Pre-1989 Albanian Rule in Kosovo
Discriminated Against ALL non-Albanian Minorities
Why is there Civil War in Kosovo,
Why Did Clinton Get Involved and What has Been Accomplished?
By: Dr. Stephen K. Stoan, Ph.D. History, Duke University,
Director of Library and Information Services, Drury College
Springfield MO 65802
Why is there a civil war in Kosovo, why did the Clinton administration get involved in it, and what has been accomplished with more than two and a half months of warfare?
Let's review pertinent facts.
The Nato massacre near Prizren
Kosovo was an integral part of Serbia when the area was conquered by the Turks in the fifteenth century. In Serbian history books it is often called Old Serbia. Albanians began arriving in the seventeenth century during the Turkish occupation. It has been recognized as an integral part of Serbia by the international community since 1912.
When the Axis powers invaded and dismembered Yugoslavia in 1941, they attached Kosovo and Albanian-speaking regions of Montenegro, Macedonia, and Greece to Albania to form a greater Albania under the rule of a fascist dictator. The Kosovo Albanians formed military units to fight for the Nazis, killed more than 10,000 Kosovo Serbs, and drove more than 100,000 out of the province into the rest of Serbia. They brought immigrants in from Albania to fortify the Albanian presence in the province.
When the Croatian Communist dictator Tito came to power in Yugoslavia in 1945, he forbade the Serbian refugees to return to their homes in Kosovo. He then signed a deal with the new Communist dictator of Albania to bring in another 100,000 Albanian settlers. The Albanian majority in Kosovo appears to date from the years around World War II.
An upsurge of Albanian Kosovo violence in 1969-1974 caused another 200,000 Serbs and Montenegrins to leave Kosovo and gave Tito an excuse to separate Kosovo from Serbia. He made it an autonomous province under the total control of the now Albanian majority.
Autonomy under Kosovo Albanian control did not result in ethnic peace. Once in control of the province, the Kosovo Albanians continued harassing non-Albanians through legal and extralegal means. They required Gypsies to use Albanian first names. They enacted zoning legislation designed to break up non-Albanian residential communities. They outlawed use of the Cyrillic alphabet even among the Serbs, who had always used it. They refused to permit federal authorities to participate in census-taking, claiming they didn't know how to count Albanians.
The Kosovar Albanians required mandatory instruction in Albanian for all inhabitants of Kosovo, and they imported history and social science texts books from Albania for use in the schools. These taught Albanian nationalism rather than Yugoslav citizenship and praised the era of Turkish control over the Balkans. There were continuing incidents of violence against Serbs and frequent attacks on Orthodox churches, shrines, and monasteries. More Serbs and Montenegrins left. Ignoring Yugoslav immigration laws, the Albanian Kosovars permitted more illegal aliens to immigrate from Albania. By the early 80s, the province was three-fourths Albanian, large numbers of them born in Albania.
After Tito's death, there was another upsurge of Albanian violence beginning in 1981. Throughout the 80s, Western news media, including the New York Times, reported on the ongoing murders and rapes of Serbs and Montenegrins perpetrated by Albanians, the constant attacks on Orthodox churches and monasteries, and the inability of the local Albanian authorities ever to punish anyone.
Yugoslavia finally reversed the autonomy decision in 1989 because of obstructionist constitutional tactics by the Kosovo provincial government. This decision was not a unilateral act of Slobodan Milosevich, the newly elected president of Serbia, though he pushed for it. It was made jointly by all the republics of Yugoslavia, including Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Macedonia.
As Republican Senate aide Jim Jatras wrote: "One of the ironies of the present Kosovo crisis is that Milosevic began his rise to power in Serbia in large part because of the oppressive character of pre-1989 Albanian rule in Kosovo, symbolized by the famous 1987 rally where he promised the local Serbs: "Nobody will beat you again." In short, rather than Milosevic being the cause of the Kosovo crisis, it would be as correct to say that intolerant Albanian nationalism in Kosovo is largely the cause of Milosevic's attainment of power."
The KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) was formed shortly thereafter from a Maoist organization dedicating itself to free Kosovo. As recently as a year ago, the United States government condemned the KLA as a terrorist group, linked closely to Iran, the Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin-Laden, and the heroin traffic in Europe. Europeans have likened it to a Mafia because of its lawless involvement in organized crime, including prostitution.
The stated goal of the KLA is to create a greater Albania by attaching Yugoslav Kosovo and Albanian-speaking regions of Montenegro, Macedonia, and Greece to Albania. Using Albania as a base and conduit for weapons, the KLA began carrying on a terror campaign against the Yugoslav government in Kosovo, assassinating and kidnapping not only Serbs but also Albanians and other ethnic groups who opposed their desires for independence.
