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Has Kosovo set a precedent?

The Duma’s Committee for CIS Affairs has recommended that the Russian Government create diplomatic missions in the three unrecognized republics – Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Trans-Dneister (Pridnestrovie).

Abkhazia MapAleksei Ostrovsky, head of the Duma’s Committee for CIS Affairs has recommended that the Russian Government create diplomatic missions at the territories of three unrecognized republics – Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Trans-Dneister (Pridnestrovie).

According to Interfax, the document, which has been prepared for discussion and further confirmation in the Duma, recommends that Russia work to “achieve representatives’ participation of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Pridnestrovie in all international organizations and forums, where their interests are discussed and touched.”

Also it was recommended that Russia should “resist firmly any attempts of external pressure – political, economical or military – concerning these three republics” and that the Russian Parliament suggest to the Russian Federation government that it“maintain existing forms of peacekeeping operations to settle conflicts around Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Pridnestrovie based on mutual conventions”.

According to the report:

“Nowadays the situation in the zone of Georgia-Abkhazia and Georgia-Ossetia conflicts becomes more and more complicated. Politics realized by Tbilisi is extravagant, unpredictable and sometimes destructive. Georgia is trying to break existing algorithims of conflict settlement and compromise the Russian peacekeepers’ mission. This gives a reason to Abkhazians and Ossetians to believe that Georgian administration chooses military option”.

Russian PeacekeepersThe report’s authors note that mandate of peacekeeping forces, which are operating in the territory of the conflicts between Georgia and Abkhazia, Georgia and Ossetia, only allows them to “split the rivals, maintain regime of security and stop the fire”. To change this mandate would require the agreement of all sides. But neither Abkhazia, nor South Osetia have given their agreement, because they are afraid the departure of Russian peacekeepers would lead to destabilization of the situation in the region.

The authors of the project believe that the precedent set in Kosovo, wich recently declared its independence will have consequences for other “frozen conflicts.” If these conflicts remain “frozen,” this will be provoke new stage of confrontation between conflict sides. And this confrontation will be negative for the population.

Nugzar Ashuba, the head of Parliament of Abkhazia, speaking in the Duma, asked Russia to recognize independence of this self-proclaimed republic as soon as possible. He told Duma members that:

“The Russian Federation now (after the Kosovo incident) has enough reasons to declare the independence of Abkhazia all over the world. By doing this Russia will establish its international weight.”

Ashuba also mentioned that the Georgian government must be interested in recognition new status of republic, because Abkhazia has proved that it was able to survive as an independent entity.

“We think that if Georgia recognizes independence of Abkhazia, its government will solve many other socio-economical problems and the Georgian people will be free from waiting for war every moment.”

The rest of the Duma’s discussion was closed to journalists, but according to one source, some Duma deputies consider that Russia has to support these self-proclaimed republics, because they will never be part of Georgia again.

It is the time to remember words of President Putin during the visit of Angela Merkel last week. He reminded us that case of Kosovo would have a lot of consequences for the world.

Now we have the beginning. Who is next?

457 comments

  • “The Russian Federation now (after the Kosovo incident) has enough reasons to declare the independence of Abkhazia all over the world. By doing this Russia will establish its international weight.

    This will all depend on who follows Russia’s lead. If countries like Germany, Japan, USA, and Australia agree, Russia will establish its international weight. If the followers are the likes of Iran, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and North Korea, it will be eye-rolling and sighing.

  • As has been noted elsewhere, Russia is probably better off not recognizing the disupted former Soviet territories as independent.

    Years of pro-Kosovo independence propaganda, coupled by Russia’s comparative lack of clout (to the US, UK, Germany and France) will likely result in not as many nations recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As is, the number of nations recognizing Kosovo’s independence is low.

    The Duma decision can be seen as a step closer to recognzing independence. However, it does not take the form of full diplomatic recognition. Such a recognition will furher limit Russia’s relations with Georgia. This wouldn’t seem like the smartest diplomatic move. The same lack of intelligence for recognzing Kosovo’s independence. Serbia remains an important enough country in the Balkan region. One which has been historically pro-West. It has shown itself more democratic and multi-ethnic tolerant than the repackaged KLA.

    In the event of Russian recognition to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the hypocrisy factor against Russia could be heightened. Why those two and not Pridnestrovie (Trans-Dniester) and Nagorno Karabakh?

    Keep in mind that under Yeltsin, the Duma voted a statement questioning Crimea’s status in Ukraine. Ukraine then called a UNSC meeting, where the Russian ambassador essentially went against the Duma position.

  • Correction:

    That’s: recognizing

    Pridnestrovie (Trans-Dniester) is included in the mentioned Duma desire, with Nagorno Karabakh left out. Greater emphasis appears to be on Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This probably has to do in part with Russia perhaps having better relations with Moldova when compared to Georgia and Pridnestrovie not bordering Russia.

    Why leave Nagorno Karabakh out? Azerbaijan is of arguably greater geo-strategic importance. That country is said to have been sending out feelers to Russia and the West. Note that Azerbaijan pulled its forces out of Kosovo, following the February 17 independence declaration. Along with others, predominately Muslim Azerbaijan isn’t supporting Kosovo’s independence.

  • “Years of pro-Kosovo independence propaganda, coupled by Russia’s comparative lack of clout (to the US, UK, Germany and France) will likely result in not as many nations recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As is, the number of nations recognizing Kosovo’s independence is low.”

    (I assume that you’d like to leave the specifics of the Balkans affair aside?)

    27 countries in the space of a month compares reasonably well to the 70 or so countries which recognized Bangladesh between December 1971 and May 1972. As I’ve blogged over at my place, Kosovar independence already has a precedent in Bangladeshi’s unilateral declaration of independence, that assurely aided and abetted by Indian military intervention in 1971-2 as Kosovo’s was by NATO intervention in 1999. Kosovar and Bangladeshi independence may share with Eritrea similar motives for independence, lying in the consistent oppression of these three region’s populations by natinoal governments.

    In the specific cases of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, so long as “independence” doesn’t mean “annexation by Russia,” I don’t see why not. The principle behind Bangladeshi and Kosovar independence obviously applies to other cases, and Abkhazia appears to fit the model most closely. The brief epoch of governance by independent Tbilisi wasn’t reassuring, and a border has been maintained for close to two decades.

    “This probably has to do in part with Russia perhaps having better relations with Moldova when compared to Georgia and Pridnestrovie not bordering Russia.”

    Certainly.

    “Why leave Nagorno Karabakh out? Azerbaijan is of arguably greater geo-strategic importance. That country is said to have been sending out feelers to Russia and the West. Note that Azerbaijan pulled its forces out of Kosovo, following the February 17 independence declaration. Along with others, predominately Muslim Azerbaijan isn’t supporting Kosovo’s independence.”

    It’s not close to Russia’s borders and Russian strategists aren’t interested in copying the Russian-Georgian relationship onto Russia’s relationship with another country.

    It’s worth noting that the Bangladeshi-Eritrean-Kosovar precedent in question works only when the central government has been militarily defeated and is incapable of exerting any sovereignty over the secessionist regime. This limits the applicability of this precedent to only a few situations in the world, perhaps that of Sri Lankan Tamils if the LTTE wasn’t crumbling or hypothetical super-competent Chechen separatists.

  • One more thing:

    “Why leave Nagorno Karabakh out? Azerbaijan is of arguably greater geo-strategic importance.”

    Unlike South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, and unlike the Trans-Dniester Republic in Moldova, Nagorno Karabakh is not under Russian occupation. The Armenians seem to be good Russian proxies, yes, but Armenia isn’t–say–an autonomous republic of the Federation like Tatarstan.

  • On the matter of being “good Russia proxies” the Albanian nationalists have made plenty of propaganda claiming themselves to be such for the US.

    The mentioned “oppression” in Kosovo blatantly omits the large scale Albanian nationalist terrorism against non-Albanians. A matter that was heightened when the non-Serb dictator Tito granted Kosovo’s autonomy within Serbia from 1974-89. The poor governing record of the Albanian nationalists explains why Western occupation forces will continue to be the true masters in Kosovo.

    Meantime, UNSCR 1244 clearly stipulates Kosovo remaining a part of Serbia. Iraq and Turkey didn’t lose part of their respective territory for their great crimes against the Kurds. Western neo-liberal and neo-conservative commentary on such matter is grossly inaccurate in its hypocrisy and very selective highlighting of the involved particulars.

    From the human rights, historical, economic and political aspects, Pridnestrovie (Trans-Dniester) has a much better case for independence than Kosovo.

    Kosovo has never been part of an independent Albania and was never an independent entity unto itself. It has had a firm relationship with Serbia. George Szamuely and Diane Johnstone recently wrote some very spot on commentary about all this in Counterpunch:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/johnstone02182008.html

    http://www.counterpunch.org/szamuely02152008.html

    South Ossetia is akin to North Ossetia. The latter is part of Russia. The disputed former Communist bloc territories have a pre-Soviet relationship with Russia. On the matter of “precedents”, the two Germanys were recently reunited. A precedent showing how territories can be reunited. The comeback of the DDR dissolving can be replied to with the notation that the SSRs also dissolved.

    The long drawn out negotiating on Northern Ireland and Cyprus serves as firm proof that there’s no need to quickly enforce a Kosovo settlement against Serbia.

    I’ve personally suggested a scenario of Kosovo having full UN and IOC membership as an irrevocbaly autonomus part of Serbia. Soviet era Ukraine and Bealrus had full UN membership. The same standing is true of non-nations Hong Kong, Puerto Rcio and the British Virgin Islands in relation to the IOC.

  • “The mentioned “oppression” in Kosovo blatantly omits the large scale Albanian nationalist terrorism against non-Albanians.”

    Nationalist terrorism? So far as I can ascertain, the ethnic conflict in Kosovo in that time was the sort of ethnic conflict you’d an increasingly overpopulated rural province marked by severe competition over resources and a history of mutual massacres (Serbs massacre Albanians in the First Balkan War, Albanians massacre Serbs during the First World War, Serbs massacre Albanians in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Albanians massacre Serbs during the Second World War, et cetera), complete with prejudices at the street level.

    “Iraq and Turkey didn’t lose part of their respective territory for their great crimes against the Kurds. Western neo-liberal and neo-conservative commentary on such matter is grossly inaccurate in its hypocrisy and very selective highlighting of the involved particulars.”

    Iraqi Kurdistan may well become independent, which is that region’s right.

    Most of the Kurds in Turkey seem to have decided to go west to the cities of the Aegean coast and Istanbul, voting implicitly against a separate Kurdistan including their areas. That, too, is a right.

    Note that, if Iraqi Kurdistan becomes independent, it will be because foreigners won a great military victory over the former sovereign power in Iraq and have since gone on to maintain an occupation regime. In other words, Iraqi Kurdistan would fit the aforementioned Bangladesh-Eritrea-Kosovo paradigm.

    “From the human rights, historical, economic and political aspects, Pridnestrovie (Trans-Dniester) has a much better case for independence than Kosovo.”

    Why, necessarily? It’s a relatively small scrap of territory run by a nomenklatura that has helped make the territory one of the poorest in Europe, run by people who, as an emigrant told me, manage to combine the worst of communism with the worst of capitalism.

    Still, if Transistrians want to be independent despite all that, that’s fine. How this relates to a Kosovo that seems to be governed more functionally than that is beyond me.

    “Kosovo has never been part of an independent Albania”

    That question hasn’t been raieed, not by me, not by any of the responsible in Kosovo, not by anyone in the Republic of Albania. In fact, pan-Albanian nationalism seems to be much weaker than pan-Serb nationalism–no one wants a unified Greater Albania, scary and unrealistic maps by defunct and/or marginal groups aside.

    “and was never an independent entity unto itself.”

    … and? Like Kosovo, before 1945 Slovenia was never an independent entity unto itself, Slovenia constituting a collection of provinces and scraps of provinces under the Hapsburgs, at best making up a banovina in the latter days of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Should Slovenia be immediately transferred to Austrian sovereignty?

    “It has had a firm relationship with Serbia.”

    OK. Why didn’t the democratic Serbian government put forward a plan to make Serbia a binational country like Belgium or Canada?

    “On the matter of “precedents”, the two Germanys were recently reunited. A precedent showing how territories can be reunited. The comeback of the DDR dissolving can be replied to with the notation that the SSRs also dissolved.”

    That’s not precise. If North Ossetia was an independent state, that would be completely unobjectionable. As it isn’t such, and is in fact a constituent entity of the Russian Federation, Ossetian reunification in the current cirucmstances looks a lot like a Russian landgrab.

    Note that Abkhazia, as I’ve said, is a different matter altogether.

    “The long drawn out negotiating on Northern Ireland and Cyprus serves as firm proof that there’s no need to quickly enforce a Kosovo settlement against Serbia.”

    In the cases of Northern Ireland and Cyprus, British sovereignty in those six counties and the armed Turkish presence in the north of that island haven’t been seriously questioned. They really can’t be, in light of the Protestant and Turkish majorities in those territories. Again, Kosovo is altogether different in that regard, having a decidedly large non-Serb majority going back at least a century and not having been governed from Belgrade since 1999.

    “I’ve personally suggested a scenario of Kosovo having full UN and IOC membership as an irrevocbaly autonomus part of Serbia. Soviet era Ukraine and Bealrus had full UN membership. The same standing is true of non-nations Hong Kong, Puerto Rcio and the British Virgin Islands in relation to the IOC.”

    Out of curiosity, what incentives do Kosovars and the Kosovar government have to accept that?

  • For openers, Kosovo isn’t exclusively Albanian land by any stretch of international decency. Only taking into consideration the Albanian (“Kosovar”) view is overtly partisan advocacy. Unlike the US government, Russia takes the objective position of seeking a mutual accord between both parties.

    It’s only in the last 100 years that Kosovo became an Albanian majority. This due in large part to ethnic cleansing campaigns against Serbs and massive migration from Albania to Kosovo, with much of it being illegal.

    The point about Northern Ireland and Cyprus is that those conflicts saw/see a prolonged negotiating process. In comparison, there’s no legitimate need to rush an unfair solution to Kosovo. On Turkey, its eastern flank is heavily populated by Kurds. The Turks were more brutal towards the Kurds than the Serbs towards the Albanians. Keeping in mind that the Albanians have had their share of brutal manner.

    Kosovo is roughly 15% of Serb territory. Why wasn’t the mostly Serb populated Krajina (since ethnically cleansed of its Serb majority) within Croatia’s Communist drawn boundaries given autonomy by the half-Slovene/half-Croat dictator Tito? He gave it to Kosovo, after which the terrorism against non-Albanians increased. Democratic multi-ethnic Serbia is on record for supporting mass autonomy for Kosovo.

    Unlike Kosovo, North Ossetia is a republic in a federation. South Ossetia and North Ossetia have a lengthy past as being jointly affiliated with a state whose capital is in Russia.

    You’re very wrong about claiming a greater nationalism on the part of the Serbs. Maps of Greater Albania appear much more prevalent than those of a Greater Serbia. The “nationalist” Serb Radical Party has much better relations with minorities (particularly Slovaks, Roma and Romanians) than the repackaged KLA in Pristina. Over the decades, Albanians left Albania to settle in Serbia. You don’t see non-Albanians trying to enter Albania.

    Pridnestrovie’s government is noticeably less brutal and corrupt than the repackaged KLA in Pristina. Pridnestrovie’s government also presides over a society at multi-ethnic peace much unlike the ethnically divisive Albanian nationalist politicians in Pristina. Pridnestrovie’s government fares well in a comparison with Moldova’s. There’re countries with less land mass and-or population than Pridnestrovie. Historically, Pridnestroive isn’t as related to Moldova when compared to Kosovo’s relationship with Serbia. Socio-economically, Pridnestrovie is better off than Moldova and Kosovo.

    Kosovo’s “government” isn’t more “functional’ than Pridnestrovie’s. The repackaged KLA are linked to organized crime. Kosovo’s “independence” is a farce. At present quite possibly the years to come, a Western force will be the ones with the great power in Kosovo.

    Slovenia is 90% Slovenian and has been such for quite some time. As previously noted, Kosovo’s sudden (over the past 100 years) demographic change is the large result of ethnic cleansing campaigns and migration (much of it illegal).

  • Once again, there’s UNSCR 1244, supporting the legitimate Serb claim on Kosovo and contradicting the circumspect decision (put mildly) of some to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

  • “It’s only in the last 100 years that Kosovo became an Albanian majority. This due in large part to ethnic cleansing campaigns against Serbs and massive migration from Albania to Kosovo, with much of it being illegal.”

    That really isn’t factual. Travellers in the region noticed a slight Albanian majority overall, in the range of 60-65% of the total population, this majority becoming stronger in the south and a minority in the south. Kosovo became Albanian, it seems, as part of the south-to-north migrations that saw Vojvodina become Serbian.

    “In comparison, there’s no legitimate need to rush an unfair solution to Kosovo. On Turkey, its eastern flank is heavily populated by Kurds. The Turks were more brutal towards the Kurds than the Serbs towards the Albanians. Keeping in mind that the Albanians have had their share of brutal manner.”

    Why is it an unfair solution? I’d approve of Kurdish independence in Turkey if it was practical, preferably through peaceful measures but as a post-conflict outcome if necessary. That won’t happen, because Turkey’s leaders are much more intelligent and pragmatic than their Serbian counterparts.

    “Kosovo is roughly 15% of Serb territory.”

    … and?

    “Why wasn’t the mostly Serb populated Krajina (since ethnically cleansed of its Serb majority) within Croatia’s Communist drawn boundaries given autonomy by the half-Slovene/half-Croat dictator Tito?”

    It wasn’t given autonomy, perhaps, because it didn’t constitute a self-contained unit and was dependent on ties with Zagreb, and because the Serb majority was never higher than 60%? Tito did transfer territories from eastern Croatia (Srem?) to Vojvodina, so he was hardly the unregenerate roatophile you portray him as being.

    “He gave it to Kosovo, after which the terrorism against non-Albanians increased. Democratic multi-ethnic Serbia is on record for supporting mass autonomy for Kosovo.”

    Should it be believed? See Vladimir Arsenejevic’s “Our negroes, our Albanians.”

    “Unlike Kosovo, North Ossetia is a republic in a federation. South Ossetia and North Ossetia have a lengthy past as being jointly affiliated with a state whose capital is in Russia.”

    But that’s still a landgrab by a larger state against a smaller. I can be convinced, mind–I have been for Abkhazia–but South Ossetia takes more prodding. What borders would be included?

    “You’re very wrong about claiming a greater nationalism on the part of the Serbs. Maps of Greater Albania appear much more prevalent than those of a Greater Serbia.”

    Cite, please? It’s a simple fact that while people in Republika Srpska have been widely talking about unifying with Serbia, their homologues in Kosovo haven’t been talking about unifying with the Republic of Albania.

    “The “nationalist” Serb Radical Party has much better relations with minorities (particularly Slovaks, Roma and Romanians) than the repackaged KLA in Pristina.”

    That’s why a leading Radical is on the record as teling Hungary that if Hugnary recognizes Kosovo, things might happen to the Magyars in Vojvodina (nudge nudge wink wink).

    “Over the decades, Albanians left Albania to settle in Serbia.”

    When did this happen? It wouldn’t have happenedin the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, since that regime encouraged the mass emigration of Albanians and other Muslims to Turkey. It doesn’t make sense that this would happen under the Stalinist regime in Albania, since returning emigrants would bring the sorts of stories about rich Yugoslavia that North Korea’s leaders keep their country hermetically sealed off. It couldn’t have been after the fall of Communism, since Albanians from the Republic of Albania went overwhelmingly to rich First World Italy and Greece than to a strongly anti-Albanian Serbia that was about it see its GDP halved. It couldn’t have been after 1999, since Kosovo was a place that people left in huge numbers rather than a magnet for population movements.

    “You don’t see non-Albanians trying to enter Albania.”

    Although you’re apparently starting to see Kosovars. After a decade of relative mismanagement in Serbia and reasonably good outcomes in Albania, Albania has managed to close a good bit of the economic gap.

    “Pridnestrovie’s government is noticeably less brutal and corrupt than the repackaged KLA in Pristina. Pridnestrovie’s government also presides over a society at multi-ethnic peace much unlike the ethnically divisive Albanian nationalist politicians in Pristina.”

    The bans on Latin-script schooling included?

    “There’re countries with less land mass and-or population than Pridnestrovie.”

    And less contiguous land?

    “Historically, Pridnestroive isn’t as related to Moldova when compared to Kosovo’s relationship with Serbia.”

    It was an integral part of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1945. Isn’t that 1945 benchmark enough?

    “Socio-economically, Pridnestrovie is better off than Moldova and Kosovo.”

    That’s, hmm. I’ll have to ask for cites.

    The case that you’ve made for Transnistria is at least as strong as that which could be made for Kosovo. There was never any mass expulsion of Transnistrians by the Moldovan state, for instance.

    “Kosovo’s “government” isn’t more “functional’ than Pridnestrovie’s. The repackaged KLA are linked to organized crime. Kosovo’s “independence” is a farce.”

    Why? As a sovereign state, Kosovo can enter into relations with all manner of sovereign states and multilateral agencies in a way that even a highly-autonomous province can’t. Québec might have a foreign affairs ministry, but it can only do what the Canadian government will let it do. Kosovo won’t face such constraints.

    “At present quite possibly the years to come, a Western force will be the ones with the great power in Kosovo.”

    … and?

    Question: Are Russian military forces still deployed in Transnistria?

    “Slovenia is 90% Slovenian and has been such for quite some time.”

    But Slovenia was never a historical unit unto itself, which you yourself have defined as key to any nation hoping to prove its independence. Either you’re right that Slovenia should be disaggregated into its component parts and transferred to Austria or, in some cases, Italy, or you’re wrong and independence makes as much sense for Slovenia as for Kosovo.

    (As for the lack of ethnic cleansing, well, look at what happened to Istrian Italians and Gottschee Germans.)

  • Among other evidence, I understand that there’s Ottoman Turkish census data supporting the fact that Albanians replaced Serbs in Kosovo as a majority over the past 100 years.

    Your recent note doesn’t give a date of the stated 60%-65% claim.

    Turkey’s leaders have been far more brutal, less democratic and multi-ethnically tolerant than their Serb counterparts. For their part, the repackaged KLA leadership in Pristina aren’t more democratic and multi-ethnically tolerant than the Serb political establishment.

    As for your “Negroes” reference, the autonomy given to Kosovo is akin to the problems of “states’ rights” in the US. It’s the non-Albanians of Kosovo who have suffered the brunt of nationalist violence.

    Are you saying that Abkhazia has a better case than South Ossetia? A common Georgian complaint pertains to the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in an area (Abkhazia) where Georgians were said to have outnumbered Abkhaz.

    Maps of Greater Albania seem to far outweigh those of Greater Serbia. A recent poll shows most Albanians preferring to live in one state. Republika Srpska seems to be at a considerably more peaceful level than Kosovo. Non-Serbs have arrived in RS. This includes shrines being built for them. In Kosovo, Serb shrines continue to be destroyed by nationalist thugs.

    You didn’t successfully refute the fact based claim that the Serb Radical Party has a much better record of dealing with minorities (particularly the Roma, Romanian and Slovak communities) when compared to the repackaged KLA leadership. It’s bogus to pretend that Hungarian nationalist transgressions are non-evident. Several years ago, the Hungarian government came out with a report saying that Serbia’s ethnic Hungarians were better off than their kin in Romania and Slovakia. The Radical Party mayor of Novi Sad denounced a recent wave of foreign (as in from outside of Serbia and non-ethnic Serb) neo-Nazi violence in his city.

    It’s no secret that many Albanians have illegally left Albania for Serbia during the Hoxha years as well as before. For that matter, North Koreans are known to have fled the DPRK for China. The Kosovo-Albania border has been difficult to police much like the US-Mexican one. Letting Albanians into Kosovo served Tito well. It helped offset Serb numbers and was a kick in the butt of sorts to his rival Hoxha.

    Pridnestrovie was an autonomous region in the USSR before 1940. After WW I and prior to 1940, Moldova was part of Romania. Pridnestrovie was never part of an independent Moldova.

    There’s no “ban” of Latin script in Pridnestrovie. Pridnestrovie has a considerably far more progressive language policy than Estonia and Latvia. Western countries hypocritically presented the Latin script issue to Pridnestrovie. In turn, Pridnestrovie saw to it that Latin script can be taught. It’s not that popular there.

    You have things upside down when comparing Pridnestrovie to Kosovo. The three communities in Pridnestrovie haven’t experienced mass instances of ethnic cleaning. Moreover, the Western occupation force in Kosovo are the ones with the real power, thereby making Kosovo’s claimed “independence” a farce. Russian peacekeeping forces in Pridnestrovie played a positive role in ending the brief war there. Unlike the American government, Russia isn’t so partisan. It doesn’t recognize Pridnestrovie as an independent state, while encouraging ongoing negotiations between Chisinau and Tiraspol.

    On Slovenia, the fact of the matter is that it’s 90% ethnically Slovenian, inclusive of it being a former Yugo republic unlike Kosovo, which is part of the Serb republic. To my knowledge, Slovenia didn’t become 90% ethnically Slovenian on account of ethnic cleansing campaigns and mass migration from abroad.

    You once again don’t address the matter of UNSCR 1244.

  • Mr. MacDonald

    Getting back to your last set of comments:

    Your explanation on why the largely Serb inhabited Krajina wasn’t given autonomy within Croatia’s Communist drawn boundaries, unlike Kosovo in Serbia overlooks that Vojvodina was also given autonomy within Serbia. This despite Vojvodina having non-Serb ethnic contituencies totalling under 50%.

    Please expand on your “contiguous” boundary claim in relation to Pridnestrovie. There’re internationally recognized countries with less land mass and-or population than Pridnestrovie.

    Your reference to other ethnic cleansing campaigns reflects a rather old world way of looking at things. This plays well into the ethnically divisive situation in Kosovo. Serbia minus Kosovo has shown itself more responsible than the repackaged KLA in Pristina.

    Without Serb approval, Kosovo will not make it into the UN. This is why my suggested settlement plan is within reason. From the looks of things, it’s the most even handed attempt at trying to please both sides.

  • BTW, why second guess Slovenia’s existence over Bosnia?

    The Christian majority in Bosnia would probably support a partition of that entity.

    I recall Kissinger referring to it as a hodge podge, much unlike the other former Yugo republics.

  • 1. For the past few centuries, there seems to have been a northwards shift in populations in that part of the western Balkans, with Albanians moving into Kosovo and Serbs moving into Vojvodina. This movement, from poorer areas to richer ones, has continued to this day. As late as the 1931 Yugoslav census, the Serb percentage of Vojvodina’s population (33) was considerably less than the 47% plurality of Hungarians and Germans combined.

    As for Kosovo, the Ottoman censuses weren’t really very good censuses, relying upon religion instead of ethnicity or language and not using modern methods. Many of the censues and the notes of travellers do suggest a population divided between Albanians and Serbs, one group or the other predominating.

    By the early 20th century, different observers (1) seem to have settled by saying that two-thirds or so of Kosovo’s population was Albanians, Tim Judah (Kosovo: War and Revenge) summing up the situation by saying that “much of the southern and western parts of Kosovo were thoroughly Albanian” but “that other parts had compact Serbian populations, especially in the east and from Mitrovica to the then Serbian border” (15). The 1921 Yugoslav census did return figures suggesting that, of the four hundred thousand people in Kosovo, three-quarters were Muslims and two-thirds of the total population were Albanian by language.

    I’d like to apologize for misattributing Vladimir Arsenijevic’ Sign and Sight essay “Iur negroes, our enemies”. In that essay, Arsenijevic talks about how successive Serbian governments have constructed Albanians as the Other.

    One of the legends that did the rounds in Milosevic’s version of the news was a historical myth that went roughly like this: “Once there were far fewer Albanians than Serbs in Kosovo. But over the years (by means of a miracle that has never been fully explained! V.A.) they came to Kosovo across the Albanian border and just settled here in our country, before our very eyes, without so much as a ‘by your leave’.” Equipped with what in our eyes were positively animal-like qualities, they developed the collective determination of termites and, what is more, bred like rabbits. Their uncontrollable virility and high birth rates made us shiver, indeed we shuddered with disgust. At the same time the Serbs were constantly being publicly entreated to profess their hatred of the “shiptars.” No Serb was considered worth his salt unless he cherished this hatred. Thus official propaganda during the Milosevic era, supported unerringly by the media, declared the “shiptars” to be the Serbs’ archetypal enemy; indeed, without this enemy the Serbs’ own existence would have been practically unthinkable. For where would Batman be without his Joker? Now the “shiptars” were no longer pathetic Uncle Toms. On the contrary, they had transformed themselves into terrifying, dangerous demons, intractable and persistent in their mission to take over our historic territory, to snatch away from us the Kosovo Polje, the Kosovo Field, “the cradle or our culture,” to steal our myths, to rob us of that which belonged to us by “historic right”.

    2. Turkey’s policy towards its Kurds hasn’t been good, but Turkish society is more complicated than that. Kurds who assimilated, like members of many minority ethnic groups which assimilated into a melting-pot society, could rise high–Turgut Özal was partly of Kurdish background. The Turkish state reacted, and has reacted very badly, to potentially separatist groups, not to the apoliticized existence of those ethnic groups, or the people who belonged to them.

    Shall we make comparisons to Serbia. Fine. Could anyone seriously imagine an Albanian president of Serbia, or a Serbia that was bilingual in Serbian and Albanian like Canada is bilingual in English and French?

    3. On the subject of Abkhazia, I tend to agree with Thomas de Waal that although Abkhazia has a weaker case (Abkhazia lacked a pre-1991 Abkhaz majority, Abkhazia is potentially a less viable state, Abkhazia hasn’t been removed by the UN from the sovereignty of its parent state) it’s case is still relatively plausible and deserves to be heard. More, unlike a South Ossetia with disputed borders, Abkhazia has a defined frontier.

    even after the genocidal massacres at Srebrenica, that city hasn’t been transferred to the sovereignty of the Bosnian-Croat Federation. Even Republika Srpska’s sovereignty over Srebrenica derives entirely from the mass slaughter of thousands of the people who lived there, it can count on holding that indefinitely.

    4. Please provide a link to this poll. The Economist cites a 2005 poll in Kosovo that 90% wanted independence but only 10% wanted to unite with Albania. In greater detail,
    2004 conclusions of the International Crisis Group suggest that pan-Albanianism just isn’t popular.

    ICG’s research suggests that notions of pan-Albanianism are far more layered and complex than the usual broad brush characterisations of ethnic Albanians simply bent on achieving a greater Albania or a greater Kosovo. It is instructive that both the KLA and NLA started to gain popular support in Kosovo and Macedonia respectively at precisely the time when they moved away from their initial pan-Albanian nationalist goals and concentrated on more rights for their own people. The “Albanian National Army” (ANA) which overtly advocated a “Greater Albania” agenda, never managed to gain popular credibility. Violence in the cause of a greater Albania, or of any shift of borders, is neither politically popular nor morally justified.

