Article on the Balkans war, part 2

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Aug 7 05:56:56 MDT 1999

II.     Integration of ‘out of area’ countries into EU and NATO as part of an
overall strategy for American domination

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and an economic and financial crisis
threatening global capitalism, US policy-makers are openly asserting that
the US intends to expand its area of control over the vast Eurasian region,
which also implies control over the Mediterranean Sea and the Near and
Middle East. Domination of this region is seen as essential to guarantee
America’s global leadership.

In 1996, journalists Jacob Heilbronn and Michael Lind pointed out that the
expansion of US military hegemony into Eastern Europe, including
Yugoslavia, was part of the new ‘great game’ in the Caspian Sea region:
"Now in the years after the cold war, the US is again establishing
suzerainty over the empire of a former foe. The disintegration of the
Soviet Union has prompted the US to expand its zone of military hegemony
into Eastern Europe (through NATO) and into formerly neutral Yugoslavia."
In a blueprint for US-NATO occupation of the Balkans called  "Operation
Balkan Storm", George Kenney of the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace and Michael Dugan, former Air Force general and Air Force Chief of
Staff, concluded: "A win in the Balkans would establish US leadership in
the post-Cold War world in a way that Operation Desert Storm [against Iraq]
never could."

Less than two months before US/NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia began,
Michael Lelyveld, chief correspondent of the Journal of Commerce, wrote
that military intervention would be inevitable to support Washington’s
relentless effort "to promote its interests in the region, bending pipeline
routes away from Russia and Iran, despite the high costs". As Lelyveld
pointed out,
        [The] temptation to support that strategy militarily is bound to grow,
just as debates over economic interest have gradually blossomed into
arguments over US national security.¼ Despite all the reasons to avoid it,
the US will probably be drawn into defending the interests which it has
created in the region. The alternative is to step back and craft a new
policy that gives all nations an economic interest in Caspian development.
So far, there is no sign of that.

The strategy to control the region has to take into account similarities
that the Caucasus-Central Asia region shares with the Balkans, including
ethnic conflicts and independence movements, isolation and economic
hardship. For a long time, Washington has been seriously envisaging the
constitution of ‘pure ethnic entities’ for the Balkans, a project which may
even encompass the idea of a new Balkan federation which could involve
re-designing of frontiers. The 1995 Dayton Accord for Bosnia has often been
viewed as  the prototype of this project which would appear to comprise "A
Muslim Bosnia under US tutelage, a Serbian enclave under NATO military
control, the creation of a ‘Greater Albania’ under US tutelage, which would
leave the North of Kosovo with its mineral resources to the Serbs and the
South to an Albanian entity."   In accordance with this principle of
ethnically pure areas, the US, after the cessation of bombing in June 1999,
carried out a half-hearted disarmament of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA),
giving the rebels plenty of time to set up their administration and to
prevent the return of exiled Serbs.  As Paul Fabra commented, "One ethnic
cleansing will be replaced by another,"  in such a way that a Kosovo
‘protectorate’ within Yugoslavia will have no substance. In fact, the door
is open for the creation of a de facto clone of Albania which has allied
itself with the US. Like Afghanistan under the ruthless Taliban regime,
Albania has become one of those intolerant societies for which Uncle Sam
shows great indulgence.

In 1994, Lawrence Eagleburger, former secretary of State under the Bush
Administration, said that what was needed was "a modern-day Congress of
Berlin" run by the US, the Germans, the French, and the Italians, that
would draw a new map dividing the Balkans. Yugoslavs should be told, he
continued, "If you don’t do this, we’re collectively going to kick the shit
out of you."  The realisation of the project will inevitably require a
massive and permanent presence of NATO forces in the region:  in Macedonia
a quarter of the population is Albanian; in Greece, the nationalists
consider Macedonia as their own; in Bulgaria, the authorities claim that a
third of the Macedonian population is ethnically Bulgarian. In this
context, the presence of President Milosevic, heading what was left of a
historically unique multi-ethnic state, could be seen as a threat to US
designs for control.

