NATO 1999 Agression on Yugoslavia – a turning point

by Živadin Jovanović, Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals

On 24 March the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, the Generals and Admirals Association of Serbia, the Veterans Association SUBNOR of Serbia and some other independent associations and think tanks, marked the 24th anniversary of the NATO aggression on Serbia and Montenegro (FR of Yugoslavia) honoring fallen heroes of the defense of the country as well as all the victims of this illegal and criminal act.

At the NATO high level conference held 28-30 of April 2000 in Bratislava, USA representatives have confirmed explicitly to the allies and then candidate allies, three of the important motives for the “war against Yugoslavia”: first, to take away Kosovo (and Metohija) from Serbia and make it a separate and independent state; second, to turn it into the Balkans carrier of US troupes; and, third, to make precedent for military interventions all around the world without seeking a UN Security Council mandate.

The war against Serbia was a demonstration of unlimited use of force

The NATO aggression has been widely understood as the demonstration of unlimited use of force primarily towards Russia. It should also be noted that during the aggression US planes bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three Chinese journalists. NATO explanation was that the bombing of Chinese Embassy was a mistake due to the pilots use of an outdated map, but not too many believed in the explanation.
  As it is widely recognised, this aggression was undertaken in violation of the basic principles of International Law, including violation of the UN Charter and without authorisation of the UN Security Council. Having regard that Yugoslavia was not a threat to any NATO member country, the NATO leadership thus violated even its own founding act while NATO member countries violated their own constitutions insofar that they acted without authorisation of their respective parliaments.
  While it was falsely presented by national mass media as “humanitarian intervention”, in fact it was the war of NATO/US geo-political expansion towards East, towards Russian borders, also setting the precedent for other aggressions which followed – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria... Immediate establishment of the major US military base “Camp Bondsteel”, near Urosevac, Kosovo and Metohija, was only the first in a long chain of the new US military bases in Central and Eastern Europe – Bulgaria (2), Romania (3), Poland...

Militarisation of Europe

Thus, NATO did not only bring back the first war on European soil but at the same time gave an extraordinary impetus to the process of intensive militarisation of the Old Continent. All member countries were obliged to meet 2 % of their GDP military spending, to adapt civilian infrastructure to the new military requirements, to limit the sale of major companies to only EU and NATO prospective investors (“for security reasons”), not to import new technologies from “unreliable suppliers” (5G), not to buy gas and oil from those who use them “to undermine the security of Europe”.
  Missiles, including those with depleted uranium bombs, including cluster bombs, had definitely been falling on Serbia and Montenegro, killing their citizens and destroying their economy. Serbia is still recovering from immense economic and social losses. Belgrade and other major cities, even in the very central parts, still continue to live with ruins and debris of government and other buildings bombed by NATO. But at the same time NATO 1999 aggression on Serbia and Montenegro (FRY) had destroyed the whole security and cooperation architecture of Europe and the world, annulling Teheran, Yalta, Potsdam, Helsinki and other agreements and pillars of the post Second World War Order, thus ushering disorder, insecurity, even chaos.

Aggression against Serbia continues

NATO aggression ended by the UN SC resolution 1244 (1999) guaranteeing sovereignty and territorial integrity of FRY (Serbia) and a large autonomy for the Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia. The aggression, however, has continued ever since by other means. The objective to take out the Autonomous Province from Serbia, got a new framework. While the Province has been under UN mandate and KFOR (Kosovo Force) – mostly composed of NATO troops – empowered to guarantee equal security for all, about 250,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been purged, their homes burnt, lands usurped. In 2008, former KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) terrorist leadership, proclaimed unilateral secession. NATO & EU countries, with exception of Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus, were among first to recognise the secession fully aware that it was contrary to international law, UN SC 1244 resolution, and Serbia’s Constitution. 
  Lately, Serbia is under unprecedented pressure from the USA/NATO/EU not to oppose Kosovo’s membership in the international organisations, including the UN, to establish good neighbouring relations based on equality, mutual respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity, to mutually recognise state and national symbols, establish quasi diplomatic relations. Under the guise of “normalisation of relations” the West, led by the USA, seeks in fact to oblige Serbia to de facto recognise a new state of Kosovo resulting from the NATO 1999 aggression. Promises of membership to the EU, investments and donations are being exploited to lure Serbia to recognise secession of the part of its own state territory, thus renouncing of all the rights based on international law, UN Charter, UN SC guaranties as well as on its own Constitution. All these demands are contained in the so called “Agreement on the path of normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia” presented to Serbia on 27 February 2023 and confirmed on 18 March 2023, in Ohrid, Northern Macedonia, in the form of an, more or less, open ultimatum. Interestingly, this ultimatum, accompanied with the threats of economic, financial and other measures and restrictions in the case of non-compliance, was confirmed by the European Council on 24 March 2023, the date when exactly 24 years ago NATO started bombing Belgrade, Pristine and other cities all over Serbia.

The real reasons for NATO’s Balkan policy

What are the real reasons for all this? To make Kosovo eligible to join NATO and even to unite with Albania; to establish a complete NATO-ionisation of the Balkans, encompassing Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina; to push away Russian and Chinese presence from the Balkans; to remove the objection of five EU member states (four NATO) to the recognition of unilateral secession of Kosovo, thus re-establishing a unity within alliances.
  The NATO aggression on Serbia and Montenegro (FRY) in 1999, was the turning point from a defensive to an aggressive alliance, of Europe’s partially autonomous to complete submission to the USA in pursuit of globalisation of the interventionism and global confrontation with Russia and China. Although, it did appear the peak of unipolar arrogance and USA/NATO hegemony, it was a wakeup call to everybody believing in the new democratic world order.  •

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