We are having with us the representative of the Serbian section of the Anti-Imperialist Front to about the current situation in the republic.
Can you tell us, what is happening in Kosovo right now?
What we’re seeing now is not the first and definitely not the last time that tensions will rise in Kosovo. Tension that tends to escalate to violence happens every now and then. This time the cause was the arrest of a Serbian policeman Dejan Pantić followed by barricades erected by the Serbian community in the North. As the tensions were increasing the Serbian government requested permission to enter Kosovo with its own security forces to defend its own people. UN resolution 1244 related to Kosovo status actually allows us that. We are used to these kind of news that occur every now and then, although sometimes media tries to blow it out of proportion.
Could you give us a bit of a historical and geopolitical context relating to the Kosovo issue?What do you think are the interests of the imperialists in the Balkan region?
Recent tensions and also previous events in Kosovo cannot be understood only on the basis of the relations between the local actors and in isolation from the historical context that brought the situation about. The existing problems of the remaining Serbian population and the political ambitions of the imperialist-backed Albanian elites of Kosovo manifest themselves as symptoms of more profound and far-reaching issues that go beyond whatever legal dispute occurs now and then. Today it is about car license plates, tomorrow it will be some other excuse. In order to understand the situation we need a wider geopolitical and longer historical context. When we clarify that we‘ll see that the current events are much more related to the politics of domination and dependence, rather than the short-term legal and political objectives of the local actors.
You might think that the actors of this scenario are obvious but actually it‘s not Serbia and Kosovo Albanians. The main actors are the collective West aka the imperialists, particularly the USA and EU, they basically compete using the ages-old strategy of divide and conquer. For that reason, we can see this conflict through the prism of this intra-imperialist competition.
They are focused on three main objectives – geopolitical, economic and military. After the end of the Cold War, the USA redefined the role of NATO and became a global policeman as a goal to secure its interests and especially as a means of political and military influence in Europe. At that time, the Balkan area and Yugoslavia was defined as a zone of special interest given that it represents a gateway to the issues of intense Western concern, for example Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq-Iran conflict, access to Afghanistan, Caspian Sea etc.
while in the geopolitical sense, control over the region means control over the communication and supply routes between those strategic areas and Europe. In the military sense, it means the protection of Western investments and breaking up on the Russian monopoly over oil and gas transport. Economically it means making sure that the neoliberal order remains intact and unchallenged, so that the extra profits can be secured.
so In the mid-’90s, a plan was made to develop what was called Pan-European Corridors, meaning routes that would connect Europe to the “areas of intense Western concern”, the bulk of which would pass through the Balkans. At about the same time, the war in Bosnia was still on, and a major discussion was on the table: European proposal was to place peace forces under the mandate of the UN while the US proposal was to place NATO as a means to guarantee peace. As we are all aware by now, the peace deal was brokered by the USA as a result of NATO intervention. It is also worth mentioning that at the time when the USA was redefining the role of NATO, France and Germany proposed the creation of European army forces called Eurocorps. That was a move that the USA saw as a threat to its interests and managed to stop it by integrating Eurocorps under NATO command.
Right after the war in Bosnia was finished, the escalation of the Serbian-Albanian conflict in Kosovo gained traction. According to some Western politicians, the objective of the Kosovo conflict was to design a solution that would make the southern Serbian province independent from Serbia, but at the same time would keep Serbia dependent on Kosovo. That was the policy that continued to this day in one or the other form.
The turning point in the Kosovo conflict started with the NATO intervention and 78 day long bombing of Yugoslavia. The imperialists then started heavily pushing the propaganda that there an was ethnic cleansing of the Albanian population ongoing on Kosovo, using it as an excuse for what they call a humanitarian war. The real cause was actually rejection of the Yugoslav delegation to accept Ramboulliet Accords which was de facto an occupation accord that would allow NATO troops to go around Yugoslavia and do whatever they wanted to do without being subjected to legal punishments if neccesary. Also, it would give Kosovo wider autonomy, which Yugoslav delegation actually accepted. The problem was that those military provisions that were added at the last moment would pretty much allow NATO free access to its territory and diplomatic immunity from local laws. In other words, the Accords stipulated outright occupation of Yugoslavia. That detail was rejected and led directly to the military campaign, as a result of which was the establishment of one of the biggest military bases in Europe: Camp Bondsteel.
If you compare the map of Pan-European Corridors with the location of Camp Bondsteel, you will see that it is a situation just where multiple corridors meet giving it the perfect location for control of the region and guaranteeing the US interests as per the redefinition of NATO.
In the context of the above, then Yugoslavia and now Serbia represents an obstacle to the control over the region for both USA and the EU, while in the past it also posed resistance to the neoliberal policies imposed by the West. Currently, Serbia is the only country in the region that continues to maintain the policy of neutrality meaning a friendly relationship with Russia, China, and, as of recently, Iran.
The latest development in Kosovo is only a push in the direction of securing imperialist interest in the region and the Albanians in Kosovo are means to achieve that. According to the European proposal to “normalise” the relationship with Kosovo, Serbia is expected to de-facto recognise its sovereignty which would seal imperialist presence and control over the region. However, what it does not provide is a guarantee of safety for the remaining Serbian population nor does it provide a long-term solution to the problem. Rather, it only freezes the conflict for the time being leaving it open to reactivation in case of a geopolitical need.
It is worth mentioning that the original peace in Kosovo was established under the terms of UN resolution 1244 which requires the withdrawal of Serbian police and military forces while allowing for their return in the future, the establishment of a legal entity to represent the interest of Serbian community, and forbids the establishment of Albanian military structures.
In the past two decades, not only the Albanian party has rejected the constitution of Serbian autonomy, but with the permission of the Western military presence, it has constituted a de-facto military-like structure under the guise of special police. The representatives of the imperialist countries have ignored the resolution they facilitated and that they were meant to guarantee. In the other words, any imperialist-brokered “peace” just means the preservation of the conflict. The violence in Kosovo is just a reflection of it.
How would you describe the situation for Kosovar Serbs who remained to live there throught these years? What do you expect from the future?
When the NATO occupation forces arrived, they allowed the ethnic cleansing of the non-Albanian population including Roma, Ashkalis, and Egyptians, beyond just Serbs. The remaining Serbian population has been reduced to the status of second-class citizens whose rights are systematically suppressed and who are exposed to discrimination and abuse on a regular basis. For the sake of comparison, the ethnic composition of Serbia in terms of percentages has remained largely unchanged over the course of the past three decades. When it comes to future, I would say that geopolitical situation is slowly shifting in our favor, slowely but surely. With US hegemony in decay and the rise of East, it is not an illusion to think that some day we will return to Kosovo, using force if needed. Since the majority of our people never gave up on the fact that Kosovo was, is and will be Serbian, we can say that the imperialists have failed to ideologically poison our people. We will never legitimize imperialists aggresion by recognizing the puppet state, whose main purpose was to undermine socialism in the Balkans. Kosovo is Serbia!