Aletho News


Going for the Kill in Kosovo

By Stephen Karganovic | Strategic Culture Foundation | January 28, 2023

The collective West’s unsuccessful war against Russia using Ukraine as the stage and Ukrainians as cannon fodder has induced the Transatlantic alliance to desperately seek some semblance of victory, anywhere, in order to disguise the scope and lessen the political repercussions of its failure in the Ukraine.

The solution it has come up with to repair its tarnished hegemonic image is the aggressive campaign to wrap up “unfinished business” in the Balkans. Coming from such quarters, any “attention” to Balkan nations is invariably bad news for the country so favoured. That is the case in this instance as well.

The West judges, perhaps not entirely incorrectly, that Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, its perennial Balkan targets because thus far they have withstood total submission, are currently in a disadvantageous position to continue to resist effectively. With pretensions to embody the “international community,” although it consists mainly of the NATO/EU block of countries, the Alliance is increasingly and now openly shifting to a war footing. That raises to a new level its customary belligerence and disregard for the niceties of international legality and standard diplomatic practice. It never was greatly bothered in the past to observe the norms of civilised interaction between states. But now, with intense pressure to produce some kind of political victory to compensate for the failure in Ukraine, gloves are definitely off.

That puts both Serbia and its sister state, the Republic of Srpska, in a more precarious position than at any other time recently. They are both geographically distant from their natural allies and surrounded by hostile territory politically and militarily controlled by the Western Alliance, which is planning their demise. A comparison with the position of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the spring of 1941 would not be wide off the mark.

Complementing a similarly unenviable geopolitical predicament, there is an additional unfavourable analogy for Serbia. Its ruling elite are as feeble, vacillating, corruptible, treacherous, and disoriented as was the Royal Yugoslav government in March of 1941. That is when Nazi Germany went for the kill and demanded imperatively that in the looming global conflict Yugoslavia either commit to its side, or face dire consequences. Now it is NATO and EU which are going for the kill and the pretext is Kosovo. The Serbian government a few days ago was handed an ultimatum. The demand was that Serbia give up pretensions of sovereignty over NATO occupied Kosovo and unequivocally align itself with the aggressor alliance in the conflict in Ukraine. It was conveyed by a delegation of Western ambassadors in the form of a brutal warning that dilly dallying about Kosovo must come to an urgent end. Serbia was told that it must unreservedly acquiesce to the robbery of its cultural and religious cradle by signing off on Kosovo’s secession and accepting its illegal fruits. It should be recalled that the occupation of Kosovo was initiated in 1999, when NATO committed unprovoked aggression against Yugoslavia and it was completed in 2008 by a unilateral declaration of “independence” made under NATO auspices.

As is always the case, the West’s actual interest in Kosovo has nothing to do with the publicly stated reasons. Suffice it to say that Kosovo is the site of Camp Bondsteel, the largest military base in Europe, strategically situated so as to be of great use should the Ukrainian conflict degenerate further into an all-out global war.

Judging by official Belgrade’s initial reactions, it is conceivable that the Serbian government may be contemplating a course of action inspired by the collapse of the will experienced by the Royal Yugoslav government in March of 1941, when under Nazi pressure it did as ordered and signed its adherence to the Axis pact. It ought to be remembered by all concerned, however, that the consequences of that infamous breakdown were short lived. Within just a few days, popular revulsion in Serbia forced the ousting of officials responsible for the shameful betrayal of public trust. The immoral commitments they had undertaken on the nation’s behalf were effectively annulled. If further analogies need to be made with the situation in 1941, it should be pointed out that the reputation of the protagonists of cowardice and treachery displayed then lives in infamy to the present day.

Whether such considerations will be sufficient to deter those currently responsible for Serbia’s official decisions remains to be seen.

Alongside Serbia, the neighbouring Republic of Srpska, an entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina populated mostly by Serbs, which recently experienced a turbulent election followed by an attempt to achieve regime change using instruments from the color revolution handbook, is also targeted for harsh treatment by the unforgiving Western democracies. Like Serbia’s, its population is solidly on the “wrong side of history” in general and in the Ukrainian conflict in particular, with all that implies. With a similar degree of unanimity, the population and the government are also opposed to having anything to do with NATO. Under the terms of the Dayton agreement signed in 1995, by which the prerogatives of Bosnia’s entities are governed, that effectively blocks Bosnia’s entry into NATO and participation in its activities.

Understandably, this blockade of what is euphemistically called Bosnia’s “Euro Atlanticist integrations,” is an insufferable affront and irritant. As a result, punitive measures against the uncooperative leadership of the Republic of Srpska are now being contemplated. It is a sure bet that if Serbia caves and in cowboy fashion the Kosovo issue is resolved, Bosnia’s defiant Serbian entity will soon be next. It will again find itself actively targeted and in the outraged “international community” cross hairs.

It is, of course, still premature to call the outcome of the ominous new chapter being prepared in the Kosovo crisis, but a perfect storm with turbulent effects appears to be approaching. The same recklessness that over the past year had been on display in the Ukraine is now in evidence increasingly in the Balkans. Andrey Martyanov’s repeated assessment of Western elites as arrogant, ignorant, and incompetent, which he illustrates with a steady stream of examples from the Ukrainian theatre, may soon find another resounding confirmation in the Balkans, to the immense misfortune of all its inhabitants.

