation according to the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement in 1995, has and use the veto right. At the moment, in Kosovo there is the EULEX (European civil mission) and the Kosovo issue is gradually being moved out of the UNO jurisdiction and out of reach of the Russian veto in the UN Security Council becoming more and more the NATO and the EU governed territory. There is and the so-called Kosovo Security Forces (in fact the redressed members of the KLA, which is formed according to Martti Ahtisaari’s plan with active support from the NATO to be in the next years transformed into the regular Army of the Republic of Kosovo.

 photo 9Samodreza_zpsc011f3db.jpg

What is true about today political reality in Kosovo & Metohija is a fact that this territory in a form of a client (quasi)state is given to be administered by the members of the KLA – a military organization which was in 1998 proclaimed by the US administration as a terrorist one. Anyway, the KLA is the first successful rebellious movement and terrorist organization in Europe after the WWII. The movement was originally developed from a tiny Albanian diaspora in Switzerland in the second half of the 1980s to around 18.000 soldiers[21] financed and clearly supported by all means by the US administration.[22] In order to realize its own crucial political task – a separation of Kosovo & Metohija province from the rest of Serbia with a possibility to unite it with Albania, the KLA was allied with the NATO between 1997-1999. The KLA’s strategy of the war terror was based on a long tradition of the Albanians to oppose by arms any organized authority in a form of a state from the Ottoman time up today. However, the military intervention by the NATO in 1999 against Serbia and Montenegro over the Kosovo question was portrayed in the American and the West European media as a necessary step to prevent the Serbian armed forces from repeating the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But the truth was that Serbia trained its military on Kosovo & Metohija because of an ongoing armed struggle by the KLA’s terrorist and separatist organization to wrest independence from Serbia for the sake of creation of a Greater Albania with ethnically pure Kosovo & Metohija and later on the western parts of the FYR of Macedonia, the Eastern Montenegro and the Greek Epirus.[23]

Nevertheless, an active US President Barrack Obama congratulated at the very beginning of his presidential mandate the leaders of the „multiethnic, independent and democratic Kosovo“ regardless to the facts that those leaders (especially Hashim Tachi – the „Snake“ and Ramush Haradinay) are proved to be notorious war criminals, that the region (state?) is not either multicultural, nor really independent and particularly not democratic one. However, there are several official EU’s declarations and unofficial political statements encouraging Belgrade and Priština to cooperate and „develop neighbourly relations“ what practically means for Serbia that Belgrade has firstly to recognize Albanian Kosovo independence in order to become the EU member state after the years or even decades of negotiations. The another fact is that the process of international recognizing of the Kosovo’s independence is much slower that Priština and Washington expected at the beginning. From the time of Kosovo’s self-proclamation of independence Serbia’s greatest diplomatic „success“ is the majority of votes in 2008 of the UNO General Assembly supporting the decision that the case of Kosovo independence should be considered by the International Court of Justice in the Hague (established in 1899). On the one hand, the Court’s decision on the issue in July 2010 was very favourable for Kosovo’s Albanian (the KLA’s) separatists and terrorists as it was concluded a verdict that an unilateral proclamation of Kosovo’s independence in February 2008 was done within a framework of the international law. However, on the other hand, the Court’s verdict in 2010 already became also very favourable for separatism movements elsewhere like in March 2014 for the separatists in Crimean Peninsula or maybe soon for their colleagues from Catalonia, Scotland, the Northern Italy (Lega Nord)…[24] Kosovo’s self-proclamation of independence has a direct domino effect only a few months later when in August 2008 the South Ossetia and Abkhazia did the same from Georgia.[25]

The (murky) reality in the present day Kosovo & Metohija, on the other side, is that there is not a single ethnic Albanian party at the deeply divided Kosovo’s political scene which would be ready to accept a „peaceful reintegration“ of the region into Serbia’s political sphere and there is no a single ethnic Albanian politician who is not concerned about the danger posed by the „division of Kosovo“ to the Albanian (major) part and Serbian (minor) part and does not oppose slightest suggestions of the Serbian autonomy for the northern portion of Kosovo & Metohija. However, what is more important: Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders and even the citizens of the Albanian ethnic origin do not even consider national dilemma like „Europe or independence!“ There is no doubt what their answer is going to be in that case. On the other side, what is going on about and in Serbia? The answer is that a nation unable to make a choice between a territorial integrity on the one side, and a membership in an international association (although an important one) on the other, i.e. a nation who cannot choose between these two „priorities“ really deserves to lose both.

