13 Years After Kosovo NATO Looms Large
This passed weekend marked the 13th anniversary of the NATO bombardment of Kosovo, one of the last tragic chapters in the decade long breakup of the once proud and unified Yugoslavia. Today, the prevailing sentiment in Serbia, which formerly controlled the small, now “independent” state of Kosovo, is the western military alliance, led by the United States and then President Clinton, unfairly vilified Serbians during the 1990’s Balkan Wars and unjustly aided their enemies, namely the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). President Boris Tadic of Serbia marked the anniversary by proclaiming the 78-day air war in 1999 as “a crime against our country and our people.”
The Colony of Kosovo
While much of the west still holds that Serbian motivations were wholly grounded in racism and aggression, countervailing perspectives have, since 1999, arisen to reevaluate this narrative. A narrative utilized by the U.S. and NATO to provide a pretext for invading and occupying the Balkans. Occupation is an appropriate descriptive because the U.S. never left Kosovo primarily evidenced by the United States Army’s “largest and most expensive ‘from scratch’ base since Vietnam”, Camp Bondsteel built by Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, Ltd. (KBR).
Located southeast near the Macedonian border, 1,000 acres of farmland were seized immediately following the initial stages of NATO’s “just war.” The sprawling semi-permanent base rests atop leveled hills and is now home to over 7,000 troops, replete with Burger King, Taco Bell, pools, football and baseball fields, movie theatre and among other amenities, arguably one of the best hospitals in the region. Camp Bondsteel is also the largest employer in Kosovo.
Known as the “grande dame” it is from here the U.S. runs a network of bases running both sides of the border between Kosovo and Macedonia. Indeed, it was revealed there were long term geostrategic concerns other than quelling Serbian aggression and their campaign of “ethnic cleansing,” acts of which both sides were guilty of prosecuting. According to Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research:
“One of the objectives underlying Camp Bondsteel was to protect the Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian Oil pipeline project (AMBO), which was to channel Caspian sea oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Adriatic. Coincidentally, two years prior to the invasion, in 1997, a senior executive of [KBR] Edward L. (Ted) Ferguson had been appointed to head AMBO. The feasibility plans for the AMBO pipeline were also undertaken by [KBR]. The AMBO agreement for the 917-km long oil pipeline from Burgas to Valona, Albania, was finally signed in 2004.”
Coincidently, Camp Bondsteel was finally completed around the same time.
Despite Kosovo’s claims of independence in 2008 there has been notable division among the countries of the world over its official recognition as a sovereign state. China, Russia and India in contrast to most of Europe and the United States are reluctant, if not, openly refuse to recognize Kosovo as a legitimate entity. The abstinence, writes Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis of intelNews, is based on the view that “the tiny breakaway republic [is] part of a pro-American axis that is slowly forming in the Balkans, comprising traditional ally Turkey and post-Cold War allies Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia.” As a result of the cold shoulder Kosovo relies on the U.S. to supply its legitimacy and is therefore understandably beholden to the wishes of Washington.
Besides the obvious interest in securing vital resources Kosovo was merely the second act of NATO’s working relationship with Al’ Qaeda – a group that is turning out to be essentially western intelligence’s magical foreign legion. On the one hand it provides a convenient proxy for destabilization efforts abroad while on the other reminds those at home terrorism is still a general threat.
Al’ Qaeda as Foreign Legion
Stage one was of course the CIA’s covert funding and arming of the Afghan mujahedeen – proto Al’ Qaeda – against the Soviets during the 1980s via Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), popularized in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” starring Tom Hanks. Read: “How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahadeen.”
Not featured in the “Charlie Wilson’s War” was the fact the ISI was concurrently nurturing Osama bin Laden’s front group Maktab al-Khidamar (MAK), which similarly, according to Michael Moran of MSNBC “funneled money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war.” It is therefore not a leap to suggest, these dots were connected if not forged together by the CIA; details of course remain classified. When by 1989 U.S. clandestine services realized the success of their endeavors, what amounted to giving the U.S.S.R their version of Vietnam, more wars by proxy were on the way.
Osama bin Laden later “split from relatively conventional MAK in 1988” to establish Al Qaeda. Similarly the “…Afghan vets, or Afghanis,” according to Moran “turned up later behind violent Islamic movements around the world. Among them: GIA in Algeria, Egypt’s [al-Gama'a al-Islamia],” including Bosnia and the KLA in Kosovo. (It is important to note al-Gama’a now Egpyt’s Building and Development Party recently won 13 seats in Egypts recent elections.) Osama bin Laden’s personal bodyguard, Abu Jandal, for instance, revealed in the documentary The Oath that he received much of his early training in Bosnia. Muslims in the Balkans from Bosnia to Albania, including Kosovo, are predominantly Sunni – the choice ethnicity of Al Qaeda recruits.
On Febuary 28th, 1994 NATO fighters operating under Deny Flight shot down four Serb jets. This was NATO’s first combat operation since its creation in 1949 and was the opening volley, which would culminate in the introduction of 60,000 troops under Operation Joint Endeavor and the Dayton Agreement, which further divided along ethnic lines a once multi-ethnic Yugoslavia. NATO is a mere military alliance charged with defense of its members disembarking from this mandate at the behest of the UN was a profound development, its founding goals have evidently since been revised.
Meanwhile and since 1992 Sunni mercenaries or mujahedeen, emboldened spin offs from the U.S. clandestine operations in Afghanistan many of whom were financed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, began to flow into Bosnia and supplemented Bosnian forces. Some were officially established in 1993 as a battalion sized unit called El Mujahid, albeit many others didn’t enjoy official recognition.
In two separate interviews Richard Holbrooke former US Ambassador to the UN, who at the time was a U.S. Balkans peace negotiator, said “the Muslims [of Bosnia] wouldn’t have survived without this” help from foreign fighters since a UN arms embargo severely limited Bosnia’s ability to fight. Holbrooke later on admitted “We now know that that was al-Qaida. I’d never heard the word before, but we knew who they were. And if you look at the 9/11 hijackers, several of those hijackers were trained or fought in Bosnia.”
Fast forward to 1999 in Kosovo and a similar pattern was replicated while once again NATO and the U.S. turned a blind eye to the influx of Islamic fundamentalists. Contrary to MSM reports, that the KLA were merely passionate freedom fighters attempting to throw off the tyrant Slobodan Milosevic, it turns out the KLA was not only financed by organized crime responsible for key drug routes, but manufactured and trained by the CIA and German intelligence services.
Once victory was achieved and Serbian forces left Kosovo, the KLA leadership took up positions within the administration. Current Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi, who joined the KLA in 1993 is a prime example of this corrupt system, which puts leaders of organized crime at the highest levels of government. This was all concocted and condoned by western intelligence services and backed up by NATO air power in the name of promoting western-style liberalized market systems. What that actually means is any ones guess.
Next – Beyond Kosovo: Back to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and the New Middle East…
In the meantime watch: “Weight of Chains” by Boris Malagurski for an in depth history of Yugoslavia and the Balkan Wars or merely an alternative dose of info.