Friday, February 23, 2007

Kosovo Independence Demands Parallel the 1938 Sudetenland Scenario

The US-led NATO attacks on Serbia in 1999, the culmination of several years of well-developed propaganda funded by Albanian narco-trafficking money, have led to a position, in 2007, where the now-Albanian dominated Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija is being pushed by "the international community" toward a form of independence.

Significantly, the initial form of this, proposed by United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari -- hardly an impartial observer; he is a former member of the International Crisis Group (ICG), an organization funded by leftist US financier George Soros which has been committed to bringing about an independent Kosovo -- has been rejected by the Serbian Government as being "totally unacceptable", and by the Albanian secessionists as being absolutely insufficient.

But there are distinct parallels in the Kosovo situation with the situation in Czechoslovakia's Sudentland, one of the major precursor issues leading to World War II.

The Czechoslovakian region known as Sudetenland had, in the mid-1930s, a majority German population. The Sudeten Germans claimed to be the victims of oppression at the hands of the Czechoslovakian Government and demanded autonomy and the right of "self-determination". To achieve their goal they revolted against the Czechoslovakian authorities thereby forcing the Government in Prague to declare martial law.

The Sudeten Germans cited the armed clashes which their own belligerence provoked as evidence of their oppression. As a result of the fighting, Sudeten German refugees began fleeing to Nazi Germany in 1937-38.

In 1938, the German Reich said that it would no longer tolerate the "abuse" of the Sudeten German population by the Czechoslovakian Government. Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia under the pretext of humanitarian intervention to "rescue" the Sudeten Germans from alleged Czechoslovakian "oppression".

With the professed goal "bringing stability to Europe", the great European powers of the day, Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, convened a conference in Munich to resolve the Sudeten crisis.

The fact that Czechoslovakia's borders were not theirs to re-draw did not stop the European powers from doing precisely that. Czechoslovakia was offering the German population special rights and maximum self-government, but the Germans would have none of it. On September 29, 1938, Sudetenland was ceded to Germany by the Munich Agreement signed by German Chancellor and Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, and the Radical-Socialist French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier.

Czechoslovakia did not consent to the theft of its territory, but it lacked the means of defending itself. As a result, Czechoslovak troops vacated Sudetenland, and German troops came goose-stepping in to take their place.

Lip-service was paid to "protecting the minority within the minority", but nothing was done to achieve this, and the non-German minorities in living in Sudetenland had their homes, businesses, and places of worship destroyed. They were killed, terrorized, and forced to flee Sudetenland in fear of their lives.

Almost exactly the same thing has been happening in the Balkans for the past eight years. Just replace Sudetenland with Kosovo; replace Germans with Albanians; and replace Czechoslovakia with Serbia and there is a mirror image of what has been happening in Kosovo since 1999.
There are some differences, including the fact that Sudetenland had once been part of Germany. So the Germans actually had a more historically legitimate claim to Sudetenland than the Albanians have to Kosovo. But the history of the Sudeten crisis so closely mirrors what has been happening in Kosovo that its lessons are significant for today's analysts and policymakers.

Acceding to German demands in Sudetenland did not stabilize Europe; on the contrary: it emboldened the Germans. The Munich Agreement only brought more German demands and even greater German belligerence.

Acceding to Albanian demands in Kosovo is not expected to stabilize the Balkans. Indeed, outbreaks of violence by Kosovo Albanians began immediately after the Ahtisaari plan was presented to the Albanian leadership in the Kosovo regional capital, Pristina, on February 1, 2007.

See also: Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, February 2, 2007: As Ahtisaari Plan Delineates Essentially Independent Kosovo, Jihadists Move to Expand Ops in FYROM, Greece, Serbia, and Main Points of UN Ahtisaari Plan for Kosovo .

All evidence, and public statements by Kosovo Albanian officials, indicates that granting Kosovo independence would only embolden Albanian secessionists in Montenegro, the Presevo valley of Serbia, the Raska (Sandjak/Sanzak) region of south-western Serbia, the Western areas of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and northern Greece, not to mention secessionist groups in other parts of the world who would be eager to cite the Kosovo precedent for their own purposes.

