NATO’s Ghosts of the Past Return in Kosovo-Serbia

By Conor Gallagher

As Russia grinds down NATO proxy forces in Ukraine, the West is turning its ire against the one country in Europe not to join sanctions against Moscow. Washington and Brussels have had enough of Serbia playing nice with Russia and are now pushing a conflict to punish Belgrade.

The emerging conflict, coming amid the ongoing NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, brings full circle nearly a quarter century of NATO bellicosity that began with its 1999 bombing of Serbia, which confirmed to Moscow that it was an aggressive alliance determined to expand.

The West has been pressuring Serbia (including threats to cut off visa-free travel and yank approximately 200 million euros in annual aid) to join sanctions against Russia for months but to no avail. Now Kosovo, a NATO vassal state, and its western backers are now doing everything they can to provoke Serbia, which enjoys beneficial relations with Moscow (as well as Beijing).

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo began simmering over the summer when Pristina began pushing for ethnic Serbs to use Kosovan number plates as opposed to Serbian issued ones. This was a no-go for the Serbs because to do so would mean recognising the state of Kosovo as legitimate. Kosovo Serbs temporarily blocked roads into northern territories that are dominated by Serbs, and minor violence ensued.

The EU tried but failed to mediate some sort of settlement, which failed, and Serbs in northern Kosovo abandoned their posts en masse. Estimates are that more than 600 officials and police officers refused any further cooperation with Pristina.

The Kosovar Serbs demanded a Union of Serbian Municipalities under the 2013 Brussels Agreement, but Pristina refused, saying this would amount to the creation of a Serb state-within-a-state. Pristina instead called for snap elections in the north, a plan that has since been abandoned after the Serbian List party refused to take part.

The situation remained in a stalemate until the night of Dec. 8-9 when Kosovo made its move. According to Modern Diplomacy:

About 400 members of the Kosovo Special Forces ROSU (Regional Operational Support Unit) blocked Kosovska Mitrovica, the largest city in the northern part of the region, which is divided by the River Ibar into Serbian and Albanian parts. The central authorities explained the deployment of the special police units by the need to ensure the security of local residents. However, the local Serbs are actually wary of such defenders, since their activity only exacerbates the conflict, instead of preventing it.

Pristina has also arrested Kosovo Serb police officers who refused to continue serving in the Kosovo police in protest of demands to change their Serbian license plates. In response, ethnic Serbs once again barricaded the roads into Serbian municipalities in northern Kosovo, and they have remained blocked for the past 16 days.

Serbia requested that it be allowed to send up to 1,000 Serbian troops or police into northern Kosovo to protect the local ethnic Serb population, but after a week the NATO-led forces in Kosovo (KFOR) are still “evaluating” the request.

United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 provided for the 1999 withdrawal of Serb police and military from Kosovo but allowed for their limited return in certain cases. UNSC 1244 states:

Confirms that after the withdrawal an agreed number of Yugoslav and Serb military and police personnel will be permitted to return to Kosovo to perform the functions in accordance with annex 2.

And from annex 2:

After withdrawal, an agreed number of Yugoslav and Serbian personnel will be permitted to return to perform the following functions:

–  Liaison with the international civil mission and the international security presence;

–  Marking/clearing minefields;

–  Maintaining a presence at Serb patrimonial sites;

–  Maintaining a presence at key border crossings.

Belgrade argues it is justified to send in reinforcements to the administrative border of Kosovo due to the “systematic expulsion of the Serbs from Kosovo, the failure to provide the necessary conditions for their return, destruction of religious and cultural buildings and theft of church property, seizure of state property and constant violations by the Pristina authorities of the terms of the EU-mediated agreements.”

Additionally, the 2013 Brussels Agreement stated that:

There shall be a Police Regional Commander for the four northern Serb majority municipalities (Northern Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic). The Commander of this region shall be a Kosovo Serb nominated by the Ministry of Interior from a list provided by the four mayors on behalf of the Community/Association. The composition of the [Kosovo Police] in the north will reflect the ethnic composition of the population of the four municipalities.

It’s likely that due Serb resignations and the influx of Kosovo Special Forces, Pristina is in violation of this agreement. But the West is having none of it, with Berlin already spinning the narrative:

Kosovo and the West will likely continue to poke Serbia and tear up past agreements in an attempt to get Belgrade to react, and then they can fire up the propaganda machines about the Serbian menace.

