Occupations, Faux and Real

To an observer of Balkans affairs, it is impossible to watch any sort of popular protest anywhere in the world, and not think of October 5, 2000. That was the day the Empire-supported "democratic opposition" in Serbia orchestrated a coup and ousted from power Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic (dismantling Yugoslavia itself soon thereafter). The coup was presented as a popular uprising, which the U.S. government and "non-governmental" foundations merely helped – to the tune of $100 million or so. But when the exact same pattern was subsequently repeated in Tbilisi and Kiev, and several other places, it became clear that the old adage held. Once was happenstance, twice was coincidence, three times or more – definitely enemy action.

A documentary made earlier this year revealed the participation of "revolutionary consultants", Empire’s agents from Serbia, in directing the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts. It is unclear whether the Empire has a hand in fomenting rebellion in Syria as well. Libya followed a different Balkans scenario. And now there is Occupy Wall Street, spreading to other places in the USA itself, where professional revolutionaries have already made an appearance (video). Serious allegations have surface up that the protest is being supported by George Soros, a key player in Imperial infiltration of Eastern Europe. Soros has issued an official denial, but there’s a saying about those in Washington…

Greed Bad, War Good

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demonstrators have made no official demands. One list that surfaced recently has apparently caused so much backlash, they are trying hard to dissociate from it. With the exception of small groups of "End the Fed" protesters here and there, the OWS appears to advocate more power to the government as a counter to corporate corruption.

Notably absent from both official and unofficial utterances, though, is the demand to end all foreign wars and cut military spending, even though it dwarfs every other budgetary category except entitlements. Meanwhile, the Empire is beating the drums for war with Iran, hyping the exceedingly improbable terror plot allegedly uncovered by the scandal-ridden Justice Department. Because the ongoing and never-to-be-ended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are just not hemorrhaging lives and treasure enough?

No Rights At All

Meanwhile, as some OWS protesters demand wages for not working, the troops they don’t want to bring home are busy denying an entire people the right to live – having previously denied them liberty and property. Serbs in Kosovo, fenced off in barbed-wire ghettoes by NATO occupiers following the 1999 invasion, have been assaulted, robbed and murdered with absolute impunity over the past decade. NATO "peacekeepers" have looked the other way. EU’s "law and order" EULEX mission actually released a convicted terrorist as its very first act upon taking over from the UN.

It was bad enough that the International Court of Justice tortured logic and law to excuse the Albanian provisional government’s 2008 declaration of independence; now NATO troops and EULEX are actively assaulting the remaining Serbs in the province on behalf of that provisional government, invoking a "law and order" argument. When the Serbs protest peacefully, they are branded "criminals".

On September 27, NATO troops at Jarinje opened fire on the protesting Serb civilians. They claimed only rubber bullets were used, until clear evidence to the contrary emerged. Then the story changed: the fully armed NATO troops were "attacked" by Serb civilians and fired in "self-defense." Lies. Those very civilians fed the German troops (despite bad blood from two world wars) just days before. No – their very existence, their very act of protesting their conquest and not submitting, represented an "attack" in the minds of Alliance spokescritters.

The Ultimatum

The Serb barricades and civil disobedience have completely disrupted the plans of both the Albanian government in Pristina, KFOR, EULEX and the Empire. Nobody knows what to do about them. They’ve tried pressuring the quisling government in Belgrade, normally overeager to do anything the Empire even thinks of demanding. But Belgrade can do nothing, as the Serbs in Kosovo refuse obedience to them as much as to KFOR and Pristina. An increasing number of people all over Serbia is joining them. In effect, Empire’s insistence on "Kosovian" sovereignty is rapidly destroying their chokehold on Belgrade.

Shooting the protesters failed. As did demolishing the barricades, since new ones appear soon thereafter. KFOR is now trying to blockade all the mountain trails the Serbs use – while arguing its mission is to secure "freedom of movement" for everyone! In a brazen display of cynicism, KFOR claims it is adhering to its UN mandate, when it manifestly is not. Now Erhard Drews, the German general in command of KFOR, has issued an ultimatum to the Serbs: remove the barricades by Monday, October 18 – or else.


The behavior of Washington, Brussels, Pristina, KFOR and EULEX indicates that none of them have the faintest clue what they are dealing with. The EU tried to break Belgrade this week by granting "candidate status" to Serbia, but openly demanding the recognition of an independent Kosovo and abandonment of the Serbs there. Meanwhile, a "Serbian" NGO is being funded to argue that fighting for Kosovo is "too expensive". What the Brussels bureaucrats – or their Imperial colleagues, for that matter – do not understand is that their Belgrade quislings would love to surrender, but can’t.

The Serb barricades are not a conventional occurrence at all, but a manifestation of 4th Generation warfare wherein weakness is actually strength, moral triumphs over the material, and the state loses to non-state elements. How exactly does one defeat someone who says "if you want to kill me, go ahead"? More to the point, why would Drews or anyone else believe that this is a bluff, and that the Serbs will agree to submit if just one more degree of force is applied?

End of the Line

That the Empire is pursuing a Balkans agenda of chopping up the Serbs while insisting on inviolable sovereignty of everyone else is an observable fact. Much ink and effort has been expended to figure out why – but there is one simple reason that springs to mind: because it can. Or rather, because by ensuring it can do this to the Serbs, it can do it to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Two things stand in the way of this agenda, however. For the carve-up of Serbia to actually gain traction, it is necessary for Belgrade to approve of it. That is why the current government was installed by Imperial ambassadors to begin with. Yet try as it might, it has been unable to browbeat and lie Serbian populace into accepting Empire’s ultimate demand, and is now in danger of imminent collapse.

The second thing is the ongoing existence of Serbs in the province, who refuse to leave despite the constant assaults, murders, and pogroms. One KFOR commander – the same man who now heads EULEX, actually – opined four years ago that the "problem" would  have "some kind of biological end" as the Serbs will "simply disappear" as they die of old age. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way, and both the Empire and its Albanian clients have become impatient.

The question now is whether the Empire is prepared to get its own hands dirty. In the past, it delegated ethnic cleansing in the Balkans to its "junkyard dogs" (be they the Croatian government or the KLA). Warfare is easy when one can dehumanize the enemy (e.g. by calling them "hajis" or "ragheads" or worse), or remove oneself from the killing entirely (with teleoperated drones). But can a soldier who just a couple of weeks ago ate a plate of cabbage with the people he’s supposed to kill actually go through with it? If yes, the Empire is not only politically bankrupt, but has stepped right into the realm of evil that "has no bounds or restraint". At that point, all bets are off.

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.