    In Albania since the arrival of multiparty politics, poverty and internal political conflict have eclipsed any aspirations towards expanding the state’s boundaries. Albania is more interested in developing cultural and economic ties with Kosovo, whilst maintaining separate statehood; and successive Albanian governments have opted for a strategic partnership with Macedonia as both aspire towards membership of NATO and the European Union.

    There remains a risk of conflict in Kosovo, where the question of future status has not yet been resolved. The desire of the vast majority of Kosovo’s population for independence is supported by most Albanians elsewhere in the Balkans. However an independent Kosovo is quite a different matter from a Greater Albania. The international community’s problem is to manage the process of dealing with Kosovo’s final status without destabilising its neighbour.

    Albanians from Albania, it turns out, don’t really like Kosovars. Why would they want to build a common state with them?

    As for Republika Srpska’s pluralism, all I can say is that a fall in RS’ Serb proportion from 97 to 96% doesn’t indicate a flourishing multiculturalism. At least Dodik acknowledging the Srebrenica massacres.

    5. The Serbian Radical AParty was founded by a man, Vojislav Seselj, who made jokes about carving out Croats’ eyeballs with rusty spoons and is now on trial at The Hague for alleged war crimes. It’s true that back in 1999 Seselj seemed worried for Cenak. It’s also true that the 2004 electoral successes of the Radicals coincided with attacks on Vojvodina’s minorities, and that Hungarian political leaders in Vojvodina greeted a Radical official’s warning that things might happen to local Hungarians if not as a welcome warning but as a latent threat.

    6. Leaving aside the lack of citations you provide as to migration from Albania to Kosovo, the fact remains that the thing that pushed the numbers of Albanians so high is the very high birthrate among ethnic Albanians in Yugoslavia. Living in isolated and very traditional rural communities on the fringes of an industrializing Yugoslavia, lacking any particularly close ties with any of the other populations in the country, Albanians were quite resistant to the demographic transition and their population grew in proportion to their world record birthrate. The same, incidentally, is true of Kosovar Serbs; Noel Malcolm claims that the 1981 census showed that Kosovar Serb women were likely to give birth to 3.4 children, versus 1.9 for their counterparts in inner Serbia.

    7. As for language freedom, Wikipedia provides an adequate overview of the situation for Latin-script schools in Transnistria.

    8. You have things upside down when comparing Pridnestrovie to Kosovo. “The three communities in Pridnestrovie haven’t experienced mass instances of ethnic cleaning.”

    I quite agree. It’s always a bad idea to opt into a war that features revolutionary ethnic violence, if only because–as the Sudeten Germans found out after the end of the Second World War–very bad things will happen to you if you lose. Bosnia after 1995 and Kosovo after 1999 are just two of the case studies which demonstrate the exceptional difficulty of restoring multiethnic societies after conflict.

    “Moreover, the Western occupation force in Kosovo are the ones with the real power, thereby making Kosovo’s claimed “independence” a farce. Russian peacekeeping forces in Pridnestrovie played a positive role in ending the brief war there.”

    The Russian 14th Army mutinied and openly allied with the Transnistrians.

    “Unlike the American government, Russia isn’t so partisan. It doesn’t recognize Pridnestrovie as an independent state, while encouraging ongoing negotiations between Chisinau and Tiraspol.”

    How better to keep Moldova hanging on?

    9. There was mass ethnic cleansing in Slovenia, of Germans (down from 1910’s 103,949 German-speaking people in Slovenia to the 1991 census which recorded “just 745 Germans and Austrians, plus an additional thousand people speaking German as their mother tongue [. . .] about 0.08 percent of the population.” As for the Italians, the estimates seem to suggest that thirty thousand people fled from what was now western Slovenia, mostly Italians.

    10. Vojvodina’s Serbs also wanted autonomy, in keeping with the territory’s long tradition of self-rule. As I’m sure you know from your familiarity with the Radicals, even that party has come to accept that principle as it has moved away from eye-gouging.

    11. I do think that Kosovo will make it into the UN. Above, I’ve linked to a blog post of mine where I compared Kosovo to Bangladesh, both territories syuffering abusive rule by a central state which, when liberated by foreign armies, went on to declare their independence. The situation facing Bangladesh was quite bleak between the massive Chinese armies on India’s northern frontier and the American aircraft carrier group in the Bay of Bengal and the seventy thousand Pakistani prisoners of war. And yet, despite all those complicating factors, not only did seventy countries recognize Bangladesh in five months (a slower rate, I’d add, than the thirty country which recognized Kosovo in one month), but in three years China and Pakistan dropped their objections to Bangladesh’s United Nations membership.

    Kosovo’s UN membership won’t come overnight, I grant you, and not after several years. But it will come and, in the meantime, there’s no reason why Kosovo can’t enjoy the fruits of diplomatic recognition with the growing list of countries which do recognize it. Besides, it isn’t as if Taiwan has been hampered by its near-universal non-recognition. Merging with a Serbia that wants the land but abhors the people is as bad a non-solution as can be imagined.

    12. As for UNSCR 1244, a process began, proposal mades, and the process failed. Hence, independence. It’s not the neatest solution, I’ll grant you, but if it worked for Bangladesh (and Eritrea, though that country liberated itself) why not?

  • 1. For the past few centuries, there seems to have been a northwards shift in populations in that part of the western Balkans, with Albanians moving into Kosovo and Serbs moving into Vojvodina. This movement, from poorer areas to richer ones, has continued to this day. As late as the 1931 Yugoslav census, the Serb percentage of Vojvodina’s population (33) was considerably less than the 47% plurality of Hungarians and Germans combined.

    As for Kosovo, the Ottoman censuses weren’t really very good censuses, relying upon religion instead of ethnicity or language and not using modern methods. Many of the censues and the notes of travellers do suggest a population divided between Albanians and Serbs, one group or the other predominating.

    By the early 20th century, different observers (1) seem to have settled by saying that two-thirds or so of Kosovo’s population was Albanians, Tim Judah (Kosovo: War and Revenge) summing up the situation by saying that “much of the southern and western parts of Kosovo were thoroughly Albanian” but “that other parts had compact Serbian populations, especially in the east and from Mitrovica to the then Serbian border” (15). The 1921 Yugoslav census did return figures suggesting that, of the four hundred thousand people in Kosovo, three-quarters were Muslims and two-thirds of the total population were Albanian by language.

    I’d like to apologize for misattributing Vladimir Arsenijevic’ Sign and Sight essay “Iur negroes, our enemies”. In that essay, Arsenijevic talks about how successive Serbian governments have constructed Albanians as the Other.

    One of the legends that did the rounds in Milosevic’s version of the news was a historical myth that went roughly like this: “Once there were far fewer Albanians than Serbs in Kosovo. But over the years (by means of a miracle that has never been fully explained! V.A.) they came to Kosovo across the Albanian border and just settled here in our country, before our very eyes, without so much as a ‘by your leave’.” Equipped with what in our eyes were positively animal-like qualities, they developed the collective determination of termites and, what is more, bred like rabbits. Their uncontrollable virility and high birth rates made us shiver, indeed we shuddered with disgust. At the same time the Serbs were constantly being publicly entreated to profess their hatred of the “shiptars.” No Serb was considered worth his salt unless he cherished this hatred. Thus official propaganda during the Milosevic era, supported unerringly by the media, declared the “shiptars” to be the Serbs’ archetypal enemy; indeed, without this enemy the Serbs’ own existence would have been practically unthinkable. For where would Batman be without his Joker? Now the “shiptars” were no longer pathetic Uncle Toms. On the contrary, they had transformed themselves into terrifying, dangerous demons, intractable and persistent in their mission to take over our historic territory, to snatch away from us the Kosovo Polje, the Kosovo Field, “the cradle or our culture,” to steal our myths, to rob us of that which belonged to us by “historic right”.

    2. Turkey’s policy towards its Kurds hasn’t been good, but Turkish society is more complicated than that. Kurds who assimilated, like members of many minority ethnic groups which assimilated into a melting-pot society, could rise high–Turgut Özal was partly of Kurdish background. The Turkish state reacted, and has reacted very badly, to potentially separatist groups, not to the apoliticized existence of those ethnic groups, or the people who belonged to them.

    Shall we make comparisons to Serbia. Fine. Could anyone seriously imagine an Albanian president of Serbia, or a Serbia that was bilingual in Serbian and Albanian like Canada is bilingual in English and French?

    3. On the subject of Abkhazia, I tend to agree with Thomas de Waal that although Abkhazia has a weaker case (Abkhazia lacked a pre-1991 Abkhaz majority, Abkhazia is potentially a less viable state, Abkhazia hasn’t been removed by the UN from the sovereignty of its parent state) it’s case is still relatively plausible and deserves to be heard. More, unlike a South Ossetia with disputed borders, Abkhazia has a defined frontier.

    4. The Economist cites a 2005 poll in Kosovo that 90% wanted independence but only 10% wanted to unite with Albania. In greater detail,
    2004 conclusions of the International Crisis Group suggest that pan-Albanianism just isn’t popular.

    ICG’s research suggests that notions of pan-Albanianism are far more layered and complex than the usual broad brush characterisations of ethnic Albanians simply bent on achieving a greater Albania or a greater Kosovo. It is instructive that both the KLA and NLA started to gain popular support in Kosovo and Macedonia respectively at precisely the time when they moved away from their initial pan-Albanian nationalist goals and concentrated on more rights for their own people. The “Albanian National Army” (ANA) which overtly advocated a “Greater Albania” agenda, never managed to gain popular credibility. Violence in the cause of a greater Albania, or of any shift of borders, is neither politically popular nor morally justified.

    In Albania since the arrival of multiparty politics, poverty and internal political conflict have eclipsed any aspirations towards expanding the state’s boundaries. Albania is more interested in developing cultural and economic ties with Kosovo, whilst maintaining separate statehood; and successive Albanian governments have opted for a strategic partnership with Macedonia as both aspire towards membership of NATO and the European Union.

    There remains a risk of conflict in Kosovo, where the question of future status has not yet been resolved. The desire of the vast majority of Kosovo’s population for independence is supported by most Albanians elsewhere in the Balkans. However an independent Kosovo is quite a different matter from a Greater Albania. The international community’s problem is to manage the process of dealing with Kosovo’s final status without destabilising its neighbour.

    Albanians from Albania, it turns out, don’t really like Kosovars. Why would they want to build a common state with them?

    As for Republika Srpska’s pluralism, all I can say is that a fall in RS’ Serb proportion from 97 to 96% doesn’t indicate a flourishing multiculturalism. At least Dodik acknowledging the Srebrenica massacres.

  • Since war’s end, mosques are built in Republika Srpska whereas churches are destroyed in Kosovo. As for massacres in Srebrenica, there was the initial one involving the Nasir Oric led massacre of Serbs. As is true with “independent” Kosovo, the RS leadership has its limits, due to the occupation clout of outsiders from the region. The latter kept shooting down fact based RS reports on the Srebrenica massacres. The pro-Izetnegovic side has had a history of trumping up casualty figures. Based on what’s known and not known, the claimed 7000-8000 Muslims males summarily executed at Srebrenica is probably another exaggeration like the total killed during the Bosnian Civil War 200,000 and more versus the recently established 100,000, as well as the absurd rape claims. You say that RS is voer 90% Serb. Present day Kosovo is voer 90% Albanian. Unlike Kosovo, RS has had a comparatively lenghthier status of a republic in name, inclusive of its constitution.

    Albanians have their clan differences that result in some violent fighting among themselves. Nevertheless, there’re the Greater Albania maps and a recent poll (more recent than the mentioned Economist one) showing that most Albanians prefer living in one state (will research it upon request). The mentioned 2005 Economist poll is questionable, given that source’s coverage of a number of former Communist bloc issues. The way it describes Pridnestrovie’s leadership in comparison to the repackaged KLA is one of several cases in point. Another of many examples is how its chief central/eastern European person recently described the political mood in Ukraine at a RFE/RL gathering. He highlighted how eastern Ukraine is interested in EU membership without noting that area’s equally if not greater interest in forging closer ties with Russia and Ukraine’s ongoing public opinion opposition to NATO membership. On disputed former Communist bloc territories, said person claims that Russia fears separatist movements in Russia. The fact of the matter is that Pridnestrovie and South Ossetia seek reunification with Russia. There’re others areas which would no doubt express the same desire if given the opportunity. Separating from Russia is nowhere near as popular. Albanian governments have been the most sympathetic towards Kosovo’s separation from Serbia. Northern Albania was a KLA terror base. The not so Serb friendly American diplomat Christopher Hill said that Greater Albania is a threat. He said this at the end of the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). Albania remains a much poorer place than Serbia. Unlike the repackaged KLA in Pristina, democratic/multi-ethnic Serbia hasn’t threatened force as a political weapon vis-à-vis Kosovo.

    The ICG is a Soros propaganda front featuring no semblance of objectivity whatsoever. Among many examples is how it recommended greater Albanian language rights for Macedonia. On the other hand, that org., hasn’t advocated for Estonia and Latvia to do the same relative to the Russian language. A review of ICG members further confirms its heavily skewed way of looking at things. Much like how some continue to gloss over UNSCR 1244.

    At this point in time, can anyone seriously imagine an American Hispanic candidate? How about a Muslim PM in Britain? What about an elected Serb official in Kosovo? The fact of the matter is that Serbia minus Kosovo has a good sized Albanian population. By and large, they don’t seem to have many problems.

    Turkey has been much more brutal to the Kurds than what the Serbs could be legitimately accused of doing to the Albanians. Moreover, KLA instigated goonery saw Albanians willing to work with state structures threatened and killed.

    Your claims of Serb hatred of Albanians grossly overlooks the behavior that has been prevalent on the Albanian nationalist side. Diane Johnstone (whose Counterpunch article I linked at this thread) provides firsthand details. The fact of the matter is that Serbs/Serbia minus Kosovo has the much better record at multi-ethnic relations than the 1974-89 Kosovo Albanians and the pre-repackaged and repackaged KLA.

    Tim Judah’s cited claim isn’t more scientifically valid than the mentioned Ottoman Turkish census. In addition, there’re numerous other sources showing how the demographic shift of an Albanian majority in Kosovo is recent (within the last 100-120 years). Some of the core reasons of which can’t be considered as a legitimate basis for suddenly separating Kosovo from Serbia.

    You offer nothing to show why Krajina should’ve been denied autonomy within Croatia’s Communist drawn boundaries unlike Vojvodina.

  • That’s the Tito imposed Vojvodina as an autonomus unit within Serbia. For consistency sake, Croatia could’ve very easily been broken up into autonomous regions.

  • If the Kosovo Albanians don’t like Albania, then why do they overwhelimngly prefer the Albanian flag? For decades, many of them sought leaving Hoxhox’s misery, while hoping for the post-Communist day of either a Greater Albania or independent Kosovo. Of recent note, there’ve been rumblings in Macedonia with its Albanian minority.

    It’s noteoworthy how some Soros thinking types view ethnic groups in other countries. I recall a Fistful of Euros post cheering for a demise of the ethnic Russian population in Pridnestrovie. Never minding that they’ve behaved in a collectively more responsible manner than those ethnic groups with elements practicing terrorism.

  • [deletia of Srebrenica denialism]

    1. The ethnic homogeneity of the Republika Srpska emerged, from 54 to 97% ion the space of vie years, as a result of massacre and wholesale expulsion. The ethnic homogeneity of Kosovo, at least up to 1981, was the product of a much higher birth rate. Let’s say that that the hundred thousand Serb and Montenegrin emigrants hadn’t left Kosovo by 1981 and had stayed. The Albanian majority recorded in that year’s census would have fallen from 77.4% to 72.8%.

    Republika Srpska has existed for only a bit under two decades. An autonomous Kosovo has existed since 1945. Which should take precedence?

    2. I’d quite appreciate information on this, more recent, poll, as the evidence I’m familiar with suggests that pan-Albanianism is a politically marginal movement. In Le monde diplomatique (hardly an American agent!) Dérens and Geslin conclude (“The dream of a Greater Albania” that “[a] number of radical, but marginal, militant networks openly campaign for it, but they may not have much popular support. There is still considerable distrust between the citizens of the republic of Albania and the Albanians from former Yugoslavia, long separated by history,” going on to note that “the issue of a national trans-border “Albania” is a reality” to which only European integration can be a final solution.

    “The way it describes Pridnestrovie’s leadership in comparison to the repackaged KLA is one of several cases in point.”

    Is this about Edward Lucas again?

    “At this point in time, can anyone seriously imagine an American Hispanic candidate? How about a Muslim PM in Britain?”

    Good points, but the point that I’m trying to make is that for as long as there has been a Yugoslavia, there have been Albanians in Kosovo. For as long as there has been a Republic of Serbia, there have been Albanians in Kosovo, a rapidly growing population, too. Why have they remained on the outside?

    “What about an elected Serb official in Kosovo?”

    Outside of the north? Point.

    “The fact of the matter is that Serbia minus Kosovo has a good sized Albanian population. By and large, they don’t seem to have many problems.”

    Half of the sixty thousand Albanians in the Republic of Serbia live in Presevo, famously host to its own rebellion back in the day.

    “Your claims of Serb hatred of Albanians”

    Not claims, sadly, but verifiable going back at least a century, when the journalist Trotsky among others saw Serbian militia setting fire to the homes of Albanians across Kosovo. This strongly anti-Muslim bias, evidenced by Plavsic when she talked about Bosnian Muslims as genetically defective Bosnian Serbs, was accompanied by a very nasty assault of domestic freedoms inside of Serbia. The backlash against feminism and women’s rights was motivated at least partly by the desire to create a Serbia that was as close to a neo-traditionalist ideal as possible.

    “Tim Judah’s cited claim isn’t more scientifically valid than the mentioned Ottoman Turkish census.”

    Please provide me with some sorts of citations.

    “In addition, there’re numerous other sources showing how the demographic shift of an Albanian majority in Kosovo is recent (within the last 100-120 years).”

    The transformation from a two-thirds majority to a five-sixths majority over the lifetime of the SFRY had more to do with higher Albanian birth rates than anything else. For the previous half-century, as Yugoslav censuses confirm, that majority had remained stable.

    “If the Kosovo Albanians don’t like Albania, then why do they overwhelimngly prefer the Albanian flag?”

    It’s a marker of ethnic identity?

    “For decades, many of them sought leaving Hoxhox’s misery, while hoping for the post-Communist day of either a Greater Albania or independent Kosovo.”

    Cites that they actually made the trip out, please. As things stand, population increase among Yugoslavia’s Albanians are amply explained by a very high birth rate.

  • Andy, was that you who deleted the genocide denier bit? I’ve no problems debunking such babble. The kind of crapola that has been levied on Edward Herman and David Petersen for sticking to the facts.

    Trotsky was known to stretch things a bit in a certain direction. In more recent times, the same can be said of such journalists as Roy Gutman and Roger Cohen. Peter Brock’s book is a great read on the kind of less than truthful reporting out there on the subject:

    http://www.mediacleansing.com/

    I’m in the process of reading Belgium journalist Michel Collon’s book on the subject. I’ve yet to see any solid rebuttal to the recent Counterpunch articles of Johnstone and Szamuely.

    You take the cake on what to highlight and not highlight. You previously mentioned other ethnic cleansing campaigns that led to the establishment of current borders. Like it or not, Republika Srpska was established as a republic with the approval of the anti-Serb Clinton administration. The 1995 Dayton Accord said that after four years, RS could establish its own parallel relationship with other states. Now, you’ve propaganda fronts like the Bosnian Institute seeking to eliminate RS altogether. Kudos to Tariq Ali for denouncing the anti-Serb venom of that org. As for ethnically cleansed Kosovo, UNSCR 1244 (which you continue to not address) clearly stipulates Kosovo remaining a part of serbia. it alos calls for a limited return of Serb military and civilian government personnel to the province.

    You’re factually wrong for saying that an “autonomous” Kosovo has existed since 1945. Such an entity was evident from 1974-89 as a part of the Serb republic in Yugoslavia. That autonomy was changed because of the increased terrorism against non-Albanians during that period.

    Your mentioned “rebellion” in Presevo was for good part instigated by Albanians with ties to Kosovo. Ditto some of the Albanian nationalist mayhem in Macedonia. I recall the National Albanian American Council playing advocate for the Albanians of Macedonia. Pan-Albanianism is a factor as Christopher Hill and others have noted. I’ll send a query out on the poll I referenced.

    I quickly your numbers of Albanians living in Serbia minus Kosovo. I’ve seen higher figures, especially in relation to the Belgrade area. Again, multi-ethnic Serbia has a comparatively better record dealing with other ethnic groups when compared to Albanians dominated Kosovo.

    The matter of Pridnestrovie doesn’t only pertain to Edward Lucas. It relates to sites like Greater Surbiton and Fistful of Euros and other venues having extreme geopolitical double standards on the discussed topic. From the point of view of history, human rights, economics and politics, Kosovo doesn’t have a better case for independence than Pridnestrovie. I don’t think it has a better case than South Ossetia. Kosovo has been part of Serbia since 1912. It was never an independent entity unto itself or a part of an independent Albania. its relationship with Serbia goes back centuries.

    UNSCR 1244 isn’t written in a way that supports Kosovo separating from Serbia against Belgrade’s will. It’s quite noteworthy that the EU isn’t a monolith on Kosovo’s independence. Ditto the Organization of the Islamic Conference and other nations. “Independent” Kosovo isn’t independent in terms of actual governance and acceptance in numerous international orgs. like the UN and IOC.

    I’ll follow-up on the Kosovo census data over the past 100 years. Meantime, your cite of Judeh isn’t a scientific slam on the Ottoman Turkish census. The demographic change from a Serb to Albanian majority in Kosovo are threefold having to do with ethnic cleansing campaigns, migration from Albania to Kosovo (much of it illegal) and your mentioned high birth rate. Over the decades the migration from Albania to Kosovo has been reasonably measured in the tens of thousands. Much like the illegal migration from Mexico to the US, It’s probably not easy to give a direct pinpoint figure. In a recent post, you seemed to acknowledge this with a statement about southern based people moving north.

    In an effort to deflate Serbia’s claim on Kosovo, Albanian nationalists portray the province as being initially inhabited by Albanians. In conjunction with that view is the comment about Slavs arriving in the Balkans after the Albanians. The origin of the Albanians is a matter of historical debate. It is said that modern day Albanians are likely derived from one or more groups, who were in the Balkans before the Slavs. In terms of significant numbers and a well established presence, reasonable evidence indicates that the Serbs predominated the Kosovo area of the Balkans before the Albanians. More recent history shows that the Albanian numbers in Kosovo started to increase in the 15th century, after the region had a noticeably inhabited Serb makeup.

    Regarding some of the discussion at this thread:

    American Council for Kosovo
    http://savekosovo.org/default.asp

    Edward Herman, “Book Review: Travesty”, Z Magazine Online, Apr. 2007
    http://zmagsite.zmag.org/Apr2007/hermanpr0407.html

    G. Richard Jansen, “Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo: An Abbreviated History”, Colorado State University, June 15, 2007
    http://lamar.colostate.edu/~grjan/kosovohistory.html

    Adrian Karatnycky, “The Condescension of the Christian West”, First Things, Aug./Sept. 1999
    http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9908/opinion/karatnycky.html

    Nebojsa Malic, “The Suspended Castle: Kosovo’s Unsustainable Independence Claim”, Antiwar.com, Nov. 2, 2000
    http://www.antiwar.com/malic/m110200.html

  • On the mentioned migration from Albania to Kosovo over the last 100 years, its should read as at least in the tens of thousands. It has been suggestively put in the hundreds of thousands. One thing for sure: it has been a key factor in the demographic change, to go along with the ethnic cleansing campaigns and comparatively high birth rate of the Albanians.

  • An acquaintance of mine just forwarded this note:

    Around 25 years ago I was at the State Library of Victoria (Melbourne) looking up something or rather and I found on a shelf a hard cover annual book from Yugoslavia. It was published by the Federal Government of Yugoslavia, it was hard cover and written in Cyrilic. It contained a range of statistic including annual budgets, outputs and I suspect demographics. I have been meaning to visit the library and see if I can find the book, for simlar reasons. This gives me a good reason to try tomorrow. It is now after 5.00 pm Saturday. It will be shut. But being Easter not sure it would be open.

    The Metropolitan Library (I think) in New York has a branch on Slavic studies, containing a host of information and publications for those interested in Slavic studies. I looked it up when I visited New York in 1998, but it was shut on the day I visited; a Tuesday from recollection. If you have time, pay them a visit and see what you can find there.

    Also, a good source, at least in headlines terms is to go to the NY Times website and search the archives. Type in subject and period, and you will find, as I did, a headline going back to around 1874 which reported that Serbs in large numbers were being driven out of Kosovo by Albanians.

  • I followed some of the discourse on Kosovo with interest.

    Randy McDonald is missing several important facts when promoting/supporting Kosovo’s independence.

    The proper name is Kosovo i Metohija, indicating an amalgam of two territories, Kosovo and Metihija. The reference to Metohia clearly indicates the monastic influences of the Serbian Orthox Church in the region dating back to the 11th century. Serbia had established an independent Kingdom, within the Byzantine state as far back as the 12th Century, stretching from the Danube to Greece.

    Regarding Kosovo’s population mix. It is often quoted in the media that 50% of Kosovo’s population is under 21 years of age i.e. born after 1987, about the time Molosevic was elected to public office in Serbia.

    Interpolating that statistic, it becomes clear that the ethnic mix of Kosovo was vastly different a decade earlier.

    A Radio Free Europe Reasearch (see links below) shows some statistics from 1971 and a decade earlier. It shows that over the 10 years to 1971, Kosovo’s population doubled from 664,000 to 1.244 million. The number of people identifying themselves as Albanian had increased by 570,000 people (10.25% per annam!!), to represent 73.8% of the population, compared to 67.1 in 1961. That is a 265% increase in the number of Albanians. A decade or so earlier (1945-1950) Albanians would have represented 50% of Kosovo’s population and possibly less.

    By comparison, the Serbian population grew by a mere 1,500 persons. This is during the golden years of economic prosperity globally and in Yugoslavia and during which the population grew throughout Yugoslavia. The post war baby-boom was not unique to the West.

    Such statistics support the hypothesis that:
    1. Kosovo Albanians had a higher than normal birth rate – but even this alone would not fully explain the 10.25% population growth.
    2. Influx of illegal immigration from Albania – would account for a large proportion.
    3. Ongoing pograms against Serbs, forcing their departure in large numbers – definitely. Even a modest 2.5% growth should have seen the number of Serbs closer to 300,000.
    4. A plagua the only affected Serbs. Pigs might fly too.

    However you look at it, Kosovo should not have been given to the Albanians on a platter. They had no legal or moral right to it.

    Website: http://files.osa.ceu.hu/holdings/300/8/3/text/3-1-72.shtml

    original PDF document: http://files.osa.ceu.hu/holdings/300/8/3/pdf/3-1-72.pdf

  • Andy: I’m referring to this at the top of Randy MacDonald’s last post:

    “deletia of Srebrenica denialism]”

    I’m not the denier in terms of what happened there with Nasir Oric as well as what’s reasonably known and not known about the second and more popularized massacre involving serb on Muslim violence.

    Here’s some other thread related material just forwarded to my attention:

    “A Response to Noel Malcolm’s Book: Kosovo, a Short History”
    http://www.kosovo.net/nmalk.html.

    Also, “Kosovo and Metohia: A Historical Survey” by Dusan T. Batakovic
    http://www.kosovo.net/default3.html

    Here is a demographic study, “The Migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija: Results of the Survey Conducted in 1985-1986”
    http://www.rastko.org.yu/kosovo/istorija/kosovo_migrations/index.html

  • Some other material just forwarded to me. One can find all three elements of migration from Albania to Kosovo, terrorism against Slavic Orthodox Christians and the comparatively high brth rate of Albanians. Nothing giving credence to an existing Albanian majority in Kosovo before WW II.

    Somoene noted to me that the Ottoman census data if anything might’ve underrepresented the Serb numbers, rather than inflate them. Once gain, note that Kosovo was never part of an independent Albania, or an independent entity unto itself. Centuries before 1912, Kosovo had been part of an earlier Serb nation.

    The bottom line is that Kosovo doesn’t have a better case for independence than pridnestyrovie when comparing history, human rights, overall demographics through the decades and centuries and political structure. To a lesser extent: when reviewing those key factors, South Ossetia arguably has a bertter case as well. Recognizing Kosovo’s independence while denying it to others skews the international system of judging independence. MMA

    ****

    EMIGRATION AND DEMOGRAPHY IN KOSOVO, By Steve Reiquam
    http://files.osa.ceu.hu/holdings/300/8/3/text/118-2-80.shtml

    498,000 (68.5%) in 1948; 647,000
    (67.2%) in 1961; 916,000 (73.7%) in 1971; and 1,227,000 (77.5%) in 1981.
    The Serbian population of Kosovo, in contrast, increased in only
    absolute terms (171,000, 189,000, 227,000, and 228,000 in 1948, 1953,
    1961, and 1971, respectively), while initially stagnating and then
    declining in relative terms (23.6%, 23.5%, 23.6%, and 18.4%). By 1981,
    however, there were 209,792 Serbs in Kosovo, comprising only 13.2%
    of the total population. Therefore, between 1971 and 1981, the number
    of Serbs in Kosovo decreased by 18,472 in absolute terms.

    The Montenegrin population of Kosovo increased during the first
    three censuses after World War II (28,000, 31,000, and 37,000 in 1948,
    1951, and 1961, respectively), while in 1971 and 1981 their total
    population dropped first to 31,500 in 1971 and then to 26,000 in 1981.
    In 1981 the Montenegrins accounted for only 1.7% of the total Kosovo
    population.
    pressure exerted on Serbs and Montenegrins by Albanians, including “many
    cases of physical attack, attempted rape, damage to crops, [and
    the] desecration of Serbian monuments and gravestones,” has
    created a tense atmosphere conducive to Slav emigration from the
    area.

    II) http://www.vor.ru/Kosovo/history_eng.html

    Kosovo was annexed to Serbia after the Balkan war of 1912-1913 when the number of Serbs and Albanians was nearly equal. Albanians began to arrive in Kosovo in great numbers during the Second World War after the province was occupied by the Nazis. Thousands of Serbs and Montenegrins were forced to leave Kosovo while Albanians came to settle there from Albania.

    III)eng.globalaffairs.ru/numbers/20/1132.html

    Before WWII, there were approximately an equal number of Serbs and Albanians living in Kosovo.

