Friday, March 19, 2004

Troops ride into Kosovo, but is it too late?

If you want to know what's going on in Kosovo, ask Reuters. CNN International is only good for fisking.

You can read the whole CNN article and never learn that the violence is being done to the Serbs by the Albanians that NATO and the UN put in charge. CNN calls the aggressors "protesters," which connotes people who disagree with what the party in power is doing. No, the "protesters" in Kosovo are the ones in power. Only in Reuters do we this helpful paragraph:
NATO has squarely blamed Albanians for the latest violence, which some see as a bid to clean up territory ahead of negotiations on Kosovo's final status and possible partition.

I'm not going to waste any more time on CNN except to note that the term "enclaves" sounds like a place people want to live. In fact, they might be better termed "holding cells" where Serbs who have lived their whole lives in Kosovo live under house arrest in protective custody. Here's Reuters again:
In the immediate aftermath, Albanian revenge attacks, arson, killing, abduction and intimidation drove 200,000 Serbs out of Kosovo. But 80,000-100,000 stayed on, many in north Mitrovica but many others in enclaves surrounded by Albanian communities.

In fact, the Albanians' forceful removal of the Serbs continued throughout the period, unnoticed by most of the world.

Taking the radical step of getting real news instead of merely asking the press pool, The Scotsman reports:
But in a sign that the outbreak of violence could have been planned, Serb enclaves in the towns of Caglavica and Gracanica, as well as villages elsewhere, were also attacked. A senior international United Nations police official said: "The situation is not under control. This is planned, co-ordinated, one-way violence from the Albanians against the Serbs. It is spreading and has been brewing for the past week.

"Nothing in Kosovo happens spontaneously."

Crowds had begun gathering at both ends of the Ibar crossing in Kosovska Mitrovica in mid-morning, after Albanian media reported that Albanian boys aged nine and 12 had drowned in the river near the town.

The reports quoted a survivor as saying they had been chased into the water by a gang of Serb youths taking revenge for the near-fatal shooting of a Serb teenager in Caglavica, a village near the capital, Pristina.

UN police confirmed they had found two bodies in the river and were looking for a third boy. A spokesman said it was unclear how they had died and expressed shock that the media had rushed to judgment.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has done good news work on the issue over the past few years, including this editorial in today's paper that sums up the blame and politics and prospects better than I could:
By letting ethnic extremists operate with impunity, U.N. overseers in Kosovo have encouraged the province's most violent and unscrupulous elements to think they can achieve an independent, all-Albanian homeland through murder and intimidation. They've also radicalized Serbs to think the rules will always be stacked against them and that the world is determined to deny them justice, even in the province they consider the cradle of their nation.

In the middle of all this comes the horrible news that mosques in Belgrade have been burned. The acts are as foolish (destroying any international sympathy that may be accruing in Kosovo) as they are misguided (the Muslims in Belgrade are likely to be the ones who were also chased out of Kosovo for being too "moderate") as they are evil. As it has from the beginning of the conflict in the early '90s, the Serbian Orthodox Church calls for a cessation of the violence, including that caused by its own people:
We also call upon on Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija and upon their leaders to stop this insanity, for their own sake as well as for the sake of their future. We remind them and also ourselves of the all-human experience, that violence, injustice and hatred have never brought any good to anyone. Finally, we call upon all of our people that they in these extremely difficult times double their fasting and prayer for their salvation and redemption, for peace among us and all over the world. We should not allow ourselves, for the sake of any interest of this world, to commit anything that would be unworthy of the People of God, anything inhuman. During this turbulent time one should avoid any form of senseless and foolish revenge, such as that which certain imprudent persons committed against mosques in Belgrade and that in Nish. We should defend ourselves from evil and evil-doers, but not in an inhuman way or that, God forbid, we commit an evil or brutal deed in the way of evil-doers. O Lord, help all, and also us and our enemies, as peace, freedom and justice are necessary for all, both for us and for all peoples and nations.

Here's a news source: B92 News from Serbia and Montenegro. (There are some people who say that nothing Serbs say about the situation can be true. Several months ago, when I was telling someone I know about the developments in Serbia, he informed me that my opinion had no standing because I was Orthodox. Anyone who is waiting for the KLA to tell the truth or take a stand against violence will wait a lot longer than for the Serbs to do the same thing.) It seems that NATO forces are finally turning their guns against the aggressors.

Balkanalysis has a good backgrounder on the situation.

Hat tip to bloggers Chrysostom, Karl, Seraphim and Huw for comments and links.

OK, I've gone on and on about this, and I should shut up and do something useful. But I've got two more things to say.

Thing one: What happened to the Albanians in Kosovo before the war was wrong. The conduct of the war and the "peace" that followed it have made the situation worse, not better, but the media-savvy KLA and the complicit and lazy newsherd made the Serbs into such a byword of evil that no one has listened to their cries for help for years. Maybe this tragedy will wake people up.

Thing two: If you want to know what would happen in the Middle East if Israel is defanged and Arafat and his ilk take power, look at Kosovo. If you want to know what will happen in Iraq if the UN administrates it, look at Kosovo. If you want to see the world that would be created if Al-Qaida and its allies have their way, look at Kosovo.

I've got a little blog here, and not many people read it every day, but this is what I can do to get the word out. What can you do?

UPDATE: Here's a very good piece by Gregory Copley in Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily. I can't get a direct link, but go here and search for Gregory R. Copley.

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