Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Reaping the Fruits of Intervention

politics > kosovo > maelstrom
From Chris Deliso's invaluable "Balkanalysis" again, an interview with longtime Balkan resident and analyst, Dr. Sam Vaknin, someone who made quite a few correct predictions (but some not-quite-so-correct as well) about the area post-NATO bombing. This is not a view I agree with, note, but one that is well informed and has some rather good points to make... Quote:

"CD: Could an independent Kosovo survive on its own?

SV: What country in the Balkans – Slovenia aside – can truly survive on its own? Is Macedonia a viable economic entity? Is Bosnia? These are all charity cases and will continue to be so for a long time to come.

As an autonomous unit within the Federated Yugoslavia, Kosovo survived on massive handouts from the center. The West has now replaced Belgrade as Kosovo’s (and Macedonia’s and Serbia’s and Bosnia’s) sugar-daddy."

Food for thought certainly, although his assessment of the inevitability of a purely Albanian Kosovar independent state combined with the above is somewhat problematic, I think. (Also I really don't understand Chris Deliso's mention of "the Albanian-populated sections of Greece" and the possibilty of their nationalist awakening... Where is this minority? Does he mean immigrants? There are a lot of minorities (unrecognized too) in Greece but a native Albanian minority is not one of them. I might have misunderstood though...)

But also check out this amazing article by former Labour Minister Michael Meacher (under Blair, 1998-2003) on both the love-fest between Blair and Gadafi and the recent events in Kosovo. His analysis of what happenned in Kosovo is really, really disturbing, given that he was a minister at the time of the Kosovo debacle. I quote him extensively below, but it's worth reading the whole article in the light of the fact that he had access to information due to his position that most don't. This is his conclusion:

US goals in the use of the KLA as a proxy force, similar to the funding of the Contras against the leftwing Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s, were partly to remove Milosevic and break up Yugoslavia as one of the remaining Communist regimes. But related motives were to break Russia's monopoly over oil and gas transport routes and secure pro-western governments in the strategic Black Sea-Caspian Sea oil-rich basin. A crucial oil corridor, called the Trans-Balkan pipeline, designed to become the main route to the west for oil and gas extracted in central Asia, was to run from the Black Sea to the Adriatic via Bulgaria, Macedonia near the border with Kosovo, and Albania. Another was to run across Serbia to Adriatic ports in Croatia and Italy, fed by a pipeline running from a Black Sea port in Romania.

The implications of this are stark. The US played a major role in creating and sustaining the mojahedin to fight the invading Soviet army in the Afghan war of 1979-92. Then from 1992-95 the Pentagon assisted the movement of thousands of Islamic fighters from central Asia to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims and remove the Milosevic barrier, and so extend US influence in a key area of oil geopolitics - a "pact with the devil", as Richard Holbrooke, America's former chief Balkans peace negotiator put it. It has proved quite another thing to rein them back in again. Before President Bush trumpets his dedication to his war on terror, he should reflect on his country's links with terrorism over the past decade where it has suited US interests.

No comments: