Lord Robertson, the Secretary-General of NATO, recently signed plans which will provide a number of measures to bring calm to the territory of Presevo-Medvedja-Bujanovic, where a separatist Albanian army is fighting the Serbian police and militia forces. The Ushtria Çlirimtare Presevës, whose name will bring back memories of the Ultra-Nationalist Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës (otherwise known as the KLA – Kosovo Liberation Army), disbanded (supposedly) shortly after the end of the conflict in Kosovo, is fighting for a future integration of this region in the south of Serbia into a larger Kosovo. The UÇPMB, as the force is known, states its reasons being the fact that there is a huge Albanian population in this area of Serbia. After bombing not only Kosovo but also Belgrade and Novi Sad, strafing civilians trying to flee Kosovo, some of them from the Serbs but others from the UÇK itself, after leaving large swathes of Kosovo radioactive (and who knows what other countries in the neighbourhood contaminated through the water board), NATO now supports the Serbs…against the Albanians. Having created a new “Albanian question” by interfering in the one area in Europe that nobody outside the Balkans can even begin to understand, having permitted what five centuries of history had been desperately trying to impede – the creation of a Greater Albania, NATO can be proud of itself. NATO can be sure that this new “Ushtria Çlirimtare” (Liberation Army) is only the tip of the iceberg. NATO does not even understand what Albania is or what the Albanians are – a loose collection of tribes which call themselves the “eagle people” and live in “the land of the eagles”. The standard “Albanian” language was only sculpted from Tosk and Gheg in the last half century. Unfortunately “Shqiperije” [shkipéria] (the land of the eagles) is no longer confined to the impenetrable mountains of Albania, but now, thanks to NATO, it is anywhere where there is a large number of Albanians. It is as if NATO has let King Kong out of his cage, without understanding how or why and now who is going to catch him? When the going gets tough on the ground (as it will), the NATO troops will leave for sure – as fast as their planes can carry them out of the Balkans and back into the comfortable fortress which is Western Europe. They will leave the Balkans more unstable than ever and what will have been achieved? The creation of a nightmare (Greater Albania), the spectre of eternal religious conflict, the possibility of Greece and Turkey flaring up as a consequence and the sowing of the seeds of ethnic hatred. Western European countries have been busy drawing lines on maps again. They did it in Africa, they did it in the Middle East, they did it in Asia, they did it in America and because there was nowhere left, they have now done it in the Balkans, an area which nobody in Western Europe, even those of us who have been there, can profess to even begin to understand. Congratulations, NATO. Now hurry up and clean up the mess you have made…but we know you will not!

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru Lisbon

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