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Andrew Korybko -- Hybrid Wars: Breaking the Balkans. Intense New Cold War Competition
Global Research, May 21, 2016
Thus far in the research, it’s been established that an intense New Cold War competition is taking place in the Balkans between the unipolar and multipolar worlds, with the latter vehemently working to bring their transnational connective projects to the region, whereas the former is ready to do whatever it takes to stop them. This situational context sets the stage for investigating the socio-political vulnerabilities of each of the Balkan states prior to commencing a detailed examination of their most probable Hybrid War scenarios.
Both Balkan Stream and the Balkan Silk Road are envisioned to run straight through the Central Balkans (with China’s multipolar megaproject presently being the only politically feasible of the two), thus making this corridor of states the geostrategic focus of Hybrid War, with specific attention being paid to the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. On the contrary, scarcely any destabilizing attention is directed towards the Eastern Balkan states of Romania and Bulgaria, mostly owing to their relative insulation from regionally disruptive factors such as the “refugee” crisis (which will be discussed in this section at length).
If there’s any way in which these countries could play a role in Hybrid Wars, it’s not particularly relevant to the scenarios that will eventually be discussed, save for the structural pressure that Bulgaria can exert on a weakened Macedonia (just as it tried to do in May 2014). As important as a factor as this is, it’s still not one of the core Hybrid War variables in and of itself, and can rather be seen as a supplementary action to maximize any presently ongoing destabilization within the targeted state. Romania could fulfill the opposite role, in that it might one day find itself on the receiving end of a Hybrid War supported by a hyper-nationalist Hungary eager to stir up troubles in the centrally located “Szekely Land” that’s mostly inhabited by its ethnic diaspora. While this is certainly an interesting possibility for researchers to explore more in-depth (and there are quite a few reasons why it may eventually happen), it has no direct connection the Law of Hybrid War that states that:
The grand objective behind every Hybrid War is to disrupt multipolar transnational connective projects through externally provoked identity conflicts (ethnic, religious, regional, political, etc.) within a targeted transit state.
No multipolar transnational connective projects are projected to run through Bulgaria and/or Romania, therefore removing them from the primary equation of Hybrid Wars as regards the specific concentration of this research. That being said, it does warrant the inclusion of Hungary instead, seeing as how Budapest is the northernmost node for the Balkan Silk Road. Similarly, the Western Balkan states, while not directly targeted for Hybrid Wars per say, will inevitably be affected by (and some of which will have a role to play in) a Hybrid War against the Central Balkan states given the inseparable nature of regional relations. Therefore, they, too, will be included in this chapter, as of course will Greece, which invaluably connects the two proposed multipolar projects to the Central Balkan corridor.
The chapter begins by detailing the three most regionally disruptive variables that can potentially explode at any time, before seguing into the next chapter which describes the three less-volatile factors (but no less important ones) that are also adversely impacting on the Balkans. After that, a follow-up chapter discusses each country’s particular socio-political vulnerabilities that can either trigger or be exacerbated by Hybrid Wars. Some scenario forecasting will take place at that time, but it won’t be until the final chapter afterwards that the most likely of the bunch, a Hybrid War on Macedonia, will be explored to full depth.
The ‘Refugee’ Crisis
The largest human migration that Europe has experienced since World War II is part and parcel of a calculated American-Turkish strategy to weaken the EU, and as planned, it also has had enormous consequences for the Balkan transit states. To summarily describe what has transpired, the US and its Lead from Behind Mideast allies created the destructive conditions necessary for prompting an overwhelming wave of outmigration from Syria. While the country’s citizens have dispersed in all directions, Turkey ended up with the largest amount of them at over 2 million. Most of the people that fled to Turkey were anti-government sympathizers, terrorists, and Islamists, each of whom left their country in the early days of the conflict fearing legal retribution in advance of the Syrian Arab Army’s strong headway in liberating the previously occupied territories and cities. A stalemate would quickly enter into place, however, and it would remain mostly in effect until the Russian anti-terrorist intervention changed the entire ground dynamic of the conflict.
