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American “Regime Change War” Was Born in Belgrade 19 Years Ago Today

by Adam Garrie, March 24, 2018, Eurasia Future

Throughout the 20th century, the US had been in the business of overthrowing governments that it did not like, almost always because such governments did not create conditions unilaterally favourable to US business interests. From overthrowing multiple Latin American governments, most famously the leftist government of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, to the overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953, to the installation of the Pakistani Dictator General Zia who executed the democratically elected Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the US has been ‘changing regimes’ long before the post-Cold War era. However, in the 21st century, the idea of ‘regime change’ went from an unspoken reality to a stated goal among increasingly war-hungry US leaders.

A “new world order” – a regime change order

After the Cold War, when George H.W. Bush declared a “new world order”, the US and its European allies began backing radical far-right nationalist and Takfiri insurgencies throughout Yugoslavia, beginning in 1991. This resulted in the secession of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and the anti-western and therefore unrecognised Republika Srpska. In 1995, the then Serbian President Slobodan Milošević came to the United States to sign the Dayton Accords with his Takfiri nemesis Alija Izetbegović and the neo-fascist Croatian leader Franjo Tuđman. At the time, the Dayton Accords were hailed as a ‘western’ triumph.

Indeed, the west had successfully turned the most peaceful and prosperous state in modern southern Europe into a rump and for Washington, Britain and Berlin, this counted as a success. Yugoslavia was by 1995, reduced to the constituent republics of Serbia and Montenegro. But for a US busily drafting the doctrines of regime change as articulated in the so-called Wolfowitz Doctrine, even a reduced Yugoslavia was too much to live with.

The Albanian terrorist war against Orthodox Christians

Since the 1980s, radical Albanian terrorist groups had committed acts of atrocities against the Orthodox Christian population of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo. In 1993, these groups congealed into the KLA, a well-organised terrorist group that began a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing against Orthodox Serbs which even saw the killing of multiple ethnic Albanians who remained patriotic and peaceful Yugoslav citizens, content to live in harmony with their Serb neighbours.

While UN Security Council Resolution 1160 listed the KLA as a terrorist group, the US continued to finance its campaign of ethnic cleansing and later spun a narrative that it was the Yugoslav armed forces that were to blame for an ethnic cleansing campaign, when in reality, Yugoslavia was engaged in a modest anti-terror operation aimed at the foreign armed and funded KLA.

A war for European demagogues and for Monica Lewinsky 

By March of 1999, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was out to make a name for himself as a so-called ‘liberal interventionist’, while a new German government was keen on destroying what remained of Yugoslavia in order to exploit previously unavailable economic avenues in the Balkans, while increasing German soft-power among Albanian radicals. At the same time, Bill Clinton was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal that he was desperate to push out of the headlines. This perfect storm conspired to convince Clinton to join his eager European partners and foment an illegal bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

NATO aggression against Chinese and Russian targets in Yugoslavia

The NATO war which was not authorised by the UN witnessed the killing of thousands of civilians both by the NATO airstrikes themselves and by NATO’s KLA allies. During the war, hospitals, schools, homes, a civilian television station and the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade were all destroyed.

During group operations, Russian peace keepers had temporarily based themselves in Yugoslavia’s Pristina airport. It subsequently became known that NATO Commander General Wesley Clark of the United States was prepared to send in NATO troops to forcibly wrestle control of the airport from the Russian peace keeping units to his own NATO forces. This would have almost certainly resulted in an exchange of fire between Russian and NATO forces, something which hadn’t even happened at the height of the Cold War. This was prevented only because another NATO officers, Britain’s General Michael Jackson, refused to obey Clark’s order to move against the Russian peace keepers. At the time, it was reported he said to Clark, “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you”.  Thus, in a war on Yugoslavia, NATO ran the risk of a wider world war with both China and Russia.

In hindsight, the NATO war on  Yugoslavia was a kind of blood-soaked dress rehearsal for the broader regime change wars of the 21st century including those aimed at Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. The war in Yugoslavia followed this new model in a calculated series of steps whose pattern has been repeated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and later unsuccessfully in Syria. The pattern as is follows:

1. Publicly discredit a foreign leader whom the west previous had agreements or pacts with. 

Just consider how in the 1980s Saddam Hussein was a US ally in the war against Iran. Likewise in the 1980s, the political movements associated with the Afghan Mujaheddin that became the Taliban of the 1990s, were US allies in a war against the USSR and the legitimate Afghan government. Furthermore, Libya and the US reached a rapprochement in 2003, while Syria’s President al-Assad was considered someone who could ‘work with the west’ right up to the 2011 US proxy war on Syria.

Thus while Slobodan Milošević went to the US in 1995 to sign a widely celebrated peace deal, it was only four short years later that he became re-invented as public enemy number one.

2. Turn the defender into the aggressor

Before the US portrayed the Libyan government as an aggressor for fighting the terrorist group al-Qaeda, before the US openly took the side of the head-chopping Al-Nusra Front in Syria against the secular, pluralistic Syrian Arab Republic and before a staunchly anti-al-Qaeda Saddam was perversely accused of being behind 9/11, the Yugoslav government was accused of committing ethnic cleansing, when it reality they were defending against the ethnic cleaning committed by the terrorist KLA.

3. Slander the ‘enemy regime’ as anti-democratic and therefore dangerous 

In 1999, few Americans knew or cared about the internal politics of Yugoslavia. The same was true of the Taliban, Saddam, Gaddafi and al-Assad. Therefore, in order to create an easily digested narrative, the leaders who stood in the way of US hegemony needed to be painted as anti-democratic, tyrannical, mechanical and evil, before a gullible US public who in 1999 were busy choking in the easily understood Lewinsky scandal.

4. Ignore the UN and bomb away 

Like other regime change wars, most notably Iraq, the NATO war on Yugoslavia was not authorised by the UN or any other legitimate international body. Therefore it was totally illegal: it was a war crime. The ‘one rule for you and one rule for us’ attitude that continues to drive the US led NATO alliance, was therefore cast in stone in 1999, thus paving the way for a future where the UN could serve only as an organisation to occasionally rubber stamp US aggression, but one that was ultimately incapable of stopping US aggression.

Conclusion

For the US and its NATO partners, the war on Yugoslavia was a dress rehearsal for what was to come during the presidencies of Bush, Obama and almost certainly Trump. But for the thousands of dead civilians whose country was ripped out from under them, the war on  Yugoslavia remains the crime of the century. Yugoslavia was a country that stood against fascist aggression in the 1940s, only to fall to terrorist forces whose forebears had allied themselves with fascism during the Second World War.  Even 19 years after the war, thousands of refugees remain without permanent homes after fleeing from the Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, which remains occupied by NATO forces and former KLA members in charge of a regime ruling the occupied territory.

Yugoslavia never threatened a single foreign nation, but the large powers of central and western Europe conspired with the United States to turn a peaceful part of southern Europe into smouldering inferno. For the wider world, everything changed on September the 11th, 2001. An attack whose official explanation fewer and fewer people believe, set off a chain ‘reaction’ of aggressive wars that in turn unleashed a wave of international terrorism that ultimately gave birth to Daesh.

But before the world had September the 11th, 2001, Yugoslavia had the 24th of March, 1999.  Yugoslavia was sacrificed on the altar of ‘regime change war’ and the US has never looked back since.

Adam Garrie is Director at Eurasia future. He is a geo-political expert who can be frequently seen on Nedka Babliku’s weekly discussion show Digital Divides, RT’s flagship debate show CrossTalk as well as Press-TV’s flagship programme ‘The Debate’. A global specialist with an emphasis on Eurasian integration, Garrie’s articles have been published in the Oriental Review, Asia Times, Geopolitica Russia, the Tasnim News Agency, Global Research, RT’s Op-Edge, Global Village Space and others.

21 Comments

  1. MinutebisMitternacht says

    Diana Johnstone has writen an excellent book on this subject called “Fools’ Crusade, Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusion”, identifying anglo-zionist modus operandi mentioned in the article above in the early 2000!
    (ISBN 1-58367-084-x). I also recently watched a couple of good documentaries on the subject called “The Weight of Chains 1 & 2”.
    (1) https://youtu.be/waEYQ46gH08
    (2) https://youtu.be/vNNG_mn_9DU




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  2. When TB.Liar and WC.Clinton broke the precious postWar2 peace of Europe by turning NATO into NATZO and dropping more bombs on Belgrade than Hitler had done, I flipped. At first I thought it was just a gigantic political blunder; but when B.Liar and Bush followed B.Liar and Clinton I realized that the West was being governed by fiends from the Lowest Circle of Dante’s Inferno — an icy zero of morality where one finds the soul that kissed Christ in order to betray Him.

