March 24, 1999: NATO’s 78-day terror-bombing campaign against Yugoslavia begins, destroying the last workers’ state in Europe and setting the stage for today’s war in Ukraine.
The bombing killed between 2,000 and 4,000 civilians, destroyed many bridges, industrial plants, many civilian buildings, public buildings and businesses, barracks and military installations. It should be particularly noted the destruction of two oil refineries, demolition Avala Tower, the Radio-Television Serbia, the Pancevo petrochemical, shooting bridge building, car factory Zastava from Kragujevac, in the buildings of downtown Belgrade, Embassy of the Republic of China and many other civilian targets.
Doctors Without Borders says it is under “the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed” after a U.S.-led NATO coalition bombed its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
The aid organization, referred to internationally in French as Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), asserted that it “condemn[s] this attack, which constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.”
The U.S. military’s version of the story behind the bombing is full of holes, and constantly changing. After launching airstrikes on Kunduz, which has recently seen an insurgency by the Taliban, on Saturday morning, NATO said its bombing “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
American jets hit targets in Syria on Tuesday in the US-led fight against Islamic State. Although the US has not declared war since 1942, this is the seventh country that Barack Obama, the holder of the Nobel Peace Prize, has bombed in as many years.
Syria has become the latest country to have been openly targeted by the US, with Washington predictably not seeking the approval of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The US and NATO started a bombing campaign in the north of the country on Tuesday against Islamic State militants, who have taken over parts of the north and east of the country. The death toll from Tuesday’s campaign was put at 70, though this figure could rise, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who also said that eight civilians had lost their lives.
I am trying to keep political posts to a minimum, but this has affected me, my family and my country.
Today (March. 24th) marks the 17th anniversary of America’s (and NATO’s) illegal bombing of Serbia in 1999. 3000 innocent people killed, our territory stolen and the country has been in ruin eversince. My family, friends and relatives have all been affected by this. It is the reason that I am now living in Canada. You can ignore this post. But it’d mean the world if you could show some respect to the tragedy that still lingers today.
I will tell you what the real Benghazi scandal is. It’s not that four Americans died and Hillary Clinton may have lied about it. It’s that 30,000 Libyans died in a U.S.-NATO bombing campaign, and the whole country was ripped apart, and Hillary Clinton can still openly brag about it. The war was based on lies but the Republicans and the corporate media don’t consider that a scandal because they helped her push those lies.
Medics frantically phoned Washington as US bombs rained down on Afghanistan charity hospital
This story is tragic. As the US military rained down bombs in a failed attempt to target Islamic extremists in Afghanistan, they mistakenly bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital. Medics at the hospital frantically called NATO and Washington trying to get the military to stop the bombings, but it was too late. 19 people, including several medical staff and 3 children, died in explosions.
from Sky News:
Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) frantically phoned NATO and Washington as bombs rained down on its staff working at the trauma centre in Kunduz.
One medic described how patients unable to escape “burned to death as they lay in their beds”.
Three children were among the dead, and 37 people were seriously wounded. The 12 medics killed all worked for MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders.
Many patients and staff are still missing, as about 200 people were in the building at the time.
Mr Stoltenberg said: “A US investigation into this tragic incident is underway in co-ordination with the Afghan government.”
UN’s human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein called the airstrikes “utterly tragic and inexcusable”.
The US military later admitted it carried out airstrikes “in the vicinity” of the hospital, and was targeting Taliban fighters firing at American soldiers.
It said they “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility” but details were still not clear.
These are not adequate excuses we’re hearing. The details are still fuzzy, but if I had to venture a guess, I would say this kind of imprecision is the natural outgrowth of Obama’s “war but not a war” in Afghanistan.
I Hope Syria Will Not Suffer Western Intervention--I Have Lived It
By Jasmina Tesanovic, The Guardian, September 16, 2013
None of my friends in Belgrade believed that the west would bomb us. They considered themselves modern big-city Europeans, but my father thought otherwise. He was a second world war veteran, and during his lifetime he had stockpiled food, petrol and medicines. Now I look to Damascus, and I wonder how they are feeling about western intervention. I could tell them.
