The people of Montenegro yesterday divided themselves almost clinically in half, giving the narrowest of victories to President Milo Djukanovic’s coalition Victory Belongs to Montenegro, with a reported 42.2% of the vote (35 seats in parliament) against the Together for Yugoslavia coalition, which received 40.3% of the vote (32 seats), according to the spokesperson for Belgrade-based The Centre for Free Democratic Elections, Marko Blagojevic. If Milo Djukanovic can form a government, he has stated that he plans to call for a referendum in July for the Montenegrins to decide for independence or integration in Yugoslavia. The results of this quest could again inflame the area, fraught with nationalist tensions. These tensions have been exploited by western countries, at the beck and call of the United States of America. Not only were the Albanians armed, trained and equipped by the Americans, but also the Croats and now the Montenegrins, whose flame for independence was fanned and fuelled. This “paradise of smugglers wholly dependent on external support”, as it has been described, will always be an artificial state, another American puppet, a thorn in the side of Europe, ready to be provoked, destabilised and exploited when the time is right. Should the Montenegrins vote for independence in July, and billions of dollars in promised aid might persuade them to do so, the dynamics of the Balkans peace negotiations, at a time when the area is relatively calm, could once more degenerate into instability and violence. Once Serbia stands alone, it is natural that the period of grace enjoyed by president Vojislav Kostunica will disappear and the smiles of the grinning Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, could soon change into the glares of a political opponent, as the nationalist Kostunica is forced to fight a political duel with a pro-Washington Djindjic. Given the instability on Serbia’s southern frontier, Kosovo, there is nothing to suggest that this area will live in peace for a long time to come. The British Economist magazine admits that “The NATO countries were directly involved in the training and support of the KLA, at the time fighting against Slobodan Milosevic. Now, NATO is afraid that its men will become routine targets for its ex-allies (the Albanians) if they try to stop smuggling activities along the border posts, fight crime or guerrilla activity”. Coupled with the Albanian Capo (Mafia) is the political notion of a Greater Albania, or Albany, which existed under the Ottoman domination of the area. The nationalist flag can be hoisted whenever it is convenient to claim legitimacy, especially with the US Congress, ever ready to turn a blind eye to legitimacy if arms sales can be made or political vantage points gained. The Albanian newspaper Koha Ditore (Daily News) asks “Did NATO reach its objectives? What were NATO’s objectives ?” in Kosovo. A good question. The newspaper states that if NATO pulls out its troops, the region could again become unstable. This would confirm what Pravda.Ru has been claiming from the beginning of NATO’s illegal intrusion into the sovereign state of Yugoslavia in 1999, that NATO was creating a situation which would involve this organisation’s troops either remaining in the Balkans, suffering ever more casualties in a deepening environment of hostility, until it becomes politically expedient to effect a humiliating withdrawal, or leaving immediately, leaving a vacuum into which extremists would flock from all sides. Not if, but how and when NATO leaves Kosovo, will set the scene for the near future of the Balkans. Destabilising Montenegro will not help towards creating this stability. Helping the states of the ex-Yugoslavia to dialogue and find their own common path, without interference from outside, will. The frontiers of the Balkans were arbitrarily imposed by the League of Nations (Britain. France and the USA) at the time of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. They are not rational and do not respect wholly one ethnic group in any region. There will always be ethnic minorities in the Balkans. Attempts to destabilise such a region are criminal and are bound to produce violence. NATO should be ashamed of itself, it this organisation’s leaders know what shame means.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON
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