News Release

Balkan Fallout From NATO Bombing


Executive director of MADRE (a group which has been working with multi-ethnic, democratic women’s organizations in the Balkans since 1993), Stromberg said: “We must move beyond a yearning for ‘good guys’ in the Yugoslav conflict and remember that behind the various political formations and armed groups are communities of people. In Kosovo, whole towns and villages are being burned out and butchered. In Serbia, people are being terrorized by NATO bombing… Both must stop; instead, the United Nations must do its job.”
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Director of European Programs for the American Friends Service Committee, which has been involved in relief efforts in the Balkans for six years, Simmons said: “NATO has been very insensitive to how disastrous the accelerated ‘ethnic cleansing’ has been for already-weak Albania and Macedonia. Albania is extremely poor and has been unstable with a fragile democracy that barely has control over the entire country. Macedonia already has internal ethnic conflict between the Slavic Macedonian majority and the Albanian minority. This has the potential to do in the Balkans what the Vietnam War did to Southeast Asia. It could spill over into Albania and Macedonia. The KLA is going to be recruiting in the refugee camps. The camps will become more politicized and will be seen as legitimate targets by the Yugoslavian military… The per capita effect of the hundreds of thousands of Kosovar refugees flooding across their borders is the equivalent of something like 15 million refugees suddenly entering the United States. AFSC will continue to give aid to citizens of all of Serbia, not just the ethnic Albanians.”
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Grossman, a geographer at the University of Wisconsin, said: “NATO claims the bombing of Yugoslavia is a ‘humanitarian intervention’ to prevent the ethnic cleansing, but the bombing and the ethnic cleansing actually feed off of each other. NATO claims that it favors a multi-ethnic future for Kosovo and the rest of the Balkans — yet a 1995 offensive by the Croatian army ethnically cleansed at least 100,000 Serbs from the Krajina region. Washington not only failed to object to that violent ethnic cleansing but actually helped facilitate it. Some of those expelled Serbs resettled in Kosovo, exacerbating the ethnic tensions that have now erupted into war. In the Dayton Accords, the U.S. continued to undermine the prospects for multi-ethnic cooperation in Bosnia. Now we are told that the NATO bombers are attacking Milosevic and ‘the Serbs.’ Yet bombs have fallen on neutral Montenegro, the ethnically Hungarian northern region of Vojvodina in Yugoslavia and Serbian democratic opposition cities such as Nis. The war may yet result in the ethnic partition of what remains of Yugoslavia into two or three countries.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167