The Kosovan Path (Agustín Guillamón)

Here’s a quick translation of some geopolitical analysis by the distinguished historian Augustín Guillamón, which draws from the history of the balkan conflict in order to examine the potential dangers of the so-called catalan independence process. The title is in reference to the assertion of the current president of the catalan generalitat, Quim Torra who notoriously posited towards the end of last year that catalan independence would be achieved through “the slovenian path”, a statement which provoked threats and outrage from politicians and pundits across the political spectrum throughout the spanish region.

Thanks to the comrades from materiales por la emancipación for sending the original article our way!

The Kosovan Path

Yesterday (2008), 20 points of analysis:

1. Kosovo is, since 1999, a territory occupied by NATO and the United States. It has one million and eight-hundred thousand inhabitants, the majority of them albanian (of the islamic religion). The serbian minority is between one hundred to one hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants. With an agriculture of subsistence, its principal economic resources are, currently, the subsidies from the European Union, the work related to the US military base, the remittances of emigrants and organized crime (arms, drugs, prostitution, the robbing of luxury cars), with military criminal gangs organized throughout all of Europe, in order to finance the kosovan Army’s war against Serbia, and finance the subsistence of their families.

2. Kosovo, with the fundamental support of the United States and Germany, declared itself unilaterally as an independent State, but the principal political decisions in reference to public expenditure, social programs, monetary and commercial accords will continue being in the hands of the administration of the occupying forces of NATO and the United States.

3. The prime minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, ex-leader of the Kosovan Liberation Army (KLA), maintains relations with the european crime syndicates (which principally traffic drugs, arms and prostitution), in close contact with the albanian, macedonian and italian mafias.

4. The occupation of Kosovo on part of NATO responds to the objectives of US foreign policy. It secures the militarization of strategic oil pipeline routes and transportation corridors which connect western Europe with the Black sea. It also protects the multi-billion [dollar] heroin trafficking industry, which utilizes Kosovo and Albania as transit locations for boat shipments of afghan heroin to western Europe. Kosovo is a US colony in Europe.

5. Kosovo hosts one of the largest US military bases, Camp Bondsteel, with more than seven thousand north american soldiers. There exist indications that it could substitute the US airbase of Aviano in Italy.

6. The plans to construct Camp Bondsteel, under a lucrative muti-billion dollar contract of the US Department of Defense, was formulated when Dick Cheney was president of Halliburton. The construction of Camp Bondsteel began shortly after the invasion of 1999 under the Clinton administration. The construction was finalized during the Bush administration, after Dick Cheney had resigned from his post as president of Halliburton. As on other occasions the objectives of US foreign policy coincide and are interlaced with the personal enrichment of the top officials of the north american administration.

7. One of the objectives of the Camp Bondsteel base was to protect the albanian-macedonian-bulgarian oil pipeline (AMBO) project, which channeled the petrol of the Caspian Sea from the bulgarian port of Burgas in the Black Sea to the Adriatic. Very opportunely, in 1997, two years before the invasion, a high executive of Brown and Root Energy, a subsidiary of Halliburton, Edward “Ted” L. Ferguson, had been named director of AMBO. Halliburton’s engineering company, Kellog, Brown & Root Ltd., also took charge of the viability plans of the AMBO pipeline. The AMBO accord for the 917 kilometer pipeline from Burgas to Valona, Albania, was signed in 2004.

8. The KLA (Kosovan Army) was created as a paramilitary group in the mid-nineties, financed by the United States and NATO. Its objective was to destabilize and, finally, disintegrate Yugoslavia. The KLA maintains ample relations with Al Qaeda, which was also implicated in its military training. Mujahideen mercenaries coming from many countries have joined the ranks of the KLA, which was implicated as much in terrorist activities as in political assassinations. The kosovan political system is composed of criminal elements. The western politicians are completely conscious of the nature of the kosovan political project, which they are the craftsmen of.

9. Nevertheless, what we are witnessing is not the habitual relations between some corrupt western politicians and criminal syndicates. The relationship is much more sophisticated. The European Union as much as the United states are utilizing criminal organizations from Kosovo in order to achieve their foreign military objectives. In exchange for that, Kosovo supports the interests of the oil companies and the defense contractors, not to mention the multi-billion dollar Afghan heroin trafficking industry.