At the end, if the international law and fixed order are broken on the one side of the globe (ex. Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq) it is nothing strange to expect that the same law and order are going to be broken somewhere else (ex. at the Caucasus, Ukraine, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, France…) following the logic of the so-called „domino effect“ reaction in the international relations. Finally, it has to be noted that if the Albanian extremism is not stopped, the FYR of Macedonia and Montenegro will have to give parts of their territories populated by the ethnic Albanians (the Western Macedonia and the Eastern Montenegro). In this case, Europe will have to decide how to discuss the issue of the borders’ revision and how to recognize a new enlarged state of a Greater Albania.

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Notes:

[1] That the NATO violated the international law by bombing the FRY in 1999 was clearly recognized in March 2014 by at that time Germany’s cancellor (the PM) Gerhard Schreder (Нова српска политичка мисао, March 10th, 2014: http://www.nspm.rs/hronika/gerhard-sreder-intervenicija-na-krimu-je-krsenje-medjunarodnog-prava-ali-to-je-bilo-i-nase-bombardovanje-srbije-1999.html). On this issue see documentary movie in three parts: „NATO’s Illegal War Against Serbia“ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joaNkHKxapk; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaz8rzUW0Lc; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4vzr8l3FvU). On the identity and politics in the post-Yugoslavia’s successor states, see: Robert Hudson, Glenn Bowman, After Yugoslavia: Identities and Politics Within the Successor States, London-New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

[2] On the issue of destruction of ex-Yugoslavia and Kosovo question, see: F. Stephen Larrabee (ed.), The Volatile Powder Keg: Balkan Security after the Cold War, Washington, D.C.: The American University Press, 1994; Susan L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution After the Cold War, Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1995; Richard H. Ullman (ed.), The World and Yugoslavia‘s Wars, New York: A Council on Foreign Relations, 1996; James Gow, Triumph of the Lack of Will: International Diplomacy and the Yugoslav War, London: Hurst & Company, 1997; John B. Allcock, Explaining Yugoslavia, New York: Columbia University Press, 2000; Jelena Guskova, Istorija jugoslovenske krize 1990-2000, I-II, Beograd: IGA“M“, 2003; Ian King, Whit Mason, Peace at Any Price: How the World Failed Kosovo, London: C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd, 2006; David Chandler, From Kosovo to Kabul and Beyond: Human Rights and International Intervention, London-Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2006; David L. Phillips, Liberating Kosovo: Coercive Diplomacy and U.S. Intervention, Cambridge, MA: Belfer Center for Science, 2012; Misha Glenny, The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers 1804-2011, New York-London: Penguin Books, 2012.

[3] See: Ken Booth (ed.), The Kosovo Tragedy: The Human Rights Dimensions, London-Portland, OR: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd, 2001.

[4] On the issue of the NWO and the Russian Balkan policy, see: Vladislav B. Sotirović, „The NATO World Order, the Balkans and the Russian National Interest“, Vladislav B. Sotirović, Balcania: Scientific Articles in English, Vilnius: Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences Press „Edukologija“, 2013, pp. 110-129; James Headley, Russia and the Balkans: Foreign Policy from Yeltsin to Putin, London: Hurst & Company, 2008.

[5] Costis Hadjimichalis, „Kosovo, 82 Days of an Undeclared and Unjust War: A Geopolitical Comment“, European Urban and Regional Studies, 7 (2), 2000, pp. 175-180.

[6] On the issue of used depleted uranium by the NATO during the Persian Gulf War and the Kosovo War, see: Darryl P. Arfsten, Kenneth R. Still, Glenn D. Ritchie, „A Review of the Effects of Uranium and Depleted Uranium Exposure on Reproduction and Fetal Development“, Toxicology and Industrial Health, 17, 2001, pp. 180-191. It has to be noticed that the depleted uranium was used by the NATO‘s forces in 1999 bombing of the FRY in armour-penetrating munitions, military vehicle armor, and aircraft, ship and missile counterweighting and ballasting applications. The combat applications of the depleted uranium alloy in the Persian Gulf War and the Kosovo War resulted in human acute exposure to the depleted uranium‘s dust, vapor or aerosol, and to the chronic exposure from tissue embedding of the depleted uranium‘s shrapnel fragments.

