From Kosovo to Crimea — Tales of Referendums

Hits: 801

Following the death of President Tito in 1980 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia slid towards chaos. In the 1990s the plunge accelerated into civil war and one of the regions most affected was Kosovo from which Serbia withdrew after a NATO bomb and rocket offensive from 24 March to 11 June 1999. That blitz involved over 1,000 mainly American aircraft conducting some 38,000 airstrikes on Yugoslavia that killed approximately 500 civilians and destroyed much of the economic and social infrastructure of the region.

NATO said its air bombardment was essential to halt repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and justified the deaths of hundreds of women and children as being necessary to defeat a «great evil». The air attacks were not authorized by the United Nations Security Council and there is no article in the North Atlantic Treaty that justifies such a war. It resulted, however, in Kosovo declaring independence from Serbia in 2008.

As reported by the Washington Post, NATO supported the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army whose members are now, belatedly, being convicted of war crimes.

On March 26, 2014 President Barrack Obama said in a speech in Brussels that regarding the 1999 war on Yugoslavia, «NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years. And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbours».

The President of the United States, whose State Department has some 15,000 experts to keep him informed about international affairs, told the world that Kosovo had held an independence referendum «in careful cooperation» with the United Nations Organization.

But as reported on Fox News of America, «During his speech in Brussels, President Obama showed a lack of knowledge of the political situation in Kosovo. Kosovo never organized any kind of referendum, but the Assembly of Provisional Institutions of self-government of Kosovo made a unilateral declaration of independence on February 17th 2008».

Although there was no referendum in Kosovo before its declaration of independence from Serbia it is apparent that the majority of Kosovans desired independence and would have voted for separation from Serbia if they had been given the opportunity to do so. And according to Mr Obama there is no reason their wishes should be denied. After all, in 2010 the UN International Court’s Advisory Opinion concerning Kosovo indicated that «international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence», a clear-cut endorsement of Kosovo’s actions — and of other such decisions around the world.

No doubt Mr Obama approved of the opportunity given to the people of Scotland to vote in an Independence Referendum a few months after his enthusiastic endorsement of a non-existent plebiscite in Kosovo. In the Scottish Referendum I wasn’t allowed to vote, in spite of being Scottish-born and educated, because I live outside Scotland (although I have a vote in the UK’s general elections); and in other blatant attempts to influence voting the Scottish National Party decided (in the already independent Scottish Parliament which met first in May 1999, coincidentally at the height of the US-NATO blitz on Serbia) to reduce the voting age from 18 to 16 and to forbidScottish soldiers serving outside Scotland — in Afghanistan, for example — to vote unless they had a residence address in Scotland.

The attempted manipulation didn’t work, and the majority of Scots voted against independence (much to the vexation of very many English people), but justice was seen to be done.

Just as justice was done in the Crimea referendum.

I wrote last year that «some 90% of the inhabitants of Crimea are Russian-speaking, Russian-cultured and Russian-educated, and it would be strange if they did not vote for accession to a country that welcomes their kinship, empathy and loyalty» and that there was not «a single case of bloodshed in the run-up to the plebiscite, the free vote as to whether the population wished to accede to Russia or support the «status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine». The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was asked by the government of Crimea to send representatives to monitor the referendum butrefused to do so».

It was no surprise that the OSCE rejected the offer to observe the referendum and provide independent assessments concerning its conduct and result, because its findings would have been extremely embarrassing for the West and especially Washington which had no intention of accepting the result of any referendum in which voters would favour Russia. Obama’s assertion that the popular accession of Crimea to Russia was «annexation» is on the same level as his bizarre claim about a non-existent referendum by the citizens of Kosovo.

There were energetic attempts in the West to paint the post-accession treatment of Ukrainian military personnel in Crimea as harsh, but some newspapers refrained from deliberate lies. Even the ultra-right-wing British Daily Telegraph reported that «Like many of the Ukrainian servicemen in Crimea, the 600-strong marine battalion in Feodosia has strong local links. Many of the men are either local recruits or have served here so long they have put down roots. Only about 140 of the 600-strong battalion stationed here are expected to return to Ukraine. The remainder, with local family and friends, has opted to remain in Crimea — the land they call home».

To President Obama it is irrelevant that the vast majority of Crimean citizens want to belong to Russia. His hatred of Russia and especially of President Putin has tipped any balance he may have displayed and is now extreme to the point of being malevolently insulting. He is increasingly intent on confrontation and has stated that the decision of the citizens of Crimea to accede to Russia is illegal. The White House announced that «We reject the ‘referendum’ that took place today in the Crimean region of Ukraine», and Obama declared «I again call on Russia to end its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea».

But what is Obama going to do about Crimea? Does he seriously believe that 1.2 million Crimean Russians could accept domination by Ukraine’s Poroshenko? There would be civil insurrection and mayhem if Ukraine took over the country as suggested by Obama.

