NATO, Russia, Energy Put Balkans on Edge 

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By Conor Gallagher

The news media is suddenly awash with stories of ethnic tensions and Russian “meddling” in the Balkans. Nearly all make the same argument that more NATO and EU support is required to prevent a return to 1990s-style violence.

The problem is this is a misreading of history. First off, the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s were in part driven by a NATO desire for expansion. Second, in the decades since the conclusion of the conflicts, NATO and the EU haven’t been able to deliver a sustainable, prosperous peace to the region.

Now the West’s confrontation with Russia is only making life more difficult in the Balkans. Economic challenges will be exacerbated due to energy and commodity prices, which could worsen ethnic tensions. Kosovo is already struggling to keep the lights on.

“Prospects are really worrisome,” said Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama who predicted that the coming winter will be the worst since World War II. He added that the energy crisis will put a severe strain on the budgets of Balkan countries which will need additional EU support to purchase energy.

On top of the economic challenges posed by energy shortages is the fact the Balkan countries –and Bosnia Herzegovina in particular – are caught in between NATO-EU and Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recently cited a perceived threat to European security from Russia and said, “NATO is developing a set of measures especially tailored for Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The Russian Embassy in Bosnia complained that the United States and Britain were “preparing the ground for the creeping NATOization of Bosnia.”

The most recent member states to join NATO were Montenegro in 2017 and North Macedonia in 2020.

That leaves Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo as the Balkan entities yet to join the Washington-led alliance. Serbia has strong ties with Russia and seems unlikely and Kosovo isn’t recognized by all NATO members; that leaves Bosnia as the most likely target, an outcome Moscow would prefer to prevent.

Several mass protests have broken out in Sarajevo in the past month after the Office of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt (a German) released plans to impose changes to the nation’s constitution that could amount to a de facto ban on minorities holding political office, while also risk giving power to secessionist-leaning parties. Criticism has come from all sides in Bosnia, but on the outside the proposal has support from the UK and the US.

Serbia and Kosovo are dealing with their own tensions over refusal to recognize each other’s identity documents and vehicle license plates. Of course Serbia – as well as Russia, China, Spain, Greece, and others –  still don’t recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.

The question is will economic pain and meddling by outside forces once again ignite “Europe’s powder keg?” Those two ingredients were what helped fuel the 1990s conflict, and when you see hawkish think tanks like the Center for Strategic and International Studies suggesting that Russia will stoke tensions in the Balkans because its “flawed” campaign in Ukraine, it causes one to wonder.

It also brings up bad memories of the past. Phillip Corwin, former UN Civilian Affairs Coordinator in Bosnia during the 1990s, wrote:

Today, one can only imagine what might have happened in the Balkans if diplomacy had been given a better chance, if NATO had not had the ambition it had to push eastward, up to the borders of the former Soviet Union, to annex what was then being called the “new Europe.” It is possible—not certain, but possible—that in due time there might have been a peaceful breakup of the former Yugoslavia, probably along different international borders.

But the decisions to fracture the former Yugoslavia were taken precipitously, by minority communities within Yugoslavia, and were driven by powerful forces outside Yugoslavia—namely, those of NATO.

The Balkans. Source: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas at Austin

At a Crossroads

Whether or not violence returns to the Balkans, the status quo in the region which has existed since the conclusion of the 1990s conflict is likely coming to an end.

For the past quarter century the West’s hope to solving the region’s conflicts lay in the incentive that resolution of their disputes would result in their eventual admission to the European Union, and its economic benefits.

This hasn’t happened; instead the Balkan nations are strung along year after year, lectured on meeting benchmarks, and the power of the promise of distant benefits of EU accession is beginning to wane.

The euro area financial crisis hit the Balkans particularly hard through trade and banking links and a decline in remittances, and the EU member states once considered role models for the Balkans, such as Greece, turned into cautionary tales. The inflow of European capital to the Balkans slowed, and other financing alternatives were sought out, especially Russia and China.

According to Balkan Insight, from 2009 to 2021 China started an estimated 135 projects in the region worth approximately 32 billion Euros.

Russian investment in the region is largely related to energy, and the war in Ukraine has weakened the Western Balkans’ already fragile energy security. With the exception of Albania, which relies mainly on hydropower, Western Balkans states source much of their energy from fossil fuels. Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia are largely dependent on Russia for natural gas.