[7] On the universal human and minority rights, see: Will Kymlicka (ed.), The Rights of Minority Cultures, Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press, 2000; Jan Knippers Black, The Politics of Human Rights Protection, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2010; Dinah L. Shelton, Paolo G. Carozza, Regional Protection of Human Rights: Basic Documents, Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. It has to be stressed that the Albanian minority in Serbia within the region of Kosovo & Metohija in the Socialist Yugoslavia enjoyed all kind of minority rights according to the international law and even above it. The region has its own president, constitution, parliament, police, academy of science, law, press, education system, etc. In the other words, Albanian-run and dominated Kosovo & Metohija was in fact an independent political subject in Yugoslavia equal with all Yugoslavia’s republics. Within such political conditions Kosovo Albanians developed a high range of the policy of the oppression and expulsion from the region of the ethnic Serbs with a strong tendency to separate the region from the rest of Serbia and include it into a Greater Albania. What Milošević’s government did in 1989 it was abolishing of just political independence of both autonomous regions in Serbia – Vojvodina and Kosovo & Metohija in order to protect the country from territorial destruction. However, even after 1989 Kosovo Albanians enjoyed minority rights according to the basic standards of the international law. Many minorities in Europe or elsewhere today can just dream about minority rights left to Kosovo Albanians by Serbia’s government in 1989. For the matter of comparison, for instance, the Kurds in Turkey (from 1999 a candidate country for the EU membership) enjoy no single minority right for the very reason as they are not recognized as minority group at all. From the legal point of view by the Turkish government, the Kurds do not even exist in Turkey as the ethnocultural and linguistic group. For this reason, the process of Kurdish assimilation in Turkey is on the way on. On the Kurdish question in Turkey, see: Metin Heper, The State and Kurds in Turkey: The Question of Assimilation, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007; Cenk Saraçoglu, Kurds of Modern Turkey: Migration, Neoliberalism and Exclusion in Turkish Society, Tauris Academic Studies, 2010; Michael M. Gunter, The Kurds: The Evolving Solution to the Kurdish Problem in Iraq and Turkey, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011; Noah Beratsky (ed.), The Kurds, Greenhaven Press, 2013; Ramazan Aras, The Formation of Kurdishness in Turkey: Political Violence, Fear and Pain, London-New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014.

[8] On this issue, for instance, see: Мирко Чупић, Отета земља. Косово и Метохија (злочини, прогони, отпори…), Београд: НОЛИТ, 2006;

Video: Boris Malagurski, “Kosovo: Can You Imagine?”, Canada, 2009

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nHWsWOgtiw&index=2&list=PL999EB6ACC07FC959);

Video: “La Guerra Infinita”, First part, RAI, Italy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho2yXwa2dtE&index=21&list=PL999EB6ACC07FC959);

Video: “La Guerra Infinita”, Second part, RAI, Italy

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EnMJXvK7Bw&index=37&list=PL999EB6ACC07FC959).

[9] March Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija. March 17-19, 2004 with a survay of destroyed and endangered Christian cultural heritage, Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia-Museum in Priština (displaced), 2004, p. 8.

[10] Душан Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија: Историја и идеологија, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, p. 61.

[11] On Tito’s biography, see: Jasper Ridley, Tito. Biografija, Zagreb: Prometej, 2000; Перо Симић, Тито. Феномен 20. века, Београд: Службени гласник-Сведоци епохе, 2011.

[12] Јеврем Дамњановић, Косовска голгота, Београд: Интервју, специјално издање, (22. октобар) 1988, p. 38.

[13] On terrorism in Yugoslavia, see: Радослав Гаћиновић, Насиље у Југославији, Београд: Евро, 2002.

[14] Hannes Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009 (original title: Experiment Kosovo: Die Rückkehr des Kolonialismus).

[15] On the street-putsch in Ukraine in February 2004, see: „Vitrenko Says World Must Name ‚Neo-Nazi Putsch‘ in Ukraine; Cites Zepp-LaRouche on Danger of World War III“ (http://larouchepac.com/node/29889).

[16] Video: „Beyond the Revolutions: The CIA’s Otpor Organization“ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWhtdPZNsns).

[17] On the NATO’s „humanitarian“ intervention in Yugoslavia, see: David N. Gibbs, First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2009.