10. At an institutional level, the US administration, the European Union, NATO, and the UN are in reality promoting the criminalization of the kosovan State, which they control. The independence of Kosovo would formally transform Kosovo into an independent mafia State, controlled by a western military alliance. What is decided in Kosovo is not any kind of “right of nations to self-determination”, but of the right of the local mafias to construct their own State.

11. In 1999, facing the certainty that Russia would veto a resolution of the Security Council to put a stop to Milósevic’s ethnic cleansing, in a Kosovo with an albanian majority, the general secretary of NATO, Javier Solana, ordered the bombing of Belgrade. It was the operation called “Determined Force” which developed from the 23rd of March to the 3rd of June of 1999, in which Spain participated with F-18 combat jets. The current independence of Kosovo is intimately related to the wars directed by the United States, after September 11th, in central Asia and the Middle East. The Balkans constitute the port of entry to Eurasia. The invasion of 1999 established a permanent military presence in the south of Europe, which serves the greater war led by the United States. Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq are three war scenarios which were undertaken for “humanitarian motives” and in defense of “the freedom of the peoples”. In the three countries, without exception, US military bases were established.

12. 70% of the heroin which enters western Europe goes through Turkey. And a large part of the boat shipments coming from Turkey transit through the Balkans. The arms contraband from Albania to Kosovo and Northern Macedonia began at the start of 1992. A triangular traffic of petrol, arms and narcotics was widely developed subsequent to the embargo imposed on Serbia and Montenegro by the international community, and to the blockade imposed by Greece on Northern Macedonia.

13. The industry and the agriculture in Kosovo were at the brink of bankruptcy because of the lethal “economic measures” imposed by the IMF on Belgrade in 1990. The embargo on Yugoslavia was imposed. The serbians and albanians were on the brink of an abysmal poverty, at the same time that the introduction of Slovenia and Croatia into the European Union was being supported, as another means of disintegrating Yugoslavia. The economic collapse created an environment which fomented the progress of crime in Kosovo. The unemployment index reached a surprising 70% (according to western sources). The poverty and the economic collapse served to exasperate the latent ethnic tensions. Thousands of unemployed youth, hardly even adolescents, were recruited into the ranks of the KLA, in an impoverished society and without career prospects.

14. The drug lords in Kosovo, Albania, and Northern Macedonia (which maintained relations with the italian mafia) had become the new economic elites, associated frequently with the interests of western businesses. In exchange, the financial revenue from the trafficking of drugs and arms was recycled into other illicit activities, including a vast network of prostitution between Albania and Italy. The albanian criminal groups, which operated in Milan, became networks of prostitution so powerful that they replaced the calbrian mafia in power and influence. It’s calculated that in Costa del Sol there are some six-hundred albanian-kosovan mafioso criminals, organized militarily.

15. The application of exceptional economic measures controlled by the institutions of Bretton Woods, with its base in Washington, had contributed to destroying the banking system of Albania and precipitating the collapse of its economy. The subsequent chaos permitted the transnationals of the US and europe to take excellent positions. Various western oil companies, including Occidental, Shell and British Petroleum, had set their eyes on the abundant and unexplored deposits of oil in Albania. The western investors also indicated the immense reserves of chromium, copper, gold, nickel and platinum in Albania…

16. It’s not surprising that there has been a total silence in the international medias of communication in relation to the trafficking of arms and drugs in Kosovo. The destiny of Kosovo had already been carefully drawn-up before the signing of the accords of Dayton in 1995. NATO had established some dangerous relations with the mafia, which would be difficult to renounce. It had established muslim “freedom fighters” in the region. The trafficking of narcotics allowed Washington and Bonn to finance the Kosovo conflict, with the precise and concrete objective of destabilizing the government of Belgrade and completely recolonizing the Balkans. The result is the destruction of a whole country. The western governments which participated in the NATO operation are fully responsible for the civilian deaths, the general impoverishment of the inhabitants, albanians as much as serbians, and the difficult situation experienced by those who were brutally uprooted from their cities and towns in Kosovo, due to the bombings.

17. The destruction of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a large pro-russian State substituted by a host of small mafia states, economically inviable in the framework of economic globalization, responds to the imperialist interests of the United States and Germany in the Balkans, with the submission of the colonized and totally dependent countries. It increases, facilitates and legalizes a clandestine mafioso economic sector, increasingly more important in all of the western economies, more or less persecuted in theory, but always protected and tolerated in practice because of its enormous benefits in the industrialized countries: trafficking of drugs, arms and prostitution. Albania, Kosovo, and Northern Macedonia are regions which are inviable as independent states, without any other destiny but that of constituting Mafia-States, colonized by the imperialist powers of the United States and the European Union, or, in their absence, by China and Russia, as it happened in Montenegro and Serbia.

