Films on Kosovo and Metohija now in youtube

September 30, 2008

The documentary films and video-recordings from the south Serbian province found on Films on Kosovo -portal .  This internet site have been filmed by directors who over the previous eight years have actively followed the condition and position of Serbs and other non-ethnic Albanian communities in Kosovo-Metohija, receiving awards for their work at domestic and international festivals of documentary films.

The portal includes now over 40 documentary films and video-recordings.  If link above is not operating you may try copy/paste following URLs:



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Radical islamist network spreading in Balkans

September 28, 2008

A couple of small news from Bosnia this weekend are describing one aspect about frontlines in Balkans:

  • Bosnian Muslim intelligence agency OSA has confirmed that it is on a hunt for two Islamic terrorists after German security agency informed them that they are preparing a terror attack. German media has reported, based on police intelligence, that Erik Brayninger and Hussein al Mali have been trained in suicide attack strategies in Afghanistan and are planning a terror attack on Germany from a Bosnian town of Zenica. Bosnian town of Zenica has a vast domestic islamist network with its own airport through which Jihadists came into Bosnia during the 1990s (Serbianna 27.8.2008)
  • Two days earlier Gays at the festival were attacked by a group of young Muslims and most of them were dressed up as the Wahhabis. Over 10 people have been injured because they were beaten by the Wahhabis (Serbianna 25.8.2008)

Radical Islam has enforced and widened their activities in Balkans last 15 years.  During Bosnian war many foreign islamists came to fight in mujahedeen brigade also many Al Quida figures – including Osama bin Laden – were supporting Bosnan Muslims 1990’s.  Later the gave their support to KLA/UCK (Kosovo) which leaders now are leading Kosovo province based US and EU support.

After bombing campaign 1999 radical Islam has been one major donor in Kosovo and Wahhabi schools and former secularized Kosovo Muslims are displaced by radical Islamic movement.

While supporting Albanian Kosovo US and EU are securing a safe haven both to islamic terrorists and leading heroin cartel to say nothing of smaller threads.  This shortsighted policy should be reconsidered once again.



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Kosovo’s independence in question

September 25, 2008

September 25th I saw three headlines in international press regarding the independence question of Kosovo province.

  • The most important forum now going on is the UN General Assembly where Serbia’s initiative to ask the International Court of Justice its opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s unilaterally proclaimed independence is now under discussion. An ICJ advisory opinion would provide politically neutral, yet judicially authoritative guidance, to many countries still deliberating on how to approach Kosovo’s UDI in line with international law. Like predicted before Kosovo UDI has already motivated separatist movements in South America, Caucasus an Asia and forecast is more to come.

 

  • Second news came from Swiss government which has informed Kosovo that its newly appointed representative Mr Naim Mala is not preferred” as Kosovo’s charge d’affaires in Bern. Mala was among the first ten diplomatic envoys appointed by President Fatmir Sejdiu to mainly Western capitals that recognized Kosovo’s independence from Serbia after it was unilaterally proclaimed in February. Mala was politically engaged among Kosovo’s Albanian diaspora in Switzerland where he was in exile during the 1998-1999 conflict between ethnic Albanian guerrillas and Serbian armed forces. According to Kosovo media reports, his diplomatic appointment was refused by Bern because he had a police record in Switzerland.
  • Third news came from Poland, where Poland’s President has reversed decision to open an embassy in Kosovo and establish diplomatic relations at an ambassadorial level between the two.  “I have my own competences to declare that I am not signing off the Polish ambassador in Kosovo,” Polish President, Lech Kaczynski said in New York. The Polish Government recognised Kosovo on February 26 2008, just days after the declaration of Kosovo’s independence from but Kaczynski opposed the government’s move. He asserted never to have hidden the fact that “the government move was a mistake.”

 

Already earlier on May 2008 President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus is ‘ashamed’ of the decision of the right-centrist government to acknowledge the independence of Kosovo.

