Stop NATO's war!

YUGOSLAVIA'S offer of a ceasefire was rejected out of hand by Nato leaders last Tuesday evening. Nato's decision to carry on with its relentless bombing was taken quickly and, like the launch of the war itself, without any reference to national parliaments.

Nato is not interested in restoring peace to Ihe Balkans -- it wants nothing less than the total capitulation of Yugoslavia to imperialism's terms. Negotiation and mediation are not on its agenda. It intends to wage its war until Yugoslavia surrenders and accepts foreign military occupation of part of its sovereign territory.

It has been clear all along that Washington and London were not concerned with peace but with completing the break-up of Yugoslavia. If peace had been of any concern at ail, the separatist elements in Kosovo would not have been encouraged and secretly helped by the West in the first place.

The Kosovan Liberation Army and separatist forces were cynically used by imperialism to provide political coverfor whatever action Washington eventually decided to take. The KLA and the people of Kosovo were merely pawns in a bigger game -- they were never going to be allowed to decide the fate of Kosovo or redraw the Balkan map.

Nato has also chosen to completely ignore the current discussions taking place in Belgrade between the Yugoslav government and moderate Kosovan Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova. The Kosovan leader, who initially supported Nato intervention, is now calling for an end to the Nato bombing and «the killings».

Ibrahim Rugova, like millions of people around the world, can see that the terrible suffering of the people of Yugoslavia, including the many thousands of Kosovan refugees now pouring into Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania, has dramatically escalated since Nato's war got under way.

There are also growing fears that Nato will extend the war onto the ground. This possibility cannot be ignored in Belgrade and military leaders on both sides will be preparing for this eventuality. If Nato decides to send in ground troops there is no doubt that Kosovo would be the battleground -- the exodus of people from this potential theatre of war is therefore not surprising.

Both sides are clearing the lines of civilians -- Nato wants refugees lifted out of the border areas as soon as possible and Yugoslavia is almost certainly concerned to prevent a potential fifth column of Kosovan separatists remaining in Kosovo to assist Nato forces. Nato has itself created the humanitarian disaster that it blames on Milosevich.

Protests against the bombing and the danger of all-out war are taking place in cities all over the world -including in the Nato countries themselves. One reason why Nato rejected the Yugoslav ceasefire is its fear that it would be difficult to restart the bombing at a later date.

Nato, though it is doing its best to Publicly ignore the demonstrations against its war, knows very well there is opposition within the Alliance, including member governments under pressure to break ranks.

Another issue the pro-Nato media ignores is the economic impact of its war. The people of Yugoslavia suffered years of western-imposed sanctions -- a factor in fuelling the reactionary nationalism the West was able to exploit. Now the economic strangle-hold is being tightened by devastating bombing of energy supplies, communications, transport, factories and the infrastructure -- of course these targets, we are told, are only military.

Furthermore, every bomb dropped on Yugoslavia is ultimately being paid for by the working people of the Nato countries.

The Nato war chest that we are providing is apparently bottomless. Our government, that wants to cut disability benefits and maintain its other spending limits on social provision, doesn't even bother to mention the cost of this terrible war!

The country, we are repeatedly told, can't afford decent pensions, decent school buildings, proper pay levels in the public sector and so on, but it has no trouble at all in finding millions upon millions to bomb working people in Belgrade!


End the war now! Hands off Yugoslavia!

by Andy Brooks

YUGOSLAV calls for a ceasefire have been spurned. Nato's response was step up the bombing designed to bring the Belgrade govern ment to its knees. But the mood in the Yugoslav capital and the rest of the country is hardening as the people close ranks around their defiant government in its battle against the might of imperialism.

Anglo-American warplanes and missiles are raining down on Yugoslavia hitting civilian and military targets throughout Serbia and Montenegro while thousands of Kosovans flee to escape the fighting. And now Western leaders, led by Clinton and Blair, are preparing the public for a land invasion, which the Yugoslavs warn will be bloodily contested.

Peace Offer

Yugoslavia's call for a weekend cease-fire over the Orthodox Christian Easter was dismissed out-of-hand this week as «inadequate» in London, Washington and Bonn, though some of Nato's junior members are rumoured to have welcomed the Belgrade initiative.

Russia has launched another diplomatic offensive calling for an urgent mee ting of the so-called Group of Eight on the crisis while ruling out all but humanitarian aid for the Yugoslavs.

And the President of Cyprus, Spyros Kyprianou is flying to Belgrade amid reports that the Yugoslavs are ready to release three US servicemen captured last week after they strayed over the border from Macedonia.

terror bombing

Nato's wrath is now turning to civilian targets -- bridges, railway lines, factories, schools and government buildings. Hospitals and power stations have been hit. Large numbers of houses have been destroyed and many people killed. The Yugoslavs put the death-toll at 300 though Russian and Romanian reports say that thousands have died in the bombings.

In Kosovo the bombing has led to a mass exodus of the very people the West claims to be protecting. Even the ethnic Albanian Kosovan leader Ibrahim Rugova, who called for Nato intervention in the past, is now demanding a halt to the bombing. Rugova held talks with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevich last week.

In a joint statement read out on Yugoslav television both men called for a solution to the Kosovo problem by «political means».

stiffening resistance

If Nato hoped to crack the Yugoslav's spirit by bombing then they're hopes have been dashed. The Balkan war enters its third week with no sign of weakening morale amongst the Yugoslavians who have held big patriotic rallies in Belgrade and other cities to show their defiance of the bombs and missiles of the West.

Many are wearing «target» badges to show that they are all targets of the Nato raids. Others wear «Sorry, we didn't know it was invisible» badges -- referring to the Stealth fighter shot down last week.

According to Serbian television two Stealth warplanes have been shot-down and other Yugoslav papers claim that 31 Nato warplanes have been hit including two helicopters shot down over Mount Tara with the loss of 50 US troops.

The Greek newspaper Athinaiki backed up the story claiming on its front page that 19 of the dead had already been shipped out in body-bags via the northern Greek port of Thessaloniki. Nato has only admitted to the loss of one plane, the Stealth fighter whose wreckage was shown to the world's press by the Yugoslav authorities, and the three US soldiers taken prisoner last week.

MPs call to end the war

Three Labour MPs, Tony Benn, Tam Dalyell and Alice Mahon, want Parliament recalled to debate and vote «on the biggest bombing operation in Europe since the war».

In a joint statement they said: «For the sake of its own credibility, Nato has now adopted the aim of destroying Yugoslavia's ability to wage war.

But, as the ever expanding list of 'legitimate' targets For Nato bombing shows, this means destroying the basis of a modern economy in Serbia, as was done in Iraq».

The three MPs called for a mass turn-out for this Sunday's anti war demonstration. All three are speaking at the rally in Trafalgar Square together with Jeremy Corbyn MP, Bruce Kent and CND Chair Dave Knight.

* All readers are urged to support this demonstration called by the Committee for Peace in the Balkans. Assemble 12 noon, Victoria Embankment (near Embankment Tube).

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