    IV) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/balkans/overview/kosovo.htm

    By the time the Serbs reclaimed Kosovo in the Balkans Wars of 1912 to 1913, ethnic Albanians made up a significant portion of the population. They became a majority by the 1950s as their birth rate boomed and Serbs continued to migrate north

    V)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Kosovo

    Numerous colonist Serb families moved into Kosovo, equalizing the demographic balance between Albanians and Serbs. Kosovo’s status within Serbia was finalised the following year at the Treaty of London.

    VI)

    http://www.demog.berkeley.edu/~gene/migr.html

    6th paragraph
    By some accounts as many as 80,000 out of perhaps three-quarters of a million Serbs fled with them, settling in eastern Slavonia and the Hungarian plain. These are not inconsiderable migrations. (In the late 17th century from Kosovo.

    VII) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Kosovo

    The non-Serbian population of Kosovo didn’t exceed 2% by the end of the 14th century.

    VIII) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Kosovo

    A study done in 1871 by Austrian colonel Peter Kukulj for the internal use of the Austro-Hungarian army showed that the mutesarifluk of Prizren (corresponding largely to present-day Kosovo) had some 500,000 inhabitants, of which:

    318,000 Serbs (64%),
    161,000 Albanians (32%)

    IX) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Kosovo

    Map of Alfred Stead, published in 1909 , shows that similar numbers of Serbs and Albanians were living in the territory.

  • I just received Savo Heleta’s book on his experiences as a child, which included living with Muslims in Gorazde. Unlike lying Rajmonda: http://www.aeronautics.ru/nws001/cbc01.htm, Heleta’s account appears believable. Mind you that he was raised in believing the multi-ethnic Yugoslav ideal as a secular Serb. He details the prevalent Muslim nationalism, which contrary to anti-Serb folklore wasn’t created by “Serb nationalists”.

    Info. on Heleta and his book:

    http://www.savoheleta.com/

    A recent article of his on Kosovo:

    http://www.newropeans-magazine.org/content/view/7744/110/

  • Michael, thanks for the info about my book.

    To go back to the topic of Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence, those countries that supported independence argue that Kosovo is a unique case in the world. They say that Serbia lost its right to govern the province because of the deep-rooted conflict and mistrust between the two ethnic groups.

    What about an independent Palestine, Kurdistan, Tibet, Tamil region in Sri Lanka, and many others? Secessionist tendencies, mistrust, and deep-rooted conflict are not unique to Kosovo only.

    Tibet is already burning. We may see further escalation of conflict in the Basque region of Spain and parts of France, fighting for independent Kurdistan in Iraq and Turkey, problems in Romania, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, China, the whole African continent with its colonial borders, and elsewhere. German Spiegel comments that “many countries fear that their separatist groups could choose to emulate developments in the Balkans.”

    After Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence received support around the world, it will be hard to say no to others who attempt the same.

    SAVO HELETA
    Author of “Not My Turn to Die:
    Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia”
    http://savoheleta.livejournal.com

  • Savo & Co:

    Hypocrisy reeks big time. Several paleoconservative leaning individuals have noted how Soros and his clique are most anti-nationalist towards those not so willing to accept his attempt to dominate a situation.

    On the other hand, Soros and his clique become noticeably more friendly to those nationalisms (like the Albanian variant) willing to accept his support.

    From a pont of view of Western interests, it makes little sense to go against the Russian and Serb position on Kosovo. Russia has a growing economy and despite years of hypocrically applied sanctions and other hostile actions, the Serb economy is still an important one in the Balkan region.

    From Rambouillet to the present, the Albanian nationalists have been diplomatically spoiled into not accepting a reasonable compromise. The overall situation is such in Kosovo that the Serb position can’t be disrespected in the manner which has been exhibited.

    At present, you’ve a socio-economically dire situation in Kosovo, coupled with the Albanians not actually calling much of the shots in that province. Over time, this has the potential for futher turmoil.

    It remains a much better alternative to get back to the negotiating table. This goes back to my earlier drafted settlement propsal which seems to come closest to satisfying the conflicting Serb and Albanian stances. Until then, Kosovo will likley remain a state that’s not truly independent in governance, while being kept out of major international organizations.

  • I should add that when it comes to the former Communist bloc the neocons and Sorosioan neolibs tend to march lock step.

    Mark MacKinnon’s book entitled “The New Cold War” provided some insight on their activity in the former Communist bloc (see: https://siberianlight.org/2007/11/15/book-review-the-new-cold-war-by-mark-mackinnon/ ).

    In addition to SL, I’m glad that there’re sites like http://www.counterpunch.orghttp://www.antiwar.com & http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org along with http://www.serbianna.com and http://tiraspoltimes.com

    At the same time org’s. like the Soros funded/influenced ICG and OSI have much clout. Media oulets like PBS, NPR and The NYT tend to favor those sources.

    Something to perhaps think about when bashing Russian media for real and-or exaggerated faults.

  • At risk of getting my head removed here, I must say something. Ireland, the lead peacekeeping force in Kosovo and herself a neutral country with no material interest in the region whatsoever, has recognised Kosovo’s independence. Why so? Ireland steers as far clear as possible of warring sides in conflicts, only sending in troops to clean up the mess (e.g. the Congo, Labanon, Liberia). Ireland also clearly has a lot of knowledge of the area, as Mike Averko himself has said before . Why did she see fit to recognise it? I’m asking this in the sense that Ireland has clearly no agendas there and knows a lot about it. Why would country like Ireland, with no axe to grind, recognise it if it didnt have a good case for independence?

  • Why do other EU member states not recognize it? Ditto a number of nations in the Organization of the Islamic Conference. A number of other countries as well. Some of them having no “axe to grind”.

    As for what I said about Ireland in Kosovo: their peacekeepers did a comparatively better job than their peers in confronting the anti-Serb violence in 2004.

    Recognizing former Yug republics as independent states is one thing. Kosovo doesn’t fit that category.

    The Northern Ireland and Cyprus disputes have been given lenghty time for a negotiating process. There’s no legitimate reason whatsoever to rush an unfair process in Kosovo.

  • ”The Northern Ireland and Cyprus disputes have been given lenghty time for a negotiating process. There’s no legitimate reason whatsoever to rush an unfair process in Kosovo.”

    I would agree that there was hardly a rush, but these countries are not really comperable to Kosovo. NI has a Unionist majority and this has never been questioned by any of the parties involved, and thus NI rightly remains part of the UK. But Kosovo does indeed have an Albanian majority wanting to be independent…this alone is a considerable case for secession from Serbia, at least under international law anyway. As for Ireland, they are there many years and I still see no reason to question our own state’s motives in this case (unlike everything else). And some of the other non-axe states you mention have their own seccession issues e.g. Spain, a cobbled-together country if ever there was one. To be honest, I think that the US and the EU have decided to make the best of a bad situation and see Kosovo gone from Serbia – I dont see any underhanded motives. How the Serbs can expect to govern a province in which (a) there is an Albanian majority wanting out and (b) they carried out ethnic cleansing is just beyond me.

  • There is no doubt that it is a precedent, especially considering the post-Cold War era we are living in. Rather than comparing apples with oranges: Kosovo – Bangladesh, why not Kosovo – Kurdistan?

    The only real question is how long? There was a recent comment piece in the british guardian newpaper by the advocacy organization the International Crisis Group declaring that ‘independence’ has been a great success and look, no one is killing each other in the immediate aftermath. Then again, leafing through the CVs of those employed by the ICG, it is hardly surprising to see that there are very few people with solid academic qualifications in the fields that they provide expertise/consultancy in.

    Well, one month after President Wilson introduced the notion of ‘self-determination’, there was neither an upswing in large scale killings. It took much longer and sowed the seeds for the further collapse of the European Empires and their colonies. I would suggest a time scale of 10 years plus, by which time global economic power and influence will have further shifted to the East. We won’t like that.

    What’s to stop, say, the Chinese from deciding that California is independent of the United States and that Texas should be reincorporated into Mexico? They can point to Kosovo to say, ‘the West decided that United Nations resolutions on the fundamental integrity of the sovereign state and the Helsinki Final Act, are optional’. I suppose at that point we could nuke the Chinese of course (not difficult to imagine considering the growth of anti-Chinese hysteria in the West).

    The UN has simply been emasculated by the Western powers. It was useful during the Cold War as a balancing medium, but post 1989, left a weak Russia still with veto powers. Now that is clearly unfair. The UNs role in the former Yugoslavia was systematically undermined with the help of insiders (i.e. the dirty story of how Boutrosx2 Ghali did not get relected and his deputy Annan got the job). Monitoring of elections was wrested away from the UN in 1994(?) and taken over by the ever more ‘managable’ OSCE who have legitimized quite a number of bent elections since (i.e. that the right bastards won, starting with Yeltsin’s 1996 elections).

    Two things have been learnt from non-Western countries about the West since 1989, 1: you cannot trust them; 2: You have to have significant military potential (nukes) to protect your sovereignty (hence the popularity of nuclear weapons techonology as sold globally by US ally Pakistan (Mr. Khan)). Add to this that is was also the West who were first to drop ‘no fisrt use of nukes’ and one has to ask, has Western leadership since 1989 really been that good or brought considerable improvements to the protection of its citizens? It’s a bit too late now….

  • Hi Aleks

    I would of course agree it is a precedent and no doubt a dangerous enough one. But think of it from a simplisitic point of view -perhaps the US and EU simply decided that Serbia governing Kosovo is not going to work, and why not change it now? Why wait for years?

    In any case, Happy Easter everyone:-)

  • How did the Albanians become a majority in Kosovo?

    How long have they been a majority in Kosovo?

    What’s the overall relationship of Serbia to Kosovo?

    *****

    “Independent” Kosvo isn’t truly independent, as per who will be calling most of the shots there in the present and likely distant future.

    Moreover, the US, France, UK, Germany, Turkey and some others disrespect other disputed territories which either have a better or just as good a case for independence.

    UNSCR 1244 is about a negotiating process within the framework of Serbia. Instead, some outside powers diplomatically spoiled the Albanians by backing their independence claims without fair consideration given to the Serb view.

    It’s pleasing to see that not all EU members are united on this. Ditto countries in the Organization of the Islamic Conference and many other nations.

    The compromise is to have Kosovo in the UN as an irrevocably autonomus part of Serbia (noting the precedent of Soviet era Ukraine and Belarus). In addition and with the previously mentioned in mind, Kosovo can have IOC membership like non-nations Hong Kong, Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands.

    Really, who is being the more mature on this? Serbia should’ve none of its rights considered in a settlement? I don’t think so.

  • Russia has been accused of fuckups both real and exaggerated. The US has had its share. Former Yugoslavia is a glaring case in point.

    The Clinton administration encouraged the Izetbegovic regime to not sign onto the Vance-Owen settlement plan of 1992. This contributed to a few more years of fighting and the Dayton Accord which pretty much mirrors the Vance-0wen agreement.

    At Rambouillet, the Clinton adminisdtration attempted to get the Serbs to sign a diktat leading to Kosovo’s independence. When the Serbs rightfully refused, the Clinton administration led NATO bombed Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) for the benefit of the crime ridden KLA.

    On disputed former Communist bloc territories, Russia has the more objective stance.

  • That’s: administration.

    The cavalier attitude of fucking around with someone else’s country isn’t a healthy global sign. It contradicts the idea of seeking a better global understanding.

  • Cheers!

    Indeed, but who knows how all this will unravel? Since 1989 the world has been remaking itself. Some things changed quickly, some more slowly. I certainly don’t have any answers.

    I think the real strategic argument is that by making Serbia smaller/weaker, it is easier to manage, i.e. exactly the same policy that Tito employed and the Serbs accepted. Of course, you can’t just say that in public, hence all the ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy’ talk which is certainly much easier to swallow with large doses of massively exaggerated or fabricated war crimes.

    What we are told is that staying in Serbia is impossible, but unfortunately we are not told how it would function as an stable, ‘independent’ state. We’ve only had assurances that the powers that be know what they are doing and very little in the way of evidence (like Iraq etc.). What is certain is that Serbia will remain unstable and divided for quite a while while which will not bring stability to south east europe.

    If the ‘pro-western’ parties as the popular nomenclatures would have us call them win the upcoming elections with a slim majority, do they have the right to make substantial policies to which slightly less of the population is opposed, and in a state where coalition is the form of government? As for Kosovo, some ‘expert’ commentators have expressed surprise about the Macedonian government being on the brink of collapse.

    There are still too many unpredicable factors in play.

    The recent violence in Kosovo (17 March raid by UNMIK to ‘take back’ the court house) shows how easily things can spiral out of control which already contradicts the main argument of independantists, independence = stability. It’s hardly mature politics to go from it can’t go back, so anything else is better. The real tragedy is that the average albanian is still getting shafted, except far more by their own ‘politicians’, hence the 40% who didn’t come out and vote in the recent Kosovo legislature elections. Poor sods.

    I point I forgot to make in my initial post (and comment on by others elsewhere in the ether) is that why on earth would countries in conflict trust the UN if ‘peace keeping’ forces ultimately become armies of occupation? Add that to the UN Opt-out system that currently exists and the UN is dead as we know it. It makes it a lot harder for the UN to help the undefended or provide critical supplies to refugees.

    Add to this the massive growth in semi-transparent NGOs with certain agendas to push and the expanded use of PR and lobbying to sell ‘humanitarian interventions’ etc. and we see journalists are now effectively considered as the propaganda arms of their respective nations governements and hence are being killed in much greater numbers than ever before. Where does that leave us with actual and reliable information?

    Sorry for being such a cynical sod.

    Back to the question in hand, its evident that ‘independence’ is ‘dependence’ and actually pointless, as were the Balkan wars. As barriers between european states were being brought down, new barriers in the Balkans went up. In whose interests were they? ‘Independence’ puts up barriers which is contrary to the ideal of the EU. It’s ridiculous. It just means that the poor remain poor for longer, hardly the best way to combat everything from organized crime to gender equality.

    How is it that the great democratic nations of the USA and Europe have and still do make a pigs ear of the region? ‘Helpful’ meddling has only caused more death and distruction… I kind of see why the Chinese are so anal about sovereignty…

  • Mike,

    One can go on about who is the majority in Kosovo but I think that this is not really essential. It’s best to focus on whether those that claim to represent the Albanians in Kosovo do and whether they improve the lot of the average albanian. When the Albanians had the upper hand until 1989, they abused their position without fear of sanction. Now, 55% of albanians (I made a mistake above, only about 45% voted) did not vote in the elections. Well why not? We’ve been constantly told how all of them think the same. Could it be that all the main parties who have essentially the same policies did not offer them anything credible? Many promises have been made, very few kept.

    My worry is that if nothing improves within a couple of years, the majority will turn on the politicians (maybe each other), and the politicians will, in time honored fashion, create a new enemy to ‘unite’ their subjects, whether it be in Presevo valley, Montenegro or Macedonia. Either way, the promised ‘stability’ that independence was supposed to deliver will be proved to have been hollow politiking of the ‘do something’ brigade. Still, the EU can continue to throw money at the region, just like Tito did and probably with the same level of success.

  • Here’s something for you to puke on:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/910syuxh.asp

    The Radical Party isn’t more “nationalist” than the repackaged KLA.

    Serbia minus Kosovo is noticeably more multi-ethnically tolerant and democratic than the repackaged KLA in Pristina.

    The stated lack of recent KLA violence stems from Kosovo being very much ethnnically cleansed of non-Albanians. For the moment, KFOR and the repackaged KLA are smart enough to not lean too heavy on the mostly Serb inhabited area of Mitrovica.

    Once again, Kosovo is socio-economically downtrodden with a Western force calling most of the shots. If this continues, it’s a recipe for further turmoil. Some will no doubt blame Moscow and Belgrade for this.

  • Aleks

    They’re the ones using the demographics as an issue. I’m replying to it by noting how the current status came about.

    Given the circumstances, it’s way too simplistic to say that just because an area suddenly changes in ethnicity, it has a right to secede.

    In Pridnestrovie, this argument has more legitimacy given the history between Pridnestrovie and Moldova, which isn’t as intertwined as Serbia with Kosovo. Also in consideration is Pridnestrovie’s better record at self governance, human rights and multi-ethnic harmony.

    It’s quite telling how the pro-Koosvo independence side either ignores UNSCR 1244 or misrepresents it.

  • Honorable mention:

    http://www.takimag.com/info/about/

    It’s one thing to say something isn’t in Western interests, thereby making sense for the West to take a given stand. However, there’re clear indications that’s what sometimes advocated isn’t in the West’s best interests.

    At a relatively high profile venue, someone stated what I’d said awhile back about the advocacy to communicate from the position of the West’s best interests, rather than giving the impression of being anti-West.

    Peter Rodman, Lawrence Eagleburger, Ruth Wedgwood, Lewis MacKenzie, James Bissette and several others opposed to Kosovo’s independence aren’t anti-West. The neolib Sorosians and neocons shouldn’t be presented as being the sole foreign policy interest reflecting the West on former Communist bloc issues.

  • “They’re the ones using the demographics as an issue.”

    Yup, and like their supporters ignore the realities. If it has to be addressed it is quite simple. 2 million odd Albanians in Kosovo is not sustainable. They can’t pay for themselves. As soon as a visa free regime is introduced, a good portion will leave. It’s an EU bank account where money is deposited and it disappears forever.

    I’m looking forward to (sarcasm)the screaming headlines about invasions of hoards of albanians into europe! Unfortunately, whilst Europe is happy to damn the Czechs and others for anti-roma discrimination, they’re quite happy to deport them back to the ‘safe’ potemkin Kosovo where they live behind barbed wire in shitty conditions ‘protected’ by KFOR. Human rights for some, not for others.

    It is indeed simplistic to argue that the majority population is right, but that is exactly what is being done because they have no better argument. Instead of explaining why they believe UNSCR 1244 contains an opt out for special cases that are strictly in their foreign policy interests, they give a totally different answer. They don’t give a shit. One day they will. Unfortunately much of the ‘intelligentsia’ follow this line too, many of the same cretins who thought doing Iraq was a good idea.

    So, for all the talks of human rights etc. it simply comes down to this: Might is right.

    That’s the big lesson for the 21st century (and all the previous ones). If you are strong enough, they’ll think twice about *!#%&($ with you. Now how’s that for the improvement of the human condition?!

  • Savo Heleta

    Re your comment: “After Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence received support around the world, it will be hard to say no to others who attempt the same.”

    Perhaps that is exactly what the EU and USA want!! Tibet is the first manifestation of it. EU has nothing to fear internally, states are lining up to join it. USA has no states contemplating secession any time soon.

    States that have nothing to loose territorially, but a lot to gain from EU and USA patronage will support Kosovo’s independence. Those that have something to loose, will not recognise Kosovo and in so doing defacto accept the precedent. For states already in the EU, such as Spain it matters little if they do not recognise it. They may still establish economic ties.

    I would expect to see more civil unrest of the Tibetan variety, within China and Russia, most likely externally sponsored.

  • Ger O’Brien

    Regarding your question on why Ireland has chosen to recognise Kosovo? It implies Ireland knows something no other person does.

    The question is best put to Ireland’s Foreign Minister.

    Political patronage would be one explanation.

    Don’t believe that the states that recognised Kosovo were motivated by some spontaneous euphorea in celebration of the freedom and liberty just secured by an opressed group of people right in the middle of Europe. Behind each state there would have been a flurry of meetings, telephone calls, wheeling, dealing and cajoling by EU and USA aparatchniks, and begging by Kosovo’s KLA operatives.

    Surely you read up on the meeting and planning for Kosovo’s orchestarted declaration of indepndence between the EU president from Slovenia and US diplomats. Some of the points presented to the EU president by the Americans included: must be on a Sunday so that Russia cannot call an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, must be followed by the immediate recognition of a few key states etc.

    However you put it it is illegal and immoral. It paves the ground for further Balkan unrest as Albanians, emboldened by Kosovo’s sucess will aim to unite Albanians living in other Balkan states. As was the case with Kosovo, they will use the high birth rate and illegal immigration as their weapon of choice.

    Albania’s Foreign Minister call it the natural progression for all Albanians to live in one state. That aim has nothing to do with opression and more to do with territorial aspirations.

  • Second attempt. Pardon if duplicated.

    Sir I

    Russocentric people seeking independence are excluded from this mindset.

    Very often, I suspect that any number of nations don’t always give an educated reply to a given foreign policy issue.

    How often does Ireland go agasinst the US on key foreign policy issues? I recall Ireland attending the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Other than that, I suspect that Ireland pretty much goes along with official Washington.

    In the US, the Albanians have been quite effective at lobbying. I don’t believe this should serve as a reason for going against America’s best interests. If a politician is receiving a 5-15K annual donation from one group to a conflict, who is he/she likely to support?

    My impression is that the Serbs don’t lobby as well in the US because they aren’t as monolithically organized. I also understand that peo-Serb lobby groups aren’t given as free a reign. A matter relating to the hypocritical sanctions levied against Serbia.

    Aleks:

    For close to a hundred years, my family has continuously owned either in full or in part a home in a former Soviet republic. At play, is an understanding of common law relating to property.

    Serbia’s relationship with Kosovo doesn’t seem so dissimilar.

    You probably saw this piece:

    http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=17527&IBLOCK_ID=35

  • Third submission. Pardon if sent in three.

    On the Kosovo demographics, I recall Steven Erlanger expressing the same consensus of the info. I posted. Erlanger said this on an NPR show when he was covering former Yugoslavia. He impresses me as being more objective than Tim Judah.

    This article is about the anti-Serb bias in American politics:

    http://jewishworldreview.com/julia/gorin031908.php3

    Several years ago, a Maryland Serb-American Congresswoman lost her seat for expressing reasoned commentary on the former Yugoslav conflict. I understand that anti-Serb ethnics thru money and support to unseat her.

    Since then, the few elected Serb-American politicians take neutered stands on former Yugoslav issues.

    I’m not familiar with Irish politics and foreign policy. I do know that the situation in the US is very skewed when it comes to Russia and Serbia.

  • ”The question is best put to Ireland’s Foreign Minister.

    Political patronage would be one explanation.”

    It would have been 20 years ago Sir I, but not anymore. Ireland does not toe the US line as it used to, and recently our police check US planes landing here for fuel for ‘renditions'(entirely illegal in Ireland). But none of this answers the question; a small, neutral country with a large peacekeeeping contingent in Kosovo chooses immediately to recognise independent Kosovo. Its not for no reason. By the way the fact that I’m Irish is actually irrelevant.

    ”I’m not familiar with Irish politics and foreign policy. I do know that the situation in the US is very skewed when it comes to Russia and Serbia.”

    You arent missing much excitement in Irish politics, thats for sure. And certainly the US view of Russia and Serbia is skewed. But the reverse is also as true if not more so. You should see some of the tv shows in Russia, the political ones. ‘Hysterical’ is a mild description of some of the anti-US rhetoric there.

  • And as American Russian speaking folks in Russia have noted, you can find views that are more in line with the skewed imagery found in American mass media.

    This is even more true of Serb media – much of it being funded by folks thniking along the lines of the OSI and ICG. I suspect that Putin’s “crackdown” had Serbia in mind.

    I gather that Kosovo isn’t the most talked about subject in Irish political society. It’s easiest to overlook particulars on topics that aren’t of great concern. Conversely, it’s also true that one can be biased on topics more near and dear to them.

    I make it a point to spend a good deal of time reading and listening to views that are different from my own. This includes providing direct replies to what I’m in disagreement with.

    Overall, I really don’t see the folks at the Council on Foreign Relatains taking a more reasoned overview on former Yugoslav matters.

  • BTW, as someone of Russian origin, I’ve criticized Russian policies relating to how Russia responded to Western NGOs in Ukraine, conduct in the two Chechen wars and Russian government funded English language media/PR efforts. The kind of criticism which I’ve found shared by many Russians, while not tending to be as well received by English language mass media types; who appear to favor a different spin.

    It’s okay to have a viewpoint, provided it’s plausibly explained in a way that includes direct replis to the opposing view.

  • First, I’ll turn to the RFE/RL document (““Emigration and Demography in Kosovo”) cited by a couple of people upthread.

    “Consider the following statistics: the Albanian population of Kosovo has grown constantly, both in absolute and relative terms, according to all the
    post-Second World War censuses [1]: 498,000 (68.5%) in 1948; 647,000
    (67.2%) in 1961; 916,000 (73.7%) in 1971; and 1,227,000 (77.5%) in 1981.”

    That rate of population growth breaks down to 3.2% per annum. That’s a high rate by the standards of Muslim societies into the Mediterranean basis: Algeria saw growth of 2.9% per annum over the same period, Turkey saw 2.4%, and the Republic of Albania saw 2.45% over 1960-1980.

    The high rate of Kosovar Albanians can be explained by the fact that, unlike Algerians or Turks or people in the Republic of Albania, they lived in a wealthy European state with medical services that helped depressed the death rate relative to those other, poorer countries. If we want to explain that differential by saying that the the extra 0.5% over Albania represents the Albanian migrants, that means that four-fifths of the growth in Albanian numbers can be explained by natural increase and that Kosovo still has a large and growing Albanian majority that exists via legitimate means.

    How far back does this majority go? Mr. Averko linked to Wikipedia’s page on Kosovo’s demographic history. It certainly predates 1921, since 75% of Kosovo’s population was Muslim and 65% of the total were speakers of Albanian. Two early 20th century writers, one German and one English, seemed to agree that Kosovo was a bit more than three-fifths Albanian at this time, a large majority in the south fading into a minority in the north. This fits with the obervations contained in the books of Tim Judah and Noel Malcolm.

    In the 19th century, the studies of Müller in southwestern Kosovo suggests that Kosovo was already becoming quite mixed (19% Serb-speaking Muslims, 39% Albanian-speaking Muslims, 38% Serb-speaking Orthodox, 3% Albanian Roman Catholics). Appears to be: Other 19th century sources referenced in the Wikipedia article suggest that by before the century’s end, most of the land area of Kosovo was mostly populated by Albanians.

    It does look like the Albanian majority in Kosovo goes back a long ways, predating any population changes in the period of the world wars (atrocity and counter-atrocity) and the SFRY (birth rate trumps immigration), to perhaps 150 years. That’s easily long enough to qualify this population as legitimate, especially in a European continent where the fact that once Germanophones predominated in Breslau and Königsberg and Fennophones in Viipuri means nothing.

  • Aleks:

    “There is no doubt that it is a precedent, especially considering the post-Cold War era we are living in. Rather than comparing apples with oranges: Kosovo – Bangladesh, why not Kosovo – Kurdistan?”

    As I said above, I entirely agree that an independent Iraqi Kurdistan would fit squarely into the Bangladesh-Eritrea-Kosovo precedent.

    The only problem for Iraqi Kurdistan is that it, most unlike Kosovo, exists in a regional environment that would be quite hostile towards an independent Kurdish state. It would help if the region’s government actually did try to control the terrorists who are attacking Turkey and using Iraqi Kurdistan as a base.

    “What’s to stop, say, the Chinese from deciding that California is independent of the United States and that Texas should be reincorporated into Mexico?”

    Among other things, shortages of Californians who want to be independent of the United States and Texans who want to become Mexicans.

  • Now, on to some points I’d neglected to develop in the past owing to an over-active spam filter (thanks for clearing that up, Andy!)

    The Serbian Radical Party was founded by a man, Vojislav
    Seselj
    , who made jokes about carving out Croats’ eyeballs with rusty
    spoons and is now on trial at The Hague for alleged war crimes. It’s true
    that back in 1999 Seselj seemed worried for Cenak. It’s also true that the 2004 electoral successes of the Radicals coincided with attacks on Vojvodina’s minorities, and that Hungarian political leaders in Vojvodina greeted a Radical official’s warning that things might happen to local Hungarians if not as a welcome warning but as a latent threat.

    Speaking on the subject of Transnistria, leaving Wikipedia’s overview of the situation for Latin-script schools in Transnistria aside, all that I care to say is that Transnistria was lucky to avoid the revolutionary ethnic violence that ended up producing a NATO occupation in Kosovo and the end of Serb sovereignty over that province.

    “Moreover, the Western occupation force in Kosovo are the ones with the real
    power, thereby making Kosovo’s claimed “independence” a farce. Russian
    peacekeeping forces in Pridnestrovie played a positive role in ending the
    brief war there.”

    The Russian 14th Army mutinied
    and openly allied with the Transnistrians. This is a “positive role” how?

    “Unlike the American government, Russia isn’t so partisan. It doesn’t
    recognize Pridnestrovie as an independent state, while encouraging ongoing
    negotiations between Chisinau and Tiraspol.”

    How better to keep Moldova
    hanging on
    ?

    There was mass ethnic cleansing in Slovenia, of Germans (down from 1910’s 103,949 German-speaking people in Slovenia to the 1991 census which recorded “just 745 Germans and Austrians, plus an additional thousand people speaking German as their mother tongue [. . .] about 0.08 percent of the population.” As for the Italians, the estimates seem to suggest that thirty thousand people fled from what was now western Slovenia, mostly
    Italians.

    Vojvodina’s Serbs also wanted autonomy, in keeping with the territory’s long tradition of self-rule. As I’m sure you know from your familiarity with the Radicals, even that party has come to accept that principle as it has moved away from eye-gouging.

    I do think that Kosovo will make it into the UN. Above, I’ve linked to a
    blog post of mine where I compared Kosovo to Bangladesh, both territories suffering abusive rule by a central state which, when liberated by foreign armies, went on to declare their independence. The situation facing Bangladesh was quite bleak between the massive Chinese armies on India’s northern frontier and the American aircraft carrier group in the Bay of Bengal and the seventy thousand Pakistani prisoners of war. And yet, despite all those complicating factors, not only did seventy countries recognize Bangladesh in five months (a slower rate, I’d add, than the thirty country which recognized Kosovo in one month), but in three years China and Pakistan dropped their objections to Bangladesh’s United Nations membership.

    I agree that Kosovo’s UN membership won’t come overnight, and not after
    several years. But it will come and, in the meantime, there’s no reason why Kosovo can’t enjoy the fruits of diplomatic recognition with the growing list of countries which do recognize it. Besides, it isn’t as if Taiwan has been hampered by its near-universal non-recognition.

    “From a pont of view of Western interests, it makes little sense to go against the Russian and Serb position on Kosovo. Russia has a growing economy and despite years of hypocrically applied sanctions and other hostile actions, the Serb economy is still an important one in the Balkan region.”

    Russia has a growing economy, yes, what is this supposed to signify? The other countries which have recognized Kosovo have growing economies, too, and larger ones.

    As for Serbia, the position of regional leadership that it could have enjoyed if the transition from Communism in Yugoslavia went better has been dissipated by the decade of Milosevic’s rule. Serbia is still an important country, but I can think of at least five in its immediate neighbourhood (Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece) which have larger populations and/or economies and are considered more secure destinations for foreign investment to boot.

