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-'HE WHO RULES EASTERN EUROPE COMMANDS THE HEARTLAND'-Sir Halford MacKinder
The myths surrounding what is termed "liberal interventionism" have been challenged by Neil Clark in The Guardian ( Kosovo and the myth of liberal intervention ) where he cites the facts about how the decision to back the KLA have had an appalling impact on people there which have been criticised by human rights groups.
'The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles ... Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values." So declared the neocon US senator (and current foe of WikiLeaks) Joseph Lieberman back in 1999 at the height of the US-led military intervention against Slobodan Miloševic's Yugoslavia.It would be interesting to hear what Senator Lieberman makes of the report of the Council of Europe – Europe's premier human rights watchdog – on his favourite band of freedom fighters. The report, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, details horrific rights abuses it claims have been carried out by the KLA, the west's allies in the war against Yugoslavia 11 years ago.The council claims that civilians – Serbian and non-KLA-supporting Kosovan Albanians detained by the KLA in the 1999 hostilities – were shot in northern Albania and their kidneys extracted and sold on the black market. It names Hashim Thaçi, the former leader of the KLA and Kosovo's prime minister, as the boss of a "mafia-like" group engaged in criminal activity – including heroin trading – since before the 1999 war.
'The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles ... Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values." So declared the neocon US senator (and current foe of WikiLeaks) Joseph Lieberman back in 1999 at the height of the US-led military intervention against Slobodan Miloševic's Yugoslavia.
It would be interesting to hear what Senator Lieberman makes of the report of the Council of Europe – Europe's premier human rights watchdog – on his favourite band of freedom fighters. The report, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, details horrific rights abuses it claims have been carried out by the KLA, the west's allies in the war against Yugoslavia 11 years ago.
Clark is correct to emphasise that the KLA and the regime that Thaci has led since NATO "intervened" is not only far from "liberal" but has been positively ghastly, being a clan based mafia style network involved in heroin trafficking to the rest of Europe supplying prostitutes from Moldova and even trade in human organs. The Guardian reported,
A Council of Europe report into organ trafficking in Kosovo linked the Medicus case to a wider criminal network in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which began trading in organs in 1999. A faction within the rebel guerilla army loyal to Thaci has been accused of overseeing a racket involving Serb captives. A "handful" were said, in the report, to have been shot in the head, then had their kidneys extracted. It is believed the kidneys were flown to Istanbul in ischemia bags.
The reason why Kosovo has been so dysfunctional, so much so that many Kosovans have detested Thaci's regime, is the lack of security and the rampant corruption that has been the staple of a government in which power is sought as a means of preserving mafia interests and the economy mismanaged.
The fact is that Richard Holbrooke backed the KLA in 1999 as a means of ramping up tensions within Kosovo sufficient to create an intensified Serbian backlash and which gave the impression there was a systematic policy of Serb "genocide" that meant NATO had to prevent Milosevic as a "New Hitler".
There is no doubt Milosevic wanted to use Kosovo himself as a way of ramping up tension by increasing repression to share up an ailing regime in Serbia following the failure of his notion of a Greater Serbia. Most post communist nationalists in the former Yugoslavia sought to do the same.
Yet the notion of a selfless "liberal intervention" is an oversimplified myth as Holbrook and the CIA had given material and military aid to the KLA prior to the NATO action in 1999 when the State department had in 1998 classified the KLA as a "terrorist organisation" before they were subsequently thought useful.
The reason for this lies in geopolitics: by bringing to an end the instability in the Balkans thought to be the work of Milosevic alone, the USA could advance the plans to get the AMBO pipeline constructed. The Serbia's defeat and the creation of Camp Bondsteel near to the Macedonian border was part of that.
The consequences were immediately to bring closure on the Balkan Wars and create a new order there. But the cost was that which Neil Clark mentions here,
....ethnic cleansing and rights abuses in the region continued. Under the Nato occupation an estimated 200,000 ethnic Serbs, Roma and other minorities from south Kosovo, and almost the whole Serb population of Pristina, have been forced from their homes.
The waffle about Holbrooke's "tough moral choices" offered by his eulogists in obituaries offered on his death yesterday ignore his role in backing the KLA and the "dirty diplomacy" behind the scenes which has far more to do than just dealing with someone as brutal as Milosevic.
At the time in 1999 those critical of Serbia and Milosevic such as Misha Glenny at the time thought the intervention would do more harm than good and a brutal conflict was accelerated into the ethic cleansing committed by the KLA against Serbs but also against the Roma in Kosovo too.
This was mentioned by even by Tim Judah in his Kosovo War and Revenge as the price of the intervention. Yet the not so hidden history of Holbrooke's diplomacy has been scarcely mentioned in the media. The cost of which was shown in the subsequent evils continued by the Kosovan state.