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What Is Going On in Yugoslavia and The World?
by Prof. Ivan Angelov
Edited and shortened by Jared Israel (12-15-2000)

"'Low-Intensity Conflict' – according to its definition – 'is armed conflict for political purposes short of combat between regularly organized forces' (See: Rod Pascal, 'LIC 2010 - Special Operations and Unconventional Warfare in the Next Century, *Future Warfare Studies*. Published with the Institute of Land Warfare Association of the U.S. Army,' 1990, Brassley’s Inc, US., page 7.)"

-- Our emphasis. Quoted in the text of 'LOW INTENSITY CONFLICT!' which begins below.


People from far away may rightfully expect that we in Bulgaria would know more than they about the situation in Yugoslavia since the two countries are neighbors. Sorry to disappoint them.

It's true that in the weeks before the Oct. 5 coup the Bulgarian airwaves were thick with talk about Yugoslavia. However, the numerous, and as a rule high-volume, commentaries were mainly limited to the already well-known maxim that "Milosevic is bad and has to go."

After October 6, when the 'Scourge of Humanity' vanished from the political arena, very illogically the mainstream media's interest vanished too. Hardly anything has been said about the events that accompanied Milosevic’s decision to resign. Pictures of fires in Belgrade appeared on the front pages of newspapers but people had to guess who set those fires and why. E-mails and Internet communications became scarce.

The usual answer to the question, "What took place in Yugoslavia?" is: they had early elections. (Early because the governing coalition wasn't required to call elections on Sept. 24th.)

But were they truly "elections"? To what extent does "election" describe what happened in and around Yugoslavia this past Fall? A thoughtful answer to this question can clarify what kind of world we live in and what we can expect from the future.


It is annoying that neither Yugoslav authorities nor the opposition – neither leaders nor ordinary citizens – neither experts in law nor humanitarians – no one in Yugoslavia, in nearby countries or the world has for a single moment questioned the idea that these elections could be considered fair when part of a country is occupied - as Yugoslavia is occupied - by foreign troops.

[Note: Prof. Angelov is for understandable reasons, mistaken about nobody questioning the fairness of the Yugoslav elections of 2000. See footnote (1) ]

Perhaps because Great Power interference has been commonplace world-wide for decades it is now a norm of Law? If so, then various International Agreements should be amended. That way future generations will know there is nothing wrong with having foreign troops on a country’s soil, that foreign pressure helps citizens freely express themselves..

How would the citizens of divided Germany or the anti-Communist protestors in Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia have treated this interesting notion ten years ago?

Elections in the presence of foreign troops continue to be held in many areas. Bosnia is just one example. Such elections are even encouraged in Kosovo which isn't an independent nation but rather part of Yugoslavia, an established state.


Perhaps in today's world elections are increasingly devoid of their original meaning. Perhaps instead they function to further and sanctify certain covert intentions, activities and interests. Perhaps elections are increasingly a ritual aimed at pronouncing a blessing (or a blasphemy?) over a certain state of things, established by other means.

Yugoslavia's Fall [2000] elections, held ahead of term, are part of a series of actions imposed on Yugoslavia by threat from the most powerful military, economic and political forces in the world. Dayton and other so-called peace agreements were reached in the same way - with a gun to the head - just as "peace" was established in Kosovo.

Elections were freely held under the threat of force, i.e., of another war, and this threat remained over Yugoslavia after the idea of early elections was imposed. Obviously this is now considered normal, just as putting a 5 million dollar bounty on the head of Milosevic, President of Yugoslavia, is considered normal, as if we were living in the times of Genghis Khan, or the Ottoman Conquests, as if we were living under the Nazi occupation of Europe.

Foreign legislative and executive bodies made official declarations concerning not only how Yugoslavia's elections were to be conducted, but on the acceptability (and unacceptability) of various possible outcomes. How helpful for the citizens! In an unprecedented step, parallel counting of votes was organized, bankrolled by Western powers. NATO-organized military exercises were carried out near Yugoslavia and NATO’s Deputy Secretary General visited neighbouring countries on the very eve of the elections. The US Chief of Staff, Gen. Henry Shelton, visited immediately afterwards. Hours before the vote, top EU and NATO officials literally forbade one of the electoral candidates [Milosevic] from winning.

