WHAT'S NEW IN INES?
Dateline: 28 March 1999
SPECIAL ISSUE ON NATO AND YUGOSLAVIA
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the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility
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Dear reader of "What's New In INES?"
I have devoted this issue entirely to the NATO war in Yugoslavia and to the Kosovo problem. You are certainly aware that this is the very first time that NATO has attacked another country - and for a German, it is particularly shocking because this is also the first time since World War II that German Armed Forces are involved in warfare.
Since this is a special issue, you will find a quite different structure. However, I can cover only some selected references and news items, and by doing so I decided to concentrate on the kind of information which is usually not published in mass media.
When this WNII issue went to press, there was not yet any statement published by INES or an INES member organisation (at least, I am not aware of). This remark does not contain any criticism. I just want to inform you about that, in particular because I have published here statements from other international organisations.
I very much hope that this issue is of some help for you in terms of getting a broader picture of what is going on in one part of this world and how people react on it. Also, as a humanist, I do sincerely hope that the political decision-makers will be able to find very soon a solution which makes any further use of military and other violence obsolete. Warfare is no protection for anybody, as reality shows.
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SOURCES AND REFERENCES
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
NATO war against Yugoslavia: press coverage overview
NATO strikes against Yugoslavia came too late for Thursday's world press to report the attacks in detail. But many papers were able to highlight their historic significance, while others drew parallels with action in Iraq.
In France, "Le Figaro's simple headline, "War in Europe," has a historic and ominous ring. "La Liberation" looks ahead with the headline, "What Now?" It queries whether the West is ready for a ground war if the Serbian president does not give in under the bombing. And the Paris edition of the "International Herald Tribune" underlines the historical significance of the bombing, saying it is NATO's first attack on sovereign land. It goes on to make a comparison with previous military operations against Iraq - an angle also picked up by the Indian press.
But the "Times of India" warns that the Balkans is not Iraq, where an undeclared air war can go on without much notice being taken in Europe. It says sovereign countries fearing outside intervention will be closely watching the outcome of the confrontation. "The Indian Express" criticises the United States for being uncertain about its goals and it warns that a bombing campaign against Yugoslavia will not be the cakewalk it was in the deserts of Iraq.
At least two British papers spare a thought for Russian feelings. "The Daily Telegraph" records President Boris Yeltsin's outrage on its front page. The Telegraph's Moscow correspondent comments that years of understanding with the West appeared to be in jeopardy as the Russians dismantled their carefully-constructed links with NATO. The tabloid "Daily Mirror," meanwhile, highlights what it sees as a Russian threat of military reprisals.
In Russia itself, the papers praise Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov for scrapping his visit to the US on Tuesday after strikes became a virtual certainty. The military daily "Krasnaya Zvezda" said that by canceling his visit the Russian premier ''has shown that we are still worth something". The "Rossiiskaya Gazeta" said his decision to turn back in mid-flight was ''rigorous and courageous.'' It says if the trip had gone ahead and NATO had then launched strikes it would have been ''an unceremonious slap in the face of our premier'' and ''a humiliation for all Russians." In an interview conducted before the strikes in "The Obshchaya Gazeta," Mr. Primakov warns unilateral action could lead ''to anarchy in the world."
[from , 25 March 1999]
Kosovo crisis resources
Websites of state and military authorities:
References in other languages
Reuters articles re Airstrikes, March 25, 1999 5 a.m.:
STATEMENTS + APPEALS ^
NGOs' Appeal from Russia
The following is a joint appeal released on 25 March by the Federation of Peace and Conciliation, the Russian Peace Committee, the Russian Fund for Peace, the UN Association of Russia and the Centre "Eco-Accord" < mailto: >:
The mankind has not succeeded to meet the new Millennium without a war. NATO member-states have initiated the war in Europe, having opened "the Pandora box" full of new danger. The norms and rules of the international law do not allow any country to use military forces against sovereign states without the decision taken by the UN and the UN Security Council. These norms are hardly broken down. All further aggressors will be able to refer to the NATO action as to the precedent, which has broken down rules and norms of the civil order in the world, stated in the UN Charter. Moreover, the whole world system being created after the World War II and the UN existence itself is in danger.