Given the strong links which the Albanian political and criminal movements have with Islamist-jihadist movements (including al-Qaida ), and with the Government of Iran, there is strong evidence that the belief in the imminent success of the Kosovo independence movement would spark a surge of confidence in the jihadist movement in Europe and worldwide. This would have significant ramifications -- quite apart from empowering the Europe-wide network of narco-traffickers, prostitution rings, and arms trafficking run from Kosovo<1> -- for
the worldwide terrorist movement and for the impetus of violence in such theaters as Iraq.

The experience of the Sudeten Germans should also serve as a warning to the Kosovo-Albanians. Sudetenland's independence from Czechoslovakia, although guaranteed by the European powers, did not last. When the geopolitical situation changed with World War II, and Czechoslovakia regained a degree of sovereignty within the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Treaty bloc, the remaining Sudeten Germans were all but eradicated.

Trend analysis in the early 21st Century points to the prospect of ongoing security concerns for Europe, based on changing demographics and pressure from jihadist terrorists. And while no-one is pointing to the prospect that World War III could erupt in Europe -- as both previous World Wars erupted there -- the prospect does exist for a return to armed conflict, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that the "international community" has eviscerated the conventional force capabilities of most of the states of the former Yugoslavia.

Would the European Union or NATO be prepared to undertake major armed intervention to contain another conflict in the former Yugoslavia? There is evidence of great reluctance among EU/NATO powers to re-engage in the Balkans. And yet the granting of independence to Kosovo -- which would likely occur from a claim of independence by Albanians in Pristina, accepted/recognized by, say, the Labour Party Government in the United Kingdom, which (unlike the former Conservative Party Government) has indicated a support for the Balkan Islamist claims -- could also lead to a claim of independence by Republica Srpska, the ethnically Serbian area of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Indeed, Republica Srpska has entirely legitimate and historical claims to independence, or union with the Republic of Serbia, whereas the Albanian domination of Kosovo and Metohija began in the 20th Century as a pattern of illegal immigration, encouraged (or at least allowed) by post-World War II Yugoslav dictator Josef Broz Tito, a Croat, to control the Serbs who had opposed him during World War II.

And although US officials and media tend to deny the parallel, the case made by Albanians in Serbia's Kosovo province could be made equally by Mexicans who have illegally immigrated into the southern United States.

But if there is one thing true about the Balkans it's that memories are long and revenge is harsh.

Footnotes:
1. See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, January 19, 2007: Growing Leftist-Jihadist Linkages Highlighted by January 12, 2007, Attack on US Embassy . That report noted that: "Reliable sources indicate that the [Chinese-made, former Albanian Army] RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade fired at the US Embassy in Athens on January 12, 2007, was supplied to the leftist Greek terrorist organization, Revolutionary Struggle, by the Albanian jihadist -linked group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK)" via Albanian arms traffickers operating through FYROM. See also the Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis of January 31, 2007, report entitled Arms Smuggling Routes Enhance Extremist Capabilities in South-West Balkans; Albanian Separatists Expected to Mobilize in Spring if Kosovo Does Not Get Independence . That report noted, among other things: "Virtually all intelligence sources in the Serbian province of Kosovo anticipate that a major upsurge in violence will occur in the March-April 2007 timeframe, and exclusive new evidence obtained by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs highlights how Albanian extremists have developed comprehensive networks of arms supply to ensure a broadly-based conflict in both Kosovo and neighboring FYROM."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

An open letter to the U.S. ambassador to Belgrade Michael Polt

A TIME OF MADNESS - By Journalist Vjekoslav Radovic

Dear Michael:

Addressing you as one American to another, I want to tell you that I was moved by your February 10 letter published in Glas Javnosti (the Voice of Public) in response to the letter by Mr. Ivan Koprivica, but I was also disappointed to see that you were able to refute nothing. Your Excellency, you will go down in history as the first ambassador of the world's greatest power to have engaged in debate with a citizen of a tiny, powerless country and to have emerged from that debate with absolutely no success. And you did this in a newspaper which is neither the "oldest", nor the "most influential" one in the Balkans.

