By Theodore Shoebat
Its happening as shoebat.com warned: Germany now wants to boost its military might due to Trump’s withdrawal of US troops from Germany. According to DW:
Germany should do more for its own security, Defense Minister Annagret Kramp-Karrenbauer said as the US plans to drastically cut its troops presence in the European country.
“We are bearing the EU and German interests in mind,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Friday. “It is also true that the good life in Germany and Europe is getting increasingly dependent on how we ensure our security ourselves.”
Earlier this week, the US sketched out a plan to move close to 11,900 troops, or nearly one-third of its total contingent in Germany, out of the country. The move was done on the orders of President Donald Trump, who on Wednesday said the US was pulling out because Germany “was not paying their bills” on defense, alluding to Berlin’s failure to meet NATO’s guidelines on military spending.
Trump wanted to “Make America Great Again,” when the reality he is helping to make Germany great again.
I warned against this policy in July. I will repost what I wrote since it is quite relevant:
Trump’s plan to withdraw 12,000 troops is a destructive plan. The reason why I say this is because it will give the Germans the justification to boost up their own military apparatus. They will argue that the US is weakening NATO and thus they need to act independently. Norbert Roettgen, an MP from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, told Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung:
“The effectiveness of the US military will not increase, but will be reduced, particularly when it comes to Russia and ongoing military conflicts in the Near and Middle East.”
Markus Soeder, the Bavarian Prime Minister and the leader of Merkel’s allies – the Christian Social Union, stated:
“We very much regret the U.S. government’s decision. Unfortunately, this puts a burden on the German-American relationship … We are now waiting to see if the decision will last.”
The Germans are already saying that the Trump administration’s decision is straining the US-German alliance. And there is already an opinion coming out of Germany that the Germans must make themselves more militarily independent. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, a member of the Free Democratic Party who has been serving in the Bundestag since 2017, said in a recent interview that Trump’s decision “is not a blow to Germany; it is a blow to NATO” and:
75 years after the end of the war, it is time for us as Germans not only to raise our moral index finger, but to do a lot more for our own defense, for peace and freedom.
So Trump’s decision is actually helping the cause of the German military industrial complex. What is so ironic is that you have people who claim to be “anti-war” or “isolationist” praising this decision. What they refuse to understand is that such a move by the US is only encouraging the German war machine and fulfilling a desire that Germany has had for decades: being militarily independent of the US security umbrella.
What is occurring before our eyes is the breakdown of the global order that we have become so accustomed to. The world as we have known it, is disintegrating. We are not transitioning into something new, rather we are returning to a sinister state of being that mankind has always spiraled downwards when he has rejected the natural order and pursued an hysterical grandiose aspiration of supremacy, domination and apotheosis. After the Second World War, the world was under two poles of power: the American empire and the Soviet Union; with the fall of the latter, the United States only grew larger and expanded as a global hegemony, becoming the international security umbrella. But with the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States could freely do things that it would have otherwise been a lot more difficult to do, like invade Iraq or destroy Yugoslavia. The empowerment of the American empire due to the Soviet Union’s fall was pointed out by Dimitri Simes who wrote that the decline in the “Soviet threat … makes military power more useful as a United States foreign policy instrument … against those who contemplate challenging important American interests.”
In 1988 (three years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and thus the end of the Soviet Union), Simes made a significant remark, that for over forty years at that point, “America’s international strategy has been subordinated to one overriding concern – deterring Soviet global designs against the West.” Thus, as long the Soviet empire existed, it was the Soviets who were the primary impediment of American expansionism. One of the goals that the US had in combating the Soviets was to unify East and West Germany. Part of the process of reunifying Germany was to allow the Germans to remilitarize themselves. There is a CIA document from 1984 that details how West Germany desired to have restrictions on militarization lifted. This restriction was imposed by the WEU or the Western European Union, which was formed in 1954 and consisted of seven countries the leading member of which was France. Germany requested from the WEU that the impediments on German rearmament be lifted. The same document also points out how Russia, at the time, warned the Americans that a reunified Germany would “pose a ‘threat to the security not only of its neighbors, but also of distant states’ and warned Bonn that ‘negative consequences’ would inevitably arise if it produces its own long-range offensive weapons.”
As the CIA document explains:
“West German leaders in particular, while insisting that nothing should be done to undermine Nato solidarity, have made it known that they believe the time is right for closer Western European political and security cooperation.
The French have agreed to Bonn’s request to lift remaining WEU restrictions on West German conventional armaments production in exchange for West Germany’s support for revitalizing the organization. In conjunction with these moves, Paris and Bonn have also stepped up bilateral defense cooperation, most noticeably in the area of joint armament production. At the annual Franco-German summit last May the two countries reached final agreement on joint production of an antitank helicopter and discussed joint development of a military photoreconnaissance satellite.”
We see here a parallel between then and now. In the 1988 document, it describes a German-French plan to boost security for the Western European Union and a plan to increase German arms production, while at the same time reassuring a respect to NATO. Within very recent years we have been seeing this German-French alliance pushing more and more for a militarized European Union, all the while expressing respect to NATO. For example, in February of 2018, Ursula van der Leyen, then Germany’s Defense Minister, stated that what was needed was not a competition with NATO but a strong EU military that could compliment NATO:
“What is important for me is its no competition to NATO, its complementary. NATO will always be collective defense. But there are other tasks, if I just look at Africa for example. There are other tasks where Europe is needed. And up to a few months, Europe wasn’t able to act at all because we didn’t have neither the procedures nor the structures. Now we are establishing those with a military command, with a European Defense Fund, just to name some examples, so that we are able to act for our own security too.”
