Serbia

Letter from Serbia

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The Serbian elections highlight the imperialist powers' scramble for influence. But, argues Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, neither the West nor Moscow will benefit ordinary Serbs.

After the first round of its presidential elections, held on 20 January, Serbia finds itself at a crossroads. The second round, due to take place as Socialist Review went to press, will decide whether Serbia chooses between speedier integration into the European Union (EU) or closer links with Russia. The first round runner up, Boris Tadić, is the candidate of the pro-Western Democratic Party and gained 35 percent of the vote. The winner, Tomislav Nikolić, of the pro-Russian hardline nationalist Radicals, polled just short of 40 percent.

Balkans: The Spoils of War

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Dragan Plavsic looks at the bloody parallels between the Balkans and Iraq.

Six years ago, in March 1999, Tony Blair launched his very first war when Britain and the US bombed Serbia for 78 days. Those of us who then argued - to the scorn of supporters of the war - that bombing Serbia would set a precedent for deadly interventions elsewhere could scarcely have imagined how swiftly and devastatingly this prediction would come true, in Sierra Leone, in Afghanistan and now, most devastatingly of all, in Iraq.

Kosovo: The Myth of Liberation

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The latest outbreak of violence between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo last month revealed once again the stark truth behind Nato's US-led war against Serbia in 1999, and the subsequent colonial-style administration of the province.

With 31 dead and a reported 3,000 Serbs ethnically cleansed, defence minister Geoff Hoon announced that he was urgently dispatching 750 British soldiers to quell the violence - while in the same breath absurdly claiming that 'very considerable progress' had been made in inter-ethnic relations since 1999.

Serbia: Neoliberals Stirring Up Apathy

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For the third time in just over a year, Serbia's presidential elections were declared null and void last month because of a disastrously low voter turnout.

Only 39 percent of the population bothered to vote, instead of the necessary 50 percent or more. The result has since led to the chaotic splintering of the ruling 18-party Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) coalition which came to power after the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000.

Milosevic Trial: Sold to the Highest Bidder

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The trial of Slobodan Milosevic opened in The Hague last month to much self righteous acclaim. Commentators were quick to draw comparisons with the trial of Nazi leaders at Nuremberg. Yet far from being a testimony to the moral rectitude of the west, the International Criminal Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is a symbol of its moral duplicity.

The mere fact that this is indeed the first international war crimes tribunal since Nuremberg and Tokyo speaks volumes. Why were there no such tribunals for the US carpet-bombers of North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, where millions lost their lives? And few commentators saw fit to recall that at Nuremberg the first count on the charge sheet against Nazi leaders was that of planning and waging aggressive war. In 1999 it was Nato that planned and waged aggressive war against Yugoslavia.

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