And remember, all these "suggestions" about how the Yugoslavs should run their elections, and who had permission to win, were made in an atmosphere where violent intervention was threatened. It was suggested that a new intervention could be more massive and destructive than during the 78 day bombing in 1999. Weren't these speculations of dire consequences, should the wrong side win, meant to guide Yugoslav voters? And of course, the events of 1999 clearly showed that neither the UN nor anybody else was willing or able to stop such violence.

Where can we find an analogy to this level of intervention except in the Munich Deal of 1938, the capture of Abyssinia [or Ethiopia, by Mussolini's Fascist troops] and the rape of Manchuria [by Japan] before World War II. (I wonder, did certain sensible intellectuals in Germany, Italy or Japan write articles pointing out that the Abyssinian and Manchurian governments had never held proper elections, that the Italian and Japanese armies were therefore contributing to democracy by smashing these non-democratic regimes, which coincidentally existed in zones of special interest to Italy and Japan?)

The attacks on Manchuria and Abyssinia [or Ethiopia] are viewed as outright aggression in documents on International Relations and Law. Perhaps now these views should be revised. Maybe it's outmoded to speak of "aggressor countries", referring to those great powers of the near past. Or will scholars prove that Yugoslavia is much less democratic than, say, Abyssinia and Manchuria in the 1930s, thus justifying the use of force by today's Great Powers? There is a great deal of room, here, for scholarly work.


Even if we assume that all forms of external coercion are permissible in the struggle against that arch "enemy of Humanity" (meaning, of course, Mr. Milosevic) the question remains: can and should all these tactics be attributed to the concept, the process and the procedure of elections?

In fact, from the beginning the idea of early elections was a way of creating the necessary covert conditions and atmosphere for carrying out the next stage of a very special war effort against Yugoslavia and its established institutions.

Isn't it troubling that much of what has happened and is possibly going on in Yugoslavia fits almost perfectly into what is called in the specialized literature on military issues, Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC)?


"Low-Intensity Conflict" – according to its definition – "is armed conflict for political purposes short of combat between regularly organized forces" (See: Rod Pascal, "LIC 2010 - Special Operations and Unconventional Warfare in the Next Century, Future Warfare Studies. Published with the Institute of Land Warfare Association of the U.S. Army," 1990, Brassley’s Inc, US., page 7.).

"It is not mid-intensity conflict, which is armed conflict between regularly organized military forces" (though it "may also include terrorist incidents, or even concurrent insurgent campaigns"), neither a high-intensity conflict which is "armed combat involving the use of mass-destructive weapons" (ibid., page 8)

The Low-Intensity Conflict "definition surely includes a terrorist act but excludes, for example, the usual hostage-taking by a bank robber. It includes a counter-insurgency campaign in which a regular-armed force is pitted against guerillas or irregulars. It describes the activities of insurgents engaged in an armed attempt to overthrow a government. The definition also encompasses the efforts of a 'peace-keeping force.'" (ibid., page 7).

  • Though it is noted that "these definitions differ somewhat from the basically blessed terminology of the US Army" there is a little doubt left that "they accurately reflect the intent of the U.S. Army definitions" (ibid., page 8).

Ten years ago, when Mankind sincerely believed that not a "New World Order" but a New Epoch of Peace, International Confidence and Cooperation was ahead, some specialists in military theory were foreseeing that "insurgency, perhaps one of the oldest forms of warfare, should be much in evidence in 2010." (ibid., page 6).

In the days when the former "Socialist Community" was giving up its Marxist ideology and destroying its military potential, organizational networks and arsenals, concepts were elaborated and plans made to "transform the guerilla fighter from a 20th Century tool of Marxist states into a major, 21st Century asset in the arsenal of Western powers. Western supported and sponsored insurgents will be used for the purposes of protecting and securing Western interests, and Western organizations, possessing skills in supporting guerrilla forces will be held in readiness for purposes of deterrence." (ibid., page 6)

And further, "special operational forces are those military or naval elements specifically organized, trained and equipped to conduct or support insurgency, sabotage, psychological deception, counter-terrorist, foreign assistance or commando-type operations. These units are normally capable of performing rescue, reconnaissance, and intelligent-gathering tasks." (ibid., page 8)

Every country has the right and obligation to foresee necessary concepts and technologies in the military field. The fact that a group of countries (like the former Eastern block) have, for whatever reason, unilaterally given up this duty, by no means entails any obligations by others. Still, since these countries did really leave the "doors open" with practically no one guarding against the West (at least since 1989) the question arises: why should their inclusion into the New World Order be accompanied not only by economic ruin but also by sabotage, deliberately set fires or a variety of mid- and low-intensity conflicts?