Even during this time, however, the majority of Syria’s refugees have always been internal, and they are vastly comprised of individuals that fled the areas under terrorist control for the safety of the government-administered locations, under which over 70% of the country’s population securely resides. As for the “refugees” (anti-government sympathizers, terrorists, and Islamists, for the most part) that fled into Turkey, they were detained in pre-constructed camps for years and strictly prohibited from leaving the premises. This policy was enforced with the expectation that the de-facto imprisoned individuals could be more easily cajoled by the American and Turkish intelligence services into forming a large anti-government ‘army’ for redeployment into their homeland. This policy didn’t succeed, and thus, Turkey was left with a burgeoning mass of mouths to feed while receiving nothing strategic from them in return, and this amidst the rising resentment of the majority of the population to their presence. In response to their failed military-political plan in using the “refugees” against Syria, the US and Turkey thus decided to redirect them against Europe, each for their own self-interested purposes.
Weapons Of Mass Migration:
The use of large-scale strategically engineered and directed human population flows as an asymmetrical weapon was formally theorized by Kelly M. Greenhill in her 2010 book about “Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy”, although it’s likely that her publication wasn’t the first time that such a nefarious strategy was thought of. The importance of referencing her work is in proving that the concept of using “refugees” as witting and/or unwitting ‘plausibly deniable’ strategic weapons isn’t unprecedented, and that Greenhill’s book may have played a determining factor in convincing American decision makers to tinker with her theory in practice one day. The “Arab Spring” theater-wide Color Revolutions and the subsequent Hybrid War on Syria gave rise to the perfect socio-political conditions for testing the concept in a real-life application, and the next sub-sections document the particular interests that Turkey and the US were trying to promote by means of this post-modern weapon.
The reader should keep in mind that the bulk of the “refugees” that were unleashed against Europe weren’t what one would stereotypically imagine upon first hearing the word. Many of them aren’t ragged and malnourished people of all ages (despite the false perception that American-influenced media entities go at lengths to construct), but rather healthy military-aged young men with thousands of Euros in cash at their disposal. These aggressive and well-fed individuals are the poster representation of the type of people that have stormed into Europe and defiantly made their way from Greece to Germany. Most of them have done so in the pursuit of receiving generous welfare handouts and/or exploiting the liberal-progressive social mindset of their new hosts in order to set up a base of operations for spreading Islamism (which is not welcome in the areas liberated by the secular Syrian Arab Army). While there are definitely some genuine refugees caught up in the mix, the previous description aptly sums up the majority of those that have already entered Europe by this point and de-facto furthered Turkey and the US’ strategic objectives against the continent:
Ankara’s most important motivation in weaponizing the “refugees” against the EU was to blackmail the bloc into restarting Turkey’s stalled admission process and paying it handsomely to clean up the socio-political problem that it intentionally unleashed. Both of these primary objectives were fulfilled on the last day of November 2015 when the EU declared a “new beginning” to bilateral relations with Turkey, promising it a “re-energized” negotiating process for joining the EU and 3 billion Euros to deal with the “refugee” crisis. Nearly one million “refugees” had entered Europe by that point, and given the socio-ideological traits that most of them embody, it can also be said that Turkey’s Neo-Ottoman foreign policy has gained a sizeable fifth column of support in the EU. This is very significant, since these individuals could prove to be invaluable assets in furthering the probable projection of Turkish influence into the Balkans as a form of geopolitical compensation for Ankara’s failed Neo-Ottoman ambitions in the Mideast.
The US’ goals in the “refugee” campaign are far grander than Turkey’s, as Washington is aiming to lay the seeds for a long-term demographic disruption in key EU-member states. The idea is to keep certain countries with hitherto near-homogenous ethnic and/or cultural compositions (particularly Germany, Sweden, France to an extent, and Italy to a slight degree) internally weak and fragmented along identity lines. This is envisioned to manufacture a tense and persistent ‘state of siege’ that could make it easier to manipulate the on-the-ground conditions for a Color Revolution, which would be commenced if any of these countries’ leaders behave too independently in their dealings with Russia and China. A perfect example of this in the future could be Germany’s energy cooperation with Russia through Nord Stream II. If the Eastern Europeans don’t succeed in sabotaging the project, then the domestic tension arising out of the multisided migration dispute between the “refugees”, their fascist rivals, and ordinary citizens could be harnessed into a full-scale Color Revolution attempt to achieve this, even if it’s waged on a completely separate pretext.