[18] On Slobodan Milošević from the western perspective, see: Louis Sell, Slobodan Milosevic and the destruction of Yugoslavia, Durham-London: Duke University Press, 2002; Adam LeBor, Milosevic. A Biography, London-Berlin-New York-Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2012.

[19] On this issue, see: Petar V. Grujić, Kosovo Knot, Pittsburgh: RoseDog Books, 2014.

[20] On Kosovo’s transition to (quasi)independence, see: Aidan Hehir (ed.), Kosovo, Intervention and Statebuilding: The International Community and the Transition to Independence, London-New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2010. On the question of contested states, see: Deon Geldenhuys, Contested States in World Politics, London-New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

[21] James Pettifer, The Kosova Liberation Army: Underground War to Balkan Insurgency, 1948-2001, London: C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd, 2012, the back cover. This book is official history of the KLA ordered and financed by the Albanian-run Kosovo government composed by the KLA veterans.

[22] Sinisa Ljepojevic, Kosovo Murky Reality, Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorsHouse, 2008, p. 1.

[23] See pro-Albanian and pro-western points of view on historical background for the KLA with described its activities up to and including the NATO intervention: Henry H. Perritt Jr. Kosovo Liberation Army: The Inside Story of An Insurgency, University of Illinois, 2008. The Albanian KLA is not lesser separatist and terrorist than, for instance, the Kurdish PKK. However, it is allowed for the Turkish government by the „international“ community to use all legal and other means to fight the PKK including and a clear violation of the human rights. On the question of the PKK party, see: Ali Kemal Özcan, Turkey’s Kurds: A Theoretical Analysis of the PKK and Abdullah Öcalan, London-New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2006; Aliza Marcus, Blood and Belief: The Kurdish Fight for Independence, New York-London: New York University Press, 2007; Abdullah Öcalan, Prison Writings: The PKK and the Kurdish Question in the 21st Century, London: Transmedia Publishing Ltd, 2011; Charles Strozier, James Frank, The PKK: Financial Sources, Social and Political Dimensions, VDM-Verlag Dr. Müller, 2011.

[24] On Lega Nord, see: Anna Cento Bull, Mark Gilbert, The Lega Nord and the Northern Question in Italian Politics, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001; Thomas W. Gold, The Lega Nord and Contemporary Politics in Italy, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003; Manlio Graziano, The Failure of Italian Nationhood: The Geopolitics of a Troubled Identity, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010; Andrej Zaslove, The Re-Invention of the European Radical Right: Populism, Regionalism, and the Italian Lega Nord, Montreal & Kingston-London-Ithaca: McGill-Queens University Press, 2011.

[25] Vladislav B. Sotirović, “Kosovo and the Caucasus: A Domino Effect”,Vladislav B. Sotirović, Balcania: Scientific Articles in English, Vilnius: Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences Press „Edukologija“, 2013, pp. 130-141.

2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2014

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Kosovo’s mafia: How the US and allies ignore organized crime



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Part 1

Region:
In-depth Report:
 
Kosovo's Mafia: How the US and Allies Ignore Organized Crime

Hashim Thaci, From Madeleine Albright (1999) to Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton (2010)

PRISTINA, Kosovo — It was the fall of 2000, just over a year after the end of the war in Kosovo, when two NATO military intelligence officers produced the first known report on local organized crime, painting the former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Hashim Thaci, as having “established influence on local criminal organizations, which control [a] large part of Kosovo.”

The report, the existence of which has not been previously reported, was widely distributed among all NATO countries, according to former NATO sources interviewed by GlobalPost. And year after year as the nascent democracy of Kosovo struggled to move forward and Thaci rose to political prominence, more detailed allegations and intelligence reports, totaling at least four more between 2000 and 2009, would name Thaci, these sources add. The reports were widely available to U.S. and NATO intelligence officials, and at least two were readily available on the internet. In one 36-page NATO intelligence report obtained by GlobalPost, Thaci merits a page to himself with a diagram linking him to other prominent former KLA members who are themselves linked to various criminal activities that include, extortion, murder and trafficking in drugs, stolen cars, cigarettes, weapons and women.

A diagram from a NATO intelligence report detailing alleged links between the current prime minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, and other people alleged to be involved in organized crime in Kosovo.

Today, Thaci is the prime minister of Kosovo. In fact, he was just recently re-elected to his second term.