Today some 25 % of UN member-states has recognized Kosovo independence and 75 % not. As now seen also among those who made recognition some have internal dialogue if the decision was hesitated and if stabilisation of Balkans could have better possibilities after new talks and possible agreement between Belgrad and Pristina.



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Operation Storm – follow-up document

September 22, 2008

As follow-up to my previous article “Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom” published on 5th August 2008 I have now added to my document library a document “Croatia: Krajina 1991 genocide” which includes a comprehensive study “Tudjman & the Croatian Ustashe Nazi genocide of Krajina Serbs in 1991 – Part 1 and Part 2 – by Nathan Pearlstein, Joshua Rosenberg, Max Rosenthal and Shlomo Baum”.

Due the reason that part 2 includes extremely brutal photographs I have removed them from this document. If one wants look the full article it can be found through following links:



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Living in multi-ethnic Kosovo province

September 22, 2008

One news headline on Serbianna pages popped up to my eyes yesterday.  I quate

Ten oxygen bottles required by the Hospital Center in Gracanica after they were seized by Kosovo separatists who demanded recognition of Kosovo in exchange for life of Serbian babies.

So this is real live in multi-ethnic “independent”/UN protectorate Kosovo with “European perspective”.  This news – not first of that kind – are showing me at least few aspects about Kosovo problematic

  • The Great (Western) Powers do not see or care about impact of their shortsighted policy (e.g. hesitated recognition of Kosovo independence)
  • The high level governments and organizations with their nicely formulated statements and ideas about human rights etc. are far away from the facts on the ground
  • The people who are suffering about high level policy have no role with designing this policy nor can they have some influence to that



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While EU is blocking Serbia BRIC could be an good alternative

September 18, 2008

The Netherlands held fast to its opposition Monday 15th to closer ties between the European Union and Serbia blocking of the implementation of the Temporary Agreement. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said his country would continue to block a pre-membership accord with Serbia until it had met the Netherlands’ definition of “full cooperation” with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. However Serbia – and maybe Macedonia too – can have an attractive alternative to alliance with stagnated EU or to strategic short-sightedness of Washington. Good future could be with BRIC.

BRIC

BRIC is an acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. The general consensus is that the term was first prominently used in a Goldman Sachs (investment bank) report from 2003, which speculated that by 2050 these four economies would be wealthier than most of the current major economic powers. The BRIC thesis posits that China and India will become the world’s dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, respectively, while Brazil and Russia will become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials. It’s important to note that the Goldman Sachs thesis isn’t that these countries are a political alliance (like the European Union) or a formal trading association – but they have the potential to form a powerful economic bloc.

Investing in the BRIC economies has been on the rise as increased economic globalization creates higher levels of world trade and commerce. Brazil, Russia, India and China have had strong growth in gross domestic product (GDP) over the past few decades, with recent rates much higher than those found in the United States and the Eurozone.

There are strong indications that the “four BRIC countries have been seeking to form a political club” or “alliance”, and thereby converting “their growing economic power into greater geopolitical clout”. One of the recent indications was from a BRIC Summit meeting in 2008, in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Serbia’s choice

Serbia’s road towards its full European integration is likely to remain filled with considerable roadblocks. Now it is ICTY cooperation but big question will if Serbia is going to EU with or without Kosovo. Other obstacles can occur on the way. In any case EU is not miraculous power which brings economic and other development with membership status immediately.

While Serbia should not close the door to the EU it could parallel with the idea of a European prospective search a couple of other alternatives.

Looking strategic alliance with BRIC countries is realistic having in mind that none of them has recognized Kosovo’s independence. Therefore at political level cooperation with BRIC has better base than starting cooperation with countries that first bombed Serbia and after against agreements and international law are trying to amputate one part away from it.