Additionally, the “refugee” warfare that the US is waging against Europe has prompted many states to resort to their militaries as a frontline form of defense in handling and organizing the masses, and this in turn has given their armed forces a more visible role in protecting society. Infused with a new importance, especially one that garners most of the population’s support, it’s foreseeable that many European states’ defense expenditures will either remain at the present levels or predictably increase to meet their new security demands. The relevancy that this has to American grand strategy is that the US has been pushing its NATO counterparts to spike their defense budgets as much as possible, as evidence from former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ farewell speech in June 2011. The “refugee” campaign has thus fulfilled this strategic objective since European military expenditures will likely increase as a result of it, which will then be partly redirected to NATO and in subsidizing the US’ efforts to ‘contain Russia’.
The US’ ‘weapons of mass migration’ aren’t solely targeting the EU, but are also fully intended to sow chaos and discord all along their Balkan transit route as well. The lion’s share of the nearly one million “weaponized refugees” that streamed into Europe traveled to their destinations via the Central Balkan route through the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, the two main chokepoint states for Balkan Stream and the Balkan Silk Road. This wasn’t incidental, either, because they could have been directed to journey through Albania or Bulgaria instead, but their human traffickers (many of whom also ply their trade in drug and weapons smuggling and are assets of American intelligence) were ‘tipped off’ that accessing these routes would result in their own personal arrest (not just the detention of their clientele), so they avoided this path and focused all their efforts on infiltrating into Macedonia and further ‘downstream’.
The regular and concentrated flow of thousands of human beings across border checkpoints prepared to handle just a fraction of that quickly overwhelmed the governing authorities and created unexpected financial, social, and political costs to the transit states. The disorderly manner in which most of the “refugees” entered and traversed each of these states prior to Macedonia building its border fence in mid-November 2015 contributed to the chaos, and the outcome of regional tension was predictable. Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia constructed their own border fences and this led to an ultra-destabilizing backlog of “refugees” ‘upstream’ in Macedonia and Serbia, since their geographic gate of access, Greece, refused to do a single thing at all to stop the human flow from surging northwards. The effect of this accelerated fencing was to deepen the security dilemma between the Western and Central Balkans, since the latter felt as if the former were literally walling them off to become nationwide “refugee camps” to house the individuals that Europe no longer was capable of receiving.
The social disruption that such a plan could create would be enough to collapse the entirety of the Central Balkans, since the influx of even 100,000 non-integrating and non-assimilating civilizationally different “refugees” into their societies would overload domestic tensions and inevitably result in some sort of large-scale destabilization in one manner or another. For example, a small number of disaffected “refugees” burned down part of their camp in Slovenia in late-October simply because they were upset at being delayed entry into Austria, making one imagine the scope of violence that thousands of them could unleash if they were trapped in the Central Balkans, let alone if some of them were armed by terrorist groups such as a revived KLA or similar organization.
‘Stranded refugees’ are thus very susceptible to experiencing a ‘siege mentality’ and being incited into large-scale violence by a handful of professional provocateurs adept at crowd psychology. These weaponized masses could then be easily directed into participating in a Color Revolution alongside domestic regime change elements (ostensibly to ‘protest their ‘living conditions’) or an outright Unconventional War (a militant expression of their Islamist identity, perhaps in ‘response’ to ‘domestic pressures’ against them). Another form that this could take is in the ‘stranded refugees’ crazily fighting to break out of their Central Balkan ‘nationwide camp’ and reach Central Europe, similar in theme to how the Czechoslovak Legion ravaged through the remnants of the Russian Empire to reach the same location (although much more dramatically and over a distance many times longer).
At any rate, it’s impossible to predict the exact form that any substantial “refugee” destabilization could eventually take, but what should be understood after reading this section is that “refugees” could easily be turned into ‘stay-behind time bombs’ by the US and its regional provocateurs, and that the Central Balkans need to shuffle them out of the country in a securely and organized of a manner as possible (excepting those who of course sincerely want to be part of Serbian and Macedonian society and have the international legal right to do so as genuine refugees).