In spite of U.S. officials knowing about the numerous and detailed allegations against Thaci and many of his former colleagues in the KLA, he has remained a valued ally of successive U.S. administrations. It is unknown which U.S. officials have seen the reports. But a NATO diplomat said it was common knowledge that Thaci is suspected of criminal activity: “Whenever you looked at him always in the briefings it was ‘suspected of organized crime.’”

And when asked if he heard the accusations against Thaci and others over the years, Daniel Serwer, a former senior American diplomat in the Balkans and now a senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said, “Absolutely. It’s been a common allegation.”

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright publicly embraced Thaci. Former President George W. Bush hosted him in the Oval Office. Vice President Joseph Biden also welcomed him to the White House, in July. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited him in Kosovo as recently as the fall.

“I want you to know, prime minister,” Clinton said to Thaci, during her visit to Pristina on Oct. 13 last year, “that just as we have been with you on the hard road to independence, we will stay with you. We are your partners and we are your friends and we are very committed to your future.”

Serwer said that Clinton has “certainly heard the allegations against them … . We all heard them.”

Kosovo, a fledgling democracy that the United States and NATO together helped liberate and then create in a globally popular war that was partly framed by the United States and its allies as a war of humanitarian intervention, is now hamstrung by corruption and intimidation.Thaci and many of his fellow Kosovo Albanian guerrilla leaders who were key U.S. and NATO allies in the 1999 war have clung to power and are facing numerous allegations of criminal wrongdoing. In a country whose very existence was fuelled by the West’s concern for human rights, many citizens are afraid to criticize a prime minister and his allies, who stand accused of routinely violating human rights.

Based on three months of reporting, involving dozens of interviews with politicians, former KLA members, diplomats, former NATO soldiers, political analysts and officials, GlobalPost has found that concerns about criminality among Kosovo’s ruling political class went largely ignored by the United States, NATO and the United Nations over the past 11 years — and in some cases U.S. and U.N. officials thwarted criminal investigations into former senior KLA figures. That, according to many of these people who have played a part in Kosovo’s recent history, was because the United States, NATO and the United Nations believed that keeping the peace in Kosovo between its ethnic majority Albanians and minority Serbian population — and Serbia itself — was a priority that outstripped all other concerns, including allegations of horrific human rights abuses.

At the same time, the KLA were cast as Kosovo’s heroes and its leaders emerged from the war with unparalleled political popularity and power, which limited the options of the United States and other NATO countries in finding effective partners in Kosovo. “It’s very easy to be holier than thou but in the end in places like this you’re going to meet people who are not good,” the NATO diplomat said. “If they were good people then probably they wouldn’t be in power or you wouldn’t have a problem with the country in the first place. It’s the price of doing business.”

Thaci has not been charged in a criminal case, but the timeline of the mounting allegations against him reveal that U.S. and NATO officials knowingly supported him and other Kosovo leaders who were purportedly involved in serious crimes right from the start of the Kosovo conflict.

“Americans and those who were in charge had access to this and other documents,” said a Western diplomat with knowledge of the region, referring to the intelligence report that is marked on every page as being for the viewing of the United States and NATO. Four other diplomatic, military and intelligence sources confirmed the documents were seen by U.S. officials.

Referring to the 2000 report, a former NATO intelligence officer in Kosovo who had access to a wide array of information relating to organized crime said that the United States and other NATO countries “did nothing after its publication, which made me disappointed and disheartened.”

Florin Krasniqi, a Brooklyn-based businessman who raised large amounts of money for the KLA and shipped high-powered rifles from the United States to the KLA, said he has personally complained to senior State Department officials about corruption and crime at the top levels of government in Kosovo but he said he is routinely dismissed.

“You can be corrupted as hell,” Krasniqi said, “but as long as you keep the stability you are a friend.”

Krasniqi, who was recently elected to the Kosovo parliament, described his former KLA comrade Thaci as “the head of the mafia here.”

Thaci is a telegenic, commanding figure who speaks passable English. He first became close to American officials during peace negotiations in France in March 1999, prior to the outbreak of war.

“I don’t think there’s any escaping the fact that these allegations have been around for a long time and in order to put them to rest there has to be a serious investigation,” said Serwer. Thaci, whom Serwer knows, “would like it to just go away. But I don’t see how it can go away.”