18. The destruction of Yugoslavia began with the subordination of this country to the dictates of the IMF, which broke off Slovenia and Croatia as the countries most viable for introduction into the european Union, as it drowned the economy of Serbia-Montenegro and Northern Macedonia, and provoked the wars of disintegration of the different yugoslavian republics, in the measure that it converted the previous administrative divisions of Yugoslavia into international borders.

19. The independence of Kosovo is an imperialist spawn which finds similar replicas in Northern Macedonia, with an albanian minority and a serbo-macedonian majority; and in Bosnia, composed by two artificially federated governmental entities: the Serbian Republic and the Confederation of croats and muslims. Northern Macedonia and Bosnia are two other colonized and inviable States, seated upon an ethnic powder-keg which could explode at any moment.

20. In Kosovo no “right of nations to self-determination” is settled, but the construction of a State by local mafias, in the service of the imperialism of the United States and the European Union.

Thesis of 2008

The nationalisms are today, in the Balkans as much in the rest of Europe, and around the whole world, a weapon in the hand of the imperialist powers. The struggles for national liberation (of the so-called oppressed lands) as much as the imperialist wars (of the superpowers) are another manifestation of the barbarity of capitalist decadence. Sooner or later, all the commercial wars have to flow into armed conflicts between the principal imperialist powers.

Today (2018), 20 points of analysis:

1. The 17th of February of 2008, the Kosovan Parliament, meeting in a special session, proclaimed its independence from Serbia in a unilateral form, under the name Republic of Kosovo. The United States, The United Kingdom and France openly supported the declaration, while Serbia and Russia rejected it. There were protests in Belgrade against the declaration, while the majority of the countries of the European Union and of the balkan States officially recognized the new country.

2. Serbia announced that it wouldn’t recognize the new State and presented a formal consulta before the International Court of Justice referring to the legality of the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo. The serbian consulta was favorably approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, on the 8th of October of 2008, with 77 votes in favor, 6 against and 74 abstentions.

3. The serbian government presented a project of resolution before the General Assembly of the United Nations which reaffirmed its sovereignty over Kosovo, but the pressure of the principal countries of the European Union (to which Serbia desires to accede) ultimately changed the redaction of the approved proposal, in which it solicited from the United Nations that it support the dialogue between the governments of Belgrade and Pristina in order to reach technical accords. The proposal was approved with applause.

4. The 19th of April of 2013, Serbia and Kosovo initiated institutional State-to-State relations. In theory, it was the first step for the recognition of Kosovo as an independent State on part of Serbia.

5. In practice, the Republic of Serbia considers the territory of Kosovo as still under its sovereignty, in accord with what was stipulated by the constitution and by Resolution 1244 of the United Nations Security Council, and considers the institutions created by the Republic of Kosovo to be illegal. The serbian government, in Kosovo, is under the control of the Ministry of Kosovo and Metohija, funded on the 15th of May of 2007 and led by Goran Bogdanovic of the Democratic Party of Serbia since the 9th of July of 2008. Locally, serbian administration is exercised principally in Northern Kosovo and a few enclaves in the south of Kosovo, through the Communitarian Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija, composed of 45 representatives of 26 municipalities and with a headquarters in the city of Mitrovica.

6. In July of 2008, the government of Serbia organized local elections in zones under its administration in order to determine the representatives of the Assembly, despite the rejection by the Republic of Kosovo.

7. From the declaration of independence until today, 111 of the 193 countries of the UN have recognized the independence of the Republic of Kosovo. Among these states are found 23 of the 28 members of the European Union, 22 of the 27 members of NATO and 7 of the 8 members of the G8.

Countries such as Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cyprus, Georgia, Slovakia, Spain, Moldavia, Romania, Russia, Venezuela, Vietnam and many others have announced their refusal of this recognition of the independence of Kosovo.

8. With its firm support of Kosovo, the United States highlights its determined bet on the increasingly proactive security policy in the Balkans, for example, in Albania, where it would remodel an old military base, and in Greece, with which it just finished inaugurating a “strategic dialogue” in order to reinforce the military cooperation in the Aegean sea, with plans of opening bases. In the Balkans, Washington tries to counteract russian influence, but also the geostrategic threat that is posed to the West by the triumphant entry of China into Europe, by means of the New Silk Road and the Athens-Budapest high-speed train.

