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Yugoslavia bombings 15 years later: US, NATO aggression in Europe
Voice of Russia | 24 March 2014
Fifteen years ago a hot spot appeared on the map of Europe – on March 24, 1999 the air forces of the United States and NATO started bombing Yugoslavia, which lasted for over two months. The aggression of the West took the lives of two thousand peaceful civilians.
The North Atlantic Treaty's aggression against Yugoslavia at the end of the 20th century was one of the final acts of the long-term campaign of the West against that powerful Balkan state. The bombs and missiles that fell from the night sky on Belgrade, Pristina and other Serbian cities completed the formation of the new map of East Europe, said Alexander Bovdunov, an expert at the Center for Conservative Studies of the Sociology Department of the Moscow State University, in his interview to the Voice of Russia:
“A seat of tension was created in Europe, which prevented it from standing up as an independent geopolitical center. And secondly, the forces that could have become an ally of the Russian world were suppressed and destroyed. Primarily, it concerned Serbia and the Serbs. It was no accident that in that conflict the US and Europe it controlled first supported the Croatians, and then made a decision to destroy the Serbian state, to reduce its influence in the Balkans by unleashing the conflict around Kosovo.”
One of the main goals of the United States back then was to demonstrate to the world that it was capable of imposing its will and had the right to use the territory in any place in Europe. Thus, with Washington's efforts a quasi-state appeared called the Republic of Kosovo, the role of which was reduced to one thing – to become yet another military base of the US, thinks Vasily Kashirin, a senior researcher at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies:
“It is a dependable and loyal satellite of the West. The largest military base on the entire European continent is located there. The Americans built a real military fortress there. They came there to stay for decades and have no plans of leaving. From the point of view of the triumph of the rough American military power, of the American imperialism it is a true success.”
After splitting the Yugoslavian state into several small republics and enclaves the West did not stop at that. By its “ballistic democracy” it created devastation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. It was about to get rid of the unruly Syria, when the mechanism of unipolar influence failed – Russia stood up in the way of the Euro Atlantic policy, says Vasily Kashirin:
“The global distribution of power in the world has changed. Russia is no longer as weak as in 1999. And Russia clearly showed that last year in the course of the Syrian crisis, when Moscow with its rational diplomacy and position of principles prevented the West from starting military aggression against Syria.”
Crimea became the next failure of the Euro Atlantic strategy. The Western community portrays Moscow's desire to protect the Russian-speaking population of the peninsula from ultranationalists as a military aggression against Ukraine. Europe considers the results of the expression of the free will of Crimea’s residents regarding joining Russia to be violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. According to Vasily Kashirin, such a reaction coming from Western Europe and the US is a reflex continuation of their policy of double standards. But times have changed and that policy will never be as effective as it was in the past. It has become too obvious for the entire world.
In March 1999, at the direction of the United States of America, NATO engaged in its first act of illegal aggressive war, beginning what can only be called the “dark age of intervention” in which we are living today. The fact that NATO was allowed to get away with the aggression on Serbia and Montenegro emboldened US/NATO and the US military industrial intelligence banking complex and since that day, under a doctrine of Responsibility to Protect, Humanitarian Interventionism, Preventive War and then the all encompassing “War on Terror”, US/NATO have proceeded to destroy country after country and do away with leaders that they have not found to be submissive enough to their will.
The events of 9-11-2001 were a watershed moment for the geopolitical architects and served as a catalyst to allow them to expand their military machine to every corner of the world and invade countries at will and conduct operations with complete disregard for international law and accepted international norms.
In light of the 15th Anniversary of the NATO aggression the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals and other independent Civic associations in Serbia will hold an international conference from the 21st to the 24th of March 2014. The conference will gather 100 prominent intellectuals from all over the world, in addition to those from Serbia, Montenegro, the Republica Srpska and 10 to 15 guests from Russia, including Academician and retired Russian Army General Leonid Ivashov. The conference will also include the participation of the Veterans Alliance of Serbia and the Club of Generals and Admirals of Serbia.