January 28, 2023 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serbian President Calls European Parliament’s Demands on Kosovo ‘Shameless’

Samizdat – 19.01.2023

BELGRADE – The resolution of the European Parliament, demanding Serbia recognize Kosovo as an independent state, is an example of the West’s “shameless” behavior, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Vucic met in Davos with EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak to discuss current developments around Kosovo after the EU parliament adopted a resolution based on the report on the common EU foreign and security policy for 2022.

The report demands Belgrade start talks with Pristina on mutual recognition and condemns Serbia’s “continued low level of alignment” with the EU on such issues as the Ukrainian conflict and sanctions against Russia, making the country’s further integration in the bloc contingent on the progress in these areas.

“They organized violent secession of our territory [Kosovo and Metohija in 1999]. How far could this shameless behavior go? I do not have the words,” Vucic told journalists on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

“They [West] say it is necessary to condemn those who allegedly encourage secession of parts of Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are the ones who decided to bomb our country and take away a part of our territory in defiance of the laws of the mankind, the UN Charter and norms of the UN Security Council.”

According to Vucic, the West is only interested in the topics of sanctions against Russia and Kosovo’s independence when talking to Serbia, and is not willing to tolerate any other views on these issues.

The Serbian leader also stated that some representatives of Western countries only understand the language of force, which makes it harder for Serbia to conduct its foreign policy.

In 2008, the Kosovo-Albanian structures in Pristina unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia. Since then, Kosovo has been recognized by 100 UN member states. In mid-December, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti handed over the application to join the European Union, though out of the 27 EU countries, Kosovo’s independence still is not recognized by Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia, and Romania.

January 19, 2023 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

Two Serbs shot in Kosovo Christmas Eve attack

RT | January 6, 2023

Ethnic Serbs blocked a major road in the south of Kosovo on Friday, in protest over a drive-by shooting of two youths on Christmas Eve. An 11-year-old boy and his 21-year-old cousin were shot not far from Strpce from a passing car, identified as belonging to an ethnic Albanian, as they walked with oak branches traditionally used to celebrate the holiday in the Orthodox Christian tradition.

“Someone wanted to give us a bloody Christmas,” tweeted Petar Petkovic, the Serbian government’s commissioner for Kosovo. He described the shooting as “an attempted murder.”

Cousins Milos and Stefan Stojanovic were taken to a hospital in nearby Gracanica. “One was shot in the hand and the other in the shoulder, and they survived only by sheer luck,” Petkovic’s office said in a follow-up statement. They blamed the attack on the “anti-Serb policy” of the ethnic Albanian authorities in Pristina, and demanded “a swift and decisive response from the international community.”

Even though the attacker’s vehicle was positively identified by local residents, the ethnic Albanian police let the suspected shooter go, according to the outlet Kosovo Online. The outraged residents of Gotovusa, a Serb village near Strpce, have blocked the road and intend to protest until the perpetrator is brought to justice.

Serbian media said on Friday evening that a 33-year old man was detained by local authorities in connection to the shooting incident.

A group of Polish soldiers from NATO’s KFOR peacekeeping mission has set up an observation post nearby, local media reported.

NATO troops took control of Kosovo in 1999, after nearly three months of bombing Serbia on behalf of ethnic Albanian insurgents. The province’s provisional government declared independence in 2008, but Belgrade has resisted US and EU pressure to recognize it, relying on support from Russia and China.

Last month, Serbs in the north of Kosovo set up roadblocks to protest the deployment of heavily armed ethnic Albanian police in their communities. The barricades were removed shortly before the New Year holiday, after the government in Belgrade claimed it received solid guarantees from Washington and Brussels that they would keep Pristina in line.

January 6, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | | Leave a comment

Ban on Orthodox patriarch ‘disgrace’ for West – Serbian president

RT | December 27, 2022

The decision by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian government to block the Serbian Orthodox patriarch from entering the breakaway province is as shameful as the non-response of Pristina’s Western backers, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday.

“This is a great shame, not for us, but for them,” Vucic said in a televised speech. “But it’s important for us to see how decision-makers, mainly in the West, truly feel about our people and our country.”

Patriarch Porfirije of the Serbian Orthodox Church was turned away when he tried visiting the patriarchal seat in Pec on Monday. Vucic noted that Western governments reacted by speaking about the importance of “freedom of movement” instead, focusing on the barricades put up by the protesting Serbs in the north of the breakaway province.

“Why is there such hysterical insistence on removing the barricades? Because they need to remove the Serbs from northern Kosovo, both the Albanians in Pristina and some in the international community,” the Serbian president said. “Albanians don’t use those roads, only Serbs in the north, who support the barricades as a way to defend their existence.”

The very same powers that “trampled Serbia’s territorial integrity” in 1999, during the NATO war, are “trying to do the same today” in violation of all international laws and treaties, “because they consider territorial integrity of Kosovo more important than Serb lives,” Vucic added.

NATO bombed Serbia in 1999 and handed control of Kosovo to ethnic Albanian separatists, who declared independence in 2008 and have demanded recognition from Belgrade ever since. Serbia has refused, despite pressure from the US and EU.

Residents of several Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo put up roadblocks earlier this month, protesting the arrest of an ethnic Serb policeman and the heavy presence of ethnic Albanian police in their communities.

