Robert Adrian on Tue, 30 Mar 1999 04:20:33 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Bombing raids should have had UN approval

>March 26, 1999,
>Bombing raids should have had UN approval
>by Lewis MacKenzie
>(Copyright 1999 Southam Inc. The Ottawa Citizen)
>I'm already on record as having some considerable
>disagreement with the diplomatic activity that brought
>us to the current state of affairs in Kosovo. But I have
>to confess that reading news accounts of Operation
>Allied Force and watching the dramatic images of
>NATO air power on television, my soldierly status
>automatically kicks in and there's one consideration
>that's uppermost in my mind -- to bring this business
>to a>positive conclusion with an absolutely minimal
>loss of life.
>That's a soldier's instinct doing the thinking.
>But, that being said, I have to say I'm really disturbed
>to see Canada and the rest of the NATO member nations
>committing an act of war without the backing and
>foundation of an authorizing resolution from the
>United Nations Security Council. Frankly, it sets a
>very dangerous precedent, and it bothers me a lot.
>We all know the rationale and the explanation for
>using NATO as the>vehicle for our operation against
>Slobodan Milosevic instead of going through the UN --
>that China would be opposed, and the Russians'
>long-standing friendship with the Serbs would mean
>that both of these>permanent Security Council members
>would surely cast a veto against any UN resolution that
>authorized using force in the Balkans. Currently, China
>is acting as president of the Security Council, but I
>can't help recalling that just a few weeks ago Canada
>assumed the rotating presidency and, justifiably, we
>took a lot of pride in that role.
>Well, today we're saying, ''We don't like the probable
>result of a Security Council debate, so we'll bypass it
>and simply use NATO to achieve our purpose.''
>The very premise of the argument used to justify the
>current bombing campaign seems to me to be open to
>some question.
>If we're prepared to punish Milosevic for his treatment
>of the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, then presumably we
>should also be prepared to mount air attacks against
>Ankara for the Turks' treatment of their Kurdish
>minority, and the same applies to Beijing for the
>brutal Chinese suppression of the Tibetans. And then
>there's Indonesia and the treatment of East Timor.
>The list goes on and on.
>It's not hard to understand why Moscow might be
>concerned about the precedent that's being created
>here, regardless of its feeling of brotherhood with
>the Serbs. When you think of Chechnya and fledgling
>independence movements in some of the other
>provinces of the old Soviet empire, their concern
>is obvious.
>There's another point I'd like to make, and it concerns
>the Kosovo Liberation Army. It was declared a terrorist
>organization by the CIA asrecently as 12 months ago.
>Yet today, with the spin that's being put on this
>operation, you would be forgiven for thinking that
>they're probably eligible for the next Nobel Peace
>The truth of the matter is that it has obviously been
>in their interest to provoke the Serbs. And it's equally
>true that most governments facing a separatist or
>independence movement tend to react with a heavy
>hand. That's true even of ourselves, when you recall
>that we invoked the War Measures Act over a few
>bombs in mailboxes and a couple of kidnappings.
>Here again, it's worth remembering that until today,
>when I understand that they are really getting ruthless,
>the Serbs allowed TV cameras a pretty free run around
>the country. When Turkey launches an offensive against
>the Kurds, you can bet that CNN won't be there. I'm not
>saying that it isn't despicable -- because it is -- but
>this isn't the first case of ethnic cleansing the world
>has ever seen. The UN itself assisted in it in Cyprus
>in 1974, moving both Turks and Greeks to new
>I don't want to make light of 2,000 deaths, and I'm not.
>But considering the number of people being pushed
>around, the loss of life in Kosovo is really low.
>And remember that of those 2,000, probably 25 per
>cent were Serbs -- they lose that many people in a
>day in southern Sudan. The death count -- tragic as
>it is -- really isn't that high.

What is Milosevic's strategy in all of this? Quite
>frankly, they want the northern half of Kosovo.
>That's where the monasteries and Serbia's spiritual
>heartland are located. And that's where the mines
>and natural resources are. They are out to grab as
>much as they can in the next 48 hours or so, and
>then they'll be in a pretty good position. Whenever
>there's a ceasefire, >everything will be frozen in
>place on the ground and then they'll be quite happy
>to give away the southern half, which will
>immediately join Albania.
>At least that's the way this soldier sees it.

___________Robert Adrian____________

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