Kosovo and Washington’s Strategic Agenda for Europe and Eurasia
By F. William Engdahl, 3 March 2008
The declaration of Kosovo independence has been rapidly greeted with official diplomatic recognition by Washington and select EU countries including Germany. That independence and its recognition, unfortunately, openly violate UN resolutions for Kosovo and make a farce of the entire UN rule of international law. The new regime is headed by man identified by Interpol as well as German BND intelligence reports as a criminal, a boss of Kosovo organized crime responsible for drug running, extortion and prostitution. The important question is why Washington has pressured Europe into accepting the travesty now called the Republic of Kosovo?
Kosovo is a tiny parcel of land in one of the most strategic locations in all Europe from a standpoint of US military objectives of controlling oil flows and political developments from the oil-rich Middle East to Russia and Western Europe. The current US-led recognition of the self-declared Republic of Kosovo is a continuation of US policy for the Balkans since the illegal 1999 US-led NATO bombing of Serbia, a NATO “out-of-area” deployment never approved by the UN Security Council, allegedly on the premise that Milosevic’s army was on the verge of carrying out a genocidal massacre of Kosovo Albanians.
Some months before the US-led bombing of Serbian targets, one of the heaviest bombings since World War II, a senior US intelligence official in private conversation told Croatian officers in Zagreb about Washington’s strategy for former Yugoslavia. According to these reports, communicated privately to this author, the Pentagon goal was to take control of Kosovo in order to secure a military base to control the entire southeast European region down to the Middle East oil lands.
Since June 1999 when the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) occupied Kosovo, then an integral part of then-Yugoslavia, Kosovo has been under a United Nations mandate, UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Russia and China also agreed to that mandate, which specifies the role of KFOR to ensure cessation of inter-ethnic fighting and atrocities between the Serb minority population, others and the Kosovo Albanian Islamic majority. Under 1244 Kosovo would remain part of Serbia pending a peaceful resolution of its status. That UN Resolution has been ignored by the US, German and EU parties.
Germany’s and Washington’s prompt recognition of Kosovo’s independence in February 2008, significantly, came days after elections for President in Serbia confirmed pro-Washington Boris Tadic had won a second four year term. With Tadic’s post secured, Washington could count on a compliant Serbian reaction to its support for Kosovo. To date that seems the case.
The US strategic agenda for Kosovo is primarily military, and its prime focus is against Russia and for control of oil flows from the Caspian Sea to the Middle East into Western Europe. By declaring its independence, Washington gains a weak state which it can fully control. So long as it remained a part of Serbia, that NATO military control would be politically insecure. Today Kosovo is controlled as a military satrapy of NATO, whose KFOR has 16,000 troops there for a tiny population of 2 millions.
US-NATO military control of Kosovo serves several purposes for Washington’s greater geo-strategic agenda. First it enables greater US control over potential oil and gas pipeline routes into the EU from the Caspian and Middle East as well as control of the transport corridors linking the EU to the Black Sea. It also protects the multi-billion dollar heroin trade, which, significantly, has grown to record dimensions in Afghanistan according to UN narcotics officials, since the US occupation. Kosovo and Albania are major heroin transit routes into Europe. According to a just -released 2008 US State Department annual report on international narcotics traffic, several key drug trafficking routes pass through the Balkans. Kosovo is mentioned as a key point for the transfer of heroin from Turkey and Afghanistan to Western Europe. Those drugs reportedly flow under the watchful eye of the Thaci government.
Since its dealings with the Meo tribesmen in Laos during the Vietnam era, the CIA has protected narcotics traffic in key locations in order partly to finance its covert operations. The scale of international narcotics traffic today is such that major US banks such as Citigroup are reported to derive a significant share of their profits from laundering the proceeds.
Immediately after the bombing of Serbia in 1999 the Pentagon seized a 1000 acre large parcel of land in Kosovo at Uresevic near the border to Macedonia, and awarded a contract to Halliburton when Dick Cheney was CEO there, to build one of the largest US overseas military bases in the world, Camp Bondsteel, with more than 7000 troops today.
Recognizing a mafia state?
One of the notable features of the indecent rush by Washington and other states to immediately recognize the independence of Kosovo is the fact that they well know its present government and both major political parties are in fact run by Kosovo Albanian organized crime.
Hashim Thaci, President of Kosovo and head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, is the former leader of the terrorist organization which the US and NATO trained and called the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, or in Albanian, UCK. In 1997, President Clinton’s Special Balkans Envoy, Robert Gelbard described the LKA as, “without any question a terrorist group.” It was far more. It was a klan-based mafia, impossible therefore to infiltrate, which controlled the underground black economy of Kosovo. Today the Democratic Party of Thaci, according to European police sources, retains its links to organized crime.
A February 22, 2005 67 page German BND report, labeled Top Secret, which has been leaked, stated,
“Über die Key-Player (wie z. B. Haliti, Thaci, Haradinaj) bestehen engste Verflechtungen zwischen Politik, Wirtschaft und international operierenden OK-Strukturen im Kosovo. Die dahinter stehenden kriminellen Netzwerke fördern dort die politische Instabilität. Sie haben kein Interesse am Aufbau einer funktionierenden staatlichen Ordnung, durch die ihre florierenden Geschäfte beeinträchtigt werden können.“
(OK=Organized Crime; Translation: “Through the key players—for example Thaci, Haliti, Haradinaj—there is the closest interlink between politics, the economy and international organized crime in Kosovo. The criminal organizations in the background there foster political instability. They have no interest at all in the building of a functioning orderly state that could be detrimental to their booming business.”)
The KLA began action in 1996 with the bombing of refugee camps housing Serbian refugees from the wars in Bosnia and Croatia. The KLA repeatedly called for the “liberation” of areas of Montenegro, Macedonia and parts of Northern Greece. Thaci is hardly a figure of regional stability to put it mildly.
The 39 year old Thaci was a personal protégé of Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during the 1990s, when he was a mere 30-year old gangster. The KLA was supported from the outset by the CIA and the German BND. During the 1999 war the KLA was directly supported by NATO. At the time he was picked up by the USA in the mid-1990s, Thaci was founder of the Drenica Group, a criminal syndicate in Kosovo with ties to Albanian, Macedonian and Italian organized mafias. A classified January 2007 report prepared for the EU Commission, labeled “VS-Nur für den Dienstgebrauch” was leaked to the media. It detailed the organized criminal activity of KLA and its successor Democratic Party under Thaci.
The question then becomes, why are Washington, NATO, the EU and inclusive and importantly, the German Government, so eager to legitimize the breakaway Kosovo? The answer is not hard to find. A Kosovo run internally by organized criminal networks is easy for NATO to control. It insures a weak state which is far easier to bring under NATO domination.
The Thaci dependence on US and NATO good graces insures Thaci’s government will do what it is asked. That, in turn, assures the US a major military gain consolidating its permanent presence in the strategically vital southeast Europe. It is a major step in consolidating NATO control of Eurasia, and gives the US a large swing its way in the European balance of power. Little wonder Moscow has not welcomed the development, nor have numerous other states. The US is literally playing with dynamite in the Balkans.