Diving Into the Kosovo Quagmire
According to the Clinton Administration, U.S. military intervention in Kosovo is necessary to bring an end to a yearlong civil war, prevent a monumental humanitarian crisis, and prevent the conflict from spreading to Albania, Greece, Macedonia, and perhaps even Turkey. As we shall show, the Administrations public pronouncements are at odds with the truth.
The chief beneficiary of U.S. military intervention, the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), is a terrorist criminal syndicate, Maoist in its ideological bent, hard-wired into the international heroin trade, and tightly allied with Osama bin Laden. Additionally, American servicemen deployed in Kosovo would serve under the operational command of foreign military officers. In brief, the mission would advance the cause of international narco-terrorism, help entrench the European network of the worlds most notorious Islamic terrorist, and accelerate the erosion of U.S. sovereignty.
As representatives of Kosovos Albanian population including delegates from the KLA and Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic met in Rambouillet, France to discuss "autonomy" for the province, Clinton Administration officials made it known that the President was prepared to deploy 4,000 U.S. servicemen to Kosovo as part of NATOs "Operation Joint Guardian." They also made it clear that they did not consider it necessary to obtain congressional authorization for the deployment.
In testimony offered on February 10th before the House International Affairs Committee, Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering defended Bill Clintons unilateral decision to commit troops to Kosovo, claiming that "there is ample constitutional precedent for this type of action." While it is true that Congress on many occasions has abdicated its constitutional responsibilities in the face of presidential usurpation, such delinquencies do not constitute "constitutional precedent." Congressman Tom Campbell (R-CA) underscored that fact, pointedly informing Pickering that "previous constitutional violations do not justify subsequent ones."
Congressman Pat Danner (D-MO) also found Pickerings presentation unconvincing, predicting, "We are indeed going into a second Bosnia" and few congressmen on either side of the aisle are eager to deploy U.S. troops into another Balkan morass. "Three years ago, the President sent troops into Bosnia, promising they would be home in six months," observed Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) in his February 15th newsletter. "The years have passed, more than $20 billion has been spent, and our soldiers are still there. Very few seriously ask anymore when these troops are coming home or even what it is they are supposed to be accomplishing."
In November 1995, as a means of compelling congressional acquiescence in his Bosnia deployment, Bill Clinton inserted a small advance contingent before unilaterally dispatching a force of 20,000 GIs as "peacekeepers." By doing this, Mr. Clinton was essentially using U.S. servicemen as hostages: Congress was unwilling to de-fund the Administrations unconstitutional venture lest it be accused of abandoning our soldiers in the field. A report in the February 12th Washington Post indicated that the Administration was prepared to pursue that strategy once again by kidnaping a 2,200-man Marine expeditionary unit deployed in the Adriatic and deploying them in Kosovo in advance of the main body of NATO "peacekeepers."
Using such time-honored tactics, Bill Clinton is recreating the circumstances that led to the Somalia debacle in 1993: U.S. troops assigned to a UN-supervised "peacekeeping" mission, under foreign command, deployed to a region in which no "peace" exists to be kept.
If there is a tract of land anywhere on the earths surface less relevant to Americas national interest than Kosovo, its name does not readily come to mind. Possessing an area roughly the same as that of Connecticut, the Serbian province displays, on a miniaturized scale, all of the characteristics of Bosnia. Serbs regard the province to be the spiritual home of Serbian nationalism, and many sites deemed sacred by the Serbian Orthodox Church are found in Kosovo. Of the provinces two million inhabitants, roughly 90 percent are ethnic Albanians, of whom approximately 90 percent are Muslim.
As in Bosnia, ancestral grudges and grievances are a palpable reality in Kosovo, and have been inflamed by generations of social engineering by various ruling elites Ottoman, Nazi, and Communist. Many within the ethnic Albanian majority favor independence from Serbia, with some seeking unification into a "greater Albania."