All Western Balkans countries except Bosnia and Serbia have joined EU sanctions on Russia.

North Macedonia and Bosnia & Herzegovina rely exclusively on Russian gas, and dependence is 89% in Serbia and 77% in Bulgaria, according to data from the European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.

Serbia has recently renewed its gas contract with Russia at a relatively low cost. And Russian gas continues to flow to Bosnia, although to a Serb-controlled autonomous region.

Bulgaria, which stopped purchasing Russian gas in April, is quickly backing down.

The move comes after Bulgaria’s Western-oriented government was replaced in June. Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo have no domestic gas connections, but the high prices for imported electricity mean they’re likely to get hit hard this winter.

25 Years and Not Much to Show for It

Anticipating food and energy shortages due to the war in Ukraine Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama recently called on the EU not to repeat its “shameful behavior” during the coronavirus pandemic that he said forced Balkan nations to turn to China, Russia and Turkey to acquire vaccines.

The incident was a prime example of Washington and Brussels’ disregard for the Balkans – a story 25 years in the making. The Western Balkans’ destination used to be clear: its states would join the European Union and then NATO as the best way of cementing long-term peace and prosperity.

But western state-building efforts and the prospect of EU membership have failed to deliver western-prescribed reforms or resolved the region’s lingering disputes.

Part of the problem is that the EU remains uncertain about taking in new members or other steps toward more integration. In many cases Balkan states have completed requested steps only to be denied what they were promised.

Three years after Kosovo checked off every box on the EU’s wish list for visa-free travel, it remains the only Balkan country without that privilege. North Macedonia changed its name to satisfy Greek demands, but it now faces Bulgarian hurdles.

Accession has always been the primary tool used by the US and the EU to integrate the Balkans, but those efforts are, at best, on life support.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently floated the idea of switching to EU majority voting, which would theoretically allow for easier expansion. Scholz mentioned the Balkan countries as future members, but so far the idea hasn’t gained traction.

In the meantime Bosnia and Herzegovina is slowly disintegrating. Its Serb-majority entity, Republika Srpska, is separating itself from the central government’s oversight, including the joint armed forces, border police, judiciary and internal revenue system.

At the same time the Bosniak majority is divided and disagrees with the Croats – the country’s third main ethnic group – over electoral reform. The Croats are threatening to block government functions after the October national elections if an agreement to their liking isn’t reached.

The Office of the High Representative, effectively Bosnia-Herzegovina’s kingmaker, was created in 1995 after the signing of the Dayton Agreement and oversees the civilian implementation of the Dayton agreement. Its proposals for election law reform look like they are only going to make the situation worse and cause further splintering.

NATO and Russia jockeying for influence in the country threaten to add fuel to the fire.

Republika Srpska and Russia have announced plans to jointly build two gas-fired power plants in the Serb-dominated entity through investments worth a combined €1.5bn, said Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the country’s tripartite presidency. But to carry out the project Republika Srpska needs the sign off of Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat Federation.

Meanwhile, Republika Srpska’s Gas-res has signed an agreement with Serbian Srbija Gas on the construction of a pipeline that would supply Republika Srpska with Russian natural gas via Serbia.

On the flip side, Dodik has been sanctioned by the US, 100 million Euros of infrastructure spending has been suspended, and Germany is pushing for EU sanctions against Dodik.

There are currently 1,100 EU peacekeeping troops in Bosnia, but the mandate for their stay expires in November and would need to be extended by the UN Security Council, which includes Russia.

If Moscow vetoes the extension, NATO (which has an office in Sarajevo for training and coordination purposes but no forces on the ground) may consider deploying forces.

Kosovo and Serbia have mostly put their disagreements over Kosovo’s independence aside, although politicians bring it up when seeking to score political points. Promising steps toward a comprehensive agreement fell through in the summer of 2020 in what looked like a case of infighting and sabotage on the part of Americans and Europeans.

Kosovan President Hashim Thaci was meant to be in Washington for talks with Serbian leaders on a new era of economic cooperation between the former warring parties in the Balkans, hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy. Instead as he was enroute to Washington he was indicted on war crimes charges.

