The Unbearable Smugness of Being

Balkans "Endgame" on Schedule – or Is it?

For a region with more history than it can handle, the Balkans is wrought with anniversaries and commemorations no matter the season. The end of March brought the seventh anniversary of NATO’s attack that ended in the occupation of Kosovo (March 24, 1999); it was followed by the anniversary of the 1941 coup that overthrew the Yugoslav Regency over signing a pact with Hitler (March 27), and the Nazi invasion that followed (April 6); that was also the date of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s recognition by the EU and Washington in 1992, which plunged the former Yugoslav republic into civil war. April 10 marked 65 years since the establishment of the "Independent State of Croatia," a creation of Hitler and Mussolini that engaged in ruthless extermination of Serbs and Jews within its boundaries.

One month ago, Slobodan Milosevic passed away in The Hague. Unable to convict him alive – as evidence of his presumed guilt has been just about nonexistent – the Inquisition did its best to convict him in death, in the court of Imperial public opinion. The media painted Milosevic as the arch-villain of the Balkans, and incessant political propaganda promised the people of Serbia they would be free and prosperous once he was out of power; then after he’d been arrested and delivered to the Inquisition; then after they "faced his legacy"…. In the end, Milosevic’s passing from power and life made not an ounce of difference in Empire’s behavior toward his country. He’s gone, but things remain the same.

No Resting in Peace

Even though Serbian laws entitled him to a state burial, Milosevic did not receive one. No representative of the Serbian state attended the funeral, which took place on March 18 in Milosevic’s hometown of Pozarevac. Tens of thousands flocked to the event, which in many respects resembled a political rally – not so much in support of Milosevic as against the current government, and most of all against the rabid pro-Imperialist, globalist movement loudly abusing the Serbian political scene.

That was enough for the supporters of that movement, such as ICG’s James Lyon, to rail against "rising nationalism" in Serbia. Accusing Prime Minister Kostunica of "providing [Milosevic] with a state funeral in all but name," Lyon bemoans the absence of "pro-Western democratic forces" from the government. Though he specifically mentions President Tadic’s Democratic Party, the movement that most vocally declares itself as pro-Western and "democratic" is that of militant Ceda Jovanovic, a darling of the Imperial media who thinks a lot like the ICG.

In Lyon’s "analysis," very much in sync with the current Imperial policy in the Balkans, Kostunica’s wicked ways will open the road to the Radical Party to seize power. But no fear – that will enable Washington and Brussels with an excuse to detach Kosovo and back the secession of Montenegro, as well as increase funding to "civil society" in Serbia. Both goals are on ICG’s agenda, and the increase in funding would surely not hurt the Brussels-based organization that promotes Imperial intervention everywhere. And everything can, once again, be conveniently blamed on the Serbs.


Indeed, the ICG has a lot to be smug about. Its former board member, Martti Ahtisaari, is conducting "talks" in Vienna aimed at forcing Belgrade to accept the secession of Kosovo under the guise of a negotiated agreement. A month ago, Washington and Brussels forced the resignation of the Albanian "prime minister" and the appointment of Agim Ceku, former leader of the terrorist KLA, to replace him.

There was an outstanding warrant for Ceku’s arrest in Serbia, on numerous charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, stemming from his activities as a Croatian officer (1991-95) and as leader of the KLA. Interpol, however, claims never to have processed it, and announced it had no intention of doing so now that Ceku was a head of government. There’s only one problem – at one time, there was an outstanding warrant for Ceku, as demonstrated by his arrest in Slovenia in 2003. Back then, Imperial viceroy Harri Holkeri bailed him out and claimed Serbian warrants were no longer valid for "citizens of Kosovo" (sic!). But why would Slovenian police execute a Serbian warrant? Interpol’s facetious announcement attempts to cover up the fact that in today’s world, political decisions trump international law. As if that hasn’t been obvious for a while…

Viceroy vs. Reality

However, even as Ceku was out of the woods and the Vienna "talks" started putting new pressure on Belgrade, with Ahtisaari’s deputy Albert Rohan rejecting Serb proposals for autonomy within the Albanian-dominated province, a report in the British Sunday Times claimed widespread crime and corruption at the highest levels in Kosovo, and accused viceroy Jessen-Petersen of deliberately ignoring it. Allegations were first made by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight.

"You have a criminal state in real power — it needs underground illegal structures to supply it with everything to survive," the Sunday Times quoted Marek Antoni Nowicki, former ombudsman in Kosovo.

Jessen-Petersen issued a statement denying any wrongdoing. One must wonder, however, how bad things in Kosovo must truly be if even the Imperial press saw it fit to report them – and moreover, how much longer can Jessen-Petersen stay in the job with this cloud over his head. With his openly pro-Albanian behavior, the viceroy has long been a most undiplomatic envoy of his Imperial masters; perhaps he has become sufficiently embarrassing to warrant removal.

Whither Montenegro?

Separation of Montenegro from Serbia has also been a goal promoted by the ICG. For the past nine years, ever since the former Milosevic supporter Milo Djukanovic reinvented himself as a "democrat" – with the help of copious amounts of cash from U.S. taxpayers – a campaign has been underway to separate Montenegro from a union with Serbia. Not only has the regime in Podgorica been determined to sever political and economic ties with Belgrade, it has tried to invent a separate national identity for some 470,000 inhabitants of the rocky republic who once considered themselves ethnic Serbs.

Djukanovic and his separatists have been threatening a referendum on independence for years, but always backed down, aware that they simply did not have enough votes. They have finally decided to call a vote for May 21, and even accepted EU’s condition that 55 percent of voters would have to approve secession, even though nothing has substantially changed from before.

On March 24, Djukanovic’s pro-union opponents produced a secretly filmed video of separatist activists offering to buy votes. The separatists have dismissed the video as staged, and accused their opponents of malicious propaganda. On the other hand, what else would explain their sudden confidence in winning the independence vote?

Empire-funded IWPR (in its latest Balkans iteration, BIRN) offers a possible clue: Albanians and Muslims, who have thrown their support behind the separatists. KLA ideologue Adem Demaci, recently interviewed by a Podgorica daily, supported secession and even said he could see an independent Montenegro in union with Kosovo some day.

The extent to which the Montenegrin separatists are trying to poison the well with Serbia became apparent during the Eurosong selection contest in March. Exactly as they did last year, Montenegrin TV judges gave no votes to Serb performers, favoring instead a pro-separatist boy band. The live concert-hall audience rioted. Serbian television refused to endorse the result, which though technically valid was absolutely against the spirit of the competition. "It is better not to have a common representative at all than to accept, for the second time, the manipulations, pressure, blackmailing, and tribal voting," said RTS director Aleksandar Tijanic.

One thing is certain. As May 21 approaches, there will be more tensions, provocations, and hatred, as the separatists will pull out all the stops to win, and the unionists will try to stop them.

Misguided Confidence

It may seem that events in the Balkans are following Empire’s plan for a victorious "endgame" to crown its interventionist efforts. Milosevic, convicted by propaganda, is safely dead and unable to defend himself. Rabid Empire supporters are promoting chaos in Serbian politics. Preparations for the separation of Montenegro and Kosovo are proceeding well, it appears. But they should not be so confident.

The thing about the Balkans is that it is always full of surprises. Anyone who has sought to bend the world to their will, and had the peculiar misfortune to step into the Balkans, quickly found that out – always to their great detriment.

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 debuted in November 2000.