Serbs Out . . . KLA In

Brit Secretary of State for Defense George Robertson summed up his country’s war aims succinctly and, as it turned out, all-too-accurately: "Serbs out, NATO in, refugees back." Tens of thousands of Serbs are fleeing "liberated" Kosovo, as the KLA sweeps in ahead of NATO and the film of ethnic cleansing rolls in reverse.

One of the KLA’s first targets was the Belacevad mine in the town of Dobro Selo. Hurried evacuation efforts by the mine’s manager succeeded in saving 100 mine workers, but the KLA ambushed a van bringing in workers for the afternoon shift, and three of them, and the driver, were kidnapped at gunpoint. The KLA is anything but generous in victory: according to an Associated Press report by Candice Hughes, "they were gloating, using the dispatcher’s two-way radio at the mine administration to taunt the Serbs and curse them. ‘Go back to Serbia,’ the rebel voice would say. These are our great allies, praised by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her spokesman, James "Mr. Christiane Amanpour" Rubin, as "freedom fighters."


"We knew the army was withdrawing," said Zivojin Stepic, the drivers’ father, "but we didn’t worry. We expected NATO to protect the workers." There is something almost childlike about this kind of naïveté. After being bombed into near-oblivion by the NATO-crats, Stepic really believed that his would-be murderers would shield him from the KLA. But when NATO troops finally showed up, it wasn’t to protect the mine – a key link in Kosovo’s electrical grid – but to merely observe. "They sent us here because it is high ground and we can see a lot," explained Lieutenant Chris Hunt, a bit sheepishly. When the mine manager told him about the kidnapping, Hunt told him: "We’ll try to get more troops over this way. But everything’s stretched pretty thin right now."


Ten mineworkers were kidnapped by the KLA near the same site on June 22, 1998. They were never seen or heard from again. But don’t worry – those FBI agents sent into Kosovo to investigate alleged war crimes are sure to get to the bottom of it. And what about Louise Arbour and those unbiased lovers of justice over at the International Tribunal – surely they will be eager to punish the war criminals responsible for these terrorist attacks on civilians. And if you believe that, then perhaps I can interest you in this bridge over here . . .


Some 10,000 Serbian refugees poured over the border to find safe haven from the KLA in Montenegro, with thousands of others fleeing north – but where are the television cameras? For some unfathomable reason we have seen nothing of this on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, or any other Western news outlet. For weeks and months we were treated to an endless loop of Kosovar refugee footage, to the point that Tony Blair was berating the English-speaking peoples for suffering from what he called "refugee fatigue." In the case of the Serbian refugees from the NATO-KLA ethnic cleansing, "refugee fatigue" has started in rather early.


It was a bitter day when Slobo capitulated – or seemed to – and Clinton reveled in the cowardice of a strategy involving bombing from 50,000 feet and crowed about his "victory." But the sting was taken out of defeat when the Russians rolled into Pristina and seized the airport right under the noses of the triumphant Allies. Cheered as liberators by those few brave Serbs who dared remain in the conquered city, the Russians marched through the streets and occupied the airport – the very spot slated to be KFOR’s headquarters.


This war has been full of "mistakes." It was a "mistake" when NATO struck the Chinese embassy, a tragic "error" when Allied warplanes bombed a passenger bus, a terrible "miscalculation" when NATO bombers hit a Kosovar convoy. It was therefore only natural for the Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, to explain that it was all an unfortunate misunderstanding, and the 600 Russian soldiers blocking the road to the airport would be out of there is no time. The Russian military issued a separate statement, however, claiming that the order to occupy Pristina ahead of the Brits had come from the highest levels, and rumors flew that at least 1,000 more were on the way. The Kremlin said nothing. While the British warlord of KFOR, Lieutenant General Sir Michael Jackson, reportedly had "steam coming out of his ears," in public he downplayed the significance of the Russian move, echoing a statement out of NATO’s Brussels headquarters that the alliance had a "very relaxed, very calm reaction." Upon hearing the news, as she arrived in Macedonia," Mad Cow Madeleine Albright was none too calm about it: she immediately ordered Strobe Talbott, en route back from a visit to Moscow, to turn his plane around. As the Kosovo crisis deepens, these midair acrobatics are becoming quite commonplace. Can we trust Albright to remember that while a plane can make a U-turn, a nuclear missile cannot?