Thaci’s checkered past (to put it mildly) was widely known even before a 2010 report by Swiss politician and prosecutor Dick Marty for the Council of Europe alleged Thaci was the head of an organized crime gang known as the Drenica Group that allegedly murdered Serbs for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market. Marty’s report drew on information from various Western intelligence agencies which raised suspicions about the timing of the indictment.

The accusation of murder and organ trafficking against Thaci was first made in 2008 by Carla Del Ponte, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. She later explained she was was prevented from charging Thaci and his co-defendants by the non-cooperation of NATO and the UN Mission in Kosovo.

James Ker-Lindsay, a visiting professor with a focus on Southeastern Europe at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said were three theories as to why Thacic was indicted at that time:

  1. That Europeans were behind it because they were unhappy at the U.S. “stealing their thunder” in the normalization process and objected to the substance of the deal that Washington presumably hoped would emerge from its mediation efforts.
  2. That Americans were behind it because they wanted to increase their leverage to encourage Thaci to commit to a deal with Vucic, whose party just won a landslide election victory in Serbia.
  3. And that some individuals within the Special Prosecutors Office in The Hague fear that a deal struck this week in Washington might include some elements of amnesty for war crimes.

Regardless, it extinguished an opportunity at improving relations, and Serbia and Kosovo are once again at each other’s’ throats with the EU holding mediation efforts.

EU envoys are once again devoting considerable time and energy in the region providing  instructions on how to reform  political systems and follow the European path, but the suggestions are increasingly falling on deaf ears.

The 2021 EU-Western Balkans summit showed just how futile any dreams of accession are at the moment. The summit concluded with another pledge for an investment plan for the region, but only one mention of enlargement. All accession timelines were dropped from the summit conclusions.

A Perilous Opportunity

Anticipating a tough winter in light of the war in Ukraine, three Balkan states (Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania) agreed to help each other with potential food or energy shortages as part of the so-called Open Balkan initiative aimed at strengthening regional economic ties.

The initiative launched by those three countries in 2019 is meant to create a smaller, local version of the EU’s Schengen zone, in which people and goods move freely among its member states.

It is one of very few locally owned proposals in the region. ​​Some commentators argue the scheme is meant to spread Belgrade’s influence across the region while neglecting or ignoring EU standards; Bosnia, Kosovo and Montenegro have declined to join because they see it as too Serb-driven, though Montenegro is reconsidering.

Despite some Balkan nations’ reservations it is likely the best path forward for the Balkan states, but it requires putting aside ethnic differences as well as preventing meddling from outside actors who would benefit from upheaval.

David B. Kanin, an adjunct professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University and a former CIA analyst, writes:

EU- and US-driven reconciliation and development processes should be replaced by initiatives that build on and improve the Open Balkans Initiative and other home-grown ideas. Vucic and other leaders should welcome and take seriously critiques of their programs that focus on substantive shortcomings rather than on ideological objections from the West and local Civil Society mavens. It may be true that Open Balkans and other initiatives are, at best, long shots when it comes to enabling regional security and economic progress. But a long shot at least has a shot at success. Whatever it is that the West keeps trying to impose on the Balkans does not.

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21 comments

  1. Wyatt Powell

    Romania’s anticipated annexation of Moldova will be a point of ignition in the East Balkans. With Russia making a land bridge through Odessa oblast (presumably) right up to the breakaway region of Transnistria, and the region of Gagauzia fearing the loss of their autonomy ( It is an autonomous region of Moldova, but the Romanian constitution doesn’t allow for auto. regions ).

    Also two regions of Ukraine seems to be on the Romanian intelligence agency’s, the Serviciul Român de Informații, hit list ( and by extension, quite a few nationalist Romanian Telegrams ). They are Cernăuți (known to the Ukies as Chernivtsi ) and Bugeac ( Budjak to the Ukazis ). This would bring Greater Romanian back into existence minus a small part of Northern Bulgaria.

    I noticed a rather cheeky statement by an official in Romania asking why the Ukrainian army still had troops posted in the two aforementioned regions ( + Transcarpathia, *cough* Hungary *cough* ) when they “could be put to better use fighting the Russians”. That seems to be like a John Bolton “we dont give a sh*t anymore, we are gonna say the quiet parts out loud” kind of statement.

