Showing posts with label NATO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NATO. Show all posts

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Humanitarian/Moral Intervention: an exercise in duplicity

-- and jihad comes to Maaloula village (Syria)

In Aug 2012, US President Barak Obama went on the public record saying: "We have been very clear to the Assad regime -- but also to other players on the ground -- that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus; that would change my equation. . ."

"We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that's a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons."

President Obama's "red line" speech was little more than a piece of political theatre aimed at establishing a platform of moral high ground from where the US-NATO could safely (politically if not practically) launch a military strike on Syria. It also signaled to the rebels exactly what the US would require if it was to justify and legitimise a military intervention on their behalf.

If a US military strike on Syria eventuates, it will be nothing other than an act of naked aggression in pursuit of economic and geo-strategic ends. To call such an intervention "humanitarian" or "moral" is duplicitous in the extreme. 

If the US-NATO was genuinely motivated by humanitarian and moral issues, then:

Why is there no red line in North Korea, the world's most serious and vile human rights abuser; a prison-state where citizens are being tortured, worked and starved to death on a daily basis by the world's most criminal regime?

Answer) North Korea has the world's most effective deterrent: nuclear weapons. [The effectiveness of this deterrent has been noted by other rogue regimes that are now racing to adopt it.]

Why is there no red line in Sudan, where genocidal jihad is eliminating the non-Muslim and non-Arab citizens from the resource-rich regions of Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile? Having used aerial bombardment, ethnic cleansing and aid blockades to create famine conditions, the Arab supremacist, Islamist regime in Khartoum is now using starvation as a weapon of mass destruction. So why is there no red line in Sudan?

Answer) Because the US doesn't want to risk upsetting Sudan's president -- the lying, cheating, racist, Islamist General Omar el-Bashir -- whom they consider to be an ally in the war on terror. [Actually Bashir is nothing of the sort. He is allied to Iran and together they are actively sponsoring Islamic terrorism throughout the Sahel.]

Why is there no red line in Burma, where the Christian Kachin suffer systematic persecution, torture, war, ethnic cleansing, aid blockades and violent racial and religious hatred at the hands of the Burmese military as it seeks to exert total control over Kachin land so the duplicitous regime in Naypyidaw can exploit it?

Answer) Because Burma has moved out of China's sphere of influence into the West's orbit, bringing with it massive economic and geo-strategic opportunities: such as cheap labour (cheaper than China), new markets for Western goods, and a new ally in the South China Sea. For such gains the Kachin can be sacrificed!

Why
is there no red line in Indonesia, where occupation, colonisation, Islamisation, militarisation and brutalisation are facilitating the slow genocide of the predominantly Christian indigenous Melanesians of Papua?

Answer) Because the US and UK don't want to offend Indonesia and risk it drifting out of the West's sphere of influence into China's orbit. Indonesia is allied to the US in the war on terror and in the South China Sea. Indonesia purchases massive amounts of military aid from the USA – an arrangement which would be compromised if the Indonesian military was ever found to be abusing human rights (which is why it never will be, despite the fact that it systematically does). [In August, Indonesia signed a deal to purchase eight Apache attack helicopters from the USA at a cost of over $500 million. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is smiling, but human rights monitors are feeling ill.] Alliances, trade, mining concessions and military aid – for such gains the Papuans can be sacrificed.

Why
is there no red line in the Central African Republic (CAR), where foreign armed, backed and funded Arabic-speaking Islamic rebels (locals and foreigners) have seized control of the French-speaking predominantly Christian state? Seleka rebels are out of control -- killing, raping and looting with impunity. A massive humanitarian crisis is unfolding. Why is there no red line in CAR?

Answer) Because in CAR, French and Western interests are being served by regime change. In Ivory Coast, France intervened with helicopter gun-ships to empower Islamists because Alassane Ouattara promised to serve France's neo-colonial interests. In Mali, France intervened with tanks to expel Islamists because they were threatening France's neo-colonial interests. In CAR France stood back and watched as Islamists seized power, presumably because the Islamist regime would serve France's neo-colonial interests. For mining contracts and a guarantee that economic exploitation will continue, the Christians of CAR can be sacrificed.

For details on all these situations, including the situation in Syria, see Religious Liberty Monitoring.