The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) did not exist before November 1997, when KLA guerillas disguised with ski masks appeared at the funeral of a teacher killed by Kosovo Serbs in the village of Drenica. The movement that coalesced into the KLA "was made up of militants who were fascinated by the unadulterated Marxism of [late Albanian dictator] Enver Hoxha," reported the French journal Liberation on January 21st. The KLA is "opaque in its structures [and] totalitarian in its methods," explained the French publication, and its commanders have "remained largely true to the Maoist origins of its founders." KLA frontman Adem Demaci is an unabashed disciple of Mao, and KLA cadres greet one another with an upraised fist the universal Marxist salute.
However, as military affairs analyst Ben Works, director of the Strategic Research Institute of the United States (SIRIUS), observed, the KLA is not rigidly ideological. "The Maoist ideology is an important element, but the selling point for recruits is the groups militant Albanian nationalism," Works informed The New American. "Its chief appeal is to the ethnic Albanian Muslim population, and so its nationalism is couched in Islamic terms." The KLAs Islamic veneer helps explain the groups alliance with renegade Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, the notorious financier of anti-American terrorism.
"Theres no doubt that bin Ladens people have been in Kosovo helping to arm, equip, and train the KLA," Works declared. "Bin Ladens the monster du jour, and here we are coming to the aid of his allies in the Balkans. There is a monster being created here, but in important ways its a monster of our own making. Hardly a day goes by without a terrorism alert at some U.S. embassy that has been targeted by bin Ladens people, and the Administrations policy in Kosovo is to help bin Laden, through the KLA, extend his reach in Europe. It almost seems as if the Clinton Administrations policy is to guarantee more terrorism."
In his syndicated column for August 12, 1998, retired U.S. Army Colonel Harry G. Summers wrote that in Bosnia and Kosovo "we find ourselves championing the very Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups who are our mortal enemies elsewhere." The Washington Post noted that the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania might be connected to Albanias deportation of several members of an Islamic terrorist cell run by bin Laden. Several respected European journals, including Londons Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, have reported that Iran is actively arming and supporting the KLA, and Irans terrorist network has extended its reach into Italy by way of KLA-aligned ethnic Albanians residing there.
The KLAs baneful impact has already been felt in Italy, particularly with regard to narco-terrorism. "In just the first two weeks of January, there were nine murders carried out by KLA assets in Milan," Works informed The New American. "This is nothing new, by any means. The KLA is tightly connected to the Albanian mafia, which is one of the major sources of heroin in Europe, and is also heavily involved in all aspects of the vice industry."
As Ben Works pointed out in a February 4th analysis, the Clinton Administration-crafted plan to grant "partial autonomy" to a KLA-dominated Kosovo all but guarantees that the province "will find itself controlled by the gunmen of an international drug-dealing mafia masquerading as an idealistic liberation army." The narco-mafia from which the KLA was spawned has been deeply involved in drug trafficking since the early 1980s as a means of fueling political insurrection.
A 1994 report compiled by Frances Observatire Geopolitique Des Drogues, which carries out counter-narcotics investigations on behalf of the European Commission, found that "heroin shipment and marketing networks are taking root among ethnic Albanian communities in Albania, Macedonia, and the Kosovo province of Serbia, in order to finance large purchases of weapons destined not only for the current conflict in Bosnia but also for the brewing war in Kosovo." The Kosovo headquarters of the Albanian drug network was identified in that report as Tropaja a village on the Serbian-Albanian border that is a KLA stronghold. Large quantities of heroin from the embryonic KLAs narco-network were seized in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Greece, and profits reaped from drug dealing were used to buy weapons. The report noted that "Russian army barracks constitute an almost inexhaustible source of hardware for these networks."
Until his recent arrest, 35-year-old Agim Gashi, an ethnic Albanian from the Kosovo city of Pristina, was Milans ruling drug lord. The Milanese newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on January 19th that Gashi "supplied his brothers in Kosovo with Kalashnikov rifles, bazookas, and hand grenades. He controlled the heroin market, and at least part of the billions he made from it was used to buy weapons for the resistance movement of the Albanian Kosovo community."