    The wider European Union might want an integrated Serbia but it can exist without that; Serbia, on the other hand …

  • Among existing nation states, there’re regions having an ethnic minority of the nation as a majority in a particular area. That Albanians numbers have increased in Kosovo is indicative that the “oppression” card against them is a bit on the bunk side. Especially when it ignores the oppression of non-Albanians in Kosovo.

    There’s apparently no conclusive evidence legitimately suggesting an Albanian majority in Kosovo a hundred years ago. The change to an Albanian majority in Kosovo seems to noticeably take shape after WW II. This change involves ethnic cleansing campaigns and illegal immigration. Wikipedia wasn’t the only source linked at this thread.

    Mr. MacDonald continues to not address the matter of UNSCR 1244. To not address it, while showing only an exclusive concern for the Albanian position is a very heavy handed advocacy.

    Once again, note the “new world order” hypocrisy of using past ethnic cleansing campaigns as a basis for supporting a nationalistically divisive Albanian state in Kosovo.

    Were it not for foreign intervention, the KLA wouldn’t have won against the Serbs in Kosovo. It’d instead be a scenario somewhat similar to the current situation in eastern Turkey and Chechnya. Serb actions in Kosovo weren’t worse than how Turkey and Russia dealt with their recent separatist issues. Matters which haven’t completely ended.

    At Koningsburg (now Kaliningrad), the Nazis were thoroughly defeated by the country (USSR) which had been attacked by Nazi Germany. This point doesn’t excuse Soviet, Czech and Polish actions taken against German civilians at the end of the war. Rather, it’s to highlight that the KLA didn’t defeat Serbia. Moreover, UNSCR 1244 is by no means a Serb capitulation of Kosovo.

    Talk about a lack of respect for honoring agreements.

  • ”I gather that Kosovo isn’t the most talked about subject in Irish political society. It’s easiest to overlook particulars on topics that aren’t of great concern”

    It isnt, but that doesnt mean our people at the top dont know whats going on there. We have a lot of trops in Kosovo, and the Irish taxpayer is paying for the jaunt, myself included. To be honest -and this is not nationalism -I would be very suprised if our Foreign Minister didnt think this one through with the Cabinet. But I agree with the overall theme here that this is a dangerous precedent that opens all manner of Pandoran Boxes.

  • Hence, there was no real need to rush a judgment that completely dicked over one of the two parties in the process.

    In this sense, the decision to recognize an “independent” Kosovo isn’t the most rational of options.

  • “Among existing nation states, there’re regions having an ethnic minority of the nation as a majority in a particular area. That Albanians numbers have increased in Kosovo is indicative that the “oppression” card against them is a bit on the bunk side.”

    Simialrly, the large growth in the numbers of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Algerians under French occupation, and South Asians under British occupation shows that, contrary to the claims of those natinoalists, Palestinians, Algerians, and South Asians of all types enjoyed

    “Especially when it ignores the oppression of non-Albanians in Kosovo.”

    That existed in the context of
    thrown about either way.

    “There’s apparently no conclusive evidence legitimately suggesting an Albanian majority in Kosovo a hundred years ago.”

    If you’d like to take the royal census of 1921 to be complete irrelevant, and the various estimates of the late 19th and earyl 20th centuries don’t exist for you, sure, there’s “apparently no conclusive evidence” for that. There’s equally no conclusive evidence for a Serbian majority in Kosovo, either..

    “Mr. MacDonald”

    McDonald, please.

    “continues to not address the matter of UNSCR 1244. To not address it, while showing only an exclusive concern for the Albanian position is a very heavy handed advocacy.”

    I’ve been trying to address it, but my comments keep getting caught by this blog’s spam. (Help?) Suffice it to say that this resolution has been superseded by the course of events, and that there already exists precedents for unilateral declarations of independence being recognized after conflict situations, particularly Bangladesh but also Eritrea.

    “At Koningsburg (now Kaliningrad), the Nazis were thoroughly defeated by the country (USSR) which had been attacked by Nazi Germany. This point doesn’t excuse Soviet, Czech and Polish actions taken against German civilians at the end of the war.”

    No, it doesn’t. If the international community has demonstrated itself so completely unconcerned with the relationship of international frontiers to the long-established geographical boundaries that it has agreed to let Poland takes Breslau and Russia Königsberg and Viipuri, there’s no way that it’s going to concern itself with Kosovo where an Albanian majority had been established for at least a century. If we’re goung to use historical grounds, then on logic just as strong one may as well hand Vojvodina back to Hungary–why, that province had a documented non-Serb majority until the 1930s!

  • Finally, I’d like to address some points that I’ve been kept from doing so by the spam block.

    1. The Serbian Radical Party was founded by a man, Vojislav
    Seselj
    , who made jokes about carving out Croats’ eyeballs with rusty
    spoons and is now on trial at The Hague for alleged war crimes against civilians in Croatia. It’s true
    that back in 1999 Seselj seemed worried for Cenak. It’s also true that the 2004 electoral successes of the Radicals coincided with attacks on Vojvodina’s minorities, and that Hungarian political leaders in Vojvodina greeted a Radical official’s warning that things might happen to local Hungarians if not as a welcome warning but as a latent threat.

    2. Leaving aside the lack of citations you provide as to migration from
    Albania to Kosovo, the fact remains that the thing that pushed the numbers
    of Albanians so high is the very high
    birthrate
    among ethnic Albanians in Yugoslavia. Living in isolated and very traditional rural communities on the fringes of an industrializing
    Yugoslavia, lacking any particularly close ties with any of the other
    populations in the country, Albanians were quite resistant to the
    demographic transition and their population grew in proportion to their
    world record birthrate. The same, incidentally, is true of Kosovar Serbs;
    Noel Malcolm claims that the 1981 census showed that Kosovar Serb women were likely to give birth to 3.4 children, versus 1.9 for their counterparts in inner Serbia.

    3. As for Transnistria, leaving aside Wikipedia’s summary of the lack of freedom for Latin-script schools in
    Transnistria
    , I’ll agree with you that territory was quite lucky in avoiding a revolutionary ethnic war. If the Moldovan government had expelled half of the area’s Slavs and was compelled to allow them back in only after a three months’ bombing campaign, I agree that ethnic relations would be as bad as they are in Kosovo now. NATO should have prepared in advance, I agree, but NATO planned Kosovo badly.

    “Moreover, the Western occupation force in Kosovo are the ones with the
    real power, thereby making Kosovo’s claimed “independence” a farce. Russian peacekeeping forces in Pridnestrovie played a positive role in ending the brief war there.”

    The Russian 14th Army mutinied
    and openly allied with the Transnistrians. How was that helpful?

    “Unlike the American government, Russia isn’t so partisan. It doesn’t
    recognize Pridnestrovie as an independent state, while encouraging ongoing negotiations between Chisinau and Tiraspol.”

    How better to keep Moldova
    hanging on
    ?

    Myself, I tend to think that Moldova should let Transnistria wherever its population wishes to take it and tack for the European Union.

    4. There was mass ethnic cleansing in Slovenia, of Germans (down from 1910’s 103,949 German-speaking people in Slovenia to the 1991 census which recorded “just 745 Germans and Austrians, plus an additional thousand people speaking German as their mother tongue [. . .] about 0.08 percent of the population.” As for the Italians, the estimates seem to suggest that thirty thousand people fled from what was now western Slovenia, mostly
    Italians.

    Vojvodina’s Serbs also wanted autonomy, in keeping with the territory’s
    long tradition of self-rule. As I’m sure you know from your familiarity with the Radicals, even that party has come to accept that principle as it
    has moved away from eye-gouging.

    5. I do think that Kosovo will make it into the UN. Above, I’ve linked to a
    blog post of mine where I compared Kosovo to Bangladesh, both territories suffering abusive rule by a central state which, when liberated by foreign armies, went on to declare their independence. The situation facing Bangladesh was quite bleak between the massive Chinese armies on India’s northern frontier and the American aircraft carrier group in the Bay of Bengal and the seventy thousand Pakistani prisoners of war. And yet, despite all those complicating factors, not only did seventy countries recognize Bangladesh in five months (a slower rate, I’d add, than the thirty country which recognized Kosovo in one month), but in three years China and Pakistan dropped their objections to Bangladesh’s United Nations membership.

    Kosovo’s UN membership won’t come overnight, I grant you, and not after
    several years. But it will come and, in the meantime, there’s no reason why
    Kosovo can’t enjoy the fruits of diplomatic recognition with the growing
    list of countries which do recognize it. Besides, it isn’t as if Taiwan has been hampered by its near-universal non-recognition. Merging with a Serbia that wants the land but abhors the people in the manner described by Arsenejevic is as bad a non-solution as can be imagined.

  • I’m going to have to bow out of this discussion because this blog’s spam filter keeps chewing up my posts and I can’t respond in timely fashion. Thanks to all for an interesting discussion.

  • It was quick, true enough, but if the outcome wasnt going to be different…why wait?

  • Why should the “outcome” be different?

    “Independent” Kosovo isn’t truly independent. The Albanians don’t call most of the shots in an economically downtrodden area.

    Without Serb approval, Kosovo isn’t going to make the UN and is likely to be excluded from a number of other major international organizations.

    Years ago, what were the considered odds that key IRA leaders would be working with and even getting along with Ian Paisley?

    For that matter, Cyprus still has ongoing negotiations.

    The international situation isn’t better suited by the decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence. Other disputed territories either have a better case, or one that’s on par.

  • Correction of first paragraph in last set of comments:

    The “outcome”, as in the faulty decision of some to recognize Kosovo’s independence need not have been made. It’s a 100% pro-Albanian nationalist diktat, based on faulty premises detailed in prior comments.

    Should US and a choice few others be permitted to dictate faulty policies to the rest of the wotrld?

  • That’s: world

    Russia takes the position of favoring a mutually negotiated settlement.

    The US blew off UNSCR 1244 and took the side of the Albanians.

    For sure, some of the countries recognizing Kosovo’s “independence” are greatly influenced by the US stance.

    Despite, the great global clout of the US, a number of countries remain opposed to Kosovo’s independence. They include some of the EU and Organization of the Islamic Conference nations among others.

    This is by no means a finalized matter.

    The UN secretary general said that UNSCR 1244 is still in effect.

  • But I agree with the overall theme here that this is a dangerous precedent that opens all manner of Pandoran Boxes.

    I don’t think so. Any region wishing to follow this precedent needed to have done it immediately afterwards, and the longer they wait the harder it’s going to be to succeed. The troubles in Tibet are timed more for the Olympic games than anything to do with Kosovo, and Taiwan has just taken a step away from independence from China with is referenda and elections at the weekend.

    Regions getting autonomy are not and never have been based on any kind of precedent. Each case is entirely separate and considered in isolation, with the exception of the aftermath of major events like the collapse of the USSR or the withdrawal of the British from the Empire, which does set off a chain reaction. But in the case of Kosovo, there is no point comparing it to other regions other than for academic purposes, as these other regions are not in the same situation and stage in the game as Kosovo. Some regions might have more of a case for independence, some less so, but that is also largely irrelevant. Kosovo found itself with superpower backing, western media and public sympathy, and Serbia found itself with basically a ruined Russia supporting it. Unless another region can find itself in this situation, nothing will follow Kosovo’s independence.

    The Russians are only issuing dark warnings of dangerous precedents because they have realised they were either too weak or had no wish to reign in the Serbs when they started their ethnic cleansing campaigns in Kosovo, and now the situation is way past their control or influence and they can do nothing but issue dark warnings of dangerous precedents.

  • ”Years ago, what were the considered odds that key IRA leaders would be working with and even getting along with Ian Paisley?”

    Actually they always were going to work with Paisley or the Unionists in the end. They had to. It was a logical progression – the only other way is that they literally killed each other. When that clearly wasnt working, they made peace. In any event, the NI conflict is in no way comperable to Kosovo, it really isnt, and using it in this argument is simply blowing smoke. The original reason for unrest in NI was the 40% nationalist population wanting equal civil rights with Unionists. That NI was to be succeeding from the UK was never ever going to happen. Ever. I understand your point that these conflicts like NI and Cyprus were not hurried, but you dont understand, in the case of NI, why they werent hurried -its because neither the British nor Irish government could compel a quick solution. It wasnt just left there for years, successive Irish and Brit governments tried Plan, A, B,C and D before eventually plan Z worked! In Kosovo an Albanian majority want independence from Serbia, partially cos the Serbs started ethnic cleansing in 1999. What precisely is the problem with that? What happened before is simply not relevant. Going back selectively to times in history and saying ”thats the way it should be” just doesnt work. Serbia morally lost its right to govern, and flawed though the situation is, Serbia shouldnt be allowed hold onto a province whose majority it has abused.

  • ”The Russians are only issuing dark warnings of dangerous precedents because they have realised they were either too weak….”

    I think it goes without saying that Russian motivation for all this is highly suspect. I struggle to think of a single incident in Russian/Soviet history where they involved themslelves abroad for anything except selfish or ego related reasons.

  • Not like some pious blowhards in the West?

    The “humanitarian intervention” types who blab on about Milosevic and the Serbs, while being very mute on Nagorno Karabakh. A disputed former Communist bloc territory which has seen up to 40,000 killed. It’s no secret that Azerbaijan is significantly upgrading its military with the revenue it gets from fossil fuel. Based on her stated concern for humanity, Samantha Power should be stressing a resolution of that conflict.

    These same “humanitarian intervention” types were comparatively silent when NATO member Turkey was acting against the Kurds.

    The fact of the matter is that Russia has taken a far more objective stand on Kosovo than those nations choosing to recognize its bogus independence. It’s not only Russia which is rightfully opposed to Kosovo’s independence. As previously noted, some mainstream thinking American foreign policy observers are also against it, along with other countries.

    Kosovo has everything to do with some other independence minded areas. Scottish nationalists have been quoted using Kosovo as an exampple for their cause. Pridnestrovie and South Ossetia have arguably better claims for independence than Kosovo. Vis-a-vis Kosovo, Pridnestrovie’s and South Ossetia’s claims compare favorably when contrasting historical, human rights and political issues. Key components when determining independence.

    This thread discussed how Kosovo only recently became an Albanian majority and how “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo didn’t start in 1999. Specifically, decades of Albanian nationalist terrorism against Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo. Serb actions weren’t as harsh as how the Turks dealt with the Kurds and Russian actions in Chechnya. The ongoing death toll from the 2003 American attack on Iraq and past US action in Southeast Asia don’t put America in a great moral position relative to Serbia.

    Once again, UNSCR 1244 hasn’t been amended and is still in effect. It directly contradicts the false notion that Serbia lost the right to Kosovo. Diplomatically spoiling the Albanians by recognizing their “independence” (which doesn’t exist for the previously stated reasons) is faulty as shown by how that entity will not make it into the UN and is likely to not become recognized by other major international organizations. Serbia didn’t morally lose its right to Kosovo. Present day Serbia is noticeably more multi-ethnic and democratic than the repackaged KLA in Kosovo. Turkey and Iraq don’t lose parts of their territory for their comparatively greater abuses against the Kurds. Present day Serbia is more demoractic and multi-ethnically tolerant than Iraq and Turkey. Once again, the crime ridden and terrorist background of the repackaged KLA isn’t a morally superior alternative to the Serb government.

    The arrogance and ignorance being displayed here reeks. This manner often comes from the same sources who would no doubt ridicule an Arab-Israeli conflict discussion where only Israeli abuses were discussed.

    The examples of Northern Ireland and Cyprus successfully show that there’s no legitimate rush to judgment on Kosovo. Kosovo’s overall relationship with Serbia isn’t one that simply ends against Belgrade’s will because of some foolhardy foreign policy advocacy.

    This isn’t simply a matter of Russia opposing the West for the mere purpose of doing so. If anything, it’s more the other way around. Again, note the number of nations (EU and Org. of the Islamic Conference included) rightfully opposed to Kosovo’s independence. Among other nations, Russia and Libya recently voted aginst Iran at the UN. Russia supported the 1991 attack on Iraq.

    After Libya’s recent vote against Iran at the UN, the British ambassador said that this was an example of Libya becoming a constructive part of the international community. Since then, predominately Muslim Libya has issued a sharply worded opposition to Kosovo’s independence. I gather the British ambassador would see that move as a step back for Libya.

  • ”The Russians are only issuing dark warnings of dangerous precedents because they have realised they were either too weak….”

    How about the rule of law as a precedent?

    There is no shred of evidence that Albanians were persecuted in Kosovo. There is a lot of evidence they did the persecution towards Serbs, right up to the time Milosevic sent in Serbia’s security forces to keep the heavily western-armed KLA at bay.

    Look at the shift in demographic data over the 10 years to 1971. How can anyone explain a 265% increase in the number of Albanians in Kosovo with next to ZERO% increase in the number of Serbs during the same period? It is as if all Serb babies were still-born.

    I can understand a people’s aspirations towards self-determination, even in Kosovo. But not the way it was achieved, through ethnic cleansing of Serbs from their ancestral homes and an armed insurrection, supported by NATO’s massive aerial bombing of Serbia, the wheels of which wer set in motion at least 18 months before it took place.

    A form of independece should have been achieved within the framework of US resolution 1244. I agree with the Russian position, both parties should have agreed to the model. The way things stand now, Serbia’s grievance towards and memory of the imposed secession, (a blatant theft of Serbian territory) will and should never end. And rightly so!! It took 600 years to get Kosovo back from the Ottomans. It might take less this time. I doubt if USA and EU would remain dominant powers that long. e.g. Russia, China, India, and Brasil collectively have greater GDP than that of EU. China’s economy, adjusted for PPP exceeds that of USA. Just a pointer of things to come.

  • Some clarfication on this below set of comments:

    “The arrogance and ignorance being displayed here reeks. This manner often comes from the same sources who would no doubt ridicule an Arab-Israeli conflict discussion where only Israeli abuses were discussed.”

    ****

    It was specifically directed at one and perhaps more than one recent contributor who I know to be sympathetic to Israel.

    I laud those pro-Israeli supporters like Julia Gorin, who have a better understanding of former Yugoslavia and how it relates to some of Israel’s problems.

  • Andy

    “db’s” selective critiquing of spelling errors brings up a question on what happened to Randy MacDonald’s last two posts. One of them brought up “Königsberg”? My 3/23 7:33 pm post was in reply to them.

    Here’s Mr. MacDonald’s currently removed posts in question which I replied to:

    First, I’ll turn to the RFE/RL document (“”Emigration and Demography in Kosovo”) cited by a couple of people upthread.
    “Consider the following statistics: the Albanian population of Kosovo has grown constantly, both in absolute and relative terms, according to all the
    post-Second World War censuses [1]: 498,000 (68.5%) in 1948; 647,000
    (67.2%) in 1961; 916,000 (73.7%) in 1971; and 1,227,000 (77.5%) in 1981.”
    That rate of population growth breaks down to 3.2% per annum. That’s a high rate by the standards of Muslim societies into the Mediterranean basis: Algeria saw growth of 2.9% per annum over the same period, Turkey saw 2.4%, and the Republic of Albania saw 2.45% over 1960-1980.
    The high rate of Kosovar Albanians can be explained by the fact that, unlike Algerians or Turks or people in the Republic of Albania, they lived in a wealthy European state with medical services that helped depressed the death rate relative to those other, poorer countries. If we want to explain that differential by saying that the the extra 0.5% over Albania represents the Albanian migrants, that means that four-fifths of the growth in Albanian numbers can be explained by natural increase and that Kosovo still has a large and growing Albanian majority that exists via legitimate means.
    How far back does this majority go? Mr. Averko linked to Wikipedia’s page on Kosovo’s demographic history. It certainly predates 1921, since 75% of Kosovo’s population was Muslim and 65% of the total were speakers of Albanian. Two early 20th century writers, one German and one English, seemed to agree that Kosovo was a bit more than three-fifths Albanian at this time, a large majority in the south fading into a minority in the north. This fits with the obervations contained in the books of Tim Judah and Noel Malcolm.
    In the 19th century, the studies of Müller in southwestern Kosovo suggests that Kosovo was already becoming quite mixed (19% Serb-speaking Muslims, 39% Albanian-speaking Muslims, 38% Serb-speaking Orthodox, 3% Albanian Roman Catholics). Appears to be: Other 19th century sources referenced in the Wikipedia article suggest that by before the century’s end, most of the land area of Kosovo was mostly populated by Albanians.
    It does look like the Albanian majority in Kosovo goes back a long ways, predating any population changes in the period of the world wars (atrocity and counter-atrocity) and the SFRY (birth rate trumps immigration), to perhaps 150 years. That’s easily long enough to qualify this population as legitimate, especially in a European continent where the fact that once Germanophones predominated in Breslau and Königsberg and Fennophones in Viipuri means nothing.

    Aleks:

    “There is no doubt that it is a precedent, especially considering the post-Cold War era we are living in. Rather than comparing apples with oranges: Kosovo – Bangladesh, why not Kosovo – Kurdistan?”

    As I said above, I entirely agree that an independent Iraqi Kurdistan would fit squarely into the Bangladesh-Eritrea-Kosovo precedent.

    The only problem for Iraqi Kurdistan is that it, most unlike Kosovo, exists in a regional environment that would be quite hostile towards an independent Kurdish state. It would help if the region’s government actually did try to control the terrorists who are attacking Turkey and using Iraqi Kurdistan as a base.

    “What’s to stop, say, the Chinese from deciding that California is independent of the United States and that Texas should be reincorporated into Mexico?”

    Among other things, shortages of Californians who want to be independent of the United States and Texans who want to become Mexicans.

  • Even during the Milosevic years, the Albanians had state funded Albanian language schools in Kosovo. During this period, ITN did a feature on how a typical school would be divided between Serb and Albanian language sections. The teachers would periodically get together to coordinate the instruction. That particular news segment was aired some time between the end of the Bosnian Civil War and the start of the NATO bombing campaign.

    Many Albanians boycotted these state funded schools because of either being pressured to do so, or because they wanted such questionable teachings along the lines of the belief that Aristotle was an Albanian.

    As a comparison, the Kurdish language has been suppressed in Turkey.

  • Israel has been given the right by some to bomb its opponents in Lebanon. The Turks periodically have done the same in Iraq for a number of years.

    As a comparison, Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) was justified to bomb KLA terror bases in northern Albania.

  • Ger O’Brien

    “In Kosovo an Albanian majority want independence from Serbia, partially cos the Serbs started ethnic cleansing in 1999.”

    This is a rather myopic view of events in Kosovo. You are practicing exactly what you have said in the following comment:

    “Going back selectively to times in history and saying ”thats the way it should be” just doesnt work.”

    You cannot summarise three decades of history (1961 – 1991) into one sentence. Nor can you compress the timleine into a single date 1999, which you very well know is factually incorrect, and say everything that was wroing with Kosovo begain in 1999.

    It ignores Western mendacious behaviour towards Serbs, military support of KLA, a shameful Ramboullet conference, war preparations that began 2 years earlier. It ignores Albania’s support for Kosovo’s ultimate secession from Serbia, and its ultimate integration into Greater Albania that goes back to at least 1961. Today, Albania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs (he does not deserve that tile nor job) is encouraging further unrest by describing Kosvo’s independence as the natuaral progression towards one day all Albanians integratiing into a single Albanian state.

    To achieve those objectives, Albanians intimidate the local population and establish parallel organs in total disregard for the rule of law in the states in which they reside. As if not satsfied with the departure of 250,000 Serbs from Kosovo when NATO took control, in 2004 Albanians orchestrated a violent pogronm against Serbs which resulted in over a dozen civillians killed, thousands of Serbs forced to flee their homes and had their homes destroyed. Not to mention the systematic destruction of more than 150 centuries old Orthodox monasteries and desacration of cemetaries.

  • Sir Ivan

    The contrasting perceptions seem to relate to an overall knowledge factor of the situation.

    Some direct fact based points have been made. Rather than deal with those points, there’s a rehashing of factually incorrect claims like:

    – Serbs initiated ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. The periods 1974-89 thoroughly contradict this point. Ditto the rise of the KLA, which included the 10/98 OSCE brokered ceasefire being violated when Serb civilians were fatally targeted in Kosovo. This included Serb teenagers murdered at a disco.
    – Some of the history predating the mentioned periods.
    – Glossing over UNSCR 1244 and what it states.
    – Asserting that other independence minded areas don’t have any relationship to the faulty decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

    At http://www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Experts%27+Panel&articleid=a1206122651 there’s a panel discussion dealing with those involved with influencing American foreign policy. Petro, Kraus and Sobell are spot on with Straus cautioning Russia to not go bonkers if McCain becomes president. If anything, Straus should be cautioning McCain to tone down his views.

    Although focused on Russia, the Russia Profile discussion hits home on the questionable aspects of US foreign policy.

    Many of the same players who get Russia wrong are doing likewise with former Yugoslavia.

  • EDIT

    – Glossing over UNSCR 1244 and what it states, while saying that Serbia lost the right to Kosovo. Yeah right! Like the repackaged KLA have proved more deserving than the comparatively more democratic and multi-ethnically tolerant Serbia.

  • Ger O’Brien

    “It would have been 20 years ago Sir I, but not anymore.”

    I am not so sure. My Irish friend tells me Ireland’s democracy is rife with political patronage, and politicians captive of organised crime. His explanation, “It is a small country, everyone knows every one else”.

    The question remains:

    What does the Irish government know that no other person on this planet knows with regards to the goings on in Kosovo, that warrants support of Kosovo’s declaration of independence? The silence is deafening!

  • How about the rule of law as a precedent?

    In that case, I can understand why Russia is issuing dark warnings about dangerous precedents.

  • “I can understand why Russia is issuing dark warnings about dangerous precedents.”

    Meaning?

  • ”I am not so sure. My Irish friend tells me Ireland’s democracy is rife with political patronage, and politicians captive of organised crime. His explanation, “It is a small country, everyone knows every one else”.”

    Of course it is. Greasing mickeys is a long standing tradition here if you wanted anything large built, for example. But it does not extend to our current foreign affairs regime, and in any event there was never ”organised crime” involved. That is utter nonsense. Perhaps your Irish friend is a Plastic Paddy ie born somewhere else but confused that he’s Irish? If you can give me an example or two of a current Irish politician or better still parliamentarian involved in organised crime, I’d be very grateful, as I’m sure our citizens here would love to hear it -it’d be major news (and by the way Northern Ireland doesnt count, thats part of the UK). As for everyone knowing everyone else, there’s just 4 million people here, it goes without saying nobody is far removed from anyone else. But that doesnt mean we can all chip and bribe our politicians to recognise an obscure place in the Balkans. Planning permission for an extension to the back of the house from local councillors, yes, votes from our Foreign Minister in the UN and foreign policy, no. And in any event the corruption among local politicians you speak of has been massively clamped down on and people have been and are being prosecuted. And again is all down to planning/construction, and has nothing to do with foreign policy.

    ”The silence is deafening!”
    Of course it is, as none of you have the answer, or would rather avoid it. Its very simple -a small nuetral nation with no material interest in the region or ties to military alliances, and who is the largest peacekeeping force in Kosovo, has rather prudently decided that it is the right thing to recognise independence there. They wisely came to the conclusion that Serbia lost its right to rule there after it commited ethnic cleansing. To my mind Ireland knows what its doing and has made the right decision.

    ”“In Kosovo an Albanian majority want independence from Serbia, partially cos the Serbs started ethnic cleansing in 1999.”

    This is a rather myopic view of events in Kosovo. You are practicing exactly what you have said in the following comment:

    “Going back selectively to times in history and saying ”thats the way it should be” just doesnt work.””

    There is nothing myopic in this view at all. When I mentioned 1999, I spoke about Serb atrocities at the time, how precisely this is rewinding history I dont know. NOW there is an Albanian majority who were persecuted by Serbia and want out. What part of that do you not understand? Why should Serbia have any rights to rule a region it commited ethnic cleanising in? I am talking about now, today, segodniya.

    ”Today, Albania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs (he does not deserve that tile nor job) is encouraging further unrest by describing Kosvo’s independence as the natuaral progression towards one day all Albanians integratiing into a single Albanian state”

    Would you provide a link to back this up please? Cos by all accounts this is a total pile of bullshit, much like ‘Greater Albania maps’.

    ”How about the rule of law as a precedent?”

    Using the words ‘rule’ and ‘law’ and ‘Russia’ in one sentence should always raise eyebrows. Maybe you should ask Robert Amsterdam and the citizens of Grozny how closely the Russian Federal government sticks to its own laws and constitution.

  • And whilst you’re at it, you could also ask TNK-BP, Shell and just about every misfortunate foreign oil company who’ve had any involvement with the Russians. Using the Russian government as any sort of standard bearer for the rule of law is just fucking hilarious.

  • Apologies – a few comments have been getting trapped in the spam filter, mostly from Randy McDonald. I think I’ve rescued them all now, and am looking for an alternative spam solution.

    In the meantime, if one of your comments doesn’t appear immediately, I’d recommend:

    1) Re-posting the comment (its a good idea to copy the text before pressing ‘sumbit content’)
    2) If that fails, send me a quick email using the contact form. A link is available at the top of the page.

  • Sir Ivan

    Don’t let those two get to you.

    As we both know, there’re many other examples besides UNSCR 1244, which shows the hypocritical nature of Russia bashers.

    Note how they keep rehasing the same BS without directly replying to the facts and fact based opinions that debunk their ignorantly pious stances.

    Omitting how the Albanians became a recent majority in just a part (not whole) of Serbia, while glossing over decades of Albanian nationalist terrorism – inclusive of the repackaged KLA, which is certainly not more multi-ethnically tolerant or democratic than Serbia minus Kosovo.

    Savo, Aleks and yourself provided added substance to this thread.

  • Ger O’Brien

    “Using the Russian government as any sort of standard bearer for the rule of law is just fucking hilarious.”

    So what is the point? UN resolution 1244 can be ignored? On what basis? because Russia supports it?

  • Mr. MacDonald:

    Regarding your last post, on getting caught in the filter, all you’ve to do is scroll back and you’ll see that your written material is still saved. At the top of your post that didn’t go thru, write second attempt.

    You can also send Andy an email about the problem.

    How you negate UNSCR isn’t in sync with reality. It’s still in effect and hasn’t been amended.

    You’re advocating a big brother kind of environment where because a select few decide something wrong it should be done “because they say so”.

    The actual realities are against Kosovo’s independence. The place remains socio-economically downtrodden with Western forces calling the shots there. Kosovo will not be making it into the UN and is likely going to be kept out of most, if not all major international organizations.

    I don’t see the point in continuing the demographic discussion. It’s really only around the time of after WW II when the Albanians begin to clearly replace the Serbs as Kosovo’s majority. Some of the reasons for this being not so ethical. Overall, it’s groundless to say that Serbia has no say on Kosovo. UNSCR 1244 and Kosovo’s history serving as key points.

