Friday 4 October 2002

The Same Old Trick

Nato used the same old trick when it made Milosevic an offer he could only refuse
by Robert Fisk

It's the same old trap. Nato used exactly the same trick to ensure that it could have a war with Slobodan Milosevic. Now the Americans are demanding the same of Saddam Hussein – buried well down in their list of demands, of course. Tell your enemy that you're going to need his roads and airspace – with your troops on the highways – and you destroy his sovereignty. That's what Nato demanded of Serbia in 1999. That's what the new UN resolution touted by Messrs Bush and Blair demands of Saddam Hussein. It's a declaration of war.

It worked in 1999. The Serbs accepted most of Nato's Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-government in Kosovo, but not Appendix 8, which insisted that "Nato personnel shall enjoy ... free and unimpeded passage and unimpeded access throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."

It was a demand that Mr Milosevic could never accept. US troops driving through Serbia would have meant, in these circumstances, the end of Yugoslav sovereignty.

But now we have the draft UN resolution which Presidents Bush and Blair insist the UN must pass. Arms inspection teams, it says, "shall have the right to declare for the purposes of this resolution ... ground and air-transit corridors which shall be enforced by UN security forces or by members of the UN [Security] Council".

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