Notes on the Margin

The terrorist attacks in Spain and the resulting meltdown of the pro-Bush regime in Madrid, along with the ongoing implosion of the occupation in Iraq, are currently the stuff of headlines. Little attention is paid to developments in the Balkans, which continue to challenge policy assumptions and ideological trappings of both the “humanitarian hegemony” of the previous, and the “war on terror” of the current Imperial administration.

In the spirit of the ‘blog, here are just a few tidbits from the peninsula that merit attention, but tend to be overlooked – or worse yet, misinterpreted – in the West.

Elections, Terror Worries in Greece

After about 20 years of ruling Greece, the socialist party (PASOK) was defeated in a general election in early March. Balkanalysis has posted a detailed breakdown and analysis of the vote. The change of government comes only a few short months before the return of the Olympics to Greece, and amidst fears of possible terrorist attacks at the event. There are plenty of reasons to worry: Bosnia, Kosovo and the neighboring Albania all have plenty of bandit lairs and potential (or actual) terrorist bases. However, thanks to the policies pursued by Washington and Brussels in the past decade, raising the issue is considered extremely politically incorrect. It remains to be seen what the new government will do, but if it chooses to ignore the warnings, Olympic-goers should be wary come August.

The “Croatian Auschwitz”

Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader visited the monument at the notorious WW2 death camp in Jasenovac, and condemned the atrocities of Croatia’s pro-Nazi regime, AFP reported Tuesday.

Though Sanader condemned “all forms of extremism and racial, ethnic or religious hatred as well as intolerance,” he also resurrected the boilerplate propaganda put forth by his predecessor, Franjo Tudjman, blaming the descendants of Jasenovac victims for aggression:

“Lies of 700,000 Jasenovac victims and thesis about the genocidal nature of Croatians served as the basis for aggressive policy of carving up Greater Serbia,” Sanader said.

Director of the Jasenovac memorial, Slavko Goldstein, elaborated:

“As a result of the blowing up the number of victims the Serb population was ‘infected’ with wrong assumptions and became an easy prey to criminal political propaganda,” of then Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic, he added.

Figures that both Goldstein and Sanader dismiss as “lies” and “wrong assumptions” have been put forth not so much by Serb historians (as the actual study of Jasenovac was suppressed under Communism), but by German contemporaries, as well as the Wiesenthal Center. Whatever else it may have been, the WW2 “Independent State of Croatia” was fully dedicated to genocide: murder, forcible conversion and mass deportation of all Serbs in its territory, which at the time included Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Aiming to join the EU, Sanader wants to dismiss the issue and reinvent the genocide-denying HDZ as a party of “tolerance.” Thanks to Tudjman’s wholesale expulsion of Serbs by 1995, and the ongoing bureaucratic obstacles to their return and reclamation of property, there are few Serbs in Croatia who can, or dare to, challenge this effort. Jasenovac has accomplished its purpose.

Doubts and Hunting in Bosnia

Commenting on the recent decision by Viceroy Ashdown to forcibly unify the city of Mostar, reporter of the usually pro-Imperial New York Times Nicholas Wood sounded almost skeptical. He even allowed two snippets of obvious truth – but one which is regarded as vile heresy among the Imperial social engineers – to sneak in:

Reactions to the decree over Mostar raised the question of whether Bosnia’s Serbs, Muslims and Croats really want the kind of state that international officials are still trying to build for them. … Even as those changes take place, local analysts and politicians concede that many Bosnians, particularly Serbs and Croats, are far from identifying with the state that the international officials are trying to build for them.

Wood closes by quoting a Sarajevo journalist who complains that Serbs and Croats are not loyal to Bosnia. Considering that the idea of Bosnia he champions is that of the late Alija Izetbegovic, why would they be?

At the same time, NATO’s occupation force continues its frantic hunt for Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, former Bosnian Serb leaders accused of war crimes. The Bosnian Serb police launched their own raid last weekend, with equally futile results. One of the Serbs arrested in the January raids recently talked to Reuters, and claimed that the hunt seemed to be an American effort to boost Emperor Bush’s re-election chances. Dusan Tesic, detained without charges at a US military base and released after 34 days, said he believed the Americans were looking for another coup such as “Saddam’s spider hole,” but, “If they think they’ll find Karadzic by following me, then they don’t know where he is. They’re lost.”

Lost indeed, and more than he knows.