What must be factored in here is that when we speak of NATO, we are speaking of the American empire and all of the countries that follow her. When the EU talks about making its own military force — in the midst of major politicians like Merkel saying that “The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent” and “we need to know we must fight for our own future as Europeans for our destiny”, and Macron affirming that “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO” and that Europe stands on “the edge of a precipice” and could soon be “no longer be in control of our destiny” — we cannot help but question how long this EU military force would remain loyal to NATO. The Germans are working to become more independent of the American security umbrella, hence why in January of 2020 Wolfgang Schauble said: “We can’t hide. If Europe is to play a stronger role, then we must play our part … We cannot leave everything to the French and the Americans.”
This road to German revolt against American hegemony has been gradually taking place for decades. In 1990, East and West Germany reunified, making Germany into a major global player and solidifying her position as the head of Europe. East Germany getting absorbed by West Germany naturally made a huge population for the country, and with the fall of the Soviet Union in the subsequent year, it empowered Germany tremendously. The reunification of Germany was celebrated in the Western world as a defeat against communism. But what was not understood was that what was happening was the transition from the old world (or the post-War world) to a new global order — or rather, the return to an older order when Germany dominates Europe. Even the British understood that a reunified Germany meant a Europe ruled by the Germans again. Thatcher affirmed that Germany “would once again, dominate the whole of Europe.”
While she was grateful about the fall of Communism, she wasn’t credulous to the idea of a revived unified Germany. She said that “no matter how much I rejoiced at the overthrow of Communism in eastern and central Europe, I was not going to allow euphoria to extinguish either reason or prudence.” When the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was at a European meeting in 1989, he presented a 10-point-plan for German reunification. Kohl recounted in memoirs on how during dinner Margaret Thatcher told the heads of state: “We beat the Germans twice, and now they’re back.”
On February 2nd of 1990, she wrote that with a reunified Germany, “Germany’s ambitions would then become the dominant and active factor.” Thatcher publicly stated in a March 26, 1990 interview with Der Spiegel, that in a private conversation she had with Chancellor Kohl, that he told her that he did not recognize the Oder-Neisse border with Poland which was established by the Allies after Second World War. Kohl angrily denied saying this. But his denial is quite doubtful. For, when the Prime Minister of Poland, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, asked Kohl to vow that Germany will never try to retake Polish territory after reunification, Kohl refused. As was reported by the LA Times:
“Mazowiecki had called on Kohl to issue a guarantee as leader of the West German government that a reunited German state would not seek to recover territory in western Poland that was part of the Germany before its defeat in World War II. Kohl had refused, saying that, legally, such matters had to be decided by the government of a reunited nation.”
The fact that the German Chancellor in the 1990s refused to recognize Germany’s border with Poland — where the Third Reich murdered millions — is symptomatic of German aspirations to dominance even in that decade.
THE RISE OF THE MUJAHIDEEN AND THE FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION
In December of 1991, the Soviet Union finally crumbled; and this would take place amidst the beginning of another significant event in the story of the world shifting from the post-War era to where we are currently heading to: the breakdown of Yugoslavia. But the fragmentation of Yugoslavia does not fully begin in the Balkans, but in Afghanistan where Americans helped to form the Mujahideen, a force that would be a major support for the Bosnians as they fought to break away from Serbian controlled Yugoslavia. The American backing, training and arming of the Mujahideen was done to provoke the Soviets to invading Afghanistan and ultimately to devastate the Soviets.
When it comes to the subject of foreign policy, we should always remember that within this apparatus of American hegemony, there are two systems: the immediate government that we are all familiar with (the three branches of the US government), and the state within the state — these are the think tankers and the dark intellects who come up with quite ruthless ways to implement policy and they are indifferent to however many lives are destroyed in the process. These state-within-a-state operatives have a Darwinian and Machiavellian view on life, which entails survival of the fittest, might makes right, and the ends justify the means.
These operatives esteem themselves as inheritors of Roman culture and reject Christian thought, only using a semblance of Christianity when it benefits them by appealing to conservative audiences. Amongst these operatives are the Neoconservatives, whose ideological roots are traced to Leo Strauss, a German Jewish conservative thinker who taught at the New School for Social Research in New York (1939–1949) and the University of Chicago (1949–1958). There is a statement from Strauss that encapsulates the spirit of Neoconservatism — the rejection of Christianity unless for gain, the full embracing of the modern ideal of ‘Graeco-Roman civilization’, and a praise for Right-wing despotism. Strauss once wrote in a letter to fellow Jewish philosopher Karl Loewith:
“the fact that the new right-wing Germany [the Third Reich] does not tolerate us [Jews] says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l’homme [inalienable rights of man] to protest against the shabby abomination. …There is no reason to crawl to the cross, neither to the cross of liberalism, as long as somewhere in the world there is a glimmer of the spark of the Roman thought. And even then: rather than any cross, I’ll take the ghetto.”
This embrace of fascism was symptomatic of the Neoconservative movement. Amongst these state-within-a-state operatives was Samuel Huntington who, in the context of elevating America’s “Anglo-Protestant” culture, once praised the old American eugenists in their thoughts on immigration: “Immigration restrictions were furthered by the ideology of ‘Anglo-Saxonism’ articulated by writers and social scientists as Edward Ross, Madison Grant, Josiah Strong, and Lothrop Stoddard.” All of the writers listed by Huntington here were major eugenists, which reveals what insidious motivations he had. Huntington, alongside Carter national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, were instrumental within the apparatus of “Team B” or a group of hawkish thinkers put together in order to undermine the reports from the CIA on the Soviet Union which they saw as not sensational enough to justify their anti-Soviet policies. In the words of journalist James Mann: “From that point onward, whenever members of Congress believed that the CIA was minimizing the seriousness of a foreign policy problem, there were calls for a Team B to review the intelligence and make its own evaluation.”
