The despairing wail of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic after the European Commission’s statement that the cases of Catalonia and the Serbian region of Kosovo and Metohija are “not comparable” has brought the whole world back to what was going on in the 1990s in Crimea, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria, during the same period in Yugoslavia and quite recently, in Northern Iraq and Crimea.
"This is the best example of the double standards and hypocrisy of the world politics," Vucic said at a joint press conference with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Oct 2. "The question every citizen of Serbia has for the European Union today is: How come that in the case of Catalonia the referendum on independence is not valid, while in the case of Kosovo secession is allowed even without a referendum. How did you proclaim the secession of Kosovo to be legal, even without a referendum, and how did 22 European Union countries legalize this secession, while destroying European law and the foundations of European law, on which the European policy and EU policy are based?" Vucic said.
In 2013, one of the pillars of the global policy, Israel, publicly stressed the need to create a Kurdish state - in territories that de facto belonged to other nations in the past. For example, Iraq’s town and province of Neynewa, which is now occupied by Masoud Barzani’s Peshmerga, is the capital of ancient Assyria, Nineveh. So, what are the grounds for one to call Assyrian Nineveh “Kurdistan”? Today, Israel is almost the only state in the world that has welcomed the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan. Even more, the Israelis are making active efforts to support the Barzani clan and to promote the Kurdish Cause on the highest levels of the global politics. The selfsame Israelis support Azerbaijan in its armed conflict with the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians. It was they who gave start to the crazy arms race in the South Caucasus: during the April 2016 four-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azerbaijanis used mostly Israeli arms.
Former Yugoslavia and present-day Serbia are not the only victims of the West’s hypocrisy and double-standard policy. In 2008, while the United States and its European satellite were urging the whole world, including Armenia, to “recognize” an Albanian statehood in Serbian historical lands, Georgia attacked Tskhinval and when Russia reacted by recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the West not only refused to recognize those republics but also declined the Russians’ suggestion to develop a single approach to problems like Kosovo, Abkhazia and South Ossetia and gave strict orders to the Armenian authorities and NGOs not to draw parallels between Kosovo and Nagorno-Karabakh.
But there are parallels between all these cases. Simply, when a nation actually seeks self-determination, the West is very critical, but when some pro-Western and pro-Israeli ethnic group seeks to proclaim independence over another nation’s historical lands, the West is ready to go as far as throwing uranium bombs on Belgrade. Everybody knows that Northern Iraq is rich in oil but few people know that Kosovo and Metohija is also one of the richest regions of the Balkans: it has lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt, bauxite and magnesite as well as rare metals like indium, cadmium, germanium, thallium and zeolite. It has as many as 15 billion tons of lignite (brown coal). So, no surprise that the architect of the plan to destroy Yugoslavia, former U.S. Secretary of State Madelaine Albright has money in some spheres in Kosovo and Metohija.
Does Israel have anything there? It’s a hard question. There are no direct traces but when mass media report that for many years, some people in Kosovo sold human organs, that that business was controlled by Albanian “political leaders” and “official leaders of Kosovo” Hashim Thaci and Ramush Haradinaj, that there is a whole chain of “illegal organ transplant surgeons” in the world, that one of such center is located in Israel and one more has been detected and closed in Azerbaijan, one cannot help becoming suspicious. The route for transporting organs taken from non-Albanians was quite logical: from Kosovo and Metohija to Albania, from Albania to Turkey, from Turkey to Israel. Former prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Carla del Ponte has admitted this but unfortunately, she did that in her memoirs only after her dismissal from the tribunal. When she was there, she did not dare to oppose the sponsors of the “Albanian independence” and to make responsible the gang of “hashim tacis” and “ramush haradinajs” for crimes against humanity. Instead, she made responsible and de facto killed lots of Serbs.
They in the West were silent about the killing of Ossetian civilians and Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia in Aug 2008. They were also silent when Barzani’s Kurds killed Yazidis in Iraq and when Serbs and other Orthodox people were killed in the Balkans and Donbass. But they were very loud about the “Muslim genocide” in Srebrenica. It is already known that the Dutch and English “NATO peacekeepers” had a bad role in those events. But quite recently, it turned out that before the “Muslim genocide,” the local Muslims had massacred all Serbs in that town and the West was silent... They in the West were silent when Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh told them that during the April 2016 war, Azerbaijan used men who had previously been part of ISIL groups in Syria. They were silent when Ukrainian neo-Nazis attempted a bloodshed in Crimea after the coup of 2014. They are silent now when Ukraine keeps using heavy arms against civilians in Donbass. But they begin screaming every time the Crimeans try to explain that they rejoined Russia through a legal referendum just because they no longer wanted to live in one country with neo-Nazis.
Let’s go back to Catalonia, Kosovo and Metohija and Northern Iraqi. Catalonia has a long history of relations with Castile, that is, Madrid, even though there are not many lingual and religious differences between the Spaniards and the Catalans. By the way, part of historical Catalonia is now part of the French department of Pyrénées-Orientales.
This case is similar to the case of the Basques. Simply, the Basques are not a Roman nation and Catalonia joined Castile as a result of dynastic marriages, while the Basques had their own kingdoms for centuries until Henry of Navarre went to Paris to become Henry IV of France. One more difference is that the Basques have had lots of wars with Spain – the last one was during the Franco regime. The difference between Catalonia, on the one side, and Kosovo and Metohija and Northern Iraq, on the other, is much bigger. In Catalonia, there has been no genocides so far, in Kosovo and Metohija and Northern Iraqi genocides are still underway. The difference between Catalonia and the post-Soviet autonomies is even bigger (let’s not forget that Transnistria had been a Soviet autonomy before 1940, when Soviet troops entered Chisinau).
So, they in the West are right when they say that Kosovo and Metohija cannot be compared with Abkhazia or Nagorno-Karabakh. They keep ignoring the Abkhazians and the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians. They will ignore the Catalans – but for a different reason: the precedent in Spain may encourage the Catalans living in France, the Basques and the Galicians in Spain and some other nations in Europe. They in the West will continue ignoring the Russians living in Crimea and Donbass. But they will never ignore they puppets in Kosovo and Metohija and Northern Iraq. In the first case, they call people “terrorists” (following Turkey’s example), in the second case, “separatists,” but in the third case, they call people “legal fighters for freedom from dictators.” What tamed servants are allowed to do, all the others are not. As a result, we see artificial states formed in Kosovo and Metohija and Northern Iraqi. Vucic was almost weeping: “What should we do now? What question should I ask when I go to Brussels? What have we, the Serbs, done to deserve a worse attitude?” Perhaps, it is not good when such naïve people lead states. Vucic, just like all the Yugoslav-Serbian leaders after Milosevic, tries to be “good” for the West. But they in the West do not care for all those that are not their “friends”. All the Eastern European Christians are strangers to them. And they were no more caring when Christians were being killed in Iraqi and Syria.
Sergey Shakaryants (Yerevan), specially for EADaily