The price of dignity (part one): the war of Kosovo
The year 1989 can be considered an epochal era. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of the two Germanys put the seal, in fact, to the end of the status quo of the Cold War and to the division of the world into well-defined spheres of influence.
Russia withdrew from Eastern Europe and shortly thereafter began to suffer by the economic crisis due to the change of political and economic system. Yeltsin follows to Gorbachev and the foreign policy of the former Soviet Union shows itself wavering, sometimes even subaltern against the American.
The United States are the masters a little everywhere, as is their habit.
The crisis in Yugoslavia is consolidated in those years and the Balkan Wars are fought first in the form of a "peaceful" demonstration, then riots, then attacks on police or army checkpoints and finally real battles that see a role also for NATO which air strikes on the positions occupied by the Serbs, alone among the parties to have systematically wrong. The troops deployments follow the Western bombing, to sanction the final secession of Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia from the rest of the now defunct Yugoslavia.
The constitution wanted by Josip Broz Tito foresaw the possibility of a unilateral secession of the republics making up the Yugoslav Federation but not of the autonomous regions, such as Kosovo, then part of Serbia.
Serbia watched to Kosovo with great nationalist spirit that was traced back to the defeat against the Turks suffered by Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic in the Battle of the Plains of Blackbirds in 1389, near present-day Pristina. Full of Eastern Orthodox monasteries as well as mosques, Kosovo represented the inner soul of Serbia and Belgrade was not inclined to discuss its secession.
The autonomy of the Kosovo region was thus revoked by the Government of Serbia in 1989 and there followed a general clean-up of Albanian political, military, economic figures replaced by similar of Serbian origin. Until 1995 the Albanian population, represented by the intellectual Ibrahim Rugova and his LDK party, carried out a campaign of non-violent resistance against the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosevic, claiming the independence of Kosovo and its elevation to the rank of sovereign nation.
A sovereign nation extended as a stamp, by the way.
The KLA Kosovar irredentist movement, consisting of a mixture of thugs cutthroats and veterans from the Bosnian campaigns, gradually gained importance on the more purely political one led by Rugova and began military actions against the Serbian minority, civilian and military targets easier to hit.
By now, with the benefit of hindsight due to the infinite range of revolutions (colored, velvet, roses and anything else), it is all too easy to see the modus operandi of Gene Sharp and his think-tank.
The Serbian government probably did not know that it was the victim of a well-designed protocol: the inaction to the provocations, would be followed by their progressive worsening while any government reaction should have been always presented as excessive, even if moderate.
The fate of Yugoslavia had already been decided: before by the peoples of the Federation, by Western governments (from the German one in particular) and the United States.
The KLA did not have, however, the military strength to defeat the Serbian army. As long as Warren Christopher was head of the U.S. State Department, the KLA was considered as a terrorist organization and poorly tolerated, but Warren was succeeded by Madeleine Albright in January 23, 1997 and there was a reversal in the American strategy. Within a few months, the members of the KLA passed from terrorists to insurgents to revolutionaries and then a media campaign was launched in a very big way against the Serbs and their President.
The Serbian nation was introduced to Western audiences as responsible for massacres, genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass rapes, arson and destruction. According to a script already experienced, Milosevic was the new Hitler and as such needed to be combated.
What Diego Fusaro called reductio ad Hitlerum (reduced to the condition of a Hitler) relieves the conscience of the West from any remorse. In his condition of new Hitler, President Milosevic could and should be shot down by any means. By extension, the Serbian people could and should be punished for having such a President. It began to spread the word about the "collective responsibility of the Serbian people".
The manipulation of the media was entrusted to famous public relations agencies who gained favorable contracts.
Attempts to expose the many deceptions were not successful, even when it was obvious the absurdity of such statements. As an example we can be the story of Petershtica, a Kosovar village whose houses were destroyed with particular malignancy by Serb militias that would open the gas taps in the basement and lit candles in the attic. But there was no methane in Kosovo and gas available was heavier than air.
Or, the elusive "Operation Horseshoe" by which the Serbs would seek to achieve the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. A canard, as the German general Heinz Loquai tried in vain to unmask, never really listened to.
The then German government was based on a left-wing coalition, which included even the greater environmentalist party in Germany. As in other parts of the world, for example in the Italy bully in the suburbs, those people proved themselves to be more royalist than the King and acted in favor of military intervention until they got it. But it was not enough to want war because war broke out seriously. Even in the crippled western democracies, it is still necessary to take into account a minimum of public opinion and flatter it as much as possible.