Some of the longstanding suspicions about Thaci and his associates were brought into stark and public focus in December when a Swiss senator named Dick Marty published a report under the auspices of the Council of Europe, a respected human rights organization, accusing Thaci and other prominent former KLA commanders of being involved in numerous crimes, including trafficking in human organs harvested from people who were allegedly killed for that purpose.

Then-State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley responded to the release of the report in December, saying that “any evidence and sources cited in this report should be shared with competent authorities to conduct a full and proper investigation.”

But beyond that, administration officials are reluctant to discuss why successive American governments have backed Thaci even though every administration since Bill Clinton’s has had access to the detailed allegations of Thaci’s alleged ties to organized crime.

The U.S. ambassador to Kosovo, Christopher Dell, declined numerous requests for an interview. A spokeswoman agreed to accept questions for a possible response from Dell, but then he declined to answer any. State Department officials, including former ambassador and current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tina Kaidanow, also declined to comment. Other officials and former officials declined to comment, including Secretary of State Clinton, former Secretary of State Albright and Albright’s former spokesman Jamie Rubin.

A spokesman for Thaci also declined numerous requests for an interview, saying that Thaci was too busy. Thaci also did not respond to written questions. Thaci is threatening to sue Marty over the report. Thaci has called the report “scandalous” and has said that its aim was “to devalue both the KLA and the independence of Kosovo.”

Criminal investigations

Beyond intelligence reports and mounting allegations, several criminal investigations of Thaci’s allies were known to U.S. officials — and three are a matter of public record.

GlobalPost has obtained a case report from the now-defunct U.N. mission in Kosovo’s War Crimes Unit, dated May 20, 2008. The case report describes how, shortly after the war, German NATO soldiers found and released 14 people who were being illegally detained by the KLA in the city of Prizren in southern Kosovo. They also found the body of an elderly Kosovo Albanian man who was still handcuffed. He “showed signs of having been beaten,” the reports reads.

Among those named as suspects in the report is Kadri Veseli, who is considered by many in Kosovo to be Thaci’s closest ally. Veseli was chief of SHIK, the KLA’s intelligence service, an organization that continued to exist and operate without legal sanction until 2008, and possibly exists to this day. In addition to Veseli, other senior KLA commanders and Thaci allies, including Azem Syla, Sabit Geci and Fatmir Limaj, are also named as suspects in the report.

None have ever been charged in relation to the alleged crime in Prizren. But Syla, Geci and Limaj have also been subject to other criminal investigations.

Syla was arrested by police in late 2009 and questioned about whether he was involved in ordering SHIK hitmen to kill a political opponent. Syla has not been charged in the case, whose star defendant is likely to be a self-professed SHIK assassin named Nazim Bllaca.

Limaj, another senior former KLA leader and Thaci’s former minister of transporation, was charged with war crimes in mid-March by EULEX, a mission of the European Union that works with Kosovo officials on enforcing the rule of law.

Last year EULEX investigators raided and searched Limaj’s homes and places of work. He has not been indicted but many observers in Kosovo believe he is, or was, under investigation for massive corruption related to road construction contracts as well as war crimes. (Limaj was acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.)

Geci is currently on trial, charged with war crimes by EULEX prosecutors. The EULEX investigation into Geci features Thaci in a cameo, GlobalPost has learned. Prosecutors and witnesses allege the during the war Geci ran a prison in the KLA headquarters in the town of Kukes. In the prison, prosecutors and witnesses say, Geci tortured numerous Albanian prisoners suspected of being collaborators or political opponents of the KLA.

In an interview, one of the estimated 20 survivors of the prison said that he saw Thaci present at the prison. The man, who says Geci tortured him and murdered his brother, has agreed to testify in Geci’s trial but requested anonymity before agreeing to an interview.

“I saw Hashim Thaci with my own eyes,” said the man, acknowledging that it was possible that Thaci did not know the prisoners were being tortured at the KLA base. But, the man said, the prisoners were held in a room with a large window and “he could see us.”

The man said he has told EULEX prosecutors about seeing Thaci at the prison camp. EULEX prosecutors declined to discuss the case.

If a reckoning of some senior KLA leaders is perhaps beginning with Geci’s trial, it has been too long in coming, critics say. Among those critics are people whose job it was to investigate and prosecute criminals in Kosovo after the war.

Protected by the United States?

