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From the London 'Independent' -

Belgrade helped in planning of Baghdad bombing

Attack on Iraq: Kostunica government provided vital information on Saddam's upgraded air defences before last week's US-British raid

By Kim Sengupta
22 February 2001

Vital information supplied by the pro-Western Yugoslav government of Vojislav Kostunica helped the United States and Britain to plan last Friday's air strikes on the outskirts of Baghdad, senior defence sources have revealed.

Belgrade passed on details of the hi-tech fibre-optic radar system supplied to Iraq under the Milosevic regime, which enabled Saddam Hussein significantly to upgrade his air defences and pose a serious threat to allied planes.

The network was being upgraded by Chinese technicians, in violation of UN sanctions on Iraq. The US asked China last night to explain reports of involvement by its workers.

In a further sign of the dramatic improvement in its relations with post-Milosevic Yugoslavia, Britain is considering offering Belgrade significant help over Kosovo. This includes possible joint patrols by British and Serbian troops to combat incursions into the Presevo valley by ethnic Albanian guerrillas; supporting plans to allow Serbian forces to operate in the 5km border buffer zone from which they are excluded; or even abolishing the zone altogether. The US and Britain had maintained that Friday's raids, which drew widespread international condemnation, were necessary because of the increasing danger to allied aircraft by the new advanced air defence system. [See 'Further Reading' at end of article]

The new system allowed the Iraqis to collate and communicate information on the movement of allied warplanes in total security, with the allies unable to intercept the signals. In the past the, Iraqis had to rely on the missile sites being linked only through telephones, making them much less effective.

The Saddam and Milosevic regimes had traditionally maintained a high level of military co-operation against the common enemy, the West. But British officials insisted yesterday that there was "absolutely no suggestion" thatthis had continued under President Kostunica.

A senior source said: "It is because of the new Kostunica regime that we got to know about it and we are learning about it. We have heard from Serbs who have actively been over there and built things in underground facilities in Iraq. It is now emerging that they were certainly helping under the Milosevic regime."

Although many senior Serbian military officials remain sympathetic towards their Iraqi counterparts, the government is believed to have convinced them strategic co-operation at the old level would greatly damage Serbia's efforts to jettison its pariah status.

The British Government sees this not only as a sign of the responsible attitude being taken by Mr Kostunica but also of the President's ability to control army strongmen.

While British military commanders concurred with the Americans that air strikes were necessary, the Foreign Office had opened channels to Iraq to organise a compromise that would allow the implementation of UN resolution 1284, which links the lifting of sanctions to the return of UN arms inspectors to Baghdad.

Messages from the British Government were passed to the Iraqis by the Qatari ambassador to London. As well as being appreciative of the Serbs for alerting them about Iraqi defence capabilities, British officials acknowledged the "restraint and responsibility" being shown by Serbs in the face of mounting provocation by the Albanian Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB).

In the past week the Albanian guerrillas have been blamed for murdering seven Serb civilians and injuring 43 others in a bus bombing, and for the killing of three Serb policemen near the Kosovo border. The international force in Kosovo, K-For, acknowledges that the guerrillas use the buffer zone as a base.

Western anxieties about the rebels intensified earlier this month when a motorcade carrying two American envoys came under fire in the Presevo area. Referring to the possibility of joint patrols and abolishing the buffer, the senior source said: "I don't think we should shut our minds to that possibility.... There will be a tendency for these people [the UCPMB] to become more and more entrenched in the zone."

(c) 2001 'Independent' Reprinted for Fair Use Only

***

Further Reading...

The Anglo-U.S. command continues to use a carrot/stick approach to Yugoslavia. On the one hand, U.S. and British forces train, equip and provide air cover for the terrorists who press ever further into Serbia. (On the West's training of the terrorists, see 'Diplomats Admit NATO Backs KLA Invasion of Inner Serbia' at http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/admi.htm. On Providing air cover, see 'Pentagon Dogs' at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/tika/dogs.htm . )

The pro-Western Belgrade regime orders its officers to obey Western dictates not to shoot back. This is intended to break the Yugoslav Army. (See 'AMNESTY.... OR AMNESIA?' at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/djaja/amnesia.htm

The Serbs have considerable technical and military skill. By threatening and terrorizing the Serbian people, the U.S. and England hope to increase the appeal of giving in to the West. As they say in 'Star Wars,' the Empire hopes to turn the Serbs to the Dark Side. See 'Djindjic Calls for Complete Yugoslav Submission to U.S.' at http://emperors-clothes.com/news/submit.htm

The media is publicly boradcasting the news that the regime in Belgrade was used to help prepare the latest bombing of Baghdad. I submit that this is a provocation. Remember, Iraq and Yugoslavia have worked together for many years, first as leaders of the non-aligned movement and then against U.S. Imperial harassment.