It was Team B who would be the main influence behind the creation of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Russians. Brzezinski believed that Islam could be used as an anti-Soviet weapon. In one speech for the Foreign Policy Association, Brzezinski believed in a so-called arc of crises around the Indian Ocean where the Soviets were planning to take advantage of regional instability. State Department official Henry Precht would later recount: “There was this idea that the Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets. It was a Brzezinski concept.” The common narrative when it comes to the US and the Mujahideen is that the Americans did not arm the Islamic fighters until the Russians invaded Afghanistan. Quite the opposite is true. Six months before the Russians invaded, the Americans began to back the Mujahideen, and the US did this with the intention of provoking the Russians to invade Afghanistan and thus providing the justification to intensify US support for the jihadists. As Brzezinski himself recounted in a 1998 interview:
“According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention. … We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.”
When asked if he had any regrets, Brzezinski replied:
“Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”
Brzezinski made it clear that he influenced the Carter administration to destabilize the Soviet Union. In a 1997 interview, Brzezinski recounted of how he worked with Saudis, Pakistanis, Egyptians and even Chinese to funnel weapons into Afghanistan to arm the Mujahideen. He visited Pakistan, “the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible; and we engaged in that effort in a collaborative sense with the Saudis, the Egyptians, the British, the Chinese, and we started providing weapons to the Mujaheddin, from various sources again – for example, some Soviet arms from the Egyptians and the Chinese. We even got Soviet arms from the Czechoslovak communist government, since it was obviously susceptible to material incentives; and at some point we started buying arms for the Mujaheddin from the Soviet army in Afghanistan, because that army was increasingly corrupt.” The support for the Mujahideen was, in the words of Brzezinski, part of a “covert action program designed to help the non-Russian nations in the Soviet Union pursue more actively their desire for independence – a program in effect to destabilize the Soviet Union.”
The United States, in this project for destabilizing the Soviet Union, was bringing in jihadists from Saudi Arabia and training them on American soil and then sending them back to Afghanistan. The US commenced an immigration system whereby these jihadists were given visas liberally for entry into the United States. This was revealed by Michael Springman, the former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when he told the BBC that since 1987 the US was giving visas easily to terrorists recruited by Osama bin Laden:
“In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high level State Dept. officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. These were, essentially, people who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own country. I complained bitterly at the time there. I returned to the US, I complained to the State. Dept. here, to the General Accounting Office, to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and to the Inspector General’s office. I was met with silence. What I was protesting was, in reality, an effort to bring recruits, rounded up by Osama bin Laden, to the US for terrorist training by the CIA. They would then be returned to Afghanistan to fight against the then Soviets.”
Terrorists, recruited by Osama bin Laden, were brought into the US for terrorist training, for the purpose of crushing the Soviet Union. So the Soviet Union fell, but the Islamic solution used to accelerate this end — or to use the words of Brzezinski, “to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible” — did not go away without its reverberating effects. The Islamic frankenstein that the US created ended up having a ripple effect throughout the world. As Rahul Bedi writes: “It also brought grave unrest to the Central Asian and other former Soviet Republics like Chechnya as well as to North Africa.” From Afghanistan, the same system of American foreign policy that would arm the Mujahideen would also continue on in arming another group of terrorists in the Balkans who wanted to fragment Yugoslavia. This leads us to the next stage of this story, and that is the fall of Yugoslavia.
THE FALL OF YUGOSLAVIA
“Yugoslavia was, together with [the] USA and the [the] USSR the only country which had managed to position itself as a factor in the global arena.” — Zbigniew Brzezinski
In the post-War era, Yugoslavia was not really an enemy of the US. In fact, Yugoslavia was one of the two communist countries in the world (the other being Poland) to have good relations with the US. It was a “most favored nation” and received American goods such as US military equipment. Tito was not a friend of the Soviet Union; in fact, Tito refused to allow Yugoslavia to become a Soviet satellite state. Nonetheless, Yugoslavia still categorized itself as communist. This put Yugoslavia in a difficult geopolitical predicament. Firstly, with Tito being at odds with the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia was at risk of a Soviet Invasion. Secondly, with Yugoslavia being categorized as “communist” it put itself at odds with the US especially in the atmosphere of the Cold War. The world was under the two polls of power — the US and the Soviet Union — and thus Yugoslavia was not close enough to either one of these superpowers to receive their support. In the words of Dzalto: “the break with the Soviet Union put Yugoslavia in an extremely weak position, exposing it to the very real possibility of a Soviet invasion in the moment when Yugoslavia did not have any trustworthy allies in the West it could confidently count on.” (Dzalto, Yugoslavia: Dreams and Realities, in Dzalto & Chomsky, Yugoslavia, p. 21)
Not being either an American nor a Soviet satellite made Yugoslavia to be in the “third way” category, being a symbol of anti-imperialism either from the West or from the Soviet Union. The threat of a Soviet invasion was very real given the fact that Yugoslavia had an immense budget for military defense spending in the 1950s.
There were three things that led to the breakdown of Yugoslavia: the decline of the federal government, the rise of nationalism, and economic instability. (Dzalto, Solutions and Dissolutions, in Dzalto & Chomsky, Yugoslavia, p. 51). These three things led to the beginning of a spring within Europe. When we speak of “springs” (in the sense of revolutions), we commonly think of the “Arab Spring,” but there is also the Euro Spring, and it did not begin with Brexit, but can be traced to the rise of nationalism in Yugoslavia. This Euro Spring continued on, and manifested violently in Ukraine in 2014 with Euromaidan; we then saw the revolt of the English through Brexit. The Euro Spring is unfolding, and it did not begin recently but has been taking place — politically and violently — within recent decades. The three things that led to Yugoslavia’s demise — the decline of federal power, the rise of nationalism and economic instability — is a reoccurring combination that precedes revolution and is one thing that the world has been witnessing in the European Union. We saw the economic crises that began in 2009, and this stoked anti-EU sentiments and fueled nationalist opinion. The economic diminishment, alongside the inevitable nationalist surge — which soared greatly due to the migrant crises of 2015 — would lead to Brexit, thus fragmenting the EU.