    MALCOLM … had I power, I should
    Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
    Uproar the universal peace, confound
    All unity on earth.
    If such a one be fit to govern, speak.

    MACDUFF. Fit to govern? No, not fit to live. — Macbeth, Act4 Scene3




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    • Just found out that Putin shares Dante’s opinion: the unforgivable sin is treachery. In the video documentary “Putin” on Saker Vineyard. So I add here a cut-and-paste of my post to the Saker:

      “… stopped the video at 37-38min where Putin says he can forgive most people except the treacherous. Curiously, Dante shared his opinion: the Last Circle of Dante’s Inferno is reserved for the souls of those ultimate sinners (such as UK prime minister Tony B.Liar) who kiss the living Christ in order to betray Him. Those who betray the country they have sworn to protect, as well as the Christ they have sworn to serve; such souls are damned instantly in the act of betrayal: beyond Hope of Redemption — “even though the body continues to walk and talk and put on clothes”. — Dante, Inferno 34.




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  3. Mikalina says

    I am concerned with framing a period of history within a certain narrative – it can lead to a lot of memory holes and crimestop. There were other ‘firsts’ in Yugoslavia too, as detailed by Jan Oberg.
    https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/03/remembering-the-war-on-yugoslavia-1999/#more-77996

    This one is particularly relevant for today:

    “• Since this was the first larger conflict after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, everything seemed possible, no need to take into account what Russia might do because it could do virtually nothing.”

    Further the manipulation of the UN for further action:

    “• Inventing the peace enforcement idea in the UN Agenda for Peace report that contravened everything the UN stood for and enabled one-sided military action by outsiders;” (and marginalising/trivialising the UN from then on.)

    And, something that doesn’t seem to have much recognition:

    “• And it is, finally, the conflict in which commercial marketing companies – such as Ruder Finn – were brought in to secure an advantageous but deceptive global image of Croatia, Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo-Albanians. Powerful narratives that serve certain interests but not truth in any sense didn’t start with Syria.” (I would think this one is a lesson learnt from Vietnam when it was thought that the negative press contributed to the end of the war.)

    Jan Olberg gives a clear explanation of the situation and, as he says, what should have been done.
    https://yugoslavia-what-should-have-been-done.org/




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  4. Administrateursrations says

    No sólo el árbol de navidad más famoso del mundo está en Nueva York, también los escaparates más espectaculares o las pistas de patinaje sobre hielo más emblemáticas. Disfrutar de las rebajas, los mercadillos navideños y tomarse las uvas en Times Square es, sin ninguna duda, una buena manera de empezar el año




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  5. MichaelK says

    The other day I heard a piece on the BBC World Service that was blatant and sentimental propaganda. It wasn’t about Yugoslavia, but could easily have been. Their methods don’t really change much. Except they are becoming more sentimental and ‘heroism’ is making a huge comeback. Both central elements in ‘New Victorianism.’

    The BBC was in Jordan at a hospital talking to a lovely woman Dr who was treating a boy of seven, called Ali, I think. He’d been badly injured in his legs by a barrel bomb that had struck his house and killed his family who were on the eve of leaving Syria for safety. Now, Ali will never here the bedtime stories his parents used to tell him. Sigh, sob, sob. They even talked about the jets flying over and then the explosions and then the barrel bomb. This made me prick up my ears because fighter jets have never been used for this before, as far as I’m aware, dropping barrel bombs. This job is usually blamed on ‘regime’ helicopters. They push them out of the back, apparently, so the stories go. That the BBC journalist didn’t notice this, didn’t really surprise me, as she’s not paid for that, is she? She was very taken little Ali as was the Dr. who loved him like a son and treated him like a son, and was so enraged and saddened by the injuries to his legs, and he was such a beautiful boy!

    This might all be true, apart from the stuff about the ‘barrel bombs, but it’s presented in a way that milks the story for every drop of sentimentality possible and it’s all one way, all for the rebels and nothing for anyone else.
    For example, over the last six or seven years, I’ve never heard the BBC send a piece like that about Syrians killed or butchered by the Islamist terrorists. No interviews with the families of dead or mutilated Syrian Arab Army soldiers, blown to pieces or decapitated after torture. Nothing about civilians hit by mortar fire aimed a areas controlled by the Syrian government. When they talk about the horrendous casualties, the BBC talks as if they are all on one side and never mention the hundred thousand soldiers that have been killed fighting the ‘rebels’ we support. It’s all incredibly biased, slanted, unbalanced and propagandized.

