Jewish World Review May 26, 1999 /11 Sivan 5759
Do we really want peace in Yugoslavia?
(JWR) ---- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com)
BEFORE WE BOMB another Belgrade hospital or refugee convoy, perhaps we
should start thinking seriously about peace -- not a diktat, but a just
The presidents of Russia and Finland are trying to broker an end to the
war. Italy and Greece seem interested in compromise.
But egged on by socialist hun Tony Blair, Clinton just thrusts out his
heroic chin and declares the aggression will continue until the Serbs meet
all of our demands -- full withdrawal of their troops from Kosovo and the
return of every last Albanian, led by a NATO occupation force whose
composition we will determine -- or their nation is buried in rubble.
It was our Rambouillet ultimatum (take it or duck) that got the world into
this mess. For Yugoslavia, it amounted to acquiescence to the dismemberment
of their nation.
As Srdja Trifkovic, a Serbian academic living in America, puts it,
Rambouillet "would have given the Kosovo Liberation Army control of the
province immediately and the deed to the real estate after three years."
Albanians would have had all the trappings of statehood immediately. Then,
after three years, "an international meeting will be convened to determine a
mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo on the basis of the will of the
people" -- the will of the Kosovars, that is, not the Serbs, who were to be
Under Appendix B, paragraph 8, the envisioned NATO army of occupation was
to have unimpeded access to all parts of Yugoslavia as well as the use of
roads, airports, rivers and port facilities anywhere in the country, and the
right to make such changes in the nation's infrastructure as suited it.
Western troops would have full immunity from legal process "whether civil,
administrative or criminal" for any acts, presumably including murder and
rape, committed in the course of the occupation.
Were the Serbs expected to accede to this? Or was Rambouillet, like the
Austrian ultimatum to Belgrade in 1914, merely a pretext for war?
There are three questions to be resolved in reaching a settlement --
refugees, the peacekeeping force and sovereignty.
NATO demands the repatriation of Albanians. William Dorich, author of four
books on the Balkans, wonders "if this will include the 400,000 who entered
Yugoslavia illegally in the last 5 or 6 years."
Like the Mexican invasion of Southern California, prior to the Serb
campaign against the KLA, Albanians escaping the economic chaos of their
homeland streamed into Kosovo. Is the right to return to include those who
originally entered the province illegally?
It goes without saying that only Albanians are to have this option,
certainly not the estimated 1.2 million Serbs who were driven from Croatia
and Bosnia between 1991 and 1995.
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is willing to accept a lightly armed
international force composed of Russia, NATO and other European powers,
excluding only Britain and the United States, which are currently raining
death on his countrymen.
Will NATO insist on humiliating Yugoslavia with an army of occupation
including the mad bombers? Will it refuse to budge on Appendix B, paragraph
8? Is it worth a continuation of the carnage so Clinton can gloat over a
Kosovo's future is the principal sticking point. Alex Dragnich, a retired
professor of comparative politics who served in the U.S. embassy in
Belgrade, observes, "Yugoslavia has indicated that it will negotiate
anything but secession."
Besides being the cradle of Serbian nationhood and the center of its
Orthodox faith, Kosovo's coal mines represent 34 percent of Yugoslavia's
energy reserves. Dorich says that by insisting on the Rambouillet plan,
"You're robbing the Serbs of their Church, robbing them of their heritage
and robbing them of their mineral wealth."
David Binder worked for The New York Times from 1961 to 1996, including
five years as Belgrade bureau chief. I asked him what a fair deal would look
Binder: "Kosovo remains part of Yugoslavia, period, with a large degree of
autonomy for all the peoples of Kosovo. There should be an arrangement for
the return of refugees who are legal residents, and the presence of an
international body to ensure that neither returning Albanians nor Serbs who
remained are mistreated. Yugoslavia would patrol Kosovo's borders, and the
international force would disarm the KLA."
If the West wants an end to this bloody conflict, here is a sensible
solution. Or is our real goal the annihilation of a people the bombers have
adjudged a menace to
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©1999, Creators Syndicate