Besides increasing cooperation with BRIC Serbia can develop her society from individual needs and priorities – not because of EU. Capacity building for better administration, removing obstacles and bottlenecks of SMEs, increasing transparency of public affairs, development rule & law sectors and democratic processes – all can be done without EU guidance.

One direction to concentrate is Serb Diaspora which only in North America is size about 2.5 million while it is in German speaking Europe about 1.1 million. This Diaspora creates a great opportunity to wide markets in these regions, they offer a considerable network and also a potential for “foreign” investments in Serbia.

Bottom line

World is much more than only European perspective, new potential can be found inside and outside of Serbia and West is only one of many directions.



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Cantonisation – a middle course for separatist movements

September 17, 2008

This year trend in international politics seems to be different separatist movements around the globe. Kosovo’s unilateral proclamation of independence from Serbia last February played a key role in these developments, which we already have seen in Bolivia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia and probably many more waiting to spark. This trend has big potential, because it is estimated that there is about five thousand ethnic groups on globe. I think now it is time and worth to speculate some variations between independent state and occupied territory.

Last week the ethnic Albanian movement ANDI led by Nevzat Haliti made demand that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia rename itself into “Macedonia-Ilirida” in order to reflect ethnic Albanian demands for a formation of their own entity inside the country. The outcome of this has been described also dual-state, which is one more definition of some sort of self-governance.

Definition problem

Most common aim of secessionist movements is state. The general definition of state is, that it is a political association with effective sovereignty over a geographic area and representing a population. The states can be nation states, sub-national or multinational states. In Max Weber’s definition, state is that organization that “claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory”. Status as a state often depends in part on being recognized by a number of other states as having internal and external sovereignty over it.

States wishing to retain territorial integrity in opposition to ethnic or indigenous demands for self-determination or independence sometimes offer or impose limited territorial autonomy. Some +30 states have about 70 territorial autonomies with definitions of autonomous region or island, republic, principality, territorial autonomous unit, Kingdom, autonomous republic, special autonomous province, territorial collectivity, autonomous Monastic state etc. There exist also about 40 non-incorporated territorial autonomies.

Cantonisation

A canton is an administrative division of a country, e.g., a region or state. The most internationally well-known cantons – the Swiss cantons – are theoretically partially sovereign states. Because cantons are generally relatively small in terms of area and population this kind of administrative form could be he best middle way between independent states and occupied territory or tribe-/village-level societies. Of course there is exceptions like Kurdistan which covers area nearly as big as France and has population over 25 million and could claim to be a sovereign state as well than any other one.

Canton or region is a quite good unit in relation to self-governance combining both possibility to local participatory democracy and global activities. Also it is called EU as Union of Regions. Today’s EU Aid does not necessary need state as partner or facilitator. Aid and cooperation can be e.g.

  • Between regions according their living conditions like high mountain regions or periphery regions
  • Between sectors like culture, health etc
  • Between field of activities like agriculture
  • Between private and public institutions like in science
  • Between NGOs of special interest

Canton can have many variations suitable to present day’s complex situations. It can be nation or sub-national unit as well than part of multinational state. If circumstances favor, it can also cover a region with many ethnic groups.

Question about size?

How to estimate the size needed for canton? One aspect is to define population which can carry on some basic services. In Finland there is ongoing reorganization of municipalities because some smaller units can not anymore give social and health services to their inhabitants. From central level is guidelines that for delivering one kind of health services +20.000 inhabitants is needed, for more specialized health services +100.000 is needed. To apply this kind of approach one should first define the level and content of services in particular region and these needs can vary in different part of world.

Bottom line

From point of local self-governance a canton with widest possible autonomy could maybe be solution to manage different separatist activities at international level. The role of state would reduce itself only as one cooperation forum and maybe guarantor of basic minority/civil rights. The most important aspect anyway is that this kind of arrangements can offer a peaceful way out from current and coming conflicts.


 caucasus

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Kosovo – failed UN (justice) mission

September 11, 2008

Tim Guldimann, head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo, said on Monday 8th that Kosovo today is “not what we could call a multi-ethnic society”. “Different communities live in Kosovo, but a multi-ethnic society means integration, mutual understanding, tolerance and cohabitation. We do not see this,” he stated. His words have good base in a new OSCE report on human rights, ethnic relations and democracy in Kosovo for the period from the summer of 2007 to the summer of 2008. Also the headline of other report by Amnesty International tells enough “Kosovo (Serbia): The challenge to fix a failed UN justice mission.

The Kosovo judiciary continues to suffer from serious shortcomings due to the failure to properly apply the law and international human rights standards. OSCE report e.g. highlights that

  • Almost nine years after the conflict, a large number of properties remain illegally occupied, despite the resolution of almost 30,000 residential property cases as of summer 2008. In total, these property claims and cases amount to approximately 59,000 the vast majority of which involve Kosovo Serbs, whose properties were damaged, destroyed or illegally occupied as a result of the conflict and have not yet been addressed or settled.
  • The Kosovo judiciary failed “to properly apply the law and international human rights standards,” the report said, resulting “in widespread violations of fair trial standards.”
  • Both police and courts “are often exposed to political interference,”

Guldimann added that “When it comes to the return of members of the Serb community, the question if there are conditions for Serbs to view their future in Kosovo as safe and if they trust Kosovo institutions needs to be answered.”

Ethnic cleansings

The facts are showing that other ethnic groups than Albanians do not see their future in Kosovo. Since Kosovo separatists took power, over two thirds of ethnic Serbs have been ethnically cleansed by Albanian separatist. According to statistics from the UNHCR there are about 206,000 internally displaced persons from Kosovo living in Serbia. This fact has mostly ignored in western mainstream media. Their attitude is understandable since this media from the very beginning had fixed their one-sided picture about good and bad guys so Serbs somehow deserved their fate. The outcome is that Serb Refugees (from Croatia and Bosnia) and IDPs (from Kosovo) are one of the forgotten and forsaken victim groups in the former Yugoslavia.

The vast majority of those people – Serbs, Roma and Gorani – were forced out by ethnic violence and intimidation and still live in dreadful conditions in camps and emergency housing in Serbia. The remaining Serbs in Kosovo are barricaded into enclaves keeping their lives mainly with help of international KFOR troops or in de facto separated Serb majority region in North Kosovo.

Wasted billions

The situation described here and e.g. in OSCE report is very discouraging also from other perspective. Since 2000, the international community has likely invested more non-military resources per capita in Kosovo for stabilizing and developing Kosovo than in any other post-conflict area in the world. In spite of the billions and billions of dollars the international community has poured into Kosovo since NATO ousted Serbia’s military in 1999 the result is mono ethnic, corrupted society where gangs of thugs are left free to roam around terrorizing the people and pretty much imposing their own ‘law’ either on streets or in government.

Failed mission has lead to failed state.



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War on Pipes: Transport corridors as core of US-Russia confrontation

September 9, 2008

GUUAM

When speaking about interests of West I would like to make a difference between US – or Anglo-American -interests and EU interests. After “Cold War” US has all the while expanded its influence post-Soviet territory with aim to guide those region’s natural resources under US companies. GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova) Group was founded 1999 with help of US to foster favorable conditions conducive to economic growth through development of an Europe-Caucasus-Asia transport corridor.

As pointed out by Michel Chossudovsky in his book America’s ‘War on Terrorism,’ (presentation of Anglo-American war policy from the 1990s Balkans to the present), GUUAM has been “dominated by Anglo-American oil interests, ultimately purports to exclude Russia from oil and gas deposits in the Caspian area, as well as isolating Moscow politically.”

More specifically, the US-led military invasion – in close liaison with Britain-responds to the interests of the Anglo – American oil giants, in alliance with weapons producers, private security organizations and service providers (like Halliburton). One could say that the “Anglo-American axis” in defense, foreign policy and especially corporate capital is the driving force behind the military operations in Balkans, Central Asia and Middle East.