The NATO provocations put Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić in a tough spot as domestic opinion strongly sides with the ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo. While he would like to maintain ties with both Russia and the EU, Brussels – and especially Berlin – are increasingly adamant that he choose a side.

Events in Kosovo may force his hand. Western media are already reporting that far-right activists with ties to the Russian paramilitary group Vagner are preparing to enter Serbian areas of northern Kosovo.

Vučić said on Tuesday that Serbia’s trust in the West no longer exists, which is creating a situation “like in Chekhov’s play in the first act when you see a rifle hanging on the wall, there is no doubt that the rifle will go off; it’s the same here.”

The events on the ground are taking place against the backdrop of Kosovo’s official application for EU membership, which occurred on Dec. 15, further inflaming tensions. In 2008 Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence, which Serbia has never accepted, arguing that it remains a Serbian province and has no right to declare itself a sovereign state.

Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations, and five EU states – Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus – have refused to recognise its statehood, as have many other countries, such as Russia and China.

The day before Kosovo’s EU application was accepted, representatives of the European Parliament, Commission and Council approved visa liberalization for Kosovo. The new rules will start no later than Jan. 1, 2024, and will allow Kosovo passport holders to travel to the EU without a visa for a period of 90 days in any 180 days.

The spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marija Zakharova, compared the situation in Kosovo to that of Georgia in 2008. The former Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, thinking Georgia was soon to join NATO and that the alliance would have his back, began bombing South Ossetia.


One of Serbia’s reasons for refusing to sanction Russia is the gas it receives from the country. In May Serbia signed a new three-year gas deal with Russia. Since the start of 2021, Russian gas supplies to Serbia have been delivered via the TurkStream pipeline to Turkey.

The EU has turned to Azerbaijan to partially replace Russian gas, and Brussels helped push a deal between Belgrade and Baku that will see Serbia receive gas from Azerbaijan once the Bulgaria-Serbia interconnector is complete next year.

Serbia is in a tough spot as the EU is its top trading partner while Russia comes in second. 63 percent of Serbia’s overall trade in 2019 was done with the European Union. Russia and China rank second and third, respectively,  but at considerably lower trade levels – ten times lower than trade between Serbia and the EU.

In recent years, Serbia has looked increasingly eastwards for trade – even signing a trade deal with the Russian-led Eurasian Union in 2019 despite threats from Brussels. Belgrade and Moscow also have strong military cooperation, and Russia supports Serbia internationally on issues such as Kosovo.

Belgrade has shown no intention of joining Europe’s sanction party against Russia. Is it any wonder why, especially with the west’s current hardball tactics in Kosovo? It brings back memories of the 1990s Balkans conflict when Serbia came under attack by NATO, which disregarded the UN and launched a war of choice so it could expand eastward toward Russia.

Additionally, polls in Serbia consistently show that Serbians support Russia and see the US/NATO as a bigger threat to their country. They’ve seen this story before. Diana Johnstone, who was press secretary of the Green Group in the European Parliament from 1989 to 1996, explains:

Western politicians and media persuaded the public that the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia was a “humanitarian” war, generously waged to “protect the Kosovars” (after multiple assassinations by armed secessionists provoked Serbian authorities into the inevitable repression used as pretext for the bombing).

But the real point of the Kosovo war was that it transformed NATO from a defensive into an aggressive alliance, ready to wage war anywhere, without U.N. mandate, on whatever pretext it chose.

This lesson was clear to the Russians. After the Kosovo war, NATO could no longer credibly claim that it was a purely “defensive” alliance.

The Western media often explain that Serbia and Russia have close ties due to Orthodox Crhristianity being the major religion in both countries. What they always omit though is how both countries share a common recent history of being attacked by European fascists – German Nazis in the case of Russia and Nazi-aligned Croatian Ustasha in the case of Serbia. And now it feels as though history is repeating itself with one key twist. Again from Johnstone:

As it shapes up, with NATO openly trying to “overextend” and thus defeat Russia with a war of attrition in Ukraine, it is somewhat as if Britain and the United States, some 80 years later, switched sides and joined German-dominated Europe to wage war against Russia, alongside the heirs to Eastern European anticommunism, some of whom were allied to Nazi Germany.