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Humanitarian/moral interventions are a post Cold War phenomenon arising out of NATO's need for a reason to exist. While the UK's David Cameron referred to the prospective US strike on Syria as a humanitarian intervention, Obama and Kerry are making no such claims. Obama and Kerry want to bomb Syria to make a moral statement and to demonstrate strength supposedly from the moral high ground. A critical purpose of the strike will be to prove to the world that when the US makes a threat it follows through, no matter what! 

A limited air-strike in Syria will deliver no strategic gains and advance no US interests. What it will do is trigger retaliation -- maybe retaliatory strikes on Israel and/or other US allies in the region along with the mobilisation of Hezballah and Iranian militant proxies around the world for terrorist attacks on US and allied assets, including tourists.

One consequence of a US strike will doubtless be civilian deaths, including those that will result from rebel invasions of government-held areas. Indeed, even as the Syrian regime prepares for US strikes, this is already happening:

Jihad comes to Maaloula village

On Wednesday 4 September, al-Qaeda-linked jihadists seized control of a mountaintop hotel and nearby caves in Maaloula, a regime-held Christian mountain village in the densely populated west of Syria.

"The siege of Maaloula, a village of about 2,000 where people still speak a version of Aramaic [the language of Jesus], began early Wednesday [4 Sept] in classic Islamic terrorist fashion when a Jabhat al-Nusra rebel blew himself up at a regime checkpoint near the entrance to town.

"That sparked a vicious gun battle with Syrian soldiers, and when it was over eight of them lay dead. . .

"The rebels took over the Safir Hotel and some caves overlooking the town and began shelling residents below.

"As the fighting raged . . . more than 80 frightened villagers took shelter in a convent that's already home to 13 nuns and 27 orphans.

"'It's a war,' a frightened nun who asked not to be identified told the Associated Press. 'It has been going from 6 a.m. in the morning.'

At the time of publication, Syrian government reinforcements were racing to Maaloula from Damascus some 40 miles away.

See: Christian village in Syria besieged by rebels with Al Qaeda ties
By Corky Siemaszko / New York Daily News,
Wednesday, 4 September 2013 (includes photos)

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Christians who have long been accustomed to just asuming that Western governments hold the moral high ground and are making reasonable decisions based on ethical considerations, need to wake up.

We are living in days of ugly and amoral realpolitik. As such, Christians need to stand together in solidarity, looking out for the Body of Christ, not expecting Western governments to do it; for they won't (at least not unless it is in their economic, geo-strategic and political interests to do so!).

Having been complicit in Church decimation from Kosovo to Baghdad and Aleppo; and complicit through strategic silence in Church decimation from Kadugli to Laiza and Bangui, Western governments are fast becoming an enemy of the Church of Jesus Christ. 

So now we must turn to another question: where is the red line for the Church? When will churches start getting serious about this situation? How many Christians have to die before the church falls to its knees and looks to their covenant God that the battle might be turned back at the gate?

The Church should have no illusions: there is only one worthy of our faith; only one worthy of our trust. We must stop trusting in economic leverage, military might, alliances with power and earthly "strongmen" – for they will only fail us. We have an ally and his name is Yahweh Sabaoth (the Lord of hosts). Strength to turn back the battle lies with him. (Isaiah 28:5-6)

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ivory Coast: racial and religious hatred empowered and unleashed


The legacy of French and NATO intervention in Ivory Coast -- where the West intervened on behalf of Islamists in order to advance their own economic interests -- is that Ivory Coast 's predominantly Christian southern tribes must now live with serious insecurity in an increasingly militarised yet lawless state where Muslim soldiers may abuse them at will and with impunity.  This is racial and religious hatred empowered and unleashed.

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Brief background

Ivory Coast held elections in December 2010, despite the fact that pre-conditions had not been met. For starters, northern-Muslim rebel forces loyal to Muslim presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara refused to disarm; a fact that meant the electoral process in the north could hardly be free and fair.  (How ironic that Bafétigué Ouattera (Côte d’Ivoire) has just been elected as a Vice-Chair of the UN's Disarmament Commission.) 

After the Constitutional Council investigated all reported irregularities (as mandated by the constitution) it ruled that the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo -- a southerner and observant Christian -- was the victor. However, before it could even announce its ruling, pro-Ouattara elements pre-empted the constitutional council's decision and broadcast via French TV from Ouattara's headquarters that Ouattara had won the election. The illegal announcement was met favourably in the West as a Ouattara presidency would serve French and US economic interests.

Confident of Western backing, Ouattara then moved to seize power through military violence. Up against the mighty army of the Ivorian secular State, the pro-Ouattara ethnic and Islamic rebels were the weaker force. The violent coup d'état coup was only successful due to NATO air-strikes and military assistance from France.

