Beginning in 1990 Germany and the United States sought and achieved the breakup of Yugoslavia in two stages—1992-1995 and 1998-1999. The German government aimed at this division because it wanted to include as territory of its “vital interest” Slovenia and Croatia, the most economically developed states of the Yugoslavian confederation. These states were old allies in the Second World War (the Ustashi fascist group in Croatia and the nationalists in Slovenia). Through them Germany would achieve access to the Adriatic Sea.
The United States was interested in the more recently established states (Bosnia, Serbia, the former Socialist Republic of Macedonia), which controlled the only route from east to west and from north to south though the Balkan mountains. The Balkan area, along with Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Arab nations, forms a European-Middle East bloc, which the United States wants to control (including the former states of the Soviet Union—Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan) for the complete exploitation of the great oil resources of the Caspian Sea.
Toward accomplishing this goal, one year before the dissolution of the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia—specifically, on November 5, 1990—the Congress of the United States passed bill 101-513 concerning “appropriation of funds for operations abroad.” A paragraph in this bill specifically devoted to Yugoslavia initiated that country’s dissolution. In a single order, completely without forewarning, the United States cut off all forms of credit and loans to Yugoslavia in the event that within six months separate elections did not take place in each state of the federation.
As a consequence, Yugoslavia—no longer able to conduct foreign trade—was condemned to commercial bankruptcy, which reinforced the divisive tendency of its states, especially that of the stronger. Another crucial reason for the split was a provision in the bill that states holding separate elections would receive direct economic aid (not channeled through the federation). A third provision stated that even if separate elections did not take place, the United States could (openly now, and in addition to actions of the CIA and other secret services) economically support “democratic” factions or movements by way of “emergency humanitarian aid and promotion of human rights.” Finally, a fourth provision obliged the American representatives in all international organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, etc., to use their vote and influence to have their organizations apply the particulars of the bill.
The United States funded the states so as to dissolve the federation. The U.S. also supported parties and movements that would promote this process. Meanwhile, Germany shipped arms to Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also trained “revolutionary corps” in special German camps to be sent into the states at the proper time to face federal forces.
In February 1991, on the initiative of Germany and with the support of countries decisively influenced by the U.S., like Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands, the European Community backed the U.S. decision: If Yugoslavia did not announce multi-party elections, it would face economic isolation.
In the meantime, Croatian and Slovenian fascist associations in the U.S., Germany and Austria solicited money and arms, which they sent to the northern Yugoslavian states. In March of 1991, fascist organizations in Croatia demonstrated, calling for the overthrow of the socialist government and the expulsion of all Serbs from Croatia. On March 5, 1991, they attacked the federal army base at Gospic. Thus, civil war began.
On June 25, 1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence. In Croatia the extreme right wing party, “Democratic Union,” seized power. This party used the flag, emblems, and slogans of the pro-Nazi Ustashi party. Citizenship, property rights, employment, retirement benefits and passports were granted only to Croats and to no other ethnic group. Thus, 300,000 Serbs who were under threat armed themselves.
Federal forces intervened in Slovenia, where units of the autonomous militia had taken over posts on the Italian, Austrian and Hungarian borders. At once, on Germany’s initiative, the European Community threatened the federal government with economic sanctions and obliged it to withdraw its forces, given that within three months Slovenia and Croatia would undertake independence and participate in negotiations for a “peaceful solution.”Of course the negotiations failed, and these two states, armed by Germany, officially declared their independence in October 1991. First Germany hastened to accord diplomatic recognition; then the other European countries and the USA, as well as the European Community in January 1992.
This recognition of independence reinforced the tendency to separation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Muslim party, headed by Aliya Izetbegovic, was in charge there. Its program was the establishment of theocratic Muslim rule and the expulsion of Serbs and Croats from Bosnia. Serbs were then thirty-one percent of the Bosnia population. Supported by Serbia and ethnic groups, they were prepared for conflict, ready to oppose whatever the European Community presented to Cyrus Vance from the USA and Lord Owen of the European Community as a “peace plan for Bosnia.”
In the meantime, the UN Security Council, with the approval of Motion Number 757/1992, established sanctions against the Yugoslavian Federation as responsible for civil war within its territory. In May 1992, the UN General Assembly granted membership to Slovenia and Croatia, and on September 22, 1992, it expelled the Yugoslavian Federation. The result of these acts was the cessation of operations by the Yugoslavian Army against Slovenia and Bosnia. The civil war, however, continued till 1995.