Berlin’s plans to serve the U.S.-led Western empire by strengthening its role as European leader include pushing for a larger, more militarized EU, which will be governed by majority decisions and include the Balkan statelets. In such a scenario, Germany would wield even more control over the EU than it does today, as its influence on most of the poor Balkan states would help bring about a majority. This is not lost on Serbia.

“Germany wants full dominance in the Balkans,” said Vučić on Dec. 20.

Germany is among the top three export destinations for Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo and is one of the top European investors in the region, making Berlin the most important EU partner for the Balkan states.

Berlin’s plans for the Balkans include wind farms and solar power plants to help with Europe’s energy crisis and a giant lithium mine in Serbia to curb China’s influence. If completed, the Jadar lithium project could supply 90 percent of Europe’s current lithium needs.

The problem is, just like western Europeans, Serbians don’t want the dirty mining project in their backyards.

But Berlin isn’t taking no for an answer. Belgrade revoked the mining licenses for Rio Tinto’s $2.4 billion lithium project back in January, and yet Germany’s ruling coalition continues to push the plan as part of the EU “Global Gateway” infrastructure program.

The Federation of German Industries says “that German companies will benefit greatly from orders in developing and emerging countries through Global Gateway.”

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  1. Mark K

    From the article: “The Western media often explain that Serbia and Russia have close ties due to Orthodox Christianity being the major religion in both countries.”

    Another factor that I suspect figures into the contrast between Serbia’s eastward affiliation and the Western affiliation of many of its neighbors in the Balkans — Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania are all now members of NATO — is orthography. It has long fascinated me that while Serbo-Croatian is a single language orally, Serbians write it in Cyrillic and Croatians in Latin script. I’m not sure how far one can push this, but it does seem that the fracture lines in the Balkans correspond pretty closely to where which script predominates.

    A sidebar on this speculation: While making sure I had my facts straight for this post I checked the Wikipedia article on the Serbo-Croatian language. In it I found this sentence. “Latin script has become more and more popular in Serbia, as it is easy to input on phones and computers.” The citation for this assertion linked to an article entitled “In The Age Of The Internet, Serbia Aims To Keep Its Cyrillic Alive.”
    Interestingly, the article was published on the website of Radio Free Europe.

    1. Bugs

      Actually, Serbians use the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets interchangeably. This was educated and encouraged in Yugoslavia as a policy to promote unity among the republics. The language itself used to be called Serbo-croatian, after all. Sometimes the Cyrillic is seen as more “serious” or used when a certain impression of authenticity is stressed (I’m not a native speaker but this is what I’ve learned from the Serbs I know, and I’ve spent time there). Of course Bulgaria also uses Cyrillic.

      I think there’s at least one native speaker who comments here, so it would be interesting to learn more about it if s/he’s willing.

      1. Aleksandar

        Yes, Serbo-Croatian (written in the Latin alpabet) was ‘lingua franca’ in YU. It was taught in elementary school in Macedonia and Slovenia (for example) whose languages most differ from it.
        On the subject of Macedonia, I think that NC should make the effort to present what is going on there. Readers will find it very educational. Name change under coercion, imported war, blackmail, illusions of people representation, strong-arming into NATO. Years ago, while visiting Macedonia, John Kerry has said to locals that ‘if they do not join NATO, they will find themselves on the `front line` without a protector’, or words to that effect. How prescient… :)

    2. Lex

      One of the oldest fault lines of east and west. Orthography is a part of that, likely as a subset of the religious divide since the east was orthodox and Greek leaning while the west was catholic and Roman leaning (as in the church rather than state, which of course subsumed the Roman state to some degree).

      Orthodox sources will often bring up this conflict. They haven’t forgotten the crusade against Constantinople. And the fault line here runs north through the Slavic ethnic groups along a border roughly equal to the furthest successful penetration of Catholic missionaries. Western Ukraine is another example, and one where the Austrio-Hungarian empire put in real work to Catholicize the population. In some cases it leads to weird mishmash religions that are Catholic but look orthodox.

