Rambouillet: Imperialism in disguise

By Jan Oberg

TFF PressInfo 55 – February 16, 1999

Originally published here.

“What happens now in Rambouillet has little to do with creating peace for the suffering citizens in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo/a. Disguised as “negotiations” about a “peace” plan, the international so-called community promotes less noble values and long-term goals in the region and use the Serbs and Albanians as supernumeraries in its drama. It’s time we ask what the self-proclaimed “conflict managers” are actually up to. If peace in Kosovo or the wider Balkans had been the real aim, we would have witnessed a completely different approach leading up to Rambouillet. We come closer to the truth about Rambouillet if we use words such as globalisation, strategic expansion, Caspian oil, Greater NATO, containment policy and imperialism disguised as conflict-management and peace-making,” says Dr. Jan Oberg upon returning from the 34th TFF mission to the region since 1992, this time to Skopje, Belgrade and Kosovo.

“If peace was their profession, the governments of the international community would – around 1992 – have put enough diplomatic and other civilian pressure on the parties to begin a dialogue, not negotiations. It would have provided 5-10 different secluded meeting places for Albanians, Serbs and other peoples – NGOs, teachers, intellectuals, journalists, doctors etc. – to explore their problems and possible solutions. In short, an international brainstorm to produce creative ideas for later elaboration at a complex negotiation process that would take at least a year.

Today, instead, we are left with only one – legalistic and formal – plan developed by U.S. ambassador Christopher Hill. It is not the result of neutral mediation, contains no creative ideas and is so unattractive to the parties that it has to be imposed as a fait accompli by bombing threats and by arrogant talking down to the delegations (“they must be brought to understand their own best..”) [Read more…]

Advertisements

Croatia: Free elections, but for whom? 

By Jan Oberg

TFF PressInfo 22 – April 24, 1997 – originally published here.

Important actors have considered the recent Croatian election free and fair in spite of the fact that some 250,000 Serb-Croat citizens could not vote in their home country.

These Serbs fled from Croatia during its military operations in 1995 – the largest single case of ethnic cleansing during the wars. They are refugees in Bosnia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, sometimes called “expellees,” but are legitimate citizens of Croatia.

The U.S., EU governments, OSCE, the Council of Europe and human rights organisations could have done politically in Croatia what they did in Bosnia, namely insist on refugees abroad being given an opportunity to influence the future of their homeland to which they want to return.

The quite young state of Croatia had hardly just brushed off such a good advise from president Clinton (or the very active, human rights-concerned U.S. ambassa-dor to Croatia, Peter Galbraith), from president Chirac, prime minister Major or chancellor Kohl and neither from, for instance, World Bank president Wolfensohn.

If the international community had required this of Croatia it could have been credited for having, for once, a constructive and principled policy.

If Croatia had provided such an opportunity – under pressure or, better, by its own initiative – it would have proved its commitment to a future of social peace, multi-ethnicity and democracy. Now both missed that major opportunity. One may also wonder how these voters could have changed the election result,” says TFF director Jan Øberg. [Read more…]