Newsletter July 1999

The US-NATO combined attacks on Yugoslavia need to be condemned by all democratic forces. The attacks have led to the countless killings and suffering of not only the Serbs, but also the ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo for the protection of whose rights the NATO is said to have unleashed this violence. Yugoslavia is the fourth country at the receiving end of US military terrorism in just the last eight months (the other three being Afghanisthan, Sudan and Iraq). No invader in the history has ever attacked so many countries and peoples as the US. The military intervention in Yugoslavia is being portrayed as ‘humanitarian’ intervention by the US. NATO is also playing a major role in establishing itself as the global policeman and the US as the Big Daddy of the world. The US wants the total destruction of Yugoslavia, removal of Milosevic as the leader and to create a puppet state which would be the base of the NATO/US army, so that they can increase their influence over East Europe.

NATO was established after the Second World War to protect West Europe against aggression. It’s new strategy to act as a ‘humanitarian’ force has raised serious doubts. It can become open to others also to conduct similar military operations outside their territorial boundaries and lead to the complete disregard of the international law and the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of a country. The United Nations has also been ignored in this whole operation. Before interfering in the personal affairs of any country, it is mandatory for a government to get the UN’s approval. But the NATO led by the US has done no such thing and the UN finds itself helpless in this situation and excluded from any productive role in Yugoslavia. The US has no use for an independent UN and it has made that amply clearly not consulting it before bombing Yugoslavia. The UN stands exposed in its’ utter powerlessness in the hands of the mighty US.

Condemning the US and NATO does not however mean that one ignores Milosevic’s role in Kosovo. The ethnic cleansing carried out by him in Kosovo has to be condemned too which has led to the death and suffering of thousands of ethnic Albanians. The NATO attacks have actually led to the increase in atrocities on these people since Milosevic feels freer to send in more troops into Kosovo to carry out the ethnic-cleansing. The NATO is also bombing the civilian areas and calling it a ‘mistake’.

The governments of most of the countries have not taken any active stand against these bombing including the Indian government. The Indian government did condemn the attacks in the beginning but later it chose to remain silent even when the aggression and the devastations were on the rise. The only strong voice of protest came from the Russian government that had since the beginning condemned these attacks and had also presented resolutions in the UN to bring a stop to the bombing. Russia was also willing to be part of a peace process and bring the violence to a halt. The Chinese government had also condemned these attacks earlier, but since the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade they became more active and demanded an immediate halt to the attacks. People in various parts of the world against the attacks also carried out protests.

The bombings finally stopped when Milosevic agreed to the deployment of a peacekeeping force in Kosovo consisting of NATO and Russian troops. Earlier Milosevic was not in favour of having NATO troops in the region, but he had to succumb to the pressures of the US. It is clear that the insistence of the US govt. to have NATO forces in Kosovo is a tactic to increase its influence in Eastern Europe by turning it into a military base.

We at Saheli strongly condemn the action of the NATO and US.We equally condemn Slobodan Milosevic for his campaign of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Our hearts go out to the thousands of ethnic Albanians and the Serbs living in Kosovo and Yugoslavia who have suffered major losses due to both, the external and internal conflicts.