|Ivo Skoric on Sat, 20 Mar 1999 09:35:00 +0100 (CET)
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|<nettime> Sign or else...
Sign or get bombed Rambouillet agreement was designed to give Albanians in Kosovo (balkansnet.org/raccoon/kosovo.html) the autonomy that Milosevic took away from them following the collapse of former Yugoslavia. As in case of Dayton agreement (balkansnet.org/dayton.html) in Bosnia, the international community gets the broad authority over the region, overlooking the implementation of the agreement, i.e. locals are ordered to lay down their weapons and let themselves be policed by NATO troops, the peace agreement serves as a substitute for the constitution, and the chief of implementation mission, a foreigner, has the actual governing power in the province - at least until a democratic government shapes up from the local political forces. Albanians, of course, signed such an agreement. Serbs did not. They found it too humiliating to voluntarily de facto surrender a piece of territory, which they believe is rightfully theirs, to foreign military forces, under a threat of aerial bombing should they refuse to sign. In just a few weeks from now there will be the 48 anniversary since Germans bombed Belgrade. I am curious if NATO is waiting for that day. For those who think that Rambouillet agreement is favoring one side (Albanian): you are right, but you should consider the high level of crimes against humanity in which Serbian army was involved in past decade in Croatia, Bosnia and now in Kosovo. For example, while I am writing this Serbian forces are shelling some small village in Kosovo with heavy artillery unavailable to KLA guys, who sit there in that village and sing to avert fear while shells fly over their heads. It is also thought that Serbs already mined all roads, bridges and tunnels that NATO forces may use to crossover to Kosovo. A few days ago Serbian police intercepted Newsweek journalists and harassed them for a while asking questions like: "do you want to live?"I wonder, though, whether the agreement may be used as a legally binding document if the signature is obtained at the gun- point. In Dayton, the U.S. used similar hazing tactics by having dinners with the parties in hangars with cruise missiles and stealth fighters. Clear & Present Danger At the session on the U.S. policy in Balkans at House Armed Services Committee, Walter Slocombe, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, used the magic words: "situation in Kosovo is a threat to national security interest of the U.S." Since this might not look as obvious to others (particularly to Republicans), he proceeded by invoking ghosts of the WW I (when the "great" war started in the Balkans, as Ike Skelton - a Democrat - mentioned) and the WW II (when the Balkans played a very important role, too). What they are really scared of is the flow of refugees that would end up in Italy - many of them on their way to their relatives in the U.S. The possibility of the Kosovo war to spill over and include other countries is reasonably high in case of Macedonia or Albania, but I am convinced that Greece and Turkey (both NATO members) would not get involved. If they do, then Balkans conflagration becomes connected to the Middle East one, creating one big instability zone. Waste of taxpayers money Republican (chair of the committee) Floyd Spencer (SC) had a different view: "Peacekeeping in the Balkans is degrading our ability to fight real wars if they break out." Cold war in essence was a war of economic attrition - and it is far from over. Soviet Union lost, because it had an initially weaker economy - but the U.S. suffered, too. And the U.S., as the sole remaining super-power still suffers: peace-keeping spreads its armed forces thin, and as Skelton noted - the only real change after the end of the cold war was the drastic reduction of U.S. Armed Forces - meaning there is less of them and they are more spread. Other Republicans in House and, particularly, Senate, were just awfully conscious about hurting the sovereignty of the country, that the U.S. does not even recognize (FR Yugoslavia). Quality of life funding Enters Wesley Clark, Gen., Commander in Chief for the U.S. European Command, yammering about ancient infrastructure in the Army barracks, and lacking funds for education of kids of military personnel. It is still better than in Russia, where officers haven't been paid for several months, but it could be better. And given that Gen. Clark defended President Clinton's position, some funds must be on the way already. His pronunciation of "Republika Srpska" was impeccable, and he was obviously well briefed (unlike people's representatives who asked him questions). He stated that the re-enlistment in Bosnia was the highest in the Army. This is true. American soldiers on duty in Bosnia are proud of their assignment - they see themselves in a constructive, rather than the destructive role habitual to the military job. The only real problem is boredom. Gen. Clark elegantly avoided using that word, but he did say that they finished building a running track in the woods near Tuzla and that they were building a polygon for urban fighting simulation (now that real urban fighting is over...). And how about that halfpipe on Igman? Kosovo - Republika Srpska In Bosnia there is strange paranoia spreading: the angst that if Kosovo gets autonomy, Republika Srpska will get autonomy, too. This nonsense reminds of the beginning of the war in Croatia, when it was held (mostly by Serbian side) that Croatia's independence (from Yugoslavia) must be followed by the Krajina's independence (from Croatia). But it wasn't. In one of the early agreements, all republics of former Yugoslavia (except one) were recognized as sovereign states within the borders they had as republics of former Yugoslavia - meaning Republika Srpska will always be an "entity." Rambouillet agreement, also, calls for `autonomy' not `independence' of Kosovo. In reality, with Rambouillet Kosovo would get inside Serbia, what Republika Srpska got inside Bosnia with Dayton. Montenegro vs. Yugoslav Army The only republic of former Yugoslavia that never sought or declared independence - Montenegro- now faces serious problems. Montenegrin president, Milo Djukanovic, promised his citizens that their boys would not be sent to fight NATO forces, but the Yugoslav Army joint chiefs of staff determined that would constitute treason, and refused to do that. Some of the Montenegrins sent to Kosovo already died. Furthermore, Yugoslav Army extended military service for one month to all soldiers who were due to leave last week. Montenegrin leadership and Yugoslav Army are in the war against each other. Montenegrin media write about the Army in the same terms Slovenian media wrote ten years ago. Is it just a question of time when the tanks will roll out on the streets of Podgorica? Belgrade - Saigon Following French and British decision to stop waiting for the Serbs to sign the agreement (since they are obviously reluctant to do so), six embassies in Belgrade were evacuated and Monitors from Kosovo are preparing to leave, too - leaving NATO free hands to go ahead with the raid. Ivo --- # distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: email@example.com and "info nettime-l" in the msg body # URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/ contact: firstname.lastname@example.org