On 24 March, 1999 the first air-raid sirens went off. Instinct overwhelmed us and we ran to our basements, hauling canned goods along with us. We’d seen this done in movies, of course. Since we were in downtown Belgrade, the basements were already occupied. My neighbour, Mica, was a Roma beggar and prostitute with a crippled arm. When all the tenants flew to her humble room Mica was proud to play the hostess, and met us with a powerful brandy from an unmarked bottle. The threat of death became the great equaliser. We forgot our documents, our social values, we just tried to cope with the fear.
Later on, as the Nato air-raids became constant, regular and widespread, we developed the habits of a city under siege. During the intervals between alarms, we would scrounge for food, cigarettes, booze and medication, vigorously street-trading. Shops were empty or closed. Money was hyper-inflated: the banks and schools were closed, public transportation didn’t work, and our cars had no petrol. The entire town was a black market.
I’d never known that my neighbours were such nice and kindly people, so eager to trade favours. I opened my doors, and soon my flat became an informal mental health clinic for the terrified and sleepless. The hospitals and mental institutions had dismissed their patients, so the homeless and anxious appeared at my door with sleeping bags, food and drink if they had any.
We would pass the night watching the warplanes. Soon we learned how to judge the distances by the tremor of the detonations, and we invented ways to check on our friends and family in that part of town. The telephones were often dead, electricity was blacked out, taps were dry. But people would walk or bike the city, bringing news as couriers. Children were the best messengers, our new postmen, full of energy and curiosity. They lacked the adult dread that we grown-ups tried to conceal from them.
A young stranger pedalled up on his bicycle to my door, and traded his mother’s cake for a Hannah Arendt book I translated, then took a shower with my running water befor going home to send off my email messages for me. Our part of town had water, his had electricity. Such was the nature of our hour-by-hour existence, our lives shrunk to the diameter of our neighbourhoods. We had very little information on what was happening outside our neighbourhood or much hope for a happy end. But we had a lot of dignity and love for each other. Love affairs and even marriages were common in those days that might have been the last for some.
To keep myself occupied, I made a film during the bombings. I also published a war diary on the internet, and soon befriended other such war diarists, such as Nuha al-Radi, an Iraqi dissident and emigre who had been caught up in the bombing of Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. My electronic diary got feedback from other parts of the world, and it even appeared in the Guardian. Thanks to that, one of my father’s long-lost college friends in Manchester was surprised and pleased to learn that he was alive. We felt less isolated thanks to the internet.
People in Belgrade survived the Nato bombings, but after the destruction stopped, many died for all sorts of reasons–post-traumatic stress, depleted uranium dust, the broken hospital system. My mother was among them. Neighbouring countries suffered also the consequences of polluted air and water and crippling economic sanctions in the war zone. The result of this conflict was the globalisation of Balkanisation. Anyone could be blown up anywhere at any time; but in humanitarian terms, few would ever profit from it.
On the 15th anniversary of US bombing of Serbia and as new even more ominous dangers arise in Ukraine and Crimea, it is important to remember history.
Wall Street dominates peoples through the destructive strategy of “divide and rule.” In the Balkans and in Eastern Europe this has meant policies aimed at breaking solidarity among different nationalities and religions by imposing sanctions and economic destabilization and by funding right-wing and fascist organizations and granting immediate recognition to their regimes.
It was U.S. and EU criminal policy that broke the Yugoslav Federation into six unstable, impoverished micro-states. They executed this crime by bombing Bosnia in 1994 and carrying out a 78-day bombing in 1999 of Serbia, especially the Serbian province of Kosovo. These wars aimed at expanding the U.S.-commanded NATO alliance into the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics. Despite U.S. and German commitments to the Soviet Union to not expand NATO one inch further if Soviet troops were withdrawn from East Germany, NATO has now expanded to 12 countries in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics.
After the massive destruction of schools, hospitals, industries and communication in Yugoslavia in 1999, in the imposed ceasefire and in UN resolution 1244 Washington still agreed that Kosovo is historically part of Serbia and would remain an autonomous part of sovereign Serbia, although under US/NATO occupation and administration. In 2008, in violation of this signed UN agreement, the U.S. recognized the puppet government it had set up and its illegal declaration of independence of Kosovo. The overwhelming majority of the people of Serbia of all nationalities opposed this theft of Kosovo by NATO; they continue to raise the slogan: “Kosovo is Serbia.”
Sara Flounders,International Action Center co-director, on the 15th anniversary of NATO’s criminal bombing of Yugoslavia