        a) Western Europe and the Balkans

US strategy for the region has also to take into account Western European
interests there. RFE reported that the EU "has mapped out an ambitious plan
of roads, railway lines, airports, seaports and river ports to link all the
countries in an eventual united Europe. The plans call for investment by
Central and East European countries of a whopping $82 billion between now
and the year 2015."  In 1998, Neil Kinnock, EU Commissioner for Transport
Policy said, "Borders cannot open properly and goods and people will not
move freely, unless the roads, railways, airports and ports of Central and
Eastern Europe are functioning effectively."  In May 1998, a high ranking
official at the Ministry of Works and Regional Development in Bulgaria,
which expects to be a focal transit link between Europe, the Middle East,
Central Asia and even the Far East, said that the realisation by early next
century of plans to develop four basic routes as part of the envisaged
‘Eurocorridors’, depends heavily on stability in the Yugoslav area and on
agreement with neighbours about construction.   These important projects
are the reason why Germany, followed by the EU, has been intent on
dismantling Yugoslavia, in order to bring about the desired ‘stability’. In
fact, good connections with the European highway network are an important
condition for EU membership.

Within Europe, Germany has its own plans for control over the Balkans.
Referring to the German government’s pledge in 1988 to provide political,
financial and covert military support for Croatia’s secession, T.W. Carr of
the London-based Defence and Foreign Affairs magazine said that it "fitted
neatly into Germany’s strategic objectives in respect to the Balkans" which
include bringing "Croatia and Slovenia within the German economic zone
[and] gaining direct access to the Adriatic and Mediterranean."  Insisting
on the necessity of enlarging the EU towards Eastern Europe, Germany’s
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder referred, on April 19, 1999, to his country’s
new role in the world: "We are advancing to the centre of Europe.  This is
why Germany is committed to the deepening and enlargement of the process of
European integration." The transfer of the Reichstag to Berlin "clearly"
shows "the extent to which the capital of Germany can become the link
between East and West as the hinge of European unity."

        b) Partnership on American terms

Brzezinski writes: "The central issue for America is how to construct a
Europe¼that is viable, that remains linked to the United States, and that
widens the scope of the co-operative democratic international system on
which the effective exercise of American global primacy so much depends."
According to the Pentagon’s Defense Planning Guidance, "It is of
fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the primary instrument of
Western defense and security as well as the channel of US influence and
participation in European security affairs.... We must seek to prevent the
emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine
NATO." What is important to maintain is "...the sense that the world order
is ultimately backed by the US ... The US should be postured to act
independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated."  In other
words, as pointed out by William Wallace [Is he well-known?], the
‘partnership’ with Western Europe will be on American terms.

US policy with regard to Western Europe is one of deterrence. Defense
Planning Guidance states: "We must account sufficiently for the interests
of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our
leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic
order. Finally, we must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential
competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."  The
deterrence mechanism in question is NATO.  Accordingly, the US has sought
to prevent the emergence of an independent Western European military force,
an aim that was accomplished by the agreement reached at the NATO Summit.
The ‘Washington Consensus’ on the subject, reflected in a report of the US
Council on Foreign Relations, is that: "The United States should draw
Europe, over time, much further into a global strategic partnership to help
shape the international system in the new era."

A crucial consideration for the US is to ensure that any potential threat
is brought first to NATO, giving it a right of "first refusal." Although,
Western Europeans have sought to gain greater independence from the US for
their own defence system, they struck a deal with the US at the recent NATO
summit. The US recognised a "presumption" that the Europeans operating
within the European Union will receive US military capabilities needed for
EU-led operations. In exchange, the Europeans agreed to build up their
military unity primarily within NATO and not separately under the EU.  The
deal effectively ensures that all military decisions taken by Europe are
authorised by Washington. The recognition by Western Europe of US
leadership within NATO applies also to the domains of logistics,
infrastructure, and research and development.

Despite US-German rivalry for control over the Balkans, they agree on the
strategic objective of guaranteeing export routes and investments in the
region by securing ‘stability’, through the establishment of a political,
economic, and social system that is compatible with global capitalist
interests. This entails drawing these countries into a military
relationship with NATO and then ensuring that the system is preserved
through a NATO military presence.  This basic orientation of US strategy
for Eastern Europe is consistent with  the National Security Decision
Directive on Eastern Europe (NSDD 54) issued by the Reagan Administration
in 1982, which called for [*DOESN’T APPEAR: "expanded efforts to promote a
‘quiet revolution’ to overthrow Communist governments and parties"] while
"encouraging more private market-oriented development of" Eastern European
"economies."   IMF/World Bank ‘conditionality’, most-favoured nation
status, and loans are among other instruments used to ensure ‘transition’
to a corporate-controlled free-market economy.