In marketing terms, your attempt was a truly charming undertaking in an effort to shift the public opinion in Serbia positively toward Kosovo-Metohija independence so that this rip-off could appear more "democratic". In the same spirit, you would even wish us to believe that you bombed us only because you love us!

Your superior, Mr. Daniel Fried, said only a few days earlier that Serbia's public opinion was shifting toward your advantage, and he came to that brilliant conclusion based on one single article in what he called, the Balkans "oldest" and the "most influential" newspaper.

Do days in the State Department really begin by reading Politika? And yours by reading letters to editor published in Glas javnosti? If so, then my hat's off to you!

What concerns me, however, is that you are drawing your conclusions based on the opinions of children of communist generals, such as this Politika colleague. On the other hand, you choose to ignore comments like that middle finger sprawled across the front page of a Belgrade tabloid.

You of all people should know that nothing is sacred to communists and that an apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And yet, your chosen darlings and your trustees in Serbia are just that -- the children of communism -- disguised as "democrats".

We are both naturalized Americans. You were born in Austria, while I was born in Croatia. But believe me, Mr. Polt, even if I were born a Papuan, seeing what you are doing to the Serbian people would turn me into a Serb! Because, if what you are trying to do here are the supposed ideas of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln -- then one of us is not "an American". And I refuse to accept that you are more American than I am. Is it possible that you have been overtaken by nostalgia for the Austro-Hungarian Empire?

You are telling Serbs that they should give up the cradle of their spirituality, history, faith and state. I understand that these categories might be incomprehensible to you, but would you really give up Southern California, New Mexico or parts of Texas with such ease? I know, you'll say: That's completely different and Kosovo is "an exception". Your reasoning is totally pragmatic: on the one hand there are warmongering Albanians who are threatening renewed violence and bloodshed unless their demands are fulfilled, and on the other hand there are the disunited, disoriented, humiliated, bitter, powerless and helpless Serbs. Therefore your choice, with the help of local communist generals' sons and daughters, seems easy. But don’t deceive yourselves.

One more thing: stop blaming the policies of Slobodan Milosevic for the present situation in Kosovo-Metohija. While in Pristina in July of 1999, I held in my hand - and have republished - the leaflet by which Ibrahim Rugova and KLA called on the Albanians to exit Kosovo in order to stage the phony "humanitarian catastrophe", and return under the safety of NATO's wings. If you wish, I will gladly pass that document on to you. You might also wish to review the Hague testimony given by the former KLA officer Bislim Zirapi last November. As you are fully aware, Yugoslavia was not destroyed by Serbian -- but rather by Croat, Slovenian and Muslim separatists, wholeheartedly supported by you.

Instead of facing the truth, you are issuing an ultimatum to Serbs: "Take our hand and choose the road to success, or withdraw into the past filled with rage that offers you no future..."

Don’t you understand that the hand that is stealing their Kosovo away, for Serbs will forever be the hand of a thief and a robber?

I do hope, your Excellency, that you do not find yourself bored in Belgrade, because you definitely don’t resemble that Marquez's hero that had no one to write to him. But please, do renounce the favors of communist generals' children. Not for the sake of money, but don’t forget, Your Excellency, that these are also the children who have betrayed their own parents.

Translation, courtesy of Svetlana Novko at Byzantine Sacred Art Blog

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Emir Nemanje Kusturica, Serbia's Knight

(Excerpt from Byzantine Sacred Art Blog)


Serbia’s Knight
As of Thursday, February 8, Serbia has another Knight, a highly esteemed movie director Emir Kusturica. French Minister of Culture Rennaud Donnadieu de Vabres has awarded world renowned Serbian director with France’s Order of the Knight of Arts and Literature of the first degree — Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

This is the highest French recognition for achievements in arts and culture, honoring those who have “significantly contributed to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.” The medal was given to Kusturica as an acknowledgement of his professional achievements in France.