Of course, one could give many meaningful answers to that question. Internal causes cannot be ignored. And external interference is not always easily found or proved.

But it is beyond doubt that a very dangerous imbalance has become appallingly obvious during the last decade of the 20th Century because while one of the two main Global forces, i.e., the Eastern block, has destroyed most of its military establishments and arsenals, Western counterparts have maintained and further perfected theirs.

The imbalance means Mankind seems to have lost one of its real chances to abolish war as a way of settling disputes. This brings us to the very important question of the moral responsibility of the victors in the Cold War. Surprisingly this issue has not been touched upon, either by Bush or Gorbachov, though the world has obviously suffered through a decade that began with the promise of an era of peace, brotherhood and prosperity for all.


People in Western countries may find this difficult to believe, but the very existence of this dis-equilibrium has produced an increased inclination towards violence in the East. Things like the unnecessary fires in downtown Bucharest [Romania] and Sofia [Bulgaria] during the so-called "velvet revolutions" in the early 90s, the artillery shooting assault on the Russian Parliament in 1993, etc., could hardly happen without the belief (was it erroneous?) that such acts would be understood and supported by previous adversaries in the West. Similar expectations of Western support in Kosovo and elsewhere in Yugoslavia have also been decisive in bringing about extreme violence there.

In the same way, once begun, the notion of early elections in Yugoslavia followed all the main points of, say, the Nicaraguan scenario of free and fair elections in 1990. While the atmosphere around the country was thick with threats of another war, a series of demonstrative murders of well-known personalities took place in Belgrade and in other main cities. In Nicaragua this meant: "This will continue if you do not vote for the right candidate!" Such Warnings obviously worked in Nicaragua. Why would they pass unnoticed in Yugoslavia? Its population had been keenly educated by a decade of war, carried out by superior military powers. And remember, with very few exceptions, there was no meaningful understanding and support from any institution or world power for Yugoslavia's efforts to maintain its independence and self-designed path of development.

What is being determined these days in Yugoslavia is the course and quality of life of many generations in many countries all over the world, including those in the states that have been engaged in attacking Yugoslavia. People can only take temporary consolation if the wars and abuses of sovereignty and dignified human life take place at seemingly great geographic distances. Once these abuses exist they have a marvelous capacity to spread. They will even come home, like a boomerang. This has happened throughout history. (2)

Yugoslavia's political system manifested a certain number of deficiencies, faults, even crimes in the course of its existence. This is true in all countries. Yet the Yugoslavs have turned out to be capable of maintaining a dignified and independent position both during World War II and the Cold War. Perhaps for this reason many people the world over expected the Serbs to resist alone and even once again win a victory over the overwhelming military powers once again challenging their independence. Perhaps many people are even disappointed with the lack of sufficient resistance and even massive sacrifice for the sake of that cause.

Obviously Humanity (or at least a substantial part of it) needs another Christ to suffer and die for it and – to be more exact – for things and causes that it has not been able to keep and defend itself.

But does it have the right to expect suffering and sacrifice on the side of others while it itself, with all its might, potentials and capacities has proved practically incapable of doing anything to prevent practices of abuses of International Law, Freedom, Justice and Independence? Why didn’t any of the powerful members of the UN Security Council use their veto against the International Tribunal in the Hague, that violates the UN's own legal procedures and practices? On which basis then may any of these countries expect understanding or support among the world public when it will need them? (3)

What did the people of Yugoslavia’s immediate neighbouring countries do when NATO conducted military exercises on their territories on the very days of those so-very free elections? Official declarations were made, of course, that these "exercises have been planned long before the elections" and "can in no way be interpreted as acts of interference into the internal affairs of a sovereign country". That is very reassuring, and yet the question remains why these exercises were not put off when it was discovered that they coincided with the elections? Why did no political party or legal expert express any doubt, concern or protest, related to these numerous "entirely accidental random coincidences"?

