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
The following research is a review around the theme of Southeastern European organized crime, mainly in the period 1995-2007, highlighting the emergence of powerful regional “Mafias” with an actual global presence.
The main focus is the Albanian criminal syndicates centered on Kosovo. The research is composed by previous material of the writer, some of which was presented in international workshops. Moreover the issue of radical Islam is being overviewed in a second part,for the same period, along with information regarding the state of affairs of the Muslim communities in the region.
Narcotics and the emergence of crime syndicates in the Balkans
Since World War II most of the world’s conflicts have revolved around struggles for independence against Western and Japanese colonial/imperial regimes.
Following formal independence, a new type of imperial domination was imposed – neo-colonial regimes, in which the US and its European allies imposed vassal rulers acting as proxies for economic exploitation. With the rise of US unipolar global domination, following the demise of the USSR (1990), the West established hegemony over the East European states. Some were subject to fragmentation and sub-divided into new NATO dominated statelets.
The quest for a unipolar empire set in motion a series of wars and ...
The creation of the First Balkan Alliance against the Ottoman Empire in 1866–1868 in the light of territorial requirements of the Balkan states and nations at the expense of the decreasing power of the Ottoman authorities and the Ottoman state integration was the first political-military treaty on the mutual cooperation by the Christian Balkan states and nations. The secret paragraphs of bilateral military-political contracts between Greece and Serbia and Serbia and Montenegro in regard to territorial inheritance of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans are the most important points of the treaty.
Serbia became a leader of the Balkan coalition and ...
“The earthly Kingdom is for earthly people, but the heavenly Kingdom is forever” Serbian national epic about the Kosovo Battle against the Ottoman Turks in 1389The American gangsters and the destruction of ex-YugoslaviaSouth-East Europe, and especially the Balkan Peninsula as the main part of it, have traditionally been the object of numerous geopolitical, geostrategic and publicist analyses, as well as the subject of debates among the Balkan, European and global experts in international relations. The new Iron Curtain between western and eastern Europe was not the end of the Balkan’s importance for the US administration and the NATO as well. At ...
World War II marked the apogee of industrialized “total war.” Great powers savaged one another. Hostilities engulfed the globe. Mobilization extended to virtually every sector of every nation. Air war, including the terror bombing of civilians, emerged as a central strategy of the victorious Anglo-American powers. The devastation was catastrophic almost everywhere, with the notable exception of the United States, which exited the strife unscathed and unmatched in power and influence. The death toll of fighting forces plus civilians worldwide was staggering.
The Violent American Century addresses the U.S.-led transformations in war conduct and strategizing that followed 1945—beginning with brutal localized ...
BELGRADE – Amnesty of crimes during NATO aggression, bilateral legalization of Camp Bondsteel in a friendly milieu, settling the Islamic world with support to their communities in the Balkans and forcing Russia out of that same Balkans, are four reasons the US supports the independence of Kosovo, writes “Sputnik”.On Christmas (according to Gregorian calendar) Michael Kirby shows up. Outgoing US Ambassador congratulates Serbia upcoming New Year. “The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina implies Kosovo’s membership in the UN,” was the content of the “greeting card”.Apart from some kind of formalization, Kirby’s statement is not new for the local public ...
War has indeed become perpetual and peace no longer even a fleeting wish nor a distant memory. We have become habituated to the rumblings of war and the steady drum beat of propaganda about war’s necessity and the noble motives that inspire it. We will close hospitals. We will close schools. We will close libraries and museums. We will sell off our parklands and water supply. People will sleep on the streets and go hungry. The war machine will go on.
What are we to do? The following text is Part III of a broader analysis entitled War and the State: Business ...
Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo ...
GR Editor’s Note: This incisive article was written on April 30, 2003, by historian and political scientist Jacques Pauwels. A timely question: Why Does Hillary Want War… ? And why do people support her?
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Wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. The American President, on the other hand, seems to love war. Why? Many commentators have sought the answer in psychological factors. Some opined that George W. Bush considered it his duty to finish the job started, but for some obscure reason ...
The Kosovo Question recently once again became an important issue of global politics and international relations for two reasons: 1) The Albanian “government” of the “Republic of Kosovo” announced to officially proclaim the existence of the Kosovo Army (that is a violation of the 1244 UN Resolution in 1999), and 2) The “president” of the “Republic of Kosovo”, a war criminal Hashim Tachi, participated on November 11th (2018) in Paris to the world leaders’ celebration of a centenary anniversary of the end of the WWI (the signed armistice with Germany) as the official representative of an “independent” Kosovo. He was ...
Author’s note: a draft version of the article was originally written at the end of December 2015 and published in March 2016. This is the extended article’s version.
On April 24th, 2016 Serbia faced three-level elections: for the national parliament, local municipalities and Vojvodina’s autonomous provincial administration. The elections did not cover Kosovo province as current Serbia’s pro-NATO/EU’s government already two years ago de facto recognized in its negotiations with the EU and Pristina’s government that this province is not any more an integral part of the legal and administrative system of the Republic of Serbia. Nevertheless, these elections were in ...
One of the claims of Albanian historiography is that the Central Balkan tribe – Dardanians, who settled in the southern portion of the territory of the Roman Province of Moesia Superior and northwestern part of the Roman Province of Macedonia, should be considered as one of the Illyrian tribes and an ancestor of the Albanians. With respect to this point, Albanian historians refer to the German linguist Norbert Jokl who wrote, according to the research of historical toponomastics, that the ancient cradle of the Albanians was Dardania, from where they moved westward to their present territories in late Roman times. ...