    What happened at the end of WW II to the now former German territories is “old Europe”. Soros leaning people are supposedly against that. Once again, Nazi Germany attacked others and were soundly defeated by them. In Kosovo, the KLA didn’t beat Serbia. UNSCR 1244 is the signed document that brought an end to that war. UNSCR 1244 isn’t a Serb capitulation of Kosovo.

    Rule of law is on the side of Kosovo remaining part of Serbia. At issue is in what form. From the beginning to end of UNSCR 1244, all this is stipulated.

  • Ger O Brien

    Regarding Ireland’s organised crime:

    Ireland’s organised crime problem was raised in the Dáil today. Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan claimed it was growing rapidly.

    “Organised crime is not going away. In actual fact, it is accelerating,” he said during the Order of Business.

    http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0313/breaking16.html?via=mr
    ———————————————————————-

    Are you sure you are from Ireland? This was Breaking news in the Irish Times a fortnight ago, and I should be alerting you to it?

  • Ger O Brien

    Regarding Albania’s Foreign Minister’s fitness to hold office

    The Albanian parliament stripped the foreign minister of immunity on 27/12/2007, paving the way for the public prosecutor to charge him with corruption and abuse of power. The lawmakers voted 107-12 in favor of investigating Lulzim Basha over allegations of improperly favoring a U.S.-Turkish joint venture in the awarding of a highway construction contract while he was transport minister.

    http://www.serbianna.com/columns/michaletos/026.shtml

  • Sir Ivan:

    On organized crime, we know about the situation in Albanian dominated Kosovo.

    I think that part of Serb organized crime takes the form of those Serbs who take Western NGO money as part of a process that includes making high profile comments critical of how most Serbs feel.

    As a high school and college classmate who is now in a former Soviet bloc country acknowledged: getting money from Soros comes with strings attached.

    This isn’t so far off from how many Americans viewed the Soviet propped CPUSA during the Cold War.

  • Ger O’Brien

    Regarding Albania’s Foreign Ministers advicating integration of Albanians into a single state

    On 3.11/ 2005 Arben Tzaferi the leader of the Democratic Party in Skopje stated in UK TV that Kosovo should be united with Albania and in that case FYROM Albanians should join as well. On the 14th of March 2006 the Albanian minister of foreign affairs, Beshnik Moustafai commented in an Albanian TV program that Albania cannot guarantee for the borders of FYROM. He also claimed that he made that clear in front of an EU delegation earlier this year.

    Continuing on August 2006, Kotso Donai a political consultant of the Albanian President Berisha gave an interview in the Epoka journal of Kosovo and explained that by 2013 the “Natural Albania” should be created. The date implies the 100 years after the independence of Albania in the end of the Balkan wars. Natural Albania is a coined term that implies the border change in every state neighboring Albania containing ethnic Albanian minorities.

    http://www.serbianna.com/columns/michaletos/026.shtml
    —————————————————————

    The leaders of DUI, DPA, PDP and DUA have been summoned for a meeting with the heads of the Kosovo’s institutions in Pristina on Thursday.

    The meeting has been initiated by the Kosovo’s President Fatmir Sejdiu, Alsat-M TV Station reported.

    http://www.makfax.com.mk/look/novina/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=2&NrArticle=105508&NrIssue=611&NrSection=10&search_x=6&search_y=2
    ———————————————————————

    The ex-Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo and the analysts Koco Danaj and Sokol Dervisaj voiced their positions on this issue in the TV program.

    According to them, it was natural to expect gradual uniting of the Albanians.

    The declaration of Kosovo’s independence is also described as a natural moment of creation of a new state of Albanians in the region.

    http://www.makfax.com.mk/look/novina/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=2&NrArticle=100374&NrIssue=576&NrSection=10

    ———————————————————————-
    Note: I will find the article containing statements made by Albania’s current foreign minsiter, during his recent visit in Kosovo.

  • Sir Ivan

    I understand that it’s often one crime faction getting the upper hand over another.

    In Albania, the Berisha pyramid scheme wasn’t that long ago. Their “salvation” (for lack of a better word) has included involvement with terrorizing Serbia.

    Ordinary Albanians have suffered from this manner.

  • Ger O’Brien

    Regarding Albania’s Foreign Ministers advocating integration of Albanians into a single state

    On 3.11/ 2005 Arben Tzaferi the leader of the Democratic Party in Skopje stated in UK TV that Kosovo should be united with Albania and in that case FYROM Albanians should join as well. On the 14th of March 2006 the Albanian minister of foreign affairs, Beshnik Moustafai commented in an Albanian TV program that Albania cannot guarantee for the borders of FYROM. He also claimed that he made that clear in front of an EU delegation earlier this year.

    Continuing on August 2006, Kotso Donai a political consultant of the Albanian President Berisha gave an interview in the Epoka journal of Kosovo and explained that by 2013 the “Natural Albania” should be created. The date implies the 100 years after the independence of Albania in the end of the Balkan wars. Natural Albania is a coined term that implies the border change in every state neighboring Albania containing ethnic Albanian minorities.

    http://www.serbianna.com/columns/michaletos/026.shtml
    —————————————————————

    The leaders of DUI, DPA, PDP and DUA have been summoned for a meeting with the heads of the Kosovo’s institutions in Pristina on Thursday.

    The meeting has been initiated by the Kosovo’s President Fatmir Sejdiu, Alsat-M TV Station reported.

    http://www.makfax.com.mk/look/novina/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=2&NrArticle=105508&NrIssue=611&NrSection=10&search_x=6&search_y=2
    ———————————————————————

    The ex-Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo and the analysts Koco Danaj and Sokol Dervisaj voiced their positions on this issue in the TV program.

    According to them, it was natural to expect gradual uniting of the Albanians.

    The declaration of Kosovo’s independence is also described as a natural moment of creation of a new state of Albanians in the region.

    http://www.makfax.com.mk/look/novina/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=2&NrArticle=100374&NrIssue=576&NrSection=10

    ———————————————————————-
    Note: I will find the article containing statements made by Albania’s current foreign minsiter, during his recent visit in Kosovo.

  • I see that Andy commented on the posting issue.

    What Mr. MacDonald has been saying here is likely not so different from what a Frank Wisner or Charles Kupchan would say on such matter.

    The difference being that Wisner and Kupchan often say such things unopposed at high profile venues.

    The “open society” is sometimes not so open.

  • Second submission. Pardon if duplicated.

    BTW, James of Robert Amsterdam’s site posted views (at RA’s blog) on Kosovo which if anything support Russia’s position over the US on Kosovo.

    At his blog, Mark MacKinnon added that Russia isn’t always wrong, or so wrong. he seemed to suggest the disputed former Communist bloc territories as a case in point.

  • Ger O’Brien

    Regarding Albanians being oppressed in 1999:

    According to Carla Del Ponte, the true victims in 1999 were Serbs.
    ________________
    >>>>The Hague Tribunal uncovered cases of illegal trade with human organs of Serbs and other ethnic minorities in Kosovo captured by KLA in 1999, the former tribunal’s chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said in her book “The Hunt”.

    http://www.makfax.com.mk/look/novina/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=2&NrArticle=105942&NrIssue=614&NrSection=20
    ____________

    Kosovo victims two decades earlier?

    Some 57,000 Serbs had left the Yugoslav autonomous province of Kosovo within the past decade, it was reported July 12.

    A great number had left after the riots of March and April 1981, according to local officials. The region’s economic problems and the ethnic Albanian nationalism that had sparked the riots were mentioned as the principal reasons behind the Serbian migration. [See 1981, p. 261G1]

    “The nationalists have a two-point platform, first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then the merger with Albania to form a greater Albania,” said Becir Hoti, a Kosovo Communist Party official and an ethnic Albanian.
    Officials cited widespread harassment of Serbs by Albanians, including two recent murders, personal insults, defacing of graves, burning of hay and other attacks on property.

    http://members.tripod.com/sarant_2/ksm82-1.html

  • ”Are you sure you are from Ireland? This was Breaking news in the Irish Times a fortnight ago, and I should be alerting you to it?”

    Actually I read the Irish Times every day. The newspaper itself. The piece referenced does not allude to any member of our parliament being involved in organised crime. You initially said our national politicians were involved in it.Your argument was that because of organised crime at home in Ireland amoung scumbags, Ireland is compromised making foreign policy decisions about the Balkans. And I’m the one confused? Talk about blowing smoke out your arse!:-) In that case, perhaps Russia is similarily compromised bacause of organised crime? No, I can assure you Sir I, that drug barons in Dublin are not paying our Foreign Minister to recognise Kosovo:-)

    ”Regarding Albania’s Foreign Minister’s fitness to hold office

    The Albanian parliament stripped the foreign minister of immunity on 27/12/2007, paving the way for the public prosecutor to charge him with corruption and abuse of power. The lawmakers voted 107-12 in favor of investigating Lulzim Basha over allegations of improperly favoring a U.S.-Turkish joint venture in the awarding of a highway construction contract while he was transport minister.

    http://www.serbianna.com/columns/michaletos/026.shtml

    Am I seeing things, or are you actually referencing Serbianna as a serious source of unbiased commentary on the Balkans? Maybe I need my contacts in.
    At any rate, the behaviour of one government minister, who clearly has been censured, does not in any way constitute reasonable evidence that Kosovo and Albania are going to join up any time soon. Talk about hot air and bullshit. Do you have any solid evidence please, like a passed parliamentary motion in either Kosovo or Albania calling for unification?

    ”Using the Russian government as any sort of standard bearer for the rule of law is just fucking hilarious.”

    So what is the point? UN resolution 1244 can be ignored? On what basis? because Russia supports it?”

    Nobody is saying that ignoring UN resolutions is a good thing, and indeed it is unlawful. But this is the same Russia who has prevent resolutions against the Junta in Burma, Sudan and North Korea. Its a very bad sign when Russia, as flaky and tribal as they come, is being used by westeners as some sort of moral policeman. Go spend the night in Kitai Gorod police station and witness firsthand the Russian reverance for the law. Russia does not have a moral leg to stand on, and I’d take the British, Irish or American word for breaking the law against the Russian word backing the law any day of the week. Russia backs resolutions when it suits Russia -the fact that their friends may be involved is only tangentially related to Russia’s decisions.

    ”Note how they keep rehasing the same BS without directly replying to the facts and fact based opinions that debunk their ignorantly pious stances.”

    Oh give it a rest Mike. Nobody is being pious. Your problem is you cant see past Russia’s arse, whatever misfortune the USA has done to you. Get over it already. Russia is not the bastion of goodness, or even fucking near it, that you think it is.

  • Neither are you. It’s even more so in your case.

    Serbianna is far more “serious” than some of those like yourself who second guess it.

    Dito with your hypocritical rants against Russia which ignore reality. Like what was earlier posted about some not so moral US foreign policy activity. Just the tip of the iceberg.

    Sir Ivan:

    This typically happens when he has failed to support his faulty claims.

  • Some “logic”. It essentially says that someone with a clean record can commit a criminal act against someone else with a checkered past and present.

    In the case of the US government and its supporters, it’s not an instance of a party having a clean record.

    I’ll once again note the supporting points made on this by Mark MacKinnon and James of Robert Amsterdam’s blog. Russia isn’t always wrong, or so wrong and one can find plenty of fault with a number of Western governments.

    As for the bogus comments made about me, I’ll continue to directly reply to those views which are faulty. This is different from making crank like comments that get away from the subject matter.

  • I backed up my very modest claims indeed, that an Albanian persecuted majority is fully entitled independence from belligerent Serb agression and ethnic cleansing and that a tiny, nuetral Ireland is correct for recognising it -we have no axe to grind. Stop supporting ethnic cleansing guys, and denying genocide. It’ll do you a world of good.

    ”Neither are you. It’s even more so in your case.”

    Thats a personal insult, but I’ll avoid dropping to your level today, my mood is too good:-) Have you ever heard of Duffy, the new blonde singer ”you go me begging you for mercy, yeah, yeah, why dont you believe me, yeah, yeah”? She’d put Slobodan Milosevic in a good mood, if he hadnt died in disgrace in jail after his genocidal activities. She’s the best thing to come out of the Valleys since Tim Newman!

    And Serbianna is a stinking pile of pro-Serb shite, run by a High-School teacher claiming to be some sort of expert.
    Ditto that shower of cranks at TTT.

  • You did nothing of the sort as shown by the replies to your selective nitpicking of what has gone on in Kosovo, added by your pig headed insulting remarks about Russia.

    You’re a troll. Among other venues, I contribute to Serbianna which is a valid source of info.

    Unlike youself, Serbianna has known journalists of proven stature and experts as contributors.

  • ”You’re a troll. Among other venues, I contribute to Serbianna which is a valid source of info.”

    Here we go again. I thought Andy told you not to do this.

  • My corresponding with you is Catch 22. The very nature of such corresponding is taking a step to your very low level.

    In between your troll antics, the truth has come out.

  • NO!

    Andy has repeatedly expressed the view to stay on topic.

    You’ve a beef with Serbianna, than be factual about it. Also note the recent manner of your comments to myself and Sir I.

  • I’ll quite rightfully not tolerate any insultingly negative and incorrect comments about my ethnic origin, country of ethnic origin, stated views and self.

  • TTT is also not “crank”. Some of the negative comments made about it are crank like.

    Just setting the record straight on the recently posted misinformation.

  • ”I’ll quite rightfully not tolerate any insultingly negative and incorrect comments about my ethnic origin, country of ethnic origin, stated views and self.”

    I never made any such comments. You started above by calling us pious for disagreeing with you and Sir I. You cant handle a normal conversation. You’re an American, not a Russian. You havent a word of Russian. Its like a duck calling itself a fish even though it has no gills. Take a chill pill bro.

  • Yes you clearly did as you’ve so creepily done in the past.

    This includes rehashing points that were directly answered and getting off topic with insultingly incorrect comments on other matters.

    I’m a Russian-American and damn proud of it.

    Since you brought it up: bravo TTT:

    http://www.newsnow.co.uk/h/World+News/Europe/Eastern/Moldova

    In addition to News Now, TTT is regularly picked up by The Russia Journal and Serbianna news wires.

    So much for some of the crank like comments made against it from some folks who have comparatively fallen well short in providing astute analysis.

  • I’ve just counted that you’ve made 63 comments. The counter on the main page says 99, but lets round it off to 100. You’ve made 63% of the comments here.

    Quite impressive.

  • ”I’m a Russian-American and damn proud of it.”

    Reminds me of hyphenated instrumentation like GC-MS and LC-MS.
    There’s always problems with them.

  • Unlike your instance, my comments have been much more on topic.

    It includes showing a far greater knowledge and intelligence of the actual subject matter.

    Try getting posted/published at a major non-blog venue as opposed to carrying on like a troll.

    You were the one who attempted to define my origin, as you repeatedly make insultingly incorrect comments. Much of them getting off topic.

  • ”Try getting posted/published at a major non-blog venue as opposed to carrying on like a troll.”
    Are you referring to your NYT letters or your one Reuters article? And Andy told you not to call people names. So stop it, like a good man, and not ruin the thread.

  • Not quite.

    In addition to well recived work at TTT and Serbianna: Counterpunch, American Chronicle, Action Ukraine Report, Eurasian Home, JRL and guest panelist appearances on major news shows.

    On the involved subject of the former Commuhist bloc, what have you done as a comparison?

    Andy indicated a pereference to stay on topic. In turn, I made a reasonable comment about not being insulted with negatively false comments. Much of which gets off topic, while cheapening the discussion.

  • You were a guest panalist twice, and all of the other stuff is internet related and blog related, none of which was ever published in a serious journal/newspaper, academic publication or magazine. You’re a hobbyist, which there’s nothing wrong with, but dont bother trying to fool me that you’re the grand poobah of Russia analysis. Peter Lavelle has published about 20 academic papers and speaks Russian. Different league. Go learn Russian and maybe then you’ll get some respect.

    Anyway, bleat on, as you surely will……

  • You lie again.

    The mentioned sites aren’t blogs and I was a panelist on more than two occasions.

    I’m more on Lavelle’s level than you’re on mine. He has indicated such to me. Unlike yourself, I won’t release emails. Others in the business ghave given me similar thumbs up. In comparison, you’re a troll like dip.

    Note how you insult with no factual basis. Like actually commenting on what I’ve said on matter pertaining to former Communist bloc issues.

    Meantime, yuo’ve just made another set of troll like comments.

    I’m just responding to this terrorism on your part.

    No need for me to be nice to creeps like yourself.

    Your likes shouldn’t be permitted to hijack a discussion.

  • Second submission. Pardon if duplicated.

    Never mind the number of highly propped “experts” who don’t know Russian. Once gain, note how knowledge of a language doesn’t always mean knowledge of the given country’s history, sports and foreign policy, among other topics.

    This was all previously discussed. Like a troll, you raise it again.

  • Ger O’Brien

    >>>Am I seeing things, or are you actually referencing Serbianna as a serious source of unbiased commentary on the Balkans?
    _______________
    What? By yout logic, because you do not find Serbianna an acceptable website, the author cannot be accepted as a credible source and we cannot accept as fact that Albania’s parliament voted against their own foreign minister?
    _______________
    >>>Nobody is saying that ignoring UN resolutions is a good thing, and indeed it is unlawful.

    And that should be the end of the argument. No ifs. No buts. The rule of law should prevail. But, I see you are happy to believe the Poms and Americans to break it because the Russians support it?
    _______________

    Regarding the integrity of Ireland’s politicians and their propensity for political patronage. I did say it was a conversation I had with an Irish friend who made the connection between organised crime and political patronage. I merely posted the Irish Times to confirm to you that he is right on the first aspect, that organised crime is rife in Ireland. I believe him on the other too. As for naming the politicans? That is your job. But where there is the former, if you dig hard enough you will find the latter.

  • This “hobbyist” has been paid on the involved subject matter, unlike the person making the insultingly inaccurate comments about me.

    Some of the sites I mentioned have print versions. Regardless, they’re either relatively high profile or very high profile.

    Many mass media folks aren’t Phd academics. Some of the successful ones don’t even have a college degree.

  • Go learn Russian Mike. And get published in hard copy. As the Russian saying goes, ”bez bumazhki, myu kakashki”:-)

    ”No need for me to be nice to creeps like yourself.”
    Said by someone banned from russia.com, ukraine.com, Russia Blog and who received hidings at SRB, GV etc.

    ”I’m more on Lavelle’s level than you’re on mine. He has indicated such to me”
    So much so that he has asked you to take him off QT, and had to do it more than once. Talk about, hello, STALKER?

  • The lying crank of a troll gets off topic again with repeat falsehoods that have already been addressed.

    He has the gall to falesly put the “STALKER” label on me.

    Hayate at another SL thread pegged him down well.

  • Since he mentioned them, Schindler can inform us when his offspring get published/posted or appear as guests on a major venue dealing with former Communist bloc issues.

  • Chai?

    I drink plenty of the iced version.

    I like the hot kind in a tall 16 ounce glass with fruit preserves (typically strawberry, with rasberry, cherry and blueberry as backup), lemon juice, some cheap sweet red wine and a dash of vodka.

  • BTW, your fellow countryman with the blog sent me a recent kudos note on my recent Counterpunch piece.

    Interesting fellow. His education on the subject and all, I don’t buy into a good core of his economic views.

  • Seond attempt. Pardon if duplicated.

    At least one of them apparently doesn’t.

    As for myself, you’re aware of some of my other activties that are substantive unlike the periodic trolling at these threads.

    Replying to a simpleton or simpletons isn’t so difficult and therefore doesn’t take up much time.

  • Andy ? Now, please … what did I do wrong ? No name-calling from my side, no use of the term “liar” … neither of the term “troll” … no offensive language … I am a little lost right now.

  • Down with Averko! (stated in Russian)

    None of your posts here have had anything to do with the topic of the thread.

    As for myself, I’ve made a righteous stand against some beastly trolling directed at me and others who I’ve had an affiliation of sorts with.

  • 🙂 Heribert, spasibo:-) Kak obuichno, nash durak nachalis’ skandali. On prosto klon, Amerikanskii klon.

    Mike -a quick perusal of the comments above will readily show how, once again, you couldnt keep a civil tongue. For a man in his mid forties your childishness is utterly breathtaking. You must have terrible trouble dealing with women.

    ”??????? ??? ” ????????? ????? “, ????? A????? !”

    Total agreement. The trail of destruction left on blogs by this guy is just amazing. Everyone was happily chattering away today, and had been for a few days, and everything was civil, could he leave it at that? NO. As USUAL.

  • The lying little **** strikes again with unruly off topic comments.

    Those propping his act can’t be much better.

  • There’s nothing civil about rehashing crap about Serbia persecuting Albanians, while ignoring the facts and fact based comments going counter to that simplistically inaccurate barb.

    Ditto insulting venues that have achieved far more than yourself.

  • Do you deny that Serbia commited ethnic cleansing against Kosovar Albanians in late 1998-March 1999? A simple yes or no will suffice. Cos when I last checked, they did commit atrocities there, and only apologists like you seem to ignore this.

  • ”Ditto insulting venues that have achieved far more than yourself.”

    They certainly have, in the fields of crank journalism, apologism for genocide and propping of criminal dictatorship in the PMR. Unlike you I have no wish to excel in these areas.

  • within the year to year and a half of Kosovo fighting before the NATO bombing, there were about 2,000 fatalities out of the province’s 2 million population. About 500 of the 2,000 casualties were Serbs, who at the time were said to make up 10% of the population. Per capita wise, Serbs suffered considerably more. A good number of the Albanian casualties included those who showed a willingness to work within the existing government framework. I was forwarded statistical data confirming that Washington DC has had greater annual murder rates than what has been referenced to Kosovo.

    *****

    The PMR government has shown itself to be far more civil than the repackaged KLA.

    So much for the rehashed misinformation suggesting differently.

  • Maladyets! Vyu prosto otlichno, umnyets! You found out what durak means!

    What happened in 1999 was under direct orders from Belgrade. The government of Serbia. Hence they should correctly lose the right to run a province that wants to be free of them anyway. Maybe when the Serbs stop acting like brutes then everybody else will treat them normally.

  • More dishonesty as shown by what he chooses to leave out.

    Never minding the previously raised points about how Turkey and Iraq have been more brutal towards the Kurds.

    Again noting the vile aspects of the Albanian nationalist side.

  • “Maybe when the Serbs stop acting like brutes then everybody else will treat them normally.”

    Bullshit! “Everyone” isn’t the US government and those following its policy.

    The repackaged KLA have been the more brutish.

  • ”Bullshit! “Everyone” isn’t the US government and those following its policy.”

    They sure arent. Maybe you should hand in your US passport and get a Serb/Russian one instead? After all you find fault with everything your own country does and seem to think the sun shines out of Serbia’s butt. Maybe you could swap LI for Novi Sad?:-)

  • ”This is like LR without LR.”

    yeah, and this is like Mike Averko…..with Mike Averko. Groan!:-) Mike, I am no russophobe, and the expedient of bothering to learn Russian (something you never did) means I am infinitely more welcome in Moscow than you are.

  • Ger, it’s a fact that all sides involved in the Kosovo-Conflict, the Balkan Wars beginning in the early 1990ies, whatever, are gulity of crimes against humanity. And it’s also a fact that the media contributed a great deal to the negative image all sides have.

    But to be honest, where’s the sense in trying to discuss this ? Whenever someone brings up an interesting topic the thread is rapidly pumped up to several hundreds of comments … all beginning with “Second submission, pardon if duplicated” … “in reply to the last set of comments” … “as being pointed out elsewhere” … “as someone just recently …” … “in reply to what has been forwarded” … .

    It simply sucks. It’s boring. It’s crazy. It destroys the work and effort of those who run blogs, it drives the interested readers and commenters away and turns other people’s blogs and websites into the playground of one particular person.

  • But you said “everyone”.

    You don’t apparently understand the meaning of freedom.

    Ideally, it should include being able to live in your country of origin and the ability to express disagreement with aspects of its government.

  • HS

    What “sucks” is when yoy feed troll like manner with off topic BS.

    There was an intelligent discussion here related to the thread’s topic.

    I’ve made a number of thread topic related points.

    Your initial set of posts here were completely off topic in a troll like manner.

  • Heribert is right. I’m putting my gun down, and will wait for the next cogent point before commenting. Andy warned us about this and its bad form. Enough is enough Mike, lets knock it off like two adults.

  • I’ve stayed on topic as the past here and elsewhere shows.

    I recently addressed some negative points you made about the PMR and the Serbs.

    Heribert seems to agree with me, despite some of his off topic thread manner.

    Heribert, it’s not written anywhere for me to have a blog. As is, I’ve been featured at some major non-blog venues.

    Are you jealous? Have you tryed submitting to them on your own?

  • Mike, quite frankly, no intelligent debate or conversation is possible anywhere you show up. You and your sockpuppets are the only ones who think that anything you write makes sense, is topic related or usefull. Your contribution to other people’s blogs and websites only serves your narzism and ego.

  • What sock puppets liar?

    There has been an intelligent discussion here where diverse views have been exchanged.

    The record shows that you came on with a series of off topic, troll like barbs.

    You seem to be the one with a “narzism” and ego “problem”.

  • BTW Heribert, Aleks game me a thmbs up at this thread.

    I’m sure the same can be said of Savo and Sir I.

    The point-counterpoint exchanges with Mr. MacDonald have been substantive.

    Later with your disingenuous off topic insulting of me.

  • Mike, I hate to say it, but nobody is jealous of you -you need to stop kidding yourself. At the end of the day all of us here are just ordinary people with something to say or some involvement or interest in Russia. But none of us, yourself included, are experts by any means. Heribert, Andy, Sean Guillory, Tim Newman, Wally Shedd and Lyndon all put a lot of effort in and its great to read the articles and have a chat over them, and it should be acknowledged that the lads are actually doing a service for the rest of us who are readers. But simple googling of your name Mike leads to fight after fight after fight, all over the blogosphere, and at the end of the day, I think it unlikely that everyone else out there is at fault for this and that you arent. What happened today is typical – a conversation between four or five people torpedoed by you throwing mud. I shouldnt have taken the bait, groan! I’m just as bad for rolling in mud with you in reality, but Mike, you’d want to grow up, big time. I really mean that.

  • As for another recent barb directed at me, I get plenty of kudos from mainnstream thinking Russians who are well educated.

    My knowledge of Russian history, foreign policy, sports and some other thread realted matters is noticeably better than others here.

    Hopefully, the trolling can stop.

    Meantime I will not tolerate being disrerspected with insultingly inaccurate comments about me.

  • He comes back trolling.

    If he’s not really such, than why did he post what he did?

    Ditto your many emails to me which I said go in my junk box.

    I opened some of them for shitz and giggles.

    You’re one warped dude.

    You lie again about the overall context of my contributions.

    You poor pathetic lying troll.

  • Mike, I emailed you after rows and apologised for things that were said -like adults tend to do, when they say something outrageous and regret it. And you didnt laugh. Lets face it, you arent getting too much love in this world. Cos I’m one of the few people in both your real and internet life that do not treat you like the total and utter social misfit that you are, and repeatedly make the mistake of taking you seriously and treating you decently when I’ve overstepped the mark.

    Obviously, I’ll not make that error again.

    Fair thee well, in the land of Russocentric punditry, without any…well, Russian.

  • Second submission. Pardon if duplicated.

    You continue to make troll like comments after repeatedly suggesting a different course – only to carry on with lie filled insults.

    I’ve stayed on topic as shown by how I recently addressed your negative comments about the PMR and Serbs.

    Simultaneously, I’ve stood up to disingenuous trolling.

    You don’t seem to have much of a life. You spend the bulk of your time hounding me at this venue and making lie filled comments at other ones.

    On the other hand, I’ve substantively contributed to the discussion, much unlike yourself.

    Hopefully, you’ll get the right help and soon.

  • ”Hopefully, you’ll get the right help and soon.”

    Said by a guy posting comments all day, including at 3 and 4am NY time, who wont admit what he does for a living on pain of death. Whatever, Mike.

  • He trolls on again.

    He’s infatuated with me as shown by the manner of his constant hounding.

    As Andy noted, no one has any obligation to give their full life comings and doings at SL.

    It’d not be the smartest of things to do here, given some of the obsessively weird behavior exhibited.

  • Yes Mike, its like Fatal Attraction. You’re that attractive really.
    Anyway, you’ve turned a decent exchange of views into a stinking scrapheap of rubbish as usual. You’ll forgive me for ignoring your bullshit for the rest of the evening.

  • Who knows with your sickly displayed manner. It’s preferable for you to leave the scene, given your propensity for trolling.

    Your trolling aside, this has been an informative thread.

    Too bad you’ve to stain it.

    The bullshit is coming from you.

  • Once more with feeling.

    Mr. McDonald,

    Bangladesh bears no resemblance to Kosovo. Talking legally here, not the law of the jungle pov.

    Bangladesh gained its independence in 1971. The Helsinki Final Act of 1975 clearly states that separation of territory can only be by the agreement of both parties.

    1975 still happens after 1971, however one may try to bend it and I am sure that Bangladesh does not exist in a temporally different universe to the rest of us. You made absolutely no comment regarding my mention of the Helsinki Final Act. The comparison to Bangladesh is false, unless you totally ignore international law and its development since.

    I have yet to hear of the abrogation of its signatories.

    If UNSCR 1244 “has been superseded by the course of events”, as you like to say, then logically it means that these same powers that recognize Kosovo have decided that the Helsinki Final Act to which they are signatories, does not apply. These are two clear violations of international law.

    It’s back to the law of the jungle. Might is right.

    You also failed to pick up on the same point I was making with my comment on California and Mexico, though I should have been more explicit.

    California will have a hispanic majority in the not too distant future. If (for whatever reason) they decide to secede without agreement of the rest of the US, China could recognize their right to independence using Kosovo as a precedent. Whether this is likely to happen or not is not the issue, the fact that the recognition of Kosovo has already violated the Helsinki Final Act and UNSCR 1244. The same could be said of reincorporation of Texas into Mexico. Hypothetically speaking, if Mexico became much richer than its neighbor, the temptation to leave/join from and economic pov most wouldn’t be such a stretch.

    Not only do you give your opinion that UNSCR 1244 is no longer relevant, but you do not address the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. Why not? Or is it also ‘irrelevant’ because 1244 “has been superseded by the course of events.”?

  • Mr. MacDonald earlier made reference to a “contiguous” border relative to his second guessing Pridnestrovie’s independence claim.

    I didn’t quite understand what he meant. The once unified lands of Bangladesh and Pakistan don’t have a contiguous border. For that matter, neither does Alaska with the rest of the US, or Kaliningrad with the rest of Russia.

    Pridnestrovie’s boundary is whole and Kosovo is right next to the rest of Serbia.

    If anything, the “contiguous” border reference he made gives further credence (along with other mentioned points) to Kosovo remaining part of Serbia and can be used for supporting Pridnestrovie’s independence claim.

