Yugoslavia--The Predators' Peace

Revolutionary Worker #1010, June 13, 1999

After battering Yugoslavia from the air for 72 days, the U.S.-led NATO alliance finally forced the government of the Yugoslav federation to accept its war demands. On Thursday, June 3, the federation's parliament voted to accept the terms presented to President Slobodan Milosevic by envoys of the attacking military powers. It is not a plan for "peace"--but for open-ended imperialist occupation. 50,000 heavily armed troops organized by the NATO powers are now supposed to take over the region of Kosovo.

According to this agreement, Kosovo will officially remain part of the Yugoslavian federation (and of the Serbian Republic)--and Yugoslav forces will be present at the border crossings into Kosovo as a symbol of that. However, for the foreseeable future, Kosovo will be controlled by the international invasion force that is now being put together under U.S. and NATO direction. As we go to press, Yugoslav forces have not yet started to withdraw from Kosovo--and the NATO bombing of Serbia has not yet stopped.

Everything about this agreement is against the interests of the people of the world.

The Gangster Logic of NATO

There is a scene in one of the Godfather movies where a film director dares to say "No" to the top Mafioso. The director wakes up in horror--to find himself covered in blood and the severed head of his valuable horse lying next to him in bed.

The U.S. has now carried out the same gangster methods in the Balkans. The U.S. gave the Yugoslav ruling class "an offer they could not refuse." And when the Yugoslav government dared defy NATO's demands this last winter, at the Rambouillet negotiations, the U.S. and NATO responded like world-level gangsters--they set out to systematically kill and destroy everything valuable to the Yugoslav ruling class, until the demands were accepted.

In the most shameless way, the U.S. (and its NATO allies) have publicly beaten up a poor country that dared to cross them. They have crudely announced that they will dictate the affairs of Yugoslavia--trampling on any sense of national sovereignty.

For more than 70 days they have battered Yugoslavia from the air--with over 12,000 bombing runs--killing thousands of people and systematically destroying the civilian and military infrastructure of that country. They destroyed bridges, hospitals, roads, refineries, power plants, and many neighborhoods and villages. The NATO forces have even sent bombs and missiles into the neighboring countries, Albania and Bulgaria. They bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing people in their sleep--and awakening a powerful wave of anti-imperialist protest in China itself.

This war represented a joint pact by the world's major powers--despite their somewhat different geopolitical interests--to militarily impose their decisions on the rest of the world. Through this war, the U.S. sought to "fine tune" the arrangements of the world's imperialist powers---- in order to more firmly establish the U.S. as a single predominant "superpower" within the world capitalist system.

This war represented the "coming out" of a reunited Germany as a war-ready imperialist power--sending combat forces across its borders into other countries for the first time since its defeat in World War 2. Even Russia, which remains outside NATO, has been assigned a role as the "tag-along power"--given a "cut of the action" during the negotiations and in the coming occupation of Kosovo.

All of this is against the interests of the people of the world and must be actively exposed and opposed.

Then Comes the Occupation

NATO justified its attack on Yugoslavia as a "humanitarian" mission. Some people, including among the Kosovar Albanians, hoped that NATO would protect them from oppression by Serbian nationalist forces. However they will now find themselves facing a new and quite ruthless occupation force.

The details of the settlement negotiated between NATO and the Yugoslav government reveal how little the interests and concerns of Albanian Kosovars were considered during this "end game." In fact, considerable efforts are already being focused on containing the Albanian Kosovars and forcing them to accept arrangements that serve imperialist interests.

In the original Rambouillet negotiations, NATO proposed plans for a local autonomous government for Kosovo, disarming of the Albanian independence forces, and a referendum in three years in which the inhabitants of Kosovo would vote on whether to remain part of Yugoslavia.

The new agreement just reached in Belgrade has taken considerable steps to reduce the influence of Kosovar Albanians on events. No Kosovar Albanians were involved in these negotiations in any way. And in the final agreements, there is now no specific framework for creating a local government of Albanian Kosovars. There are no plans for any referendum on the future. The plans for disarming the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) remain a key part of the agreement.

An article in the Wall Street Journal (June 4): "The biggest security question is what NATO will do with the KLA guerrillas, the alliance's undeclared allies during the war. The agreement calls for a demilitarization of the KLA, but it may not be easy to take away their heavy weapons and woo them back to peace."

Even before Yugoslavia accepted NATO's demands, the U.S. general in northern Albania was speculating that his Apache helicopters may see their main action against guerrillas like the KLA after Yugoslav forces pull out.

NATO and Yugoslav generals are already discussing how to bring in NATO occupiers quickly as the Yugoslav forces withdraw--so there is no "vacuum" within which the Albanian Kosovars can set their own local governments, or KLA-controlled areas.

The Wall Street Journal suggests that the NATO occupation forces may now deliberately prevent elections within Kosovo until the occupying imperialists can train and finance political forces that will serve their interests.

All this may seem very strange to people who have heard NATO spokespeople constantly say they are in the Balkans to "help" the Albanian Kosovars. The answer lies in the fact that the real U.S. and NATO interest in this area has been to prevent the growing destabilization of this region--and especially to prevent growth of a movement among Albanian people in Kosovo and Macedonia to join their areas with neighboring Albania. The U.S. feared that such a movement could upset its plans for Central Asia and the Middle East--by triggering civil war in Macedonia--and drawing U.S. NATO allies Greece and Turkey into a regional war. The U.S. opposed Serbian crackdowns on Albanian people in Kosovo because they feared this would stir up secessionist sentiments--and because they believed that thousands of refugees might increase Albanian secessionist sentiments in Macedonia as well.

In other words, the U.S. has (all along) wanted to contain (not "help") Albanians in this region. And, it now intends to "contain" them within a Serbian-dominated Kosovo, that is forcibly "stabilized" by a foreign occupation force.

After battering and bombing the Yugoslav armed forces into an agreement, the NATO imperialists are now setting their sights on two goals: first, moving the Albanian Kosovars back into their homes (especially removing them from Macedonia), and second, forcing them to accept the new arrangement of "imperialist occupation and official Serbian rule." The problem for the imperialists is that these plans are unlikely to sit well with the Kosovar Albanian people or with the armed forces of the KLA who are committed to independence from Serbia and Yugoslavia.

There is already talk of "rebuilding" Kosovo. But this is just one more "humanitarian" cover for plans to tighten imperialist control--especially short-term military and police control. The Wall Street Journal reported (June 4), "Western diplomats warn that if the West doesn't move quickly to establish a police force, civil society and a working economy in the province after NATO's air war ends, a vacuum will be created that organized crime and the Kosovo Liberation Army are likely to fill."

New crimes are being prepared. The post-war occupation of Kosovo will be a carrying-out of imperialism's wartime goals. People within the U.S. and around the world need to oppose this armed occupation and to expose the suffering it brings to the people.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)