In one telephone conversation intercepted by Italian police, Gashi was overheard admonishing his Turkish heroin suppliers to continue shipments during Ramadan "a violation of religious rules for the sake of a more important cause: To submerge Christian infidels in drugs." Despite Gashis recent arrest, the KLAs narco-allies remain atop Milans underworld, and are accepting the homage of the older, established syndicates: "The old Ndrangheta families, the Mafia and the old Egyptian lords depend on the new masters of the drug market, acknowledging their authority."
U.S. soldiers called upon to enforce a "peace" accord that turns Kosovo over to the KLA might be interested to know that they are risking their lives on behalf of a criminal syndicate that for years has pumped heroin into the U.S. and threatened the lives of American law enforcement officials. The international Albanian drug syndicate that spawned the KLA played a prominent role in the "Balkan connection" heroin network. According to the Wall Street Journal for September 9, 1985, ethnic Albanian Mafiosi residing in New York City, the terminus of a heroin pipeline reaching back through Belgrade to Istanbul, were responsible for moving "25% to 40% of the U.S. heroin supply." Law enforcement officials also believed that the Albanian expatriates were "involved in everything from gun-running to counterfeiting."
Unlike other ethnic criminal syndicates such as the Italian-American La Cosa Nostra the Albanian narco-mafia was willing to make war directly on U.S. law enforcement officials. One U.S. Attorney active in prosecuting "Balkan connection" gangsters learned that a contract had been taken out on his life by an ethnic Albanian defendant, as well as upon Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan M. Cohen and Drug Enforcement Administration agent Jack Delmore. This was in harmony with the "Kanun of Lek Dukamejin," the 15th-century social and ethical code that defines Albanias culture. In the Albanian blood feud, "honor is cleansed by killing any male member of the family of the original offender, and the spirit of that victim cries out to its own family for purification," explains British historian Noel Malcolm in his 1998 study Kosovo: A Short History. Thus the contract applied not only to the law enforcement officials, but to the male members of their extended families as well.
Even after the Albanian mobster was convicted and sent to prison, an attempt was made to fulfill the contract, much to the puzzlement of the targeted U.S. Attorney. "After you have been convicted," he observed, "there is no rational reason to kill a prosecutor, except revenge." So spoke future New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose experience with the Albanian mob may influence his view of the wisdom of handing Kosovo to the KLA.
Waiting for an Alibi
The developments leading up to the Administrations announcement of a U.S. mission to Kosovo were projected with uncanny prescience in an August 12, 1998 analysis by the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee (RPC). The report noted that "planning for a U.S.-led NATO intervention in Kosovo is now largely in place.... The only missing element seems to be an event with suitably vivid media coverage that would make the intervention politically salable, in the same way that a dithering Administration finally decided on intervention in Bosnia in 1995 after a series of Serb mortar attacks took the lives of dozens of civilians attacks which, upon closer examination, may in fact have been the work of the Muslim regime in Sarajevo, the main beneficiary of the intervention."
"That the Administration is waiting for a similar trigger in Kosovo is increasingly obvious," observed the RPC report. Last July, the Administration had already described the "trigger" event it was seeking as a pretext for intervention. The August 4th Washington Post quoted "a senior U.S. Defense Department official" who told reporters on July 15th that "were not anywhere near making a decision for any kind of armed intervention in Kosovo right now." The Post observed that the official "listed only one thing that might trigger a policy change: I think if some levels of atrocities were reached that would be intolerable, that would probably be a trigger."
The "trigger" was pulled on January 16th, when William Walker, the Administration official assigned to Kosovo with a team of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), announced that a "massacre" of more than 40 ethnic Albanian peasants by Serbian security personnel had taken place in the village of Racak. The January 20th New York Times observed that the Racak "massacre" followed "a well-established pattern: Albanian guerillas in the Kosovo Liberation Army kill a Serb policeman or two. Serb forces retaliate by flattening a village. This time they took the lives of more than 40 ethnic Albanians, including many elderly and one child."