The President of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals and the last Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Zivadin Jovanovic wrote the following summary of the events in light of the 15 year anniversary of the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia. (John Robles)
Do Not Forget, by Zivadin Jovanovic
Fifteen years have passed since the beginning of NATO aggression against Serbia and Montenegro (24 March 1999). This aggression resulted in the loss of 4,000 human lives, including 88 children, and 10,000 people were severely wounded. Over two third of these victims were civilians. How many human lives have been lost in the meantime due to the consequences of weapons with depleted uranium, as well as of remaining cluster bombs, will hardly ever be established.
Breaching the basic norms of international law, its own founding act as well as constitutions of member countries, NATO was bombing Serbia and Montenegro during 78 days continuously destroying the economy, infrastructure, public services, radio and TV centers and transmitters, cultural and historical monuments. NATO bears responsibility for polluting the environment and endangering the health of present and future generations. Economic damage caused by the aggression is estimated at over USD 120 billion. War damage compensation has not yet been claimed, and judgments ruled by our court, by which the leaders of aggressor countries were convicted for the crimes against peace and humanity, were annulled after the coup d’état in 2000.
Governments of aggressor countries seized and occupied the Province of Kosovo and Metohija, and then formally delivered it to former terrorists, separatists and international organized crime bosses. An American military base was established in the Province – “Bondstill”, one of the largest beyond the U.S. territory.
After the aggression, over 250,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been forced out the Province of Kosovo and Metohija; even today, 15 years later they are not allowed to return freely and safely to their homes. Ethnic cleansing and even drastic change of ethnic population structure are tolerated by so called international community if only to the detriment of Serbs. The remaining Serbian population in the Province of about 120.000 continues to live in fear and uncertainty. Attacks upon Serbs, detentions and killings, including liquidations of their political leaders, have been continuing up to these days, and nobody is held responsible.
NATO aggression against Serbia and Montenegro (FRY) in 1999 is a crime against peace and humanity. It is a precedent and a turning point towards global interventionism, arbitrary violation of the international legal order and the negation of the role of the UN. The “Bondstill” military base is the first and crucial ring in the chain of new American military bases reflecting strategy of expansion towards East, Caspian Basin, Middle East, towards Russia and its Siberia natural resources. Europe has thus got overall militarization and the new edition of the strategy “Drang nach Osten” (“Thrust to the East”). Destabilization and the tragic developments in Ukraine are just the most recent consequence of that strategy.
15 years after objectives of US/NATO military aggression continue to be pursued by other means. Serbia has been blackmailed to de facto recognize illegal secession of its Province of Kosovo and Metohija through so called Brussels negotiations. The most of the puppet states of the former Yugoslavia are much dependant on and indebted to the leading NATO/EU countries, their financial institutions and corporations so that they could hardly be considered independent states but rather neo-colonies. There is no stability in the Balkans, redrawing of borders has not ended, overall situation is dominated by devastated economy, unemployment, social tensions and misery. Europe, particularly its south-east regions, are experiencing profound economic, social and moral crisis.
Preparations for NATO military aggression against Serbia and Montenegro (FRY) and 1999 aggression itself have been used in the meantime as a blueprint for many other NATO aggressions and occupations - Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali and so on. Wherever NATO undertook “humanitarian intervention”, like in former Yugoslavia, it left thousands of dead and mutilated, millions of refugees and displaced persons, ethnic and religious divisions, terrorism and separatism, economic disaster and social misery. NATO expansionist strategy made Europe militarized. There are more US/NATO military bases in Europe today than at the peak of the Cold War era. What for? NATO imperial expansionist strategy has provoked new arms race with unforeseen consequences. Who really needs an organization threatening global peace and stability?
