Update No: 112 - (26/09/06)
The Serbs cling on
The Serbs are an extraordinary people. They cultivate defeat. They were
decisively defeated at the Battle of the Field of Blackbirds in 1939, leading to
six centuries of subjection to the Ottomans. Yet they commemorate this as the
foundation of their nation, which in a sense it was.
They lost four wars on the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Serbia will
continue to oppose independence for Kosovo even if its EU bid is harmed as a
result, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica told a Belgrade daily.
'Kosovo is ours'
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica says Belgrade can agree to
"substantial autonomy" but not independence for Kosovo.
Serbia will not accept independence as a solution to the Kosovo status issue,
even if its EU membership bid should suffer as a result, Prime Minister Vojislav
Kostunica said, in an interview published on 31st July.
"Serbia will reject a solution that takes Kosovo away from Serbia and, very
importantly, will continue to consider Kosovo part of its territory," he
told the Belgrade daily Danas.
Kosovo has some spectacularly beautiful, and poignantly so, Serbian Orthodox
churches and cathedrals, but fewer than 10 per cent of the population are any
No matter. once Serbian, a piece of territory is forever to be Serbian.
Forget about the EU
According to Kostunica, some within the international community have
suggested that Serbia give up Kosovo for the sake of EU membership. While entry
into the Union requires meeting certain conditions, these do not include
"territorial concessions," the prime minister said.
Legally still part of Serbia, Kosovo has been under UN administration since June
1999, when a 78-day NATO intervention ended months of fighting between Kosovo
Albanian guerrillas and Serb forces accused of ethnic cleansing in the province.
The 1998-1999 conflict left some 10,000 Kosovo Albanians dead and forced about
800,000 to flee their homes. Today, there are about 100,000 ethnic Serbs still
living in the province, where the ethnic Albanian majority accounts for 90 per
cent of its population of 2 million.
UN-led talks to determine Kosovo's final status have yet to see a significant
breakthrough. The two sides remain far apart in their positions, with the Kosovo
Albanians saying they will accept nothing short of independence and Serbia
insisting it will agree only to "substantial autonomy."
Citing Western diplomats, Reuters reported that the major powers involved in the
status process see little alternative to independence, with EU and NATO
supervision for years to come.
UN Special Envoy Marrti Ahtisaari is said to be planning to brief the UN
Security Council on the status negotiations in late September. If an agreement
has not been reached, the Security Council could impose a solution.
"Serbia's position will be to reiterate that Kosovo is a part of
Serbia," said Kostunica. "This is not empty rhetoric, but a legal and
By the law; but not force
But he made a most significant concession. He distanced himself from a
recent statement by Tomislav Nicolic, deputy leader of the ultra nationalist
Serbian Radical Party, who said Serbia should "fight for Kosovo" in
the event the province gains independence.
"Serbia so far has reached only for legal arguments, not force,"
Kostunica said. "That is how it would act in the future."
Serbian Defence Minister Zoran Stankovic said the army was not preparing for war
in response to Kosovo's possible secession. "We are not thinking about
armed conflicts, nor do we intend to prepare the armed forces for active
participation in armed conflicts," the minister said during a visit to Novi
Not even the Russians
Actually the Serbs are convinced that the whole world is against them. A
common misperception is that the Russians are the Serbs' historical friends, but
as the Serb saying goes, "God help us if the Russians arrive."
Indeed, as no nation has friends, but rather allies of immediate convenience,
Putin is ready to sacrifice Kosovo to set a precedent for Transnistria, Abkhazia,
and Nagorno-Karabakh, some of which will prove troubling for US plans in
dominating the Caucasus oil supply. Moreover, Kosovo independence will affirm to
countless separatist groups worldwide that military escalation combined with
public relations will eventually yield results, thus making increased localized
Unsurprisingly, many 'political' Serbs have a torturous view of themselves and
of 'the plots against them.' In the Balkans, it appears to some that Washington
wishes not the continuation of Belgrade's current "collaborative"
policies, but rather to force Serbia into a corner, thus driving the Serbian
populace towards the Radicals, and thereby creating a justification to isolate
Serbia yet again, all the while claiming the Serbs have "chosen the forces
of darkness and isolation over a brighter European future."
With the release of Muslim war criminal Naser Oric from ICTY Hague detention,
and continued although unanswered demands for the arrest and extradition of
Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, the Serbian populace may have achieved final
proof that the international policy bias was not a series of mistakes, but
rather intended as humiliation. Provoking their self-defeating spite will again
enable a free hand to Washington militarists to exact further reprisals in a
continuing message to global rivals, and conveniently causing further disunity
in Europe. As for the Serbs, damned if they do, and damned if they don't.
Predictably, the US can then jump back into pre-determined paradigms of
demanding special status for Sandzak/Raska, Presevo area, eastern Montenegro,
Voivodina, and western Macedonia. Undoubtedly media war, and Albanian terrorist
actions, will be employed as provocations, and already US Marines are training
with maps of Montenegro, to 'intervene to stop "genocide" against
Albanians.' The humiliating psychological conditions are not too dissimilar to
those imposed on Germany at Versailles, and may yet contribute to armed conflict
at a later date. As far as NATO is concerned, this may be in their perceived
interests. Thus runs the paranoia!
Unfortunately, many Serbs are still stuck in outdated paradigms themselves,
appealing to logic, reason and decency which have long since been forgone in the
halls of power in Washington and the capitols of the co-opted. One Western
analyst opined that "most Serbian politicians are fighting over
money…." With gauleiters unwittingly assisting in a phased plan of
dismemberment, time may be running short.
Possible encouraging signs include the appointment to DCI of Gen. Michael
Hayden, who along with his mentor Gen. Charles G. Boyd has been outspoken in his
criticism of US policy and media bias against the Serbs, singling out CNN and
the New York Times by name for their duplicity. But as one intelligence analyst
noted, Hayden may become "boxed into a corner [at the CIA] in five
minutes." Ohio National Guard troops are training Serbian Army troops in
Serbia, and two US F-16's recently touched down in a courtesy call to the
Serbian military - 'sans accoutrements explosifs' of 1999. Clearly there is some
diversity of opinion in Washington and Langley.
But as one Serbian-American publisher said, "a conspiracy of silence
continues" about the realities of the previous and current Balkan
conflicts, which could prepare the way for US public support for continued US
moves against Serbia -- should darker forces win out.