Similarly, the EU’s "stability pact" for the Balkans seeks to bring
Yugoslavia within its orbit of control: to create "lasting conditions for
democracy, a market economy and regional co-operation" that would tie
southeastern European countries "firmly in the Euro-Atlantic structures."
 EBRD loans are tied to "decisive and credible action"  to speed up
"reforms" and improve the "rule of law". Like the US’s NSDD 54, one of
their goals is to foster the market transition of former command economies
in Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet republics. At its
recent board meeting in April 1999, EBRD adopted a tougher stance on
market-oriented reform in Eastern Europe, increasing the use of financing
as leverage to enforce free-market legislation and the creation of new
regulatory institutions.

        c) The new NATO: from the Atlantic to Central Asia and Beyond

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO is being openly called upon to
act outside its traditional areas in order to protect and guarantee US and
Western European investments in the region. In 1991, NATO warned against
the rising challenge in the region to its economic model: "We will continue
to support, with all means available to us, the reforms undertaken in the
East and efforts aimed at creating market economies"!  Such concerns formed
the backdrop to discussions within NATO about its new role in the post-Cold
War period. A process of consultation with countries of central and
south-eastern Europe culminated in the 1999 NATO Summit decision to
accelerate the integration of these countries into the Euro-Atlantic
        The security of the Balkan region is essential to ensure durable stability
in the whole Euro-Atlantic zone. Our objective is to see countries of the
region integrate into the Euro-Atlantic community. It is our intention that
all countries and peoples of southeastern Europe enjoy peace and security
and establish among themselves normal relations founded on respect for
human rights, democracy, individual freedoms and the primacy of law.

One doubts the political value and efficiency of the proposal supported by
sections of the European left for an international conference on Security
for the Balkans when NATO itself has decided to be the architect of greater
integration as reflected in its new strategic concepts and its new structure:
We intend to follow up our meeting by pursuing consultations with countries
of the region. Thus, we will propose a consultative forum on questions of
security bringing together all NATO members and countries of the region at
an appropriate level.

The ‘Western structures’ include the European Union and NATO, which are
seen as the principal means of bringing ‘out of area’ territories under US
control, facilitating the establishment of US/NATO military presence beyond
NATO’s original area. At its recent Summit, NATO underlined the extent to
which "security in Europe is closely linked to security and stability in
the Mediterranean" and declared its resolve "to progressively develop the
political, civil and military aspects of the dialogue with a view to
reaching closer cooperation with countries which are its partners in this
dialogue and to encourage their more active involvement."   NATO's
objective with regard to the Balkans was put in these terms: "The security
of the region is essential to ensure lasting stability in the whole
Euro-Atlantic zone. Our objective is to see the countries of that region
integrate into the Euro-Atlantic community."  It also announced a plan to
upgrade security relations with Balkan countries through its partnership
for peace programmes.

NATO's new role goes well beyond Europe, however.  As John Wes [Who is he?
Is he significant enough to name?] describes it:
        NATO is now looked upon as the future security guarantor for the Caucasus
and Central Asia. A NATO base in Azerbaijan is being discussed in Baku.¼
NATO is now developing its plans to guard pipelines and Azeri and Georgian
petroleum installations. Troops from these former Soviet republics take
part in NATO exercises. Both Washington and the region’s rulers want to
isolate Central Asia from Russia’s economic crisis--and political
pressures. They are also trying to keep Iran out of the picture--either for
pipelines, or investment.

The US/NATO war against Yugoslavia and the recent adoption of the new
‘strategic concept’ reflect a significant step in the evolution of
US-Western European relations. It marks the effective replacement of the
multilateral system by NATO, within which the US may block any independent
Western European action.  The war also gives post factum legitimacy to the
new strategic concepts allowing US/NATO to expand and intervene to protect
economic interests in traditionally ‘out of area’ countries, vaguely
defined as "the Euro-Atlantic region". The region includes the 19 alliance
members and 28 other countries with which it has partnership arrangements.
 The significance of this change can be measured when one realises that the
territory of Russia alone, a member of NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council, extends to China and the Far East! The new role, described as
"effective conflict prevention" and "crisis management, including crisis
response operations", means that NATO is "theoretically ready to embark on
further Kosovos."  On June 22, 1999, during his visit to Macedonia,
President Clinton was explicit about the US’s intention to expand NATO's
area of intervention. He promised that similar aerial attacks could be
repeated not only in Europe but also elsewhere if human rights are
violated: "We can do it now, we can do it tomorrow and, if necessary, we
can do it elsewhere in Africa or in Central Europe."

