20 years have passed since NATO bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days. The air campaign with at least 900 bombing sorties again announced imperialist power – destroy everything to loot. It was an act of aggression against Yugoslavia, deny the country’s sovereignty and integrity, and violently carve away Kosovo for creating an imperialist enclave.
The NATO aggression officially claimed at least 758 civilian lives. However, non-NATO sources insist the actual death toll was twice than the official count.
Media and recent-historical reports said:
NATO launched its first military operation against Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999. The imperialist aggression had no approval of the UN Security Council.
The NATO air campaign in Serbia is in breach of its own charter, and violation of related international law.
As a pretext to bomb Yugoslavia, the U.S.-led imperialist camp blamed Belgrade for “excessive and disproportionate use of force” in a conflict in Kosovo.
The NATO bombings started following an incident in Racak, a village in Kosovo. The village was a stronghold of imperialism-backed Albanian militants. The imperialist mainstream media blamed the Serbs for “slaughtering dozens of Albanian civilians” on January 15, 1999. However, there were strong grounds to doubt the claims. Many diplomats from non-NATO countries told about provocations to begin the bombing.
Cruise missiles of NATO hit major cities including Novi Sad. It was propagated as a “surgical humanitarian intervention” to “stop the violence” in Kosovo. However, the NATO air campaign killed more civilians than troops.
The bombings demolished countless civilian structures across the country. NATO bombs hit a civilian train and a marketplace. The Chinese Embassy was also hit.
At least fifteen were killed when NATO bombs hit the passenger train. Sixteen died on an attack on RTS, the Serbian television. Over sixty Kosovan Albanians were killed when a US fighter pilot bombed their convoy. NATO at first tried to blame the attack on Yugoslav forces.
The NATO aggression was the culmination of Yugoslavia’s decade of bloody dissolution, which split the entire region along sectarian lines, which is against the interest of people.
The bombs the NATO dropped had depleted uranium, the toxic substance used in armor-piercing munitions. The same was done in Iraq. Depleted uranium causes cancer.
Studies found that children born in Yugoslavia after the bombing are prone to cancer. Moreover, depleted uranium contaminates soil and water. Serbian children below the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer almost thrice as much as somewhere in Europe.
The “Peace” Conference
The Peace Conference in Rambouillet in 1999 was the last chance for a peaceful resolution to the Kosovo crisis. However, organizers of Kosovo’s so-called independence – imperialism – had no plan to resort to peaceful means.
On February 6, 1999, negotiations on the settlement of the Kosovo conflict began in Chateau de Rambouillet, near Paris. The formal plan of the conference was that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Kosovo Albanians were to find a peaceful solution. One of the mediators at the conference was Christopher Hill, the then US ambassador to Macedonia and US special envoy for Kosovo.
The talks went on for 17 days. On March 24, 1999, NATO began its “humanitarian intervention” in Yugoslavia. The NATO aggression is referred to as The Bombing of Yugoslavia.
It is widely known that the Serbs had sincerely hoped to come to an agreement so that NATO intervention could be prevented.
However, imperialism had a different plan – create a pocket with its full control in the name of an independent Kosovo; and for creating this pocket, forcibly tear away Kosovo from Serbia. NATO plan was to expand the military alliance.
The Rambouillet text called on Serbia to allow entry of NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia. It was a provocation, so that an excuse could be found to start bombing.
Article I (1) of Chapter 4 of the Rambouillet Accord called for a “free-market economy”, and article II (1) called for privatization of all government-owned assets.
Along with these economic aims, the aim of the US was geostrategic: control of the region and station its military in parts of the Balkans. The control is for securing economic interests, and the stationing of troops is for securing the control.
The imperialists made demands, which were not possible for Belgrade to accept.
An annex was added to the document, allowing for NATO’s military occupation of Yugoslavia, which the US and UK knew Slobodan Milosevic, the Yugoslav leader, could not possibly accept.
The imperialist demand meant giving up sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belgrade, and allowing division of the country.
The terms of the agreement included holding of a referendum in Kosovo, accept NATO’s presence, and a NATO-led implementation force. The UN Security Council’s role was only to support tasks designed by NATO.
On this agreement, Henry Kissinger wrote: “The Rambouillet text, which called on Serbia to admit NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia, was a provocation, an excuse to start bombing.”
The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia showed a complete disregard to the UN system.
A foundation for similar interventions
Moreover, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 laid foundation for further similar acts, which the world witnessed in Iraq and Libya. Imperialism tried to reenact the same aggressive act in Syria.
In Iraq and Libya, imperialism did not wait for UN approval. Imperialism would follow the example in cases of countries it likes to interfere in future.
Serbia shall never join NATO
Aleksandar Vulin, Serbia’s defense minister, said, Serbia will never be part of NATO, even if it is the only non-member European country.
The minister was talking during the events organized to commemorate the NATO bombing of former Yugoslavia.
Vulin said on Saturday that Belgrade has chosen to be militarily neutral at all times.
“We won’t be in NATO, I made it clear speaking to [Secretary General Jens] Stoltenberg,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in an interview with Russia’s Channel 1 on March 22. Serbia, which was the heartland of former Yugoslavia, “isn’t something that you can break down or destroy,” he said.
An imperialist example
Today, Kosovo, not recognized by many countries, can be cited by imperialism as an example in case of other countries if imperialism likes to interfere in the countries. The imperialist pocket is also a breeding ground of reactionary ideas. Entire liberal Europe is wary of developments in Kosovo. The situation is so concerning that a few from the mainstream media carried reports on the developments.
Under Milosevic, Yugoslavia operated an economic system in which social ownership predominated. Large parts of the economy were either state-owned or worker-controlled. The system was operating a decade after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its East and Central European ally-states.
The imperialist mainstream media portrayed Milosevic as “the New Hitler”; although he was a follower of socialist path upholding the Yugoslav ideal of “Brotherhood and Unity”.
He was not a hardcore Serb nationalist. That was the reason the imperialist media demonized him. Milosevic came from the partisan tradition in Balkan politics.
He told an anti-war demonstration: “Let us face the truth. The truth is that neither Clinton nor Blair gives a damn about the Kosovar Albanians. This action has been yet another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile. It set out to consolidate one thing — American domination of Europe. This must be fully recognized and it must be resisted.”
The Yugoslav authorities tried suing NATO for the aggression the military alliance made.
To foil the effort, the imperialists created a so-called “Color Revolution” in 2000 in Yugoslavia to put its puppets on power. The puppets abandoned the suing effort.