    Like now, when they keep on about the rebel fighters leaving Ghouta with their families. They keep mentioning their families, but how many of them are really Syrians, how many of them come from outside Syria? The BBC makes no attempt to find out, wonder why? And how many interviews have there been with ordinary Syrians now that Ghouta has been liberated? Suddenly these civilians don’t seem so important anymore. Why not?




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  6. Harry Law says

    These ‘don’t wannabe Privates [PVT’s]’ and putative regime changers, Donald ‘Bone spurs’ Trump [he couldn’t remember which foot was effected] and John ‘I don’t want to die in Vietnam’ Bolton, now lead the US war machine, both cowards avoided the US draft.
    A series of audio clips surfaced from the 1990s, including one in which Mr. Trump told Howard Stern, the radio show host, that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases while dating “is my personal Vietnam.” Though Bolton supported the Vietnam War, he declined to enter combat duty, instead enlisting in the National Guard and attending law school after his 1970 graduation. “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy,” Bolton wrote of his decision in the 25th reunion book. “I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.”
    I am sure both cowards are more than willing to send other peoples children to die for US goals all over the world.




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  7. Don’t look now Europe, but we’ve just brought John “freaking” Bolton in as National Security Advisor to Trump. This is roughly the equivalent of handing Hannibal Lecter the keys to a children’s day care center! There is absolutely no good outcome that can result from John Bolton being anywhere near a position of power over war, weapons or mass killing. For those in the U.K. unfamiliar with him he is a Bush II administration retread who is clearly a “psychopath’s psychopath” literally capable incinerating the entire planet for any number of totally insane ideological reasons.




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    • milosevic says

      clearly a “psychopath’s psychopath” literally capable incinerating the entire planet for any number of totally insane ideological reasons




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  8. ninetto says

    The war of aggresssion against Yugoslavia was also a new imperialist first for the freshly re-unified German Republic; up until Clinton/NATO’s war, the post WWII German “Bundeswehr” had not had any active military action outside of Germany. Nor the East German army. Thanks to the Yugoslavian War, Gerhardt Schröder + his Green (!) coalition partners had the German airforce bombing Belgrade… again: the last time was in 1941 when the Nazi Regime sowed massive destruction upon the city.

    http://www.dw.com/en/ten-years-on-germany-looks-back-at-return-to-war-in-kosovo/a-4123734




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      • MICHAEL LEIGH says

        Everyone visiting this OFFGUARDIAN website should find the time to visit MILOSEVIC’s comments, and in particular make time to view his attached video their in.

        Like ADAM GARRIE’s excellent brief history of the 1999 illegal and violent international destruction of the post-Tito Yugoslavia, which is rightly the war crime of the last century by the American-lead European NATO for the obvius reason of International political greed.

        And, further in my opinon it was because somewhere in the ” imperial corporate memory ” of the USA ‘s Department of State, is a record of all the intenational peaceful efforts of the former Yugoslavia,

        In leading the large UNO majority of National members in an unaligned ( between the so called East and West ) coalition: which within the UNO refused to support the evil acts of the USA and it’s gang of similarly-minded Nations including the UK, among so-called peaceful West against the Russian and it’s like-minded Soviet alliance.

        Looking back to my military service in the British Army, when I first visted Yugoslavia and met it’s mix of peaceful Eastern European peoples – some of them even to this day with whom I am still cordially accquainted with.

        And, in those early post-war times I like the majority of the UK’s population when we had little timber was remarkably surprised to learn ( and that which was available was rationed for suppporting our under-ground coal miners to light and heat our Nation ) – the gift by the people of the war-torn former Nazi occupation, had donated all of the essential timber to complete the restoration of the Germany fire-bombed Coventry Catherdal.




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  9. Mikalina says

    “For the wider world, everything changed on September the 11th, 2001. An attack whose official explanation fewer and fewer people believe, set off a chain ‘reaction’ of aggressive wars that in turn unleashed a wave of international terrorism that ultimately gave birth to Daesh.”

    Not happy with the myth that it all started with 9/11.