The Russian ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, condemned Pristina’s actions towards the Orthodox patriarch, calling them “absolutely unreasonable” and “a ban on Orthodoxy.” He also said the ethnic Albanian police demanded the patriarch make “anti-Serb statements.”

Patriarch Porfirije described Monday’s incident as “if someone for no reason, with a laughable explanation, tried to prevent the Pope of Rome from entering the Vatican.” He nonetheless appealed for restraint and a peaceful solution to the ongoing tensions.

“Serbs have lived in Kosovo and Metohija for 15 centuries, five of them alongside Albanians. If there is good will, we can find a way to live together,” he said on Tuesday.

December 27, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Kosovo Conflict is Part of US, EU and NATO’s Broader Plan Aimed Against Serbia & Russia, Experts Say

By Ekaterina Blinova – Samizdat – 12.12.2022

Kosovo and Metohija Serb leader Goran Rakic announced on December 12 that a crisis headquarters would be created to provide civilians and the media with first-hand information about the simmering crisis in the north of the region. Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed Albanian leadership of the so-called Republic of Kosovo is urging NATO to step in.

“A standoff in the predominantly Serbian northern Kosovo was sparked by an arrest of a former police officer [Dejan Pantic] accused of attacking a Kosovo law enforcement patrol,” Scott Bennett, a former US psychological warfare officer and State Department counterterrorism analyst, and former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor, told Sputnik.

“Serbian protesters erected barricades over the weekend to stop Kosovo police from entering a town and launching any kind of a terror operation against the Serbian people. Tensions were already running high after Pristina announced snap elections in the area, which were expected to be boycotted by all Serbian parties. On Saturday, Kosovo’s [de facto] President Vjosa Osmani postponed the vote until April,” Bennett continued.

The Albanian population of Serbia’s province of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008. Serbia has de facto not controlled the territory of its southern province since 1999, after the US-led NATO invasion of Yugoslavia, which was the first all-out war in Europe after the Second World War.

Even though the so-called Republic of Kosovo has been recognized by the US and less than half of the international community, Serbia’s territorial integrity is confirmed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999. Hence, there is no state border between them, but just an internal border line.

This summer, tensions erupted around the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo after Pristina decided to impose a ban on the entry of vehicles with Serbian license plates from August 1, 2022. This prompted Serbs, who maintain large communities in northern Kosovo, to hold protests against the move.

Pristina’s initiative was clearly in breach of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. The agreement guaranteed that “there will be an association/community of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo” with substantial local powers and ties to Serbia. The treaty was negotiated and concluded in Brussels under the auspices of the European Union.

“The Brussels negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina did not bring any positive result for Serbia, but led to the violation of international law, i.e. Resolution 1244, and the Constitution of Serbia,” Dragana Trifkovic, director of the Center for Geostrategic Studies, told Sputnik. “At the same time, the Pristina side did not even fulfill what it committed to in the Brussels agreement. Therefore, the only solution would be for Serbia to announce that it is canceling the Brussels agreement and request that the negotiation process continue in the UN, where it is the place for negotiations if we take into account the fact that the status of Kosovo cannot be resolved outside the framework of the UN Security Council. Attempts by the West to resolve the Kosovo issue outside the framework of international law must be condemned.”

On July 31, 2022 the Russian Foreign Ministry lambasted Pristina and its backers in Brussels and Washington for an attempted expulsion of the Serbian population and Serbian social institutions from Kosovo, calling upon the international community to observe the rights of Serbs in the region.

At the time, the de-facto Albanian authorities of the region backed down, but the conflict erupted again in December.

On Thursday, December 8, the “customs” of the self-proclaimed republic confiscated a batch of 42,000 liters of wine from one of the oldest Serb producers in the village of Velika Hoča in the southwest of the region. The formal reason was that the activities of the manufacturer’s legal entity were frozen during the COVID pandemic. De facto customs officers drove the tank to the wine cellar and poured all sorts of wine into it, thereby actually destroying the high-quality product, which would be impossible to consume if returned.

On December 10, the self-declared republic’s security forces detained 56-year-old former Serb police officer Dejan Pantic on “suspicion of terrorism.” Pantic resigned in November along with other Serbian law enforcement personnel from the self-proclaimed republic’s Interior Ministry. At the time, some Serbs living in Kosovo deliberately withdrew from local government institutions in protest against Pristina’s decision to fine anyone who did not change their Serbian car registration plates to Kosovo ones. Pantic was arrested while trying to enter central Serbia.

Pantic’s arrest prompted Kosovo Serbs to blockade roads and checkpoints on the administrative line between Kosovo and central Serbia. After that, employees of the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) in Kosovo and KFOR – the NATO-led international force in Kosovo – were dispatched to the barricades. NATO reportedly has roughly 3,700 personnel stationed in Serbia’s province.

The media reported interruptions in Internet and mobile communications. Gunshots were also heard in the north of Kosovo. Eventually, Kosovo’s de facto President Vjosa Osmani announced that local elections scheduled for December 18, 2022 would be postponed until next year.

Meanwhile, Serbia’s President Vucic announced on Saturday that he would make a request to the commander of NATO’s KFOR mission to deploy a 1,000-strong Serbian contingent in the north of Kosovo to protect Serbs under UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

The resolution authorizes Serbia to deploy up to 1,000 military, police, and customs officials to Kosovo’s Orthodox Christian religious sites, areas with Serb majorities, and border crossings, if such a deployment is approved by KFOR’s commander. However, Vucic added that he had “no illusions” that his request would be approved by NATO.