During and after the aggression, 150 Serb monasteries and churches built in the Middle Ages were destroyed. Killed or abducted were some 3,500 Serbs and other non-Albanians, and fates of many of them have not been established until today. Not even one of the thousands of crimes against Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija got a court clarification. Even such terrorist crimes as was blowing up the “Nis-express” bus on 16 February 2001, when 12 people were killed and 43 wounded, neither the murder of 14 Serb farmers reaping in the field in Staro Gracko, on 23 July 2009 remained without thorough investigation, be it by UNMIK, be it by EULEX, or by any other of so many structures of the so called international community.
The Swiss senator, Dick Marty, revealed documented report on trafficking in human organs of Serbs abducted in Kosovo and Metohija. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the oldest European democratic institution, adopted his Report as the official CE document. Although all factors stand verbally for an efficient investigation and bringing the perpetrators to justice, for many years now there have been no results whatsoever. The documentation on human organ trafficking submitted to The Hague Tribunal had been – destroyed!
The Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, with support of other non-partisan and independent associations from Serbia, from the region and from the Serb Diaspora throughout the world, are organizing a number of activities under the common title “NOT TO FORGET”, with the aim to remind domestic and international public of human loss, destructions and other consequences of NATO aggression.
On Friday, 21 March 2014 at 6 p.m., in Sava Conference Centre, Belgrade (Milentija Popovica No. 1) an opening ceremony will launch a photographic exhibition presenting consequences of NATO aggression.
On Saturday, March 22 and on Sunday, March 23rd, 2014, International conference “Global Peace vs. Global Interventionism and Imperialism” will be held (Sava Conference Centre. Conference starts at 10 a.m. Some 100 prominent personalities from all over the world have confirmed their participation.
On Monday, March 24th, 2014, at 09.30 a.m., the International Memorial Marathon Belgrade-Hilandar will start in front of Saint Sava Church.
The same day, at 11 am, civic associations, representatives of Serb Diaspora, guests from abroad and individuals will lay flowers at the monument to children - victims of the aggression, in the Tašmajdan park, and the same day at 12 a.m. flowers will be laid at the Monument to all victims of the aggression, Friendship park, Ušće, New Belgrade.
On March 24, Serbia and Montenegro are observing the sad anniversary of NATO air strikes against former Yugoslavia. On that day 15 years ago, NATO launched a US-led massive bombing campaign in an operation codenamed Allied Force, which lasted 78 days.
The collapse of the Rambouillet talks on Kosovo and Serbia’s rejection of an external peacekeeping force as it actually meant foreign invasion served as the formal pretext for the bombings. For over two months, NATO aircraft and warships were pouring tons of air bombs and cruise missiles almost daily on industrial, infrastructure and other facilities throughout Serbia and Montenegro.
Nineteen NATO member states took part in the operation which went ahead without the approval of the UN Security Council after a mass grave was found in the village of Racak in Kosovo, where the bodies of dozens of Albanian civilians allegedly killed by Serbian troops were said to have been dumped. Later it turned out that it was a “hoax” cooked up by Western secret services. Most of the bodies in the Racak grave were militants of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, who had died in clashes with Yugoslav police in various parts of Kosovo.
NATO delivered a total of 2,300 air strikes on 995 targets during its 11-week bombing campaign, according to Serbian sources. Some 1,150 NATO warplanes were involved in the operation. More than 420,000 shells weighing a total of 22,000 tones hit former Yugoslavia, including 20,000 heavy aviation bombs, 1,300 cruise missiles and 37,000 pellet bombs, most of them stuffed with depleted uranium.
More than 2,000 civilians and 1,000 servicemen were killed in the bombings and over 5,000 others were wounded. Serbia’s defense industry was completely destroyed along with 1,500 villages, 60 bridges, one-third of schools and about 100 historical and cultural monuments.
Serbian experts estimated the damage from NATO’s Allie Force operation at between $60 billion and $100 billion.
The use of depleted uranium shells pushed radiation levels in southern Serbia, especially in Kosovo and Metohija, above the permissible norm and drove cancer rates up.
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