This century-long geopolitical project has refused to lay dormant ever since the Ottomans formally took steps to actualize it in 1912. For the sake of remaining focused on the subject of Hybrid Wars, this section will refrain from a deep historical analysis of the demographic manipulations leading up to that time and will treat it as the modern starting point for the birth of Greater Albania.
The Ottomans, by then on a multidirectional imperial retreat, wanted to enact a classic policy of divide and conquer in a desperate bid to retain their Balkan empire. The merging of four separate Vilayets (Ottoman-era provincial divisions) into the proposed Albanian Vilayet was supposed to make that ethnic group the Sultan’s regional ‘capo’, giving them a stake in the Caliphate out of interest in preserving their artificially aggrandized territorial unit. As timing would have it, the Balkan War of Independence erupted almost exactly at this time, squashing the ambitions of Greater Albania and freeing all of Europe from Ottoman domination except for a tiny sliver of Eastern Thrace.
In the aftermath of this war and the one that followed it after Bulgaria betrayed its neighboring allies, the Albanian provisional government unsuccessfully tried to make the case that its borders should correspond roughly with those of the failed Albanian Vilayet, the Ottoman imperial structure that was supposed to advance the interests of Greater Albania. Thankfully, this effort was repulsed by foreign diplomatic intervention during the London Conference of 1912-1913, and the country’s borders were officially delineated according to their current shape. Nevertheless, Tirana’s irredentist ambitions never faded, and the country’s leaders still remained fanatically dedicated to promoting their geopolitical project.
World War II Fascist Revival:
The racial radicalism that pervaded the Albanian mindset at the time was ideologically compatible with Fascism, with the only main opponents to this zeitgeist being the communist guerrillas who, it must be said, fought bravely against their Italian occupiers. Most of the population, however, was seduced by the racial nationalism being forcibly promoted by Rome, which made the strategic decision to revive the Sultan’s divide-and-rule dreams in backing the Greater Albania geopolitical project. In both instances, the imperial hegemon sought to use this artificial construct in order to stir up Balkan divisions and prevent the region from uniting against it. As accords modern-day borders, this iteration of the Albanian Vilayet saw Tirana annexing part of Montenegro, Serbia, and the Republic of Macedonia, all of which were part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia at the time. The supreme illegality and absolutely manufactured pretexts on which Fascist Italy revived Greater Albania were the reasons why the Allied Powers revoked its genocidal imposition after their victory and mandated that Albania’s borders be returned to their pre-war location.
In the over half a century between the end of World War II and the 1999 NATO War on Yugoslavia, the plot of Greater Albania deceptively looked as if it had hit a snag. Under Enver Hoxha, Albania became one of the most isolated countries in the world, losing the USSR as an ally and eventually China as well, all without making any Western diplomatic inroads to compensate. The absolutely dismal situation in the country contributed to a steady outflow of migrants, many of whom settled in what was then the Autonomous District of Kosovo and Metohija (1945-1963) and afterwards the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (1963-1974).
Having higher birthrates than the native population, the migrating Albanians were able to quickly become an overwhelming majority in no time, but given the government’s adherence to the precepts of communism, it refused to recognize these shifting demographics as a national security concern. Quite the contrary, in accordance with nationality-blind communist ideology, they celebrated the fact that the district/province was essentially a majority non-Slavic entity in Yugoslavia (literally, “the land of the Southern Slavs”) by imparting it with even higher autonomy than before. The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution transformed the administrative division into the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, a status that it would retain until Slobodan Milosevic rescinded it back to its prior state in 1990.
Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate in Pec (Kosovo-Metohija), burnt by Albanians on March 16, 1981
The cumulative effect of the communist years was to incubate the idea of Greater Albania and impart on it the conditions for geopolitical actualization in the Province of Kosovo in the aftermath of Yugoslavia’s dissolution. The rump state that remained was much more vulnerable to an externally directed terrorist war than the comparatively stronger and much more unified Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of decades past, and the metamorphasized international context was also more amenable to waging identity-based conflicts. In all fairness, the Yugoslavia authorities probably never thought that a scenario would realistically arise where Kosovo could be forcibly stolen from their country, figuring instead that they could use the Albanians fostered there as a fifth column for exerting influence over their native homeland next door. Whatever their original rationale may have been, the Yugoslav authorities’ calculations in Kosovo miserably backfired and ultimately facilitated NATO’s forceful summoning of the Greater Albania demon.