The war has already enabled the US to establish itself more firmly in
Europe by strengthening NATO and installing new military bases in the
Balkans--in Macedonia, Albania ... and now also inside Yugoslavia, in
Kosovo. It is expected to accelerate the process of integration into the EU
and NATO of Eastern European countries and former Soviet republics like
Ukraine.  Calls by NATO leaders for the departure of President Milosevic as
a condition for Western European aid and the recent US offer of a $5
million reward to anyone who helps capture him are all part of the
intangible principle of ‘conditionality’ which  calls for "concrete"
results and for the creation of "joint-ventures everywhere."

Significantly, on December 1, 1997, Caucasus Press [Is this a subdivision
of RFERL?] cited a report from the independent Azerbaijani news agency,
ANS, that if construction of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline proceeds, US
reconnaissance aircraft currently stationed in Turkey’s Incirlik air base
will be deployed to protect the pipeline under an agreement between Turkey,
the US, and Britain.  The most vocal about seeking NATO protection is
Azerbaijan, which has called for the establishment of  NATO military bases
on its territory and has also dropped out of the CIS [former Soviet
Republics] security structure.  According to Michael Lelyveld, discussions
have been held within GUAM by Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova for
a pipeline security force.  In mid-October 1997, at a meeting of Presidents
of these four countries, held on the sidelines of the Council of Europe
summit, the Azerbaijan Foreign Minister, Hasan Hasanov, underscored the
economic potential of GUAM and called for co-ordinating security policy
within the parameters of NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme. He also
said that the strengthening of quadrilateral ties among GUAM members should
proceed parallel to those states’ integration into European and
Euro-Atlantic structures.

In waging war in Yugoslavia, the US and NATO see more than their
credibility at stake. They fear the emergence in the Eurasian region of a
potential danger in the near future: what Brzezinski called the birth of a
"grand coalition between China, Russia and perhaps Iran, an anti-hegemonic
coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances."   But a
Sino-Japanese axis, even a localised one, would have greater consequences.
It could emerge "from a collapse of the American position in the Far East
and a revolutionary change in Japan’s world outlook."
That vision underlines the role of China. China, the second largest energy
user in the world, recently acknowledged that it will need to import 40% of
its oil by 2010, up from less than 20% now.  An RFE report predicts that
China will overtake the US as the number one user of energy early in the
21st century.  As the central core of its energy security strategy, China
is increasingly seeking to diversify its supply sources toward Russia,
Central Asia, Iran and the Middle East. The strategic importance for China
of the republics of Central Asia, especially Kazakhstan, goes beyond the
fact that they are rich in oil. They also border China’s Moslem-dominated
north-west region. Hence the view held among many Chinese officials that
NATO aggression against Yugoslavia might portend hegemonic designs
extending well beyond Eastern Europe. As one Chinese official asked, "Where
will NATO stop? Will they next intervene in Azerbaijan or maybe in
Tajikistan on China’s border?"  The People’s Liberation Army recently
called for a review of its military strategy in the light of the war
against Yugoslavia.  Over time, control over the South China Sea, through
which oil tankers supplying its ports must pass, would also become crucial
for China.

The avoidance of such scenarios "require[s] a display of US skill on the
western, eastern and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously."  It is
easy to understand why, right in the middle of the war against Yugoslavia,
the Japanese Diet approved new legislation on military co-operation between
the US and Japan to enlarge the possibility of logistical support for
Japan’s military self-defence system in the event of a crisis that could
affect American ‘security’ in the region. Willy Wimmer, CDU Bundestag
deputy and Vice President of the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly, remarked
that developments since the Bosnian intervention
        have made it clear that the world is doing more than just thinking about
whether global interventions of NATO associations will not soon be the
consequence.  And when I hear from Japan that they are thinking of
intervention in Korea with European troops, or when it is openly said that
the next intervention could be in an Algerian context--I can only say that
is how the others are seeing it too.  Why should we be the only ones to
close our eyes?