US and Brussels are Behind Kosovo Conflict

According to Bennett, the escalation of tensions over Kosovo was provoked by the US and its Western allies in order to tighten the screws on Belgrade, with whom Russia has a longstanding special relationship, amid Moscow’s special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine.

“It seems the West, and specifically the United States and its proxies in NATO, are planning a military pivot to open up a new civil war between Serbia and Kosovo, as a means of menacing Russia and opening up a potential new front,” said Bennett. “So expect some kind of a false flag attack where the British-American intelligence services and military mercenaries artificially create a situation – most likely a bombing or massacre – and blame it on Serbia and Russia, to engineer yet another wave of hysterical EU sanctions and NATO military support for Kosovo against Serbia, and by proxy Russia.”

Hysteria has already engulfed Brussels and Pristina, with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell trying to threaten Belgrade over possible attacks on the EULEX and Kosovo’s de facto Prime Minister Albin Kurti urging the West to “punish” Serbia.

“The EU has behaved as a biased side from the beginning,” Professor Stevan Gajic, a research associate at the Institute of European Studies in Belgrade, told Sputnik. “And this was obvious, since the negotiations were basically lowered to the level of the EU from the level of the United Nations. The EULEX was biased. The whole process of Brussels agreements was only a sham in order for Serbia to give up all its state powers that it had. It is only logical that now the EU behaves like this. This might be a provocation. Serbia is very calm, actually trying not to use force to defend its citizens. But it only depends on the Western structures, whether they want to escalate or de-escalate this conflict.”

Gajic noted that nothing has changed in the West’s perception of Serbia over the last two centuries: “[T]he Serbs resisted Hitler’s pact [in July 1941] and we were bombed and consequently occupied,” he noted, referring to Nazi Germany’s occupation and subsequent division of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941 and Serbia’s resistance movement.

“NATO already bombed us twice in the 1990s,” the professor continued. “They bombed the positions of Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Croatia in 1995, and then they bombed Yugoslavia, meaning Serbia and Montenegro, in 1999, directly supporting Albanian separatists and terrorists. Now they are again against the Serbs because they see us as proxies of Russia. And this didn’t start yesterday, but it’s been like that for the last 200 years, at least.”

The West is currently trying hard to sever ties between Moscow and Belgrade by both demanding that Serbia impose sanctions on Russia, and pressuring Belgrade into signing a comprehensive peace agreement with Pristina, which would pave the way to Serbia losing its Kosovo province, according to Trifkovic.

“The request for the introduction of sanctions against Russia is related to this in the sense that the West believes that by severing the ties between Russia and Serbia, it would solve the Kosovo issue much faster in terms of the implementation of the Kosovo independence project,” she explained. “Even if Serbia were to impose sanctions on Russia, which over 80% of the population of Serbia opposes, there would still be demands to sign a comprehensive peace agreement with Pristina.”

In addition to that, the West seems eager to twist Belgrade’s hand into dropping its partnership with Moscow because the US and EU’s anti-Russia sanctions have turned out to be a complete failure, according to Bennett. “Former Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache has said Europeans are bearing the brunt of the crisis, while Moscow’s economy is doing fine,” the former US State Department counterterrorism analyst remarked. The West’s inability to “rein in” Moscow is casting a shadow over its image as leader of the world order.

One shouldn’t be deluded into believing Washington or Brussels’ statements about their intent to maintain peace and stability in Kosovo, according to Bennett. “As we have seen in the past, the promises and agreements made by the West, by the EU, and by NATO are worthless and not to be trusted,” he stressed.

Another telling moment, according to Bennett, is former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent remarks about the 2015 Minsk Agreements, which deeply frustrated President Vucic:

“President Vucic describe[ed] how amazed, shocked, and disappointed he was to discover that Germany’s former Chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted what many people suspected all along: that the promises made by Germany and France in the Minsk agreements were never intended to be honored, and were instead simply a ruse or lie intended to generate space and time for the Ukrainian military to build up its ability to wage a proxy war against Russian civilians. President [Vladimir] Putin has also commented on the deceitfulness of this grotesque betrayal, but then again, betrayal and monstrous ugliness seems to be fast becoming the main characteristic of the European Union’s character,” Bennett observed.

Meanwhile, there are numerous similarities between the involvement of American politics in Kosovo and Ukraine, said Trifkovic.

She noted that in both cases, the US, as well as other Western countries, supported extremism, fuelled militant nationalism directed against the Serbs and the Russians in Kosovo and Ukraine, respectively. NATO also provided logistical and material support, so the extremists underwent training and received weapons, according to her. Meanwhile, the Western mainstream media actively spread anti-Serbian and anti-Russian propaganda, with numerous Western-funded NGOs joining the media chorus, the Serbian geopolitical analyst pointed out.

“By and large, they created a complex war atmosphere, and they brought to power extremist structures in Kosovo, as well as in Ukraine, which they control and through which they actually rule,” Trifkovic said. “At the expense of that, American and other Western companies [served] their economic interests. In Kosovo and Metohija, the Americans opened the largest military base in Europe, Bondsteel, and I am sure that there were plans to open American military bases in Ukraine as well. In fact, American military bases have surrounded the whole of Russia, and the attack on Serbia in 1999 was only one segment of that process.”

