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Bob Jiggins
Open letter on the Yugoslav crisis

Dear list members

apologies for any cross posting and the 5.5k attachment - but I 
hope you will understand the urgency of the situation requires it.

The attachment is an open letter addressed to the heads of NATO 
states requesting an end to the military action against Yugoslavia. 
The intention is to deliver this letter, with a list of signatories, to 
these people and to arrange for prominent publication in UK and 
international media by the middle of next week at the latest. I 
believe the letter speaks for itself and I will not delve into its 
contents here.

Due to the method and speed of distribution it is not possible to 
'sign' this letter in the traditional manner - instead those people who 
consent to having their names on the list will have to contact me 

* No names will be added unless your express consent is given* !!!!

If you can help in any way beyond 'signing' this letter please 
contact me - help is needed especially to obtain a wide as possible 
base of notable/visible individuals/organisations both the UK and 
especially in the US - academics, politicians, journalists etc.

I hope you feel able to participate in this and look forward to 
hearing from you.


Bob Jiggins                                                  /^\
Research Unit in South East European Studies                /^ ^\
University of Bradford                              /^\    /    /^\
West Yorkshire                                     /^\ \ ^ \ ^  ^  \
UK                                                /  /^\ /^\\   ^  ^\
                                                 /^ ^\ ^\   \^ ^ \/  \
Tel: +44(0)7050 615511
Fax: +44(0)7050 644569
PGP 5.0i Public Key Available
E-Mail: r.jiggins@bradford.ac.uk

An Open Letter to the Heads of NATO governments

We, the undersigned wish to call for an end to the NATO military action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In particular we note the following:

1/ Many other cases of repression in the outer parts of Europe and beyond have been conveniently ignored and thus the humanitarian principles which NATO espouses in this case are hypocritical. 

2/ The legal basis for this action is highly problematic and NATO has violated both the UN’s and its own charter.

3/ The intervention of a supposedly defensive regional organisation within a sovereign state sets a dangerous precedent in international relations. The constitutional situation of Kosovo within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia can not be compared with Bosnia and Herzegovina - indeed Kosovo is an integral part of Yugoslavia and NATO’s actions seem designed to encourage possible (although illegal) secession from Yugoslavia.

4/ The action has alienated a number of states in eastern Europe, including Russia. Many of these states have been in dialogue with the West regarding NATO participation or membership and association agreements or membership with the EU. This may have potentially serious consequence for these organisations and the UN.

5/ The dominant west European and US view of the region is rooted in outdated 19th century notions of the ‘nation state’ and hangovers of 19th century prejudice that considers the Balkans as a ‘powder-keg’ containing people possessed by ‘ancient hatreds’. The EU and NATO are in part responsible for the dissolution of former Yugoslavia and several EU states have actively encouraged the succession of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina from the Yugoslav federation. The current military action may well encourage further fragmentation in the region at the cost of political, economic and social stability.
6/ The withdrawal of the monitors from Kosovo followed by air strikes has encouraged the repression of Kosovo’s Albanians.

7/ US policy towards the region has been contradictory at best - supporting democratic negotiation and then abandoning such methods. In particular the military action has effectively ‘pulled the rug’ from under the democratic representatives of the Kosovo Albanians and instead given support to the unconstitutional and illegal Kosovo Liberation Army with the effect that NATO is now for all intents and purposes the air force of the KLA.

 8/ NATO’s actions have unified support behind President Milosevic of Yugoslavia and recast him in the role as ‘defender of the faith’. What opposition remains has now been sidelined or repressed. The increased control of the universities and closure of independent media organisations are symptomatic of this hegemony. In particular the use of German forces in the attacks is insensitive given the experiences which Yugoslavia underwent under Nazi occupation.

9/ The increased numbers of refugees fleeing Kosovo threatens the stability of the whole region. Many thousands have now crossed the Yugoslav borders into Macedonia, Albania and within Yugoslavia itself to Montenegro. None of these regions can in the short term deal with such large numbers (for which the West has been singularly unprepared) and in the longer term will bring severe difficulties for some states. Macedonia especially is highly likely to experience an increase in nationalist sentiment which could well bring war to another region.


Bob Jiggins, Research Unit in South East European Studies, University of Bradford
Tel: (07050) 615511 Fax: (07050) 644569 Email: rjiggins@bradford.ac.uk

Please contact above for queries and further details.


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