Stop to Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Nato dreams can start the policy of detente again

December 4, 2008

The Foreign Ministers of Nato have decided during their “transatlantic dinner” – 2nd Dec.2008 – that Ukraine and Georgia will not get the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP). US, Poland and Baltic States were supporting MAP for both states however “the old” continental Europe was against.

The background is of course recent conflict in Georgia, turmoil in domestic politics in Ukraine. Besides according polling the majority of population in Ukraine is against Nato membership.

Nato’s position to both issues above will determine the outcome of OSCE meeting on 4.-5. Dec. in Helsinki, where some 40-50 Foreign ministers – US and Russia included – will take part. The outcome can be nothing at worst but at at best it can lead through summit at presidential level to new dialogue between great powers with change to even start policy of détente again.  When Nato now has  put “soft” stop for Ukraina’s and Georgia’s Nato dreams it is also possible to find more or less positive answer to Russia’s initiative over new European security proposal.

The decision makes it possible to restart dialogue between USA and Russia. It remains to see whether there will be any common position in EU about cooperation with Russia. However some base for development of international relations has now made and further progress could be achieved during OSCE meeting this week – 4.5.12.2008 – in Helsinki, where some 40-50 Foreign ministers  will take part. The outcome can be nothing at worst but at at best it can lead through summit at presidential level to new dialogue between great powers with change to even start policy of détente again. It remains to see whether there will be any common position in EU about cooperation with Russia.


The two Images of Transdnistria

November 26, 2008

When I sometimes in my blogs wrote about Transdnistria (officially Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic – PMR) the most common feedback has been following:

Transnistria is a refuge for the criminal organizations being engaged in the illegal sale of weapons, in the contraband and in the money laundering, its also a rogue state.

One could conclude that for western public has quite a bad if any image of Transdnistria.  Having criticised earlier western mainstream media picture about Balkan events I wanted to check if the tradition is repeating itself same way in case Transdnistria.


Nato

Nato Parliamentary Assembly’s sub-committee on east-west economic co-operation and convergence published 7th October 2007 its report over Moldova and stated:

Transnistria remains a haven for organised criminal groups, which are engaged in illegal arms sales, smuggling, and money laundering. It hosts the largest post-Soviet army depot in Kolbasna, the Russian (formerly Soviet) 14th Army and several Soviet era armament factories.

Reading this kind of statements makes me really wonder the level of intelligence and analysis of Nato.  The least I could hope would be, that the decisions are based to more comprehensive material.

The views of UNDP, EUBAM and OSCE are different

A) UNDP

The 2006 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report (SALW Survey of Moldova, SEESAC/UNDP 2006-07-01, note: SALW = Small Arms and Light Weapons) states that there is currently a degree of transparency and good levels of co-operation with Pridnestrovie in the field of weapons control. It also says that the

Evidence for the illicit production and trafficking of weapons into and from Transdniestria has in the past been exaggerated. While trafficking of SALW from the territory controlled by the Transdniestrian authorities is likely to have occurred prior to 2001, there is no reliable evidence that this still occurs. The same holds true for the production of SALW, which is likely to have been carried out in the 1990s primarily to equip the Transdniestrian security forces.

B) OSCE

The OSCE and European Union officials state that there is no evidence that Transnistria has ever, at any time in the past, trafficked arms or nuclear material.  The OSCE mission spokesman Claus Neukirch spoke about this situation: “There is often talk about sale of armaments from Transnistria, but there is no convincing evidence.”

C) EUBAM

Since EUBAM began its work in 2005, it has been unable to document any of Moldova’s charges against Pridnestrovie over alleged arms trafficking. Before the arrival of European Union monitors on Pridnestrovie’s border, Moldovan government officials routinely claimed that Pridnestrovie (or Transnistria, as the state is referred to in Moldova) was “a black hole” in which numerous criminal acts took place. The work of the EUBAM mission since 2005 has been able to disprove these claims as mere anti-Pridnestrovie propaganda.