December 12, 2022 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Serbia’s Vucic Accuses US, Pristina of Not Complying With Any Agreements on Kosovo

Samizdat – 11.12.2022

BELGRADE – The United States and the Kosovo authorities in Pristina are not following any acts or agreements on Kosovo, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said following a Security Council meeting convened on Sunday amid mounting tensions in the predominantly Serb-populated north of Kosovo.

Vucic called the meeting after Kosovo’s de facto leader Albin Kurti urged the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) to dismantle road barricades erected by local Serbs in the north of the breakaway region. He said that Pristina would be waiting for a response from KFOR mission command until the evening. If KFOR refuses to step in, Kosovo’s own security forces will be ready to carry out this operation themselves, Kurti said.

“We have one question for our American partners. Tell us, which agreement is Pristina abiding by and which act are you abiding by? The UN Charter, UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the Brussels Agreement, or the Washington Agreement? Name us one of these documents that Pristina respects, at least one that they and the US respect,” Vucic said in his address after the meeting.

Washington and Pristina believe they can “do whatever [they] want and as much as [they] want,” without respecting any agreements on Kosovo, the Serbian president said.

Serbs in the northern part of Kosovo began setting up barricades on roads on Saturday in protest of the arrest of Dejan Pantic, former police officer who quit his post in mid-November and was arrested by the Kosovo authorities at the Jarinje border crossing on suspicion of “terrorism.”

On Saturday evening, Vucic said in his address to the nation that Belgrade would send a formal request to the KFOR mission command for permission to deploy the Serbian military and police in Kosovo under UN Security Council Resolution 1244. He also showed photos of Kosovar soldiers in heavy equipment and with automatic weapons in the north of the region near the border with Serbia. Vucic recalled that, according to the agreements reached earlier, special police forces can only be deployed to the Serb-majority municipalities with the authorization of regional heads.

Earlier on Sunday, Vucic pledged that his country would continue efforts to settle the Kosovo issue using legal means and called on Pristina to create the Community of Serb Municipalities in accordance with the 2013 Brussels Agreement.

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Serbia accuses West of double standards

Samizdat – September 22, 2022

Western countries have failed to explain why they have different points of view on Ukraine and Serbia’s territorial integrity, given that they support Kiev in its fight against Russia, but endorsed Kosovo’s independence, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday.

In an address to the UN General Assembly in New York, the Serbian leader stated that his state respects the territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine, and that many describe the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev as “the first conflict on European soil since WWII.”

He said, however, that the truth about the violation of Serbia’s territorial integrity “is constantly unspoken.”

“We ask for a clear answer to the question I’ve been asking… for years – what is the difference between the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, which was grossly violated,” Vucic said, referring to the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

According to Vucic, Serbia “has never [set] foot” on anybody’s territory, but this “did not prevent the 19 richest NATO countries from attacking a sovereign country without a decision by the UN Security Council.”

He also said that while NATO pledged to respect the full territorial integrity of Serbia, it did not stop many Western countries from unilaterally recognizing the breakaway province of Kosovo in 2008.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Serbian president warned that the world is moving closer to a global war, adding that “the UN has been weakened,” given that the great powers “practically destroyed the UN order over the past several decades.”

NATO occupied Kosovo in 1999, after a 78-day bombing campaign against what was then Yugoslavia. The province declared independence in 2008 with Western support. While the US and most of its allies have recognized it, many other countries, including Russia and China, have not.

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments

7 nations ready to revoke recognition of Kosovo – Belgrade

Samizdat – August 28, 2022

Belgrade has managed to convince seven nations to withdraw their recognition of Kosovo, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Saturday, addressing the nation. The president did not name specific countries that had told Belgrade they would do so but still praised the development as an achievement of Serbian diplomacy, demonstrating that Serbia enjoys the support of the majority of the world.

“At this moment, in my drawer and in the drawer of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, there are seven documents confirming Kosovo’s derecognition,” Vucic said during his address. He then said that Pristina in particular seeks recognition from Vietnam and Kenya, adding that Belgrade “also worked” with these nations. It remained unclear, however, if the positions of these two nations on Kosovo had changed in any way.

Instead, Vucic said that his nation’s diplomats “did not sit idly by” in the face of Kosovo’s “constant” attempts to win over the international community for its cause. “Now, the number of countries that have withdrawn their recognition has increased from four to seven,” he added.

Serbia’s foreign minister, Nikola Selakovic, said in May that four nations had withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo but did not name them either. These nations would be named when necessary, he said at that time.

Vucic made his remarks as Serbia and Kosovo reached a deal on freedom of movement. Belgrade agreed to allow holders of Kosovo IDs to freely travel to Serbia and Pristina said it would grant the same rights to the holders of Serbian IDs, including the Kosovo Serbs living in the northern part of the breakaway region. Vucic maintained that the measure was taken solely “for practical reasons” and does not constitute a step towards Pristina’s recognition by Belgrade.

The deal mediated by the EU followed weeks of tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. Certain issues straining relations between Pristina and Belgrade, including license plates, remain unresolved.

