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Posts by konijn

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  • Meanwhile in Kosovo...

    05/13/2005 4:56:06 PM PDT · 1 of 6
    konijn
    Those damn serbs again...
  • Beslan: the real international connection

    09/09/2004 2:36:51 AM PDT · 1 of 15
    konijn
  • Chechen Republic of Ichkeria: Akhmadov Granted Asylum in the U.S.

    09/09/2004 1:37:03 AM PDT · 34 of 61
    konijn to USMMA_83

    You would be suprised who are teh real backers of the chechen cause in the US. This is a snippet from the Chechens American friends

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1299318,00.html


    This harshness towards Putin is perhaps explained by the fact that, in the US, the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled "distinguished Americans" who are its members is a rollcall of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusastically support the "war on terror".

    They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be "a cakewalk"; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush's plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.

    The ACPC heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin's Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasising the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic. It compares the Chechen crisis to those other fashionable "Muslim" causes, Bosnia and Kosovo - implying that only international intervention in the Caucasus can stabilise the situation there.

  • The Chechens' American friends

    09/09/2004 1:29:43 AM PDT · 1 of 14
    konijn
  • Iraqi footballers' fury at Bush

    08/20/2004 1:59:55 PM PDT · 1 of 34
    konijn
  • Two U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq -Military

    08/14/2004 1:34:07 AM PDT · 2 of 2
    konijn to BlackVeil

    693 thats killed in action

    936 is total count

    sloppy reporting

  • US considers keeping key air base in Bosnia after NATO pullout

    07/13/2004 1:35:37 PM PDT · 6 of 8
    konijn to getoffmylawn
    Yes your analysis was spot on, one for the history books. Keep it up! You can see how far this all reaches...

    This is one the crippled Saudi that just 'surrendered' (or retired?):

    Al-Harbi, a native of the holy city of Mecca, is thought to have fought in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan alongside al-Qaida chief bin Ladin during the early 1980s.

    Al-Harbi, who was wounded while fighting in Bosnia, taught courses in Islam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, but dropped out of sight after the 11 September attacks. Saudi-born bin Ladin is alleged to have been al-Harbi's associate

    From:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/8636577D-F324-48F1-97FC-10C3F12D3AD0.htm

    These were the guys teh US was (and still are regarding the anti Serb bias) openly suporting! Well major blowback but still not being reported or investigated in teh US 'free' and self censoring press!

  • BREAKING NEWS Close associate of Osama bin Laden, Khaled al-Harbi, surrenders

    07/13/2004 1:19:37 PM PDT · 197 of 247
    konijn to urbanrights; *balkans
    What all US press will fail to mention but here it is from Al Jazeera:

    Al-Harbi, who was wounded while fighting in Bosnia, taught courses in Islam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, but dropped out of sight after the 11 September attacks. He is believed to have fled to Afghanistan via Iran at the time, and is alleged to have appeared alongside bin Ladin in a video aired by Aljazeera television in December 2001, during which he claimed that Muslim scholars "bless" the al-Qaida's actions

  • Senior associate of Usama bin Laden has surrendered

    07/13/2004 1:17:00 PM PDT · 17 of 18
    konijn to apackof2
    What all US press will fail to mention but here it is from Al Jazeera:

    Al-Harbi, who was wounded while fighting in Bosnia, taught courses in Islam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, but dropped out of sight after the 11 September attacks. He is believed to have fled to Afghanistan via Iran at the time, and is alleged to have appeared alongside bin Ladin in a video aired by Aljazeera television in December 2001, during which he claimed that Muslim scholars "bless" the al-Qaida's actions

  • US considers keeping key air base in Bosnia after NATO pullout

    07/12/2004 11:17:18 PM PDT · 3 of 8
    konijn to Jane_N

    The US strategic concept:
    First create enemy,
    then defeat enemy,
    create base,
    wait for new enemy to emerge!
    Meanwhile spend lots of money

  • Four U.S. Soldiers Killed in Attack West of Baghdad

    06/21/2004 3:34:30 AM PDT · 1 of 11
    konijn
  • U.S. is set to erect virtual borders

    05/24/2004 12:30:00 PM PDT · 33 of 48
    konijn to esryle

    Comming soon to a state border near you....

