Today, March 24th marks the 16th anniversary since NATO began its 78-day bombing campaign of Serbia. The alliance bypassed the UN under a “humanitarian” pretext, launching aggression that claimed thousands of civilian. Years on, Serbia still bears deep scars of the NATO bombings which, as the alliance put it, were aimed at “preventing instability spreading” in Kosovo.
Codenamed ‘Operation Allied Force,’ it was the largest attack ever undertaken by the alliance. It was also the first time that NATO used military force without the approval of the UN Security Council and against a sovereign nation that did not pose a real threat to any member of the alliance.
An incident involving the “mass killing” of Albanians in central Kosovo’s village of Racak – a terrorist organization, Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) stronghold – became a major excuse and justification for NATO’s decision to start its operation. Serbs were blamed for the deaths of dozens of Albanian “civilians” on January 15, 1999. However, it was alleged that the accusations could have been false and the bodies actually belonged to KLA insurgents whose clothes had been changed. In October 2008, Helena Ranta, the Finnish pathologist who had conducted the forensic examination on the Račak casualties, stated that she had been pressured to modify the contents of her report, both by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and by William Walker, the head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Kosovo Verification Mission, in order to make more explicit the role of Yugoslav troops in the incident.
NATO demonstrated in 1999 that it can do whatever it wants under the guise of “humanitarian intervention,” “war on terror,” or “preventive war” – something that everyone has witnessed in subsequent years in different parts of the globe. War is a Racket: The A... Best Price: $6.45 Buy New $3.79 (as of 03:45 EST - Details)
Nineteen NATO member states participated to some degree in the military campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), which lasted for 11 weeks until June 10, 1999. They used over 1,031 aircraft and 30 attack ships and submarines.
In the course of the campaign, NATO launched 2,300 missiles at 990 targets and dropped 14,000 bombs, including depleted uranium bombs and cluster munitions (unexploded cluster bombs continued to pose a threat to people long after the campaign was over.) Over 2,000 civilians were killed, including 88 children, and thousands more were injured. Over 200,000 ethnic Serbs were forced to leave their homeland in Kosovo.
The Chinese embassy in the capital Belgrade was “mistakenly” bombed killing three Chinese nationals. As permanent members of UNSC, China and Russia did not support the war.
In what the alliance described as “collateral damage,” its airstrikes destroyed more than 300 schools, libraries, and over 20 hospitals. NATO targeted bridges, hospitals, markets and trains full of civilians. At least 40,000 homes were either completely eliminated or damaged and about 90 historic and architectural monuments were ruined. That is not to mention the long-term harm caused to the region’s ecology and, therefore, people’s health, as well as the billion-dollar economic damage.
Based on a report from RT.