The dramatic developments surrounding the independence referendum in Catalonia, as well as the plebiscite for the self-determination of Iraqi Kurds, have once again raised the issue of the lack of clear criteria in international practice for allowing the self-determination of nations and territories. This creates a breeding ground for double standards and speculative political maneuvers. And although Catalan separatism has a long and unique history, an assessment of current events shows that there are links to other regional crises including in the Balkans, where the double standards and geopolitical games have become fully apparent.
Richard Haass, president of the influential US Council on Foreign Relations, recently took an active part in discussions on these issues. In an article published on the Project Syndicate website on 29 September, four days after the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan and two days before the referendum in Catalonia, Haass writes that in today’s world, new statehood depends largely on recognition by other states. He then goes on to try to formulate his own set of standards that he believes should be applied in such situations. There are five of these ‘Haass standards’ (read: the Council on Foreign Relations’ standards): the existence of historical foundations that indicate “a clear collective identity for the people in question”; the existence of convincing arguments proving that “the status quo is imposing a large political, physical, and economic price” on the population; a clear indication by the population that “it strongly favors a new and separate political status”; an indication that the new state will be “viable”; and, finally, that secession will not “jeopardize the viability of the rump state or the security of neighboring states”.
If you look at former Yugoslavia in terms of these rules, then it is easy to see the West’s extreme haste in recognizing the independence of a number of Yugoslav republics, as well as the Serbian province of Kosovo. Among other things, there would have been no “large political, physical, and economic price” should Kosovo have kept its status after 1999 as a territory under the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo with broad powers.
There are serious issues in assessing the “collective identity” of Kosovo Albanians, whom Albanian experts themselves and the leaders of the Albanian nationalist movement have traditionally regarded as part of the Albanian ethnic group since the activities of the League of Prizren from 1878-1881, an ethnic group that is currently exercising its self-determination as part of the Republic of Albania. Indeed, the level of “collective identity” of Bosnian Muslims and even of Montenegrins is historically inferior to that of Catalans and even more so of Kurds.
No serious expert would say that self-proclaimed Kosovo is financially viable without the support of the West. According to the estimates of independent organizations, the international community gave Kosovo $2.3 billion in aid between 1999 and 2002. Between 2005 and 2008, the country received $1.9 billion, nearly half of its GDP, to carry out reforms. The amounts are smaller these days, nevertheless in 2016, according to data from the IMF, Kosovo’s budget received €173 million in “foreign financing”, which is comparable to its expenditure on pensions and other welfare payments.
As for Richard Haass’ final point that the secession of a country should not jeopardize “the viability of the rump state or the security of neighboring states”, the armed Kosovo Albanian separatism and its unilateral support from the West were directly responsible for the destabilization in other Albanian-populated regions of the Balkans and created an extremely dangerous precedent.
There is good reason why the Balkan states are now further away from joining the European Union than they were a few years ago. This was demonstrated, in particular, by the 2017 Western Balkans Summit held this summer in Trieste under the aegis of the Italian government involving delegations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. As emphasized by Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, the EU intends to “keep open the prospect of countries of the Western Balkans joining the European Union”, but that now was not the right time and that, generally speaking, preparations for the Balkan countries to join the EU would “require a lot of time”.
There can be little doubt that the future situation both in Catalonia and surrounding Iraqi Kurdistan will reveal evidence of geopolitical maneuvers and machinations that have little in common with the interests of international stability and the aspirations of the people. As the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia notes in connection with the Catalan referendum, “the simple and stark reality is that the EU is not particularly worried about popular protests”. The newspaper continues: “Many countries achieved independence in the final years of the 20th century – the former Soviet republics, the Balkan states, and even South Sudan – but their quest for independence received the blessing of the hegemonic powers and organizations: the US, NATO, the EU, and the IMF. The collapse of the USSR and Yugoslavia was part of their strategic plans with regard to these enemy countries… The independence of Kosovo was recognized, but the separatist sentiments in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea and southeast Ukraine have faced strong opposition.”
“The will of the peoples of the European Union is placed on a pedestal, but only if this will is in line with oligarchical and hegemonic interests… These interests could hypothetically change in favor of Catalonia gaining independence, but this will only happen if the Spanish government suddenly starts to pursue a socially oriented policy and tries to withdraw from NATO (no European party has ever won an election with such a program), counterbalanced by a neo-liberal Catalan government oriented towards NATO membership,” concludes La Vanguardia, sarcastically. Well, there’s certainly some truth in it.
