Friday, April 20, 2007

Jihadists, take note

The indomitable Julia Gorin reports that Tom Lantos (D-Ca.), sponsor of the latest House resolution supporting the independence of "Kosova," uttered the following words at last week's hearing:

(addressing Nicholas Burns of the State Department):
Let me just raise a few items, Mr. Secretary. The first one: just a reminder to the predominantly Muslim-led governments in this world that here is yet another example that the United States leads the way for the creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe. This should be noted by both responsible leaders of Islamic governments, such as Indonesia, and also for jihadists of all color and hue. The United States’ principles are universal, and in this instance, the United States stands foursquare for the creation of an overwhelmingly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe.

There is no hint of "principle" anywhere here. It's pure politics. Like many others before him, Lantos is trying to appease the jihadists (he actually uses the term!) by throwing them a bone in the Balkans.

It is interesting, to say the least, that Albanians suddenly become Muslims when it's convenient to make this sort of "argument," but quickly become "secular" and "moderate" when critics try to point out the systematic destruction of Serb churches and construction of Saudi mosques. Same with the so-called Bosniaks - one day they are "moderate" and "secular," the next they are "Muslims in the heart of Europe."

And please - what heart? Kosovo is the historical heartland of Serbia, and the Balkans in general is very much at the periphery of Europe. Or was Lantos maybe thinking of the Netherlands?

In any case, the whole effort to placate the world's Muslims by supporting Islamic causes in the Balkans has been proven ineffective repeatedly; not just in the countries like Indonesia, but among the Balkans Muslims as well. For example, far from appreciating Western help in claiming a state in the "heart of Europe," the Bosnian Muslims have come to believe that was the very least the West owed them, and have engaged in mockery of Western assistance.

Certainly, Pristina may have streets named after Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright now, and Lantos and Nicholas Burns may exchange friendly quips about how their own names, and that of George W. Bush, ought to be among them. But already the Albanians of Kosovo believe that independence is the very least they are due, and don't hesitate to attack UN officials or NATO troops that are perceived to stand in the way.

So much for the gratitude of your Muslim "allies," Mr. Lantos.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Zobel raus!

Andreas Zobel, Germany's Ambassador to Serbia, was apparently absent the day they taught diplomacy in school.

Following the examples of his American (well, Austrian-American) and British colleagues, who have been preaching the independence of Kosovo for the past two weeks in every pro-Imperial media outlet that would accommodate them, Zobel spoke at the forum organized by the "European Movement in Serbia."

Maybe it was because he was surrounded by sycophantic lackeys, but Herr Andreas forgot which country he represented (Germany has meddled in the Balkans almost from its inception, with bloody and disastrous results) and began threatening Serbia with further disintegration unless it surrendered Kosovo.

Official Belgrade protested. Even the pro-Jacobin, former Dossie minister Zarko Korac condemned Zobel's words. Germany's Foreign Ministry issued a sort of an apology, and Zobel himself claimed he expressed private opinions. (Newsflash: ambassadors aren't entitled to those until they leave the service!). But it's hard to believe his words were "misinterpreted" or "taken out of context" when his so-called "private" opinions match those expressed by the ICG, Martti Ahtisaari, or the Albanian-American Civic League.

Here is what the Serbian news agency Beta (quoted by the pro-Imperial B92) said about Zobel on Wednesday evening, Central European time:

German Ambassador in Serbia Andreas Zobel said that the problem of Kosovo ought to be resolved as quickly as possible "in the manner of supervised independence," because otherwise the issue of Vojvodina and Sandzak (sic) could be opened.

"Insisting on Kosovo as part of Serbian territory would destabilize Serbia, because then the issue of Vojvodina could open up, which is a new province in Serbia. This is not a threat, it's an analysis," Zobel said at the International Relations Forum of the European Movement in Serbia.

Zobel said it was "not true" that Kosovo had always been in Serbia, because it became a part of the country in 1912 "after a long time," and reminded that Vojvodina joined Serbia in 1918. He added that, if Serbia were destabilized, Hungary could "insist on Vojvodina."

The German Ambassador said that the insistence of Prime Minister Kostunica on Kosovo as part of Serbia "leads into stagnation and digging into a situation where he cannot win."