What is the value of all the talk of Free and Fair Elections in a country, a substantial part of which (Kosovo) is under occupation of foreign troops? International Law still has to give adequate answers to this and similar questions. What could be the legal foundations of claims for early elections under such conditions? Could even the decision of the Government of this country to set a date for such elections be considered legitimate under such circumstances?

Very surprisingly, so far questions like these have hardly been asked. It does not mean, however, that they need not be answered.

Obviously it will take quite some time before we learn the truth about what really happened in Yugoslavia or what is happening now. Like elsewhere in Eastern Europe in similar cases we may not learn why it was necessary to start fires in downtown Belgrade or maltreat people who obviously could offer no resistance.

The joy and feasts in the streets of Belgrade over the "victory" apparently has not lasted long. Perhaps because the groups and units whose purpose was to ensure the transfer of power, have been assigned other specific tasks, like getting hold of banks, customs and other important institutions. It seems as if the very name of the new President [Koshtunitsa], no matter if he knows or does not know what's happening around him, tends to be repeatedly used as a kind of a substitute for laws and all the other existing institutions and levels of state power in the country. Observing all this from as close as 100 miles away, we in Sofia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe are reminded of a movie that we have already seen. And what we already know very well out of personal experiences is that hardly anything of what has been promised before the crisis and 'victory' will come true afterwards. The people of Yugoslavia will alas learn this truth.

Historic parallels are always somewhat risky. Still, what may be called the "Fall of Belgrade" these days may be compared to a certain extent to the Fall of Paris at the end of the "Strange War" in 1940. In both cases there were expectations of greater resistance.

It took quite a time, great efforts and sacrifice for Humanity to stop the spread of War and Evil across the world in the first half of the 20th Century.

Will there be a need of another Stalingrad or El Alameyn, or ... Armageddon to do this once again sometime in the new Century? When and where may this take place? And who is going to be on which side?

We can only guess what may happen in the future. What seems likely however, is that national, ethnic or religious differences may turn out to be of minor importance compared to moral differences. And the choice will be as simple as that: "On Humanity's side or – against it!"

And there will be no room for abstentions…

Dr. Ivan Angelov
Associate Professor, Social Aspects of International Relations
Sofia, Bulgaria

October 10, 2000


Comments and Further Reading:

(1) It is both tragic and ironic that in today's world accurate news is as scarce as rubies; one must sift through mountains of misinformation to find the truth. Ironic because misinformation thrives amidst the finest technology for transmitting information. Tragic because the wall of lies discourages people struggling against injustice; they don't know that all around them, others share their views. Because Dr. Angelov finished this article October 10th (that is, shortly after the Yugoslav coup) and also due to the increasing control of Bulgarian media by U.S. Imperial interests, Mr. Angelov states that nobody else has questioned the possibility of holding fair elections in a Yugoslavia under intense U.S. and German attack. In fact, many people have raised quite similar points, especially on the Internet. For example, consider the following three (among many) articles published on Emperor's Clothes:

* "U.S. Arrogance and Yugoslav Elections" at

* "Yugoslav Election Results: Big Defeat for U.S. 5th Column Tactics" at

* "Election Day: A letter from Blagovesta Doncheva" at

In his speech to Yugoslavia, delivered Oct. 2, Mr. Miloshevich did not, like Mr. Angelov, explicitly question the validity of the elections, but he certainly described the Imperial violence, threats and massive bribery that accompanied those elections. (See 'Milosevic's Speech to the Nation' at )

Moreover, the Yugoslav government issued a report to the U.N. Security Council documenting the outrageous level of foreign interference. This document, entitled "Memorandum On Foreign Interference In The Yugoslav Elections" can be read at (though not in the Western media!)

The Memorandum was issued Oct. 4th, just before the coup. The Security Council's failure to act on the Yugoslav government's searing report of violent interference, involving three Security Council members - the U.S., England and France - in elections in one of the U.N.'s founding member states demonstrates the bankruptcy of the U.N. It has become a cover for Imperial aggression.

(2) The idea Mr. Angelov raises here is dealt with in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Jared Israel at

(3) See "Unjust From the Start, Part III: The Illegal Basis of the War Crimes Tribunal" by Dr. Kosta Cavoski



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