By Pyotr Iskenderov
Senior Researcher, Institute of Slavic Studies
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation
Figure 1. Ethnic Albanian refugees at the Lion airport, April 18, 1999 A French magazine published a couple of photos from the Lion airport on April 18th, 1999, at the time when NATO bombers were pouring their lethal burden over Serbia (and partly over Montenegro), in the course of their “preventing humanitarian catastrophe” at Kosovo. One picture showed the French weaponry ready to be transported to Kosovo, the other presented an ethnic-Albanian family from Kosovo, refugees just arrived to France. The photo deserves well our attention, for it speaks very much indeed; it exposes vividly the very crux of the ...
Churchill once said that in war the truth is so precious it has to be surrounded with a bodyguard of lies. In Germany over the last two months one clearly saw the fabrication of such a bodyguard.Even as air attacks proceeded against civilian targets—destroying factories, electricity works, refineries, bridges, streets, railway lines and apartment blocks— German government representatives spoke of a ” humanitarian action ” . Despite the fact that the NATO attacks unleashed the massive wave of refugees and reduced towns and villages in Kosovo to ruins , it has been maintained to the very end that the aim ...
The former Yugoslavia was engulfed by many conflicts and ethnic and religious differences tore away at the very fabric of this nation. Like all wars, atrocities took place on all sides but the mass media in general focused on Serbian atrocities, while neglecting brutal crimes committed against the Serbian community. This certainly applies to the glossing over of war crimes done by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).However, more and more evidence is coming to light about brutal KLA death camps and killing people for organs. Therefore, will former KLA members be charged with war crimes and will the “real truth” ...
The name of the modern land-locked country north of Greece, with its capital at Skopje, has returned to the news. It is officially called FYROM, but embedded in that name is “Macedonia” which is a reflection of the longstanding attempt to take over the modern Greek province of Macedonia as reflected in maps used in many places, including schools.It is clear that this naming implies territorial ambitions which have long been understood (http://macedonia-evidence.org/documentation.html). If that threat to the stability of the southern Balkans is to be stopped permanently, I suggest that the following must happen:1) the country should be named ...
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I travel frequently to the countries which once made up the now defunct Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, satisfying a passion of mine that stems back to my childhood days. For me, the Balkans’ history, its people and its cultures are both enigmatic and magnetic, as they have been, too, for countless others, of many nationalities, over centuries gone by. Accounting for the enchantment of the Balkans, its captivating allure, is a challenge to put into writing. Because no words can truly embellish what is one of the most absorbing parts of the world. To understand and feel what it is ...
In another grim milestone for the United States and NATO, the Council of Europe (COE) released an explosive report last week, “Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo.”The report charged that former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) boss and current Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi, “is the head of a ‘mafia-like’ Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe,” The Guardian disclosed.According to a draft resolution unanimously approved December 16 in Paris, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights found compelling evidence of forced disappearances, organ trafficking, corruption and collusion between ...
A „rövid” XX. századot a balkáni lôporos hordó robbanása vezette be, és úgy látszik, addig nem is tud befejezôdni, amíg ezt a hordót jó mélyen és örökre el nem temetik. A koszovói konfliktus új fázisa – ha nem akarunk éppenséggel visszamenni az ôsidôkig, de legalábbis a rigómezei ütközetig (1389) vagy Arsenije Carnojevic és népe nagy elvándorlásáig (1698 – a tartomány szerb lakosága ekkor menekült el a török megtorlás elôl, és ekkor kezdôdött dél felôl az albánok tömeges betelepedése a lényegében lakatlanná vált területre) – nagyjából az elsô balkáni háborúval kezdôdött, és kisebb-nagyobb megszakításokkal tart ma is. A tartomány szerencsétlen helyen ...
Kosovo(stan) Parliament announced "independent" state of the "Republic of Kosovo" on February 17th, 2008 as a democratic and multicultural political community.Here we present two photos from November 2015 on which you can see heavily damaged Serbian Orthodox church and totally destroyed Serbian Orthodox tombstones in the southern part of the town of Kosovska Mitrovica inhabited by the Muslim Albanians. Kosovo(stan) ISIS is doing its job profoundly.Enjoy Kosovo(stan) "independence"!P.S. Today (February 17th, 2018) on the 10-years anniversary of Kosovo(stan) "independence" Burundi cancelled its previous recognition of it. Just guess why?Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you ...
BELGRADE – Many innocent civilians were killed in American military interventions around the world – from Vietnam and Serbia to Iran and Afghanistan, because of the alleged “errors” or “collateral damage” – without consequences for civil and military leadership. In addition to political, military and every other power, Americans secured itself with legal mechanisms.Twenty-two civilians, wounded and doctors, among them three children, were killed in the American bombing of a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz. Americans acknowledged the error and apologized. The President of the United States expressed his condolences, the military leadership announced three independent investigations. “Doctors ...
