Thirteen Years Later: NATO Conducts “Mopping Up Operations” In the Balkans

Does Serbia Remember the NATO Bombings?

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Serbia remained the only Balkan country which did not seek to join NATO.
 

The Americans allocate money to train journalists, offer special grants for the radio and TV, write articles for major national newspapers and pay for creating a positive image of NATO in the media.
 

Their main aim is to estrange Serbia and Montenegro from Russia, to guarantee the inviolability of all existing and potential military bases in the Balkans and to acquire brave and disciplined soldiers for the alliance’s dirtiest and most dangerous operations all over the world.
 

[I]f Balkan countries join NATO, all of them, including Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Republica Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina, will have to take an anti-Russian position.


 

 

On the 24th of March 13 years ago, a spate of NATO bombs was dropped on a peaceful European country. The March-June 1999 aggression against Yugoslavia, which was justified by the alliance’s concern for the plight of the allegedly deprived Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohija, lasted for 78 days.
 

Taking care of Albanians was only a pretext. In reality, it was a cruel punishment of Belgrade which refused to cooperate with NATO, waive its sovereignty and replace long-term leader Slobodan Milosevic.
 

The NATO aggression did not succeed in overthrowing Slobodan Milosevic and the Yugoslavian army also remained intact. The US had to develop a new strategy which worked excellently. In October 2000, the US and Germany carried out a special operation, later used in other countries and named a ‘colour revolution’.
 

As a result, power went to the hands of people who began to actively cooperate with NATO. However, Yugoslavia had no plans of joining NATO at that time. Moreover, speaking in Munich in 2010, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic declared that Serbia would remain neutral and would not join any military or defence unions. Thus, Serbia remained the only Balkan country which did not seek to join NATO.
 

On the whole, the Serbian people do not support the idea of joining the alliance and Montenegro shares this opinion. However, the government of Montenegro, which seceded from Serbia in 2006, openly says that there is no alternative to joining NATO.
 

Serbia is still keeping its own counsel on this issue, even though US ambassador to Belgrade Mary Warlick declared as early as 2010 that NATO always kept an open door for Serbia. What will Serbia decide to do?
 

A propaganda campaign for joining NATO has been launched in the country. Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac has begun army reforms based on NATO standards with the aim of subsequent joining that organisation.
 

The US is sparing no effort in helping to build a different image of NATO in Serbian society. The Americans allocate money to train journalists, offer special grants for the radio and TV, write articles for major national newspapers and pay for creating a positive image of NATO in the media.
 

Why are they doing it? Their main aim is to estrange Serbia and Montenegro from Russia, to guarantee the inviolability of all existing and potential military bases in the Balkans and to acquire brave and disciplined soldiers for the alliance’s dirtiest and most dangerous operations all over the world.

For Russia, NATO is a potentially dangerous organization which threatens the country’s national interests. Speaking about the main external dangers, President Dmitry Medvedev mentioned the ‘striving to combine the NATO military potential with global functions carried out with the violation of the international law and to bring the military infrastructure of NATO member-states nearer to Russian frontiers by way of expanding the bloc.’
 

For this reason, if Balkan countries join NATO, all of them, including Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Republica Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina, will have to take an anti-Russian position.

Yelena Guskova, PhD (history) is head of the Centre for Analysing the Contemporary Balkans Crisis, Institute of Slavonic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
 

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Articles by: Dr. Yelena Guskova

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