Having seized power through violence and with foreign assistance, it is no surprise to learn that Ouattara's hold on power is dependent on violence and terror.

For further background and analysis on Ivory Coast: see Religious Liberty Monitoring.

Death in Abidjan

On Monday 6 August, gunmen -- presumed to be Gbagbo loyalists -- killed six soldiers in a pre-dawn attack on the Akouédo military base in Abidjan. A day earlier, gunmen attacked a police station in Yopougon neighbourhood, on the other side of Abidjan, killing four soldiers. Gbagbo's political party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), issued a statement condemning "with the utmost vigour this wave of deadly violence", while also calling on the government to capture the attackers.

Response

In response, President Alassane Ouattara ordered the Republican Forces (FRCI: the new Ivorian Army, incorporating the former Forces Nouvelles rebels) to "fight without mercy" those attempting to create a feeling of insecurity in Ivory Coast. Consequently, there has been a surge in appalling human rights abuses targeting "perceived Gbagbo loyalists": i.e. predominantly Christian southerners, mostly ethnic Bété, Guéré, Ebrié, Oubi and Adioukrou. The abuses involve mass arrests, extortion and extreme violence, including torture.

See: Ivory Coast: Ex-detainees describe torture by military following roundup after attacks
By Robbie Corey-Boulet, The Associated Press, 4 October 2012

Excerpts:

The soldiers lined up the detainees in a row on the grass in the middle of the night and beat them with sticks. Other times, soldiers struck the prisoners with belts and rifles so hard the welts lasted for weeks.

Cedric Bao, a 33-year-old who was held for two weeks in August on suspicion of hiding weapons, said soldiers also attached wires to detainees and administered electrical shocks as they writhed on the ground.

"When that happened, the wires would produce a lot of noise, and the lights would flicker, and it would smell like burning. We could hear the people shouting," Bao said. "I was always praying to God not to be brought downstairs."

. . . While torture allegations have been documented at multiple military facilities, the U.N. officials said that some of the worst came from detainees at the San Pedro camp, including credible reports of electrical shocks.

Few detainees in the city had spoken up about their experiences at the camp because of threats they received before being released, said Serges Dagbo, San Pedro representative for the Ivorian Human Rights League.

But in recent interviews with The Associated Press, four former detainees described harsh conditions marked by cramped quarters, minimal food and the frequent use of violence to extract confessions. . .

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On 19 November, Human Rights Watch released a report exposing the gross human rights abuses being committed by the Republican Forces (FRCI), including: arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, extortion, inhuman treatment and torture.

See: Ivory Coast military accused of torture during 'reprisal' crackdown
Hope of reconciliation after civil war fades amid claims of inhuman treatment of perceived Gbagbo loyalists

By David Smith, Africa correspondent, The Guardian, 19 Nov 2012.

Excerpts:

In August, members of the government's Republican Forces carried out mass arrests of perceived Gbagbo supporters almost daily in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Yopougon, Human Rights Watch said. "Without arrest warrants or individualised evidence, soldiers arbitrarily arrested young men in their homes, at neighbourhood restaurants, at bars, in taxis and buses, as they walked home from church, and at traditional community celebrations.

"Soldiers often arrived in neighbourhoods in military cargo trucks and forced 20 or more perceived pro-Gbagbo youth to board. Hundreds of young men appear to have been rounded up and detained, largely on the basis of their ethnicity and place of residence. Those arrested were often brought to military camps, which are not lawful detention sites for civilians under Ivorian law."

. . . In August and September, the commander in charge of one detainment camp was Ousmane Coulibaly, better known as "Bin Laden", Human Rights Watch said. In a previous report on the post-election violence, it had named him as one of the Republican Forces commanders whose soldiers committed acts of torture and dozens of summary executions during the final [France and NATO-backed] battle for Abidjan in April and May 2011.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT
A Long Way from Reconciliation
Abusive Military Crackdown in Response to Security Threats in Côte d’Ivoire
19 November 2012  (79 pages)

Excerpts:

Human Rights Watch interviewed eight former detainees at the [Adjamé] military police camp, five of whom provided detailed evidence suggesting that they had been victims of torture. . . with the purpose of demanding answers to questions about the location of guns or alleged suspects, or in order to pressure the detainee to sign a confession of involvement in an attack against state security. (p25)