  • U.S. Soldier Killed in Baghdad

    05/20/2004 4:43:49 AM PDT · 4 of 5
    konijn to BlackVeil

    Military Fatalities: By Month:
    Period US UK Other* Total Avg Days
    5-2004 53 0 4 57 2.85 20
    4-2004 140 0 5 145 4.83 30
    3-2004 52 0 0 52 1.68 31
    2-2004 20 1 2 23 0.79 29
    1-2004 47 5 0 52 1.68 31
    12-2003 40 0 8 48 1.55 31
    11-2003 82 1 27 110 3.67 30
    10-2003 42 1 2 45 1.45 31
    9-2003 31 1 1 33 1.1 30
    8-2003 35 6 2 43 1.39 31
    7-2003 47 1 0 48 1.55 31
    6-2003 30 6 0 36 1.2 30
    5-2003 37 4 0 41 1.32 31
    4-2003 73 6 0 79 2.63 30
    3-2003 65 27 0 92 7.67 12
    Total 794 59 51 904 2.11 428

  • Britain and US plan for quick exit from Iraq

    05/17/2004 3:36:42 AM PDT · 2 of 6
    konijn to ejdrapes

    It's hot air

  • U.S. HOSTAGE SCREAMS IN HORROR AS HE IS BEHEADED

    05/12/2004 5:00:21 AM PDT · 81 of 248
    konijn to FranklinsTower
  • Kosovo UN troops 'fuel sex trade'

    05/06/2004 8:08:26 AM PDT · 2 of 49
    konijn to *balkans
    Albania soldiers in rape scandal


    The trafficking of women is a continuing problem for Albania
    Albanian police say several servicemen have been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a 16-year old girl.
    The men are accused of raping the girl before selling her to a gang in Kosovo which forced her into prostitution.

    UN staff eventually rescued the girl and helped her to return to Albania.

    Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Pellumb Qazimi, who issued a public apology to the girl, has suspended the commander of the base in north-western Albania where the men were stationed.

    Some reports say four civilians have also been arrested in connection with the case.

    The 16-year-old was first abducted at the Bisht Palle naval base in June and sexually abused by soldiers for two months, according to a police spokesman.

    She was then "sold" to Albanian hotel owners, before ending up in the southern Kosovo town of Prizren.

    UN officials found her in Kosovo with irregular documents and took her to a rehabilitation centre for trafficked women in Durres.

    The teenager has decided to bring charges against her abusers, police say.

    Crackdown

    Human trafficking and the forced prostitution of women continue to plague post-communist Albania.

    Attempts by the authorities to address the problems, in an effort to join eventually join Nato and the European Union, have so far been in vain.

    Criminal gangs take advantage of police corruption, a weak judicial system and lax border controls to exploit young women.

    A new report, co-written by the UN and the 55-nation Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), has estimated that 120,000 women and children are trafficked into the EU each year, most of them through the Balkans.



  • Kosovo UN troops 'fuel sex trade'

    05/06/2004 8:07:26 AM PDT · 1 of 49
    konijn
  • GI Killed As Troops Deploy Outside Najaf

    04/13/2004 7:21:44 AM PDT · 9 of 24
    konijn to astounded
    If a RPG can take out a tank, why wouldnt the same happen with a helicopter?
  • U.S. Troops Deploy Outside of Najaf

    04/13/2004 4:50:29 AM PDT · 4 of 22
    konijn to kattracks
    Wonder how this will play out...


    In an effort to toughen the Iraqi forces, Abizaid said the U.S. military will reach out to former senior members of Saddam's disbanded army - a reversal in strategy. The military in the past has tried to avoid relying on top officials from the ousted regime.

    ``It's ... very clear that we've got to get more senior Iraqis involved - former military types involved in the security forces,'' he said. ``In the next couple of days you'll see a large number of senior officers being appointed to key positions in the ministry of defense and the Iraqi joint staff and in Iraqi field commands.''

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-3971862,00.html
  • Eight U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq Attacks-Military (1st ID - Baghdad)

    04/11/2004 12:39:37 PM PDT · 13 of 15
    konijn to Happy2BMe
    US soldiers confirmed missing
    From correspondents in Washington
    April 10, 2004

    TWO US soldiers are missing following an attack by Iraqi insurgents on their convoy west of Baghdad.