The NATO Rebirth:
The end of the Cold War brought about a new geopolitical calculus all across the world, especially in the Balkans with the American-engineered dissolution of Yugoslavia. This opened up opportunities for the promotion of US grand strategy in the region, predicated first and foremost on further diminishing the power projecting capabilities of Serbia, the Balkan heartland. Taking into account the six socio-political vulnerabilities (ethnic, religious, historical, administrative, socio-economic, and physical geographic separateness) most likely to be manipulated in triggering a Hybrid War or its separate Color Revolution and Unconventional War components, the US opted to target make the Province of Kosovo its next priority in the War on Serbia (itself a subsect of the asymmetrical War on Russia).
After having been incubated and actively allowed to strengthen for decades, the socio-political factors most supportive of an Unconventional Albanian War on Serbia were already in place, and all that was needed was for a tactically skilled external patron to take the lead in managing the terrorist insurgency. The US gleefully fulfilled this role, as it was eager to establish what would later turn out to be one of its largest overseas bases ever in Camp Bondsteel, crucially located at a geostrategic crossroad and capable of projecting power throughout the entire peninsula. Thus began the terrorist campaign for splintering the historical Serbian homeland away from the rest of the state, expecting that this dramatic act of geopolitical abuse would psychologically impact generations of Serbian citizens and infuse within them a malicious conception of self-guilt that would make them much easier to manipulate in the future.
The 1999 NATO War on Yugoslavia was launched in conventional support of ethnic-cleansing Albanian terrorists that would have otherwise been defeated by the Serbian Armed Forces. Up until that point, the insurgents were receiving considerable clandestine support from the US, but even with that, they weren’t able to decisively shift the dynamics of battle and succeed in their campaign. In response, the US began promoting the easily consumable media lie that all Serbian military victories against terrorists were actually cases of wanton genocide, capitalizing off of the negative and untrue mainstream media press that Serbia and President Milosevic received during the Bosnian Civil War in order to make it seem ‘believable’.
The effect in practice was that a carefully crafted one-sided view of the conflict was promoted by the American-influenced global media and convinced most of the world that the Serbs were committing outrageous human rights violations against defenseless Albanian ‘civilians’. Following up on this unprecedented post-Cold War preconditioning, the US was thus able to exploit this widely-disseminated fabrication in order to sell its first large-scale “humanitarian intervention”, the consequences of which were the severing of the Province of Kosovo from Serbia and the eventual construction of Camp Bondsteel, its two geopolitical goals all along.
Moving Against Macedonia:
After succeeding in Serbia for at least the time being, the geopolitical project of Greater Albania directed its ambitions against the Republic of Macedonia. One of the strongest steps to be taken in this direction occurred when 360,000 Albanian refugees flooded into the country during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia. This completely upset the existing demographic balance in the country (hitherto 66.6% Macedonian and 22.7% Albanian per the 1994 census of 1,295,964 and 441,104 each, respectively), temporarily creating the situation where ethnic Albanians were unnaturally over 40% of the population by mid-1999.
While these numbers would later deflate as many of the Serbian-Albanians repatriated to the now-occupied Province of Kosovo (the 2002 census, the country’s most recent, has ethnic Albanians constituting 25.1% of the population at 509,083 individuals), they briefly emboldened the KLA’s sister organization, the “National Liberation Army” (NLA), to launch a violent terrorist insurgency to Macedonia in 2001. Just as had happened in Serbia, the Western mainstream media immediately began spinning the government’s liberating counter-offensives as a form of “genocide”, and at the brink of the NLA’s defeat, the US intervened to save the beleaguered terrorists in Aracinvo and enforce a Western-dictated ‘resolution’ to the conflict known as the Ohrid Agreement.