Mr Obama’s claim that «Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbours», was rubbish — but was clear indication that he approves of UN-supervised independence plebiscites in territories whose citizens indicate that they wish to alter their circumstances of governance. Given the practicalities of his admirable moral stance it is obvious that in order to clarify matters to his satisfaction he should propose another referendum in Crimea.


Originally published on 2015-06-28

Author: Brian Cloughley

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
Western Media Propaganda Threatens Peace and Prolongs the Deadly Conflict in Eastern Ukraine
Western media is becoming unhinged as its anti-Russia propaganda struggles to keep a hold on its consumers. Two recent examples provide evidence.Pro-peace conspiracy emanating from MoscowOn August 28, the New York Times published an article by its Moscow bureau chief about the troubling news (from the Times‘ viewpoint) that the people of Sweden are not happy with their government’s wish to join up with the NATO military alliance.The ruling elites in Sweden and Finland have been quietly pushing for NATO membership for years. In May, the Swedish government pushed through the Riksdag a proposal for a ‘cooperation agreement’ with NATO, ...
READ MORE
Prelude to World War III
Unless Syria will simply hand its most heavily pro-jihadist province, Idlib, to adjoining Turkey, which claims to have 30,000 troops there and is planning to add 20,000 more, World War III will probably happen soon, and here is why: Russia’s troops are in Syria at the invitation of Syria’s Government and they have provided crucial assistance to restore the Government’s control over areas that the jihadists (sometimes called “Radical Islamic Terrorists” or otherwise) had seized. Consequently, unlike the Turks and the Americans, who are invaders of Syria, Russia is instead a defender of Syria, and is committed to doing there only ...
READ MORE
Britain’s Poppy Fascism
It’s that time of year again – when Britain’s “poppy fascism” dominates public life. Television presenters are perhaps the most conspicuous exponents, whereby the paper facsimile of the little red flower must be donned on all lapels. Now weeks ahead of the official commemoration day, more and more Britons, including TV personalties, are pinning the poppy in public. It may seem innocuous, but there is a disturbing authoritarianism to the increasing custom. Those who don’t wear the symbol commemorating Britain’s war dead are liable to be castigated and abused for being “traitors”. The BBC is a classic example. The publicly owned state broadcaster ...
READ MORE
The Geopolitical Strategy of the US’ Global Hegemony by a Notorious Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski
If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation (Madeleine K. Albright, February 1998)[1] Madam Secretary As a matter of very fact, regardless to the reality in global politics that the Cold War was over in 1989, Washington continued to drive toward the getting the status of a global hyperpower at any expense for the rest of the world. The Balkans undoubtedly became the first victim in Europe of the old but esthetically repacked American global imperialism. The US' administration is a key player during the last 25 years of the Balkan crisis caused by the ...
READ MORE
Kosovostan – An European Trafficking Point
In this Talking Point Dr Marcus Papadopoulos says that ordinary people in the West were not told that after Serbia lost control of Kosovo, following the Nato bombing campaign against Belgrade and other Serbian cities in 1999, the region became a centre-point in Europe for the trafficking of people, drugs and organs. When Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, Western politicians hailed the event. The United States, which engineered the disputed act of independence, led the way in recognising the new Balkan state, with its allies quickly following suit. Many of the leading figures in today’s Kosovan government are ...
READ MORE
Trump’s National Security Strategy: The Return of “Great Power” Military Conflict
The new US National Security Strategy released this week and the speech delivered by President Donald Trump Monday to introduce it constitute a grim warning to humanity that US imperialism is firmly embarked on a road that leads to a nuclear third world war.While the document has largely been passed over in silence by the president’s ostensible political opponents in the Democratic Party and given relatively short shrift by the establishment media, more thoughtful ideologists of imperialism have noted the far-reaching changes presented in the document.Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the historian Arthur L. Herman declared Trump’s National Security Strategy ...
READ MORE
A Timeline of CIA Atrocities (a list up to 1993)
The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: ...
READ MORE
Lithuanian Judge Postpones Trial over Reputation of Deceased Nazi Collaborator
(JTA) — A Lithuanian judge postponed a precedent-setting trial in which a U.S. citizen is demanding that a state museum end its glorification of a deceased Nazi collaborator.Jonas Noreika - "General Storm"The case is thought to be the first in which civil servants intend to publicly defend in court the actions and good name of an alleged collaborator. Lawyers representing the museum said they needed more time to review materials relevant to the case, which involves the late Jonas Noreika. The postponement was announced Tuesday in Vilnius.The state-funded museum, known as the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the ...
READ MORE
Why the U.S. is a Major Human Rights Violator
The U.S. State Department annually publishes an extremely biased report on human rights around the world. Conveniently, the report omits one of the most systemic violators of human rights on the planet. Under Donald Trump, the United States has graduated from systemic human rights violator to human rights pariah, as witnessed by recent murders and assaults by police of innocent people on the streets of America. Although the United States has historically been more than willing to criticize the human rights policies of other countries, including in the venue of the United Nations, it has bristled at attempts to have ...
READ MORE