They also described seeing other detainees come back to the cell with bruised faces, severe swelling, and open wounds. Detainees at the military police camp also described suffering grossly inadequate detention conditions, including severe overcrowding, near complete denial of food and water, and humiliating practices like being placed in a room filled with excrement. (p26)

The former detainees interviewed by Human Rights Watch were all young men from ethnic groups perceived to support Laurent Gbagbo. They described their detention rooms as being full with people from the same ethnic groups, including the Bété, Guéré, Ebrié, Oubi, and Adioukrou. . .  many young men were picked up during mass arrests in areas with a concentration of perceived Gbagbo supporters. (p26)

In the cases documented by Human Rights Watch, severe physical pain appeared to be inflicted by state agents, namely military personnel, in order to pressure people into a confession or to divulge information about the location of weapons. Torture did not appear to be systematic, as other detainees described only minimal physical abuse. However, the cases documented by Human Rights Watch raise concerns about the total number of potential victims. (p29)

In addition, Human Rights Watch received credible information about recent cases of torture against detainees held in a Republican Forces military base in San Pedro, a town in southwestern Côte d’Ivoire about 350 kilometers from Abidjan.  On October 4, the Associated Press reported [see above] that soldiers at the San Pedro military camp had subjected at least four civilian detainees to electric shock, finding that “long wires were attached to their feet, midsections and necks before electrical shocks were administered.” (p34)

Human Rights Watch describes the crackdown as "unlike any since the end of the post-election crisis". (p37)

A diplomat from a key partner to Côte d’Ivoire told Human Rights Watch that there were deep concerns about how Ivorian authorities had framed the issue: “The language they use is very concerning: ‘eradication,’ ‘terrorism,’ ‘clean the country up’. (p 37)

Youths rounded up en masse in Yopougon report being separated according to their ethnic group. On a daily basis, masses of youths belonging to southern (normally pro-Gbagbo) tribes were trucked to the BAE (Brigade anti-émeute, or anti-riot unit) police camp where they were punished mercilessly and extorted. (see page 39)

A Ouattara supporter who lives near the BAE camp told Human Rights Watch, “You wouldn’t believe the things we see there each day. [There are] always youth being trucked in, being beaten. They don’t even hide [the abuses]; it’s often in plain view. [The FRCI there] aren’t afraid of any consequences.” An Ivorian civil society leader agreed: “[The soldiers implicated in abuses] are at ease. They don’t fear anything, and that’s the most dangerous thing: the complete impunity.” (p 40-41)

Human Rights Watch interviewed Yopougon residents who were arrested in their homes, while eating at a maquis, with friends at a bar, when walking home from church, when in a taxi or a bus, and when attending a funeral. (p 41)

Nearly all of those interviewed described the widespread commission of criminal acts by members of the FRCI in Yopougon. These crimes were perpetrated first during the process of neighborhood sweeps and mass arrests, when soldiers stole cash and valuables such as cell phones, computers, and jewelry from people’s homes and off people being arrested; and second, by demanding money in order to secure a detainee’s release. The mass arrests appear to have been a financial boon for members of the Republican Forces based at the BAE camp, and a crippling hardship to those who were swept up because of their age and perceived political affiliation. (p 46)

Since the end of the post-election crisis, the Republican Forces and armed “volunteers” [including dozos: see here and here] loyal to them have unlawfully taken over many functions that the police and gendarmes are legally mandated to do . . . (p 56)

Several victims of arbitrary arrest or detention told Human Rights Watch that police officers or gendarmes tried to intervene on their behalf and stop abuses. . .  A youth arrested while walking home from a church function on August 25 described how police kept him from being detained and upbraided soldiers who had stolen dozens of cell phones from those arrested (p 57) "God thankfully made that there was a police officer nearby," he said (p 58)

The HRW report also notes that after being arbitrarily arrested and beaten senseless for a week, men are then extorted, forced to pay in order to be released rather than killed. Towards the end of the report there are testimonies from women who testify to being arbitrarily arrested and then told that their male relatives will released if they (the women) have sex with the soldiers.

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In an unrelated article, Associated Press reports on the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center's findings, that continuing conflicts over land have caused at least another 24,000 Ivorians to become displaced so far this year (i.e. by Nov 2012).
[for an example, see Ivory Coast: Thousands displaced in renewed terror
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 172, Wed 15 Aug 2012]

That figure is in addition to the 40,000 to 80,000 who remain displaced from the March-April 2011 hostilities.

According to the report, "armed men have prevented displaced persons from accessing their land, sometimes imposing 'arbitrary taxes on those wishing to return'."

Are these "arbitrary taxes" simple criminal extortion, or jizya (Islamic, sacralised extortion of the dhimmi, as mandated by the Qur'an in Sura 9:29)? And why is it being allowed? The fact is, lawless Ivory Coast is awash with illegal weapons.

On 5 Dec, UN Watch issued a statement entitled, Despite Military Atrocities, Ivory Coast Elected as UN Disarmament Commission Vice-Chair, in which it called for the move to be reversed.

Monday, January 9, 2012

SYRIA: false narratives and propaganda

By Elizabeth Kendal

The battle presently taking place in Syria includes a battle by foreign powers for Syria -- a battle for the regional balance of power; a battle that pits the US-Saudi / Gulf Arab Sunni Axis against the Iran-Hezballah Shi'ite axis of which Arab, mostly Sunni Syria is integral.

See: SYRIA: CHRISTIANS FEAR FOR THEIR FUTURE
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 137 | Wed 07 Dec 2011

Aisling Byrne writes for Asia Times Online (5 Jan 2012), that the battle for Syria is essentially the first stage of a "war on Iran". Byrne quotes Saudi King Adbullah who observes: "Other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself, nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria." Likewise, notes Byrne, the US administration has also commented that regime change in Syria would constitute a massive blow to Iranian power in the region.

"What we are seeing in Syria," she concludes, "is a deliberate and calculated campaign to bring down the Assad government so as to replace it with a regime 'more compatible' with US interests in the region. [. . .] Not for the first time are we seeing a close alliance between US/British neo-cons with Islamists (including, reports show, some with links to al-Qaeda) working together to bring about regime change in an 'enemy' state."

See: A mistaken case for Syrian regime change
By Aisling Byrne, Asia Times Online, 5 Jan 2012

PROPAGANDA ESSENTIAL TO STRATEGY

Byrne's article is essential reading for anyone confused by the conflicting narratives coming out of Syria, for Byrne's main complaint is against the "deliberate construction of a largely false narrative that pits unarmed democracy demonstrators being killed in their hundreds and thousands as they protest peacefully against an oppressive, violent regime, a 'killing machine' led by the 'monster' Assad." (emphasis mine)

Most of the article's ten pages are devoted to exposing and analysing the propaganda that is pouring out of Syria and being disseminated by those with a strategic interest in regime change and others determined not to let truth get in the way of a sensational story.

Byrne notes: "Of the three main sources for all data on numbers of protesters killed and numbers of people attending demonstrations - the pillars of the narrative - all are part of the 'regime change' alliance".

In particular, the British-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights -- which is funded by US and Gulf Arab money -- "has been described as the 'front office' of a large media propaganda set-up run by the Syrian opposition and its backers." As Byrne comments, the Observatory has been pivotal in sustaining the narrative of "massacres" and more recently "genocide". Yet not only is the Observatory not legally registered as a company or charity, it has no office, no staff and yet is "reportedly awash with funds".

Byrne reports: ". . . a YouGov poll commissioned by the Qatar Foundation showed last week that 55% of Syrians do not want Assad to resign and 68% of Syrians disapprove of the Arab League sanctions imposed on their country. [. . .] Unsurprisingly, not a single mainstream major newspaper or news outlet reported the YouGov poll results - it doesn't fit their narrative."

HOW TO SECURE A "HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION"
-- (or at least foreign backing)


As was the case in Libya, Syria's is an asymmetric conflict: the Syrian opposition cannot match the Syrian military. As Stratfor has noted, "Thus far al Assad has resisted his enemies. Though some mid-to-low-ranking Sunnis have defected, his military remains largely intact; this is because the Alawites control key units. Events in Libya drove home to an embattled Syrian leadership -- and even some of its adversaries within the military -- the consequences of losing. The military has held together, and an unarmed or poorly armed populace, no matter how large, cannot defeat an intact military force." (Stratfor: "Syria, Iran and the Balance of Power in the Middle East." By George Friedman, 22 Nov 2011.)

Consequently, the Syrian opposition knows that it needs external support, and to get it, it has to make a case for at best foreign intervention, and at least foreign backing.

Of course the West will never intervene on purely humanitarian grounds; it must have economic or geo-strategic interests. This is why multitudes of genuine humanitarian concerns are ignored or worse, treated as embarrassments and inconveniences to be covered up.

In order to launch a "humanitarian intervention", the Western governments concerned -- being democracies -- will first need to convince their constituents that a humanitarian catastrophe is indeed underway. Of course anyone can create a humanitarian catastrophe -- real or imagined. It has been done before by Islamist separatists in Bosnia, Yugoslavia; Albanian Islamist separatists in Kosovo, Serbia; Islamist imperialists in Ivory Coast and Islamist imperialists in Libya. It has also been attempted unsuccessfully by Islamist imperialists in the Palestinian Territories and in South Lebanon. Yes, false narratives have been created and propaganda used before to pave the way for US-NATO bombing campaigns against innocent civilians from Belgrade to Abidjan to Sirte, all so US-NATO states can advance their own economic and geo-strategic interests.

Byrne quotes American Conservative which notes that figures being cited by the UN are based on rebel sources and are uncorroborated. Likewise, reports of mass defections are a fabrication, with few defections actually being confirmed. Furthermore, American Conservative asserts that "Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained and financed by foreign governments are more true than false".

See: NATO vs. Syria
By Philip Giraldi, American Conservative, 19 Dec 2011

Byrne's article in Asia Times Online includes many more such quotes and claims, including that the US has been pumping money into Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups specifically for the purpose of advancing regime change in Syria with the goal of hurting Iran.

As already noted, Byrne's article is essential reading for anyone trying to make sense of the situation in Syria.

SYRIA'S CHRISTIANS: ANOTHER INCONVENIENT PEOPLE

Like the Papuans of Eastern Indonesia and the Kachin of northern Burma, the threatened, imperiled, besieged Christians of Iraq and now Syria are just an inconvenience to Western powers that have economic and geo-strategic interests in their sights.

Western Christians need to accept the new reality: their governments do not inhabit a moral high ground. Rather, they are driven by economic and geo-strategic interests (money and power) and will not be hamstrung by inconvenient truths concerning the devastating consequences their actions will have on the liberties, lives and even future survival of local Christian communities.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

BOSNIA: THE LOOMING STORM

Date: Wednesday 21 November 2007
Subj: Bosnia: The looming storm.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


Bosnia is supposed to be enacting constitutional reforms aimed at transitioning the state to European Union (EU) membership from the stabilisation brought by the Dayton Accords. The Dayton Accords, which ended the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict, upheld the territorial sovereignty of the independent state of Bosnia while dividing it into two largely-autonomous entities: the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic). Inherent in Bosnia's transition to the EU is the EU (and American) requirement that Bosnia strengthen its state institutions at the expense of its entities.

The constitutional reforms proposed for Bosnia are contentious however because Bosnian Islamists, such as Bosnia's Muslim President Haris Silajdzic, are not interested in seeing Republika Srpska's institutions scaled down -- they want Republika Srpska abolished. The Islamists want to extend Muslim rule across all of Bosnia. Meanwhile, because Bosnia is a Muslim-majority state and Bosnian Serbs -- traditionally and culturally Serbian Orthodox -- have no wish to be dominated by Muslims, the Bosnian Serbs want to retain the autonomy that safeguards their religious liberty, security and culture. As it is, the traditionally Catholic Croats of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation are so sick of being discriminated against by the increasingly radicalised Muslim majority (see link 1) that they want to leave the federation. Croat groups are petitioning for a separate Croat-majority entity where they can enjoy their constitutional rights.

(For more details on Bosnia's radicalisation, religious tensions, constitutional reforms and background history, see link 2.)

All this of course is very frustrating for Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak, the High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, who is supposed to be orchestrating Bosnia's transition. Lajcak recently complained to an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council meeting in Vienna, "No one wants to be a minority and they all want to have a state." (Link 3)

Through this complaint, Lajcak not only displays contempt for the genuine complaints and concerns of religious minorities, he also misrepresents the truth. For unlike Serbia's minority Albanians, Bosnia's Croats and Serbs have not been calling for an independent "state". They simply desire the autonomy that would enable them to safeguard their religious liberty, security and culture within the Muslim-majority state. If the "International Community" (US, EU, UN) orchestrate the re-subjugation of the Bosnian Serbs (and Croats), then Bosnia might end up transitioning, not forwards from stabilisation to EU membership, but backwards from paralysis to crisis to ethnic-religious conflict.

LAJCAK IMPOSES LAWS AND TRIGGERS WORST CRISIS SINCE WAR

On 19 October, High Representative Miroslav Lajcak exercised his supreme power and decreed changes to the law that rules how Bosnia's democratically elected federal Council of Ministers conducts its business.

Lajcak's imposed changes to Bosnia's law on the Council of Ministers will benefit Islamists by making it easier for them to have their proposals passed. Previously when lawmakers representing the Muslim majority put forward proposals that were unacceptable to Republika Srpska, Bosnian Serb lawmakers (when they knew they could not get a majority to defeat the proposal) would simply boycott the session to force a postponement of the vote. Lajcak's measures alter the way a quorum is calculated and reduce by half the number of members of parliament needed to pass a law. Laws may now be passed on the majority votes of the lawmakers present, rendering ethnic boycotts ineffective. (Link 4)

The President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, rejected Lajcak's measures, describing them as unacceptable. When Bosnian Serb lawmakers requested Lajcak to reconsider, he rebuffed them, saying that the matter was not open for discussion! Lajcak regards the resultant crisis as "artificial". According to Lajcak the Bosnian Serbs have "overreacted to these measures in order to create a political crisis". Once again Lajcak is showing contempt for the genuine and reasonable concerns of the religious minorities who regard this as a substantial crisis.

The Office for the High Representative has issued a statement confirming that Lajcak's measures will not be withdrawn, crisis or not. Terrorism analyst Anes Alic in Sarajevo quotes the OHR statement as saying: "If the tensions continue to escalate without particular reason, that will be the choice of the Bosnian Serb authorities and they would be therefore deemed responsible for such a situation and possible consequences." According to Alic, "The US Embassy in Sarajevo issued a similar statement." (Link 5)

The new laws are now in force on a temporary basis. If Bosnia's Council of Ministers fails to endorse the law changes on 1 December, Lajcak (an unelected, imposed foreigner) will enact them unilaterally. The Republika Srpska (RS) Assembly has warned that if Lajcak does not reconsider or amend his measures to make them acceptable to Bosnian Serbs, then the RS Assembly will bring the issue to the attention of the RS Constitutional Court and even to the UN. (Link 6)

BALKAN FORECAST


Balkan forecast for December: dark clouds with storms (possibly violent and highly destructive, especially in the south). Unless changes blow in, 1 December will see Lajcak, with backing from the US and EU, dictating laws in Bosnia that threaten Serb autonomy, liberty and security, opening the door for Islamists to gradually extend their rule and dominance over all Bosnia, including its 1.4 million Serbs. Then on 10 December Albanian separatists in the Serbian province of Kosovo, with backing from the US and most EU member states, will declare unilateral independence. With this, Muslims will have re-annexed Serbian territory, the southern province of Kosovo and Metohija (church lands), complete with some 100,000 remnant Serbs and centuries of priceless Serbian and Christian heritage.

Note: US-EU-NATO policy regarding Bosnia -- ethnic-religious unification according to the will of the Muslim majority -- is contrary to its policy regarding Serbia -- ethnic-religious partition according to the will of the Muslim minority.

Serbs (allies of the West through two world wars) are supposed to willingly submit to re-subjugation in Bosnia and accept partition of Serbia -- the excision of their historic and spiritual heartland -- in line with the demands of Albanian ethnic separatists and Islamists.

The only thing consistent about US-EU-NATO policy in the Balkans is that it consistently aligns with Muslim forces and advances the Islamist agenda at the expense of Christian peoples, in particular Orthodox Slavs. It is reminiscent of the way Britain aligned with the Ottoman Turks in the Balkans a century ago, propping up Muslim forces as a bulwark against Russian expansion into the region.

US-EU-NATO policy in the Balkans has nothing to do with justice or "democracy" or humanitarianism and everything to do with post Cold War geopolitics, without regard for "collateral damage" (local Christians) or long-term consequences (regional and global instability and insecurity).

Elizabeth Kendal
rl-research@crossnet.org.au

Links

1) BALKAN MUJAHEDEENS
Fundamentalist Islam Finds Fertile Ground in Bosnia
By Renate Flottau in Sarajevo, Bosnia. 9 November 2007
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,516214,00.html

2) Bosnia and Herzegovina: Religious tensions rising.
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 19 September 2006.
By WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.
http://www.worldevangelicals.org/news/view.htm?id=692
(this posting also contains a historical background under the heading: "CREATING CONTEXT: HISTORY'S WEDGES")
SEE ALSO
Bosnia: Fragile stability threatened by Islamisation.
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 12 October 2006.
WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

3) Lajcak: Everyone in Bosnia wants their own state
25 October 2007, Source: Tanjug
http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=10&dd=25&nav_id=44869