SRS

Just five days before the bombing of Yugoslavia (19 March 1999), the US Congress adopted the Silk Road Strategy Act, which defined America’s broad economic and strategic interests in a region extending from the Mediterranean to Central Asia. The Silk Road Strategy (SRS) outlines a framework for the development of America’s business empire through development of an Europe-Caucasus-Asia transport corridor.

The stakes involved with the current conflict are identical to those of the previous war: control over the oil of the Caspian Sea/Black Sea/Caucasus basin, and the control of multiple key oil pipelines criss-crossing the region. The most critical pipeline, the infamous Baku-Ceyhan pipeline supported by the US government and a consortium of US-allied transnational oil interests (including Royal Dutch Shell, Unocal, and BP) takes oil from the Caspian Sea across Azerbaijan (another US-supported regime), whereby it crosses Georgia (bypassing Iran and Russia), then on to the Black Sea, where the oil is carried to Western Europe, and the rest of the world.

The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline has been viewed by the Bush/Cheney administration as one of its brightest geostrategic successes. All of the Anglo-American empire’s pipelines and oil facilities, including Baku-Ceyhan, are threatened, if the conflict escalates. Same time the successful implementation of the SRS requires the concurrent “militarization” of the Eurasian corridor as a means to securing control over extensive oil and gas reserves, as well as “protecting” the pipeline routes on behalf of the Anglo-American oil companies.

Power play and EU

The effect of Nato enlargement is to swing the Iron Curtain to the east. Russia”s opposition to NATO expansion has only increased in recent years. On economical field Russia’s “South Stream” looks more successful so far than Nabucco while the leverage of the United States government over Russian foreign policy has decreased dramatically during last years. US policy is turning into a zero-sum competition with Russia for influence in the post-Soviet regions.

For EU the situation brings few questions such as

  • Is there a difference between EU and Anglo-American interests related to SRS?
  • How to balance aims of energy and security (military) strategies?
  • Is there a difference between EU’s energy policy and interests of corporate capital?

I am not sure if EU would like to answer to these questions, however my point is that this background may have some influence – more than official concern about human rights, rule & law etc. – to EU policy in Balkans and Caucasus.


 caucasus

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EU as a mediator?

September 6, 2008

During last conflicts in Caucasus and before in Balkans there has been discussion about EU’s position between conflicting parties -between east and west.  I can agree with those who advise that EU should not take sides but rather balance its criticism with conflicting parties. From my point of view this could mean an approach with keywords such as understanding, dialogue and multi-polar world.

The Balkans have been the focus of extensive public attention for a long time yet not many people can honestly claim to have a firm understanding of the region, its history or the complexity of the problems. The same one can say about Caucasus. I would like to claim that one factor has is share 1st creating problems and 2nd making difficult to manage them. This factor is lack of dialogue, which in both regions has created one-sided picture in western mainstream media and peoples mind.

In dialogue, one listens to the other side in order to understand, find meaning, and find agreement. In debate, one listens to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments. Dialogue assumes that many people have pieces of the answer and that together they can put them into a workable solution. Debate assumes that there is a right answer and that someone has it. Debate can have maybe better headlines in news but it is not for sustainable solutions.

Few days ago the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, outlined his country’s national interests in a set of five key principles and I think one of them fits to this topic. Quate: “The world should be multi-polar. Unipolarity is unacceptable, domination is impermissible. We cannot accept a world order in which all decisions are taken by one country, even such a serious and authoritative country as the United States of America. This kind of world is unstable and fraught with conflict.”

From my point of view West has been living last years in past, today world is coming more and more multi-polar. To copy present situation we need dialogue – EU could facilitate e.g. US/Russia dialogue but then it should avoid to take firm sides.


 caucasus

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