    Military spokesman Justin McCue said: "There are two soldiers missing as a result of an attack on the convoy today ... the attack occured right around Baghdad International Airport."

    McCue said it was unknown if the soldiers had been abducted by insurgents following a flurry of kidnappings of foreigners across Iraq in recent days.

    Earlier today, US Central Command announced that a member of the 13th Corps Support Command had been killed and 12 wounded in an attack on their convoy near Baghdad International Airport.

    It was not immediately known if the missing soldiers were part of the same convoy.



  • McCain Says More Troops Needed in Iraq

    04/11/2004 10:29:48 AM PDT · 4 of 17
    konijn to samtheman
    I cant imagine the US army without a next generation (manned) fighter jet
  • McCain Says More Troops Needed in Iraq

    04/11/2004 10:20:31 AM PDT · 1 of 17
    konijn
  • Abrams Tank Attacked And Destroyed By Insurgents In Iraq

    04/11/2004 2:45:25 AM PDT · 14 of 108
    konijn to OutSpot
    The attack by dozens of masked gunmen on a police station in a north-western Sunni Muslim area of Baghdad - the first of its kind in the capital - developed into a running gun battle with American soldiers. Elsewhere, a US tank was set on fire on a road west of Baghdad after, according to locals, it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by a 10-year-old boy.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1189821,00.html
  • General: U.S. forces still fighting to retake Kut

    04/09/2004 7:12:28 AM PDT · 1 of 1
    konijn
  • Several killed in Iraq ambush

    04/09/2004 6:27:45 AM PDT · 1 of 109
    konijn
  • Latest: At Least Nine Dead in Attack on U.S. Convoy in Iraq

    04/09/2004 4:42:53 AM PDT · 12 of 16
    konijn to leadpenny
    Thanks for the map!!
  • Fighting Erupts in Town of Baquba North of Baghdad

    04/09/2004 4:24:55 AM PDT · 2 of 5
    konijn to Oldeconomybuyer
    Busy day today!!
  • US Marines ordered to resume Fallujah offensive

    04/09/2004 3:57:07 AM PDT · 40 of 158
    konijn to Keith in Iowa
    Same from CNN, this is getting complicated!!

    A senior U.S. military source said a meeting will be held in Fallujah later in the day, in which the U.S. military will present its list of objectives and demands and will also listen to the other side.

    In one incident, insurgents launched an attack Friday and the Marines fired back, but the offensive remains halted nevertheless, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt told CNN.
  • Latest: At Least Nine Dead in Attack on U.S. Convoy in Iraq

    04/09/2004 2:59:40 AM PDT · 1 of 16
    konijn
  • BREAKING: Bremmer: US unilaterally suspend offensive in Faluja

    04/09/2004 2:34:07 AM PDT · 67 of 159
    konijn to kattracks
    Bremer, talking on the sidelines of a ministerial security meeting, said suspending operations would also allow the relevant Iraqi ministries to deliver aid and other supplies and permit residents of Falluja to attend to their wounded and dead. He did not say how long the cease-fire would last in the town, west of Baghdad. A member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, which is represented on the Governing Council and said it was in contact with Sunni insurgents, said it would be in force for 24 hours. "We call on the steadfast people of Falluja to respond in kind and help implement the deal," Qahtan al-Rubaie said.
  • BREAKING: Bremmer: US unilaterally suspend offensive in Faluja

    04/09/2004 2:14:01 AM PDT · 37 of 159
    konijn to A Simple Soldier
    US declares ceasefire in Falluja


    US forces have been fighting fierce battles in Falluja
    US administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer says US forces have suspended offensive operations in the town of Fallujah.
    The move came on the fifth day of a battle for control of the Sunni town that has left up to 300 Iraqis dead.

    Mr Bremer said the aim was to try to initiate talks with local insurgents and allow aid deliveries.

    Fierce battles are continuing further south, where coalition troops are battling Shia militias in Karbala and say they have retaken the city of Kut.

    The US said six more soldiers had died over two days, while at least 14 Iraqis were killed in Karbala and Falluja.