Kosovo continues to be home not only to Albanian-speaking Muslims, but also to nearly half a million other people. The goal of the KLA is to create an ethnically pure Kosovo by driving out or culturally assimilating the rest of the population. Their claims of 1.8 million Albanians in Kosovo are demographically impossible, even with immigration, for there were only 645,000 Albanians in the last full federal census carried out in 1961. There have also been many emigrants from Kosovo to other parts of Yugoslavia and Europe.
With the collapse of the Communist regime in neighboring Albania in the 1990s and the nearly anarchic conditions in that country, more Albanians crossed the porous borders with Yugoslavia into Kosovo.
Within Kosovo, Yugoslav forces were attempting to deal militarily with KLA terrorism. Using as an excuse an alleged massacre of Albanian Kosovars at Racak by Yugoslav security forces in mid-January, 1999, Mrs. Albright and Mr. Clinton demanded to "mediate" at Rambouillet. The massacre was quickly identified as a KLA set up. This did not deter Mr. Clinton and Mrs. Albright from pursuing their designs. It is now known that Mr. Clinton had made a decision months earlier to seek to destroy Milosevich. Racak was the pretext.
The Yugoslav delegation that came to Rambouillet included Muslim Albanians, Muslim Serbs, Christian Serbs, and Turks. They were prepared to talk directly with the KLA, but Mrs. Albright never permitted this to happen. Instead, her team went back and forth between the two groups laying down terms.
The Yugoslav government accepted the basic principle that there should be autonomy in Kosovo (guaranteeing the rights of all Kosovars, not just Albanians) and consented to an international peace keeping force provided it be brought in under the auspices of the UN. Mrs. Albright insisted on bringing NATO troops in. She finally issued an ultimatum to the Yugoslav government to accept her terms or be bombed. This ultimatum is referred to as the Rambouillet Accord.
The ultimatum laid down detailed guidelines on how the province was to be governed. It demanded that Kosovo have the right to override any laws or judicial decisions made by the Yugoslav government, be permitted to conduct its own foreign policy, and be organized economically along lines dictated by NATO. It said nothing about protection of the rights of the non-Albanian Kosovars. It demanded that Yugoslavia permit NATO troops to be brought into Kosovo and to have free passage anywhere else in Yugoslavia without subjection to Yugoslav laws (a venerable imperialist practice called "extraterritoriality"). NATO troops were also to have the right to commandeer media facilities as they saw fit. The NATO forces would themselves conduct a plebiscite in Kosovo in three years on the status of the province.
There was no way Yugoslavia could accept the Rambouillet "Accord" without surrendering her sovereignty, possibly losing part of her national territory, and becoming a satellite state of NATO. Both President Milosevich, as elected president sworn to defend Yugoslav sovereignty, and the Yugoslav parliament rejected the ultimatum. An ultimatum, after all, is not an act of diplomacy. It is an act of war.
Mrs. Albright's and Mr. Clinton's have manipulated the ethnic diversity issue to suit their immediate purposes. In the case of Slovenia and Croatia, they accepted and actively promoted societies whose sole reason for seeking independence from an already multiethnic Yugoslavia was ethnic exclusivism. They are now doing the same thing in Kosovo on behalf of one ethnic group the Albanians. As one Canadian journalist put it in writing of Kosovo, "to first say that countries shouldn't be organized along ethnic lines, and then demand self-government for one group within a nation on the sole basis of ethnicity, is an exercise in self-contradiction." He adds: "This is endorsing one ethnic group at the expense of another. It's saying the Albanians may use their ethnic majority in Kosovo to assert their political identity, but the Serbs in Yugoslavia may not."
Mrs. Albright's tactics at Rambouillet are considered by some experts to be a violation of recognized international law. It is a basic principle of international law embodied in the Vienna Convention on Treaties adopted on May 26, 1963, which entered into force on January 27, 1980, that agreements negotiated under threat of force are null and void. Section 2, Articles 51 and 52 make clear that coercion is impermissible as a negotiating instrument.
There was no "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo before the NATO attacks, only an ongoing conflict between Yugoslav security forces and KLA separatists. In January of this year, an intelligence report from the German Foreign Office stated: "Even in Kosovo an explicit political persecution linked to Albanian ethnicity is not verifiable. The East of Kosovo is still not involved in armed conflict. Public life in cities like Pristina, Urosevac, Gnjilan, etc. has, in the entire conflict period, continued on a relatively normal basis." The "actions of the security forces (were) not directed against the Kosovo-Albanians as an ethnically defined group, but against the military opponent and its actual or alleged supporters."
