Macedonia – Victom of Western conflict-mismanagement

By Jan Oberg

TFF PressInfo 118 – May 10, 2001

Originally published here.

 

For the umptieth time, the politico-military-media complex tells us that local conflicts are caused solely by locals. The international “community” has no part in it but the noble one of trying to persuade the parties to sit at a negotiation table instead.

This time the stage is Macedonia and the complex has learnt nothing since Croatia.

This PressInfo and PressInfo 119 tell you how this intellectual rubbish covers hidden political agendas instead of expressing the truth. They also reveal why the UN was forced out of Macedonia and that it was prevented from having a common mission in Kosovo and Macedonia which was the only thing that would have made sense in the late 1990s. It is based on my own investigations at the time and published here for the first time.

 

The international “community” – the main cause of war.

Since few seem to be burdened with a political memory stretching just two years back, let’s recapitulate why Macedonia, the land described by that selfsame complex as an “oasis of peace” and a success for “preventive” diplomacy, is now at the brink of war:

 

The potential of the OSCE was never fully utilised

The OSCE Mission in the country has done an impressive job in promoting tolerance and a democratic and tolerant political culture. But it was never given enough resources to really have an impact, and OSCE is now completely marginalised in the new world “order”.

 

Macedonia was forced to side with the West against Yugoslavia.

The Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement to set up an OSCE Verifiers’ Mission in Kosovo (autumn 1998) lead to the deployment of an “Extraction Force” in Macedonia, a force that was seen by Belgrade as a clear breach of the agreement and a threat to Kosovo and Serbia. This forced Macedonia to play an anti-Yugoslavia role that served everybody else but herself. Belgrade from now on saw Macedonia as a target for retaliation if need be.

 

Its territorial integrity and sovereignty was violated.

Earlier Macedonia had been forced to accept NATO violation of its airspace when Wesley Clark wanted to conduct a bombing simulation high enough over Macedonia to be seen by FRY radars and thus signalling potential war. Then President Kiro Gligorov told me that the first time he heard about this simulation was from the evening news! The West did not exactly respect the sovereignty of the newly independent – and fragile – Macedonia.

 

Macedonia became a military base and refugee camp for the West.

NATO’s bombing turned Macedonia into a combined military base and refugee camp. The miracle was that the country survived this physically and politically. However, from a psychological perspective, its identity as an independent, sovereign country was fundamentally shaken. Ever since, there has been insecurity about its ability to remain united, about its future course vis-a-vis the European Union and NATO.

 

The sanctions destroyed its economy.

A decade of Western sanctions against Yugoslavia have had only negative impact on Macedonia, like on all other trade partners. Macedonia lost its main markets due first to the wars in Croatia and Bosnia, then because of the sanctions. It could either observe the sanctions by virtually closing its border; that would lead to bankruptcy. Or it could muddle through by criminalising its foreign trade, i.e. letting a lot of goods go through to Serbia/Kosovo. The official Western interpretation was that Macedonia was loyal to the sanctions regime; international observers knew better but their reports were re-written back home.

 

Corruption of economy and politics.

Thus, it was the heyday of the mafia. The criminalisation of foreign economic relations coincided with (and was reinforced by) the appropriation of socially-owned property, i.e. what workers had produced over the preceding decades, into shareholding companies controlled mainly by new party bosses. This is what in Western parlance is called privatisation and democracy. Today’s economic corruption scandals are the structural consequence of these externally-enforced policies.

 

Macedonia received no compensation.

It has been estimated that the price the countries around Yugoslavia paid for the sanctions is around US $ 25 billion. Yugoslavia’s share in Macedonia’s foreign trade was huge, in contrast to that of Western big powers for whom not trading with Yugoslavia meant virtually nothing. A TFF associate recently asked Macedonia’s President Trajkovski whether he expected any compensation from the West for its use of Macedonia as a military base, the refugee inflow and the sanctions; his long-winded, diplomatic answer could safely be interpreted as “no.”

 

The international community lied about KLA/UCK demilitarisation.

Macedonia’s deep crisis now is a consequence of the abominable moral and political fiasco of KFOR/NATO and the UNMIK mission in occupied Kosovo/a. In contrast to the politico-military-media complex’ amnesia, some of us can still remember what happened two years ago. Rambo-like NATO generals rolled in and carved up Kosovo in sectors, sent the Yugoslav forces, soldiers, administrators and their families over to Serbia and declared self-confidently that the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA/UCK, had been disarmed and dissolved and that stability had been introduced. KLA and related politicians had been wonderfully co-operative and were rewarded for this demobilisation and abolition by the establishment of the Kosovo Protection Corps, KPC, run by virtually the same generals but said to be completely civilian and serving, among others, as fire fighters. While the KLA numbered some 20,000 troops, the KPC was 5,000. We never heard what the rest chose to do.

 

The UN and NATO/KFOR turned a blind eye to KLA aggression.

Less than a year after this complete demilitarisation of the KLA, KLA units have passed unimpeded, it seems, through the American sector into the demilitarised zone and set up bases there from which they attack targets in Serbia. If Kosovo is an international protectorate, KLA’s activity inside Serbia amounts to an international aggression. Virtually no media or Western politicians ask the simple question: how could a disbanded KLA from which all weapons have been taken, mount an attack across an internationally guarded and protected border? How could they do so under the eyes of 40.000 NATO/KFOR soldiers? Neither is the question raised: did they in fact keep the weapons (which means that NATO lied to the world) or were they disarmed and afterwards given weapons by someone?

As if this was not enough, Albanian military units turned up inside Macedonia in March. According to virtually all observers, they are predominantly armed from Kosovo/a, most performing openly as UCK. They tell world media that they can mobilise 40.000 man at arms and that the only things Macedonians understand is the language of weapons.

 

The dark forces of the West: CIA and all that.

A series of independent “dissident” analyses have focused on the question: who armed, and keeps on arming, Albanian extremists? Most of them point toward the US Central Intelligence Agency, CIA (once run by a Bush), and the German BND (once run by Klaus Kinkel). It is no longer a secret, if it ever was, that CIA infiltrated the OSCE Verifiers’ Mission; it provided one pretext for the bombing by, among other activities, deciding on the spot and before investigations were made that the people found dead in Racak were victims of massacre by Serbs. Expert reports have challenged this, at the time unfounded, assertion. But it served its purpose: helping Clinton and Albright to justify the bombing.

 

The United States arms both sides!

Perhaps more conspicuous: Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), a mercenary company in Virginia, the United States, working on contract with Pentagon has trained both the KLA and the Macedonian Army. It has worked also for the Bosnian Army and was deeply involved in training the Croatian Army which drove out some 200.000 legitimate Serb citizens from Croatia in 1995. In short, the type of actor that really helps bring about the specific EU and NATO type of peace.

 

In summary, while we are told that “suddenly” Macedonians and Albanians have started fighting each other, the truth is a bit more complex. The general underlying reason must be found in a decade of Western policies while the specific reasons are the NATO bombing and the failure of the NATO/KFOR and UN mission in Kosovo. These factors have destabilised the region beyond repair.

Of course Macedonia shares in the responsibility for the present situation and we deal with that in PressInfo 120 but that is a minor factor compared with the mentioned causes.

 

Continued in PressInfo 119

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