Minister De Vabres said that with this recognition France wanted to express its affection and admiration to Kusturica and appreciation of his entire artistic opus that, along with movies, includes his music band Zabranjeno pusenje, documentary films and the magnificent ethno village he has built in Serbia.

“Kusturica is a great artist who carries within all that Europe represents today — positive values, drama, tragedy. He is the artist of exquisite power and ingenious mind,” the French Minister of Culture pointed out....Read the Rest at Byzantine Sacred Art

Monday, February 12, 2007

Albanians on a Rampage, 2 Killed as They attack UN




Two dead following Kosovo clashes - police

11 Feb 2007 11:17:14 GMT
PRISTINA, Serbia, Feb 11 - Two people died overnight of injuries sustained in clashes in Kosovo on Saturday between police and ethnic Albanian protesters, U.N. police said.

They were among four people seriously wounded when United Nations and Kosovo police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of Albanians protesting a U.N. plan they say falls short of full independence for the Serbian province.

Police opened fire when protesters tried to break through a barricade around parliament in the capital Pristina.

"It is totally regrettable that two lives were lost as a result of wanton breach of security at the government buildings," the head of U.N. police in Kosovo, Stephen Curtis, said in a statement on Sunday.

"The demonstrators at the government buildings compelled the police to take defensive measures to restore order," he said.

The violence on Saturday underscored Western fears of mass unrest if a decision on the Albanian majority's demand for independence does not come soon. Fifteen people were arrested.

A U.N. plan unveiled this month would, if adopted by the U.N. Security Council, set the territory on the path to statehood, eight years after NATO bombs drove out Serb forces and the United Nations took control.

But some among Kosovo's 90-percent ethnic Albanian majority are angry at the plan's provisions for a powerful European overseer and self-government for the 100,000 remaining Serbs.

The protesters called for an independence referendum and rejected talks with Serbia, which in 1998-99 killed 10,000 Albanians and expelled 800,000 in a two-year war with rebels.
Serbia opposes the amputation of its medieval heartland, but the Albanians living there reject any return to Serb rule and are impatient to end eight years of U.N.-imposed limbo.

Washington and the European Union back the blueprint drafted by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari. Russia says it will not support any solution rejected by Belgrade.

Ahtisaari has invited Serbia and the Kosovo Albanians to a final round of talks in Vienna from Feb. 21. He hopes to present the plan to the U.N. Security Council in late March.

Friday, February 09, 2007

10,000 Kosovo Serbs protest U.N. plan

About 10,000 Serbs in Kosovo province protested Friday against a U.N. plan that might make ethnic-Albanians independent of Belgrade, media said.
In the biggest protest rally since 1999 in the ethnically-divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, angry Serbs shouted they will never give Kosovo away, the Serbian news agency Beta reported.

Milan Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb leader, threatened if Serbia's mainly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo province is given independence from Belgrade, then Serbs will have the right for self-determination.

Ivanovic told the rally Kosovo Serbs will travel to Belgrade Feb. 27 to stage a protest meeting in front of the U.S. embassy and demand Kosovo remain an integral part of Serbia.

The rally in Kosovska Mitrovica ended without incident. The Serbian government in Belgrade, representing 100,000 Serbs living in Kosovo, says it will never accept Kosovo's independence, while leaders of ethnic-Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's 1.8 million population, insist on independence.

Kosovo has been U.N.-administered since 1999, when NATO air bombardments forced Serbian security forces out of the province. Since, NATO troops have been deployed in Kosovo to curb ethnic conflicts.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

KOSOVO: SERBIA REELS FROM SHOCK OF U.N. ENVOY'S PLAN



Belgrade, 5 Feb. (AKI) - Serbian politicians and the public have reacted with shock to top United Nations envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari’s recently unveiled plan for the future of Kosovo which appears to pave the way for the breakaway province's independence. President Boris Tadic called an urgent meeting of leaders of all parliamentary parties on Monday to chart a common stand on the course of action, after he received Ahtisaari’s document in Belgrade on Friday and has signalled he will never accept Kosovo's independence.