This text is widely recognized as granting the greatest amount of political rights to any minority in the world, and it essentially mandates that almost no major decision can be made by the Macedonian government without the majority approval of the ethnic-Albanian parliamentarians. These demographic is guaranteed proportional representation based on their share of the population, so theoretically, lawmakers presently accountable to only 12.5% of the population hold veto power over whatever the rest of their counterparts representing the other 87.5% of them decide. However disproportionate this may seem, it’s the ‘solution’ that the US sought to enforce on the Republic of Macedonia, largely due to its belief that it could succeed in using the Albanian population there as an eternal proxy in controlling the country’s behavior.
It turned out that the US had misjudged the Macedonian-based Albanians, since the majority of them saw the failed state that was constructed in the neighboring occupied Province of Kosovo and wanted no part of that in their stable and ultra-inclusive country. As such, many Albanians disavowed the Tirana-peddled project of Greater Albania and started cooperating with the democratically elected and legitimate government, figuring that they could gain more for themselves by working with the authorities under the new Ohrid framework than militantly fighting against them in the unrealistic pursuit of something better. Since that time, two competing Albanian parties have formed within the country: the Democratic Party of Albania (DPA), which is in a governing coalition with the much larger VMRO; and the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), which is aligned with the Color Revolutionary SDSM opposition that’s been trying to overthrow the state since the beginning of 2015.
The Albanian population in Macedonia is not naturally inclined to revolt against the state, which is why Tirana and Washington redeployed the KLA in May 2015 to launch coordinated attacks against the government in support of the ongoing Color Revolution at the time. Had they carried out their plans, then the country would surely have descended into a Hybrid War, but the Macedonian authorities raided the terrorists’ hideout in Kumanovo and diverted this destructive scenario. To their credit, the Albanian people did not take the existence of the KLA in Macedonia as being a signal to riot in their terroristic support of Greater Albania, proving that the vast majority of this demographic sincerely want to remain part of the Republic of Macedonia (much to the dismay of the US and Albania’s geostrategic plans). Nonetheless, as will be discussed in the final chapter focusing on the Hybrid War scenario in Macedonia, it can’t be discounted that DUI supporters could be convinced to change their minds and take up arms against the state, and serious efforts are underway by Tirana and Washington to sway them towards this proclivity.
The Bosnian Civil War:
The origins of the bloodiest conflict in the former Yugoslavia could be said to go back centuries, but the most direct trigger was the secession of Bosnia & Herzegovina from Yugoslavia after a disputed referendum held between 29 February and 1 March, 1992. Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic, who was also Chairman of the Presidency, declared the entity’s independence on 3 March, stoking immediate unrest from the Serbian community that was absolutely opposed to the move and had largely boycotted the previous vote. The so-called Lisbon Agreement that had been discussed prior to the referendum took on a new urgency as it appeared to be the only alternative to all-out civil war in the then-unrecognized state, and for a brief moment and after intense negotiations, all three sides (Muslims, Croats, and Serbs) finally signed on to its modified conditions. The diplomatic success was suddenly spoiled by Izetbegovic, who, after meeting with US Ambassador to Yugoslavia Warren Zimmerman, unexpectedly withdrew his signature on 28 March and prompted the wave of turmoil that would soon escalate into the civil war.
The US’ reasoning behind encouraging the failure of the Lisbon Agreement was to provoke the conditions for an anti-Serbian war inside the country. Ethnic Serbs had inhabited much of modern-day Bosnia and even parts of Croatia for centuries, and this state of demographic affairs was an internationally recognized and much-documented fact by 1991. The US was afraid that the Serbian communities that abruptly found themselves to be unwitting inhabitants of these two newly declared states would band together in rallying for reunification with their Serbian brethren, and that if successful, this would give Belgrade valuable strategic depth that would allow it to maintain its status as the regional leader. The only way to prevent this from happening was to ethnically cleanse the Serbs from these key territories and repopulate them with Croats and Muslims, since the altered demographics would then disrupt this scenario and remove a major obstacle to the US’ proxy control over the Balkans. In order to set the anti-Serbian ethnic cleansing events into motion, the US needed to spark to an armed conflict, and the easiest way to do that was to convince Izetbegovic to abruptly pull out of the Lisbon Agreement. In exchange, he would receive American recognition of Bosnia’s independence, which sure enough, came shortly thereafter on 6 April.
