Originally posted in The Daily Star.
The plight of Syrian refugees is causing panic across Europe and could end horrifically as Putin’s Russia spoils for a fight and ISIS hope to see us all go up in flames, top experts fear.
Similarly, the 1998/1999 Kosovo war saw 700,000 expelled from their homeland and more than 11,000 people dead.
Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society, fears that European leaders have failed to learn any kind of lesson from the bloodshed.
In an interview with Daily Star Online, he said: “The Kosovo crisis was the last European conflict of a very bloody 20th Century.
“It is hard to believe that mass murder and deportations could have occurred here as late as 1999.”
“But that was the result of a deliberate policy by Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic to do anything he could to keep hold of a majority ethnic Albanian province that sought its independence.”
“The result was horrific. Some 700,000 Kosovars were expelled from their homeland during that period, and approximately 11,000 people died as a result of the fighting.”
“The spread of Kosovar refugees across Europe, including to the UK, dates from this conflict and shows how wars and aggression can impact on refugee flows.”
Mendoza added: “Kosovo could have been worse – western nations were willing to prove that the concept of ‘never again’ coined after the terror of the Holocaust actually meant something.”
“Tony Blair and Bill Clinton led a NATO operation that was not authorised by the UN and, although some regarded it as ‘illegal’, it protected innocent civilians from brutality.”
“This stopped many more from dying or being forced to flee.”
“In contrast, our current refugee crisis has seen no such Western intervention.”
“The conflict in Syria was caused by a deliberate campaign of mass murder and torture by Bashar al-Assad in trying to keep control of the country and then made worse by the rise of ISIS.”
“As such, every year the crisis has grown worse and more refugees are forced to leave, with many coming to Europe.”
“In Kosovo, we were prepared to face down Russia’s President Yeltsin, who tried to protect Russia’s traditional allies, the Serbs.”
“That seems a lifetime ago seeing how Russia’s President Putin has run rings around Western leaders during the Syria crisis.”