    Reply
    1. OIFVet

      Romania may have appetite on the Budjak and Moldova but Balkan stability demands that they don’t act on it. Both the Budjak and Gagauzia have very little ethnic Romanian population, it is predominantly Bulgarian, Gagauz, Russian and Ukrainian. Bessarabia (of which the Budjak and Gagauzia are part) don’t have fond memories of the last time they were under Romanian rule, and Russian influence there is very strong. Hopefully all will realize that having Moldova as a buffer state serves everyone best.

      Reply
      1. Kouros

        Maybe Budjak and Gagauzia don’t have have fond memories about the time when Bessarabia went back under Romanian control, but you have to verify the historical context for that.

        In 1917-1918, when the reunification happened (because it was a re-unification, after 100 years of forced separation), the Bolshevik propaganda was going full throttle, and in Bessarabia, peasants already started re-distributing land.

        Also, at that time, Romania was a bad place for peasantry, with the last European peasant uprising taking place there just 10 years prior (11,000 dead). So no, the Moldavian peasants in Bessarabia did not want the yoke of the Romanian/Moldavian boyars.

        However, given that after 1918 peace, the former soldiers needed to be pacified, there was a solemn promise from King Ferdinad for land redistribution, which was carried on in early 1920. Also, the coming under Romanian rule of the multiethnic Transylvania also happened with many strings, which is minority rights, which, by and large were respected since, more than I am aware comparatively with other states in the area (Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, etc.). Maybe not Tirol but really not that bad.

        So all those complaints washed away relatively quickly. Whereas the Bolsheviks have reneged all the promises made to the peasantry and came on them with a vengeance, including against problematic minorities…

        As for present day, Republic of Moldova will rejoin Romania only after a referendum. Furthermore, Transnistria would need to be expunged from that re-unification and let Ukrainians/ Russians sort that out, no matter what US and UK would say about it. See what would they do about that. I would dare them. For long term, Russia is a better and more rational neighbour to have than Ukraine.

        Reply
        1. OIFVet

          Well, there is a sizable ethnic Bulgarian community in Brazil and Central America today precisely because they had to flee Romanian persecution of minorities in Bessarabia. I can’t see either the Budjak or Gagauzia ever agreeing to be a part of Greater Romania again.

          Truly, irredentism in the Balkans must go away forever.

          Reply
          1. Kouros

            Budjak no, but Gagauzia, which is within Rep of Moldova, stands no chance. And I don’t see that minority being treated the same way as the Romanian minority in Ukraine is presently treated, with all rights denied.

            In Romania, UDMR, which is the Hungarian minority party has been in all governing coalitions and any attack on a minority would be seen as an attack on Hungarian minority.

            Reply
      2. digi_owl

        If not for the numerous warcrimes that would come out of it, and the number of lives that would be lost or destroyed from it, i’m tempted to just cordon the region off and let them rip each other to shreds.

        Reply
    2. anonymous

      As a Romanian, let me tell you, you guys have a way better opinion of us than warranted.
      For the last 20 years we struggle to build highways, our capital city cannot provide consistent running water to its inhabitants, our military aircrafts cannot fly on routine surveillance missions, and somehow you assume we have a secret plan to invade neighboring countries and recreate Greater Romania.
      It just warms my old heart that people think so highly about us …

      Reply
  2. Dave in Austin

    Today’s big gas news is the chart shown in the free, on-line NYT (for those with an account, the whole article is at https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/07/business/russia-gas-europe.html). For many years the EU got roughly 20% of its natural gas from Russia. Starting in 2018 that ramped-up to just under 40% by mid-2020. And that was without NordStream II. No wonder the US, anti-Russian groups in the new Biden administration needed to provoke a crisis. I was not aware of the magnitude and timing of the change.

    The fact that some self-interested people in the Eastern Europe are now calling for more EU/NATO involvement in the Balkans is no indication that the EU and NATO are going there if they can help it. In fact as far as I can tell, Germany, France the Netherlands and Italy are trying to tamp-down the attempt by politicos in Kosovo, Macedonia and now Slovenia to use the Ukraine War as an excuse to incrementally try to change the status-quo.

    The fact that Serbia, Macedonia, the Serbian part of Bosnia and other bits of the Balkans (but not Kosovo) are 75-100% dependent on Russian natural gas neatly divides the region into to Blocs of self-interest.

    Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    The funny thing about all this is that a few short years ago, membership in the EU could be offered to countries in the Balkans as a sort of bribe. But these days, being a member of the EU can be seen more as a form of a threat. I mean, do countries like Serbia really want to join an organization where all decisions will be taken in Brussels by Diktat? With the EU’s power being diminished in the coming months ad years, perhaps it would be best for the countries in the Balkans to form their own association independent of the EU. And yet I see that Croatia is set to adopt the Euro on January 1st 2023. For the love of god, why would they do that? That’s just nuts.

    Reply
    1. deplorado

      Bulgaria is also set to adopt the Euro on Jan 1 2024. Another suicidal move for Bulgaria, unless someone changes that trajectory at the 11th hour.

      But the Balkan countries coming together? No way, despite being culturally of the same cloth – and maybe for just that reason.

      Reply
    2. digi_owl

      I suspect the younger generations would still love to be in EU, if only for it becoming easier for them to pack up and leave. Those older and settled likely see it as a threat, indeed.

      EU, like the USA it is kinda sorta modeled on, is for the rich and the young.

      Reply
  4. JTMcPhee

    “Let loose the dogs of war!” Lots of power and profit in the chaos, if you know where to “invest.” Maybe this is an unacceptable link since it’s kind of an advertorial, but hey, look at the headline: “ How to Profit Off of Europe’s Energy Crisis “ https://investorplace.com/market360/2022/08/profit-on-energy-crisis/

    And lots of people are skimming the billions being shipped out of the US real economy, what’s left of it, into “Ukraine.” Lots of weapons sales to be brokered and rat-lined, lots of opportunities to participate in “color revolutions” and other destabilizations.

    There’s almost too much “opportunity” for there to be any kind of decent landing in the Descent of Western Man…

    Calling Mr. Putin! Wet western f__k-up in the Balkans Aisle!

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      It occurs to me that as in the past the goon squad are setting aside a considerable portion of the ukraine arms shipments into their own coffers and counting on them being lost in the shuffle, it’s not only corrupt ukrainians grabbing a share. As the much esteemed resilc notes in links regarding africa…

      Resilc: “No terrorism=no budget= so lotzzzzzzzz of terror ahead”

      Reply
  5. JustAnotherVolunteer

    Only slightly off topic – this recent DW documentary is excellent

    “Search for a new sound for Europe”

    Robert Šoko injected “Balkan Beats” into Berlin’s nightlife in the 1990s. He made a name for himself throughout Europe with the new sound – a blend of folklore and modern club beats. But the continent has undergone changes since then, and now needs something new again.

    https://youtu.be/FqPFbpVyHtY

    Great mix of politics and music

    Reply
  6. omg

    Balkans are underrated, they used to be the burning fuel of the ottoman empire for 500 years without never exhausting and are very resourceful people.
    Tito had the great idea with Yugoslavia, or a balkan federation but big powers like small states, and all small states are creatures of big powers.
    Right now the issue is that Serbia is too strong as it has unconditional support from russia and is in some ways russia’s puppet.
    Current serb leader was member and participant in Milosevic wars that perpetrated some of the most brutal crimes in recent history.
    In the words of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia:
    “After Srebrenica fell to besieging Serbian forces in July, 1995, a truly terrible massacre of the Muslim population appears to have taken place. The evidence tendered by the Prosecutor describes scenes of unimaginable savagery: thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers’ eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson. These are truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history”
    https://www.icty.org/en/press/radovan-karadzic-and-ratko-mladic-accused-genocide-following-take-over-srebrenica
    Reconciliation is hard to come by given the recent history, especially as majority of serb population is convinced that they were the principal victims of the conflict not the perpetrators.
    They never went through some redemption process like the germans after ww2 so the tensions are alive and ready to flare up again at the first populist leader calling.
    I cant speculate as to why Thaci was sent to Hague but the idea that he was involved in organ trafficking has been debunked as absolute crap.
    This article from New Yorker goes into details, so its highly probable that Thaci was victim of political machinations rather than any crime he could have commited.
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/05/06/bring-up-the-bodies

    Reply
    1. spud

      there is your fairy tales, then there is actual empirical history.

      we now know yugoslavia and milosivic were found innocent: Bill’s deeds have lessons for Americans. Had we learned them, maybe no U.S. forces would be fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere.