In 1993, American officers undertook training of the Croatian army, which was now armed by the United States. In return the U.S. received bases on the Croatian islands of the Adriatic. American officers also took on training the Bosnian army as well as directing operations against the Bosnian Serbs who were besieging Sarajevo. Finally, NATO intervened supporting Bosnia with bombing from 1993 to 1995. NATO’s pressure forced the Bosnian Serbs, who were also pressured by Milosevic, to accept the conducting of “peace negotiations” at Dayton, Ohio, where a neo-colonial agreement was drawn up involving two points—the establishment of a strong force of 60,000 NATO troops in Bosnia and the writing of the “Bosnian Constitution.”
According to this Constitution, Bosnia was made up of three democratic states—Muslim, Croat and Serbo-Bosnian—under the supreme authority of the Swedish official appointed by the UN Security Council, who had full executive powers in all matters and even the right to reject the decisions of the three local governments as well as to overrule the prime ministers and the appointed ministers. This supreme official would work in close cooperation with the Supreme Military Council as well as with various sources of funding or gifts. The Security Council, in turn, appointed an “Associate Director of Police” who would be under the head Director and would have a force of 1,700 policemen at his disposal.
The economic policies of the country would be controlled by the officers of Bretton Woods and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. The first Director of the Central Bank of the country was appointed by the International Monetary Fund. And neither he nor those succeeding him would be citizens of Bosnia or Herzegovina, or of a neighboring state.
On August 3, 1995, Croat forces supported by the U.S. and headed by an American general launched a decisive attack in Krajina, expelling 300,000 Serbs, killing 14,000 people, and burning tens of thousands of Serbian homes as well as Orthodox churches and monasteries.
THE ROLE OF NATO
According to a statement of the Pentagon published in the New York Times on March 8, 1992, “The first aim [of the United States] is to block the appearance of a new adversary. … First, the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. … Finally, we must also maintain the necessary means to overthrow potential adversaries, ambitious to attain a broader local or global role.” In Europe, specifically, this plan foresees that: “It is of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the primary instrument of Western defense and security as well as a channel of exercising American influence and its participation in issues of European security. … We must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO.”
Applying these views, the United States torpedoed the European Community’s proposals for the peaceful solution of the Bosnian problem (the Vance-Owen plan of 1992 and the Vance-Stolemberg plan of 1993) in order to impose its own plan (the Dayton Agreement).
In the meantime, bases were established in Albania, the former Socialist Republic of Macedonia and Hungary, and NATO aimed to extend its sphere to the socialist countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, for the full encirclement of Russia and the access of the United States to the Caspian Sea. According to American journalists, the Danube is more important for Europe than the Mississippi is for commerce in the United States. Thus, all the countries in the Danube valley must be brought under the NATO umbrella and thereby under the influence (and exploitation) of the USA.
This is the reason that, although the Yugoslavian Federation had essentially broken up in 1995 (Serbia and Montenegro alone remained in the federation), any peaceful settlement in Bosnia was excluded and NATO intervention took place, resulting in the total success of American plans for its dominance in the Balkans. The Serbian opposition persisted, however. It had to be eliminated.
For this purpose the United States, Germany, Austria and other countries armed ethnic Albanian groups. In Kosovo and southern Serbia units of the “Kosovo Liberation Army” (UCK are the initials in Albanian) had been forming with uniforms and arms provided by the U.S. Army, funded by the CIA as well as international aid. A continuous flow of arms and military supplies came from Germany.
Because these units were not strong enough to defeat the Serbian forces, the Western forces developed unprecedented propaganda concerning supposed genocide against the Albanians in the Kosovo area. They finally decided on direct NATO intervention with horrendous aerial bombardment (31,000 bombs, ammunition with depleted uranium), which forced Serbia to submit.
Western propaganda, as it had been throughout the Bosnian civil war, was as effective as the depleted uranium weapons. There were daily reports in all the mass media against Serbia, involving, for example, the bomb that exploded in a Sarajevo market (which finally proved to be an act of provocation to invite NATO intervention). Their accusations of the rape of Muslim women, which from the fall of 1992 to the spring of 1993 scandalized western news broadcasts citing figures of 100,000, but finally with research reduced significantly to 40,000, later to 4,000 and finally to only seven women who testified to being victims.
These false or exaggerated reports provoked widespread outrage in western public opinion and among blindfolded “human welfare organizations,” which saw criminal acts only on the part of Bosnian Serbs. The Muslims and Croat militaries were presented as angelic in behavior, even though they executed unarmed Serbs, raped women, and burned homes, churches and monasteries. It is significant that in the Special Tribunal formed to judge war crimes in Bosnia, sixty Serbs were indicted but only six Bosnians and Croats.