The Euro Spring cannot be traced back to Brexit, nor the migrant crisis, nor even the Yugoslav crisis in the 1990s. For the Yugoslav crisis begins decades before the 1990s. In the 1960s and 1970s both Serbian and Croatian nationalists did multiple terrorist attacks on Yugoslav officials outside of Yugoslavia. In the 1970s Croatian intellectuals and political officials commenced a nationalist turbulence that worried Marshall Tito himself when he warned that the rising Croat nationalism had “gone wild.” In fact, there was a term used to describe the turbulent situation in 1960s and 1970s Croatia: “Croatian Spring.” (Dzalto, Yugoslavia: Dreams and Realities, in Dzalto & Chomsky, Yugoslavia, p. 13). The turning point for the Spring of Yugoslavia was 1966 with the removal of Aleksander Rankovic, a major proponent of centralized government who was also very close to Tito. An ethnic Serb, Rankovic was arguably the most influential figure within the Yugoslav government. But once Rankovic was accused of spying on Tito’s home, he had to resign and was booted out of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. With Rankovic gone, this was the opportunity for states like Croatia to demand for more autonomy.
At this time, the republics that made up Yugoslavia (Croatia, etc.) was emancipated from communist laws that were instituted by Stalin. These decades also saw the democratization of the ruling party of Yugoslavia: the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (the country was under one party). This meant that the League of Communists for other countries could have more leverage, thus giving more autonomy to each Yugoslav republic. Therefore, the federal government of Yugoslavia was losing its control, and states were gaining more independence. This helped to lead to the economic problems which preceded the Yugoslav wars. The economic issues began during Tito’s reign with massive amounts of money borrowing. The oil price shock of 1973 led to more borrowing, thus more debt. The decentralizing of the government helped lead to more problems, as individual republics, indulging in their autonomy within Yugoslavia, independently borrowed more money without constraints from the central government.
Bureaucracy also contributed to the economic crises, as profits from very successful companies were seized by the state to fund inefficient businesses and institutions for political reasons. Once economic decline came, it served as the perfect argument for nationalists who wanted their country to break away from Yugoslavia. There were many pro-Yugoslav citizens who wanted to maintain the unity of Yugoslavia, but these did not become an effectively organized force, and they were the targets of propaganda made by nationalists. For example, the pro-Yugoslav demonstrations in Sarajevo in 1992 were attacked by both Serbian and Bosnian nationalist parties.
Towards the mid- and late 1980s, political power shifted more to parties in each of the Yugoslav republics. Nationalism was popular amongst these political parties because they knew that it was an effective means of gaining the favor of the masses. In the words of Andrew Watchell and Christopher Bennett: “as pressures for democratization grew in the course of the 1980s, canny political figures came to recognize that public support would be necessary to retain power. The obvious basis of support for all such politicians was nationalism, and in each of the republics the most powerful political parties to emerge were formed on the basis of ethnic affiliation.” With past hatreds for one another, and with past crimes that we committed against each other, and with the desire for self-determination burning within the souls of the nations, the main narrative of these different peoples was “our national being” and how others were the enemy of “us.”
In areas like Croatia, Bosnia and Yugoslavia, there were substantial Serb populations, and the concern of Serbia was that if the peoples of these lands revolted, the Serb minorities would be in danger of tribal violence. A 1990 CIA analysts observed that “the key question for Serbia is the ‘fate’ of the Serbs who dwell outside the borders of Serbia.” Separatism was brewing for decades and finally boiled over in the 1990s. A sign of this manifested in the year 1990 when the president of Croatia, Franjo Tudjman, openly advocated for the partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was Tudjman’s belief that Bosnia-Herzegovina be made part of Croatia, stating to a television crew: “Bosnia was a creation of the Ottoman invasion […] Until then it was part of Croatia, or it was a kingdom of Bosnia, but a Catholic kingdom, linked to Croatia.” According to Warren Zimmermann, Tudjman discussed his ideas with Milosevic and they both agreed that Bosnia should be divided between Serbs and Croats: “Tuđman admitted that he discussed these fantasies with Milošević, the Yugoslav Army leadership and the Bosnian Serbs … and they agreed that the only solution is to divide up Bosnia between Serbia and Croatia”. Such aspirations were symptomatic of the tribalist atmosphere of the Balkans at that time.
The eventual implosion of war within Yugoslavia shocked a world that had grown accustomed to the idea of perpetual peace in Europe. In the words of Dzalto: “This image of an outburst of barbarism, irrationality, mass killings, and the destruction of entire cities and regions countered the image of post-Soviet prosperity.”
Albanian terrorists — members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) — had direct ties to the Afghan drug trade and to the Mujahideen.
The death of Tito in 1980 really opened the gates of radical change in Yugoslavia. There were the Albanian riots of 1981 which sparked over economic problems, but they soon expanded into the separatist cause for Kosovo. The riots worsened, and Belgrade responded by sending in tanks and police officers to suppress the demonstrations. Kosovo’s Serbian minority became terrified of ethnic violence and this fear escalated to the election of Slobodan Milosevic who was popular because Serbs believed that he would fight for them. Moving towards the 1990s, the Albanian call for an independent Kosovo became much more pronounced. In the early 1990s Kosovo Albanians established parallel government structures to weaken the power of, and lessen their reliance on, the Yugoslav government. Eventually, in 1996, an Albanian paramilitary force was created: the Kosovo Liberation Army or the KLA.
