'Mladic bunker' secrets revealed

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hackle, Dec 24, 2004.

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  1. Link to an illustrated BBC piece about an operation by the new EU Force in Bosnia to seal the large ex-Yugoslav command bunker at Han Pijesak to prevent it being used again by Ratko Mladic.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4122257.stm

    International forces in B-H have clearly not shied from taking action, despite force reductions and change of command from NATO to the EU.

    Article quotes the EUFOR commander Maj Gen David Leakey, a British general who is a former DMO, previously Comd 20 Armoured Brigade and Deputy Commander of MND(SW) in B-H.

    We don't hear much these days about the Balkans, where British military involvement is much reduced apart from in the EUFOR HQ. The most immediate Balkan security-related question just now is probably whether the ICTY chief prosecutor will decide to indict a final set of individuals, such as the charismatic new Prime Minister of Kosovo Mr Ramush Haradinaj. The smart money at the moment seems to be on his NOT being indicted, not least because he has strong backing from the United States as a means to long-awaited progress in the province. Mr Haradinaj has already been voluntarily questioned by the ICTY, and has stressed his readiness to cooperate with the Tribunal if indicted, but there are fears of more mob violence in the province in the event of that happening. The NATO Council has already warned publicly that KFOR (unlike last April) stands ready to maintain order.

    The ICTY are supposed to complete all outstanding investigations by the end of this month; some commentators (eg recent FT article) interpret this as requiring them to actually issue any indictments by 31 Dec. A Scotsman journalist recently argued that no action should be taken against 'progressive' political leaders such as Mr Haradinaj, even if he was guilty of war crimes, which of course is unproven. Naturally all this is from the public domain and has already been widely discussed in the western, Kosovar and Serbian-Montenegrin media.
     
  2. Update on above paragraphs about Kosovo: not worth starting a new thread.

    Despite the passing of the 31 Dec "deadline" (which unlike some commentators I did not regard as absolute), speculation has continued about the possibility of an indictment being issued against the charismatic new Kosovo Prime Minister, Mr Ramush Haradinaj. It was even claimed in a Podgorica newspaper that he has already been privately handed an indictment, and asked to report to the Hague voluntarily by the end of this month. I regard much of this speculation as either mischievous or wishful thinking, but there have also been signs of continuing nervousness in Kosovar Albanian circles.

    This long article (link below) from the encouragingly-named slobodan-milosevic.org should obviously be treated with caution, but for anyone interested it does give a useful new tour of the background facts and unproven allegations. The writer Andy Wilcoxson is an American "analyst" on the Board of the said website.

    I am in no position to speculate one way or the other, but in the event of the ICTY concluding that an indictment against Mr Haradinaj is NOT justified, it would be useful for them to let that be known sooner rather than later. As was hoped for, he has already demonstrated signs of much-needed fresh thinking in his prime ministerial role, despite opposition from the Serbian government, and if he is not to be prosecuted it would be unfair to allow the distraction of a possible indictment to remain indefinitely. If on the other hand a criminal prosecution is found appropriate, the only suitable forum would be the Hague as there is no practical prospect of a prosecution in the Kosovo courts.
    http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/news/smorg-rpt011005.htm
     
  3. OK, staying with this thread's wide-ranging Balkan theme, my 1000th post, with an appropriately offbeat story:

    The Albanian government have made a "surprise discovery" of several hundred canisters of deadly chemical weapons including yperite, lewisite and adamsite. They have declared this to the UN and the United States.

    "The threats turn up in the darndest places," commented a US non-proliferation expert.

    Hasn't there been at least one comedy film about the US declaring war on Albania?

    Fortunately in this case there is NO suggestion that these WMD can be deployed within 45 minutes ... unless they just roll them out the door...

    Check out the link for an outstanding example of disruptive camouflage:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A61698-2005Jan9?language=printer

    ONE THOUSAND I THANK YOU!!!

    errr.... I believe that IS the correct procedure :oops: :wink:

    Thanks all for a lot of fun and interest on the site. :D
     
  4. Congratulations Hackle :D

    And having looked at that piccie ,why do I have an insane urge for yogurt all of a sudden? 8O
     
  5. No idea PTP. :lol:

    Thanks! :D
     
  6. Lurching back to the original story in this thread, latest from Gen Leakey in Sarajevo:
    Telegraph. Full story at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/22/wbos22.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/01/22/ixworld.html
     
  7. msr

    msr LE

    If you'll excuse the cynicism, I'll file this under 'believe it when I see it'.

    msr
     
  8. No doubt justified cynicism, msr.

    The sealing up of the Han Pijesak bunker, long after the horse had bolted, appears little more than a stunt. But a stunt which sends a clear message, as does Comd EUFOR's latest statement.

    The High Representative (Paddy Ashdown) has been continuing to push the Bosnian Serb entity in various ways, including massive sackings in the police, security and military over the "indicted war criminals" issue.

    And the Bosnian Serb entity, having genuinely tried other methods towards the end of last year, have now produced their first indicted war criminal under their own devices. He now languishes at the Hague.

    The sealing up of the bunker generated very detailed speculation in the Bosnian Serb media, claiming that the information about Mladic's use of it shows the existence of a high-level NATO 'mole'. Pure 'tinfoil hat' stuff (which I would not have repeated, and would not have heard about anyway, if it wasnt already in the public domain). But it all helps to reinforce the true message that the entity cannot ignore indicted war criminals on 'their' territory.
     
  9. msr

    msr LE

    Sadly the true message is that the war criminals can ignore the 7,000 EUFOR soldiers camped out on their doorsteps with impugnity...

    msr
     
  10. posted for information. The EU for all its faults should be in an increasingly strong position with NATO to play the 'joining the Euro-Atlantic structures' political card, which is a key aspiration for all post-conflict Balkan governments.
    source http://www.fena.ba/uk/vijest.html?fena_id=FSA218677&rubrika=ES
     
  11. Continuing the pan-Balkan theme of this thread, with the ARRSE UAV now banking gracefully towards the south-east ...

    Latest alarmist (?) take from the Guardian, below. Not quite sure why the EU is getting the blame for a situation they didnt create. It's like blaming the UN for the current Iraq situation? Although (as suggested in my quote above) I agree it could be a good thing for the EU to be increasingly flexing its economic/political muscles in and around Kosovo.

    Guardian refers to "continuing EU indecision over the breakaway province's demand for independence from Serbia". The EU is not actually in charge of the province, but that quote refers to the question of whether the EU and member countries would be prepared to recognise an independent Kosovo without recognition by Serbia. In contrast to the German-instigated recognition of Croatia followed by Bosnia, it would be stretching things for countries to base their Kosovo decision on the "independence of republics" provisions of the Yugoslav federal constitution.

    On some levels within HMG, the UK has arguably been losing interest in this situation, which we played an absolutely key part in creating in the first place.
    source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5113010-103681,00.html
     
  12. msr

    msr LE

    So should handing over indicted war criminals be....

    msr
     
  13. msr

    msr LE

  14. Outstanding, msr, that hot news about Gen Lazarevic's voluntary and honourable surrender to face trial over his role in Kosovo is indeed welcome.