Above: Serbs rally in Kosovo after many of them resigned from their jobs in protest at the direction to use only Kosovan issued vehicle licence plates.
28-11-2022: In what appears on the surface to be a dispute over vehicle licence plates, US imperialism is once again jockeying behind the scenes for yet another proxy conflict. The latest dispute between Belgrade and Pristina began months ago when Pristina introduced a regulation requiring all cars in Kosovo’s northern region to have licence plates issued by Kosovar authorities. Kosovo’s northern region has a population which is overwhelmingly Serbian, and Pristina’s licence plate directive was met with a wave of protests and mass resignations of ethnic Serbian officials – including police officers, judges and prosecutors. Around 50 000 ethnic Serbs live in the northern part of Kosovo, who reject Pristina’s authority, and still consider themselves part of Serbia. Belgrade has emphatically stated that it will never recognise Kosovo’s independence. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ominously announced that it would increase the number of “peacekeeping” forces it has in Kosovo and is ready to intervene if tensions with Serbia rise.
It is somewhat affectatious for Kosovo to unilaterally assert its independence, given the fact that NATO currently has around 3700 troops on the ground. Without backing from the US state and the European Union (EU), Kosovo could scarcely break away from Serbia. The EU currently has a EULEX (European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo) force on the ground, which polices the situation alongside NATO’s KFOR (Kosovo Force) mission. Recently in September, EULEX and KFOR forces conducted a “Golden Sabre” exercise, which ludicrously claimed to be for ensuring stability and security in Kosovo. NATO claims that its’ mandate for it KFOR troops, which are supplied by 28 countries, rests with United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1244. In reality, EU and NATO forces are provoking tensions in the region to undermine Serbia, which has historically strong ties with Russia. With NATO seeing the writing on the wall in Ukraine, where their proxy war cannot achieve anything like victory over Russia, Washington appears to be spreading conflict rather than dialling it down.
Kosovan “independence” would certainly be nil without the headquarters of KFOR, Camp Bondsteel. Built at a cost of $8 billion, Camp Bondsteel covers 4 square kilometres, with 25 kilometres of paved roads and 11 watchtowers. It can apparently hold 7000 people, with some estimating the camp houses thousands more. It has a library, a fire station, a military police station, a Burger King, a Taco Bell and a Thai massage parlour. Despite this, some 99 countries recognise Kosovo as an independent state, but due to Serbia’s non-recognition, the UN has refused to recognise Kosovo, and neither has the EU. In 2008, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the breakaway moves by Kosovo to be illegal, and correctly highlighted the hypocrisy of the West for encouraging separatism abroad, while not enacting it itself at home, e.g. Northern Ireland and Northern Cyprus. Today, Kosovan separatism is arguably being fuelled by the West to distract from defeat in Ukraine.
NATO’s 1999 war
The tensions between Serbia and Kosovo today stem from NATO’s barbarous 1999 78-day war against Serbia, which was supposedly justified by Serbia’s “attacks on innocent civilians” in Kosovo. At the time, the US and NATO was accusing Serbia of committing “atrocities”, while the CIA was coordinating with Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) fighters who were engaged in a guerrilla war against the Serbian military. When the Serbian military would respond with legitimate operations against known KLA forces, US and EU governments would cry foul about a “genocide” to justify a planned aerial bombardment of Belgrade. What is more, the KLA was a “liberation army” in name only, and had known links to Al Qaeda and organised crime. US support was one pillar of support, while others were heroin smuggling operations by Albanian gangs and syndicates which led straight to the KLA.
NATO would then declare that it was against “terrorism”, while at the same time the US government would deny the involvement of the KLA in terrorist acts. It was something of a precursor to the US led war on Syria from 2011 on, when the West would swear that it was fighting the terrorism of ISIS and Al Qaeda while at the same time funneling them weapons and funding. KLA and Kosovan leader Hashim Thaci was even indicted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at The Hague in June 2020. German intelligence provided a report in 2008 alleging Thaci’s involvement in leading a criminal network operating throughout Kosovo. It is impossible that Washington did not know about the criminal activities of Thaci and the KLA going back to the 1990s at least. Moreover, as soon as Kosovo became independent, KLA backed mobs destroyed Serbian religious sites and embarked on its own campaign of ethnic cleansing against Serbs, Roma and other minorities.
After the horror experience of being bombed by NATO in 1999, Serbia understands all too well what Russia is enduring today on its western flank. Russia is not at war with Ukraine. Rather, Washington, London and Brussels are using NATO to wage a proxy war for regime change in Moscow. The NATO powers could scarcely care less about the destruction of Ukraine, or the loss of Ukrainian lives. Their aim is to overturn and/or Balkanise Russia, as a precursor to a war for regime change in the most populous country on Earth – the People’s Republic of China (PRC). While imperialism cannot tolerate an independent Russia, a much larger problem for them is being surpassed in outright economic terms by China’s largely nationalised and planned economy. This could become a reality in the near term.
Covid fraud and economic shutdowns for two years was a desperate attempt by the West to re-start a failing capitalism, but it was never going to be enough to return rates of profit to pre-2008 levels. The extreme danger of a global conflict can only be put to rest by workers overturning the Western regimes threatening to spread the devastation of war throughout the globe. It is an urgent task to forge internationally linked Marxist vanguard parties based on Permanent Revolution. The working class is ready to defend themselves and their futures provided the requisite leadership lights the path forward.
 www.theguardian.com/world/2008/feb/15/russia.kosovo (23-11-2022)
Photo credit: http://www.news.yahoo.com