Towards a Mafia state in Kosovo: NATO still getting it wrong in Kosovo

by Amb. James Bissett

In the three years since Kosovo, urged on by the United States, declared its unilateral independence, there has been no final resolution of this long-festering wound in the heart of the Balkans.

After the expulsion of the Serbian military from Kosovo in 1999 there was a systematic purging of the non-Albanian population and a rampage of revenge killing, and destruction.

In March, 2004, the Albanian mobs burned or dynamited more than 204 Christian churches and monasteries – some of them heritage structures dating back to the 14th century. This veritable orgy of devastation was accomplished under the watchful eyes of NATO troops who did nothing to stop the violence.

On Sept. 15, the Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, visited Pristina, the capitol of Kosovo, and again repeated the usual refrain that NATO was there to maintain a secure and safe environment and emphasized that “We will continue to do so – firmly, carefully, and impartially.”

Less than two weeks after his departure from Kosovo on Sept. 27, his impartial NATO troops opened fire with live ammunition on a crowd of Serbian civilians demonstrating against the establishment of Kosovo customs posts along the border between Serbia and northern Kosovo, effectively cutting them off from Serbia proper. At least six of the demonstrators were wounded. The standoff continued over the weekend.

This incident took place at the same time our NATO leaders were vigorously protesting the shooting of protesters in Syria and Yemen.

So far, there have been no apologies from the NATO leadership and no demands for a full inquiry.

Kosovo, since its so-called liberation from Serbia, has become a failed state with massive unemployment, crime and corruption prevalent, and a leadership deeply involved in the importation of heroin and arms, and human smuggling – not to mention serious allegations about the harvesting of human body parts.

Nevertheless, Kosovo is the stepchild state of the U.S.-led NATO powers, and therefore must be seen to be a success. NATO cannot admit to failure.

After all, we are told 80 countries have recognized its independence. Little mention is made that there are 113 countries of the United Nations who refuse do so – including Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Slovakia – all members of NATO.

There is a larger than life statue of president Bill Clinton in Pristina. Shortly after the occupation of Kosovo the Americans constructed the enormous Camp Bondsteel. Kosovo is their baby and at all cost it must be accepted as a sovereign state. Unfortunately, the costs are high and may well spell the demise of NATO as a respected champion of the rule of law and democratic freedom.

Canada was involved in drafting Article 1 of the North Atlantic Treaty that stated that NATO would never use or threaten to use force in the resolution of international disputes and would always act in accordance with the principles laid down by the United Nations Charter. Alas, we never hear anything more about Article 1.

After the collapse of the Soviet empire, Article 1 came to be seen by the United States as an obstacle in preventing NATO (read the United States) from intervening in out-of-area disputes and in using force to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives, frequently under the guise of humanitarian intervention.

The first opportunity of doing this was the bombing of Serbia on the false grounds that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was planning to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of its majority Albanian population and that genocide was taking place there.

Without consulting the United Nations and in violation of its own treaty, NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days and nights and was successful in tearing away an integral part of that country’s territory.

The United States and some of the NATO countries, including Canada, have gone further by recognizing the declaration of independence of Kosovo, despite UN Resolution 1244 that reaffirmed Serbia’s sovereignty over that province. By doing so they have opened Pandora’s Box and issued an open invitation to the many groups and tribes around the world aspiring for their own state to do so by simply declaring independence.

James Bissett is former Canadian ambassador to the former Yugoslavia.


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  • Tyroneez

    Where ever you have a (natural indigenous majority ethnic population) such as i’n kossovo and Kurdistan etc ….
    Then they must have the right of self determination … Wether it be autonomy or independence …if they so wish
    If they are prevented by force …
    Than they are a colony ….and part of an unequal empire …
    Most of the worlds 180 states have emerged i’n this way …
    Otherwise we would have not had an independent Greece , Bulgaria , Romania , Syria , Iraq etc etc
    And for Serbia to object is illogical , otherwise Serbia should still never been allowed to secede from the ottoman empire …
    And why is it ok for Montenegro to secede from Serbia …
    When their ethnic difference is non existant ….
    And yet its wrong for kossovo to secede ….
    On the other Hand i’n the case of Cyprus …where the Moslems were a scattered minority ..then this rule of self determination cannot apply …special minority rights are of course necessary …
    For a powerful neighbour to intervene and create an artificial majority … By violence , killings , and forced ethnic cleansing of the majority , is not permissible …
    Which is what milosovich was doing i’n kossovo …
    The only criticism that can be levelled at the USA and NATO is that of double standards , as they do not apply the rules equally .. Ie i’n the case of Turkey i’n Cyprus , and Kurdistan and Israel and the Palestinian territories …
    Therein lies the hypocrisy …

  • Burim

    It seems that the author was paid by the most extremist serbs to write this article. I recommend the author to get two side stories and not only the serbian one.

    • Colin Chau

      Quite the accusation for a former ambassador to its predecessor state.

  • Branko

    Who could know better the situation in south of Serbia if not former ambassador . Very good, but i noticed that Burim didn’t like it, truth sometimes hurt but Burim your leaders were paying PR not Serbs, i have to admit that gave some results but on short term, we will see ….

  • Profhamlet

    I suggest that there is a reason he is a FORMER ambassador. Anyone who denies that Serbia committed atrocities is either a liar, ignorant, or delusional.