Less than a half of the UN member states have recognized Kosovo since the breakaway region unilaterally declared its independence from Belgrade back in 2008. Not all EU members recognize Kosovo either: Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain have not done this so far.

Out of the G20, 11 nations recognize it and eight do not. Those not recognizing the breakaway region’s independence include Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, Indonesia and Mexico.

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

NATO ready to intervene in Kosovo – Stoltenberg

Samizdat | August 17, 2022

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has reiterated his promise that the bloc will intervene if “stability” is jeopardized in Kosovo during a press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Wednesday.

”Should stability be jeopardized, KFOR stands ready to intervene and will take any measures that are necessary to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all the people of Kosovo,” he said.

The leader of the military alliance called on “all sides” to “show restraint and avoid violence,” arguing that diplomacy was the only way forward, even while threatening military intervention under the UN mandate if the two parties did not abide by the EU-mediated dialogue.

Stoltenberg is set to hold a meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti later on Wednesday, while Vucic and Kurti will meet on Thursday in Brussels to continue the dialogue.

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo are running high after the province passed a law requiring Serbs to exchange their passports for special Kosovo-issued documents and switch out their Serbian license plates for plates issued in Kosovo.

Stoltenberg initially told Vucic that NATO would intervene in Kosovo in the event of stability being jeopardized during a phone call on August 3, echoing a communique from the NATO mission to Kosovo issued the previous week.

The announcement of the new law was accompanied by heavily armed special police taking control of two border crossings with Serbia, leading local Serbs to erect roadblocks in protest and Vucic’s government to issue a statement condemning Pristina’s behavior. NATO peacekeepers were deployed to defuse the tensions, and Kurti’s government agreed to delay the implementation of the new legislation in return for the protesters dismantling their barricades.

Russia has accused the West of fueling tensions between Serbia and its breakaway province, claiming the eruption was aimed at weakening the one European holdout from NATO and forcing it to adopt anti-Russian sanctions embraced by the rest of the continent. Kosovo, on the other hand, has blamed Russia for the escalation, arguing that Moscow is trying to distract from the war in Ukraine.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments

West behind Kosovo escalation – Russian envoy

Samizdat | August 2, 2022

The smoldering conflict between Serbia and the breakaway republic of Kosovo is beneficial for the West, Russia’s envoy in Belgrade Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko proclaimed on Tuesday.

Appearing on Russian TV, the ambassador suggested that Pristina was behind the recent escalation between Serbia and Kosovo but insisted that the incident was ultimately orchestrated by the US and the EU, who aim to stage a provocation in Kosovo that would put Serbia “on its knees” and pressure it into supporting anti-Russia sanctions.

“In this case, the EU, just like it was in the case of Ukraine and in the case of anti-Russian sanctions, is following instructions from Washington, contrary to its own interests. Washington benefits from a smoldering conflict. It benefits from keeping the situation on the brink of collapse,” said Botsan-Kharchenko.

The Russian ambassador’s comments come after tensions flared over the weekend on the border between Serbia and its breakaway province, officially called the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija in the Serbian constitution, which received recognition by several Western powers in 2008.

The government in Kosovo planned to ban the use of Serbian-issued license plates and ID papers starting from August 1, and was to use its police force to enforce the measure. On Sunday, Serbs in the north of the breakaway province set up roadblocks and rang alarm bells as heavily armed special police took control over two administrative crossings with Serbia, preparing to implement the order by Pristina.

The situation received a temporary resolution after Washington called on Kosovo officials to postpone the implementation of the controversial law until September 1. Pristina agreed, on condition that Serbia remove barricades from the de facto border.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said that he hopes for tensions to ease and promised that Belgrade would do everything within its power to preserve the peace through compromise.

NATO occupied Kosovo in 1999, after a 78-day air war against what was then Yugoslavia. The province declared independence in 2008, with Western support. While the US and most of its allies have recognized it, Serbia, Russia, China and the UN states in general have not.

August 2, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Serbs Bombed by NATO in 1999 Show Levels of Uranium in Bloodstreams Hundreds of Times Above Norm

Samizdat – 23.07.2022

The US and its allies spent 78 days bombing the now-dissolved nation of Yugoslavia in 1999, contaminating the Balkans with at least 15 tons of depleted uranium munitions. In the United States, troops who have been exposed to DU are eligible for generous disability benefits. Nothing of the kind has been offered to the people of Yugoslavia.

Medical testing of a Serbian soldier and civilian who came under fire during the 1999 NATO bombings has found that the level of radioactive uranium in their bloodstreams is “hundreds of times” above the norm, Serbian attorney Srdan Aleksic has told Sputnik.

Aleksic, who has spent several years filing lawsuits to try to ensure compensation for the victims of the DU bombings, said the testing was carried out in Turin, Italy, and that his legal team is now awaiting an official translation of the results into Serbian.

“So I will not delve into the medical details. But the results are frightening, not only for southern Serbia, Kosovo and Metohija and the ground-based security zone between them, where our first plaintiff served for 200 days,” Aleksic said.

“The second analysis was taken from a woman in Belgrade… Her results are a little better. We will file a lawsuit on the basis of the results,” he added. Serbian media indicated that the woman was exposed to DU after finding herself near the bombed out Ministry of Defense building in the Yugoslav capital in 1999.