One of the most frustrating examples of American power in the capital Pristina, say current and former U.N. officials and Western diplomats, was the influence American diplomats exerted over the supposedly independent U.N. prosecutor’s office in Kosovo.

“There was interference by the U.S. mission [to Kosovo] preventing effective investigation and prosecution of senior Kosovo officials,” said a U.N. official, who is in a position to know about the details of the United Nations’ law enforcement efforts during the time that it administered Kosovo, from 2000 to 2008.

The official said that the senior Kosovo politicians were being investigated for being allegedly involved in organized crime, and that U.S. officials prevented searches of the suspects’ homes and in one case were involved with U.N. officials in preventing a sentence from being carried out. The U.N. official said that these phone calls were “well known” and deeply frustrated many of the international prosecutors who were working for the United Nations and wanted to prosecute these Kosovo officials.

On June 14, 2008, the most senior U.N. official in Kosovo, Joachim Ruecker, issued an executive decision suspending the prison term of a former KLA commander named Sami Lushtaku, who had been sentenced to a total of 11 months in prison. Lushtaku was mayor of a town named Skenderaj, where support for the KLA is strong. In his order, which GlobalPost has obtained, Ruecker notes that Lushtaku’s sentence would make him legally ineligible to be mayor and “such an outcome would be politically highly sensitive at this stage and contrary to the public interest.” It is unknown if American officials influenced Ruecker’s legal decision, but a former senior NATO official in Kosovo said that CIA officials in Kosovo had tried to prevent NATO soldiers from arresting Lushtaku prior to prosecution.

Other officials and former officials confirmed that the United States protected some senior political figures, including former KLA leaders close to Thaci, for the sake of creating the impression that Kosovo was a stable country with strong local leaders. The same officials and former officials said that other NATO and U.N. officials were often complicit in suppressing investigations, although many others were angry at the blocked investigations.

“When we talked to them [the former KLA commanders who are still very influential in Kosovo today] we all knew they lied to us and they knew that we knew they were lying but there was not much we could do thanks to politics and their patrons in D.C.,” a former NATO intelligence official who worked in Kosovo told GlobalPost. “They freely run prostitution, petrol smuggling, money laundering, racketeering, intimidation of LDK people [members of a rival political party, the Democratic League of Kosovo]. They get away with murder.

“The Americans were not making criminal investigations easy,” the former NATO intelligence official said. “In a couple of cases that I know of they wanted investigations to freeze because that ‘was not the right time to do it,’ according to them, so they just pulled the plug and there was nothing that we could do. It concerned the big fish.”

A former international monitor with connections to the U.N.’s mission in Kosovo said: “It got to the point where some of my prosecutor friends were told not to do this. One can understand if someone says wait. They might be told hold for a while. But for people to just flat out say ‘don’t you do this ever’ and to treat the prosecutor’s office as an extension of the political office — that’s where lines get blurred.”

The former monitor sat in on meetings involving U.S. diplomats in which they and U.N. officials discussed whether political considerations should prevent certain political figures from being investigated or arrested.

The sense that Thaci and his close associates are protected and untouchable has created what many observers in Kosovo describe as a sense of hopelessness. Thaci is building a large house in the capital, Pristina, and even if the money for the construction comes from legitimate sources many ordinary Kosovars, who are the poorest people in Europe, see the house as a symbol of arrogance and corruption.

“To me this is absolutely reprehensible,” Serwer said.

It is highly unlikely that Thaci would ever be prosecuted by a Kosovo court. “The police, public prosecutors and courts are erratic performers, prone to political interference and abuse of office,” the non-partisan International Crisis Group wrote in a report last year, echoing a view shared by many Kosovars, foreign governments and aid groups.

A GlobalPost reporter interviewed Kosovo’s chief of police, Reshat Maliqi, and asked him why he had not initiated an investigation into Thaci or ordered his officers to search for evidence, given the numerous allegations against the prime minister. “We didn’t try,” Maliqi said, “because someone needs to knock on my door” bringing evidence.

If anyone is to prosecute Thaci it would almost certainly have to be international prosecutors. Since 2008 EULEX has been the most powerful judicial force in Kosovo, which declared independence the same year. Thaci’s opponents and critics hope that EULEX prosecutors will aggressively investigate the prime minister.

A Western diplomat based in Kosovo confirmed to GlobalPost that EULEX had been quietly investigating Thaci for some time. And in January EULEX announced its prosecutors had opened a preleminary investigation into the organ-trafficking allegations in Marty’s report.