From EUBAM PressPack following quote:

The Mission is aware that there have been rumours related to arms-trafficking from the Transdniestrian region of Moldova. Obviously we are not in a position to speak about the period of time before the opening of the Mission but we have made clear on several occasions that the EUBAM is not aware of any significant arms find since the operation of the Mission.

The bottom line

It seems that earlier maybe fabricated image still holds when opposite evidence meets the silence in western media.  If one likes conspiracy theories s one could be, that the motive of disinformation is to cover other operations. Few years ago USA made pressure to Moldovan authorities to accept use of Moldova’s air space for arms trafficking from Bosnia to Iraq with V.Butt’s company (an arm dealer in trial now in Thailand).  Moldova has also served as logistical base for many arm trafficking operations to Africa to different sides which maybe have not been noted while the view has been focused to Transdnistria.

More my views over Caucasus one may find form my Archives:Blog

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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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OSCE report fault Georgia – one trivial statement more from EU summit

September 2, 2008

Europe’s leading human rights and security body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, accused the Georgian government of committing likely war crimes in the Georgian rebel region of South Ossetia, Der Spiegel said in a report published on Monday 1st September 2008. The Vienna-based OSCE massively criticized Georgia’s western- backed leadership for its assault on South Ossetia, saying Tbilisi planned the invasion well in advance.

According OSCE report by Spiegel there is at least four interesting facts which mainstream Western media now must swallow:

  • First, the article presents evidence showing how Georgia prepared military actions against South Ossetia before the event transpired,
  • Second, it demonstrates how Georgia attacked South Ossetia before Russian tanks even entered the Roki tunnel,
  • Third, the article includes testimonies from observers who say Tbilisi ordered an attack on South Ossetia at night while innocent civilians were sleeping,
  • Forth Spiegel writes that reports by OSCE observers point to possible military crimes, committed by Georgian troops in South Ossetia.

Same time when Spiegel published it’s cover story the EU’s Brussels summit agreed to condemn Russia’s “inappropriate response” and declared Russia’s recognition of the dissident regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was “contrary to international law”. The EU summit also stated that any solution to the conflict must “rest on respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity—and not on unilateral facts, which contradict international law”.

These remarks of EU summit are sounding a bit familiar to me. Exactly – the words above are almost same which Russia was using about Kosovo case. Then EU and USA were talking something about “absolutely unique – sui generis – case”, which is no precedent. What a double standards and hypocrisy I must say.


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ICO & EULEX & Legality

July 2, 2008

This Monday Head of the International Civil Office (ICO) Pieter Feith expressed his optimism that EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) would soon have access to the entire terriory of Kosovo, including the northern Serb-dominated area. He also said that an Assembly of Serbs – established last Saturday – with representatives of 24 municipalities in Kosovo, has no legal effect. This statement came after forth meeting of the international Steering Group (ISG) which is described as an international body with the authority to supervise Kosovo´s independence.

Reading this kind of statements I feel, that words as International, Law, Legal, Authority and Independence are used quite flimsy in mainstream media. Let´s look more some definitations:

  • ISG and ICO as international body consists of 25 member countries that have recognized Kosovo´s independence . ISG is like an self-named association more than international body. If e.g. 100 countries those do not have recognized Kosovo´s independence would create similar association it could claim the same authority than ISG.
  • Highest international authority so far is UNSC and in Kosovo case its resolution 1244. Resolution says that UNSC “Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2″
  • Mentioned Annex 2 e.g. says about interim administration, that “Establishment of an interim administration for Kosovo as a part of the international civil presence under which the people of Kosovo can enjoy substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to be decided by the Security Council of the United Nations.”
  • So in conclusion: Kosovo´s Independence is not legal, ISG/ICO administration does not have legal authority under International Law
  • Instead Assembly of Serbs was result of legal elections in Serbian territory and can have some justification at least representing local population in Serb-dominated areas.
  • If EULEX is acting like its name obliges, so it can act lawfully only under UN umbrella and the same is case with ISG/ICO actions in Kosovo.

ISG/ICO and EULEX are in Kosovo case now in headlines. One should remember, that more legal international authorities in Kosovo actions are UN/UNMIK and OSCE which both still are acting status-neutral way.