The NATO Game-Changer:
Just as the US expected, the resultant conflict proved to be extraordinarily bloody and unprecedentedly destabilizing for all of its participants, but what it didn’t anticipate was for the Serbs to gain the upper hand and secure most of their ethnically inhabited territories in Bosnia and Croatia, respectively called Republika Srpska and the Republic of Serbian Krajina. This presented the US with a major problem – it had encouraged an armed conflict in order to ethnically cleanse the Serbs from these precise areas, but they had surprisingly fortified their positions and fairly won their right to remain there. This state of affairs was totally unacceptable for the US, since it also revealed that Washington’s proxies were poorly trained and incapable of winning the war on their own. The infighting between them was disastrous for the overall anti-Serbian cause that the US had envisioned, and the more that the Croats and Bosnians fought, the more likely it became that an unforeseen alliance between the Serbs and Croats would form in dividing Bosnia among themselves and totally invalidating the US’ geostrategic plans for a pro-American ‘buffer’ protectorate between them.
Therefore, in order to shift the entire dynamic of the conflict, the US spearheaded a diplomatic initiative to end the Croat-Muslim aspect of the Bosnian Civil War and tie both sides together into a coordinated anti-Serbian alliance under strict American supervision. The fruit of this strategizing labor was the Washington Agreement that was signed on 18 March, 1994, and from then on out, the conflict became a two-sided affair pitting the Croats and Muslims against the Serbs, just as the US had originally envisioned. The reshaped contours of the Bosnian conflict were advantageous to the advancement of American grand strategy, since it now had a semi-coordinated ‘ground coalition’ that could be decisively directed against the Serbian communities of Bosnia and Croatia, thus fulfilling the ethnic cleansing ends that the US had earlier planned for by proxy.
Assisting the Croats and Muslims the entire time was NATO, which had been active in the battlespace since the end of 1992. The bloc’s involvement gradually intensified over the years, having begun with Operation Maritime Guard in November 1992 to inspect shipping cargoes and then evolving into Operation Deny Flight in April 1993 to enforce a no-fly zone over the country. NATO engaged in a policy of selective compliance in each case, enacting double standards in order to tilt the advantage against the Serbs whenever possible. The Washington Agreement raised the possibility for the first time since the conflict started that a coordinated NATO-Croat-Muslim offensive was a realistic end game for eliminating the Serbs, and from that point on, all three sides began scheming for how to bring this about. The simplest way, it was figured, would be for NATO to take the lead in bombing Serbian positions, and sporadic attacks took place throughout 1994.
What the trilateral coalition was ultimately preparing for, however, were Croatia’s Operation Storm and NATO’s Operation Deliberate Force, which would rock the Serbian communities in the summer of 1995 and produce a large-scale humanitarian disaster that would compel Serbia into surrendering. To put it into historical perspective, the NATO-Croat-Muslim alliance was formalized in March 1994, and it took nearly a year and a half to decently train and supply the on-the-ground forces before the onset of the two Operations. Of critical importance were the American advisors and private military contractor MPRI that assisted the Croats with their August onslaught, which was eventually launched from 4-7 August 1995 and resulted in the complete destruction of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Following up on the offensive, NATO began Operation Deliberate Force from 30 August-20 September, 1995 in an effort to obliterate Republika Srpska and complicate the already overwhelming humanitarian crisis that it was experiencing from the hundreds of thousands of Serbian refugees that flooded into the country from Serbian Krajina. Interestingly enough, the US used the thoroughly manipulated pretext of a “humanitarian intervention” in responding to the mainstream media-distorted “Srebrenica Massacre” in order to ‘justify’ its game-changing intervention in bringing the Bosnian Civil War to a dramatic conclusion.
The Dayton Agreement:
The Bosnian Civil War was finally ended by the Dayton Agreement that was signed between Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia on 14 December, 1995. The document itself is quite extensive, but its most notable components include the following:
* a new Bosnian Constitution with complicated presidential and parliamentary systems;
* the federalization of the country between Bosnia & Herzegovina and Republika Srpska;
* an elaboration of federal and state jurisdictions and responsibilities;
* the imposition of non-citizens in key legal positions;
* and the formation of the non-citizen Office of the High Representative to oversee the Agreement.