The negotiations at Rambouillet in February 1999 were the icing on the cake: not only Madeline Albright promised to the Kosovar Albanians the independence within three years but introduced in the agreements, with the complicity of Britain and Germany, the infamous Annex B. This Appendix provided for the free movement of NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia and their total immunity against the Federal law. Acceptance of Annex B by Serbia would have resulted in its disappearance as a sovereign nation and its transformation into a colonial protectorate.
The Annex B nullified the availability to an agreement shown by the Serbs: the government in Belgrade had in fact oriented itself to accept a partition of Kosovo that saw the southern part within a Greater Albania and the northern part of Serbia.
As Henry Kissinger pointed out in the Daily Telegraph of 28 June 1999:
"...The Rambouillet text, which called on Serbia to admit NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia, was a provocation, an excuse to start bombing. Rambouillet is not a document that an angelic Serb could have accepted. It was a terrible diplomatic document that should never have been presented in that form..."
No nation with pride and dignity would accept the Annex B.
And in fact Serbia did not accept it. NATO introduced the Serbs to the world as the only ones responsible for the failure of diplomatic talks. Airstrikes began March 24, 1999 and soon they reach the paroxysmal number of 600 sorties per day. Lasted about two months and stopped in early June.
Russia, due to its internal problems, could only help Serbia in diplomatic terms without sending ships and troops in support. The Serbian army, however, turned out to be a bone harder than expected and remained largely intact in spite of the continuous enemy attacks. Less fortunate was the Air Force that found itself easy prey for the West one, totally overwhelming and better armed.
The air campaign ended when Belgrade agreed to withdraw from Kosovo, leaving the Serbian minority defenseless and subject, it was!, of ethnic cleansing by Kosovar Albanians. The Serbs were concentrated near the border with Serbia, where there are still.
The claim of NATO that the Serbian army withdrew during the bombing was successfully rejected: too vivid was the memory of the Iraqi army, which was wiped out by the Americans while retreating from Kuwait. The army withdrew after the bombing ceased.
To remember is the heroic action of the Russian Army that, lightning, took possession of Pristina airfield preventing the British to get there first. The Russians departed from Bosnia where they were already present as peace keepers and accomplished an audacious action that allowed them to change, albeit only partially, the balance of forces in the field. The Serbian population of Kosovo owes its survival also to that temerarious action.
The embargo against Serbia lasted until the arrest and surrender of Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal on Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia, in The Hague, a puppet institution created by those who had contributed so fierce to the death of the Federation. If the Hague Court and other international tribunals organisms were really devoted to justice, they would have jurisdiction over the U.S. government and the American soldiers. So it's not, but that does not stop Washington to use them for political purposes when it suits.
Milosevic lost the election for the federal presidency in September 2000 and ended straight to the prison in June 2001, thanks to the weakness of the winner Vojislav Kostunica and Prime Minister Zoran Dindic, two men on whose political stature and patriotism is legitimate to question. As it is legitimate to question the true nature of the "non-violent" Serbian movement OTPOR, funded with the help of the United States and whose behavior follows, once again, the one shown by Gene Sharp.
The farce of the political process, the outcome largely discounted, lasted for 5 years, until March 11, 2006, the day on which Milosevic died in his cell, apparently due to heart problems, shortly before the end of the process. As always in these cases.
Maybe it wasn't fate that Yugoslavia existed as a family of peoples, maybe it was destiny instead that those people went their separate way. But the dissolution of the Federation was not only the result of internal pushes, natural and inevitable, as well as precise external interventions.
The Americans did not care and do not care anything about the Kosovar Albanians: the destruction of Yugoslavia was implemented in an anti-Russian key, to repair what was considered in the West a strategic error made by Eisenhower in 1943. The war against Serbia was, in other words, a war to rectify the eastern borders of NATO and confine Russia into a corner before its final division into three Western protectorates.
The Annex B was an unacceptable condition, inserted by the U.S. government to start a war.
Despite all his faults as a man, despite all his faults as a politician, Milosevic was not a new Hitler and none can speak of collective responsibility of the Serbian people because this concept brings implicit that of collective punishment and genocide.
Opposing to NATO, Serbia lost Kosovo but preserved its sovereignty.
Milosevic then had to refuse Annex B because it was unacceptable in terms of national dignity.
A closer look, the price of dignity is death.