GERMANY AND THE FORMATION OF THE KLA
The KLA was formed and armed by both German civil and military intelligence, with the intention of deepening German influence in the Balkans. Arming the KLA — who was designated as a terrorist organization by the US — led to a rift between Germany and Washington. Pierre-Marie Gallois, a retired French general and a specialist in geopolitics, said: “The Kosovo crisis has initiated a divorce between Germany and the United States. Washington realised that pushing the Kosovars towards a military confrontation with Milosevic, as the Germans wanted to do, would have a boomerang effect on the Balkans. …The United States put maximum pressure on Germany to stop supporting the KLA behind the scenes, as did the other European countries such as Britain and France.” Germany and the United States dividing over the issue of arming the KLA was symptomatic of the very phenomena about which this article was written: the polarization between the US and Germany. And the fact that the Germans supported the KLA while ignoring or rejecting the exhortations of the US indicates a desire to go rogue for the cause of the expansion German geopolitical leverage. Michael Lind, an American academic, observed that the US bombed Serbia in order to maintain American military hegemony and to thus prevent Germany from having an excuse from becoming militarily independent of the American empire:
“In the Balkans, a major strategic goal of the Kosovo war was reassuring Germany so it would not develop a defense policy independent of the U.S.-dominated NATO alliance.”
America’s anticipation of Germany seeking an excuse to become militarily independent is indicative of the volatile atmosphere in which the US knows that Germany could rebel against the American hegemony.
Germany’s formation of the KLA was connected to the appointment of of Hansjoerg Geiger to the head of the BND (German intelligence). One of his first decisions as head of the BND was to set up one of the largest regional stations for the BND in Tirana, the capital of Albania. While there, the BND worked closely with the Shik, or the Albanian secret service. BND agents recruited men for the KLA. Meanwhile the BND bureau in Rome was working with Albanian refugees in Italy, specifically in Bari and Trieste, the two main entry points for Albanians migrating into Italy. The German Militaerabschirmdienst (MAD), or the intelligence arm for the German military, trained KLA fighters and provided them with communications equipment. Reporters covering the Kosovo conflict were surprised to see KLA fighters wearing Bundeswehr (German armed forces) uniforms. The MAD also gave the KLA phone-tapping technology used by the Stasi, or the former East German communist secret police. Weapons from former East Germany were also smuggled to the KLA. Soldiers from the elite German KSK (Special Forces Command), dressed in black uniforms, trained the commandos of the KLA.
KLA fighters began attacks on Serbian police officers, and this led to violent retaliation against Albanian civilians, which only commenced a vicious cycle. This was a part of the plan of the Germans of “pushing the Kosovars towards a military confrontation with Milosevic”. While Serbian attacks on civilians was the main focus of the press, what got little coverage was the fact that before the conflict even began, the KLA was deliberately attacking Serbian officers and civilians. For example, in December of 1998 the International Committee of the Red Cross reported clashes along the Yugoslav-Albanian border. The UN Inter-Agency Update, on December 24th, recognized these clashes as a group of armed Albanians trying to cross into Kosovo from Albania, an attempt which led to the deaths of thirty-six armed men; the murder of six Serbian teenagers in a cafe by masked gunmen in the Serbian city of Pec. The next incident was the kidnapping and murder of the deputy mayor of Kosovo Polje by the KLA. The UN report also mentions “abductions attributed to the KLA.”
A December 24th report from the UN secretary-general cited the figure of 282 civilians and police officers abducted by the KLA from December 7th to December 28th. And this was happening when Yugoslavia and the KLA were under an agreed October ceasefire, which the KLA gladly took advantage of. The report from the UN specifies: “Kosovo Albanian Paramilitary units have taken advantage of the lull in the fighting to re-establish their control over many villages in Kosovo, as well as over some areas near urban centres and highways”. The UN Inter-Agency Update also speaks of how in “the most serious incident since the declaration of the ceasefire in October 1998, the period under review has witnessed an increase in the number of murders (allegedly perpetrated by the KLA), which have prompted vigorous retaliatory action by government forces.” The same report talks about how “random violence” killed 21 people in just eleven days. In one example, a bomb exploded outside “a cafe in Pristina, injuring three Serbian youths and triggering retaliatory attacks by Serbian civilians on Albanians,” which was exactly what the Germans wanted. Germany was conducting a strategy of tension — arming and training the KLA and wanting them to attack officers and civilians — so as to get the Serbs to retaliate and thus spark a war.
THE KLA AND THE MUJAHIDEEN
Slobodan Milosevic, during his trial with the International Criminal Court, spoke of how the KLA was getting heroin from Afghanistan (referencing the Daily Telegram) and how they were gaining support from NATO:
“On the 16th of February, therefore, that is to say a few days ago, the Daily Telegraph writes: “Extremist Albanians who want to create new conflicts in the south of the Balkans are spending millions of pounds that they earned through the sale of Afghanistan heroin –” once again, Afghanistan is mentioned — “on the European market for the procurement of weapons.” The Daily Telegram, referring to reports of the Vienna UN headquarters for drugs control, writes that in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, there is more and more heroin coming in from the enormous stockpiles that exist in Afghanistan and where amassed by Al Qaeda and the Taliban. And where does the KLA get its heroin from? What do you think? The Albanian drug traffickers are endeavouring to take control over the European heroin market, which is worth several billion pounds per annum, and I quote the Daily Telegraph.
Rebels of the KLA in Macedonia are part of a network controlled by criminal organizations of these three countries but they also exist in other countries as well claim the Western intelligence reports from Kosovo. In Macedonia and Switzerland, they say that the Albanian bands last year used part of that money that they earned through the sale of Afghanistan heroin for the procurement of weapons for Albanian insurgents 464 in Macedonia who, last autumn, handed in their weapons to NATO. This is becoming evermore evident but the CNN is escaping the truth. And it is logically in line with the fact that three Albanians have been convicted of terrorism and Sulejman Selimi, Kadar, and Usomi [phoen] Ustaku, they are the names from the KLA. They were amnestied, pardoned and received high ranks in the new SS Skanderbeg division which is now called the Kosovo Protection Corps.”