He deemed that "there will never be agreement between Serbs and Albanians," so the insistence of continuing the negotiations was just delaying the solution.

In his words, the fact-finding mission to examine the achievements of standards in Kosovo would establish only one thing: that the two people do not wish to live together, and that is already known. The mission would delay the solution to the Kosovo problem by two months.

Zobel characterized the proposal by the UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari, which posits supervised independence for Kosovo, "is not good, but it is the best of all the bad solutions."

"In 15 months of talks, and eight years since losing Kosovo, Serbia has not offered a concept for reintegration of Kosovo. Albanians want independence, Serbia cannot integrate them, and many people in Serbia are happy the Albanians live apart, but would like the borders of Kosovo to stay within the borders of Serbia," Zobel said.

He claimed that neither Kostunica, president Tadic, nor any of their "clever advisers" could explain to him the meaning of their formula "more than autonomy, less than independence," and added that, in his opinion, Serbia "deserves a better political elite."

"Instead of insisting on keeping Kosovo within the borders of Serbia, it is better to work on having both Serbia and Kosovo within the EU in 20 to 25 years," the German ambassador said.

According to Zobel, Kosovo is a part of Serbia under international law, but Serbia cannot establish control over that territory; on the other hand, two million Albanians refuse to live in Serbia, so therefore Kosovo is a "special case."

"Many in Serbia are wishing for Albanian riots in Kosovo, so they could later claim they were right when they warned the international community about terrorist threats," he said.

Zobel also said that the status of Kosovo should be resolved through a UN Security Council resolution, because otherwise there would be discord within the EU and the lack of consensus in the EU mission in the province, which is projected to stay "for the next 20 years."

Germany's ambassador also pointed out that many in Serbia "do not care for medieval myths, but want better life."

Regarding the continuation of SAA negotiations with the EU Zobel said that "promises, which were many, will no longer do" and added that the future Serbian government would have to take specific actions to fulfill its obligation to cooperate with the ICTY.

Ne claimed that a devotion to Europe and patriotism were "not opposites, but complementary," and that no country that wishes to become an EU member would be asked to give up its national interests for it.
Let's start from the beginning, shall we? Is Zobel saying that the Treaty of London and the Peace of Trianon are somehow subject to revision today? Hey, by all means, let's abolish the state of Albania, which was created by the 1912 treaty. And what will his Slovakian and Romanain colleagues say, when they hear that the ambassador representing the current EU chairman is challenging the treaty that abolished Greater Hungary after World War I?

Maybe he's right about the impossibility of agreement between Serbs and Albanians. But it doesn't help that the Albanians have de facto control of the province that NATO delivered to them in 1999, through an illegal war of aggression and terror-bombing (Germans should know a little something about both, one would think), so they have no incentive to bargain. As for Kosovo being a "special case" because Serbia allegedly cannot assert sovereignty... may I remind Herr Zobel that this might have a little something to do with the presence of NATO troops, the Kumanovo agreement, and UNSCR 1244? And why should some million-plus Serbs in Bosnia not have the right to refuse living in a state they refuses to treat them as equals? Ah, but Bosnia is different... Where oh where have we heard that before?

Serbia does deserve better politicians (I resent the term "political elite," as if these people are somehow better than folks with honest jobs just because they wallow in the morass called politics), but obviously Zobel needs reminding that its present leaders were put in charge by the US/EU-sponsored coup in 2000, and that everyone else is labeled "ultra-nationalist"? Unless, of course, Zobel and his superiors are referring to the Jacobins and their lunatic ideas...

Of particular concern is the quip about how Serbs wish to see violence in Kosovo. Albanians have shown a propensity to violence whether the Serbs wanted to see it or not; and saying that Serbs would rejoice in seeing them cannot possibly be an excuse or justification for another March 2004 - but that's precisely how Zobel's comment sounds.

Note, however, that it will do the Albanians absolutely no good, whether they riot or not. The EU will sit on their backs for 20 years! So much for "independence," then. That's incidentally the timeline for Serbia's own entry, which directly contradicts the promises of "Euro-Atlantic" integrationists that membership awaits just past the next humiliation. If borders were so irrelevant to the EU, why the insistence on preserving Bosnia, or refusal to partition Kosovo? For that matter - and this is a question one can confidently ask while pointing the finger straight at the Germans - why did you break up Yugoslavia, then?