9. NATO maintains an international force in Kosovo (KFOR) since the end of the bloody war of secession against Serbia in 1998-1999, which left 13,000 dead and thousands displaced, and which was put to an end precisely by a 78 day NATO bombing campaign, which terrorized the inhabitants of Belgrade. It was the first time, since the end of the Second World War, that a large european city was bombarded.

10. On the Istok base, to the northeast of Kosovo, which served as the general barracks for the spanish troops deployed throughout the conflict, the germ of the future kosovan Army has been prepared.

11. On the 14th of December of 2018, Kosovo approved the formation of its own army of 5,000 men.

12. Whoever believes that the balkanization of the iberian peninsula is impossible, or estranged from the current trade war which has been unleashed between the different imperialist powers, is naive or is not sufficiently informed.

13. With the destruction of Yugoslavia, the European Union annexed Slovenia and Croatia. In order to achieve this it didn’t have reservations in bombarding Belgrade, despite the danger of a russian armed intervention.

14. China is the only power that is investing millions in infrastructure in the whole of Eastern Europe, from Athens and Serbia to Hungary, The Czech Republic and Poland. Its star project is the Athens-Budapest high-speed train.

15. The United States has bases in Spain, Italy, Athens, Albania and Kosovo.

16. Ukraine suffers from a civil war, saddled between russian interests and those of the European Union.

17. The balkan peninsula is not the iberian peninsula and the economic and geopolitical conditions are very distinct. But, from there, to think that no imperialist power, be it the United States, Russia or China, wouldn’t dare to intervene in favor of a catalan independence, which would debilitate the EU, there’s a stretch of realism open to speculation. Spaniards and catalans are not immune to that trade war between imperialist powers. What happened in the balkan peninsula can repeat, with all the variables that it wants, in the iberian peninsula, in any peninsula and in any region of the world.

18. Can anyone negate the possibility that any imperialist power would plan to incite the petty nationalisms of catalans, britons, corsicans, scots, irish, maygars, bavarians, flemish, sicilians, padanians, tyroleans, or muslim minorities, serbs, croats, roma, ukranians, russians, germans, etcetera?

19. Protectionism is the order of the day around the world. It explains the conquest of the Presidency of the United States by Trump and the rise of the parties of the extreme right in all of Europe which has already conquered the governments of Poland and Hungary. The international trade war in course exemplifies Brexit as a deeply seated attack against the European Union, fruit of the rivalries between the principal powers.

20. The trade wars are always resolved, sooner or later, in bellicose conflicts, which on occasions are indirect or intervened by third parties, although they ultimately end up in a direct confrontation. The independence of Catalonia would only be possible in one of these indirect confrontations between powers.

Thesis of 2018

The nationalisms are today, in the Balkans as much as in Spain and the rest of Europe, and throughout the world, one more weapon in the trade war between the most prominent imperialist powers: Russia, The United States, China and the European Union.

The so-called Brexit is no more than a frontal attack on the fortress of the EU.

China is the principal investor in the infrastructures of Eastern Europe: Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and above all the high-speed train between Athens and Budapest. In Europe itself!

During the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the European Union bombarded Belgrade with the objective of getting a hold of Slovenia and Croatia. Meanwhile, the United States secured a determinant influence in Albania and Kosovo. Russia has a determinant influence in Montenegro and Serbia, while it maintains an open war in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Bosnia/Herzgovina and Northern Macedonia are authentic powder-kegs which can explode at any moment, each seeing the other as a tempting trinket.

Catalan independence can only be the fruit of a crisis or collapse of the spanish State, provoked by the active intervention of one of these powers: China and/or the United States in its rivalry with the European Union. For Europe it would be a definitive blow to its pretensions of configuring an imperialist group of its own, founded upon the franco-german axis. So, then, an independent Catalonia would probably be a casus belli of worldwide scope.

The national liberation struggles or any secessionist attempt by catalans, corsicans, britons, flemish, scots, etcetera… are a part of this game of global geopolitics and commercial conflict between powers. The independence of Catalonia can only be a fast track to chaos, war and suffering.

It’s the kosovan path.

Agustín Guillamón

Barcelona, 20th of December, 2018