January 16, 2010

NATO's New Strategy: from Balkan Wars to Energy Wars

The Commander of the south wing of the Alliance Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, who paid a visit to Pristina recently, told that KFOR was at the final stage of radical downsizing – from 15,000 servicemen in the recent past to 10,000 by the end of this January. Brussels said the step was made possible by the stabilization in Kosovo and indicated that it regarded the Serbian parallel self-government institutions functioning in the predominantly Serbian northern part of the province as a threat. “UN SC Resolution 1244 doesn’t recognize parallel institutions. We regard every violation of the UN Resolution as a security threat and we are therefore concerned”, said Fitzgerald.

It is an open secret that the confrontation between Kosovo's Albanian and Serbian populations undermines the fragile peace in Kosovo as well as in a number of other Balkan regions. By April Pristina plans to set up a Northern Mitrovica municipality, which is an Albanian euphemism for the Serb-populated northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. To this end, the Albanian administration subjected the borders of the Serbian communities to an overhaul without the Serbs' consent. There is information that the new institution is supposed to take charge in case Albanian extremists provoke a new round of conflicts between the Albanian and Serbian communities. In other words, the municipality will play a role similar to that the administration in Georgia gave to the puppet administration of D. Sanakoev in South Ossetia. By the way, the UN Court of International Justice is expected to pass its verdict on Kosovo also by April. Albanian separatists are convinced that the court will rule in their favor and thus enable them to suppress the Serbian resistance, of course with the help of NATO's KFOR.

The threat of a new escalation in the north of Kosovo is absolutely real, but it would be unfair to blame it on the Serbian parallel administrations. Fitzgerald's references to Resolution 1244 are in fact equally unfair - the Washington-backed unilateral declaration of Kosovo independence by Pristina constituted a clear breach of this very Resolution.

There is logic behind the developments: in Kosovo NATO is beginning to switch to a new approach to safeguarding its interests. As a departure from the strategy of abstract presence in conflict zones, it intends to a priori decide unequivocally which of the sides in a conflict (in which NATO steps in as a separating force in accord with an international mandate) is its enemy and focus on confronting it. It has already been declared that Serbs are NATO's enemies in Kosovo, as are Bosnian Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Macedonia, the country's administration risks becoming NATO's enemy in case it dares to curb the surging appetites of the local Albanian community. The “point strategy” will help NATO spend less resources on sustaining control over the zones where the Brussels-style “order” has already been established and shift additional forces elsewhere.

Discussions in NATO Headquarters in Brussels provide further evidence that what looms on the horizon is a whole new strategy for the alliance. By the way, the group of 12 experts elaborating NATO's new Strategic Concept is headed by Former US Secretary of State M. Albright, a supporter of Albanian extremists who has been instrumental in inducing the demise o Yugoslavia. It has become known that the discussions far transcend the theme of the NATO members' own security which was at the center of the 1949 Atlantic Charter. Currently their focus is on the design of political and military methods of globally enforcing NATO interests, which are interpreted in a maximally broad sense. NATO documents invoke the task of maintaining efficient military potential across the entire spectrum of the alliance's missions without any geographic localization. Considering that the sphere of NATO's missions has already reached Afghanistan, there should be no doubts concerning the proportions of NATO's further “crisis management”.

Jamie Shea, who served as the NATO envoy at the time of the alliance's aggression against Yugoslavia, is to deliver a lecture on January 19 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels indicatively titled “Energy security: is this a challenge for the markets or for the strategic community as well?”. The speaker intends to state from the name of NATO – for the first time with unprecedented clarity – that the growing might of such countries as China, India, and Russia compels NATO to face the question: “Is energy security something best left to market forces and to regulation or is it a strategic issue where an organisation like NATO can play a useful role?”. To take the role, NATO needs to suppress the remaining sources of resistance to the new world order in Kosovo and other Balkan regions.

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