    Keeping in mind UNSCR 1244 and how the Moldavian SSR was created and Pridnestrovie’s history prior to it. Tack on a comparison of the economic, human rights and governance situations between Pridnestrovie and Kosovo.

  • Ger O’Brien

    One does not have to be an apologiest the state the obvious. Albanians were leavign in large numbers not because Serbs were driving them out, but because the UCK and the US orchestrated the mass exodus to influence public opinion such as yours. This tactic was employed to good use by the US when they promoted partitioning of Vietnam to create South Vietnam. Read up some.

    As for the real victims of ethnic cleansering in 1999 here is a clue, by none other than Carla Del Ponte.
    ________________
    >>>>The Hague Tribunal uncovered cases of illegal trade with human organs of Serbs and other ethnic minorities in Kosovo captured by KLA in 1999, the former tribunal’s chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said in her book “The Hunt”.

    http://www.makfax.com.mk/look/novina/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=2&NrArticle=105942&NrIssue=614&NrSection=20
    __________________________________________________

    It wasn’t enough that Serbs were kidnapped and killed, but they had their organs removed too. Carla Del Ponte knew this in 2004 but withheld this information.

    As for ethnic cleansing two decades earlier.

    Kosovo victims two decades earlier?

    Some 57,000 Serbs had left the Yugoslav autonomous province of Kosovo within the past decade, it was reported July 12.

    A great number had left after the riots of March and April 1981, according to local officials. The region’s economic problems and the ethnic Albanian nationalism that had sparked the riots were mentioned as the principal reasons behind the Serbian migration. [See 1981, p. 261G1]

    “The nationalists have a two-point platform, first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then the merger with Albania to form a greater Albania,” said Becir Hoti, a Kosovo Communist Party official and an ethnic Albanian.
    Officials cited widespread harassment of Serbs by Albanians, including two recent murders, personal insults, defacing of graves, burning of hay and other attacks on property.

    http://members.tripod.com/sarant_2/ksm82-1.html

    ___________________________________________

    >>>Am I seeing things, or are you actually referencing Serbianna as a serious source of unbiased commentary on the Balkans?
    _______________
    What? By your logic, because you do not find Serbianna an acceptable website, the author cannot be accepted as a credible source and we cannot accept as fact that Albania’s parliament voted against their own foreign minister?
    _______________
    >>>Nobody is saying that ignoring UN resolutions is a good thing, and indeed it is unlawful.

    And that should be the end of the argument. No ifs. No buts. The rule of law should prevail. But, I see you are happy to believe the Poms and Americans to break it because the Russians support it? Man, get a reality check!!
    _______________

    Regarding the integrity of Ireland’s politicians and their propensity for political patronage. I did say it was a conversation I had with an Irish friend who made the connection between organised crime and political patronage. I merely posted the Irish Times to confirm to you that he is right on the first aspect, that organised crime is rife in Ireland. I believe him on the other too. As for naming the politicians? That is your job. But where there is the former, if you dig hard enough you will find the latter.

  • Ger O’Brien

    Regarding Albanians being oppressed in 1999:

    According to Carla Del Ponte, the true victims in 1999 were Serbs.
    ________________
    >>>>The Hague Tribunal uncovered cases of illegal trade with human organs of Serbs and other ethnic minorities in Kosovo captured by KLA in 1999, the former tribunal’s chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said in her book “The Hunt”.

    http://www.makfax.com.mk/look/novina/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=2&NrArticle=105942&NrIssue=614&NrSection=20

    Karla Del Pomnte knew this in 2004 but with-held the information, as she pursued Serbs for war crimes like a blood thirsty hound.
    ____________

    Kosovo victims two decades earlier?

    Some 57,000 Serbs had left the Yugoslav autonomous province of Kosovo within the past decade, it was reported July 12.

    A great number had left after the riots of March and April 1981, according to local officials. The region’s economic problems and the ethnic Albanian nationalism that had sparked the riots were mentioned as the principal reasons behind the Serbian migration. [See 1981, p. 261G1]

    “The nationalists have a two-point platform, first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then the merger with Albania to form a greater Albania,” said Becir Hoti, a Kosovo Communist Party official and an ethnic Albanian.
    Officials cited widespread harassment of Serbs by Albanians, including two recent murders, personal insults, defacing of graves, burning of hay and other attacks on property.

    http://members.tripod.com/sarant_2/ksm82-1.html

  • Sir Ivan & Co:

    There’ve been instances when Albanians willing to testify against the KLA leadership would suddenly not cooperate.

    Like Frankie Five Aces in The Godfather II.

    In comparison to the repackaged KLA, the more democratic and multi-ethnically tolerant Serbia minus Kosovo has a media where one can find plenty of criticism against mainstream Serb views. In Kosovo, one is hard pressed to find any firm criticism of the repackaged KLA.

    Based on past and present behavior and in conjunction with UNSCR 1244, the repackaged KLA certainly didn’t legitimately acquire the exclusive right of Kosovo over Serbia.

  • CORRECTION

    Based on past and present behavior and in conjunction with UNSCR 1244, the repackaged KLA certainly didn’t legitimately acquire the exclusive right to Kosovo over Serbia.

  • ”Regarding the integrity of Ireland’s politicians and their propensity for political patronage. I did say it was a conversation I had with an Irish friend who made the connection between organised crime and political patronage. I merely posted the Irish Times to confirm to you that he is right on the first aspect, that organised crime is rife in Ireland. I believe him on the other too. As for naming the politicians? That is your job. But where there is the former, if you dig hard enough you will find the latter.”

    The onus is not on me to dig -its on you, or your ”Irish friend”, who brought this up in the first place. Tell him I’d be grateful if he could link organised crime in Ireland with elected parliamentarians. Because this would be national news here, and I sure as hell havent heard it. Please show exactly where an Irish Dail member has been linked to organised criminals, and, by extension, how this exactly influences our foreign policy, paying particular attention to why we recognised Kosovo. I’d love to see that link, really, and I wonder precisely what Irish drug dealers have to gain from Kosovar independence. You still have in no way substantiated your point about political patronage and how it affects Ireland’s decision making in foreign policy.

    ”What? By your logic, because you do not find Serbianna an acceptable website, the author cannot be accepted as a credible source and we cannot accept as fact that Albania’s parliament voted against their own foreign minister?”

    I absolutely do not consider Serbianna a reliable source of info. There lies Serb propoganda. But in any event, its neither here nor there -the views of one foreign minister in Albania, who has since been removed, does not in any way constitute a serious move towards Kosovo unifying with Albania. Again, if you could point to some serious evidence, like a passed parliamentary vote for unification, then I’d accept your point. Otherwise, you are deep in the realms of speculation. And please, no Greater Albania maps.

    ”… but because the UCK and the US orchestrated the mass exodus to influence public opinion such as yours”

    Yes, all of us at home except Serb apologists are dumbasses who believe everything on tv. Can you tell me exactly why the US could actually be bothered with such a contrived load of nonsense? Why would the US do this? This isnt naivete. I just cannot see why, unless I accept more bullshit about US hegemony, US empire, New World Order etc.

    ”>>>Nobody is saying that ignoring UN resolutions is a good thing, and indeed it is unlawful.

    And that should be the end of the argument. No ifs. No buts. The rule of law should prevail. But, I see you are happy to believe the Poms and Americans to break it because the Russians support it? Man, get a reality check!!”
    Actually according to the resolution Serbia did indeed lose its right to govern Kosovo. So, by logical extension, someone must govern the place…funny enough, the Kosovars? Or do the Irish, the EU etc have to keep the place going indefinitely? To be honest, I’d prefer if my income tax went to house homeless Irish people rather than paying for troops to govern yet another bloody Balkan flashpoint. So, according to the law, Serbia cannot be the boss anymore, but someone has to.
    As for taking US/UK word over the Russians? Any day of the week, I reiterate. I already spelt out how Russia votes on the UN to suit itself, and am quite convinced Russia is not an honest standard bearer for anything, much less the rule of law. And, in any case, Russia did vote for that resolution, which does indeed remove Kosovo from Serb governing.

    ”Karla Del Pomnte knew this in 2004 but with-held the information, as she pursued Serbs for war crimes like a blood thirsty hound.”

    Yes but Carla Del Ponte at no point identifies Kosovo Albanians as the chief aggressors. Indeed, in this address to the OSCE in 2006, she makes no mention of Albanian crimes in Kosovo but does of Serb crimes there:
    http://www.un.org/icty/pressreal/2006/p1106e-CDPspeech.htm

    In fairness, I do accept that the Albanians have misbehaved, and in all liklihood they each are as bad as the other. But the fact remains -and it is very simple -that Serbia was the governing authority in the region and they sanctioned ethnic cleansing in 1998-1999. Hence, they should not be allowed to govern, and, one way or another, not be given back Kosovo.

  • Then the Turks and Kurds should lose parts of their territory for a Kurdish state.

    For that matter: given the way the US behaves, it can be said that it should lose its right to play a lead role in determining issues like Kosovo.

    In any event, UNSCR, the past and present is very much on the side of the Serbs.

  • Serbianna is a great source of information.

    In comparison, sites like Greater Surbiton and Mr. Cheesebuger 9000 aren’t as objective.

    Serbianna commentary is compartively more direct in replying to its political opposites. it does so in a more dignified manner than a good number of its political opposites.

    The Serbianna news wire posts a diverse range of views.

    Russia has been more legit on the disputed former Communist bloc territories thahn the US. Mark MacKinnnon and James of Robert Amsterdam’s blog have suggestively stated the same.

    Someone with a squeaky clean record can commit a crime with someone having a checkered past and present. In such an instance, the former shouldn’t be exempted. Russia and Serbia haven’t been as guilty as some suggest and the US is far from being virtuous.

  • Mike, if you simply read the sentence you will see that I am referring to myself and others of the great unwashed masses who have been fooled by US propoganda. The ones who dont believe the US contrived all this stuff in Kosovo etc.

  • You’re apparently unaware of the ethnic funding of some key American politicos which influences a good part of the decision making.

    Ditto the very faulty journalism which many readily believe.

    This splendidly written and well documented book soundly debunks the often unchallenged propaganda:

    http://www.mediacleansing.com/

    Kudos to Alex, Sir Ivan, Savo and Serbianna as well.

  • I should’ve said Aleks instead of Alex.

    And yes, I do appreciate Mr. MacDonald for coming on to express his views which I don’t agree with (knowing the feeling is mutual).

    The point is that in the “free press” (English language mass media) these point-counterpoint discussions have beenn virtually non-existent. It has been extremely one sided whether some others reralize it or not.

  • At any rate, the book you reference is interesting and perhaps worth looking at. Bit of a paucity of recommendations though -one ambassador, gone in 1992, and one senior officer…though maybe its not out long.

    ”You’re apparently unaware of the ethnic funding of some key American politicos which influences a good part of the decision making.”

    I am aware of a strong Albanian lobby in the US, but whether or not its strong enough to get US aircraft carriers into the Adriatic, I simply dont know, and frankly doubt.

  • To suppport biased actions against Serbia: a resounding yes.

    Are you familiar with George Szamuely and Diane Johnstone? Their Counterpunch articles were linked here.

    Such views are very much muted at CNN, Fox, MSNBC, PBS and NPR.

    The BBC is a bit better, while still showing an overall slant against the mainstream Serb view.

  • ”Are you familiar with George Szamuely and Diane Johnstone? Their Counterpunch articles were linked here.”

    I’m not. I will do some digging and thanks for the names.
    In fairness I’m on shaky ground commenting, but find it hard to see past 1999.

  • It’s not so difficult and what happened in 1999 has been stretched.

    Within the year to year and a half of Kosovo fighting before the NATO bombing, there were about 2,000 fatalities out of the province’s 2 million population. About 500 of the 2,000 casualties were Serbs, who at the time were said to make up 10% of the population. Per capita wise, Serbs suffered considerably more. A good number of the Albanian casualties included those who showed a willingness to work within the existing government framework. I was forwarded statistical data confirming that Washington DC has had greater annual murder rates than what has been referenced to Kosovo.

    Since the end of the NATO bombing, it’s commonly believed that just as many (2000) if not more have died in Kosovo.

  • Sorry to be boring, but here’s the link to UNSCR 1244 (well, the page with UNSCR fropm 1999_:

    http://www.un.org/Docs/scres/1999/sc99.htm

    Most salient points [my brackets]:

    2. Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and
    territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2,

    [Serbia, the legal successor to the FRY as Monty quit of its own volition & the relevance of HFA of 1975]

    Reaffirming the call in previous resolutions for substantial autonomy and
    meaningful self-administration for Kosovo,

    [note phrase ‘substantial autonomy’]

    4. 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;

    [not implemented…]

    9. (b) Demilitarizing the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups as required in paragraph 15 below;

    [not implemented]

    10. Authorizes the Secretary-General, with the assistance of relevant
    international organizations, to establish an international civil presence in Kosovo in order to provide an interim administration for Kosovo under which the people of Kosovo can enjoy substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and which will provide transitional administration while establishing and overseeing the development of provisional democratic self-governing institutions to ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants of Kosovo;

    [note phrase ‘substantial autonomy’ within the FRY]

    11. (f) In a final stage, overseeing the transfer of authority from Kosovo’s provisional institutions to institutions established under a political settlement;

    [note ‘political settlement’ – does not mean ‘imposition’ funnily enough]

    11. (a) Promoting the establishment, pending a final settlement, of
    substantial autonomy and self-government in Kosovo, taking full account of
    annex 2 and of the Rambouillet accords (S/1999/648);

    [note phrase ‘substantial autonomy’ again – yawn!]

    11. (e) Facilitating a political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future status, taking into account the Rambouillet accords (S/1999/648);

    [note ‘facilitating’, as in ‘helping’]

    11. (f) In a final stage, overseeing the transfer of authority from Kosovo’s provisional institutions to institutions established under a political settlement;

    [note ‘political sttlement’ again – yawn!]

    15. Demands that the KLA and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups end
    immediately all offensive actions and comply with the requirements for
    demilitarization as laid down by the head of the international security presence in consultation with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General;

    [note – KLA not disarmed]

    Annex 1 point 6:
    – A political process towards the establishment of an interim political
    framework agreement providing for a substantial self-government for
    Kosovo, taking full account of the Rambouillet accords and the
    principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal
    Republic of Yugoslavia and the other countries of the region, and the
    demilitarization of the KLA;

    [note: ‘ubstantial self-government’ & ‘sovereignty and territorial integrity of’ the FRY – a no brainer, second time mentioned. Yawn!]

    Annex 2

    5. Establishment of an interim administration for Kosovo as a part of the
    international civil presence under which the people of Kosovo can enjoy
    substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to be decided by the Security Council of the United Nations. The interim administration to provide transitional administration while establishing and overseeing the development of provisional democratic self-governing institutions to ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants in Kosovo.

    [note: ‘substantial authority’ yet again, and ‘ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life’ which they have failed to do for the majority of non-Albanians]

    6. 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.

    [note: unimplemented buy UNMIK/NATO/UN]

    8. A political process towards the establishment of an interim politica
    framework agreement providing for substantial self-government for Kosovo, taking full account of the Rambouillet accords and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other countries of the region, and the demilitarization of UCK. Negotiations between the parties for a settlement should not delay or disrupt the establishment of democratic self-governing institutions.

    [note: lots of repeated stuff again mostly not implemented nor respected – ‘negotiations between the parties’ – well they met, what once? ‘Parties’ would mean the Albanians and Serbs which were indeed disrupted by the ‘facilitators’]

    Whatever. Maybe I missed the bit that said the ‘Albanians get de facto independence if no agreement is reached’ but it is either hidden in a micro dot or does not exist.

    No mention of ‘optional’ either.

    And some wonder why so many countries want nuclear weapons. Made and *&#@$% up in the West!

  • Alright I’ll open my mind a bit and have a look around before any further lambasting of Serbs. Time for bed in Ireland, goodnite Mike:-)

  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 specifically states that Kosovo is a part of Yugoslavia. Serbia is internationally recognized as the successor state to Yugoslavia. In Communist and post Communist Yugoslavia Kosovo was part of the Serb republic. UNSC 1244 calls for a return of refugees, as well as of Serb military and government bodies to Kosovo. This has yet to happen. In legalese, the 1244 clause about taking into “full consideration” the unsigned Rambouillet diktat is not a green light for independence. It simply means that aspects of Rambouillet can perhaps be considered. Prior to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the Clinton
    Administration and Kosovo Albanian nationalists wrote a clause in Rambouillet which would have (if signed) permitted Kosovo to vote on independence after three years from the accord’s signing. I specifically recall noted American University law professor Paul Williams bragging about his having written that segment on Geraldo Rivera’s MSNBC cable news show. No one questioned Williams’ objectivity as a then adviser to the Kosovo Albanian nationalist leaders. Madeleine Albright was quoted as having said that Rambouillet was written in a way that was unacceptable to the Serbs. An obvious pretext for starting the war that was to be. The “final outcome” status for Kosovo is stated towards the end of 1244. It relates to how Kosovo should be governed as a part of Serbia. What other logical way can be otherwise suggested when the very same document recognizes Kosovo as part of Serbia, while stating that refugees, Serb government and military bodies should return to that province?”

  • Not boring at all Alex, I was going to get it tommorow and read it, but you’ve put it there for us, cheers.

  • I’m not. I will do some digging and thanks for the names.

    I’d not expect to see much by way of conventional widsom at Counterpunch, Ger. It is a far-left WebZine, containing such thoughful pieces as Is President Bush Sane?, and The Shame of Being An American where we learn that:

    “Muslim genocide in one form or another is the professed goal of the neoconservatives who have total control over the Bush administration”

    Still, I leave it to you to judge whether it is a source of useful information regarding the Balkans.

  • TN

    Like The Economist is more even handed. I recall you posting it like it’s a responsible source. This isn’t to say that it should be shunned altogether.

    I find that the truly intelligent among us often read diverse views from our own and do so in a way that doesn’t misrepresent the opposing view.

    BTW, Counterpunch is by no means monolithic in the views expressed there.

    Alexander Cockburn rocks! Ditto Justin Raimondo.

  • ”I’d not expect to see much by way of conventional widsom at Counterpunch, Ger. It is a far-left WebZine, containing such thoughful pieces as Is President Bush Sane?, and The Shame of Being An American where we learn that:

    “Muslim genocide in one form or another is the professed goal of the neoconservatives who have total control over the Bush administratio””

    Tim, thanks for that. You’ve saved me a lot of nonsense, and, though I doubted myself this evening, perhaps I have not, after all, been conned by the US government. I hadnt read counterpunch before and clearly there is no need to now:-)

    Mike -I believed you for a second, or at least was going to give some credence, and you were recommending this kind of stuff? Mike, seriously, I’m not having a go, but how can you put any belief in this stuff? Its like New World Order, Aliens, Jewish Banking -how can you swallow any of it?

    Aleks, fair enough, the resolution does not specify that Kosovo can go its own way. But think just for one second – is there any chance, just a small one, that the EU and the USA are actually being practical about this, and simply know that realistically Serbia cannot be trusted to run the place anymore?
    Definitely bedtime now.

  • The “nonsense” is in ignoring the nonsense that you readily accept.

    I specifically mentioned two authors and you make a judgment of something different.

    Once again, you can find nonsense at other venuers that you readily accept.

  • I absolutely do not consider Serbianna a reliable source of info.

    Your judgement is sound. Despite its detractors on here, the website:

    Greater Surbiton

    has a very good author in Cambridge historian Marko Attila Hoare. I can parcticularly recommend this article of his in which he tackles those who:

    “downplay, deny or minimize the crimes of the Miloševi? regime, its security forces and its proxy forces in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. They blame the media for ‘exaggerating’ these crimes in order to justify Western military intervention.”

    Sound familiar?

    Like I said, judge for yourself.

  • George Szamuely and Diane Johnstone are respected long time observers of the Balkans.

    Should http://www.exile.ru be totally disregarded? At that site, its principle MA wrote a piece lauding the destruction of the Amercian embassy in Belgrade.

  • Mike as with anything in this life, there is a hierarchy of publication, some journals are more important and respected than others. Clearly if these authors allow themselves to be published alongside titles like ”Is President Bush Sane?” then they are simply not worth reading. It’d be like reading and believing a Freshman’s Rag ahead of a peer-reviewed journal. No way. I thought I wasnt wrong, and has been years since I read anything decent on Yugoslavia, but there’s no way I’ll read that stuff. I’m not even that dumb.

  • ”Should http://www.exile.rube totally disregarded? ”

    Yes it should, and no disrespect to SG about that meant. The exile is great at telling you where to get laid and where to get drunk, but is useful for little else.

  • More incoherent replies. Refer to the points made about exile and The Economist.

    Moreover, you haven’t even read their commentary.

    Cockburn is well respected and a no nonsense kind of a pundit.

  • And no-one in their right mind reads the exile in Moscow for news unless they speak no Russian and have no satellite tv and/or have never been away from home before:-)

  • And no-one in their right mind reads the exile in Moscow for news unless they speak no Russian and have no satellite tv and/or have never been away from home before:-)

    I’ve not read much of The Exile, but I’ll take your word for it. However, this, it has to be said, is simply brilliant.

  • Mike, the exile is something you read for entertainment. You wouldnt believe a word out of it except how much the beer costs and the bird factor at the clubs. And even then, they’ve got it wrong; I’ve scored in places they gave 1 star to and couldnt hit a barn-door in places they say are full of babes. Mike, seriously, you cant reference exile, I mean really you cant.

    ”Moreover, you haven’t even read their commentary.”

    I’d best stay in ignorance then.

  • even then, they’ve got it wrong; I’ve scored in places they gave 1 star to and couldnt hit a barn-door in places they say are full of babes.

    I thought that about their review of Fabrika. 🙁

  • “GER O’BRIEN Says:
    March 25th, 2008 at 12:55 am
    And no-one in their right mind reads the exile in Moscow for news unless they speak no Russian and have no satellite tv and/or have never been away from home before:-)”

    ****

    Said by someone who is ignorant of Gerge Szamuley’s and Diane Johnstone’s commentary while repeating insulting misrepresentations.

    ————————————————————————–

    “GER O’BRIEN Says:
    March 25th, 2008 at 12:59 am
    Mike, the exile is something you read for entertainment. You wouldnt believe a word out of it except how much the beer costs and the bird factor at the clubs. And even then, they’ve got it wrong; I’ve scored in places they gave 1 star to and couldnt hit a barn-door in places they say are full of babes. Mike, seriously, you cant reference exile, I mean really you cant.

    ‘Moreover, you haven’t even read their commentary.’

    I’d best stay in ignorance then.”

    ****

    For sure on the last point. Unlike TN and yourself, eXile is widely reagarded among academics. One of them recently noted such at that venue. A number of their articles have been referenced abroad JRL included.

  • ”However, this, it has to be said, is simply brilliant.”

    Yes it is. And some the articles about realia there are hilarious and spot on. At the same time, you wouldnt be referencing it in your BA or PhD dissertation, a sure sign that something is unreliable. There is one journalist, Yasha Levine, who does write good stuff, to give some credit. But Ames is not even funny anymore and some of the ranting there is just atrocious. They make it way too personal, and thats great when you’re 15 and find it funny when someone says ”I f****d his girlfriend”, but it becomes a bit passe at 33.

  • ”eXile is widely reagarded among academics”

    will you please tell me which academics actually reference exile in their published works? Genuinely enlighten me, if I’m wrong I’ll stand corrected. I thought the whole thing was just a laugh.

    ”No reply to The Economist point.”
    What about the Economist?

  • It has its definite slant on some issues. I recall you having rebuked one of their contributors.

    In any event and comtrary to what someone else said, Counterpunch and Serbianna are more credible than Greater Surbiton.

  • ”even then, they’ve got it wrong; I’ve scored in places they gave 1 star to and couldnt hit a barn-door in places they say are full of babes.

    I thought that about their review of Fabrika.”

    I’m not suprised. They called Hermitage Gardens a hard place. Reality: you’d have to have a wooden leg NOT to score there.

  • It’s much more accurate and academic to directly reply to the topic related specifics as opposed to engaging in broad swipes that don’t directly address the topic related specifics.

    Counterpunch has had its share of prominent academics and media critics, including Noam Chomsky and Normon Solomon.

  • Over the course of time, Kirill Pankratov has written some astute commentary in eXile.

  • ”I’m not suprised. They called Hermitage Gardens a hard place. Reality: you’d have to have a wooden leg NOT to score there.”
    Then again, in fairness to eXile, there’s no accounting for women, is there?:-)

  • will you please tell me which academics actually reference exile in their published works?

    I suspect none, but pointing out that you or I are not widely regarded by academics for the stuff we write online seems a bit superfluous. Next I’ll be told that Warren Gatland doesn’t regard by my propping skills too highly. 🙂

  • Mike, the Economist, like the Moscow Times, does indeed have a slant. But try living in Russia for a while as westerner; very quickly you’ll aquire that slant yourself. There are many great things about Russia -booze, babes, cheap cigarettes, scorching summers and white winters. But Russia is a relatively hostile environment for outsiders, where getting the most simple things done is effortsome, and I dont blame for a second western writers who perhaps are a bit sceptical at times. You confuse this with Russophobia, but it is not. Its simply reality.
    By the way no onf that was meant as an insult; I’m describing what I believe to be an objective reality.

  • Thinking that Hoare is a reasonably objective source is quite off.

    Likewise with thinking The Economist more plausible than Counterpunch.

    As for eXile, it regularly gets picked up at JRL and RP. Not that this should be the absolute in judging its quality. It did have a period in the dog house.

    Like I said a good number of Russia related academics and journos read it.

  • ” suspect none, but pointing out that you or I are not widely regarded by academics for the stuff we write online seems a bit superfluous. Next I’ll be told that Warren Gatland doesn’t regard by my propping skills too highly. ”

    In normality, it would be superflous, but here, I’m having to actual explain to Mike that eXile is not really a serious journalistic effort, and therefore stating the bloody obvious!:-)

  • “GER O’BRIEN Says:
    March 25th, 2008 at 1:24 am
    Mike, the Economist, like the Moscow Times, does indeed have a slant. But try living in Russia for a while as westerner; very quickly you’ll aquire that slant yourself. There are many great things about Russia -booze, babes, cheap cigarettes, scorching summers and white winters. But Russia is a relatively hostile environment for outsiders, where getting the most simple things done is effortsome, and I dont blame for a second western writers who perhaps are a bit sceptical at times. You confuse this with Russophobia, but it is not. Its simply reality.
    By the way no onf that was meant as an insult; I’m describing what I believe to be an objective reality.”

    ****

    What you say relative to me in the above is a misrepresentation.

    It’s factually incorrect to lump all westerners in Russia as thinking along the liones of what’s stated in the above quoted.

    Exile has written some good material on that very matter.

    Anti-Russian bigotry is a reality as well.

  • the Economist, like the Moscow Times, does indeed have a slant.

    Indeed. A lot of what is written in The Economist about Russia I have found to be largely inaccurate, or selective in its sources. I have noticed this since I have been living here and hence had the ability to identify the discrepancies between what is reported and what I experience. I’ve yet to come across a publication where this doesn’t occur, and all one can do is attempt to reconcile ones experiences with what is written, or forgive the differences. With The Economist, this isn’t too difficult to do because although slanted, the articles come across as though they have been written by somebody you could have an intelligent conversation with and is probably highly competent in some area of expertise.

  • ”Like I said a good number of Russia related academics and journos read it.”
    I’m sure they do, and it has the odd gem, and it is very funny at times -side-splittingly so, and when I was in Moscow I was immensely grateful for it -I’d be roaring laughing on the metro home along the red line to Verndagskogo and the locals thought there was something wrong with me. But its not quite Kommersant or Izvestia.

  • In normality, it would be superflous, but here, I’m having to actual explain to Mike that eXile is not really a serious journalistic effort, and therefore stating the bloody obvious!:-)

    It wasn’t you that said it, I was commenting on what Mike had written, specifically:

    Unlike TN and yourself, eXile is widely reagarded among academics.

    🙂

  • “GER O’BRIEN Says:
    March 25th, 2008 at 1:28 am
    ‘ suspect none, but pointing out that you or I are not widely regarded by academics for the stuff we write online seems a bit superfluous. Next I’ll be told that Warren Gatland doesn’t regard by my propping skills too highly. ‘

    In normality, it would be superflous, but here, I’m having to actual explain to Mike that eXile is not really a serious journalistic effort, and therefore stating the bloody obvious!:-)”

    ****

    It’s typically not academically written, while dealing with academic issues and at times, dealing with them quite well.

    It has a pretty good following among Russia related journos and academics.

    This is said by someone not agreeing with everything in it.

  • Actually, to give eXile credit – a few months ago I had the misfortune to buy a copy of Newsweek, seeing the front cover with Putin on it and thought ‘why not have a read’. I was astonished to find that the lead article, about Russia, was almost a poor distillation of something I’d read on the exile a few weeks earlier. It was clear the writer hadnt a clue and I genuinely wonder was Ames’ article lifted or at least heavily lifted from. Made me wonder….anyway, I cant substantiate that as I havent the mag anymore, went in the bin, but stranger things have happened….

  • From time to time, ideas/expressions are often taken without giving credit from where they were picked up from.

    Not a wise thing to do with eXile.

    Unless one glories in having themself featured in the separated at birth segment.

  • ”It wasn’t you that said it, I was commenting on what Mike had written, specifically:

    Unlike TN and yourself, eXile is widely reagarded among academics.”

    Yes, its true, I’m thick as two short planks. Makes life a lot easier I can tell you:-)

  • Mike, in fairness, the eXile article, I sort of recall, was about the fueding clans in the Kremlin, and was actually quite good -but it was the Newsweek article that was crap. I cannot explain it, but it was sort of written in that bullshit, international style – the commentary around the facts was rubbish, and it seemed to me the writer had simply pulled the facts from eXile, but was unable to make use of them, and knew very little about Russia, I mean it was cliche-repeating. Anyway, it was odd, but I cant substantiate as I havent it anymore.

  • So, Newsweek has its apparent flaws. Should it then be totally disregarded?

    Some cheap shot remarks about Counterpunch, Serbianna and some other venues.

    No one is perfect.

    I read The Weekly Standard because sometimes there’s an agreeable enough piece in it and regardless, it’s good to be as well versed as possible. This includes as thorough an understanding as possible of the different views to a given topic.

    Some folks seem to have ptroblems grasping what appears to be a reasonable way of reviweing such matters.

  • ”So, Newsweek has its apparent flaws. Should it then be totally disregarded?”

    No, but at any rate one would think they have more resources than the eXile.
    Anyway, good day/night to all:-)

  • Second request. Pardon if duplicated.

    I didn’t just have eXile in mind.

    For qualitative purposes: having “resources” is beneficial, provided it’s properly utilized.

  • Ger O’Brien

    >>>>There lies Serb propoganda. But in any event, its neither here nor there -the views of one foreign minister in Albania, who has since been removed, does not in any way constitute a serious move towards Kosovo unifying with Albania.