However, as the French newspaper Le Figaro reported on the same day, there was ample reason to believe that Walkers assessment of the situation was made in "undue haste." Walker, the U.S. official who headed a 700-man OSCE "verification" team monitoring a cease-fire in Kosovo, accused Serbian police of conducting a massacre "in cold blood." According to Le Figaros account, Serb policemen, after notifying both the media and OSCE officials, conducted a raid on a KLA stronghold. After several hours of combat, Serbian police announced that they had killed ten KLA personnel and seized a large cache of weapons. Journalists observed several OSCE officials talking with ethnic Albanian villagers in an attempt to determine the casualty count.
"The scene of Albanian corpses in civilian clothes lined up in a ditch which would shock the whole world was not discovered until the next morning, around 9:00 a.m.," reported the French newspaper. "At that time, the village was once again taken over by armed [KLA] soldiers who led the foreign visitors, as soon as they arrived, toward the supposed massacre site. Around noon, William Walker in person arrived and expressed his indignation." All of the Albanian witnesses interviewed by the media and OSCE observers on January 16th related the same version of events namely, that Serbian police had forced their way into homes, separated the women from the men, and dragged the men to the hilltops to be unceremoniously executed.
The chief difficulty with this account, according to Le Figaro, is that television footage taken during the January 15th battle in Racak "radically contradict[s] that version. It was in fact an empty village that the police entered in the morning.... The shooting was intense, as they were fired on from [KLA] trenches dug into the hillside. The fighting intensified sharply on the hilltops above the village." Rather than a pitiless attack on helpless villagers, the unedited film depicts a firefight between police and encircled KLA guerillas, with the latter group getting by far the worst of the engagement. Further complicating things for the "official" account is the fact that "journalists found only very few cartridges around the ditch where the massacre supposedly took place."
"What really happened?" asks Le Figaro. "During the night, could the [KLA] have gathered the bodies, in fact killed by Serb bullets, to set up a scene of cold-blooded massacre?" Similar skepticism was expressed by Le Monde, a publication whose editorial slant is decidedly antagonistic to the Serbian side in any Balkan conflict.
"Isnt the Racak massacre just too perfect?" wondered Le Monde correspondent Christophe Chatelot in a January 21st dispatch from Kosovo. Eyewitness accounts collected by Chatelot contradicted the now official version of the "massacre," describing instead a pitched battle between police and well-entrenched KLA fighters in a nearly abandoned village. "How could the Serb police have gathered a group of men and led them calmly toward the execution site while they were constantly under fire from [KLA] fighters?" wrote Chatelot. "How could the ditch located on the edge of Racak [where the massacre victims were later found] have escaped notice by local inhabitants familiar with the surroundings who were present before nightfall? Or by the observers who were present for over two hours in this tiny village? Why so few cartridges around the corpses, so little blood in the hollow road where twenty-three people are supposed to have been shot at close range with several bullets in the head? Rather, werent the bodies of the Albanians killed in combat by the Serb police gathered into the ditch to create a horror scene which was sure to have an appalling effect on public opinion?"
None of this is intended to minimize the capacity for brutality on the part of Serbian police, who are, after all, the internal security force of a Soviet-style Communist regime. However, the KLA is a Maoist insurgency well versed in classic urban warfare strategy. As urban warfare theorist Carlos Marighella explained in his Mini-Manual for the Urban Guerilla, the purpose of terrorism is "to intensify repression," resulting in draconian measures that "make life unbearable" for the subject population. When crackdowns come, wrote Marighella, terrorists must "become more aggressive, and violent heightening the disastrous situation in which the government must act...." The French newspaper Liberation described the KLAs tactics in nearly identical terms, pointing out that "for several months, the [KLA] guerillas have been pushing the Serbs across the fault line by multiplying their attacks against individual police officers. Thus, it tries to provoke a massive reaction by the forces of [Serb dictator Slobodan] Milosevic." Noted Liberation, "This strategy is classical" and the staging of a phony "massacre" is a logical extension of that classic strategy.