    “For more than six decades, a faction in the US intelligence community used, and even trained, various Islamic political groups for their goal to extend an American hegemony in the world. The relationship between the CIA and certain specific groups of political Islamists began in the 1950s in postwar Munich and reached a new dimension in the 1980s, when the CIA, together with Saudi Arabian intelligence, brought a wealthy Saudi Islamist named Osama bin Laden to Pakistan to recruit Islamic Jihadists for a terrorist war against the Soviet Red Army in Afghanistan.

    William Engdahl – The Lost Hegemon




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  10. Harry Law says

    It is obvious that the US and any ‘coalition of the willing’ are prepared to circumvent International law and the UNSC when politically expedient, witness US Ambassador Haley threatening intervention in Syria without UNSC approval What seemed like par for the course has been stopped in its tracks by the Russian High Command promising that any attack on Damascus will result in the source of the attack being destroyed [I assume this was meant for missiles launched from ships in the Mediterranean]. Because the US only understands the use of force, this was a fair warning. It was right that the Russians should warn the US that any aggression against an independent and sovereign member of the United Nations is contrary to the UN charter and International law. This also applies to any claimed right to humanitarian intervention R2P.
    It is important that Russia now realize the West cares not for International law, the West thinks might is right. I hope the Russian response in Syria is sufficient. Maybe the masters of the Universe will think otherwise. Time will tell.
    Here are some notes on how the US/UK and other members of coalition of the willing by-passed International law when they invaded Iraq…….
    There is a fundamental contradiction written into the UN Charter on the one hand, article 2[1] states; “The organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” But, on the other hand, Article 23 of the Charter grants five of its Members permanent seats on the Security Council, and Article 27 gives each of them a veto over decisions of the Council. Clearly, all Members are equal, but some Members are more equal than others. Thus all five veto wielding powers the US, UK, France, China and Russia AND their friends are above International law, for all time. So that should all four veto wielding members gang up on the US, the US simply veto’s the Resolution it is then consigned to the memory hole.
    Academic lawyers in their thousands may protest that taking military action against Iraq for instance was illegal because it lacked proper authorisation by the Security Council, but it is of no consequence in the real world when there is no possibility of the UK, or its political leadership, being convicted for taking such action. It is meaningless to describe an action as illegal if there is no expectation that the perpetrator of the action will be convicted by a competent judicial body. In the real world, an action is legal unless a competent judicial body rules that it is illegal. http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/iraq/ags-legal-advice.pdf




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    • milosevic says

      taking military action against Iraq for instance was illegal because it lacked proper authorisation by the Security Council, but it is of no consequence in the real world when there is no possibility of the UK, or its political leadership, being convicted for taking such action.




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  11. George Cornell says

    But who would continue the recent tradition of unis pandering to their big donors and suppressing political dissent among their faculty? The recent scandals at the now disgraced University of Toronto (see their nice little earner- Motherisk at Sick Children’s Hospital) but recommend anti-nausea to before reading, their intimate cohabitation with industry , vide Apotex, and its influence on their hiring practices, where critics of industry were blackballed, are by no means unique. Motherisk, started by the infamous Israeli poison pen letter writer Gideon Koren, was responsible for many dozens of children swiped from their parents based on measurements which had essentially no oversight and were proven to be erroneous.

    How many institutions outside totalitarianism can claim to have stolen children from their parents without cause and served them up for adoption to couples with connections to the institution doing the stealing?

    Times have changed in the students too, who are far to the right of Uni students only a generation or two ago.




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  12. bevin says

    “… NATO Commander General Wesley Clark of the United States was prepared to send in NATO troops to forcibly wrestle control of the airport from the Russian peace keeping units to his own NATO forces….This was prevented only because another NATO officers, Britain’s General Michael Jackson, refused to obey Clark’s order to move against the Russian peace keepers. At the time, it was reported he said to Clark, “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you”.
    And Clark, like Clinton, was for some time a hero of US ‘liberals’
    http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/01/15/cnna.moore/

    (And now Moore is convinced that President Putin won the 2016 election.)

    In these days of degraded universities and tuition fees necessitated by the luxurious lifestyles of the mediocrities (Vice Chancellor/CEOs) running them it behooves the sharp young student to avail herself of more efficient ways of getting an education.
    This web site, with its stream of substantial stories about International Relations, is one such resource.




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