The Federation of Peace and Conciliation, the Russian Federation Peace Committee, the Russian Fund for Peace, UN Association of Russia in advance to the NATO aviation bombing have come to the world community with a call to prevent new military action against Yugoslavia. We claim today to immediately stop the war and use political tools for the conflict resolution. Unacceptable for Russia military action has led to the serious aggravation of the relationship between Russia and the West. This aggravation tendency is not less dangerous then the war, being already initiated in the center of Europe. The way to a new age of political and military confrontation between Russia and the West should be closed immediately. All political forces and parties should act responsibly.
In reply to the provocative military action no one should "add oil to a flame" and follow thoughtless appeals to start again weapon supply to the conflict area (breaking the UN sanctions) or even move tactical nuclear weapon close to this zone. Let us prevent involvement of Russia to the military conflict! The peace on Balkans must be restored by political means: through negotiations, diplomacy, active role and position of the world public opinion. Based on the rules of the international law civilized and peaceful order in the world must be restored towards new millennium!
Statement of War Resisters' International on Kosovo
The War Resisters' International, an international network of more than 70 pacifist groups in more than 30 countries, including the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia, condemns the NATO bombing and the hypocrisy of NATO governments in mounting this war.
The original rationale for threatening military action was to make Milosevic sign a peace agreement. This fatally misreads Milosevic and the mood of the Serbian people after years of nationalist propaganda. Far from undermining Milosevic, this allows him to tap into the Serbian and Yugoslav traditions of heroic military defence. Now, the current rationale is that the bombing is to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. Already at the time of writing, it is clearly precipitating an even greater disaster - and with the evacuation of the OSCE verification mission and foreign relief workers and expulsion of foreign journalists, there are now even fewer ways to respond. NATO has been using the conflicts in the former-Yugoslavia to redefine its role, pretending to be the world's police force. To this end, it pursues its own institutional interests - against those of non-military intergovernmental bodies, such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations - and it decides on military action according to its own organisational logic. It is selective about which 'crimes' it seeks to redress and what counts as a 'humanitarian catastrophe.'
Far from weakening the Milosevic regime, and protecting Kosovo Albanians, the NATO bombings are already having disastrous - and predictable - consequences. In Kosovo itself, it is now 'open season' for Serbs - be they police, military, paramilitary or armed civilians - against the entire Albanian population and its institutions. In Serbia proper, the Belgrade regime has already moved against anti-war voices, such as Radio B92.
The governments that make up NATO displayed very little active interest in supporting nonviolent efforts by Kosovo Albanians throughout the nine years in which they refused to take up arms in response to Serbian repression and violence. Indeed, they consented to the exclusion of Kosovo from the Dayton accords. On those occasions when foreign governments did acknowledge that the wholesale violation of 90 per cent of the population of Kosovo was anything other than an 'internal affair' of Serbia, it was to offer assurances that they did not even try to live up to. For eight years the Albanians of Kosovo persisted in their strategy of refraining from violence and concentrating on maintaining their social cohesion and institutions such as parallel schools. Their nonviolent struggle using strikes, boycotts, peaceful demonstrations and alternative institutions was largely ignored by the world.
Instead of a world order based on NATO breaking international law to pursue military action, War Resisters' International works to strengthen nonviolent methods of dealing with conflict. We have worked against the militarism of the Milosevic regime; we have worked through the Balkan Peace Team to promote dialogue between Serbs and Albanians; and we have worked to increase awareness of the variety of nonviolent methods of social struggle that can be deployed in such situations. A more understanding response to the Kosovo Albanian population on the part of the governments now prepared to bomb Serbia, Kosovo, Vojvodina and Montenegro could have made a decisive difference. Unfortunately, this was not forthcoming. Their decision-making is dominated by short term considerations of power-politics and 'military reality'. The 'criminal' they now want to bomb to the negotiating table is the man they erected into the 'guarantor of the Dayton peace.'