The KLA and other militants were fighting to split apart Yugoslavia, and they were not just empowered by tribalist sentiments, but by money made through drug trafficking. As Milosevic said, the KLA were “financed by organised criminals” and that “there was a report being prepared on the links between the Afghanistan and Albanian drug trafficking bands and groups. It is common knowledge that fighters from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, but also Germany, Afghanistan, and Turkey were training the KLA.” According to a 2002 article from Canada’s National Post:
“Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network has been active in the Balkans for years, most recently helping Kosovo rebels battle for independence from Serbia with the financial and military backing of the United States and NATO…In the years immediately before the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the al-Qaeda militants moved into Kosovo…to help ethnic Albanian extremists of the KLA mount their terrorist campaign against Serb targets in the region.”
To further substantiate the direct connection between the KLA and Mujahideen (and thus a connection between US foreign policy in Afghanistan and in the Balkans), the Washington Times published a story in 1999 confirming the direct collaboration between the Albanian separatists and Islamists from Al-Qaeda:
“Some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by international fugitive Osama bin Laden — who is wanted in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans.
The KLA members, embraced by the Clinton administration in NATO’s 41-day bombing campaign to bring Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to the bargaining table, were trained in secret camps in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere, according to newly obtained intelligence reports.
The reports also show that the KLA has enlisted Islamic terrorists — members of the Mujahideen –as soldiers in its ongoing conflict against Serbia, and that many already have been smuggled into Kosovo to join the fight.
Known to its countrymen as the Ushtria Clirimatare e Kosoves, the KLA has as many as 30,000 members, a number reportedly on the rise as a result of NATO’s continuing bombing campaign. The group’s leadership, including Agim Ceku, a former Croatian army brigadier general, has rapidly become a political and military force in the Balkans.
The intelligence reports document what is described as a “link” between bin Laden, the fugitive Saudi millionaire, and the KLA –including a common staging area in Tropoje, Albania, a center for Islamic terrorists. The reports said bin Laden’s organization, known as al-Qaeda, has both trained and financially supported the KLA.
Many border crossings into Kosovo by “foreign fighters” also have been documented and include veterans of the militant group Islamic Jihad from Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan. Many of the crossings originated in neighboring Albania and, according to the reports, included parties of up to 50 men.
Jane’s International Defense Review, a highly respected British Journal, reported in February that documents found last year on the body of a KLA member showed that he had escorted several volunteers into Kosovo, including more than a dozen Saudi Arabians. Each volunteer carried a passport identifying him as a Macedonian Albanian.
There was another country where the US created Mujahideen would sojourn to: Yugoslavia, which would — through intense separatism, tribalism and Islamic fanaticism, supported by NATO — fragment and disintegrate. In fact, it was through the Balkan wars of the 1990s that, in the words of Marcia Christoff Kurop in 2001, “al Qaeda, along with Iranian Revolutionary Guard-sponsored terrorists, have burrowed their way into Europe’s backyard.””
So here we see the direct link between the US’ policy in Afghanistan, with arming and supporting the Mujahideen, to NATO’s policy in the Balkans.
In the decade of the 1990s, the highest leaders of Al-Qaeda (who were the product of the US created Mujahideen) visited the Balkans. Between 1994 and 1996, Osama bin Laden himself visited the Balkans. Ayman al-Zawahiri also operated training camps, weapons factories and even money-laundering and drug-trading networks in Albania, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia. Moreover, many of the recruits for the Balkan wars came from Chechnya whose Islamic fundamentalist movement is a direct result of the US’s creation of the Mujahideen. Movement of Mujahideen fighters into the Balkans began in 1992, when the dominating Bosnian political party, the Party of Democratic Action, brought these fighters into Bosnia from Chechnya and other Islamic parties like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, and non-Islamic countries like Germany and Italy. These fighters were given journalists’ credentials in order to bypass security; others were married to Bosnian women and brought into the Bosnian military.
The Bosnian Embassy in Vienna gave a passport to bin Laden in 1993. In 1994, bIn Laden visited a terrorist training camp in Zenica, Bosnia. BIn Laden saw the Balkans as part of Al-Qaeda’s southeastern frontline, and told his recruits in the Balkans to see it this way as well. Al-Zawahiri led this southeastern frontline. By 1994 there were terrorist training camps in Zenica, and Maisevo and Mitrovica in Kosovo. According to the US Congress task force on terrorism, these Islamic fighters also had command-and-control centers in Croatia, in Tetovo, Macedonia, as well as around Sofia, Bulgaria. In fact, the mujahideen fighters were deeply entrenched in the Balkans, that the main training camp in Albania, in Tropje, included the property of former Albanian prime minister Sali Berisha. The amount of Saudi money going into the Balkans to fund these fighters was immense. The CIA calculated that funds going into the Balkans to finance al-Qaeda — through front groups masking as “humanitarian” organizations — were at around $500 million to $700 million between 1992 and 1998.
As we read from Marcia Christoff Kurup:
“Not quite a month after the Dayton accords had been signed in November 1995, an influx of Iranian arms came into Bosnia with the apparent tacit approval of the administration, in violation of U.N. sanctions. While publicly pressing Bosnian President Alia Izebegovic to purge remaining Islamist elements, the administration was loath to confront Sarajevo and Tehran over their presence.”