Even the most uninformed of political observers can conclude just by the aforementioned that the Dayton Agreement is meticulously designed to unnaturally preserve the nominal ‘unity’ of the Bosnian state, while making it generally ungovernable and under the purvey of foreign states. None of the warring parties that signed the agreement probably expected it to last this long, seeing it less as a permanent ‘solution’ and more as a temporary fix to de-escalate tensions and return a semblance of normalcy until a better approach can be agreed upon later.
This deeply flawed document engendered much discord among all sides since its implementation, and it’s been clear from the get-go that it’s far from a political panacea. The one positive development that it did lead to, however, is the broad autonomy of Republika Srpska, which can largely be credited with placating the Serbian population and preserving the peace. While certain details of the Dayton Agreement such as legislative particularities and the unreasonable legal authority given to certain non-citizens can potentially be put up for renegotiation between all sides, the one issue that is non-negotiable is the autonomy of Republika Srpska, but regretfully, the de-facto rescinding of this constitutionally guaranteed principle is exactly what Sarajevo seems keen to slyly do under the command of its Western patrons.
Rewriting The Peace, Renewing The War:
2015 was the year that’s seen the most adamant attempts to revise the Dayton Agreement at Republika Srpska’s expense. The first provocation was the UK’s one-sided UNSC Resolution condemning the events in Srebrenica, misleadingly painting the Serbs as the sole aggressors and implying that their federal entity was founded on genocidal grounds. Russia vetoed the proposal in early July for these very reasons, but the British effort revealed that the Western powers as a whole have serious intentions in rocking the boat in Bosnia and trickily creating the legal pretext for stripping Republika Srpska of its sovereignty. Around the same time as this was going on, Sarajevo announced the “Court and Prosecutor’s Office” that would blatantly contravene the Bosnian Constitution by having authority over Republika Srpska, prompting President Dodik to proclaim that he would take the issue to a referendum if they continued to pursue it.
A couple of months later in November, Sarajevo came out with another legal aggression against Republika Srpska’s sovereignty, this time when the Constitutional Court ruled that the entity’s annual Republic Day is discriminatory and must no longer be celebrated. The verdict was divided along ethnic lines, with the Muslim and international judges overriding the outvoting the Serbian and Croatian ones who were against the initiative. In response, President Dodik said that Republika Srpska will hold a referendum on whether to recognize the Constitutional Court’s ruling and demanded that the foreign judges be permanently removed from the country’s legal framework and the earlier decision reversed, threatening to remove his state’s representatives from federal institutions if the changes aren’t made within 120 days.
It’s apparent that there’s a coordinated push by Sarajevo to provoke Republika Srpska into taking constitutionally guaranteed sovereignty-supporting measures that could then be perversely spun into some sort of ‘aggressive, anti-Bosnian’ action as part of a coordinated smear campaign. The federal authorities aren’t doing this on their own initiative, however, since it’s obvious that they’re being guided to do so by the Western powers that they’re beholden to, namely the US. This is why its closest UNSC partner, the UK, tried to push through the purposefully misleadingly worded Srebrenica Resolution to create a pretext for abolishing Republika Srpska’s sovereignty under a forthcoming future scenario. The overall goal is to eliminate this Serbian diasporic entity just as they did with the Republic of Serbian Krajina back in 1995, perhaps via similarly militant means and under a totally false ‘constitution-enforcing’ pretense. The trumped-up allegations that Republika Srpska is trying to unilaterally revise the Dayton Agreement are hypocritical to the extreme, since it’s Sarajevo and the Croat-Muslim portion of the country that’s doing so, not the Serbian entity. The US’ grand vision is to use forthcoming violence in Republika Srpska (whether federally or terrorist-initiated) as a Reverse Brzezinski trap for sucking in Serbia and destroying it once and for all, ultimately seeing an American victory in the War on Serbia as being an irreversible defeat for Russia in the region.
To be continued…
Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for the Sputnik agency. He is the post-graduate of the MGIMO University and author of the monograph “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015). This text will be included into his forthcoming book on the theory of Hybrid Warfare.
The original source of this article is Oriental Review
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