July 2011: NATO Blockade of Kosovo Serbs Starts, Belgrade Condemns Serb Resistance
Don't buy the Vučić hype. In any Kosovo crisis you must first understand that Belgrade is actually on the side of NATO
What follows below is something that I wrote in 2011 while chronicling the 2011-13 Kosovo crisis, triggered by Empire’s move to subdue Kosovo Serbs, assisted by Belgrade. The crisis concluded when Vučić (who was formally Deputy PM to Dačić but led the largest party in the government) withdrew Serbian institutions from Kosovo, terminated the Serbian constitutional order in Northern Kosovo, and delivered Kosovo Serbs to NATO and Priština gift-wrapped and against their wishes, concluding the “Brussels Agreement” that represented the 2nd Serbian withdrawal from Kosovo and a soft recognition of Kosovo as something other than a province of Serbia.
Vučić is now complaining that Empire-backed Priština is violating this Brussels Agreement, which of course it is. He is also posturing as if he might do something in reaction to that. Do not buy any of this. He is the Quisling who stabbed the Kosovo Serbs in the back in the first place and signed a surrender in their name at a moment when they were offering spirited resistance, willing to hold on forever.
He has sent the army to the line of control, but in the same breath he says he will ask NATO for permission to cross, but expects to be rejected, after which he will launch “legal proceedings”. This isn’t just laughably tame, it is a misdirection.
If Belgrade wants to return to Kosovo it doesn’t need an army. It has citizens there who never wanted to be pushed into Priština’s embrace in the first place, and would love nothing more than to reconstitute Serbia’s constitutional order where they live. If Vučić was actually serious about seeking Belgrade’s return he would be talking about the return of civil institutions of the Republic of Serbia to Kosovo that with the Brussels Agreement he disowned and cut off. Since the other side has broken the treaty by ridding roughshod even over the minor window-dressing assurances for Kosovo Serbs that Vučić-Dačić won for them, he would have every ground to abrogate the 2013 surrender treason, but that is the one thing he isn’t willing to do.
This is what Koštunica did in 2008. Since by recognizing Priština as something other than Serbia the Empire had breached UNSCR 1244, Koštunica was also no longer bound by the 1999 settlement and adopted Kosovo Serbs back into the civil order of the Republic of Serbia.
The role of Vučić who rose to power in 2012 was precisely to dismantle this Serbian infrastructure of resistance and get a win for NATO that it could never get for itself.
Something that he was perfectly suited for because while running the same policies of the preceding liberal government, as a former Radical, he could more effectively muddy the waters.
The text below is from the days of the Tadić-Dačić government, rather than the later Dačić-Vučić government, but they were really the same beast, the latter with a little more window dressing.
The only true value of the current Serbian government is pathological deference to Imperial power exercised under the guise of extreme pragmatism, defeatist fatalism and supposed aversion to conflict. Appropriately, it has long been expected the government in Belgrade will act as an agent of Empire in Serbia. Wednesday, however, the government went even beyond that.
Monday evening, the Kosovo Albanian government in Priština moved its paramilitary police to occupy the two crossings on the border between occupied Kosovo and the rest of Serbia in the solidly Serb-populated north of the province. This was done days after the KLA-staffed government in Priština declared goods from unoccupied Serbia would no longer be allowed in Kosovo. The ban on imports coupled with control of borders by the government in Priština would enforce a stranglehold on the Serbs in the north, with a view to subdue them, or force them out.
When this happened the first reaction of the Serbian authorities was to categorically rule out coming to the aid of the imperiled Serbs in the north of Kosovo. (They were more concerned to prevent any rallies in their support from being staged in Belgrade.) The people there, however, have long learned not to look to the government, but to rely on themselves. Within hours they had the roads leading to the crossings blocked by setting up makeshift roadblocks and standing vigil, thus blockading the Kosovo Albanian police at the border posts.
NATO first claimed the action of the government in Priština had not been coordinated with it, then quickly saw to it that it was. When the Serb response forced the evacuation of the paramilitary police, NATO decided to ferry in regular police from Priština to take their place. Reacting to this turn of events, Wednesday local Serb youths chased away police from one of the border posts and set fire to it.
On this occasion, however, the Serbian government found uncharacteristic courage to issue a strongly worded attack — against the Serbs! President Tadić labeled the young adults who had demolished the border post “hooligans” and other government officials took to denouncing them as “extremists”. (International media followed suit styling them “hard-line Serbian nationalist”.)
It is difficult to see why the local Serbs should have any obligation not to hurl petrol bombs at a dreary control post set up on their land against their wishes. One manned by foreigners who had attacked the country unprovoked and who task themselves with impeding their freedom of movement in their own country. The Serbian government condemned an act of resistance against the NATO occupation openly siding against its people.
Its nasty denunciations are extremely irresponsible. The Serbs in the north of Kosovo count fewer than 60,000 souls. To the government in Priština they are insurgents, to NATO a headache they could do without. They are extremely vulnerable. The last thing they need is for the government in Belgrade to undermine them and bolster their tormentors’ media offensive against them. The terms Belgrade used to attack them could well have been used to help construct a justification for a crackdown.
As it was the emboldened NATO “merely” went for a haphazard attempt at intimidation. Erhard Bühler, the German general who heads the NATO occupation, gleefully announced the border crossing to be within a live-fire zone, where NATO troops would use live ammunition to defend lives, property or the zone itself. In other words NATO was sending a message it would use live ammunition to defend the handful of ugly metal containers that make up the border posts should Serbs again take them to task with a petrol bomb, or a club, or possibly just come near them.
NATO troops also moved against the makeshift roadblocks. Deadlines for their dismantlement were issued with occupiers vowing to dismantle them themselves should they pass unobserved. The Serbs called the occupiers’ bluff and they ended up turning back without added incident. Minutes later General Bühler explained the reason NATO did not move to forcefully break up the peaceful roadblocks:
“I had the option to enforce and open up the roadblock. I decided not to do it because in the meantime so many criminals and extremists and armed people are here. It would be a nightmare.”
Thank god for the “extremists” then! In Bühler’s words, their presence was the only reason his storm troops did not crack down on the “non-extremist” Serbs!
Seeing the government in Belgrade is derelict in its obligation to afford Kosovo Serbs defense, the least it could do is keep its mouth shut when they elect to defend themselves the best way that makes sense to them. Shocking as it may be to quislings, deference to power is not a positive value and not laying down before an occupation is not a vice.