A rise in jihadism in Bosnia was linked to Alija Izetbegovic, who would serve as Bosnia’s president from 1996 to 2000 and who was praised as “father of the nation.” Izetbegovic’s manifesto, Islamic Declaration, declared: “there can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic social and political institutions”, and: “the Islamic movement must and can take over political power as soon as it is morally and numerically so strong that it can not only destroy the existing non-Islamic power but also to build up a new Islamic one.” When Bosnia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1992, Izetbegovich was hoping that the international community would send a peace keeping mission. But this did not happen and a war broke out between the Bosnian separatists and the Yugoslav army. Thousands of mujahideen fighters from Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait joined the fray. Hundreds of foreign fighters who had recently fought the Soviets also arrived from Afghanistan. Peter Bergen, who was one of the few journalists to have interviewed Osama bIn Laden, detailed how:
“While the Bosnian conflict never took on the dimension of the Afghan jihad, between 1992 and 1995 hundreds of Afghan Arabs were fighting in Bosnia, particularly in the region around Zenica. A Vienna-based charity linked to bin Laden, Third World Relief Agency, funneled millions of dollars in contributions to the Bosnians. Al Qaeda trained mujahideen to go and fight in Bosnia during the early nineties, and bin Laden’s Services Office also maintained an office in neighboring Croatia’s capital Zagreb.”
When it comes to the fragmentation of Yugoslavia, it is impossible to discuss such a significant event without bringing up the instrumentality of Germany. Germany supported the separatism of both Croatians and Albanians, two peoples that it supported during the Second World War, which signifies the drive of Germany to expand her influence and hegemony in the Balkans. Noam Chomsky “specifically points to the role of the German leadership at the early stages of the dissolution and to the traditional perception of the Balkans as a German sphere.” (Dzalto, Solutions and Dissolutions, in Dzalto & Chomsky, Yugoslavia, p. 58)
Yugoslavia began to fragment in June 1991 when Slovenia and Croatia both declared independence from Belgrade. Germany, now reunified, was the biggest backer for Croatian independent, just as the German Third Reich supported an independent Croatia against Serbia during the Second World War. Just as the Nazis wanted to break up Yugoslavia, the Germany of the 1990s wanted a rapid breakdown of Yugoslavia. In a 2012 interview with Davor Dzalto, Noam Chomsky explained Germany’s plan to expand her hegemony in the Balkans as a simple continuation of trying to control countries that she historically ruled:
“The proclaimed independence of Croatia was immediately backed by Germany, which also raised war memories — the Nazis and the Croatian fascists were very closely linked. And Germany was plainly just trying to expand its influence over the areas where it had traditionally dominated. The German support for Croatian independence paid no attention to the rights of the Serbian minority, which was pretty significant. So, quite naturally, the Yugoslav Army intervened and that led to the first conflicts. Actually, some of the first atrocities were committed by Croatians and, as I said, there was plenty of baggage there in terms of historical memories.” (Noam Chomsky interviewed by Davor Dzalto, January 6, 2012, Cambridge, MA, in Dzalto & Chomsky, Yugoslavia, p. 64).
In the same interview Chomsky points out something quite interesting: how Germany’s intervention in the Balkans was Germany working to revive her power in Europe, and how this is also manifest in Germany’s severe austerity program that she imposed on Southern European states:
“Germany has a historic interest in the Balkans. When Hitler moved in, that was not an innovation. Germany had been influential there. I think it was just trying to restore its influence over that part of Europe, just as Germany is the driving force right now in the austerity programs that are destroying Southern Europe.”
When the United States intervened in Yugoslavia, one of its motives was to not allow Germany to be the only power involved, or as Chomsky points outs: “Apparently Washington wanted to have a piece of the action, not to leave it to Europe”.
There is a common perception of Germany that she is utterly different from the Germany of the Third Reich, as though a leopard cannot change its spots. The reality is that when Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, the Germans fragmented it, forming the fascist Independent State of Croatia over which a Nazi puppet regime, the Ustasa, ruled. The Nazis backed not only Croatia, but Albanians and Bosnians who also wanted to break away from Yugoslavia. In the 1990s, when Croatia declared independence, Germany — continuing this same pattern — supported the fragmentation of Yugoslavia. Moreover, Germany (just as the Nazis created and supported an Albanian SS division), armed and backed the Kosovo Liberation Army whose members boasted of having family members who fought for Hitler as Albanian Nazis. What happened in the past took place again, just in a different way. The West’s recognition for an independent Croatia only added fuel to the fire, and as Chomsky pointed out, was a “recipe for war.” It is no surprise that weapons from Germany found their way into the hands of Croatian paramilitary forces. One CIA document reads: “At least one report indicates some Croatian paramilitary forces have been seen with weapons from Singapore and Germany.”
Paramilitaries were formed as a result of nationalists being upset with the Croatian government for not deploying troops against Serbia in 1990 and 1991. The political party, the Croatian Party of Rights, was a fierce opponent of the ruling government of Franjo Tudjman, seeing him as weak in the face of Serbia. So, in July of 1991, the Croatian Party of Rights declared that it was forming its own armed force, a paramilitary called the Croatian Defence Alliance which would eventually be changed to the Croatian Defence Forces, or the HOS, which would function as the party’s military wing. The first 80 members of the HOS were trained by the Slovenian MORiS military unit at a facility in Kocevska Reka, near the border with Croatia. Later on, the Croatian Party of Rights formed two boot camps within Croatia, with funds from mainly the Croat diaspora. The HOS would serve as the perfect fighting force for those who rejected the Croatian government’s plan to deal with the Yugoslav crisis diplomatically. For them, Tudjman was a traitor, a former communist who was collaborating with Milosevic, while the HOS were true patriots.
The HOS consisted of Croatian fascists. HOS volunteers were required to make an oath that was close to the ones that members of the fascist, Nazi German backed, Ustasa had to make during the Second World War. The image on the card that HOS fighters were given had a map of the Ustasa controlled Croatian state. The official salute for HOS troops was “Za dom spremni” or “For homeland, ready!” sometimes accompanied by a Nazi hand salute. This was the same salute of the fascist Ustasa.