      1. hk

        Also, Austro Hungarians encouraged Byzantine rite Catholicism (your mishmash Catholicism that recognizes the Pope and still looks Orthodox) as a counter to both Russian and Polish influences, and in so doing, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) became very closely associated with Ukrainian nationalism (and, in fact, the very idea of Ukrainian nationhood) since late 19th/early 20th century–why Galicia is the hotbed of the Banderite movement. Of course, the whole thing began as a counter to Moscow’s influence with mediation from the Polish king not long after the Fall of Constantinople (the Union of Brest), so anti-Russianism is at the core of existence….

        1. El Slobbo

          Having grown up in that so-called “mishmash Catholic” church (Orthodox liturgy, except the pope is mentioned), I can confirm that people in that faith are well aware of the political designs: we are often told the only reason we’re not Orthodox is politics. This is just personal experience, but while the church provides a foundation for this kind of poisonous nationalism, a significant minority who are still in that church in the diaspora choose to ignore the political aspects, or work actively against them. In my case, the community knows its own fault lines, so in gatherings, if the uncle who thinks Ukraine is an artificial country is in the same room with some nationalists (both going to the same church), we know the discussion will be football that day.

      2. Polar Socialist

        (as in the church rather than state, which of course subsumed the Roman state to some degree).

        The odd thing about this is that the “Greek” church, as in stemming from Eastern Roman Empire considered itself to be the correct, Orthodox church while the west was taken over by barbarians.

        I just recently learned that even during the crusades most of the Christianity lived outside of Europe, and quite a lot it actually in the areas the crusades conquered. They just were mostly considered wrong type of Christians by the western church, even if it claimed to be Catholic (“universal”).

  2. redleg

    It appears that the cast of this 1914 reenactment is:
    Russia as Russia
    Serbia as Serbia
    The EU as Austria-Hungary
    NATO as Germany
    ???? as Franz Ferdinand
    Nukes and precision weapons as new military technology (poison gas and modern weaponry).

    So there’s only one part left to be cast and the killing can restart after 104 years.
    The collective stupidity is breathtaking in its scope, depth, and potential lethality.

  3. dandyandy

    An alternative view would be that it is Serbia, or Serbian people more precisely, which staunchly remains the only ethnical and political entity west of Dniepr, that is not willing to submit to the mental, traditional and religious rape being dished out by Neo Conservative and Neo Colonial Neo Eugenical cabal of the Western Europe, including of course their American handlers,

    Serbs have a grim track record here. They were the only West Balkans people fighting for the freedom from Ottoman Turks in the 400+ years preceding 1st World War, they fought the industrial scale murder applied to them by the Germans and their vassals for the last 100+ years, and most lately, they were the sole target of the Clinton/Blair “correct murder” wars or 1990s. Serbs lost about a third of their population in their resistance to the occupiers over the last 200 years or so. Their next door neighbours, Albanians, Croatians, Bosnians, Bulgarians were the most enthusiastic in the systematic Serbian population reduction. Of course, only when they were under the protection of the Germanic master.

    In 2022, not only that the Serbs must be punished for their impertinence but also the only Nation State they look up to, Russia, must be equally punished. If the main enemy of the West is too big and powerful to be as much as touched, then the Western NeoCons in their impotent rage, can only punish a third-step-related passer by.

    Big pecks, big ‘ceps, big d**ks, the display of false strength must be kept alive to the ignorant voter taxpayers of the West-of-Dnieper world.

      1. dandyandy

        You are welcome.

        If you’re after some more indoctrination here’s some links to help you sleep better. No facts or records, just mellow words to soothe the poetic spirit.

        If you’re after some education about your favourite folks, here’s some links;;–1945.jpg

        As well as some recent war crimes involving radioactive bombardments;

        If further education is required, this can be arranged at a reasonable fee.

        1. Boris Badanov

          Wow. You are right on the money. It is reassuring to know that not everyone is actually gaslighted. Its scary when educated people are walking around like zombies.

      2. dandyandy

        If you are a U.K. or USA taxpayer, this is sure to cheer you up.

        And a couple of tidbits featuring our own Tony.–job-Albania-Former-PM-set-advise-government.html

        You are welcome.

        1. Sunny

          yeah I enjoyed that organ trafficking from daily mail, totally convincing.
          There is not an allegation that has been investigated more than this fabricated story by Serbia and Russia.
          The new yorker has been on top of it and on their last investigation to date came to the conclusion that it was total fabrication.