    He has not been removed. He moved from a ministry where he embezzeled hundreds of millions, to become the country’s Foerign Minister. Clearly you are not, on top or across the issues. You have to catch up, or don’t comment.
    _________________

    >>>>>Again, if you could point to some serious evidence, like a passed parliamentary vote for unification, then I’d accept your point.

    What are you smoking? These things happen after the event…changed reality on the ground therefore “We recognise!!”

    __________________________________
    In terms of aspirations, here is a snippet…

    ”A legitimized genocide against the Serbian people is being carried out in Kosovo,” said Dobrica Cosic, a dissident novelist published here and in the United States, in an interview in Belgrade. ”More than 200,000 Serbs have been forced to leave their home in the last 10, 20 years.” A steady exodus continues.

    Since Albanian nationalists went on a rampage in 1981, leaving at least nine people dead, the level of violence has declined. But enough agitation continues, punctuated by acts of violence, to make a burning issue of the antagonism between the 1.4 million ethnic Albanians and the little more than 200,000 Serbs.

    Source: The New York Times April 28, 1986, Monday, Late City Final Edition

    __________________________________

    Regarding Carla Del Ponte’s article. Where do you get your information from?. The only thing she didn’t do is mention names. But she does atate they were taken to camps in Albnanians by the KLA. Who else would take them there if not Albanians? You pedantly dismiss this as some little side show.
    _____________

    As for serbianna being full of Serbian propaganda…that could be said of every pro-western publication. For example, Murdoch’s editorial position, uttered from his own mouth “is to support the government of the day”. The chances of publishing anything that would undermine GWB’s position are next to ZERO. Five minutes of the Fox News comedians is enough for anyone with some brains to understand that.

  • Next I’ll be told that Warren Gatland doesn’t regard by my propping skills too highly. 🙂

    Tim, you’d make an excellent prop once you’ve been squashed a bit. 🙂

  • Ger O’Brien

    Thank you for your responses. Apologies for the disointed responses. Struggle against the spam filter.

    It clear to me you have some catching up to do, seeing you have not yet read UN resolution 1244.
    ____________________________

    >>>>Yes, all of us at home except Serb apologists are dumbasses who believe everything on tv.

    No one is accusing you of being a dumbass. You give the impression that you are just catching up with events. Blind faith, particularly of UK and US governments is not a virtue.
    __________________________________

    >>>>Can you tell me exactly why the US could actually be bothered with such a contrived load of nonsense? Why would the US do this?

    I am struggling to comprehend this as well, beyond the obvious: access to markets and strategic economic interest. Some events have to be seen over a longer time line, not just the here and now. They are not always for altruistic reasons. I remind you that during the 1970’s USA was funding right wing death squads throughout Latin America to prop up dictators in Chile and Argentina. The British were training Pol Pot for crying out loud during his Year Zero period!!!!

    It is a fact that the plans to bomb Serbia began almost 2 years earlier, as were the plans to build Camp Bondsteel, the biggest US military base outside the US.
    ______________________________________
    >>>>This isnt naivete. I just cannot see why, unless I accept more bullshit about US hegemony, US empire, New World Order etc.

    It is if you reject the last points in the above sentence and accept blindly the following:

    >>As for taking US/UK word over the Russians? Any day of the week, I reiterate.

    I suggest you read the Rambouillet agreement that Serbia was expected to sign to avoid NATO’s bombs!!

    I suppose you were the first to accept the Weapons of Mass Destruction spin from Bush and Blair before their misguided invasion in Iraq!

    As for trusting US presidents? There isn’t one US president who has not been at war in one place or another on this planet during his term of office since WW2. Jimmy Carter may be an esxceptioon, but even his hands are not clean over Iran and Latin America. No doubt all for good altruistic reasons that only USA and UK governments could see. The rest of us too stupid to understand.

    Trust the Brits? They are the masters of disinformation. Possibly better than the Russians.
    ___________________________________

    The other fact you gloss over is that history in Kosovo did not begin in 1999. if anything, Kosovo Albanians lost their right to self-determination in Kosovo for mounting an armed insurrection against Serbs 2-3 years earlier. Why did retired army generals and the intelligence services of Germany, UK and USA give physical and tactical support to 4,000 heavily armed KLA operatives, to mount raids against civilians and local policement (not army units nor MUP long befroe 1999?

  • Ger O’Brien

    Regarding the integrity of Irish politicians. Of course you would not find anyhting linking a sitting Member of Parliament to organised crime. He wouldn’t be in Parliament if such information was widely known. Such connections usually become known after the fact.

    When I said it is your responsibility, I mean yours to demand of them proper conduct and structures that would ensure they remain squeaky clean. You seem too eager to accept that because nothing has been publiahed in the press, all is fine. Complacency is not a virtue either.

  • He hasn’t?

    The way he recently dismissed a couple of sources, while saying that another very partisan one (that regularly cranks out suspect commentary) is somehow more believeable as one of several examples.

  • Regarding the recent discussion of media here, someone forwarded to me an example of how some misrepresent others (my attempts to direcetly reply didn’t succeed):

    “Well people’s view of the world is shaped first and foremost through entertainment media and then only to a small extent through the news media (which is in part why I think obsessing about media pundits and their nefarious influence a la Averko misses the point). If Hollywood says it, it’s true.”

    ****

    The above quoted **** once gain misrepresents what Averko knows and believes.

    It’s not only mass media propped pundits, but the raw news reporting as well; which often takes the form of punditry under the guise of straight news reporting. Not to be overlooked is the connection some influential news folks have with government.

    It has been said that the mentioned “entertainment media” has had an influence on the “news media”.

    Just setting the record straight AGAIN.

  • Tim, you’d make an excellent prop once you’ve been squashed a bit.

    Heh! At the moment, I’d be useful in the second row, in one dimension only. 🙂

    I like this. We can have a conversation on here with you and Ger without anyone else having the slightest idea what we’re on about.

  • ”The way he recently dismissed a couple of sources, while saying that another very partisan one (that regularly cranks out suspect commentary) is somehow more believeable as one of several examples”

    Mike, i think you misunderstand -the boys are talking about rugby, not ‘propping’ of media. A prop is a position in rugby, tall 2nd row forwards who win line-out ball and from behind drive the fat bastards in the front row in the scrums. Its a crucial position -bad props mean its hard gain possession.

    ”Just setting the record straight AGAIN.”
    I have no idea what you’re on about, but I didnt do it, thats for sure. The tone is happy now Mike, why spoil it?

    ”like this. We can have a conversation on here with you and Ger without anyone else having the slightest idea what we’re on about.”

    Indeed it is brilliant, and very funny. Its just a pity our national team are heading for deep decline, whilst England look a bit better than they have, and Wales now on a high.

  • “GER O’BRIEN Says:
    March 25th, 2008 at 1:20 pm
    ‘The way he recently dismissed a couple of sources, while saying that another very partisan one (that regularly cranks out suspect commentary) is somehow more believeable as one of several examples’

    Mike, i think you misunderstand -the boys are talking about rugby, not ‘propping’ of media. A prop is a position in rugby, tall 2nd row forwards who win line-out ball and from behind drive the fat bastards in the front row in the scrums. Its a crucial position -bad props mean its hard gain possession.

    ‘Just setting the record straight AGAIN.’
    I have no idea what you’re on about, but I didnt do it, thats for sure. The tone is happy now Mike, why spoil it?

    ‘like this. We can have a conversation on here with you and Ger without anyone else having the slightest idea what we’re on about.’

    Indeed it is brilliant, and very funny. Its just a pity our national team are heading for deep decline, whilst England look a bit better than they have, and Wales now on a high.”

    *****

    I wasn’t talking about rugby (which isn’t directly related to this particular thread) and I didn’t “misunderstand” anything pertaining to the thread’s topic and a recent discussion here about media.

    Rather, I was giving an example of a dishonest discussion about media wrongs. The dishonesty shown in how someone misrepresents someone else’s views.

    The matter is detailed in the 11:01 post of today.

    “Propping” can refer to supporting/promoting.

    As for the stated suggestion that I “spoil” things here, that can be more said of others. I clarify things in a way that some don’t seem to like because it doesn’t agree with their own biases on subjects they aren’t completely knowledgeable of.

    A “happy tone” shouldn’t include selectively needling comments that misrepresent what someone has said.

  • Mike – I don’t really think that whether or not you are being mis-represented elsewhere is relevant here.

    If you have an argument somewhere else, by all means deal with it at that other place. Don’t bring it here.

    We are all well aware of your views about certain commenters here (as we are all aware of those commenters views about you). We can learn nothing more through repitition.

    Regardless, the “record” is now as straight as straight can be. Any attempt to straighten it further would only make it wonky again.

  • By the way, I was just scrolling back through the comments, and this from Ger caught my eye:

    “Using the words ‘rule’ and ‘law’ and ‘Russia’ in one sentence should always raise eyebrows.”

    Did anyone spot Dmitry Medvedev’s interview today with the Financial Times in which he said:

    “Russia is a country where people don’t like to observe the law. It is, as they say, a country of legal nihilism.”

    Can you predict the national lottery numbers as well, Ger?

  • Andy

    I answered some comments made about me at this thread, in addition to relaying some points related to the media discussion at this very same thread.

    Regarding your last set of comments, we’re also aware of Tim’s views by now. 😉

    I prefer the wonk free environment myself.

  • I wasn’t going to post again, but I thought I ought to tie up a loose end or two:

    Just to nail the fallacy of Kosovo/Bangladesh/Eritrea link and to underline the total irrelevancy of Mr. McDonald’s pet theory (and for the purposes of elucidation), here’s the link to the 1975 Helsinki Final Act:

    http://www.osce.org/item/4046.html

    Note the signatories:

    The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, which opened at Helsinki on 3 July 1973 and continued at Geneva from 18 September 1973 to 21 July 1975, was concluded at Helsinki on 1 August 1975 by the High Representatives of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, the Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Yugoslavia.

    No Eritrea or Bangladesh funnily enough (though I will check with Wikipedia to see if they actually do reside on the European continent) 😉

    “Aleks, fair enough, the resolution does not specify that Kosovo can go its own way. But think just for one second – is there any chance, just a small one, that the EU and the USA are actually being practical about this, and simply know that realistically Serbia cannot be trusted to run the place anymore?”

    Ger,

    Neither Serbia, nor even the SRS realistically expect to ‘run’ Kosovo and have said as much. The KLA mafia who do run it have shown the same respect for minorities as they and their brethren did between 1971 and 1989 under full autonomy. They certainly can’t be trusted either, hence the 55% who didn’t vote.

    Neither can the UN be trusted as they failed to implement fully UNSCR 1244, and after the 2004 pogrom changed their policy of ‘standards before status to status before standards’. I seriously doubt that those who run the territory will put up with EU instructions for very long and that the EU presence will be made extremely uncomfortable (think a much bigger ‘Vetevendosje!’ as is run by Albin Kurti).

    It seems to me that there is very little evidence of real will to implement UNSCR 1244 by the Western powers and their acolytes on the ground. Still, it does exist…

    May I recommend the parting gift of Marek Anton Nowicki, UN Ombudsman to Kosovo (2000 – 2006) entitled ‘Kosovo – Pro Memoria’? Unfortunately his report is impossible to find on any official site (much like Izetbegovic’s 1990 republication of his ‘Islamic Declaration’), though I do have the text somewhere.

    Nowicki tried to help Serbs and Albanians alike, but was rebuffed by UNMIK and the other organizations at every turn for not letting sleeping dogs lie. He was expected to be ‘a team player’ and not criticize UNMIK or the failure of the international community in Kosovo to address the very real problems there. Here’s the official site: http://www.ombudspersonkosovo.org – The annual reports are worth a perusal.

  • To be honest, I dont even know what Mike is on about. What is patently obvious is that since my arse was kicked (quite rightly) by Andy yesterday I have done my best to behave, get back to the subject and forget what happened. As Heribert said blogs are work for people, they put effort in and we shouldnt be bringing either agendas or fights to the table putting the rest of the punters off. You may have noticed that everyone else -Randy, Sir I etc -has cleared off. Another thread ruined.

    ”Can you predict the national lottery numbers as well, Ger?”
    Sadly I cant Andy:-) Though I’ve spent years trying on our lottery here! Groan! Medvedev is right -Russians hate the law, in fact they hate rules in general. If Russians can break em, they’ll do it. Years ago I was at an Irish mock-farm for tourists with some Russian women(yes, they were hot, very prone to wearing tight gym gear on the street). We were passing a small field with rhubarb growing. One of the women scaled the fence and pulled up some rhubarb, jumped back out and put it in a bag. Stunned, I asked her what she was doing. She said ”no sign, no guards, its asking to be taken”. I was gobsmacked. She went on to explain to me that Russians will break rules or knock stuff off just because they can -need has nothing to do with it. I was amazed, robbing a worthless piece of rhubarb from an Irish field! Another thing is exams -Russians take PRIDE in cheating and are shocked when I tell them that not only is it shameful in Ireland, in 3rd level its punishable by expulsion and nullification of past results, and you are extremely unlikely to get out of this without legal action. Russians think its a badge of honour to cog. In fairness, running a country with this attitude amoung the locals has got to be hard work….maybe thats why everyone there is knee deep in red-tape from the day they are born. Control.

    And Mike, before you:
    (a) tell me westerners are just as bad
    (b) say Russians arent that bad
    (c) say I havent a clue
    (d) say that the whole world is at it
    (e) say I have an agenda and/or am a Russophobe

    please bear in mind:
    (a) I’ve spent the guts of 5 years on Russian soil
    (b) am married to a Russian, and will give her a good spank on her arse in the morning to get her up, just because I can:-)
    (c) speak considerably more Russian than you do and
    (d) Russians would not be offended by my comments -they know full well what I am talking about

  • ”Ger O’Brien

    Thank you for your responses. Apologies for the disointed responses. Struggle against the spam filter.”

    No problem, and thank you for yours. Though I dont seem to get spammed, but I do have to resubmit when the page freezes -I just press return and press submit again.

    ”No one is accusing you of being a dumbass. You give the impression that you are just catching up with events. Blind faith, particularly of UK and US governments is not a virtue.”

    Again thanks but I’m not sure there really is a whole lot to catch up on. Serbia, the government of Kosovo, commited ethnic cleansing. The US bombed them, quite rightly, and removed Kosovo from their control. Serbia should not be allowed govern Kosovo. In fairness, I do appreciate this is a long and complex stroy, not given to my flippancy. But my own view is that governments should not sanction ethnic cleansing against their own citizens, and when they do so, the give up all territorial and governance rights of that region, especially when there is a majority there who wants them out. If Serbia was having such trouble prior to 1997 with Albanians, why didnt they ask for help? Why did they decide the best way to deal with the problem was to start shooting, murdering and torching? And again, how Albanians came to be in a majority there is totally irrelevant. The fact is, they simply are in a majority there, and that cannot be changed, short of kicking them out over the border. As one Serb I worked with used to say ”All Serbs love Kosovo, and want to keep it, but none of us want to live there”. So an Albanian majority wants out and has been persecuted – answer:independence.

    ” am struggling to comprehend this as well, beyond the obvious: access to markets and strategic economic interest.”

    Sir I, this is a catch-all generic answer that could be applied to anything. I’m pretty sure the US could do without having to cough up more money for yet more Balkan aggravation, and I stand by that view. And I do not accept that Albanian agitation in the US is strong enough to get the Yanks to send aircraft carriers to the Adriatic.

    ” suppose you were the first to accept the Weapons of Mass Destruction spin from Bush and Blair before their misguided invasion in Iraq!”

    I dont believe I said that anywhere. Are you one of those people who believes that the war was started to ‘get the oil’ and ‘make money for Hailliburton’? And are you one of those people who believes that Bush is dumb? The Project for the New American Century too? Area 51? Dont be fooled. Bush is a bright boy, he simply strangles his words sometimes. Sometimes I actually think Bush is laughing at us, not the other way around, when he makes these verbal disasters.

    ”Regarding the integrity of Irish politicians..etc.”
    First of all, I’m under no illusions about our people here, and I’m no rabid nationalist. But you originally said that policital patronage may have been an issue in Ireland’s recognition of Kosovo. I cannot see how that is the case, and, unless I’m mistaken, none of our ”Duma”members have been linked publicly to organised crime.

    More later Sir I, am starving

  • Sir I, this is a catch-all generic answer that could be applied to anything.

    Isn’t it just? People still claim the Americans invaded Afghanistan in order to build a pipeline across it.

  • Tim Newman

    >>>Isn’t it just? People still claim the Americans invaded Afghanistan in order to build a pipeline across it.

    Who said it was about oil? The USA invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban made the growth of opium illegal and reduced the crop of poppy down to next to ZERO. Thbe sopt and futures price of heroin would have shot through the roof, and not to mention the huge number of jobless peddlers of the product…supply and demand…There is free market thought for you!!

    As soon as USA and NATO drove the Taliban out cultivation of poppy resumed, and there was bumper harvest last year. Supply restored.

    My wild speculation of course.

  • Aleks & Co:

    Ahtisaari’s views anf ties with the ICG should’ve prevented him from being in the role role that he was.

    I once again appreciate the input of Savo, Sir Ivan, Mr. MacDonald and Aleks for staying on target unlike some of the off topic and insultingly false comments that have been repeatedly brought up.

    Once again, knowledge of a language doesn’t often relate to a keen understanding of the foreign policy, history and some other aspects of the given country at issue. A number of highly promoted individuals provide commentary without the involved language proficiency. Some of that commentary is quite good.

    At this thread, an excellent job has been done at establishing the faulty nature of recognizing Kosovo’s independence. I’m glad to have been a contributor. I have a degree in former Communist bloc studies and having heritage from a former Communist bloc country, along with some high profile media appearances on the subject matter at hand.

    The comments in the last two paragrpaha are in direct reply to remarks directed against me in the March 25, post of 8:13 pm.

  • Edit from last post:

    The comments in the last two paragrpahs are in direct reply to remarks directed at me in the March 25, post of 8:13 pm.

    Comments that have been repeatedly restated.

  • Edit from last post

    The comments in the last two paragrpahs are in direct reply to remarks directed at me in the March 25, post of 8:13 pm.

    Comments that have been repeatedly restated in reply to repeatedly restated comments made by the same source.

  • Let me also add (in reply to some recent comments made at this thread) that I think there’s a good consensus of Russians who understandly loathe pious diatribes made against their country. This includes disrespecting how many Russians view any number of global issues.

    In the instance of Kosovo, Russia and Serbia are far from being alone.

  • Ger O’Brien

    >>>I dont believe I said that anywhere.

    No you didn’t. You said something along the lines you would believe Bush/Blair ahead of Russians.

    I mentioned Iraq and WMD because Bush/Blair used this excuse to invade Iraq. Russia did not accept the excuse nor support the invasion. The International Atomic Energy Commission (exact name escapes) also stated that Iraq did not have anything of the sort. Any capability had been destroyed smome years earlier undser its supervision. We know who was correct, and it wasn’t Bush or Blair.
    __________________________________________

    >>>>>Serbia, the government of Kosovo, commited ethnic cleansing. The US bombed them, quite rightly, and removed Kosovo from their control.

    Again you are wrong on this. You conveniently ignore all the events leading up to the bombing. Movement of people began after NATO’s bombing campaign began, not before it.

    Serbia’s military intervention in Kosovo was a direct result of USA/NATO arming the KLA, who two years earlier were attacking and killing Serrbian policemen and Serbian civillians. The KLA blew up cafes murdering scores of Serbian youth, who were busy living their lives. In my opinion, at that time Kosovo Albanians relinquished their rights to autonomy, let alone independence.

    In 2004, 17,000 NATO forces could not prevent Albanians from killing three dozen Serbs, destroying their homes, burning churces and rriving almost 4,000 of them out of Kosovo.

    The fact still remains, the people who were ethnically cleansed out of their ancestral homes were Serbs.

    I have already published data showing that the Albanian population in Kosovo in the ten years to 1971 grew at 10.25% per anuum or 265%. During the same period, the number of Serbs in Kosovo grew by 1,500 compared to over 550,000 Albanians. These facts attest to cultural genocide being waged against Serbs in Kosovo!!

    I suggest you also read up History of the Byzantine State by George Ostrogorsky, 1969 third edition, Ruthger University. If nothing else, you should gain some insights into the behaviour of empires to defend against external attacks, to retain territory, to wage war to regain lost territory or to gain new territory, to promote trade, maintain economic wealth, a well equiped army and navy etc. Some things do not change.

  • Alex

    Thanls for the link to Ahtisaari’s interview

    I found his following comment astonishing:

    >>>>In Europe only Germany had a honest look at its past.

    I cannot believe that he would equate Serbia with Germany’s behaviour during WW2. There is absolutely no comparison. His views were already warped.

  • Geo O’Brien

    >>>>Are you one of those people who believes that the war was started to ‘get the oil’ and ‘make money for Hailliburton’?

    Access to markets and stragic considerations such as supply of enenry are important considerations that a nation would go to war over. Particularly if that nation is USA.

    As for Halliburton? They are small fry compared to the contracts dished out to other suppliers of military hardware and services. They are merely an important piece of the mosaic that represents the military establishment. Even Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell speech warned against the unbrided might of the military establishment:

    “We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.” [That was and ramains a lot of money]

    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” [This is not about consipracy theories, but simply appeasing vested interests, what ultimately weakened Byzantium a thousand years earlier]

    Full speech here: http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

  • Vis-a-vis Kosovo, a considerably more accurate reference of the past notes the same countries that went along with dismembering Czechoslavakia in 1938.

    “Peace in our time.”

  • That’s: Czechoslovakia

    Ike has received his share of criticism as a “do nothing” president.

    Sir I’s cite of a statement from him is pertinent. Ike was certainly no far out lefty.

    In comparison to bombing Yugosalvia and recognizing Kosovo’s independence, it’s sometimes more preferable to “do nothing”.

  • ”Who said it was about oil? The USA invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban made the growth of opium illegal and reduced the crop of poppy down to next to ZERO. Thbe sopt and futures price of heroin would have shot through the roof, and not to mention the huge number of jobless peddlers of the product…supply and demand…There is free market thought for you!!”

    Are you actually taking the piss, or am I seeing things? Are you suggesting that the US invaded Afghanistan to keep the price of heroin down? Sir I, you’ve got plenty to say, and I’m sure some of it is worthwhile, but after a remark like that, I think you and Mike belong on one of those mad websites about Freemasons, Aliens, David Icke etc -just bananas.

    ”Let me also add (in reply to some recent comments made at this thread) that I think there’s a good consensus of Russians who understandly loathe pious diatribes made against their country. This includes disrespecting how many Russians view any number of global issues.”

    Means: ”I cannot contradict the fact that the President Elect of Russia himself thinks Russians are lawless people. Instead, I say that Russians loathe foreigners who criticise Russia, rather than tackle the issue head-on”

  • ”Access to markets and stragic considerations such as supply of enenry are important considerations that a nation would go to war over. Particularly if that nation is USA…etc”

    Yes, everyone is aware that there is an enormous military industrial complex in the US. But if you think that they determine when and why the US goes to war, then you have more than one screw loose.

  • Nope.

    Referring to how Russia views matters like disputed former Communist bloc territories.

    I agree with Ames’ view that Russian media people don’t have as pious an attitude as many of their Western counterparts. This is often true when non-media people are involved.

    Hence, the hypocritically flawed and stated “humanitarian intervention” foreign policy advocated by some in the West.

  • GER O’BRIEN Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Excerpt:

    “I think you and Mike belong on one of those mad websites about Freemasons, Aliens, David Icke etc -just bananas”

    ****

    The above quoted is another gross misrepresenatation and insulting at that.

  • ”The above quoted is another gross misrepresenatation and insulting at that.”

    Sorry, but tough. Your only response to the comments by both Medvedev and me about Russian tendency towards lawlessness was that Russians hate foreigners who criticise Russia. If you have something useful to say, do, otherwise tone down the insults. And with respect, appearances at websites with articles titled ”Is President Bush Sane”? deserve such comments. Part of your problem is that you have little or no experience with actual Russians, much less on Russian soil, with the end result of skewed views on Russian interpretation of everything. Russians would heartily laugh at my comments, I simply know that to be a fact, in much the same way I’d laugh if they’d called the Irish a nation of drinkers. I’m calling things as they are, and you dont like it, cos frankly your opinions are derived from a fantasy of Russia and Russians that simply does not exist. Learning Russian and spending significant time there would certainly rectify this.

  • Another gross misreprssentation as to what I said and my own experiences which are considerably more substantive than the person engaged in troll like manner.

    Allowing this troll activity to carry on like this isn’t supporting intelligent discussion.

  • Allowing this troll activity to carry on like this isn’t supporting intelligent discussion.

    Yep, this exactly is the reason why Mike Averko is barred at almost every serious blog or website for flooding and spamming. He’s the end of any intelligent discussion.

  • Heribert, I meant to email you and I will – apologies. Actually Heribert if you look above at the comment 12.57 on 25th march, Mike is referring to someone criticising him at SRB! He actually brought an argument from one blog to another! If that isnt trolling, I dont know what is.

    Your statement also about not abusing blogs is correct, people work hard at them and they shouldnt be ruined. Perhaps the best thing to do is, no matter how stupid the statement, to simply ignore Averko, and, like ignored teeth, he’ll go away.

  • Ger, I am not aware of a single blog or website where Averko isn’t criticised. Ignoring him doesn’t help, he’s like a singer with a horrible voice, who is deeply in love with his singing. He’ll sing … and sing … and sing … and on top of all the bad singer also sings a bad song.

    The more you tell him that he sings badly … the more he will sing his bad song at the top of his bad voice. The only thing that would help is locking him away in a straight jacket … behind some very thick wall.

    He’s a borderline case, sad but true.

  • Some will not like my getting back on topic and away from the recent wave of troll comments, that are repeat inaccurate statements; which are off topic and insulting for reasons previously detailed. Reasons that are fully understood by any reasonably sane individual.

    An additional thought to Randy MacDonald’s belief that UNSCR 1244 should no longer be honored because in his view “realities” have changed. Awhile back, long time New York City based activist, Al Sharpton felt that his Empire State Building lease agreement was no longer valid because he wasn’t using the involved office space. He took the position that the reality (his using the office space) had changed and as such, the signed agreement was no longer in effect.

  • Ger O’Brian

    You are very quick and loose with your invective.

    >>>>>Are you actually taking the piss, or am I seeing things?

    Sometimes I doubt whether you read or comprehend what is being written. Perhaps you read the firt point that catches your attention and stop there and begin to rant the usual mantra. I did state it was my wild imagination. It was in response to a statement that US involvement in Afghanistan was to build an oil pipe. It was an attempted humor. Loosen up a little.

    >>>>>But if you think that they determine when and why the US goes to war, then you have more than one screw loose.

    There you go, judging again. The emphasis is on the word ‘influence’ snd it is more subtle than that. The important point in the President’s speech was the following…..

    “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

    Albright did just that when she contemplated bombing Serbia. “We have the best military in the world, let’s use it.” or words to that effect.

  • Sometimes I doubt whether you read or comprehend what is being written.

    If he doesn’t, then he’s not alone. Once we get people listing Counterpunch.org, zmag.org, and Antiwar.com as sources worthy of consideration, then I’m afraid I too assume that lunatic conspiracy theories have taken hold and the humour is lost on me. Apologies.

    Speaking of zmag, whaddya know? Here’s John Pilger, just two days ago:

    They were the Taliban regime’s implacable foes when the word Taliban was barely heard in the west: when the Clinton administration was secretly courting the mullahs so that the oil company Unocal could build a pipeline across Afghanistan from the Caspian.

    The “moment in history” was a secret memorandum of understanding the mullahs had signed with the Clinton administration on the pipeline deal.

    The Economist may have its faults, including a consistent slant on any given topic, but in 8 years of reading I have yet to see an article peddling conspiracy theories on its pages. For anyone in doubt that the Afghan pipeline story is anything other than the product of conspiracy theorists and an overzealous media, read this article which traces the orgins of the myth.

  • Sir I,

    just back from the pub so excuse the typos. Alright, fair enough, I have went in with a few dirty tackles, and apologies for that. But my beliefs remain the same;
    (1) The United States does not treat the world as a chessboard, does not have a hidden agenda in Afghanistan or the Balkans.
    (2) Albanian lobbyists did not/cannot compel the US government to send the Fleet to the Adriatic
    (3) The United States did not invade Afghanistan to ensure the price of heroin remained low
    (4)The United States did not invade Afghanistan to build an oil pileline
    (5) Irish drug dealers are not bribing our Foreign Minister to recognize Kosovo
    (6) Serbia commited ethnic cleansing in 1999, and, to use a lovely British police phrase, they ”have form” -meaning they’ve done it before, e.g. Srebrenica. They should hardly be allowed govern themselves, never mind anyone else.

    With the greatest of respect, quotes from mad left-wing journals will not change my mind. The problem with you and Averko is very simple -you take the easy way, not the hard way. You choose to believe the conspiracy nonsense rather than actually look objectively at what the US or Britain or indeed Ireland are trying to do. It may come as an appalling vista to you, but sometimes people actually mean what they say -I actually do believe Bush when he says he wanted to liberate Iraq. I used to believe that he was there for oil, but the reality is, the US government does not control oil at all. This is a fallacy. Oil is pumped and shipped by private enterprise and the US pays the same for it as the rest of us. If nations arent pumping oil, they arent making money. Remember something about Bush – his own father encouraged a Shia rebellion in 1991 and then failed to back it up, leading to mass murder against them by Sunnis under Saddam. I have no doubt this has remained in the mind of both Bushes. And by hook or crook George W was going to fix that mistake. And, arguably, he has. And hopefully the US can finish the job there. A whole industry of nonsense has been buily around all this by the likes of Michael Moore, and you people have swallowed it with ease. You choose easy understanding, not hard. For many years I worked as a doping chemist; I’d receive samples and would find something interesting in one. So I wouldnt release the result for a while, as I confirmed it as positive or found it negative eventually. And of course the rumour mill would go into overdrive about the sample in the press, all sorts of talk, why the delay? All sorts of conspiracies. The reality was I simply hadnt got around to finishing the work. No conspiracy. Nothing juicy at all. Quite often, things really are what they are at face value.

    ”Ger, I am not aware of a single blog or website where Averko isn’t criticised. Ignoring him doesn’t help, he’s like a singer with a horrible voice, who is deeply in love with his singing. He’ll sing … and sing … and sing … and on top of all the bad singer also sings a bad song.

    Heribert, living in Ireland would be your worst nightmare. Cos everyone here thinks they can sing, and sadly they cant. As Charles Dance said in the movie Michael Collins, whilst unsuccessfully torturing Irish rebels for info ”problem with the Irish is they wont talk, but they’ll bloody sing at the drop of a hat”:-) What you are saying is absolutely true. There is not a single blog or website where our hero hasnt been in trouble or caused trouble. I’m just annoyed at myself that I actually had a row with you over him before when I defended him -I shouldve known better. You were right that time Heribert.

