24 March 2014, 20:12

NATO's 'humanitarian' bombing of Yugoslavia absurdity under cover of democracy - expert

NATO's 'humanitarian' bombing of Yugoslavia absurdity under cover of democracy - expert

Fifteen years ago today NATO launched its military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. The air strikes lasted from March 24to June 10, 1999. Codenamed Operation Allied Force, the campaign was aimed at ending all military action taking place under the Milosevic government, withdrawing of all military and paramilitary forces from Kosovo, and stationing a UN peacekeeping mission there. Boris Malagursky, a Serbian-Canadian film director, producer and screenwriter, talked to the Voice of Russia about those events.

Shortly before the operation against Yugoslavia began in 1999, the then NATO chief Javier Solana said that the aim of the airstrikes was to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo. But did the bombing bring any good to the region in a long-term perspective?

Yes, this is the first time in history that we heard a chief of a military organization say that they are engaged in the humanitarian bombing. It sounds very Orwellian and is really absurd of course that humanitarian crisis not only didn’t stop but was escalated as the bombing started, as the conflict in Kosovo intensified and even though also projected aim of NATO was to get rid of Milosevic, and get him out of power in Serbia, the bombing only solidified his power and people are behind him. So, in essence it did not do what the proclaimed goal was. On the other hand, what we got was the secession of the territory, the breach of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia is something that was contrary to international law, UN Security Council’s act from 1975 and it is interesting that all those nations that have bombed the country are contrary to the UN charter that has killed so many people to take away the territory from the sovereign country, calling upon that same international law to deny another territory that doesn’t want to be a part of a country, that never was a part of that country throughout history. We are talking first of all about Crimea, and they are saying Crimea can’t do that even though they bombed another country in a legal way to secede Kosovo from Serbia which is what eventually happened in 2008.

NATO used military force in Yugoslavia without the approval of the UNSC. Wasn’t this an obvious sign of a double standard policy? Do you agree that the West continues to ignore international rules if it has its strategic interests in this or that region?

Absolutely, we are watching the double standards in action. When you look at everything that the US has done, Yugoslavia was a training round for everything that was going to happen next. We’ve seen NATO act in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, we’ve seen them arming rebel forces in Syria. We’ve seen many NGOs that was funded by the US and have been working in Ukraine to bring down the democratically elected government, they’ve been meddling into internal affairs of other countries throughout the world, sometimes covertly, sometimes overtly, and when they do it, it is fine, it is legal, it is in the interests of democracy, as they like to say it, but when the people, like the people in Crimea, actually democratically decide that they want to go back to a country that they’ve been a part of throughout history like Russia, then automatically "it is a breach of international law, you just can’t do that". Even though nobody was killed in the whole thing. I think there was just two people who died in this whole process and if you look how many people of the US are killed in order to forge their own border or overthrow governments, this is one of the most peaceful transitions in history of this kind. So, the double standards are very obvious. When the US does it, the world says "fine, the US is the world power number one", when somebody else does it, automatically they talk about other international laws. I wonder where they were back in 1999 when NATO was bombing the sovereign country.

After Russia had increased its military presence in Crimea to protect the Russian-speaking population there, the West responded by imposing sanctions against Russian officials and organizations. Do you find this hypocritical? What is Serbian perception of Russians?

Serbian people are behind Russia, there is no doubt about it. I actually had been on the street because I have a TV show in Serbia, we did a little poll, asking people on the street, absolutely everybody said that they support what Russia is doing. As we all know this is not just in Serbia, even in countries of western Europe like Germany and UK, the majority of people in polls supported the actions of Russia. The people, as you said, they are noticing that this is hypocrisy of the West calling this illegal and immoral and what not. The people in Serbia even in these elections have been saying "look, we want to be a part of the world, we want to talk to everybody, we want to have the relations with the EU but we really respect Russia, we want to have good relations with them, we want to cooperate with Russia and we are in Russia’s side when it comes to Crimea".

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