    The fighting continued amid growing fears for the safety of six foreign hostages held by Iraqi insurgents.

    They consist of three Japanese, a Syrian-born Canadian and two Palestinians.

    Hit-and-run

    Mr Bremer told reporters in Baghdad: "As of noon today, coalition forces have initiated a unilateral suspension of offensive operations in Falluja to allow for a meeting between members of the Governing Council, local Muslim leadership and the leadership of anti-coalition forces."

    He did not say how long the suspension would last, but a member of the US-appointed Governing Council said it would be for 24 hours.

    Two US marines and 10 Iraqi rebels were said to have been killed in the fighting in Falluja before hostilities were suspended.

    The US troops were hit by sniper fire as they edged through the city block by block, facing hit-and-run attacks with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.


    F-16 warplanes flew overhead and plumes of smoke rose from the ground, reporters in the city said.

    Inhabitants were said to be fleeing the city as the fighting intensified.


    Map locating recent clashes
    There were reports of bodies in the streets and of makeshift clinics being set up, with medical supplies scarce.

    However, the top US general in Iraq, Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez, denied his forces were blocking humanitarian supplies.

    One journalist in Falluja, Tony Perry of the Los Angeles Times, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he had seen dead marines and dead insurgents after all-day street battles.

    He said the fighting had mainly taken place in less populated, more industrial areas of the city, but loss of civilian lives was inevitable in urban conflict of this kind.

    "The marines are putting no timetable on this," he said, adding that US forces were ready to stay in Falluja "until hell freezes over".


    US marines have lost comrades in the Falluja fighting
    Gen Sanchez acknowledged that Najaf had fallen to militiamen fighting for the radical Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr.

    Asked if US troops would be sent to fight the rebels, he said: "We will do whatever is necessary to defeat Moqtada Sadr's forces wherever they are on the battlefield."

    The central city of Kut, which had been abandoned by Ukrainian troops two days ago, was retaken by US forces after fierce fighting, the American military said.

    Television pictures showed Mr Sadr's office in the city in ruins after coming under attack.

    'Not like Vietnam'

    At least 40 American and allied soldiers and hundreds of Iraqis have been killed in the surge of violence in the past week.

    But after the US admitted it may have to keep troops in the country longer than envisaged, Gen Sanchez denied that the Iraq conflict was becoming as intractable as the war in Vietnam.

    "I don't see any shadows of Vietnam in Iraq," he said.

    In the holy city of Karbala, where a major Shia religious event is due to take place at the weekend, there was fierce fighting overnight.

    Some 120 US troops have been sent there to help Bulgarian and Polish forces battling Shia militiamen loyal to Mr Sadr.

    Three militants and an Iranian woman are said to have been killed in fighting near a shrine in the city, while one report said as many as 15 Iraqis died.

    Militiamen have reportedly issued an ultimatum demanding that foreign troops leave before the Shi'ite holy day of Arbayeen.

    Thousands of pilgrims are expected to converge on Karbala for religious ceremonies to mark the event.

    Meanwhile, the Arab League has offered to organise talks in Cairo between the American-led coalition running Iraq and the groups that it is fighting against.


    The league's secretary-general, Amr Moussa, said the core issue that must be addressed was the deteriorating relationship between the coalition, its occupation forces and the Iraqi people.

  • BREAKING: Bremmer: US unilaterally suspend offensive in Faluja

    04/09/2004 2:07:18 AM PDT · 20 of 159
    konijn to Barlowmaker
    They were not in the town but on the outskirts!
    Try to get the facts right.
  • BREAKING: Bremmer: US unilaterally suspend offensive in Faluja

    04/09/2004 2:02:18 AM PDT · 11 of 159
    konijn to PLMerite
    The U.S. military today said it was suspending offensive operations in Fallujah to allow negotiations with a delegation of local tribal leaders. Fallujah has been the site of fierce fighting between U.S. Marines and Iraqi insurgents.
  • BREAKING: Bremmer: US unilaterally suspend offensive in Faluja

    04/09/2004 1:58:12 AM PDT · 9 of 159
    konijn to Fledermaus
    Kut is not Falluja
  • BREAKING: Bremmer: US unilaterally suspend offensive in Faluja