Turin-based forensic scientist Dr. Rita Celli, a DU analysis expert who assisted multiple Italian legal cases seeking compensation for Italian troops who fell ill or died following their exposure to the deadly substance, characterized the pair of Serbians’ test results as “dramatic.”

She indicated that the levels of uranium-238 found in their tissue was as much as 500 times above normal, and that such high levels of DU contamination have not been established in any other civilians or military personnel that she knows of.

Celli’s approach involves blood testing and biopsies, and a search for aluminum, barium, antimony, lead, molybdenum, and other metals.

“All of the detected metals contain traces of U-238, which comes from the shells used by NATO during the bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and especially Kosovo and Metohija. Its effects have almost certainly also affected surrounding countries, such as Albania and Macedonia,” Celli told Serbian outlet Vecherne Novosti in an article published Saturday.

Under normal conditions, Celli said, the maximum amount of aluminum in a liter of blood is 3.3 micrograms. But in Italian and Serbian troops suffering from DU contamination, it runs from 500, 2,000, or even 3,000 micrograms. Among civilians, the safe level of uranium is 0.0053 units per liter of blood, while among those who have been contaminated, it can reach up to 10 micrograms.

Aleksic is working with Italian lawyer Andel Fiore Tartaglia, who has spent decades fighting for compensation for DU exposure suffered by Italian troops and their families, including among those who served in Kosovo during NATO’s ground-based occupation of the breakaway Serbian territory. In 2021, the lawyers filed a lawsuit in the High Court of Belgrade to demand that NATO provide financial [compendsation] for Serbian victims of the DU bombings.

Hearings in the case are expected to begin in October, but NATO has already preemptively declared that the bloc has “full immunity” from prosecution under Serbian jurisdiction on the basis of agreements signed in 2005 and 2006.

Aleksic told Sputnik Serbia earlier this year that the immunity claims are rubbish, since such immunity can’t be applied retroactively – i.e. to the 78-days which NATO spent bombing the country between March and June of 1999.

Tartaglia similarly told Vecherne Novosti in its Saturday article that “there is no immunity for war crimes and the principle of retroactivity does not apply.”

In 2000, a Belgrade court found former US General Wesley Clark and NATO chief Javier Solana guilty of war crimes for the 1999 bombings. However, the ruling was overturned in 2001 following the color revolutionary overthrow of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his detention at The Hague, where he died in custody in 2006.

Serbia suffers from one of the highest cancer rates in Europe, with close to 60,000 oncology diagnoses made each year, and cancers among children as much as two-and-a-half times above the European average. In the decades since the 1999 bombings, local doctors and scientists have also recorded an alarming rise in infertility, autoimmune diseases, and mental disorders.

The NATO war machine has used DU munitions in many of its campaigns since the end of the Cold War, sowing up to 2,300 tons of DU across Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion, and using the weapons in Afghanistan and Syria on a smaller scale. Military drills and accidents involving US aircraft are also said to have contaminated parts of Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy, and Remscheid, Germany.

As many as 20 nations, including Russia, France, Japan, China, South Korea, and South Africa are confirmed or suspected of having depleted uranium tank shells, armor piercing bullets, and air-dropped projectiles in their arsenals, but the United States and Britain are the only two countries confirmed to have used the substance in combat. DU’s potential for use as a weapon was first discovered in the 1970s, and it has been integrated into projectiles – particularly anti-tank rounds, due to its incredible density, comparatively low aerodynamic drag, and ability to penetrate deeper into targets than conventional shells.

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Biden has pledged that ‘America is back.’ But as peace shatters in the Balkans, does that mean yet more US misadventures?

KFOR forces patrol near the border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia in Jarinje, Kosovo, October 2, 2021. © REUTERS / Laura Hasani; Inset © REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein
By Julian Fisher | RT | October 24, 2021

With warnings that fresh tensions between Serbia and Kosovo could unravel the decades-old peace deal that put an end to bloody fighting in the Balkans after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the US is increasingly split on what to do.

Earlier this month, the SOHO forum in New York City hosted a debate between Scott Horton, long-time libertarian and anti-war radio host, and Bill Kristol, the neoconservative thinker and one of the ideological architects of America’s post-9/11 world order. The subject of the debate was US interventionism, its merits and historical record.

Predictably, Kristol offered vague niceties that attempt to recast America’s legacy as that of the “benevolent global hegemony”, a term which he himself coined in 1996 when describing the country’s role in the world. Reflecting on the wars in Iraq, Kristol simultaneously said that America “didn’t push democracy enough” and also “may have been too ambitious.” In short, he acknowledged mistakes were made, which is an admission that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, and yet still falls short of accountability.

However, whereas American actions in the Middle East leave a lot to be desired for Kristol, he insists that the US intervention in the Yugoslav Wars during the 1990s was a success. As he put it, the Balkans was “one case of a war that was worth it and that I think had pretty good consequences.” As if on cue, the Balkan pot is beginning to boil once again.

An unresolved conflict

Kosovo has been a potential tinderbox in Southern Europe ever since the end of the war of 1998/1999. A recent row with Serbia, from which it unilaterally declared independence, has led to a new escalation in tensions.

Beginning in September 2021, Serbs living in Kosovo launched protests against authorities hassling travelers who enter the territory with Serbian-issued license plates, prompting a mobilization of armed Kosovo police forces, roadblocks, and traffic jams near the border. Two vehicle registration offices were vandalized.

