Mike Jones

Kosovo: The Successful Intervention?

Author: Mike Jones
Source: New Interventions, Volume 13, no 4, Summer 2011.
Prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive: by Paul Flewers & David Walters in 2017 & 2018
Copyright: New Interventions & Paul Flewers. Used here with permission.

Although only a few die-hards these days consider the Western invasion and occupation of Iraq to be anything but a disaster, those endorsing the NATO war against Libya invariably hark back to the Western intervention in Kosovo as an example of where such military action led to a successful outcome. The reality is, as we have pointed out in this magazine, considerably different, and it now seems that even the big powers are reconsidering the consequences of their supposedly ‘successful’ intervention.

The general election in Kosovo last December gave Hashim Thaçi’s Democratic Party only 33 per cent of the vote. The Democratic League came second, and the Movement for Self-Determination was third. The two latter parties rejected a coalition with the Democratic Party, whose drop in support reflected disillusion with the political and economic stagnation, but also the unchecked crime in Kosovo. Both the opposition and international observers accused the Democratic Party of swindle, as two districts registered a 95 per cent turn-out, twice the normal one. It seems that the ‘international community’ is finally abandoning support for Thaçi & Co.

Serbs in Mitrovica and thereabouts boycotted the election, but elsewhere in Kosovo they participated. The former look to a return to Serbian jurisdiction and the idea of exchanging territory has been aired; the Presevo Valley in southern Serbia is inhabited mainly by Albanians, whereas northern Kosovo is predominantly Serbian in population. But this, of course, would strengthen moves for the Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina to secede and adhere to Serbia; similarly, Albanian areas of Macedonia would want the same. As we said at the time, Bosnia-Herzegovina is not a nation state as the preconditions for such a thing are absent, and neither is Kosovo. Western meddling in ex-Yugoslavia, based on ulterior motives, hasn’t resolved anything in the long term.

The Movement for Self-Determination, led by ex-student activist Albin Kurti, rejects territorial exchange and wants fusion with Albania. Kurti’s campaign had active support from William Walker, the US ‘diplomat’ — intelligence agent — who ‘discovered’ — fabricated — the ‘Račak massacre’, which led to NATO’s war on the rump Yugoslavia. In Kosovo he’s a hero. In a public meeting he denounced Thaçi’s government for corruption, repression, etc, as well as the ‘international community’ for ignoring it.

On 16 December in Paris, Dick Marty, who came to prominence over his investigation into ‘extraordinary rendition’ by the CIA, whereby terror suspects were kidnapped and flown to third countries for torture, European government complicity, and the existence of secret prisons in EU countries, presented his report into the criminal activities of Hashim Thaçi and his cronies in the KLA’s Drenica group (the Drenica Valley, a KLA stronghold, was the scene of fighting between the KLA and Yugoslav units before the war). Two years of investigations conclude that: ‘Thaçi controls a network of drug-smugglers, assassins, torturers and traders in stolen human organs.’

Dick Marty, a liberal Swiss lawyer, wrote that ‘first-hand sources’ had reliably implicated three KLA leaders and Thaçi, plus other members of his inner-circle, ‘in ordering — and in some cases overseeing — murder, detentions, beatings and interrogations in various parts of Kosovo, and… on Albanian territory, between 1998 and 2000’. The year of 1998, of course, was before NATO’s war against the rump Yugoslavia.

A farm near Tirana airport, equipped for the purpose, was used for organ extraction. Prisoners were shot in the head and the organ removed, then either inserted directly into the buyer or flown abroad. A current court case in Priština against the Medicus clinic is suspected to be linked to the KLA group’s activities. Poor people from Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Turkey were tricked into going to Pristina, where their kidneys were stolen. Each organ was sold for around £80 000 pounds.

Carla del Ponte, the ex-prosecutor at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, wrote in her memoirs, published in 2008, that she had evidence that around 300 Serbs had had their organs stolen; she was told to keep quiet. Ten years after the war ended, around 2000 people are still missing and the investigations point to KLA involvement in some of these cases. Opponents of the KLA, or suspected spies or collaborators, whether Albanian, Serb or Roma, were held in secret prisons around Albania and eventually killed.

The report made clear that for more than a decade, anti-drug-smuggling authorities in at least five countries have named Thaçi & Co as having exercised violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics. Marty pointed out that Thaçi and his group could not have done as they apparently did, if they had not had the uncritical support from the West. Thaçi’s allies turned a blind eye to his activities, as he was ‘their son-of-a-bitch’.

Prior to NATO’s war, when the vicious conflict in Kosovo was hotting-up, we pointed out the nature of the KLA as a mafia-type outfit involved in various criminal activities. We were denounced by sectors of Trotskyism and other left-wingers, who shared naive illusions in this mafia outfit with its roots in hard-line Stalinism. Tam Dalyell MP and a few journalists expressed similar warnings, but were shouted down by the assorted apologists for imperialism. Even the pro-intervention Guardian gave prominence to the charges in Marty’s report, although little has appeared in the paper on this subject since. Apologies from our critics would be welcome considering the abuse to which we were subjected.



Last updated on 9 January 2018