    04/09/2004 1:47:55 AM PDT · 3 of 159
    konijn to konijn
    MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED!!
    The Marines are being used for political Iraqi games!!!
  • BREAKING: Bremmer: US unilaterally suspend offensive in Faluja

    04/09/2004 1:46:04 AM PDT · 1 of 159
    konijn
  • Six More U.S. Soldiers Killed in Action in Iraq - Army

    04/08/2004 3:24:31 PM PDT · 1 of 6
    konijn
  • Saudi Al Qaida chief threatens US

    04/08/2004 3:17:42 PM PDT · 1 of 17
    konijn
  • New Iraqi special forces join struggle in Fallujah

    04/08/2004 3:07:22 PM PDT · 5 of 13
    konijn to saquin
    About 2,000 soldiers of the newly formed Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, who were paid by Marines last weekend, were supposed to help the 2,000-some Marines with a massive cordon of war-torn Fallujah this week.

    Thats 20 of the 2000. What are the 1980 others with AK47s and money doing?
  • New Iraqi special forces join struggle in Fallujah

    04/08/2004 2:58:17 PM PDT · 3 of 13
    konijn to saquin
    But when heavy fighting erupted as the Marines arrived Monday near the city, all but about 20 of the Iraqi ICDC troops fled.

    Not a good sign
  • Al Jazeera: US: Fierce Falluja fighting recalls Vietnam

    04/08/2004 2:55:54 PM PDT · 1 of 22
    konijn
  • 130 KILLED IN IRAQ - REPORTS (Not confirmed by other sources- report seems incorrect)

    04/06/2004 2:37:17 PM PDT · 6 of 137
    konijn to kristinn
    Ramadi base overrun??
  • 130 KILLED IN IRAQ - REPORTS (Not confirmed by other sources- report seems incorrect)

    04/06/2004 2:37:12 PM PDT · 4 of 137
    konijn to kristinn
    Ramadi base overrun??
  • U.S. Faces Tough Urban Battle in Fallujah

    04/06/2004 2:33:46 PM PDT · 1 of 20
    konijn
  • Iran Based Moqtada Sadr's Mentor Warns U.S.

    04/05/2004 3:02:36 PM PDT · 4 of 35
    konijn to nuconvert
    Something bigger is indeed at work here. The guys are all affiliated with Hamas and Hezbola. They are integrating themselves into teh iraqi society. Its going to be a hot summer, decisive battles will have to be fought!
  • Attempted coup d'etat underway in Iraq right now

    04/05/2004 2:38:20 PM PDT · 75 of 668
    konijn to John Jorsett
    Not much better up North:

    4 US soldiers killed in Iraq:
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1111903/posts
  • NATO attacks Serb orthodox church, wounds priest and son

    04/01/2004 8:05:01 AM PST · 2 of 7
    konijn to konijn; *balkans
    Serbs protest over Karadzic raid

    Thursday, April 1, 2004 Posted: 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)



    Troops from several countries took part in the operation in Pale.





    (CNN) -- Hundreds of Bosnian Serbs have been protesting after two people were wounded by NATO troops hunting war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic.

    About 40 soldiers -- mainly from the United State and Britain -- took part in the unsuccessful raid early Thursday in Pale, a suburb of Sarajevo where the former Bosnian Serb leader had his base during the Bosnian war.

    Video from the scene showed heavily armed members of NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR) sealing off the area and taking up positions around an Orthodox church, which they stormed.

    Two civilians in the building suffered blast wounds and were airlifted by helicopter to a hospital for treatment, said SFOR spokesman Dave Sullivan.

    A spokeswoman at the hospital in the northern town of Tuzla told Reuters that a priest and his son suffered head injuries and underwent surgery.

    The news agency reported that a crowd of about 400 Serbs, many of whom regard their wartime leader as a hero, gathered outside the church. "Killers," shouted one woman.

    One man wore a Karadzic mask and others held Serb flags and banners reading: "Just Go Ahead Barbarians, Kill the Priest" and "No one will catch a Serb."

    Pale Mayor Milivoje Gutalj denounced NATO "vandalism" and Bosnian Foreign Minister Mladen Ivanic, a moderate Serb, said injuring clergy was "absolutely unacceptable," according to Reuters.