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/10/14/1575064/-Bill-Clinton-s-war

      By ben Avram MacJean
      Friday Oct 14, 2016 · 12:53 PM CDT

      i predicted that what bill clinton did to yugoslavia would never be forgotten, billy wanted to expand nato at the point of a gun: he trumped up charges against the serbs, who were later absolved of those crimes.

      https://www.rt.com/op-edge/354362-slobodan-milosevic-exonerated-us-nato/

      The lurid claims made by the US and its allies about genocide and hundreds of thousands being killed, catalogued by the great John Pilger here, had been shown to be false. In September 2001, a UN court officially held that there had been no genocide in Kosovo

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zunes/the-us-war-on-yugoslavia_b_211172.html

      The war against Yugoslavia was illegal. Any such use of force is a violation of the UN Charter unless in self-defense against an armed attack or authorized by the United Nations as an act of collective security. Kosovo was internationally recognized as part of Serbia; it was, legally speaking, an internal conflict. In addition, the democratically elected president of the self-proclaimed, if unrecognized, Kosovar Albanian Republic, Ibrahim Rugova, didn’t request such intervention. Indeed, he opposed it.

      The war was also illegal under U.S. law. The Constitution places war-making authority under the responsibility of Congress. While it’s widely recognized that the president, as commander-in-chief, has latitude in short-term emergencies, the 1973 War Powers Act prevents the executive branch from waging war without the express consent of Congress beyond a 60-day period.

      this mess, like what billy did to GATT, will live on long after this monsters death, reaping havoc for generations.

      Bill Clinton will never be held liable for killing innocent Serbs or for helping body-snatchers take over a nation the size of Connecticut. Clinton is reportedly being paid up to $500,000 for each speech he gives nowadays. Perhaps some of the well-heeled attendees could flourish artificial arms and legs in the air to showcase Clinton’s actual legacy. And at least the KLA’s defenders can still praise the terrorist group for not being cannibals.

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/07/bill-clintons-most-abominable-freedom-fighters-uncloaked/
      August 07, 2014

      Return to Kosovo
      Bill Clinton’s Most Abominable Freedom Fighters Uncloaked

      https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/01/the-exoneration-of-milosevic-the-ictys-surprise-ruling/

      Slobodan Milosevic was vilified by the entire western press corps and virtually every politician in every NATO country. They called him “the Butcher of the Balkans.” They compared him to Hitler and accused him of genocide. They demonized him and made him out to be a bloodthirsty monster, and they used that false image to justify not only economic sanctions against Serbia, but also the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia and the Kosovo war.

      Slobodan Milosevic had to spend the last five years of his life in prison defending himself and Serbia from bogus war crimes allegations over a war that they now admit he was trying to stop. The most serious charges that Milosevic faced, including the charge of genocide, were all in relation to Bosnia. Now, ten years after his death, they admit that he wasn’t guilty after all – oops.

      The ICTY did nothing to publicize the fact that they had cleared Milosevic of involvement in the joint criminal enterprise. They quietly buried that finding 1,303 pages into the 2,590 page Karadzic verdict knowing full well that most people would probably never bother to read it.

      The presiding judge in the Radovan Karadzic trial, O-Gon Kwon of South Korea, was also one of the judges in the Slobodan Milosevic trial. Milosevic’s exoneration by the Karadzic trial chamber may be an indication of how the Milosevic chamber would have eventually ruled, at least on the Bosnia charges, if Milosevic had lived to see the conclusion of his own trial.

      It’s worth recalling that Slobodan Milosevic died under a very suspicious set of circumstances. He died of a heart attack just two weeks after the Tribunal denied his request to undergo heart surgery in Russia.[17] He was found dead in his cell less than 72 hours after his attorney delivered a letter to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which he said that he feared he was being poisoned.[18]”

      Reply
  7. KD

    They never went through some redemption process like the germans after ww2 . . .

    When you say “they” do you mean the Ustashe or the Serbs, because if memory serves, it was the Ustashe genociding Serbs, Jews and Roma on behalf of their German and Italian masters in WW2. If you mean more current times, it is hard not to conclude that Tudman was a nasty piece of work that did his part in making the omelette that was the Yugoslavian civil war.

    Reply
  8. H. Alexander Ivey

    Yeah, remind me again why the break up of the Soviet Union was such a good thing?

    And anyone saying that NATO can offer anything but a military (kill people and destroy things) treaty is smoking some thing good.

    Reply

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