The pro-NATO newspapers are making a big stink about this being a "rogue" operation, with the clear implication that Weimar Russia is on the verge of a military coup. But this image of Yeltsin as a drunken fool and a weak leader, who is rapidly losing his grip on power, only came into existence when he started opposing U.S./"Allied" aggression, first against Iraq and then against Yugoslavia. All doubt of where the order to move originated was dispelled when Russian President Boris Yeltsin promoted the general in charge of the operation. Clinton was on the phone with Yeltsin for an hour yesterday, but as of this writing (1:05am Pacific Time), the Russians are still blocking a convoy of British troops from entering the airport, and the standoff continues. Last we heard, 100 more Russians were on the way and the NATO-crats were frantically looking for a base of operations somewhere in Pristina: the Associated Press reports that British Brigadier General Robert Baxter "was looking over an abandoned factory near the edge of the city. ‘I’m trying to find a home for headquarters,’ he said." And so the long-awaited triumphal march into Kosovo ends with the "victors" stopped dead in their tracks. What a comedown from the chest-beating war whoops of barely 24 hours ago! A more satisfactory anticlimax to what they had the nerve to call "Clinton’s finest hour" can hardly be imagined.


This military equivalent of coitus interruptus provoked the Allied Supreme Commander into a fit of rage that nearly ended in a dangerous escalation. According to a report in the London Independent [June 13, 1999], General Wesley Clark’s first response to the Russian maneuver was to send in British paratroopers "to seize Pristina airport in the early hours of the morning – a deployment that could have ended in violence between Russian and British peacekeepers." Now that the war is officially over, according to the White House, isn’t it time to retire this postmodern Doctor Strangelove? If El Supremo is not set out to pasture, and soon, he may well start World War III.


The NATO-crats are constantly using the phraseology of World War II to dramatize their ridiculous analogy, which equates the Balkan war with that world-historic event. In this scenario, Milosevic is Hitler, a civil war that took 2,000 lives total before the bombing is the Holocaust, and all attempts to negotiate a peaceful solution that recognizes Yugoslav national sovereignty is "appeasement" a la Neville Chamberlain. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has now taken this bizarre comparison to its ultimate absurd conclusion by declaring that he could not accept an "East German solution" for Kosovo. What bunk! To begin with, Soviet Russia was our ally during the last World War, as were the Serbians. It was the Kosovars, organized in the infamous Skanderberg Division of the German SS who were allied with the Axis. Secondly, there is no ideological kinship between the Yugoslav and East German regimes: like the KLA leadership, the East Germans were staunch Stalinists of the old school, while the Yugoslavs tried to chart an independent course and a foreign policy that deftly balanced East against West. And thirdly, it is the Yugoslavs who have been invaded, and bombed, just as they were by the Nazis – or does Mr. Cook mean to suggest that the Germans were fighting a strictly defensive war?

1917, NOT 1940

If the present European conflict has any historical precedent, it is the first World War, not the second. Here NATO is following the policy pursued by the Holy Roman Empire, and, imperial Austria-Hungary: using the Albanians as a cat’s-paw to keep Serbian nationalism in check. It was Austrian insistence on humiliating Serbia that led directly to the events which sparked the Great War – and set the stage for the rise of Communism, the fascist reaction, and the Holocausts engendered by each.


The cat is out of the bag with Cook’s recent suggestion that we need a debate on whether the United Nations ought to have the power to intervene in the internal affairs of any and all nations. According to Cook, the whole idea of national sovereignty is "blanket protection" for governments to commit atrocities against their own citizens, and that this loophole in international law needs to be closed by rewriting the UN Charter. The Charter currently forbids intervention in the internal affairs of states. Holding high the banner of militant internationalism, which has become the Blairite battle-cry, Cook and his fellow "progressive" empire-builders see the Balkan war as only the prelude to a series of similar "humanitarian’ wars around the world. With the Kosovo intervention, the British lion is making a reappearance on the world stage. But without the military force to back it up, the Brits’ mighty roar is all bluff and bluster. Only American might gives this promiscuous pipsqueak – who recently left his wife for a younger woman – the wherewithal to even think of posing a program of such unsurpassed grandiosity. Someone should inform the British Foreign Office that the American Revolution was successful, and that the armed forces of the United States do not take their marching orders from London.


If Clinton’s Balkan adventure ended in such a great "victory," then when oh when are the Kosovar refugees who were resettled in the United States going to start returning to their liberated homeland? Don’t hold your breath. After all, why should they give up the easy life in the United States, with full welfare benefits and automatic citizenship, in exchange for life under the thuggish rule of the KLA? Besides, with Hillary running for Senate in New York – where a sizeable Albanian community already resides, and where many refugees have relatives – they can get them signed up to vote just in time for the election.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].