        d) The Yugoslav obstacle

Yugoslavia represents an obstacle in the region for the United States and
its main allies. It has chosen to remain outside the European Union and has
not entered into any partnership arrangements with NATO; instead, it is
Russia’s principal support in the region. During the US/NATO airstrikes,
President Yeltsin himself recognised its strategic importance for Russia:
"Bill Clinton hopes to win, he hopes [Milosevic] will capitulate, give up
the whole of Yugoslavia, make it America’s protectorate. We will not allow
this. This is a strategic place, the Balkans."  In 1989, Slobodan
Milosevic, responding to supporters of  ‘Europeanisation’, said, "We will
not be approaching Europe cap-in-hand, making a mockery of our own state,
institutions and even military," but that he would do so in a "Yugoslav,"
"socialist" way."   A Financial Times reporter points out that "with the
one glaring exception," practically all countries of the former Soviet bloc
in Central Europe have either joined or are seeking to join the European
Union. He adds, "NATO leaders will undoubtedly be obsessed with this

Serbia is the only Yugoslav republic which opposes the break-up of the
Yugoslav Federation. Whilst permitting IMF intervention and its structural
adjustment programmes, Milosevic could not ignore the reality of rising
opposition to their social consequences in a country already severely
affected by unemployment.  The populations of Serbia and Montenegro are
most clearly opposed to market-oriented reform.  Thus, in October 1990,
former Yugoslav Prime Minister, Ante Markovic, was ousted because of
opposition to his further implementation of IMF/World Bank demands to
privatise or shut down public enterprises, cut social programmes and
subsidies, and freeze wages. The government coalition between the Socialist
Party, the Yugoslav United Left and New Democracy, despite its own
responsibility for the socio-economic crisis, has been opposed to a radical
change in social property, while remaining open to limited privatisation.
Thus it has refused to comply with IMF/World Bank demands to ‘open’ the
economy and to privatise and liquidate public enterprises as a condition
for re-admission after its expulsion in 1992. In 1996, the leader of the
Yugoslav United Left, Mirjana Markovic (Milosevic’s wife), declared that
privatisation violates the socialist constitution.  In 1998 the Western
view was that "Federal Yugoslavia’s anti-reform orientation can be compared
only to that of Belorussia (and perhaps Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), while
its isolation from international institutions is unsurpassed."

During the US/NATO airstrikes, the Washington Summit, referring to the
"crisis in Kosovo," underlined the necessity for a "new level of
international engagement" to ensure security and prosperity and to build a
democratic civil society which will lead to full integration in the
"European family."   Two weeks after airstrikes began, Alliance spokesman
Jamie Shea implied that establishing the ‘Eurasian’ commercial routes (see
Section Ic above) was a war objective: "If we could achieve a situation of
peace in the region and we could look toward the integration of Yugoslavia
into the European mainstream and if the sanctions could be lifted, I think
there will be more business for Ukrainian shippers and everyone else in the
long run."

The immediate objective for US/NATO has been to impose on Yugoslavia a
military defeat and capitulation, the departure of President Milosevic, the
establishment of a NATO presence in the Balkans, and a ‘stability pact’ for
South-eastern Europe which will ensure that the countries of the region
will become dependencies of a US-led world capitalist system, just as the
Marshall Plan made Western Europe into its client states at the end of
World War II.

NATO victory is seen as essential to legitimise NATO’s new self-conception,
and to guarantee US global hegemony.  As pointed out by Zbigniew
Brzezinski, what is at stake is "infinitely greater than the mere fate of
Kosovo ... the failure of NATO will at once signify an end to NATO’s
credibility and the weakening of American global leadership."

III.    A war planned and prepared in advance ... IMF/ World Bank, sanctions,
Rambouillet and ‘Akrona’

        a) IMF/World Bank policies precipitate dismemberment

Although the US’s military plans for the former Yugoslavia were triggered
by Germany’s ambitions, made manifest in 1991-1992, the groundwork for
conflicts that would make military intervention possible was laid well
before this.

In the more recent history of Yugoslavia, 1980 may be seen as the date when
the Western capitalist onslaught began, in the form of IMF/World Bank
structural adjustment programmes. John Pilger points out: "The US attack
against Yugoslavia began more than a decade ago when the World Bank and the
IMF set about destroying the multi-ethnic federation with lethal doses of
debt, market reforms and imposed poverty."  Michael Barratt Brown notes
that uneven economic development of the country’s various regions played an
important role in the disintegration of Yugoslavia.  There were internal
factors leading to the break-up, but the decisive role was played by the
intervention of outside powers. The structural adjustment programmes
reached draconian proportions in January 1990. The country was forced to
export feverishly in order to service its $20 billion foreign debt, public
spending was slashed, wages were frozen, and the currency was devalued.
IMF/World Bank reforms also involved the liquidation of worker-managed
enterprises and their conversion into privately owned capitalist
businesses.  New legislation liberalising foreign investments was
introduced along with a law designed to convert the socially owned
Associated Banks into ‘independent profit-oriented institutions’.