There are signs that Thaci’s friends in Washington are becoming increasingly embarrassed by the swirl of corruption and crime that surrounds him and other former KLA commanders.

When Thaci visited Biden in July, Biden was all smiles in public with Thaci but “hammered” him about corruption in their private meeting, according to someone with knowledge of the meeting. Thaci agreed with Biden that there was a problem and said he would try harder to stop corruption and crime in the Kosovo government.

And if Thaci wants to visit the United States again it is now unlikely that he would ever be able to obtain a U.S. visa other than a diplomatic visa, which grants him immunity, U.S. government sources told GlobalPost. The United States does not generally allow foreign nationals into the country when there are unresolved allegations of human rights abuses against them. Thaci has told associates that he is now concerned about traveling overseas because he fears being arrested in a foreign country.

Thaci remains by far the most powerful politician in Kosovo. But if the United States were to withdraw support for him, or for his country, Kosovo would be plunged into political chaos that some people believe would lead to the break-up of the country. Such chaos also comes with a danger of resumed ethnic hostilities.

“At one point the United States is going to say you don’t deserve a country,” said Engjellushe Morina, executive director of the Kosovo Stability Initiative think-tank in Pristina. “Some of Kosovo will go to Albania and some will go to Serbia. It would be a disaster for that to happen. We so badly wanted a state and we didn’t know how to run a state.”


The authors:

Jovo Martinovic contributed to this story.

Matt McAllester, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and long-time foreign correspondent, is a regular contributor to GlobalPost’s “Special Reports.” McAllester and Jovo Martinovic have both been reporting on war crimes and organized crime in the Balkans for over a decade. Their work includes investigations of Serbian war crimes during the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo and the GlobalPost exclusive on the Pink Panther jewelry thieves.

Original source of the article:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/kosovo-s-mafia-how-the-us-and-allies-ignore-organized-crime/24050

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Kosovo Albanians massively buy properties in Macedonia



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SKOPJE – In recent months Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija have massively been buying properties in Macedonia, and those with “deep pockets” do not ask for price of the properties in the most attractive locations, claim real estate agencies, as reported by Macedonian media. Properties are bought mostly in Tetovo, Gostivar and Skopje.

Almost 80 percent of newly built apartments in Tetovo and Gostivar were bought by citizens from Kosovo. They pay as much as 700 euros per meter square. Houses are also bought, but their price is high, media learned at one construction company in Gostivar.

Except in Tetovo and Gostivar, Kosovo Albanians also buy apartments in Ohrid, but they do not do it directly but through an intermediary, in fear that the purchase of apartments might cause negative reactions with local population, the contracts are made to third parties.

Agency “Elinor” from Tetovo said that Albanians seek apartments from them, but that they do not want to sell them to Albanians, instead referring them to Skopje.

“Apart from Albanians, Macedonians from Albania also seek apartments in Tetovo and Gostivar,” said the agency.

Media reports that the problem got into spotlight since a few days ago an information appeared that thousands of citizens are leaving Kosovo because they are disappointed with the situation in the province.

It is also said that an additional problem for Kosovo citizens is a strict visa regime the European Union has introduced for Kosovo citizens.

Although official Pristina has began negotiations for the abolition of the visa regime, it seems that the deal is still far, say the media, and the reason is the increased number of asylum requests in the Western Europe and instable political situation in Kosovo and Metohija.

This is why a large number of citizens sees the salvation in getting Serbian passports with which they can freely enter the European Union.

Belim Becaj, political analyst from Pristina, says that there is no other reason except the financial one to make the citizens leave Kosovo, and that the authorities should prevent it.

“Citizens are disappointed and therefore they flee. When a man has financial problems he does not pay attention to whether he needs Serbian, Russian or Macedonian passport to leave. Living conditions in Kosovo are difficult and that is why there are mass departures,” said Becaj.

The EU has already announced the “red alert” because of the wave of asylum seekers from Kosovo and demands that authorities in Pristina explain to their citizens that it is impossible to get asylum in any country of the European Union.

The main source of income of Kosovo citizens is receiving aid from diaspora, and every third family has someone working in Germany or Switzerland.


14-02-2015

Source: http://inserbia.info/today/2015/02/kosovo-albanians-massively-buy-properties-in-macedonia-report/

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