  • Tim Newman Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 10:56 pm
    Sometimes I doubt whether you read or comprehend what is being written.

    If he doesn’t, then he’s not alone. Once we get people listing Counterpunch.org, zmag.org, and Antiwar.com as sources worthy of consideration, then I’m afraid I too assume that lunatic conspiracy theories have taken hold and the humour is lost on me. Apologies.

    Speaking of zmag, whaddya know? Here’s John Pilger, just two days ago:

    They were the Taliban regime’s implacable foes when the word Taliban was barely heard in the west: when the Clinton administration was secretly courting the mullahs so that the oil company Unocal could build a pipeline across Afghanistan from the Caspian.

    …

    The ‘moment in history’ was a secret memorandum of understanding the mullahs had signed with the Clinton administration on the pipeline deal.

    The Economist may have its faults, including a consistent slant on any given topic, but in 8 years of reading I have yet to see an article peddling conspiracy theories on its pages. For anyone in doubt that the Afghan pipeline story is anything other than the product of conspiracy theorists and an overzealous media, read this article which traces the orgins of the myth.”

    *****

    The above quoted is absurdly twisted, given his carte blanche acceptance of Greater Surbiton as a more accurate and even balanced source than the venues he confidently ridicules. A critique of Greater Surbiton was earlier linked at this thread.

    The above quoted who came on here repeating bullshit about Serbia losing the right to Kosovo, while not addressing the facts and fact based particulars to the contrary, which were presented at this thread.

    The above quoted who posts (at another SL thread) how he likes it when American souherners address him as “sir”. many wouldn’t do such to someone who shows an extremely ignorant and arrogant view of a number of global topics.

    Counterpunch is listed at SRB, whose principle I understand is a fan of that venue.

    The Antiwar.com and Chronicles Balkan specialists easily blow away the Grerat Surbiton source in displayed knowledge and intellect.

    The Economist does in fact peddle conspiracies. Case in point being its somewhat nouveau mcCarthyite like commentary of TTT. Rather than question the TTT material, it resorted to who is funding that venue and why?

  • That’s: nouveau McCarthyite

    Let me add that much unlike some others, I make it a point to try to shy away from blabbing BS about subject matter I know little about.

  • In reply to some other repeat propaganda points that had been previously addressed:

    Srebrenica included a Muslim massacre of anywhere between 1500-3000 Serbs BEFORE the more advertised one, of whose fatalities are still not factually known.

    Between 1975-2000, the US government and NATO essentially supported a regime in Turkey that was involved in killing up to 40,000 Kurds and creating over 2 million Kurdish refugees.

    Serbia was fighting a just war against a vicious terrorist organization linked to organized crime. As previously detailed, that conflict was comparatively minute to others. Dmitry Simes had referred to it as an “ugly little civil war.”

  • The last paragraph of my last post referring to Kosovo. A political cross section of sources believe the number killed in Kosovo after the NATO bombing to be comparable to the fatality figure in the year to year and a half of fighting before the NATO bombing. Not included is the casualty figure during the NATO bombing. An act that wasn’t internationally supported unlike the 1991 attack on Iraq.

  • Ger O’Brien

    By your argument and Tim’s as well, I get the impression you guys are more likely to accept a lie told by a credible source like Bush and Blair, than the fact/truth from a not so credible source like say Putin.

    I am more inerested in the facts and less so in someone else’s opinion. I am able to form an opinion based on the facts on hand.

    You slag off at me and Mike, but I doubt you can see inconsistencies in your onw statemnts? Here is one example: In your own words on Bush and his motivation to invade Iraq:

    >>>>I have no doubt this has remained in the mind of both Bushes. And by hook or crook George W was going to fix that mistake. And, arguably, he has.

    Before Bush gave the green ligh on Iraq’s invasion he cited Saddam’s poession of WMD and capacity to wage chemical warfare as the reasons for goind to war. Liberating Iraqis was introduced in his lexicon somewhat later, when things began to go pear-shaped. He lied. And you accepted it, blindly.
    _________________________________________________________

    Regarding the rest of your comment:

    (1) The United States does not treat the world as a chessboard, does not have a hidden agenda in Afghanistan or the Balkans.

    >>>>Why does America have lmilitary bases in over 150 countries across the globe??
    ____________________________
    (2) Albanian lobbyists did not/cannot compel the US government to send the Fleet to the Adriatic.

    >>>>True. But they have been able to influence policy. It is policy that shapes outcomes.
    ________________________________________
    (3) The United States did not invade Afghanistan to ensure the price of heroin remained low

    >>>>>He. he. Of course not. I was trying to proves a point. There are facts and interpretation of facts. No evidence about OIL PIPE in Afghanistan. Rules this one out by a long shot. But Fact 1: Taliban in power – poppy harvest reduced to ZERO. Fact 2. USA/NATO take control poppy harvest at record levels. More likely this fact is an indication the Taliban had better control of Afhanistan than have American/NATO forces. Presumably this is the consequence of liberalisation of markets and introduction of democracy.
    _____________________________
    (4)The United States did not invade Afghanistan to build an oil pileline
    See comment above

    >>>> See 3 above.
    _________________________________
    (5) Irish drug dealers are not bribing our Foreign Minister to recognize Kosovo

    >>>>>I did not say that.
    _________________________________
    (6) Serbia commited ethnic cleansing in 1999, and, to use a lovely British police phrase, they ”have form” -meaning they’ve done it before, e.g. Srebrenica. They should hardly be allowed govern themselves, never mind anyone else.

    >>>>> Three years earlier, Kosovo was quiet, albeit with Albanians keen to secede. KLA was listed KLA a terrorist organisation. KLA received military support from Americans, British and German intelligence services in support of its secessionist aspirations. By 1998, KLA were bombing cafes, killing civillians, and executing Serbian policemen and Albanian ‘collaborators’. Serbia’s reaction in 1998 was in response to the increase in the intensity of KLA’s violence.

    >>>>>As for events in 1999. We can argue the cause and effect. There was no ethnic cleansing. There was mass movement of people, but there is no evidence that they were systematically being forced out of their homes by Serbian forces. The KLA stand accused of driving Serbs out of their homes during that period, and kidnapping them as well.
    _________________________________________________

    With the greatest of respect, quotes from mad left-wing journals will not change my mind.

    >>>>> I am open minded about the soruce of information if it is fact. As for interpretation I prefer to make my own assessment. You on the other hand immediately disimissed a factual statement about Albania’s foreign minister because it eas posted on Serbianna. If you were as analytical as you say you are, then you would have put the comments in your back pocket and made some effort to verify them before repudiating them because left wing some academic had posted the information on the serbianna website.
    ___________________________________

    >>>>>The problem with you and Averko is very simple -you take the easy way, not the hard way. You choose to believe the conspiracy nonsense rather than actually look objectively at what the US or Britain or indeed Ireland are trying to do.

    >>>>I did look at Iraq’s invasion objectively and i did not believe a word of what Bush and Blair had said. I will simply say “Sexing up the dossier”!! Iraq ready for chemical warfare within ’45 minutes’.

    >>>>>As for their effort on Serbia, I simply say read up the Rambouillet agreement. Plans to bomb Serbia were forumlated in 1997 as were plans to build Camp Bondsteel. Racak was a set up. OSCE’s Williams previously co-ordinated US activities in Honduras. 70% of OSCE’s observers in Kosovo were from the American and British military who gave information to NATO to assist with war preparations. No need for any conspiracy theory here.
    __________________________________________________
    It may come as an appalling vista to you, but sometimes people actually mean what they say -I actually do believe Bush when he says he wanted to liberate Iraq.

    >>>>Are you kidding? Bush? Se my comments above ab out credibility of sources and the information they announce. That is not what Bush first said!!! That was his fall back position after his first reason was exposed for what it was, a lie.

  • The Economist does in fact peddle conspiracies. Case in point being its somewhat nouveau mcCarthyite like commentary of TTT. Rather than question the TTT material, it resorted to who is funding that venue and why?

    Oh wow, thanks for reminding me! I remember the article about the disinformation campaign surrounding Transdniestria, but completely overlooked that it mentioned The Tiraspol Times. I don’t think I’d ever heard of it back then, what with me not having been drawn into the lunatic fringe of the internet in those days.

    I urge everyone to read the original article, it is highly amusing. It is behind a subscription barrier on The Economist’s own site, but can be read here. There are striking similarities between the questions The Economist raises and the questions that were raised on SRB by several people. Sadly, like Sean’s commenters, The Economist fails to get any answers too.

  • Liberating Iraqis was introduced in his lexicon somewhat later, when things began to go pear-shaped.

    This is not true. Whether they meant it or not was one thing, but the nature of Saddam Hussein’s rule and the improvement that regime change would bring to the people of Iraq was a key selling point of both Bush and Blair in the run-up to the invasion.

  • This is not true. Whether they meant it or not was one thing, but the nature of Saddam Hussein’s rule and the improvement that regime change would bring to the people of Iraq was a key selling point of both Bush and Blair in the run-up to the invasion.

    Not true? Whether they meant it or not? I would like to see youo say that without blinking. If they did not mean it, they shoulod not have said it. Bush should have simply said….”We are going to war to effect regime change because my father did not finish the job in 1991. It is my duty to finish what my fatehr started!”. That is about the sum total of what you and Ger O’Brien is saying.

    But instead this is what he said:

    “Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly — yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.”

    As for improvement for Iraqis. Life for them under savage sanctions for more than a decade pretty bad, but five years later things are worse, and the human cost catstrophic. I do not for one minute think it was worth it. How many innocent people had/have to die? Just a few more? The job is almost done? Vietnam redux.

  • I am accused of accepting conspiracy theories because I believe the following to be true …

    There’s only one way out of this dilemma …

    I believe in George Bush the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in George W. Bush his only Son our Lord, who sitteth on the right hand of his Father Almighty; I believe in the infallibility of US Congress, the infallibility of the holy US Senate and the American rule everlasting. Amen.

    Repeat this as often as you can, as loud as you can, and you will not be accused of believing in conspiracy theories any longer. You will then, and for all times, be considered a true believer, a herald of truth and wisdom. And you will be the best friend of any Bushite.

    You will have to accept the dogma of George W’s infallibility, who is far from even the possibility of error when he solemnly declares or promulgates to the true believers his dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in his divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to his divine revelation.

    😉

  • Not true? Whether they meant it or not? I would like to see youo say that without blinking. If they did not mean it, they shoulod not have said it. Bush should have simply said…

    Whether they meant it or not is irrelevant to my point. You said in response to a comment of Ger’s that:

    Liberating Iraqis was introduced in his lexicon somewhat later, when things began to go pear-shaped.

    This is not true, because as I have pointed out, the nature of Saddam Hussein’s rule and the improvement that regime change would bring to the people of Iraq was a key selling point of both Bush and Blair in the run-up to the invasion.

    I preempted your not believing their words to be sincere, hence I isolated this from the point I was making.

  • ”Liberating Iraqis was introduced in his lexicon somewhat later, when things began to go pear-shaped.”

    This is factually innacurate. The invasion was actually named Operation Iraqi Freedon in 2003, not Operation Get the Oil or Operation Murder Muslims.

    ”The Economist does in fact peddle conspiracies. Case in point being its somewhat nouveau mcCarthyite like commentary of TTT. Rather than question the TTT material, it resorted to who is funding that venue and why?”

    TTT is stinking pile of low-grade propoganda. Its dubiousness has long since been established at SRB and the Economist. Just because you wont answer questions about its funding and ridiculous slant does not mean those questions have went away.

  • Actually as I recall Lyndon went to very good lengths to show just how dodgy TTT is at SRB. Lyndon is a Russian and Moldovan speaker who has spent a lot of time in the region. Loads of experience and he has class too. Unfortunately, a certain individual tried to incorrectly paint him as a contributor to LR, when the same person could not refute Lyndon’s allegations about TTT. Pity indeed.

  • Ger, while I do agree with you regarding the “value” of websites like TTT or Serbianna (and I think we both know the reasons why TTT and Serbianna are praised by Mike Averko) I cannot agree with you on “Operation Iraqi Freedom”.

    In history you will find quite a lot of military operations bearing names which have / had absolutely nothing to do with the intentions behind them.

    “Operation Iraqi Freedom” has / had as much to do with the freedom of the Iraqis as “Operation Barbarossa” has / had to do with a red-barbed German caesar of the Middle Ages. Although we may dispute whether “Iraqi Freedom” was about oil or not, it wasn’t about the freedom of the Iraqis.

  • “I have already published data showing that the Albanian population in Kosovo in the ten years to 1971 grew at 10.25% per anuum or 265%.”

    No, you have clearly no familiarity with the data.

    The census data records Albanian numbers in Kosovo rising from 646,604 in 1971 to 916,168 in 1981, growth of 41.7% over a decade or 3% per annum.

    Since you’re clearly uninterested in engaging with the facts at hand even when they’re presented to you with appropriate citations, I wash my hands of this discussion. Enjoy it, gentlepeople.

  • ”Liberating Iraqis was introduced in his lexicon somewhat later, when things began to go pear-shaped.”

    To finish this argument once and for all, you might want to take a look at this George W Bush speech from October 2002.

    “America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights, to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-government to the rule of terror and torture. America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomans, Shi’a, Sunnis and others will be lifted. The long captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin.”

    Of course, if you read the full article you’ll see that he devoted just three paragraphs to the freedom of the Iraqi people after 20 or more lengthy paragraphs discussing why Iraq was packed full of WMDs.

    But that’s another argument… 🙂

  • Andy/Tim/Ger

    To finish the argument. What the Americans believe and why they act are two separate reasons. Everything they had done or do with regard to foreign policy is sugar coated with ‘freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happnines’. If it were only true. I suggest you read up some on how US foreign policy had been formulated since around WW2. Try Rise to Globalism, Amereican Foreign Policy since 1936 – Stephgen E. Ambrose – third revised adition Poenguin Books)

    Andy. Good to see that you go to the source. I will repeat the pertinent paragraph.

    “Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly — yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.”

    That was the substance of what Colin Powell said at the United Nations with the CIA director sitting near him. That is the substance of what Tony Blair said and what was in his ‘sexed up dossier’. Frothing at his mount as he tried to heighten the level of fear to all who cared to listen, quoted some redundant hypothetical essay written by a student some years earlier that Saddamn could launch a missile with chemicals within 45 minutes.

    ________________________________________________
    Ger O’Brien

    Your deduction that the war in Iraq was to liberate Iriaqis because the operation was called “Operation Iraqi Freedom’ demonstrates how shallow is your analysis or perhaps how little you read to form your opinion.

    It is the commanding general who is given the privilege to give the operation its name by choosing two words from two sets of words each containing 60 words. The general ponders the available words and decides.

  • Ambrose’s book is a good one – it was required reading for my undergrad international history course. I think I still have a copy floating around somewhere.

    I don’t disagree that the primary rationale behind the invasion was, at the time, WMD, and that was what was talked about most in the lead up to the war.

    But I do think (and the evidence clearly bears this out) that it’s wrong to suggest that ‘freedom’ wasn’t also, at the same time, a large part of the lexicon in use.

  • ”Your deduction that the war in Iraq was to liberate Iriaqis because the operation was called “Operation Iraqi Freedom’ demonstrates how shallow is your analysis or perhaps how little you read to form your opinion.”

    I never said it was – I simply said that from the outset the operation was named that. But I do believe liberation was the prime motivation for the invasion, and that WMDs were simply a smokescreen to do it and make some attempt to justify to the punters at home that their hard earned dollars were not being wasted. A war of liberation would have been unsaleable for the US and the UK. They knew full well that there were likely little or no weapons there, but went ahead anyway because it wasnt their reason for going there in the first place. Your argument, which is typical, dishwater, far-right rhetoric, ignores some very simple facts that conspiracy theorists refuse to acknowledge:

    (1) Although no WMDs were found, there is enormous evidence that Saddam Hussein, in the 1970s and 80s, made and attempted to make chemical weapons -and use them he did, in Iran and Kurdistan.
    (2) In 2003 the price of oil, whilst increasing, was nowhere near at panic levels. A war in the Middle East, no matter how successful, would only cause the price of oil to increase drastically, which it did. How this was in the US interest is beyond me. From this simple fact alone, it is obvious the US did not attack Iraq to secure oil. Add in the fact that the US is a country, not a Ltd company, and therefore would be buying oil, not supplying and selling it, makes it quite clear that a Middle Eastern war would only serve to cost the US in terms of buying oil.
    (3) If the US was that fixated with oil, they would have had sanctions lifted against Iraq to allow them pump again and also not backed Israel with the resolve it has. The fact that the US did neither of these things further proves that oil was not the motivation.

    So, having eliminated oil and WMDs, what is there left? Why the fuck else would a country already in one war start another one, except to liberate? Or maybe you believe the US empire nonsense. Well funny, because the US set up democratic institutions there, and guess what? The Iraqis did not vote for the PM the US had installed, they voted for Maliki. Did the US leave then, having clearly, by their own efforts, lost huge influence? NO. And again regarding WMDs, the fact that they were used as an excuse to go to war does not mean the US and the UK had dishonest intentions in actually going to war. What you’ve done simply is believe the lowest common denominator beliefs out there, without looking at the actual facts of what is going on. I dont approve of the war at all, but what i am sure of is that the US is there to liberate.

    ”The United States did not invade Afghanistan to ensure the price of heroin remained low

    >>>>>He. he. Of course not. I was trying to proves a point. There are facts and interpretation of facts. No evidence about OIL PIPE in Afghanistan. Rules this one out by a long shot. But Fact 1: Taliban in power – poppy harvest reduced to ZERO. Fact 2. USA/NATO take control poppy harvest at record levels. More likely this fact is an indication the Taliban had better control of Afhanistan than have American/NATO forces. Presumably this is the consequence of liberalisation of markets and introduction of democracy.”

    You are using good facts here to come to the wrong conclusion. You are stating that heroin production increased when the US invaded and has not been brought under control. And? This fact means the US deliberately allow this to happen to keep the price of heroin down? For whom, exactly? Yes everyone knows that the Taliban greatly reduced the amount of opium extracted from poppys grown in Afghanistan. And the Americans havent. Does that really mean the US deliberately allows it to be grown, so US drug addicts dont have to pay as much? Is that what you are actually saying? Cos if you are, its a pile of bullshit. Did it ever dawn on you that perhaps there are a lot more Taliban there than US troops, and that logistically the US may be actually unable to control poppy seed production? No? So by you logic, the US failure to prevent poppy growth means they are encouraging it. Is that what you are saying? You tried to retract it above, but that is what you originally said. You werent trying to prove a point at all. I have no doubt you and your friends probably believe that shite!:-)

  • That was the substance of what Colin Powell said at the United Nations with the CIA director sitting near him.

    There is a good reason for this. The UN had no forum for hearing complaints about the treatment of Iraqi people under the regime of Saddam Hussein. The only topic which was able to be discussed at the UN related to Iraq was whether Saddam Hussein was in compliance with the various UN resolutions, which entailed a discussion on whether he had or was making WMDs. However, outside the UN forum the nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the humanitarian aims of the invasion were advanced on numerous occasions.

  • Ambrose’s book is a good one – it was required reading for my undergrad international history course.

    I’m sure it is, and I’m betting that Ambrose ascribes the US committment to the defence of West Berlin as something akin to protecting freedom and liberty in not only West Berlin, but West Germany and western Europe too.

    I’m also reasonably confident that Ambrose does not ascribe it to American self-interest, an attempt to hold onto a strategic location, an effort to gain access to markets, a ploy to increase the value of Halliburton shares, or – as one historically challenged German once claimed – the Americans simply wanting to infuriate the Russians.

  • A few replies to the last set of comments since I last contributed.

    The cited article about TTT has more to do with nouveau McCarthyism than a substantive media critique. The cited article about TTT doesn’t deny that the news org. is Tiraspol based and has had a known Irish media person as its principle. TTT has made great strides in its short existence. This includes it regularly being carried by the News Now, Russia Journal and Serbianna news wires. TTT has carried a diverse range of views, unlike some of those taking misrepresentative pot shots at it. If anything, the latter are the bigger propagandists.

    Heribert Schindler continues to make insultingly off topic comments that are inaccurate and in some instances blatantly false. Of all his posts here, only one of them remotely relates to the thread’s topic. That lone post also goes off topic with personal insults. He carries on like a jealous freak, who might be frustrated that he can’t make a decent contribution.

    Regarding Greater Surbiton which someone at this thread presented as a credible source, while negatively characterizing some other venues: here’s a Jan. 15 Serbianna excerpt of a well deserved critique that includes Greater Serbianna (dare I say that it’s qualitatively better than some of Greater Surbiton’s comments about others).

    On another former Yugoslav topic, Marko Hoare’s January 4 Greater Surbiton commentary What do the figures for the Bosnian war-dead tell us? is an anti-Serb/pro-Bosniak review of his cited casualty figures during the Bosnian Civil War. The Sarajevo based Research and Documentation Center (RDC) report he references is aligned with organizations like the George Soros funded International Crisis Group (ICG). The ICG is far from being a great representative of politically diverse thinking. Just look at the listing of people it employs and note the views left out. A more direct backer of the RDC is the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The USIP is structured in a way to reflect the predominating views in the American Democratic and Republican foreign policy establishments. This makeup can limit the diversity of quality analysis on a foreign policy issue. Daniel Serwer is the lead USIP person on former Yugoslav affairs. Over the years, he has consistently taken anti-Serb positions.

    The counter-reply on favoritism can apply to other sources having different ideas from Hoare, Soros and Serwer. For accuracy sake, it is therefore imperative to perform a thorough analytical overview. The best way to understand a geopolitical situation is to comprehensively study all views of the involved parties. This especially pertains to those ideas running contrary to one’s own perspectives. There can be misrepresentations when commenting on disagreeable views. In other instances, it is a matter of two or more plausible opinions differing with each other.

    On the surface, the 2007 RDC report is a break from the blatant anti-Serb propaganda of the last decade. The veracity of that campaign continues to influence the opinions of many. Indeed, the stated purpose of the RDC report was to reverse the trumping up of casualty figures for propaganda purposes. The “better late than never” attitude should not excuse the issue of when the truth was most needed. Specifically, at the time of the conflict, in order to form the best possible opinions of what was happening and how to appropriately deal with it.

    It is not as if there was no reasoned data before the RDC report, which conclusively showed a Bosnian Civil War casualty figure ranging between 75,000-125,000. Such accounting was ditched in favor of the bloated 200,000 claim. Some claims went as high as 350,000. About ten years ago, a then member of the neo-liberal leaning Center for Strategic and International Studies privately said to me that the 200,000 casualty figure was off the wall. He added that this view had merit towards the end of the Bosnian Civil War. Others including George Kenney stated likewise. Kenney is a former US State Department official, who left the Serb bashing elitny, upon making an earnest attempt of reviewing the Serb perspective and questioning the pro-Izetbegovic viewpoint. The trumped up 200,000 figure blamed mostly on the Serbs, was used as a pretext for NATO’s 1999 attack on Serbia, when Belgrade fought against Kosovo Liberation Army separatists. Exaggerating Albanian civilian casualties in Kosovo was also used to warrant NATO action against Serbia.

    Hoare predictably agrees with the proportionate ethnic breakdown of Bosnian Civil War casualty numbers, while second guessing the roundabout 100,000 total death tally. For him, the higher civilian death ratio of Muslims to Serbs is a talking point to depict the Serbs as the overwhelming aggressor. Keep in mind the World War II civilian death ratio of Japanese to Americans. The Serb side was the militarily superior force during the Bosnian Civil War. A conflict which saw pro-Izetbegovic forces stationed in civilian areas, where they were known to initiate attacks. The “collateral damage” claim is not one reserved for Americans, Israelis and Turks. In numerous wars, the militarily stronger side has inflicted the most civilian casualties.

    How is Hoare’s second guessing of the RDC report’s 100,000 total casualty figure better developed than questioning the proportionate ethnic breakdown of casualties in the same report? In certain influential circles, there continues to be a skewed readiness to accept Muslim claims over Serb ones. Hoare takes issue with the opinion of the RDC report’s researchers, who believe that the Bosnian Civil War death toll has a 10,000 margin of error. He mentions other global conflicts, where according to him, the casualty figures could be easily recorded as much higher; due to war related diseases and starvation deaths not included in a tally. In doing so, Hoare does not make the case that such a discrepancy existed in Bosnia. Bosnia is not Biafra, where war related mass starvation deaths were evident. Bosnia is also not a humid swampy jungle, prone to developing large scale disease.

    Many of the individuals accepting Hoare’s interpretation of the RDC report’s roundabout 100,000 death toll figure and proportionate ethnic breakdown of casualties, had no doubt accepted the much ballyhooed 200,000 tally and absurdly false Bosnian Civil War rape number claims; initially made by advocates for Izetbegovic’s regime. Due to the lack of fact based merit, the grossly over-exaggerated rape numbers are no longer discussed to great degree.

    For a number of reasons, war related casualty figures get fudged. Stanley Karnow’s PBS documentary about US military involvement in Southeast Asia told of how reported American kills would be inflated to receive greater reward rations in the form of alcohol. The South Vietnamese army acted similarly. To prevent defeat, the side losing to the Serbs in Bosnia desired international military action against the winning combatant. Hence, the Serbs are modern day Nazis route was concocted. This script complemented mass media’s desire to nurture interest in a foreign civil war, in a place many do not know and-or care about. The sensationalistic Holocaust all over again mantra is likely to draw in more viewers than a non-hysterically extended feature detailing the events concerning the Bosnian Civil War. Lacking Capital Hill lobbying clout, the Serbs were an easy target.

    Hoare’s accounting of Muslim-Croat violence among themselves leaves out pertinent variables. Croats make up a significantly lesser number of Bosnia’s population, when compared to each of the respective Serb and Muslim populations. With this in mind, it is perfectly understandable why the Croat-Muslim casualty figure would be less than the Serb-Muslim one. For a good period during the Bosnian Civil War, Croat-Muslim skirmishes were reported as greater than armed Serb actions. This was noted in the back pages of The New York Times. At least one New York Times article observed how Croats fled Izetbegovic held areas for Serb zones.

    Hoare omits commenting about Muslim on Muslim violence, while noting the relatively small number of Serbs fighting on the Izetbegovic side. What was the greater reality: Serbs fighting Serbs, or Muslims fighting each other? Anti-Izetbegovic/secular Muslim leader Fikret Abdic had a noticeable following in Bosnia. Show me a comparable Serb leader who willingly fought on the Izetbegovic side. Besides Muslims fighting Muslims, there were instances of Serb and Croat military cooperation against Izetbegovic forces during the Bosnian Civil War. At times, such Serb and Croat cooperation included Abdic and his fellow Muslim supporters.

    A number of Serbs, Croats, Muslims and others situated in Bosnia during the war would strongly dispute this excerpted claim made by Hoare: “while the Bosnian Army was sometimes guilty of war crimes, it did not pursue a policy of deliberately targeting Serb or Croat civilians.” The Sarajevo breadline massacre likely involved Muslims. If true, it is not clear whether those Muslims can be categorized as part of the “Bosnian Army” (Izetbegovic’s side). Armed pro-Izetbegovic activity against Croats in Mostar indicates that civilians were deliberately targeted. In other parts of Bosnia, pro-Izetbegovic forces were known to violate internationally brokered cease fires. These scenarios included the targeting of civilians.

    Hoare correctly notes that the Bosnian Civil War was primarily about differing views on whether Bosnia should exist as a post-Communist independent state. He is wrong for believing that the Bosnian Civil War was not a three way conflict. Instead, he prefers the overly romanticized view of multi-ethnically tolerant Croats, Muslims and Serbs opposing evil Serb nationalists. In addition to downplaying Croat-Muslim differences, Hoare ignores how Bosnia’s Christian majority of Serbs and Croats feel. On a PBS NewsHour segment, former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger stated that Bosnia has pretty much been a hodgepodge of competing national sympathies. Bosnia’s Croats and Serbs tend to identify more with their respective neighboring state of ethnic related origin than an independent Bosnia. In Bosnia, the Muslim plurality are the prime supporters of a unified Bosnia. There was the discussed idea to partition Bosnia into three distinct zones (Croat, Serb and Muslim) by the Serb and Croat leaders (Franjo Tudjman and Slobodan Milosevic). This point leads to the view that the Bosnian Civil War might have ended sooner and with less casualties, had there not been the kind of foreign intervention which essentially egged on the Izetbegovic regime and the 1995 Croat ethnic cleansing of 150,000 Krajina Serbs.

    What occurred in Krajina highlights some of the fundamental differences between many Croats and Serbs. At the same time, it is not accurate to definitively portray a unified Croat-Muslim front against Serbs. Such an attempt reminds me of how some Russia unfriendly observers try to de-emphasize the historic Polish-Ukrainian differences, in an effort to forge a Warsaw-Kiev alliance to offset Russia and pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine.

    Hoare’s broad negative swipes at Edward Herman, David Peterson, Nebojsa Malic and Noam Chomsky are somewhat ironic. His commentary does not show a comparatively better objectivity to what happened in Bosnia and elsewhere. Hoare’s preference for the Izetbegovic regime is clear cut. His weltanschauung appears to compliment Stephen Schwartz. Ignoring Hoare is an oversight of a viewpoint that frequently goes unchallenged.

    In a December 29 commentary, Hoare uncritically mentions former Turkish Prime Minister Tancu Ciller and the recently assassinated Pakistani political figure Benazir Bhutto. The following is excerpted from Hoare’s December 29 piece: “Bhutto and Turkey’s Tansu Ciller, both democratically elected women leaders of two of the world’s largest Muslim nations…” FYI, Pakistan and Turkey are not more democratic than Russia and Serbia. In conjunction with Turkey’s official policy, Ciller does not (at least from what I am aware of) acknowledge the genocide of Christian Armenians by Muslim Turks. What constitutes the greater genocide: what occurred in Bosnia or Turkey? For that matter, pre-World War II Vilnius and some other European cities had sizeable Jewish populations. Nazi actions put an end to that significant Jewish presence. As is true with other parts of Bosnia, Sarajevo continues to have a large Muslim community.

    This commentary is written with the knowledge that it can be twisted into something different from what has been said. Serb suffering in Bosnia was real and the efforts to belittle this matter are repulsive. The latter point includes the faulty notion that the Serbs deserve the harsh treatment they have received.

    I watched the 1992 Summer Olympic basketball championship game between the US and Croatia with some disgust. Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro) was barred from participating in that Olympiad because of the predominating anti-Serb prejudices, which found their way in the International Olympic Committee (IOC). At the 1992 Summer Olympics, Serb teams were banned and individual Ser