Occupation by Euphemism

Meanwhile, Kosovo is witnessing another week of the media euphemism campaign. The residence of Kosovo’s “president” Ibrahim Rugova was the target of a drive-by bombing last Friday, prompting condemnations by Albanian politicians and insinuation that the attack was the work of Serbs. The BBC offered a tepid disclaimer that, “Officials in Mr Rugova’s party have been killed in the past in what are believed to be tensions within the Albanian community.”

On Tuesday, Kosovo Serbs blocked a road and threw rocks at some of the KFOR occupation troops, after a Serb teenager was shot by an Albanian gunman. Occupation authorities condemned the protest (but didn’t comment on the shooting), while Reuters termed the protest “one of the worst recent outbreaks of unrest in the Serbian province, highlighting the continued risk of ethnic violence almost five years after majority Albanian-populated Kosovo was placed under U.N.-led administration.”

That would be the euphemism for the UN/NATO occupation of this Serbian province, following a 78-day illegitimate bombing campaign. The fifth anniversary of the infamy is next week. If it is noted by the Western media at all, odds are it will be as a hankering for “good old days” of “humanitarian” intervention. You know the Emperor’s Iraqi adventure is a disaster when folks start believing it makes the intervention in the Balkans look good…

What Serbia Must Do

Last Thursday, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar (R-In), wrote an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune, setting out what Serbia must do to satisfy the Empire (for now). Here’s what Lugar says – and presumably, he represents the US government in toto:

“A move in the right direction would set the country on a path to membership in the European Union, NATO’s Partnership for Peace, and the World Trade Organization. … An integrated, modern Serbia would end a threat to stability in Europe, and no longer be a potential source of drugs, weapons and ethnic violence requiring NATO troops in the region. … Serbia can also remove other roadblocks to its integration into the Euro-Atlantic system. One is its continued state of denial about the situation in Kosovo… NATO did not drive the Milosevic killers out of Kosovo to see that country [sic] fall victim to any nationalism… the resolution of the Kosovo issue, including Kosovo’s future status, is part of the larger strategy for getting back into Europe.”

So, having forced the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, supposedly “ended” its Wars of Succession, and advocated “free market reforms,” the US is insisting its components join up an even bigger political union, a military alliance, and an organization dedicated to regulating trade?! Nuts.

Furthermore, Serbia was never a threat to stability in Europe. The “source” Lugar describes is Kosovo, but under US/NATO occupation! While Serbia is in denial about Kosovo, it’s only to the extent that people there still believe UN and NATO to be honorable organizations bound to respect their own laws and rules (such as UNSCR 1244), despite the blatantly illegal nature of the 1999 war and the subsequent occupation, as well as the continued conduct of UN and NATO personnel in face of constant Albanian militants’ aggression against all non-Albanians, and even Albanians of different political stripe (see Rugova above).

Yes, resolving Kosovo will be part of the strategy for joining the EU – as in, “Don’t.” If half the EU member nations who are also in NATO actively partake in wanton aggression and violent separation of a non-member nation’s territory, what principles, exactly, does the EU hold sacred? If it’s to achieve power and welfare state, there is no reason for Serbia to join – it is already in the grip of such “ideals.”

Besides being arrogant and stupid, Lugar’s statement reads as if it was written by Richard Holbrooke, proving yet again the bipartisan nature of the Empire.

What It Will Do

Lugar mentioned in passing the “forward-looking government” of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, killed by a sniper a year ago. Fewer people in Serbia mourned Djindjic today than back then. After a nine-month reign of terror and corruption by his inept and venal comrades, much of the sympathy has turned into scorn, and many of the policies of Djindjic’s ramshackle coalition have been abandoned.

Last week a gathering of Serbia’s globalist, “missionary intellectuals” mourned Djindjic and offered pessimistic prophecies about the future of Serbia. Defeated dregs of the former government joined professional revolutionaries and “activists” of all stripes to condemn the “barbarity” of those who dared question their righteousness. But if the politics dominating the world today is civilized, maybe some such “barbarism” is in order.

Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia’s foremost “barbarian” in the eyes of the Missionaries, presented the new government and its new program to the parliament on March 2. He does not seem to care much for American demands. Truth be told, Serbia doesn’t stand to lose anything by not giving in. The new government’s policies are far from ideal, and still suffer from many misguided beliefs that have plagued Serbia for decades. But compared to its predecessor, it is a step forward. However faulty this logic might be, if the loathsome Missionaries hate them, they must be doing something right. In about two weeks, when the US ultimatum expires, we’ll know.

Read more by Nebojsa Malic

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com debuted in November 2000.