In a classic application of Imperial strategy, the United States, tutored by the British, aims to divide and rule. An attractive line of schism is between Moslems and Orthodox Christians. By getting these two huge groups to fight, the US and England can play one against the other and reap billions in profits from oil, raw materials, cheap labor, illegal drug sales and so on.

The Western media has consistently spread the lie that the Miloshevich government and the Bosnian Serb leadership were motivated by anti-Moslem hatreds. Now that it has installed a 'pro-Western' regime in Belgrade it can seemingly produce 'evidence' to foster Moslem-Christian hatred.

A bit of history here. In fact, in Bosnia, the Serbs fought alongside the most popular Moslem leader - a non-Fundamentalist politician named Fikret Abdic. Abdic got the most votes in the Bosnian elections of 1990 but was subsequently forced out by Alija Izetbegovic, whom the Western media consistently called a 'moderate' but who was in fact a fanatical Islamist Though Abdic arguably had majority support (among Moslems) the Western media labeled him a 'maverick' or 'rebel' thus granting Izetbegovic a legitimacy he never achieved in the ballot box or the battlefield. Below is a news article from 1993 about the military struggle between these two factions. I was going to say "between these two factions within the Moslem community" - but there is a problem with that formulation. The problem is, the U.S. openly and aggressively supported the Izetbegovic side of the Izetbegovic-Abdic conflict.

.   St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 5, 1993
BOSNIAN TROOPS BATTLE MUSLIM FACTION

DATELINE: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

New fighting broke out Monday between Muslim-led government troops and supporters of a maverick local Muslim leader in the Bihac region of northwestern Bosnia.

Both sides reported casualties and accused each other of shelling their positions in Johovica, a town close to the stronghold of Bihac's rebel leader, Fikret Abdic.

"Blood is flowing again," Mirza Sadikovic, a Bosnian radio reporter, said in a report from army headquarters in Bihac.

He said forces supporting Abdic had shelled army positions in Johovica. Two soldiers were wounded, Sadikovic reported. Bosnian radio said some of Abdic's supporters had surrendered in Johovica.

A report from the local news agency ZBTA said the Bosnian army opened with automatic weapons and mortar fire on Johovica. It said at least five civilians were killed.

Ramiz Drekovic, the government army commander in the region, said nine people were killed.

The casualty reports could not be independently confirmed.

Abdic and his supporters want Bihac, which borders Croatia on three sides, to be autonomous rather than part of the Muslim ministate that would be formed under a peace proposal to divide the country into ethnic regions.

ZBTA reported that Abdic had written to international mediators who are seeking to negotiate a peace to end Bosnia's 18-month war and to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, contending that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic has no authority in the region.

The town of Bihac is completely isolated and like a "concentration camp," Abdic reportedly said in the letter. Bihac is about 20 miles south of Velika Kladusa.

A local parliament called by Abdic declared autonomy Sept. 27, and tension heightened in the area when the pro-Sarajevo regional army corps then tried to restore order.

Known for his good contacts with Croats and surrounding Serbs, Abdic is credited with sparing Bihac from most of the fighting that ruined the rest of Bosnia. Most local residents believe they will be better off as an autonomous region trading with neighboring Croats and the Serbs.

Neither the Serbs nor the Croats have commented on the Bihac region's declaration of autonomy, but the Serbs have been monitoring the situation closely and Croatian media have given broad coverage to Abdic.

Lt. Col. Bill Aikman, a U.N. spokesman in Sarajevo, described the area as very tense.

Also Monday, the U.N. Security Council extended for six more months its peacekeeping mission in former areas of Yugoslavia, including 15,000 troops in Croatia and about 7,000 in B

Copyright 1993 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc
Reprinted for Fair Use Only

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