None of this mattered once Walker had decreed that Serb police were guilty of "the most horrendous" massacre he had ever witnessed, and NATO warplanes were revving up for retaliatory strikes against targets in Serbia. The desired trigger incident was seized upon as a pretext for intervention. On January 30th, the NATO Council authorized NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana to use armed force to compel Serbian and ethnic Albanian delegates to "peace" negotiations in France to discuss a framework for Kosovo "autonomy."
Good for Business
Although public declarations by both the Clinton Administration and NATO officials have bristled with condemnations of, and threats directed at, the Serbian dictator Milosevic, he actually stands to benefit from U.S. intervention on behalf of the KLA. "Milosevic pretends to be a Serbian nationalist when it suits his interests, and he was actually propelled to power by exploiting the grievances of the Serb minority in Kosovo," a Senate analyst told The New American. "But he has been willing to sell out Serbs in Bosnia and in Krajina [in Croatia] when it has been necessary to cut a deal with the West. In fact, it has been to his advantage to do so, since it has helped him consolidate power by eliminating potential rivals."
In every Clinton Administration initiative in the Balkans, observed the August 12th RPC paper, "the key figure upon whose word the United States relies is none other than Slobodan Milosevic." In fact, some observers of the Balkan region describe Milosevic as both an "arsonist" and a "fireman" giddily igniting fires that he volunteers to subdue. At least one moderate ethnic Albanian leader has referred to the Maoist, dope-running KLA as "a creation of Milosevics security forces." The RPC paper asserted that "Milosevic has created a political symbiosis with the Kosovo Albanians"; they provide him with a convenient foil when he needs to posture as a Serb nationalist, just as intermittent threats of NATO air strikes give the dictator an ominous external enemy whose menace can rally his subject population and justify internal repression. Bill Clinton, after all, is not the only corrupt demagogue who knows how to "Wag the Dog."
The submerged entente between the KLA and the Milosevic regime is illustrated by the formers role in helping to elude NATO-imposed sanctions on Serbia. Noted the RPC paper: "Milosevic, as the distributor of scarcity, for years has relied heavily on Albanian organized crime operations based in Kosovo, which has long been a center of sanctions-busting. The fact that some of these same syndicates are no doubt funding the KLA has given Milosevic no reason to disrupt their mutually lucrative business interests." There is also no reason to doubt that deploying U.S. servicemen in Kosovo, however injurious to American interests, would, from the perspective of the KLA/Milosevic axis, be very good for business.
The Aztlan Factor
No assessment of the potential damage of the Kosovo mission would be complete without examining the precedent it would set. NATO which is a military and political component of the UN is preparing to intervene in a sovereign nation in order to carve out what will almost certainly become a new nation-state. The justification for this intervention is a particularly lurid specimen of alleged police brutality. Over the next few decades, as unchecked immigration from Mexico changes Americas demographic realities, and as Mexican insurgents many of whom are aligned with Mexican narco-traffickers assume a militant posture akin to that of the Albanian KLA, the precedent set by U.S. intervention in Kosovo may become increasingly relevant to America. An independent "Kosova" (the preferred spelling for ethnic Albanian separatists) will almost certainly embolden Mexican radicals seeking to create an independent "Aztlan" in the U.S. Southwest.
"In 2020, Southern California will be predominantly Hispanic," noted retired U.S. Army Colonel David Hackworth in his January 29th syndicated column. "Imagine if California-born Hispanic leaders following the Kosovar rebel scenario convinced their followers that the home of the Rose Bowl Parade was theirs. They could argue, This land belonged to our forefathers long before the English settled in Jamestown. They came with guns and took it from us. Were taking it back." A governor of California, or a U.S. President, who chose to deal forcefully with Hispanic radicals, would run squarely into the Kosovo precedent. Complicating things further would be the fact that Americas military assets, if present trends continue, will be badly depleted from ongoing garrison duty in the Balkans, and wherever else our servicemen have been deployed on "peacekeeping" missions thus leaving America at the mercy of the UN or its successor organization to keep the peace, on its terms, within the borders of our once sovereign republic.