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The Betrayal of Serbia

by Theodore G. Karakostas
The Hellenic Chronicle May 1999


The lamentable war undertaken by the United States and NATO against Serbia is distressing and deeply regrettable. Serbia was a staunch ally of the west in both World Wars. Serbian army officers had in fact overthrown a pro-Nazi government in 1941. During the course of the war Serbs fought on the anti-Nazi side while Croats, Bosnians, and Yugoslav Albanians fought for the Germans. In Croatia, fascist leader Ante Pavelic set up a state that became a
Nazi puppet state. Likewise, Bosnians and Albanians collaborated with the fascists against the Serbs. Over 700,000 Serbs were exterminated during the Second World War. Between 1941 and 1945, one out of four Bishops, Priests, and monks of the Serbian Orthodox Church were killed.

In 1991, Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia. Serbs living there feared for their safety as a result of the Croatian government's embrace of the Ustasha symbols of Croatia's WW2 fascist government. In addition, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman minimized the number of Serbs killed during WW2. When Bosnia declared independence in 1992, Serbs similarly feared the consequences of living under Islamic rule following five centuries of Turkish rule and the Muslim collaboration with Germany during the Second World War.

Since 1998, Serbia has been under siege in Kosovo. Kosovo is the cradle of Serbian culture and religion. Under the rule of Communist dictator Tito, tens of thousands of Albanians were settled in this province of Serbia. In the meantime, Serb residents of Kosovo were driven out by anti-Serb pogroms and discriminatory measures against Serbs. As a result, ninety percent of Kosovo's population is Albanian today. The treatment of Serbia by Washington and the western media is appalling for its utter neglect of Serbian views and national feelings.

In some media accounts there are even criticisms of Orthodoxy for its supposed silence on the war in Kosovo. This is utterly false. The Serbian Orthodox Church under his holiness Patriarch Pavle has criticized the methods of the Milosevic regime throughout the past eight years. The Church of Serbia has distinguished itself from other Orthodox Churches. Whereas, the Church of Greece formerly supported dictators and kings, and whereas the Russian, Bulgarian, and Rumanian Churches cooperated with communists, the Serbian Orthodox Church has been active in promoting Democracy in Serbia as can be attested to by its support for the students in the pro-democracy/anti-Milosevic demonstrations two years ago.

History will condemn the Clinton administration and NATO for abandoning Serbia's democratic activists. When Belgrade was full of demonstrations in the winter of 1996-97, Milosevic could have been pressured to hold elections while Serbian and Albanian dissidents could have been united in opposing the regime. Instead, the Clinton administration chose to wait for Kosovo to explode and support the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Reports have surfaced that the KLA is involved in drug dealing and with Iranian fundamentalists. Many more reports have been published detailing the KLA's extremist agenda. At the same time, the regime of Milosevic has been exposed as a repressive and tyrannical regime against Albanians and Serbs.

The problem with NATO's war against Serbia is that it is aimed at the Serbian nation rather than the regime. Notwithstanding that Milosevic is a tyrant and a thug, the Rambouillet Agreement that Mrs. Albright sought to impose on the Serbs was laughable because it would give Kosovo the status of a separate state in all but name. The government in Belgrade would have had to accept foreign troops on its soil and would not have been able to govern Kosovo. In short, NATO would have turned Serbia into another Cyprus.

Atrocities among all factions in Yugoslavia should be condemned. However, it is alarming that the Serbian viewpoint has been missing from the "mainstream" media since Yugoslavia was dismembered in 1991. A genuine democratic debate about the Balkans has failed to occur in western countries over the past several years.

Serbs have been subject to various outrages. In 1998, the Vatican canonized Archbishop Stepinac, a Croatian prelate implicated in the forced conversions and persecution of Serbs during WW2. In 1992, the United States recognized the independence of Bosnia on April 6, the anniversary of Hitler's invasion of Yugoslavia. For Greeks, this would be the equivalent of America recognizing the Turkish backed state in Cyprus on October 28, the anniversary of Italy's attack on Greece.

It is disheartening to hear Serbs referred to as "Nazis". On July 29, 1998 the "National Committee of American Airmen rescued by General Mihailovic" placed a message in the Washington Times stating that five hundred American pilots shot down in Yugoslavia during WW2 were rescued by the Serbs. Similarly, Serbs protected and supported the Jews.

The Clinton Administration's attacks on Serbia are a betrayal of an ally. Serbia fought with America in two World Wars and is now under attack. In contrast, countries like Iran that are complicit in dozens of terrorist attacks on Americans have never been bombed. Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, William Cohen, Sandy Berger, and Richard Holbrooke cower before China. Neither Washington, NATO, or CNN have anything to say about the genocide of Christians in the Sudan, the slaughter in Algeria, or the Turkish murders of Kurds and the unceasing occupation of Cyprus.

If an all out Balkan war erupts, history will blame Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright. It is they who have now sought to alter the borders established after the second Balkan war of 1913. The secession of Kosovo Albanians may lead to the secession of Albanians in FYROM and the dismemberment of that country. If that happens, any scenario is possible for Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria to be pulled in.

Finally, there is the alarming prospect of the re-Ottomanization of the Balkans. In 1994, the Clinton administration allowed Turkish, Iranian, and Saudi troops to go to Bosnia. In Albania, Osama Bin Laden has established a base. Saudi newspapers have called for an Islamic Kosovo while Turkey and Albania develop closer relations. Never has the foreign policy establishment in America and its President been so dangerous or destructive.



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