The EU would never ask anyone to give up their national interests? So, does that mean Kosovo is not a Serbian national interest (since the EU is demanding its surrender as a possible precondition for theoretical talks about eventual remote possibility of discussing the options for membership)? There is no other way of interpreting that remark. "I would not do anything wrong; therefore, what I'm doing is not wrong." That's Ashdown logic, Jamie Shea logic, Carla del Ponte logic... no logic at all.

Herr Zobel considers what happened in Kosovo in 1389 a "medieval myth" that people should abandon in favor of a "better life." Had Andreas Zobel lived in Serbia in 1389, he would have certainly survived the battle (by not showing up), and by the following morning declared himself Ahmed Zobeloglu. After all, he would not dare stand in the way of "Eurasian integrations" and the better life, tolerance and growth opportunities offered by the enlightened Ottoman Empire.

Radical Party leader Tomislav Nikolic told the press on Thursday that Zobel should be expelled. It's not going to happen, because the current authorities would reach for the smelling salts at the very thought of being so... impertinent to their Euro-Atlantic overlords, and especially the EU-chairing Germans. But it would be a perfect response to such disgraceful behavior of someone who calls himself a diplomat. Who knows, it might even show the Empire that Serbia means business, and that the days of bullying Belgrade are over. Zobel, raus!

Not going to happen. Pity, though.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


When the Izetbegovic regime picked a fight with the Bosnian Serbs fifteen years ago (April 6, 1992), one of the immediate results was a division of Sarajevo with roadblocks and barricades, with the part of the city controlled by Muslim militias effectively cut off from the rest of the country. Most stores were looted within weeks, courtesy of crime overlords who declared themselves "defenders" of the city - although they had copious help from local residents who figured (and correctly) that this was all the food they would see for a while.

Food began arriving into the city in June, when the airport re-opened under UN management. Thus began the Sarajevo airlift, which lasted longer than the Berlin one. Someone somewhere probably has a tally of all the food, medicine, blankets and plastic sheeting that UNHCR delivered to Sarajevo, and Bosnia in general. I can only say with the certainty of someone who's been there throughout the war that this aid kept people alive who would have otherwise starved. And not only civilians - because as soon as the food and supplies started arriving, the government set up an "Agency for reception and distribution" of aid, which would skim 60% or more of the rations for use by the government and the military.

One can only imagine the dire predicament of civilians trapped in wartime Sarajevo when MREs were considered gourmet food, usually sprinkled on top of rice, pasta or - on those rare days - beans. One of the staples of humanitarian aid rations was Icar - canned beef from somewhere in the EU which looked rather vile.

Well, as war and propaganda went on, soon the people inside the Muslim portion of Sarajevo began to grow a sense of entitlement. The food was nothing more than the world "owed" us, for failing to defend us from "aggression" and "genocide." How dared they send us ratty gray blankets, or vitaminized biscuits from 1968, pulled from stocks never used in Vietnam? Didn't they know we were Europeans, used to Italian shoes and German cars? The outrage!

Few, if any, stopped to think that without this food, those blankets, or the admittedly hideous-looking foil we used to cover up our shattered windows, we would have all frozen or starved to death in 1992. Or that the UNHCR was essentially the logistics command for the "Bosnian Army," enabling it to continue the war until Izetbegovic could get a territorial settlement he actually liked. Instead, we had people protest that the inconsiderate Europeans sent us this terrible beef...

Fifteen years after the "international community" saved us from starvation just in time, Reuters reports that an art organization has sponsored a monument to Icar beef (Reuters photo below).

"To the international community, the grateful citizens of Sarajevo," reads the inscription on the pedestal holding up the giant Icar can.

"It's witty, ironic and artistic," says Dunja Blazevic from the Center for Contemporary Art, which is behind the sculpture.

The popular urban myth from the war, recycled by Blazevic in her statement to Reuters, is that Icar beef was so vile even cats and dogs refused to eat it. It's certainly possible. But I've traveled a bit since, and Icar is hardly worse than what they serve in school cafeterias or fast-food places in the U.S.