          All other official investigations came to the same conclusions, zero evidence, zero credibility.
          This for the simple reasons that at that time there was no credible infrastructure to operate such a ring, Kosovo didnt have roads for donkeys let alone such complex organization which involves highly technical interventions and logistics.
          “The fact is that there is no evidence whatsoever in this case,” said Matti Raatikainen, head of the war crimes unit of Eulex, the European Law and Justice Mission in Kosovo.
          Only die hard serb nationalists continue to believe that story.
          No other people but serbs committed genocide as defined by the UN in the balkans and it was 25 years ago. And they will always be an instability factor in the area because they are Putin’s lapdog.

          1. Mark Jefries

            Well Sunny, what do you make of this story coming out of Ukraine. That NATOs alt Wagners, ‘the Mozarts ‘ are enabling the harvesting of dead Ukrainian conscripts organs before there bodies are burnt in mobile crematoriums and labelled as missing? I recall that it was the Russians who were supposed to have brought these mobile crematoriums into Ukraine at the start of the invasion/SMO
            Eeh! I don’t know what to believe these days, America always tells the truth, doesn’t it?

            1. Yves Smith

              Sounds like nonsense. Ukraine soldiers supposedly overwhelmingly not being evacuated to field hospitals in time to be treated. You can’t harvest organs in a battlefield, shelling risk + sanitation issues. And I would assume mobile crematoriums need tons of energy. You’d also need a way to keep the organs, transport them quickly enough (good medical cold chain) and then get them to a matched recipient (at least blood type, also some DNA tests???).

  4. marku52

    Reading Johnstone’s book “Fools’ Cruasde” about the Kosovo war, I was stunned by how much similarity there was to the current conflict in UKR. Even the German Greens show up as enthusiastic warmongers, and the media is completely complicit and false.

  5. Fazal Majid

    Quite remarkable this article manages to gloss over the Serbian genocide against Bosnian Muslims. Serbian nationalists hate ethnic Albanians for more than the Bosniaks (who are after all ethnically the same as Serbians and Croatians, separated only be religion). NATO was right to bomb the smithereerns out of Serbia before they could attempt a second genocide in Kosovo, and the EU should outright tear up Serbia’s accession once and for all. Let them enjoy Russia’s warm embrace as Belarus is doing right now.

    1. Conor Gallagher

      I think the reality is a bit more complicated than just “Serbs bad.” Phillip Corwin, former UN Civilian Affairs Coordinator in Bosnia during the 1990s, writes

      In the years since Srebrenica fell, the name itself has become a buzzword for allegations of Serbian genocide. Books have been written, reports have been compiled, and radio and television broadcasts have saturated the air waves with “evidence” of this crime against humanity. The United Nations Security Council convened an international tribunal in The Hague to “prove” this pre-trial judgment. It would not be an exaggeration to say some journalists and aspiring politicians have made careers out of promoting this allegation.

      But the situation is more complicated than the public relations specialists would have us believe. That there were killings of non-combat- ants in Srebrenica, as in all war zones, is a certainty. And those who perpetrated them deserve to be condemned and prosecuted. And whether it was three or 30 or 300 innocent civilians who were killed, it was a heinous crime. There can be no equivocation about that. At the same time, the facts presented in this volume make a very cogent argument that the figure of 8,000 killed, which is often bandied about in the international community, is an unsupportable exaggeration. The true figure may be closer to 800.

      The fact that the figure in question has been so distorted, however, suggests that the issue has been politicized. There is much more shock value in the death of 8,000 than in the death of 800.

      There is also evidence in this book that thousands of Serbs were massacred, expelled, tortured, raped, and humiliated during the wars within former Yugoslavia. The international community has not seen fit to publicize these atrocities with as much vigor as it has those of Srebrenica. That simple observation does not justify what occurred in Srebrenica. But it is another piece of the puzzle that explains the anger of the Serbs when they assaulted Srebrenica. In May 1995, for example, just two months before Srebrenica fell, the Croatian army captured Western Slavonia and expelled 90 per cent of the Serb population in that region.