    Sullivan would not elaborate on the intelligence that led NATO troops to believe Karadzic was in the building in Pale. There is a $5 million reward posted on him.

    The building, Sullivan said, was adjacent to a church that was searched earlier this year.

    In that operation, NATO officials believe Karadzic slipped away shortly before they arrived.

    For the past six years, Karadzic is believed to have moved around mountainous east Bosnia and neighboring Montenegro. Western officials have said they suspect Orthodox priests have sheltered him in monasteries.

    Karadzic and Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic were indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys. Mladic also remains at large.


    Karadzic indicted over a massacre at the NATO so-called safe haven of Srebrenica.
    NATO has intensified the manhunt for Karadzic since January, raiding homes and questioning possible suspects.

    In one operation, three masked members of SFOR jumped from a van and snatched Karadzic's former bodyguard off the street in a dramatic morning raid as he walked his daughter to school in the city of Bijeljina.

    The bodyguard has since been turned over to local police.

    In other Balkan developments, the U.S. State Department said it was cutting off millions of dollars of new assistance to Serbia because Secretary of State Colin Powell could not certify to Congress that Serbia and Montenegro was cooperating with the war crimes tribunal at the Hague.

    "We call on the authorities in Belgrade to cooperate fully with the tribunal by arresting and transferring their fugitive indictees, particularly Ratko Mladic, to face justice before the tribunal," said J. Adam Ereli, a State Department spokesman.

    "It's important to point out that if Serbia and Montenegro takes action in the future, the secretary is prepared to review such actions to determine whether they meet the requirements of the law."
  • NATO attacks Serb orthodox church, wounds priest and son

    04/01/2004 8:02:54 AM PST · 1 of 7
    konijn
    Pittyfull!!
  • Washington cuts off aid to Serbia (the blackmail continues)

    03/31/2004 3:16:05 PM PST · 14 of 44
    konijn to Hoplite
    The Serbs as a people have always been on the right side in history; they can take this US hyprocrisy with pride! Your side, whatever it may be, has to resort to blackmail, extortion and filthy propaganda to reach its pittyfull aims.
  • Washington cuts off aid to Serbia (the blackmail continues)

    03/31/2004 12:59:21 PM PST · 6 of 44
    konijn to konijn
    Completely in line with the warmongers new dictates to Serbia. Little has changes in US policy

    Fri Mar 26 13:36:35 2004
    213.224.83.78

    The International Crisis Group:

    Serbia's U-Turn


    Europe Report N°154
    26 March 2004
    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    In politics and policies, Serbia increasingly resembles the Milosevic-era without Milosevic. Its reaction to the catastrophic mid-March 2004 near collapse of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the strong showing by ultra-nationalists in the 28 December 2003 parliamentary elections and the subsequent two-months of squabbling before democratic parties could form a minority government that depends for survival on the support of Milosevic's old party all are signs that more trouble lies ahead. In 2004 Serbia can anticipate continued political instability, increasingly strained relations with the West and further economic decline. The spasm of ethnic cleansing of Serbs by Albanians in Kosovo has raised the prospect of Kosovo partition, strengthened the nationalist right wing and increased anti-Western sentiment. Instability and economic weakness could hasten moves by Montenegro towards independence, while Kosovo tensions could spill over into the Presevo valley, Sandzak and even Vojvodina.

    These prospects should prompt the international community to re-evaluate its policies towards Serbia. The results should include: no longer assuming that Serbia is a factor of regional stability; relying less on the "carrot" of European integration and insisting less on the Serbia-Montenegro union; and making more use of a stricter aid conditionality. If there is a bright side, it is that the ongoing -- and likely to worsen -- economic slide gives the international community greater leverage over the Serbian government if it is prepared to use it.

    Serbia's new government could prove short-lived. It has serious internal differences, and its minority status reduces the chances that it can take the tough decisions necessary to turn the economy around, especially if it does not get major outside help. Nonetheless, its initial actions (and those of the parliament) hint that it could prove more stable and last longer than anyone expects. The Kosovo unrest has been a unifying factor, however temporary. But such stability as there may be will come through lowest common denominator politics, which in Belgrade today is anti-Western populism. Although Prime Minister Kostunica has stated that Serbia has no alternative to Europe, it does not appear that he considers cooperation with The Hague Tribunal a priority.