By 1990, industrial production had declined to a negative 10% growth rate,
and the annual rate of GDP growth had collapsed to minus 7.5%.   From 1989
to September 1990, over one thousand companies were forced into bankruptcy.
In 1991, GDP declined by an additional 15% and industrial output shrank by
21%.  In 1989, 600,000 workers, almost a quarter of the work-force were
sacked without severance pay.  By 1989, inflation had risen to 100% a month
  and, in the first six months of 1990 alone, real wages collapsed by 41%
as prices continued to rise.  According to the World Bank, another 2,435
industrial enterprises, including some of the largest in the country, would
have to be liquidated, rendering ‘redundant’ 1.3 million workers, i.e.,
half the remaining work-force.

The most critical reform was the ending of transfer payments to the six
constituent republics and autonomous provinces.  This reform fuelled
secessionist tendencies in a country where the central government had lost
control over its central bank, foreign currency operations, budget, and
worker-managed enterprises. Regional disparities increased between the more
industrialised north, where German and Italian corporations were very
active, and the south which supplied many of the raw materials.

This was the prelude to the secession of Croatia and Slovenia, actively
supported by Germany in pursuit of its own objective to assert its
dominance and to expand its ‘backyard’ toward the East.  As T.W. Carr
points out, there was no civil war in Yugoslavia until Slovenia and Croatia
seceded.  It is significant that economic policy dominated the debate
during the multi-party elections in 1990 when separatist coalitions ousted
Communists in Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia. As noted by Michael Barratt
Brown, ethnic divisions and rivalry are not the cause but the consequence
of destructive IMF/World Bank-dictated economic policies: "One need not
have any sympathy for the fascist regime in Croatia or the Great Serb
aspirations in Kosovo, in the Vojvodina, in the Krajina and in Bosnia, to
recognise that what is being witnessed is not just an explosion of tribal
hatred but the panic flight of whole peoples from an economic disaster
originating in the mechanisms of the world banking system and its
inexorable requirement that the bond be paid at whatever price."  At the
time of the Dayton negotiations, ‘Milosevic the reformer’ was considered a
favourite among senior figures in the US State Department.  Richard
Holbrooke described Milosevic as "a man we can do business with, a man who
recognizes the realities of life in former Yugoslavia." [source?] [And the
constituent republics associated the burdensome IMF conditions with
Belgrade. E.C.]

After a decade of IMF/World Bank conditionalities, US and EU sanctions
(followed by those of the UN) contributed toward further strangulation of
the economy, pushing the social and political conflict in the country to
explosive levels. On November 5, 1990, the US Congress was the first to
call for cutting off aid and credits to Yugoslavia within six months, as it
passed Foreign Operations Appropriation Law 101-513. More than six months
later, when Slovenia and Croatia decided to secede, the EU, with Germany
taking the lead, threatened Yugoslavia with cutting economic relations
should the Federal Government defend its territory by military means.  At
the time, 60% of all Yugoslav trade was with EU countries. On May 30, 1992,
the UN Security Council voted "to follow the Bush administration’s lead and
impose tough economic sanctions," and Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia were
admitted to the UN. On November 16, the Security Council decided to impose
a naval blockade and on December 15, Yugoslavia was expelled from the IMF.
The justification for UN sanctions was an alleged mortar shell fired from
Serb positions in Sarajevo which killed 14 people in a food line. Only
several weeks later, investigations showed the impossibility of a mortar
shell causing such an explosion.