One HOS unit in Bosnia-Herzegovina had a U as their symbol, representing the Ustasa. During and after the war in Yugoslavia, the HOS often did parades in black Ustasa-like uniforms, while singing Ustasa songs. The HOS would not just have Croats in its ranks. Anti-communists and Right-wing fanatics from all over Europe — France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Britain and other states — would travel to Croatia to join the HOS.
Massacres during the Yugoslav wars were rampant. There was the mass expulsion of Serbs from Krajina by NATO-backed Croat forces who expelled around a quarter of a million Serbs and butchered a couple thousand people. There was also the Srebenica massacre in which over 8,000 Bosnians were slaughtered by Serbs. After the conflict supposedly ended, KLA operatives continued to murder civilians, and even in the most horrific way, such as kidnapping them and stealing their organs for the black market. In a report titled, “Inhuman treatment of People and Illicit Trafficking in Human Organs in Kosovo” by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, it reads:
“According to the information gathered by the Assembly and to the criminal investigations now under way, numerous concrete and convergent indications confirm that some Serbians and some Albanian Kosovars were held prisoner in secret places of detention under KLA control in northern Albania and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing. Numerous indications seem to confirm that, during the period immediately after the end of the armed conflict, before international forces had really been able to take control of the region and re-establish a semblance of law and order, organs were removed from some prisoners at a clinic on Albanian territory, near Fushe-Kruje, to be taken abroad for transplantation.”
After the bombing of Serbia, when NATO was occupying the Balkans, lawlessness abounded. A report from the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) speaks of “lawlessness that left violence unchecked,” much of it being done by KLA operatives. The report also states that “impunity has reigned instead of justice.” The slaughter of the Serbs after the war was immense. Robert Fisk reported that “the number of Serbs killed in the five months since the war comes close to that of Albanians murdered by Serbs in the five months before NATO began its bombardment in March”. It wasn’t just Serbs that were the target, but non-Albanians. And “the the president of the tiny Jewish community in Pristina, Cedra Prlincevic, left for Belgrade after denouncing ‘a program against the non-Albanian population.’”
The Croat community “left in masse” in October of 1999. Amnesty International reported at the end of the year 1999 of how “Violence against Serbs, Roma, Muslim Slavs, and moderate Albanians in Kosovo has increased dramatically over the past month,” including “murder, abductions, violent attacks, intimidation, and house burning … on a daily basis,” as well as torture, rape and attacks on independent Albanian media and political organizations in what appeared to be “an organized campaign to silence moderate voices in ethnic Albanian society”. NATO forces knew that these crimes were being done, but were specifically ordered not to intervene. One French commander said of this order: “Of course its mad … but those are the orders, from NATO, from above.” He also said that NATO forces also “seem completely indifferent” to attacks by “armed Albanian raiders” across the Serb-Kosovo border “to terrorize border settlements, steal wood or livestock, and, in some cases, to kill,” and to only then leave towns abandoned and empty. Such evil was the incarnation of the Albanian nationalist goal of creating an “ethnically pure” Albanian state, which resulted in “almost weekly incidents of rape, arson, pillage and industrial sabotage, most seemingly designed to drive Kosovo’s remaining indigenous Slavs… out of the province.”
The violence, the bloodshed, all stemming from tribalist chimeras, was a sign of one thing that we have disturbingly ignored: how polarized the world truly is. The breaking down of the world that we have become so accustomed to is seen in significant events. The United States’s arming and backing of the Mujahideen helped lead to the fall of the Soviet Union. The fall of the Soviet Union was marked by the reunification of Germany which meant a more powerful Germany, capable of expanding its hegemony.
The Mujahideen would be involved in the breakdown of Yugoslavia. Another thing that contributed to the destruction of Yugoslavia was the aspiration of Germany to revive her global power and expand her influence and hegemony into Yugoslavia. Germany’s arming of the KLA and recognition of an independent Croatia paralleled the policy of Nazi Germany and indicated that the things that we consider mere history and done with are continuing under different manifestations. The fact that Germany armed the KLA against the demands of the US, and that the Americans bombed Serbia with the belief that it would abate German hegemonic aspirations, sheds light on the reality that the world has not fully unified even after the Second World War. The migrant crises exposed the tribalism of Europe, and Brexit was a major symptom of a polarized continent. The United States wanting to sanction Germany for establishing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia is yet another installment to this volatile global crises.
Robert Zoellick, in an article on the geopolitical significance of a reunited Germany, implied an alienation cultivating between the US and EU: “The US wanted a foundation for future partnership with a united Germany, within Nato and the EU. Thirty years later, Washington would be foolish to ignore the growing drift and alienation among the US and Germany and the EU.” This rift is intensifying, and is one of the reasons why we are so focused on this subject which has been obscured and greatly ignored by the public eye due to the fact that it is occurring in a subtle manner.
For so many decades we have looked at the world around us with the comfort that it would remain consistent. But this world has been dissipating. The fall of Yugoslavia was the beginning of the breakdown of European cohesion; the invasion of Ukraine and the war between Russians and Ukrainians was another chapter in this destabilization of Europe; Brexit was another stage of this falling apart of Europe, and now with the UK out of the picture, Germany will only become more powerful and tighten her control over Europe. Now we are seeing Turkey — once the center of both the Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire — expanding into Syria and North Africa under the watchful eye of NATO. The world is quickly, not changing, but rather, returning to the dark state of when humanity forsakes his true human nature of peace and harmony, and pursues the condition of animal obsessions of conquest and domination, which only divides. The world order is crumbling, but the pieces are being pulled down by the American empire itself. The American empire is creating a frankenstein that it will only have to face in the future.