In turn, regarding Kosovo the Western media reported that the Serbs expelled 300,000 ethnic Albanians, committed mass killings of unarmed citizens and all sorts of atrocities. Finally it was shown that prior to the NATO bombings only some 20,000 to 25,000 people had taken refuge in Albania and the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. After the onset of the bombing more than 250,000 ethnic Albanians had fled to save themselves from the bombs. As for genocide, the “mass graves” about which there were daily references in the Western media were never found.
To be sure, there was the atrocity of Srebrenica, but on the opposing side there were the atrocities of Bihac and Krajina, about which not a word appeared in the Western press, just as there were no references either during the course of its militia action or after the bombing to the crimes of the UCK against Serbs and other ethnic groups in Kosovo, which the UCK called “police duties”! These actions put into effect the total removal of Serbs, Gypsies, Turks and Jews from Kosovo through killings, burning of villages, churches and monasteries, and unprecedented terrorism.
But for the UCK there, “purification of Kosovo” was not enough. Its action was extended to the area of Presovo (southern Serbia), though without success, since there the UCK faced the Serbian army, and to the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. There of course the UCK would disband with the complete cooperation of NATO, the USA and the European Community. The problem was whether the UCK would stop there or extend its action. That depended on the U.S. agenda for the region. The UCK could have been used as a means of exerting pressure on Greece to compromise on the issues of Cyprus and the Aegean Sea. Greece’s allies had been habitually involved in such “friendly” actions from the time of the establishment of modern Greece up to today.
THE ROLE OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL
For the illegal (criminal) acts of NATO in Yugoslavia, enormous responsibilities are borne by the United Nations Security Council, which violated virtually all the regulations of Articles 44-50 of the UN Charter. According to Article 46 of the Charter, plans to use armed force will depend on the Security Council in consultation with the Committee of the Military Council of Article 47. This power is not relegated to NATO or “any other” military alliance. The Military Council of the UN would never permit the use of bombs with depleted uranium or bombing of unarmed civilians, schools, nurseries, hospitals and churches, as NATO did in Yugoslavia.
Moreover, the Security Council established the ad hoc International Tribunal to judge war crimes in Bosnia and Kosovo. But the UN Charter nowhere provides the right to establish such a court. Article 92 founded the International Court based in The Hague. Its members are elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council from a list of the permanent Administrative Court that was founded by The Hague agreement of 1907.
This Administrative Court can assemble a unit that can render judgments concerning a particular issue, in agreement, however, with regulations (Article 26, par. 3, of its charter). The expenses of this court would be covered by the UN in a manner determined by the General Assembly.
Thus, the Security Council does not have the right to establish an ad hoc court. That Court is illegal. It is a court of expediency and its mission was to serve the political purposes of the powers that supported its establishment. It is significant that its expenses are covered not by the United Nations but by “benefactors” from the U.S., from multi-national corporations and entrepreneurs like George Soros! The manner of establishment and funding also belies its manner of functioning.
Milosevic’s abduction in violation of the Constitution and justice system of Yugoslavia was the first step. The justice system would be completely put to shame in what followed. However, the greatest crime of the U.S. and its followers (Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy) was the debasing of the UN. The next step will be its dissolution. For the hopes of the peoples as expressed in the prologue of its charter are not in agreement with the imperialist “New World Order.”
“We the Peoples of the United Nations, determined to save coming generations from the scourge of war, which twice during our time brought insufferable pain to mankind; once more proclaiming our belief in human rights, in human dignity and worth, in equal rights of men and women and large and small nations, we unite our efforts to achieve these goals.”
The imperialists, however, desire global rule and not the equality of small and large nations. They wish to impose their will with war using bombardment and any other criminal means (Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia, Yugoslavia and later). From their position in the UN they license NATO as the supreme arbiter of all international crises over the length and breadth of the earth, though it is not an international organization but a military alliance of Western forces.
EVANGELOS MAHAIRAS was president of the Association of Athens Lawyers (Bar Association) Athens from 1981-1984, honorary president since 1985, elected in 1986 president of the Greek Peace Movement and in 1990 president of the World Peace Council. He is a fighter for peace, human rights and the environment.
The book HIDDEN ADENDA, U.S./NATO TAKEOVER OF YUGOSLAVIA, from which this piece is excerpted, is available for purchase online from www.leftbooks.com.
- Syria and the Bosnia Fallacy (nationalinterest.org)
- Coming to the aid of Sarajevo (theglobeandmail.com)
- Bosnian Muslim now Virginia Resident arrested for war crimes on Serbian Christians (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Serbs told to pray to rain as wildfires scorch Balkans (reuters.com)