Less than a month after UN sanctions were voted, the Yugoslav 5,000 dinar
note dropped from $550 to $2.70. Shortages drove prices up for nearly all
goods, and the value of the dinar dropped on a daily basis.  A year later,
the Economist reported that inflation had reached an annual 363 quadrillion
percent.  By Spring 1993, 90% of domestic drug production had come to a
halt due to lack of raw materials,  and by December, more than 60% of
workers were reported to be unemployed and the average monthly wage had
dropped from $500 to $15.  By February 12, 1994 industry was operating at
20-30 % capacity and 40% of all activity had shifted to the underground

The use of sanctions was in fact part of an integrated strategy against
Yugoslavia which included military options. As far back as 1992, President
Bush threatened Yugoslavia with military force if the civil war were
extended to Kosovo.  In 1993, ‘retired’ US military officers began training
the Croatian army, which began receiving Pentagon-supplied arms. In return,
the US was given military bases on Croatian islands in the Adriatic.  By
1995, the relationship had developed into a ‘strategic partnership.’
Between 1993 and 1995, the US through NATO carried out air strikes against
Bosnian and Croatian Serbs and against Muslim forces fighting the
US-supported Bosnian Muslim leader Izetbegovic.

        b) Have you heard of ‘Akrona’?

The April 21, 1999 Financial Times  reveals how the US’s scenario for the
Balkans was presented in a computer-simulated programme run by NATO’s
Consultation Command and Control Agency known as C-3 and used by NATO
planners to prepare for a post-war Balkan future. During the Rambouillet
talks, thirty senior officials from Montenegro were taken to the Hague by
the US embassy in Belgrade for five days of computer games. The game
revolved around a fictitious Moslem-dominated state, Akrona, in which civil
war had claimed 200,000 lives, displaced 60% of the people, destroyed 60%
of housing, wrecked infrastructure and made 80% of the people dependent on
foreign aid. The game’s handbook defined Akrona’s place within the US
orbit: "The US is the major player in Akrona’s world. It broke a logjam by
creating the accords, brought shaky allies aboard and in the end provided
the military and security strength." The actors in the game included the
President and Prime Minister of Akrona, the foreign [? E.C.] head of the
Central bank, the IMF and World Bank, private US banks, NATO as the
"bulwark of Akronian security," aid agencies, and NGOs!

In November 1996, the then US Ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright,
declared that Yugoslavia would not be re-admitted [to what? E.C] unless it
solved the conflict in Kosovo and co-operated fully with the Hague War
Crimes Tribunal.  Concrete plans for US/NATO airstrikes and a ground war
began over a year before the bombardment with the visit to Macedonia in
December 1997 of US Secretary of Defense William Cohen, to discuss security
arrangements in Macedonia. A few months later, Macedonia’s Defense Minister
visited Washington to discuss the establishment of a NATO base in
Macedonia. The pretext was to discuss "a range of security issues with the
recent ethnic clashes in Kosovo".  A major military exercise in Macedonia
called "Cooperative Best Effort" was announced for September 1998 "to send
a clear political signal (to Belgrade) of NATO’s  involvement".  According
to a US Department of Defense briefing, "initial contacts" took place
between the separatist Kosovo-Albanian movement, KLA, and NATO by mid-May.

In summer 1998, Richard Holbrooke, the official US mediator, visited
Belgrade, and, threatening NATO air strikes, demanded that President
Milosevic begin negotiations with the Kosovo Albanian community. The
negotiations were delayed as rivalry escalated between the moderate Kosovo
Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova and the Kosovo Liberation Army. On September
24, 1998, NATO Defense ministers issued an "activation warning" threatening
Yugoslavia with airstrikes.  In October 1998, the US drafted a peace plan
for Kosovo giving Kosovars more autonomy than they had after 1989--but much
less than they enjoyed from 1974 to 1989 in the old Yugoslav Federation.
However, this deal included, crucially for the Americans, a NATO military
presence. When Milosevic objected to having NATO troops on his soil his
gradual transformation from client to demon, underway for some years,
became absolute, as had Saddam Hussein’s in 1990.  Then, in mid-November
there was an "activation order" for "limited airstrikes" and a "phased air

        c) The Rambouillet farce

The so-called ‘negotiations’ that took place in Rambouillet followed the
pattern of all previous political moves made by the US and NATO. In an
article appearing in the May 1999 Le Monde Diplomatique, Paul Marie de la
Gorce revealed the "secret history of the Rambouillet negotiations."  The
‘invitation’ extended to the Government of Yugoslavia by the ‘Contact
Group’ (USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Russia) took the "form of an
ultimatum"; it was "threatened with military reprisals if it failed to
appear". Even as the meeting was being held, NATO decided, on January 20,
"to increase the readiness of the assigned forces so as to make them able
to execute the operation within 48 hours."