The mission of the OSCE 'verifiers' was too little, too late. Hastily improvised, poorly prepared, and with a mandate that was inadequately articulated, the OSCE verifiers succeed in de-fusing some flashpoints, they were beginning to build some cooperation with civil society groups, but they could not stem the rising tide of violence. Rather they increasingly were verifying that an atrocity had been committed. Nevertheless, their deployment was infinitely preferable to the NATO's bombings.
NATO does not exist to protect populations condemned to live under criminal regimes. How can it when its own members include countries like Turkey, whose methods against the Kurds are equally horrific? NATO's military strategy in Kosovo is not designed in the interests of the population, but rather to minimise the risks to NATO's own soldiers - whatever the consequences for those who are now hostage to Serbian vengeance. NATO's new strategy seems to be a test for new weapons systems in a large scale attack against a Central European country, first use of US Air Force B-2 Bombers, first active battle participation of German Air Force since Second World War, military integration of new NATO-members into the military command to European NATO headquarters. NATO's attack on Yugoslavia is a first precedent of the new NATO strategy, which will be passed in April. In this strategy NATO explicitly stresses its 'right' to intervene everywhere in the world on its own right, without the need of being mandated by the UN or other intergovernmental bodies.
In the immediate circumstances, WRI calls for a halt of the NATO air strikes and calls on its members to organise vigils and other demonstrations against NATO at appropriate embassies or War Ministries or at air bases. We call on the soldiers of all countries taking part in this attack to refuse to participate in this war.
In the medium term, we will try to work alongside our friends in the anti-war groups in Serbia and with people in Kosovo trying to create a just peace.
In the longer term, WRI redoubles its commitment to promote civilian responses to conflict - in particular the development of nonviolence as a means of waging social struggles and the use of methods of nonviolent conflict resolution and dialogue.
[issued on 26 March 1999]
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
We have written to the NATO Headquarters and to the members of the UN Security Council. Please use this statement to ask your government, if it is a member of NATO, to take urgent action to stop the bombing in Yugoslavia.
Geneva, 25 March 1999
Open letter to Governments of NATO member states
Members of the UN Security Council
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is outraged over the aerial bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by NATO forces. We call for an immediate halt to this aggression against a sovereign UN Member State and for withdrawal of NATO forces from the region.
We also call on the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to halt its brutal attacks against the population of Kosovo and order its forces to return to their barracks.
We call on the Security Council of the United Nations to take its responsibility under the United Nations Charter and undertake a genuine process of negotiation and mediation of the conflict with the aim of assisting the search for a solution that allows all the citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to live in safety and to rebuild the country in the interests of all. The military action by NATO only adds more death and destruction to an already badly damaged population without finding and eliminating the root causes of the conflict.
Surely, the experience of the past few years has shown clearly that military actions do not resolve the deeply-rooted conflicts we are witnessing in different regions of the world, whether they be internal or across borders. It is high time for the Security Council to take truly peaceful approaches to the solution of today's conflicts. It requires a genuine desire to assist all sides involved in a conflict, use of skilled mediators and patience.
We urge you to bring pressure to bear on those engaged in military action to halt it and for the United Nations institutions to use all its skills and means to bring genuine peace to the Balkan region.
Furthermore, we wish to point out that the decision by NATO to go to war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia shows an appalling disrespect its members have for the global institutions, whose mandates are based on international treaties and agreements. We are alarmed and deeply concerned about the consequences this action may have for the future development of civilized relations, based on equality among nations and on values rooted in the Charter of the United Nations.
Bruna Nota, President
Barbara Lochbihler, Secretary General
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
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