      Serbs had lived in Western Slavonia for hundreds of years. But the international community said nothing about those expulsions; in fact, it applauded the Croatian action, as though the Serb civilians deserved what had happened. To massacre Croatians or Bosnians or Kosovo Albanians was genocide. To massacre Serbs was regarded as appropriate retribution. Clearly, the international community has not seen fit to consecrate the massacres of Serbs with monuments. Instead, it has issued arrest warrants for Serb leaders.

      What happened in Srebrenica was not a single large massacre of Muslims by Serbs, but rather a series of very bloody attacks and counterattacks over a three-year period, which reached a crescendo in 1995. And the number of Muslim executed in the last battle of Srebrenica, as for- mer BBC reporter Jonathan Rooper has pointed out, was most likely in the hundreds, not in the thousands. Moreover, it is likely that the number of Muslim dead was probably no more than the number of Serbs that had been killed in Srebrenica and its environs during the preceding years by Bosnian Commander Naser Oric and his predatory gangs.

      The events at Srebrenica in July 1995 did not occur in a political vac- uum. In fact, they might never have occurred at all if Yugoslavia had not been forcibly dismembered against the will of 45 percent of its people, the Serbs. (Serbs were about 31 percent of pre-war Bosnia.) The breakup of Yugoslavia, in fact, was contrary to the last Yugoslav Constitution (1974), which invested the right of self-determination in Yugoslavia’s six constituent “nations” (Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Muslims, Serbs, and Slovenes), and required that all of these nations had to agree to the dissolution of the federal state for it to be legal. And of course, the Serbs never agreed. In my book, Dubious Mandate, I report the following question, which was posed to me by a Bosnian Serb: Why, after 50 years as a Yugoslav, should I suddenly be told I’m a minority in a Muslim State, when I was never even given a choice?

      People can get very angry when you take away their country.

      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 for- mer Soviet Union, to annex what was then being called the “new Eu- rope.” 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, especially the newly-reunited Germany.

      Additionally, as Diane Johnstone writes in the article linked in this piece:

      Western politicians and media persuaded the public that the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia was a “humanitarian” war, generously waged to “protect the Kosovars” (after multiple assassinations by armed secessionists provoked Serbian authorities into the inevitable repression used as pretext for the bombing).

      But the real point of the Kosovo war was that it transformed NATO from a defensive into an aggressive alliance, ready to wage war anywhere, without U.N. mandate, on whatever pretext it chose.

      This lesson was clear to the Russians. After the Kosovo war, NATO could no longer credibly claim that it was a purely “defensive” alliance.

      As soon as Serbian President Milosevic, to save his country’s infrastructure from NATO destruction, agreed to allow NATO troops to enter Kosovo, the U.S. unceremoniously grabbed a huge swath territory to build the its first big U.S. military base in the Balkans. NATO troops are still there.

      1. Failed Intellectual (Emeritus)

        Well that was certainly a laugh to read.

        It amazes me that people like Phillip Corwin exist, who are so confused about the numbers of victims of Srebenica that they insist on pulling numbers out of their heiny. “The true figure may be closer to 800”? Good lord, based on what??? What’s especially galling about this sort of denialism is the fact that there are literally giant mass graves to go with the mass killings, but it’s an “unsupportable exaggeration” according to Corwin. The giant pile of corpses isn’t enough to figure it out, nor apparently are the survivor accounts, or the piles of forensic evidence, or aerial photos, or the literal confessions of some of the perpetrators. The ICMP (International Commission on Missing Persons) has been pulling and identifying (via DNA) the bodies of the victims of Srebrenica from mass graves for years now, and if the good Mr. Corwin was so confused about the numbers, he can easily go to the cemetary at Potocari and take a good look. I’m afraid no amount of evidence will ever be enough for people like him.

        It’s alarming that something so well documented can still be so controversial. It’s also sad (and interesting) that Serbia’s crimes of the 1990s are getting a new wash of paint to go with our new geopolitical realities. I guess, like anything, it comes down to ‘who do you believe’?

        1. Conor Gallagher Post author

          That’s a fair point on Corwin’s numbers as the ICMP does report that over 7,000 Srebrenica victims were recovered.

          The article does not defend any of the atrocities committed by any of the actors in the Yugoslav Wars, but looks at how NATO pursued its own interests in the conflict despite opposition from the UNSC, established a base in Kosovo, and along with the EU is trying to pressure Serbia into severing ties with Russia.