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In 2000, when George W. Bush was elected president in a controversial and hotly disputed election, all the experts and pundits predicted that there would be a philosophical sea change in US foreign policy in the Balkans, and in Kosovo in particular. In my 2000 analysis of the election of Bush and US foreign policy in Kosovo, however, I concluded that the George W. Bush Administration represented the same old same old and business as usual. In my viewpoint, absolutely nothing would change in the US foreign policy stance on Kosovo. In fact, I concluded that the new regime was ...
Not satisfied with having sponsored the artificial creation of Kosovo, the United States has now decided to ram the mafia state through NATO and the European Union. A new member with such characteristics is the last thing that Europe needs right now. However, it should work wonders for the consolidation of U.S. political and military agenda in the region, not to speak of the flourishing heroin trade from Afghanistan…both of which, as Engdahl points out in this sharp analysis, pose a threat to Russia and may backfire in the end.In one of the more bizarre foreign policy announcements of a ...
In nineties, Srebrenica was the center of terrorist activities – « Jihad », the Muslim 28th Division under the command of Naser Oric Monster, with the participation of mujahedeens operated here, covered by UN and US forces. In 1993, The Embassy of Bosnia & Herzegovina, in Vienna, even issued the Bosnian passport to Osama bin Laden! Thus, Bin Laden became honored Bosnian citizen, under blessings of the Bill Clinton administration.The US diplomacy is still supporting the pro-Muslims’ politics in the Balkans. Bil Laden was killed, but his mujaheedins can still freely work in Kosovo, Bosnia and Macedonia. How is that ...
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International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague quietly acknowledged the innocence of former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic. Ten years after the very suspicious death of the Serbian leader in a Dutch prison, the 1,300th page of the 2,000-page document on the case of Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, acknowledged that Milosevic had not committed crimes against humanity, nor had he organized any mass killings or deportations of Croats and Bosnians. In other words, it was an innocent man who died in a UN prison. French journalist Dimitri De Koshko was working in Yugoslavia ...
In the article “Kurdistan – Turkey’s Kosovo” Prof. Sotirović compared different aspects of Turkish Kurdistan case to the Kosovo one, found some parallels and pointed out Turkey’s hypocrisy.While Prof. Sotirović is right in his assessment that Turkey is hypocritical to say at least, he failed to expose the fundamental differences between Kurdistan and Kosovo. His article contains some inaccuracies, misinterpretations and lacks in detail. Such an imprecise comparison may lead a reader who is not familiar with Balkans to acquire a false impression. A reader might come to conclusion that Kosovo Albanians had experienced the same level of suffering and ...
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Media Lies and the Conquest of Kosovo: NATO’s Prototype for the Next Wars of Globalization. Publisher: Unwritten History, Inc., New York, 2007. By Michel Collon, 276 pages, with photographs and maps.“Each war begins with media lies.” This is how Belgian journalist Michel Collon begins his analysis of the Kosovo conflict which resulted in the U.S. and NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the subsequent occupation of the Serbian Kosovo province by U.S. and NATO troops. The U.S. and NATO had launched a war of aggression without United Nations approval and in violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of ...
Abstract: This article investigates the Russian foreign politics at the region of the Balkan Peninsula after the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the time of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) World Order in relation to the Pan-Slavic ideals of intra-Slavic solidarity, reciprocity and brotherhood. The particular stresses are put on four main research topics: 1. The Pan-Slavism and Russia; 2. Relations between pro-Western and pro-Orthodox approaches of the Russian national interests on Russia’s domestic political scene; 3. Different attitudes towards the Balkans in Russia; and 4. Historical ties and future perspectives between Russia and the Serbs. A research ...
Basic Introduction to the Kosovo Problem
German Interests In The War Against Yugoslavia
Kosovo and Systematic Persecution by KLA
FYROM Should be Named Paionia as it was 2,500 Years Ago
The Balkans: Endurance and Endeavour. Resistance to Foreign Oppression
“Mafia State”: Kosovo’s PM Accused of Running Human Organ, Drug Trafficking Cartel
“Independent” State of the Republic of Kosovo(stan)
Why US’s “collateral damage” and “errors” are not a war crime?
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The Bush Administration’s Foreign Policy in Kosovo
Washington’s Bizarre Kosovo Strategy could Destroy NATO
Srebrenica, Another Genocide Over Serbian Population
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Slobodan Milosevic: The Killing Of An Innocent Man
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