It was never easy to understand why the Clinton administration intervened in Kosovo. The U.S. had not made a habit of deciding which European state was obligated to grant independence to which disaffected minority. For instance, Spain told Basques to stuff it without much comment from Washington. And the U.S. never worried about its allies using brutality against guerrillas--the Turkish campaign against the Kurds destroyed thousands of villages and killed tens of thousands of people, while the U.S. provided Ankara with arms.
However, the prospect of getting involved in a conflict with no conceivable relationship to U.S. interests drew the Clinton administration into the Balkans. So Washington joined with a majority of European states in a policy that could be defined as "the Serbs always lose": Everyone got to secede from Yugoslavia/Serbia, but Serbs could never secede from anyone else, whether Bosnia, Croatia, or Kosovo, irrespective of the principle of ethnic self-determination and threat of human rights violations.
Thus, the U.S. joined with a majority of European states to bomb Serbia for 78 days to force it to relinquish its control over Kosovo. Then the allies presided over mass ethnic-cleansing by the ethnic Albanian majority. Finally, the U.S. and European Union promoted faux negotiations with the understanding that the outcome was already set: independence for Kosovo. And the northern majority Serb areas of Kosovo were supposed to supinely accept their status rather than seek to remain with Serbia. When Belgrade refused to go along, the allies backed Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. But Russia has blocked Kosovo's entry into the UN and the majority of states do not recognize the new nation.
Great work, both the Clinton and Bush administrations.
It has long been known that Albania's leaders are, shall we say, a bit "shady." Now comes a new Council of Europe report on Hashim Thaci, Kosovo's prime minister. Reports the Guardian:
Kosovo's prime minister is the head of a "mafia-like" Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.
Hashim Thaçi is identified as the boss of a network that began operating criminal rackets in the runup to the 1999 Kosovo war, and has held powerful sway over the country's government since.
The report of the two-year inquiry, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, has been obtained by the Guardian. It names Thaçi as having over the last decade exerted "violent control" over the heroin trade. Figures from Thaçi's inner circle are also accused of taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.
What a great new addition to Europe. But then, that's what happens when Washington tries to engage in social engineering around the globe.
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