    In spite of the government's pronouncements, Serbia's path towards a wider European future may be rocky. Events in Kosovo have reduced the appeal of European institutions to the country and damaged UN, EU, U.S. and NATO credibility. Parties that are either opposed to or ambivalent about European integration control 71 per cent of the parliament. The ultra-nationalist SRS has one third of the seats in every committee. Anti-reform forces within the "democratic" bloc appear intent on forestalling or rolling back many key Djindjic-era measures, while the SRS is pushing for a return to the past. The economy and Kosovo place tremendous pressure on the government, and the SRS is most likely to benefit in the upcoming presidential and municipal elections from any dissatisfaction.

    To become a stable state, Serbia must undergo two transitions. The first is from the Milosevic-era criminalised state to a more normal society. The second is the classic Eastern European transition from a socialist command economy to a democratic market economy. Until there is significant progress in the first transition, the second will not happen. It is this failure to cleanse Serbia of the Milosevic legacy -- particularly in the security services -- that has led to the resurgence of the extreme right and cessation of reforms. International assistance should be redirected to target the first transition. Unfortunately, the new government has indicated that it is more interested in removing traces of Djindjic than Milosevic.

    It is increasingly apparent that 5 October 2000, the day on which Milosevic stepped down, was less revolutionary than it seemed at the time. Many of Serbia's democrats accepted the Milosevic-era myth that all the country's problems were caused by a decade of wars and international sanctions and the NATO bombing campaign of 1999. With these "causes" removed, many democrats showed little enthusiasm for reforms and, in many instances, actively blocked them. As a result Serbia failed to make a clean break with the Milosevic heritage. With the December 2003 elections, the past has partially returned to endanger the scant progress made to date, both domestically and in Serbia's relations with its neighbours.

    Milosevic-era structures and personnel are still relatively intact in the judiciary, police, army and other key institutions. Serbia's media and judiciary are less independent today than two years ago. The myriad intelligence services still appear out of control and engage primarily in spying on domestic political opponents. It is nearly as difficult to do business in Serbia in 2004 as it was under Milosevic, a fact confirmed by the scant foreign investment. The only institutions that appear to function with any efficiency are the army and the National Bank. In the meantime, the lack of a final status resolution for Kosovo will continue to overshadow domestic politics and warp normal political dialogue.

    ICG will shortly publish a separate report on the March 2004 events in Kosovo and their implications for the future of Kosovo and international policies in the wider region.

    RECOMMENDATIONS

    To the European Union:

    1. Make economic aid, both from the EU and from its member states, subject to a formal annual review of Serbian government achievement of specific benchmarks, including cooperation with The Hague Tribunal (ICTY).

    2. Appoint a senior diplomatic Special Representative in Belgrade to be a first point of contact and contribute to coordination of a common voice within the Western diplomatic and international donor communities.

    To the United States:

    3. Continue and strengthen aid conditionality, including the requirement that Serbian government cooperate with the ICTY;

    To NATO:

    4. Adhere to the policy of not admitting Serbia and Montenegro to Partnership for Peace until it drops its lawsuit against NATO and cooperates fully with the ICTY.

    To the Donor Community:

    5. Extend conditionality to include IMF, World Bank and EBRD assistance.

    6. Demand greater accountability from the Serbian government on capital investment projects.

    7. Insist upon greater cooperation by Serbia with international community structures in Kosovo and impose greater accountability for its actions in supporting parallel structures in Kosovo.

    To the Serbian Government:

    8. Give higher priority to economic reform.

    9. Cooperate with the ICTY, including by arresting and transferring to The Hague all indictees on its territory.

    10. Reform the judiciary and media to make them functional and independent.

    11. Restrain nationalist passions, including by urging the media to avoid inflammatory rhetoric.

    12. Provide increased security for Serbia's human rights activists and for national minorities in Vojvodina, Sandzak and Kosovo.

    13. Prevent radical right-wing forces from attempting ethnic cleansing in southern Serbia, Sandzak or Vojvodina.

    Belgrade/Brussels, 26 March 2004

    http://www.crisisweb.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=2552