No one in the world had the slightest shred of obligation or duty to send anything to the people of Bosnia, who democratically elected politicians that led the country into civil war. The responsibility for supplying and defending the civilian population was squarely on the government that declared independence - and that government failed at everything a government is supposed to do. Miserably. To cover that up, it constantly blamed the "international community." To the present day, hundreds of thousands of people in Bosnia believe "the world" had failed them, and that the West owes them something.

Thus the Icar monument. "Hey foreigners, how dare you send us non-gourmet food? We are the righteous victims, didn't you know?"

I wonder if those ingrates who made the sculpture, as well as those who will walk past it with an approving snicker, will ever realize that without that help, without those very cans of grade-Q beef, few of them would still be alive? The world owes us nothing. And we owe ourselves the truth.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Last week in Balkan Express, I challenged the Albanian argumentum ad atrocitas for the independence of Kosovo - the notion that, because of "ethnic cleansing" and atrocities allegedly perpetrated by the army and the police, Serbia has somehow "forfeited" the right to this province.

Much as it has been the case with reported death tolls in Bosnia, the number most often cited in wire reports (10,000 dead Albanian civilians) is a complete fabrication. This is not to deny that crimes against civilians happened; the Yugoslav Army has actually prosecuted a number of its troops for violating the laws and customs of war. But the notion of widespread, state-ordered or sanctioned atrocities against Albanian civilians is simply not supported by evidence. There was no "Operation Horseshoe," much as the NATO apologist behind that Wikipedia page would hate to admit it.

So, do I deny that 800,000 (or however many) Albanians were expelled from Kosovo by Serbs? Absolutely. I don't deny that these people were displaced; that would be challenging physical reality, which happens to be the purview of the Empire. I do, however, question the claim they were deported by the police and the military. And indeed, some may have been. But all of them?

In July 1999, a Belgrade daily published a copy of the leaflet that was disseminated to Kosovo Albanians in April, just before the mass exodus to Macedonia and Albania proper. With the help of some friends, I have obtained a digital image of the leaflet. Here it is:

And here is what it says:


We invite you to temporarily evacuate the endangered territories of the Republic of Kosova, due to the ongoing major offensive by the Serbian occupation forces. We cannot protect you, and neither can the Kosova Liberation Army.

We need to save our people and our lives. Therefore, proceed immediately towards Albania and Macedonia.

We have asked NATO to help us in our struggle against the Serb occupation forces, because these forces have launched a great offensive in the entire territory of the republic of Kosova. We are getting this help, but the KLA is not able to fully resist the offensive and defend the Albanian people.

Therefore we call on all Albanians who face danger from the Serb occupation troops to evacuate to Albania and Macedonia.

Ibrahim Rugova
President, Republic of Kosova

Now, let's see. It's April 1999. NATO has been bombing Serbia for a week, on the pretext of imposing the Rambouillet "agreement" on the government in Belgrade. It's become clear that Belgrade would not surrender. The KLA - which had recovered from defeat in the fall of 1998, thanks to the intervention of Richard Holbrooke and the subsequent support from the KVM - was being routed by the Serb police and the Yugoslav military, deployed to the province to stop the NATO invasion. In other words, things were going rather badly for the Alliance.

All of a sudden, throngs of Albanian refugees pour over the borders into Albania and Macedonia, into camps set up by the KLA and staffed by KLA cadres, who are more than happy to guide the correspondents from NATO countries and OSCE reporters around, collecting testimonies and listening to sob stories. CNN can now show photos of crying Albanian women. The German government, engaged in open war for the first time since 1945, can now bolster the NATO cause by claiming the existence of a secret Serb plan to "ethnically cleanse" Kosovo Albanians. Macedonia is overwhelmed, and destabilized (which would come in very handy two years later).

So, Albanians were transformed from separatist terrorists (KLA) to innocent victims of evil Serbs. NATO was provided a justification for its illegal war that sounded much better than the imposition of a fake peace plan, or a shoddily fabricated massacre. And the KLA was able to assume the role of "protector" to Albanian refugees, thus becoming the leading force among the separatists (who had until then supported Rugova).

What an utterly amazing set of "coincidences," don't you think?