Destroyed Serbian Orthodox church in Kosovo by local Muslim Albanians after 1999In 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 ...
The reason Hillary Clinton was crushed in the electoral college during this election is because she lost Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania . The reason behind the unprecedented loss can be summed up in two sentences. We will not forget. We will not forgive.
These three states are home to the Serbian-American community. For most of them, their traditionally Democratic ticket vote turning Republican was a clear repudiation of Hillary Clinton's role in the Balkan genocide.
"An American Serb generally doesn't vote FOR anyone, but AGAINST a Biden, a Clinton, a McCain, against whoever Madeleine Albright supports, against whoever bombed Serbia, recognized Kosovo... Wait, was Dubya a ...
Recommended alternative reading list on the Yugoslav studies not used by mainstream corporative Western mass-media and top Western universities dealing with global security, world politics and international relations. Reading proposed readers below you can complete picture on the Yugoslav studies out of the official Western approach.
March Pogrom 2004 Book and Photo Evidence
KOSOVSKA GOLGOTA Intervju 1988
20 Principal Misconceptions on Kosovo Issue
The Srebrenica Massacre Evidence Context Politics Edward S Herman Phillip Corwin
Kosovo Murky Reality
Lista Diane Budisavljevic 1941 Do 1945 by Владислав Б. Сотировић/Vladislav B. Sotirović
Josip Broz Tito Bez Maske! by Владислав Б. Сотировић/Vladislav B. Sotirović
Hayden Mass Killings and Images of Genocide in ...
The series of long-scale Christian national movements in the Balkans, triggered off by 1804 Serbian revolution, decided more than in the earlier centuries, the fate of Serbs and made ethnic Albanians (about 70% of whom were Muslims) the main guardians of Turkish order in the European provinces of Ottoman Empire. At a time when the Eastern question was again being raised, particularly in the final quarter of 19th and the first decade of 20th century, Islamic Albanians were the chief instrument of Turkey’s policy in crushing the liberation movements of other Balkan states. After the congress of Berlin (1878) an ...
Headlines and commentary across both Eastern and Western media have mainly focused on the Catalan independence referendum and the actions of Spanish police and the Spanish government's attempts to disrupt polls.
However, little is being said about what the real implications of Catalan independence may be. What do those politicians in Catalonia in favor of independence seek to do with it should they succeed? Will they create a Catalonia that serves the best interests of the people? Or serve the EU and NATO more efficiently and eagerly than a united Spain ever could?
There are 5 points those following this conflict should ...
More than 20 years after the Srebrenica massacre, Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladić was found guilty of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia this past November.
Along with Mladić, the ICTY convicted the other so-called “Butcher of Bosnia”, the Bosnian Serb and former Republika Sprska leader Radovan Karadžić in 2016. Meanwhile, it fully exonerated the Bosnian Muslim army commander Naser Orić of similar charges which outraged the people of Serbia. Yet, it was the same court that posthumously exonerated former Serbian President Slobodan Milošević in 2016. If you weren’t aware of the latter, it’s because it ...
In one of the more bizarre foreign policy announcements of a bizarre Obama Administration, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that Washington will “help” Kosovo to join NATO as well as the European Union. She made the pledge after a recent Washington meeting with Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Washington where she praised the progress of the Thaci government in its progress in “European integration and economic development.”1Her announcement no doubt caused serious gas pains among government and military officials in the various capitals of European NATO. Few people appreciate just how mad Clinton’s plan to push ...
Current political process of acceptance of the quasi-independent state of Kosovo to the full UN’s UNESCO’s membership opened once again a question of the NATO’s military intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the FRY) in March−June 1999 as a foundation for Kosovo’s secession from Serbia and its unilateral proclamation of a quasi-independence in February 2008. Kosovo became the first and only European state up today that is ruled by the terrorist warlords as a party’s possession – the (Albanian) Kosovo Liberation Army (the KLA). The aim of this article is to investigate the nature of the NATO’s war on ...
Southeastern European Organized Crime & Extremism Review
Independence and Self-Determination: Weapons for Empire Building or National Liberation?
From the History of Anti-Russian Policy: The First Balkan Alliance (1866−1868)
The Balkans and American Gangsters
The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II
Why the US Supports Kosovo Independence?
Historical Origins of the State: Barbarians at the Gate
The Myth of NATO’s “Humanitarian Intervention” in Kosovo (in 1999)
The Basic Guidelines Through the Kosovo Question
Serbia: Parliamentary Elections for the NATO/EU’s Membership
Refuting a Greater Albania’s Mythomania: The Ancient Balkan Dardanians – The Illyro-Albanians, the Daco-Moesians or the Thracians?
The Bush Administration’s Foreign Policy in Kosovo
US Serbs, Angry about Being Bombed by Bill, May Have Cost Hillary the Election
Can You Imagine? Readers on Еx-Yugoslavia
Kosovo History – Fifth Part
Catalan Independence: 5 Things to Think About
The Real “Butcher of the Balkans” is the NATO
Kosovo’s “Mafia State” and Camp Bondsteel: Towards a Permanent US Military Presence in Southeast Europe
The NATO’s Violations of the “Just War” Principles in 1999