The EU mediated a temporary fix in September that involves covering up national insignia on license plates with stickers, until a special working group in Brussels determines a more permanent solution sometime within the next six months. Whether this will be sufficient in bringing about immediate calm remains to be seen, however. Since then, further clashes have erupted between police and protesters near Mitrovica.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the use of violence by Kosovo police against ethnic Serbs. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in mid-October, calling for talks between Pristina and Belgrade and a diplomatic solution to be respected by all sides.

As the situation heated up, NATO quickly ramped up patrols throughout Kosovo, including the North. “KFOR [Kosovo Force] will maintain a temporary robust and agile presence in the area,” the US-led military bloc said in an official statement earlier this month, intended to support the implementation of the EU-brokered solution. Last week, Kosovo’s minister of defense, Armend Mehaj, flew to Washington to meet with Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl at the Pentagon. The subject of the discussions was “bilateral security cooperation priorities”.

These moves are only the latest instance of US-led posturing in Kosovo. It was with American support that Kosovo launched its campaign for international recognition in 2008. Many major countries, representing most of the world’s population — including Russia, China, and India — have not recognized it as a sovereign state. Kosovo’s persistent claim to independence is what makes an issue as seemingly benign as license plates a question of war and peace.

In the background is still the 1999 Kosovo War, which was the site of NATO’s infamous bombing campaign against Serbia that led to the deaths of at least 489 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch. In April of 1999, NATO deliberately targeted Serbia’s Radio Television station, killing 16 civilians, according to Amnesty International. At one point, the US “mistakenly” bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three and wounding some 20 more, in what turned out to be the only target picked by the CIA over the course of the war.

To this day, the US maintains a military base, Camp Bondsteel, near Urosevac, Kosovo, as part of the international Kosovo Force (KFOR).

Two states in one 

To the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has also reappeared in international news coverage. Against the backdrop of the EU’s Western Balkan Summit in early October, the Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said last week that the parliament of the Serb Republic, one of two entities that together make up BiH, would soon vote to undo some of BiH’s state institutions. He included the military, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) and the tax administration. These and others were established after the signing of the 1995 Dayton Peace accords and are not enshrined in the constitution.

Dodik wants an independent Serb Republic without compromising the territorial integrity of BiH, and he claims he has the support of seven EU member states, though he has not said which ones.

The genesis of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s recent headache is an amendment to the Criminal Code that makes various forms of inflammatory speech a punishable offense. The law was enacted in July of this year by the Office of the High Representative, an international “viceroy” with the power to impose binding decisions and remove public officials.

Russia has maintained that this appointed position is outdated, with a statement from the Foreign Ministry saying it was high time to “scale down the institute of foreign oversight over Bosnia-Herzegovina, which only creates problems and undermines peace and stability in that country.” Moscow also remains critical of attempts to integrate the country into NATO, insisting there is no consensus among the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina when it comes to joining the US-led bloc.

Playing to a different tune, already last month Washington tried to reprimand Dodik for his “secessionist rhetoric”. In a meeting just a few weeks ago, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar warned of “nothing but isolation and economic despair” for the people of the Serb Republic. According to a transcript that Dodik shared with the press, he told Escobar that he doesn’t “give a damn about sanctions,” adding, “I’ve known that before. If you want to talk to me, don’t threaten me.”

In the US, various Balkan-American organizations have released a joint statement calling on Congress and the Biden administration “to immediately initiate steps to rebuff the attempts by the government of Serbia to unravel the region’s peace and security”. Citing both aforementioned developments in Kosovo and the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the statement demands a reinvigoration of “NATO enlargement as a priority for the region.” It suggests that what’s at stake in the Balkans is America’s legacy: “America invested too much of its own resources into this region to allow revanchist actors to decimate nearly a quarter century of progress.”

However, what does America investing its resources actually look like? In early 1992, before the war that scarred Bosnia and Herzegovina, all parties involved had already come to an agreement, the Carrington–Cutileiro plan, to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina into cantons along Serb, Croat, and Bosniak lines.

At the last minute, however, the then-US ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann, met with the leader of the Bosniak majority, Alija Izetbegovic, in Sarajevo, reportedly promising him full recognition of a single Bosnia and Herzegovina. Izetbegovic promptly withdrew his signature from the partition agreement, and shortly thereafter the US and its European allies recognized Izetbegovic’s state. War ensued a month later, in April 1992. The US eventually worked its way back to new partition negotiations that echoed the talks held prior.

As the New York Times reported in 1993, “tens of thousands of deaths later, the United States is urging the leaders of the three Bosnian factions to accept a partition agreement similar to the one Washington opposed in 1992.”

Zimmermann is quoted as saying at the time that “Our hope was the Serbs would hold off if it was clear Bosnia had the recognition of Western countries. It turned out we were wrong.”

Returning to the Horton-Kristol debate from earlier, Horton cited America’s underhanded opposition to the Carrington-Cutileiro plan, and the devastating consequences, as a case in point of US interventions impeding, rather than promoting, peace and stability.

President Joe Biden declared at the start of his administration that “America is back.” Taking a look at the history of US interventions, this could spell trouble for the Balkans.

Julian Fisher is a policy analyst at the Russian Public Affairs Committee (Ru-PAC). He writes about Russia-U.S. relations, American foreign policy, and national security

October 24, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment