Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 51 Number 12, April 10, 2021 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

22nd Anniversary of the Bombing of Yugoslavia:

NATO's War against Serbia and Kosovo

People marching in Belgrade, Serbia, on March 24 2019 to commemorate the
victims of the attack by NATO on the 20th anniversary of its war against Yugoslavia.

Twenty two years ago on March 24, 1999, Britain alongside the US started its bombing of Yugoslavia. In the following weeks and months tens of thousands demonstrated in Britain and across the world against NATO's war. Yet Tony Blair and the Labour government pressed ahead further involving Britain alongside the US, Germany and other NATO powers in this criminal war of aggression against Yugoslavia.

The bombing of Yugoslavia marked a new "strategic concept" of NATO. It fraudulently claimed that its aim was "human security" which took precedence over the rights of nation-states so that the Anglo-US and other Western powers could further interfere and occupy the Balkans states in their own interests. The Château de Rambouillet "peace agreement" was the pretext for war drafted by NATO early in 1999. It was the ultimatum to Yugoslavia that was used to justify the bombing of Serbia and Kosovo. It was an ultimatum that Yugoslavia could not possibly agree to which demanded that Yugoslavia allow 30,000 NATO troops into Kosovo and contained provisions for Kosovo's secession from Yugoslavia which further incited Serbs and Kosovans against each other.

During the war NATO daily added to its list of war crimes. To give just one example, on May 7, 1999 - the same day that NATO bombed the Chinese Embassy killing journalists - it also dropped cluster bombs on the hospital and market place at Niš, killing 15 people and injuring a further 70. Despite these atrocities, Tony Blair declared that morality was on NATO's side!

Such a concept that NATO was trying to impose was one which seeks to legalise the violation of the principle of the sovereignty of all nations, and that peoples have the right of self-determination. In other words, with the drive of the monopolies and oligopolies for world domination, with the huge arms monopolies who have flooded the world with weapons of mass destruction, NATO had declared that it wanted to impose a new legality.

This new legality was later encapsulated in a statement by Tony Blair that the "Rules of the Game have changed" with the "war on terror" and the equally infamous "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P) that was used to justify the unjustifiable bombing of Libya. This is a so-called new legality where the rights of nations to sovereignty and self-determination are cast aside and the actions of the big powers are justified in the name of "fighting terrorism", "opposing ethnic cleansing" and "human rights" and so on. In other words, the war of NATO against Yugoslavia was the precedent used by the Anglo-US powers in their wars of invasion, death and destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq, and following that in Africa with Libya, and with their proxy wars in Syria and many other parts of the world confronting Russia and China. Prior to this, Britain along with the US had already been bombing Iraq for 10 years since the first Gulf War of 1990 as well as continuing their interference and wars wherever they desired to impose their dictate.

On May 1, 1999, Workers' Weekly [2], opposing the war, gave some insight into the coming upsurge against the wars to come in the new millennium when it pointed out that "it is not an expression of the strength of the US, Britain and other imperialist powers when they resort to such violence against the peoples of Iraq, Yugoslavia and other countries of the world because the situation is sharpening the contradictions between imperialism and the peoples. It is sharpening the contradictions in the imperialist heartlands. As they go to war they increase the reaction at home. In Britain, the most reactionary anti-social measures are being taken against the people and every kind of diversion is and will be perpetrated to place the blame on the people themselves or on some 'extremists'. The peoples must respond by uniting in action against the danger of fascism and imperialist war. In Britain, the source of this danger is the monopoly capitalist system and its archaic political sys tem. The working class and people must fight for a vision of society that recognises the rights of all, that ends Britain's interference in the internal affairs of other countries, that withdraws from NATO and stands for democratisation of international relations and the equality and rights of all nations big and small."

Many of NATO's war crimes against Yugoslavia were listed by the Cuban government in their declaration on June 1 1999, Genocide Must Receive Exemplary Punishment [2]. However to date NATO and especially the US and British governments - not to mention Tony Blair himself - have not been brought to account for the bombing of Yugoslavia and the death and destruction caused.

1. Workers' Weekly Vol. 29, No. 9, May 1, 1999
2. Declaration by the government of Cuba, Havana, June 1, 1999


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