          1. Sunny

            The military base in Kosovo is the only thing standing between peace in the Balkans and Serbia committing another genocide and ethnic cleansing in the area. We would have instantly a second Palestine in Macedonia and Albania as Serbs will drive the Albanian population out of the province. The issue is the disproportionate balance of power in the area as Serbia is but Russia in disguise whereas all other states or rather statelets have no such big brothers, especially the native Albanian element which is the most fragile.

            1. Greg

              This is a typical erasure of western interference. Serbia has Russia, but there is no-one supporting the poor Albanians (because I refuse to acknowledge the presence of NATO). It takes two to proxy war, you can’t pretend your favoured side is as invisible as the angels you want them to be.

            2. Don

              I’m sorry, I respect your right to express your views, and I understand this remains a heated and disputed issue, but “all other states or rather statelets have no such big brothers” is an absurd statement. The USA plus NATO plus the EU do not qualify as such big brothers?

            3. hk

              I think this is another example of the word “genocide” being used too flippantly nowadays. How many deaths does it take to make for a “genocide” anyways? Yes, there was an ugly civil conflict and hundreds died on both sides. Serbs had the power of the state on their side and Albanians fought “dirty” (not an accusation–every guerrilla movement fights “dirty”). Not much to moralize on either side, IMHO. But a real mediation for peace has to deal fairly with both sides and not support one side and demonize the other. It is and was always abundantly clear that NATI’s goal was to flaunt it’s power and revel in its own sense of self-righteousness. This is precisely why Western interventionism is dangerous, beyond the morality of specific incidents (which, being ugly internecine conflicts as they usually are, will invariably be brutal, nasty, and morally ambiguous–except to the combatants themselves both of whom will always think they are angels and the other side are devils.)

            4. tricia

              speaking of the military base:
              “Immediately after the bombing of Serbia in 1999 the Pentagon seized a 1000 acre large parcel of land in Kosovo at Uresevic near the border to Macedonia, and awarded a contract to Halliburton when Dick Cheney was CEO there, to build one of the largest US overseas military bases in the world, Camp Bondsteel…”

              The idea of a US/NATO military base EVER standing for peace and working to prevent others’ genocide is laughable. How many millions have died from US-instigated wars?

    2. Cooler Master

      NATO was right to bomb the smithereerns out of Serbia

      That assault on Yugoslavia should be defined more appropriately as a massacre. Could it be a violation of the principle of national sovereignty? One wonders if the munitions expended so freely were due to be scrapped before the Y2K bug could get them.

      Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger opined, “We’ve presented to the rest of the world a vision of the bully on the block who pushes a button, people out there die, we don’t pay anything except the cost of the missile…that’s going to haunt us in terms of trying to deal with the rest of the world in the years ahead.”

    3. Dwight

      It was not the Serbian state that perpetrated the Srebrenica massacre, it was Bosnian Serbs of Republica Srbska with participation of a Serbian paramilitary unit the Scorpians. Bombing of Serbia was not justified by Srebrenica, nor by Serbian repression and reprisals against KLA. The conflict could have been settled at Rambouillet, but NATO instead made impossible demands because it wanted war. Even if it was justifiable as a humanitarian intervention, the last resort requirement for Responsibility to Protect was not met.

  6. spud

    we can never recover till bill clintons disastrous policies have been reversed

    “In January 1998, the neoconservative Project for the New American Century sent a letter to President Bill Clinton calling on him to overthrow the Iraqi government and making that goal an official “aim of American foreign policy.”

    Less than a year later, that letter would form the basis for the Iraq Liberation Act, which codified changing the Iraqi regime as a goal of U.S. foreign policy and helped lay the groundwork for the eventual invasion. It also authorized increased support for Iraqi exiles, some of whom worked with the CIA.

    Joe Biden voted in favor of the act, which was signed into law by Clinton in October 1998″

    The US ‘Betrayed’ Russia, but It Is Not ‘News That’s Fit to Print’

    By Stephen F. Cohen
    —————————————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.

    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.
    August 07, 2014

    Return to Kosovo
    Bill Clinton’s Most Abominable Freedom Fighters Uncloaked
    August 1, 2016
    The Exoneration of Milosevic: the ICTY’s Surprise Ruling

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