March 10, 2008
Kosovo, a small territory where primarily ethnic Albanians reside, announced its independence from Serbia last month. While Western leaders have celebrated this unilateral secession as a great moment for democracy, the actual details of the secession paint a different picture.
In 1999, the United States led NATO in bombing the former Yugoslavia under the pretense of preventing Serbian aggression against Kosovar Albanians. Former president of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, whom the United States once supported, played a key role in the aggression.
While bombing was said to be essential to prevent genocide, in 2005 senior Clinton official John Norris wrote differently in his novel Collision Course.
“It was Yugoslavia’s resistance to the broader trends of political and economic reform — not the plight of the Kosovar Albanians — that best explains NATO’s war,” he wrote.
Bill Richardson, Clinton’s secretary of energy, also brought up underlying reasons for the bombing.
“This is about America’s energy security,” he said months after the bombing.
At the time, the U.N. Security Council passed resolution 1244, which guaranteed a commitment of all member states to the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Serbian and Russian political officials have said Kosovo’s declaration of independence was in gross violation of 1244 and a breach of international law, while the United States asserts that Kosovo’s independence was fully consistent with 1244, said Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in a security council press release.
“I’m very torn,” said Stephen Zunes, a UC San Francisco professor of international studies, in an interview with therealnews.com. “I have supported the Kosovo Albanians’ struggle for self-determination for quite a few years now, and yet … the nature of the current Kosovo-Albanian leadership and the hypocrisy and double standards of the United States and other Western powers makes this a time that should be one of celebration to one of, frankly, great apprehension.”
Zunes and others point to the hypocrisy of Western powers in supporting Kosovo’s right to secede but ignoring other regions with similar aspirations, like Tibet, Western Sahara, the Basque country in Spain, Kashmir, Taiwan, Palestine and Kurdistan.
Asia Times columnist Pepe Escobar said to look at Camp Bondsteel and the Albanian Macedonian Bulgarian Oil Corp. (AMBO) for answers as to why the United States is interested in Kosovo’s independence.
The $1.1 billion AMBO pipeline will take oil from the Caspian Sea, bypassing the heavily trafficked Aegean and Mediterranean seas and routing it through Macedonia to the U.S.-friendly Albanian port of Vlora, ultimately taking the oil to refineries in the United States for significantly less cost than it now incurs.
Camp Bondsteel will serve to provide “security” in the region, defending critical pipeline areas while also serving as “a sort of smaller — and friendlier — five-star Guantanamo, with perks like Thai massage and loads of junk food,” Escobar said.
Kosovo’s independence may have little to do with its autonomy. Officials in Brussels have confirmed that thousands of EU bureaucrats will be sent to the nation-state to form another “EU (and NATO) protectorate,” Escobar wrote.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdistan has been denied its independence. Turkey officials are furious at the precedent Kosovo has set and invaded Northern Iraq with 10,000 troops to show the world that Kurdish secession is not an option.
“An array of European analysts, not to mention Russians, has compared the current, dangerous state of play in the Balkans to Sarajevo in 1914 that led to the outbreak of World War II,” Escobar wrote.
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