Caretaker prime minister Vojislav Kostunica, who refused to see Ahtisaari when he was in Belgrade last Friday, has meanwhile proposed the formation of a "concerted" government, including all parliamentary parties, to demonstrate national unity in the defence of Kosovo. The province has special significance for most Serbs, who consider it the birthplace of their state.


The blueprint allows Kosovo access to international bodies normally reserved for sovereign states, and allows it to raise its own flag, with its own national anthem, while offering guarantees for Serb and other non-Albanian minorities. It was greeted elatedly by Kosovo's overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian majority.


Although Ahtisaari’s proposal was more or less expected, the document nevertheless caused shock and dismay among Serbs that 15 percent of the country’s territory could be forcibly snatched away.


"Even the worst pessimists didn’t expect that Ahtisaari’s plan would be so bad and unacceptable for Serbia,” said prominent political analyst Djordje Vukadinovic. Though the word 'independence' is not directly mentioned in the document, all analysts and politicians agreed that in effect it meant the creation of a new Albanian state on Serbian territory.


Tadic, who like Kostunica has steadfastly opposed Kosovo independence, has nonetheless advocated treading carefully in negotiations with the international community, has said he will never approve the plan. Kostunica, who has repeatedly accused Ahtisaari of anti-Serb bias, claims the former president of Finland has exceeded the mandate given him by the UN.


Ahtisaaris proposal "violates the UN Charter and the principles of the international law on which peace and security in the world rest. That means that Ahtisaari’s proposal is illegitimate," he said. "Based on the constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the parliament now must determine further steps that Serbia will take," he added.


One of the problems is that the outgoing parliament is being dissolved and the new one, elected in a 21 January general election, hasn't yet been constituted. Likewise, Kostunica’s outgoing government claims it doesn’t have a mandate to participate in further negotiations until a new government is formed. Because of disagreements within the four-party 'democratic bloc' analysts believe the country's political forces may be unable to form a governing majority and the elections may have to be re-run.


But according to Ahtisaari’s timetable, he will call for another meeting of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian and Serbian leaders on 13 February in Vienna, in an attempt to bridge the gap between the opposing sides, before sending his plan to the UN Security Council for approval in March. Serbia has placed great hopes on the permanent Security Council member Russia's veto. But Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov over the weekend denied Moscow has ever signalled it would use veto to block Kosovo's independence.


Even the Serbian Orthodox Church intervened with a strong statement, saying Ahtisaari had opted "for might is right, instead of the force of law." The statement said: "Ahtisaari can give away his own property to whomever he chooses, but no one ever authorised him to give away Kosovo."


"A peaceful future can’t be built on the right of the stronger, on the dictates of naked force, but only on respect of the principle that all should have the same dignity and equal opportunities," the statement continued.


Zoran Loncar, a minister in Kostunica’s outgoing government, said that Serbia was exposed to a “brutal snatching away of its territory”, as well as to “various pressures and blackmail," of which Ahtisaari as the author. "What Ahtisaari is doing is the worst of evils, and it is best for all to reject his paper immediately, instead of wasting our future on the removal of this evil,” he concluded.


European officials have hinted that Serbia’s drive to join the EU might depend on the degree of cooperation over Kosovo. But after Ahtisaari’s proposal, many ordinary Serbs have been saying: "To to hell with the European Union."


Belgrade daily Press summarised these sentiments with a front page banner that read: "No Way!" Daily Kurir concurred by saying “Europe, get lost!” and a front page picture pointing a middle finger towards the EU.


Most of Kosovo's 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority wants nothing less than independence for the province. It has been under UN control since 1999 when NATO airstrikes drove out Serb forces amid ethnic fighting and gross human rights abuses.(Vpr/Aki)