All the elements of the Accord presented at Rambouillet as ‘non-negotiable’
had already appeared in an American text of a ‘peace’ agreement which was
published in February 1999 in the Albanian journal Koha Ditore. The text
was elaborated by Christopher Hill, assistant to Richard Holbrooke.
Contrary to what the public has been told, the Yugoslav delegation to
Rambouillet had no objection to the political aspects of the Accord but
rejected the military section, as a violation of its national sovereignty
and independence.  Appendix B of the Accord, in effect, provided for the
occupation of the entire territory of Yugoslavia by NATO forces. There were
no negotiations at Rambouillet, and a compromise proposal for an
international presence in Kosovo made by the Yugoslav representative was
ignored by the Western members of the Contact Group, which, without further
ado, acquired the signature of the Kosovo-Albanian representative. The
Russian delegation received the final document only on the last day of the
conference. Since that time, France and the UK, co-chairs of Rambouillet,
have refused to release to the public the section of the document dealing
with military aspects.  On March 24, when bombing commenced, European
parliaments were still being kept in the dark about Appendix B.

(The existence of the military section of the Rambouillet Accord was first
revealed by the German daily, Tageszeitung, on April 6, 1999, two weeks
after the NATO bombing started. The full text, which was extracted from
NATO's electronic server, appeared in the daily's website. Since then, the
document is said to have 'mysteriously' disappeared from NATO's server. In
France, which co-presided Rambouillet with the British, the Foreign
Ministry, under pressure from parliamentarians to release the text,
responded first that the text was not available in French, and later that
"in virtue of a position of principle adopted with the British, we have
decided not to publish the text. Since it was not signed by one of the two
parties, we cannot in effect consider it to be final."  )

In a recent statement, George Kenney, former head of the ‘Yugoslavia’
bureau of the US State Department stated that he had learned from reliable
sources that the US delegation to Rambouillet had "deliberately placed the
bar higher than the level Serbs could accept".  A closer examination of the
military clauses of the Rambouillet Accord shows why the conditions
attached would be unacceptable to any sovereign state.  The provisions
reduce not only Kosovo, but all of Yugoslavia, into a US-occupied territory.

Sections 2, 5, and 7 provide for a permanent NATO presence in Kosovo. The
OSCE would control the functioning of the police and justice. In case of
litigation, the two parties would have appeal to NATO and only to NATO.
Sections 6 and 7 stipulate that NATO forces will be immune "under all
circumstances and at all times" from the jurisdiction of the Yugoslav
Federation "in respect of any civil, administrative, criminal or
disciplinary offences which may be committed by them in the FRY" (Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia).

Sections 8 and 9 provide NATO forces with unrestricted access throughout
Yugoslavia, including its airspace and territorial waters:

Section 8:
        NATO personnel shall enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels,
aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access
throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters.
This shall include, but not be limited to, the right of bivouac, manoeuvre,
billet, and utilization of any areas or facilities as required for support,
training, and operations.

Section 9:
        NATO shall be exempted from duties, taxes, and other charges and
inspections and custom regulations including providing inventories or other
routine customs documentation, for personnel, vehicles, vessels, aircraft,
equipment, supplies, and provisions entering, exiting, or transiting the
territory of the FRY in support of the Operation.

Sections 11 and 15 give NATO the right to use, in all of Yugoslavia and
free of cost, the country’s transport infrastructure and telecommunications
services, including broadcast services:

Section 11:
        NATO is granted the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without
payment of fees, duties, dues, tolls, or charges occasioned by mere use.
Section 15:
        The Parties (Yugoslav and Kosovo governments) shall, upon simple request,
grant all telecommunications services, including broadcast services, needed
for the Operation, as determined by NATO. This shall include the right to
utilize such means and services as required to assure full ability to
communicate and the right to use all of the electromagnetic spectrum for
this purpose, free of cost.

Section 22 gives NATO the right to modify the country’s public infrastructure:
        NATO may, in the conduct of the Operation, have need to make improvements
or modifications to certain infrastructure in the FRY, such as roads,
bridges, tunnels, buildings, and utility systems.

The effect of all this would be to turn the FRY into a colonial
protectorate.  The military provisions of the Accord were in effect an
ultimatum to the Yugoslav government with a conditional declaration of war,
which is a violation of the Hague Convention. International law forbids the
"use or threat of force" which is "an express or implied promise by a
Government to resort to force conditional on non-acceptance of certain
demands of that Government."

Louis Proyect

More information about the Marxism mailing list