4) Decision Enacting the Law on Changes and Amendments to the Law on the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Friday, 19 October 2007
http://www.ohr.int/decisions/statemattersdec/default.asp?content_id=40687

5) Dangerous rumblings in Bosnia
By Anes Alic in Sarajevo for ISN Security Watch. 2 Nov 2007 http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=18310
SEE ALSO
RS Proposal: No Basis For Further Discussion
OHR Sarajevo | Friday, November 09, 2007
http://www.ohr.int/ohr-dept/presso/pressr/default.asp?content_id=40821

6) Bosnia Serbs Rebuffed over Imposed Laws
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. 30 Oct 2007
http://www.birn.eu.com/en/110/15/5442/

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Kosovo & Metohija, SERBIA: Precarious Situation


Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 415 | Wed 07 Feb 2007


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KOSOVO AND METOHIJA, (Serbia) : PRECARIOUS SITUATION
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What we know today as Kosovo, southern Serbia, was historically two regions: Kosovo and Metohija. 'Metohija' comes from the Greek 'metox' referring to land set aside for the Church. Metohija, a large basin in the south-west comprising nearly half of 'Kosovo', is the spiritual heartland of Serbia and is filled with historic Eastern Orthodox churches and monasteries.

The (Muslim) Ottoman Empire advanced its imperialistic jihad into the Balkans in the 14th Century. For centuries the Christian peoples of the Balkans were subjugated under Islam and sorely persecuted. But then the Ottoman Empire started to crumble and the Christians fought for and won their liberation. During the Ottoman era large numbers of Turkish and ethnic Albanian Muslims migrated over the mountains and into Serbia's southern regions of Kosovo and Metohija, eventually comprising some 50 percent of the population. Their descendants are known as 'Kosovars'. After the Balkan wars of liberation (1912) Islamist Kosovars/Albanians complained that their (Muslim) land was 'occupied', and the Kosovar/Albanian separatist struggle began. So the contemporary struggle between the Muslim Kosovars/Albanians and the Orthodox Serbs for control of Kosovo and Metohija is almost a century old.

The ethnic Albanian Muslim Kosovar cause has accelerated since 1941: first during World War Two through the Nazi-Muslim pact to exterminate Serbs, Jews and Roma/Gypsies in the Nazis' 'Greater Albania'; and then during the Communist era through the pro-Albanian, pro-Arab, anti-Serb policies of Croat Communist leader Marshall Tito. Tito refused to allow the Serbs who had been ethnically cleansed from Kosovo during WW2 the right to return. He dissolved Metohija because of its spiritual significance and turned Kosovo and Metohija into a single, separate and eventually autonomous majority ethnic Albanian province.

War erupted in 1999. After NATO's unilateral intervention Kosovo was declared a UN protectorate. Since then some 150 historic Orthodox Serbian churches and monasteries have been destroyed and an estimated 1000 Serbs and Roma have been kidnapped and murdered or disappeared (but not Jews, because Islamist Kosovars expelled the entire Jewish remnant in 1999). Kosovo's mostly internally displaced Serbs live in fear and poverty and cannot move without UN armed escorts. Meanwhile the Islamisation and radicalisation of Kosovo has advanced without restraint.

The UN special envoy's 2 February 2007 recommendation that Kosovo be granted supervised independence will soon go before the UN Security Council. Albania, all Islamic imperialists, the US and UK support this proposal. Russia and China (two countries that could face similar Muslim separatist claims should Kosovo be granted independence) are opposed to it. Needless to say Serbia rejects any suggestion that the UN excise 15 percent of Serbia's territory and cede it to Muslim separatists.

The West appeases Islamic imperialism in the Balkans for political expediency - the opposite of their response in the Horn of Africa. The situation for Kosovo's Serbs is precarious and Balkans' peace is tenuous.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR GOD TO:

* raise up voices for justice and right to speak against shameful political expediency.

* work powerfully through the UN forces to protect the tiny Orthodox Serb remnant in Kosovo so they will not be forced to defend themselves should hostile forces seek their removal or the destruction of more religious sites.

* protect all Kosovar converts to Christianity who are greatly at risk due to the escalating criminality and Islamic nationalist, imperialist and anti-Serb (anti-Christian) zeal in the province.

* give great wisdom and divine guidance to the political and religious leaders in Belgrade (Serbia).

'He [the Sovereign Lord] tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.' Isaiah 40:11 NIV