The State That’s Still A Lie

Two years have passed since the Albanian provisional government in the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo declared independence, and was quickly recognized by the Empire and its clients. The powers that have invoked the specter of Munich 1938 to justify their aggressive interventions in the Balkans had engaged in a little Munich of their own.

Kosovo was occupied by NATO in June 1999, following a 78-day air war against what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (composed of Serbia and Montenegro). The occupation was formally sanctioned by the UN Security Council resolution 1244, which was never fully adhered to by neither NATO nor the UN mission in the province (UNMIK). Even though 1244 guaranteed Serbia’s territorial integrity in language that clearly precluded the province’s separation without Belgrade’s consent, supporters and sponsors of ethnic Albanian separatists in the West would advocate precisely that for years. Following the 2004 pogrom of Serbs, described by one observer as a repeat of Kristallnacht, their agenda was finally adopted by official Washington.

The Empire designated one of its flunkies, former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, to lead "negotiations" between Belgrade and the ethnic Albanian government that UNMIK helped establish. His "peace proposal", published in February 2007, unsurprisingly envisioned Kosovo as an independent, Albanian state. But Ahtisaari’s proposal got nowhere in the UN, where it met with stiff opposition by Russia and China. Serbia, too, opposed the seizure of its territory, prompting the Empire to seek more pliable "partners" in Belgrade. This was accomplished in January 2008, with the re-election of the ever-so-servile Boris Tadic as President of Serbia. Not two weeks hence, the "government of Kosovo" issued its declaration of dependence.

Contorted Logic

Today, the "Republic of Kosovo" is recognized by some 60-odd governments. Many of those recognitions came as a direct result of pressure from Washington. The Empire isn’t even pretending the separation was legal in any way, arguing instead that it was a "unique case" in human history and international law, and does not constitute a legal precedent because – well, because the Empire says so. Further underlining the incongruity is the EU, which operates a "law and order mission" with the explicit purpose of enabling the Albanians to set up an independent state (!) – yet is currently chaired by Spain, a nation that steadfastly refuses to recognize it.

While authorities in Serbia initially protested the province’s separation, President Tadic successfully blocked any government efforts to fight it. This led to the collapse of the cabinet, and new general elections. At first it looked as if Tadic’s coalition, campaigning on the impossible promise of regaining Kosovo and joining the EU (which sponsored the province’s "independence"!), failed to win enough votes for a parliamentary majority. Then, in a twist unusual even in the political Twilight Zone that is the Balkans, Tadic joined forces with his erstwhile sworn enemies, the Socialists, to form a majority government.

Under this regime, Serbian opposition to the self-proclaimed state in Kosovo has amounted to strong public statements – and not much else. Meanwhile, official Belgrade rolled out the welcome mat for the Empire, and began cozying up to the EU and even NATO. 


It isn’t surprising, therefore, that for the Empire the "independence" of Kosovo is considered a done deal. Yet for all its servility, Belgrade still refuses to openly recognize the land grab. This has been a cause of some irritation in Washington and elsewhere, apparently. Earlier this month, a decidedly un-diplomatic note was sent to Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, on behalf of the "Quint" – U.S., UK, Germany, France and Italy – demanding that he "tones down" the "aggressive rhetoric" about Kosovo.

The note, quoted by a German news portal, offers surprising insight into Empire’s convictions and its relationship with the authorities in Belgrade. To wit:

"We have tolerated until now the Serbian aggressive rhetoric regarding Kosovo, because we believed that with time passing it could be taken off the agenda. Our partners in Belgrade have told us that the statements of Minister Jeremic about Kosovo aimed to protect President Tadic from attack by Serbian nationalists, and the initiative to ask the ICJ for an advisory opinion on the Declaration of the independence was just a manoeuvre to remove Kosovo from the political agenda in Serbia. None of this seems to be the case and Kosovo continues to be a major political issue in Serbia…"

Obviously, even the feeble resistance by the government, designed to deflect criticism at home while covering up the actual policy of unconditional surrender, is too much for the Empire.

Neither Belgrade not the diplomats of countries involved have officially commented on the note. Last weekend, however, the Serbian Orthodox Church has moved to relieve bishop Artemije of Kosovo, an outspoken activist against the Albanians’ seizure of the province and systematic destruction of Serbian property and heritage. The move was controversial enough, but the media coverage by the newspapers and TV stations close to the government has been nothing less than hysterical, almost as if designed to destroy the credibility and reputation of the Church. Given that the Church is the cornerstone of the surviving Serb community in Kosovo, which continues to resist attempts by Empire and the Albanians to subject them to the "independent" state, this affair could have far-reaching consequences.

Bleak House

Once convinced that "independence" would solve all their political and economic problems, the Albanians living in Kosovo don’t appear as enthusiastic anymore. Recent polls show their growing disillusionment with a quasi-state that has failed to deliver on any of the grandiose promises. Incidentally, the same polls indicate that Serbs are just as determined never to recognize the breakaway province, despite the efforts of the Tadic regime.

According to a recent story in Time magazine – openly sympathetic to the Kosovo "government" and its efforts to improve its image in the West – the quasi-country is beset by problems: "… instability, endemic corruption, weak rule of law, rampant organized crime, drug smuggling, human trafficking. The list goes on and on." Furthermore, "Kosovars (sic) need visas to travel to every country of the world but four; Afghans and Somalis have greater freedom of movement."

Worse yet, the financial crisis that plagues both the U.S. and the EU is reflecting on the aid money that has so far kept the occupied province afloat. Some 4 billion Euros in aid has been spent on Kosovo since 1999, and the economy is still close to nonexistent, with unemployment hovering around 40 percent.

Bombing the World Order

In supporting the creation of an "independent" Kosovo, the Empire argued it would somehow bring peace and stability to the Balkans. It has done nothing of the sort. The remaining Serbs in the province remain in danger. Albanians in Kosovo are making claims to more Serbian territory, where terrorist incidents continue.

To justify its 1999 war of aggression – which, by admission of top policymakers, had very little to do with the Albanians – the Empire blasted a hole in international law. The issue of creating new independent states has always been a complicated and contentious one. What the "Republic of Kosovo" did was establish a precedent that law and logic need not apply, so long as the Empire wills something to happen. Around the world, various groups and governments have taken note, even if they haven’t acted upon this understanding quite yet. Kosovo has thus become a delayed-fuse bomb under the entire world order.

And all that so Bill Clinton could have a statue in Pristina, and Hashim Thaci could be called "Mr. Prime Minister" instead of "Snake."

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.