Once the NATO air attacks began, Yugoslavia took the essential defensive step of moving an army into Kosovo to wipe out KLA terrorist bases and secure the borders against a possible ground attack by NATO. The war between the government and the KLA along with the NATO bombing created an unstable environment in many areas that caused large numbers to flee. About 200,000 Kosovo refugees of all ethnic backgrounds have moved further into Yugoslavia, into either Montenegro or other Serbian provinces.
In some areas, Albanians saw the initiation of NATO bombing as a signal to begin killing their Serb neighbors. Yugoslav security forces and the army responded by forcing them out or incarcerating many for common crimes. In some parts of Kosovo, Serb paramilitary forces took advantage of the anarchic situation to settle old scores and intimidate Albanians into leaving.
Yugoslav troops were involved in expulsions where they perceived a security threat in the event of invasion or saw an area as heavily compromised with the KLA. The United States had similar motivation in 1941 with the internment of Japanese Americans because of our fears of invasion. It isn't nice, but it happens when war breaks out.
Yugoslav troops may also have targeted Albanians who are "illegal aliens" in the country, who may number around 300,000. These people, born in Albania with no sense of Yugoslav citizenship, have been a major contributor to dissidence in the province. Many of them fled as soon as the bombing started, deciding to return to their homes in Albania. They make up a goodly portion of the "refugees."
The KLA itself played a major role in the flow of refugees, using its armed men to force Albanian Kosovars out of the province and commandeer young men to be trained and used as soldiers. They intimidated Albanian Kosovars into not returing to Kosovo. Like the Bosnian Muslims with whom they have had close ties for years, the KLA has been getting direct assistance from Iran and other Muslim nations, some of which have sent Mujehadeen to the Balkans to fight with them against the Christians.
An estimated half million Albanians never left Kosovo. Many told Western journalists even in recent weeks that they were under no pressure to leave because the KLA has never been active in their areas.
It is worth noting that there were 100,000 Albanians living in Belgrade who were not touched. Nor has Yugoslavia made any effort to "cleanse" the country of more than 350,000 Hungarians and many Ruthenians, Slovaks, Croats, Rumanians, Turks, Gypsies, Macedonians, or other minorities. Yugoslavia has given refuge to 15,000 Croats and Muslims who fled the fighting in Bosnia. These minorities were harmed only by the NATO attacks.
Before the NATO bombing began, Yugoslavia was only 63 percent Serb, the most ethnically diverse state in the former Yugoslavia. All major linguistic groups, including the Albanians, were and are guaranteed instruction in their own language. During World War II, when Serbia was occupied by the Germans, the Serbs refused to cooperate in killing Jews and Gypsies. Orthodox clergymen and ordinary Serb citizens risked their lives to save these people from extermination. Indeed, in the midst of the bombing of their country, many Serbs took to wearing Stars of David.
In attacking Yugoslavia, the U.S. and NATO ignored the United Nations charter and the NATO treaty itself, which justifies war only to defend a NATO member from attack. Only one NATO nation even borders Yugoslavia, the recently admitted Hungary. Since international treaties signed by the United States are considered U.S. laws under our Constitution, some legal experts say that Albright and Clinton have violated the American Constitution as well.
Mr. Clinton also ignored the War Powers Act, which requires that he seek congressional authorization to continue a military conflict more than 60 days. He suggested at one point imposing a naval blockade on Yugoslavia until his own European allies pointed out to him that it is considered an act of war to detain ships of other nations on the high seas.
The petty refusal by Mrs. Albright and Mr. Clinton to suspend the bombings even for the Eastern Orthodox Easter, when we have been sensitive not to bomb the Muslim Iraqis during all of Ramadan, sent a powerful message to Eastern Orthodox Christian nations that we disdain them. Public opinion polls in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Rumania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Greece show overwhelming popular opposition to the NATO attack on Yugoslavia.
The suspicion among many in the world is that Mrs. Albright's real reason for the war was to establish total U.S. hegemony over the Balkans and its land routes to the oilfields of the Middle East and Central Asia. Active Western collusion, initially led by Germany, in the breakup of Yugoslavia has converted Slovenia, Croatia, and the Muslim-Croat Confederation in Bosnia into client states of the U.S., established a NATO military presence with bases in Bosnia, enabled NATO to land troops in Macedonia, and is now enabling NATO to put troops and military bases in Albania. Only Yugoslavia stands in the way of total U.S. domination of the region, which Rambouillet would have achieved. This was part of Mr. Clinton's New World Order.
It has also been pointed out that Kosovo proper is extremely rich in minerals, has some of the largest coal reserves in Europe, and has petroleum reserves potentially as vast as those in the Caspian Sea area. Its minerals may be worth $3 trillion. These facts may explain the very explicit statements in the Rambouillet Accord that the economy of Kosovo had to be organized along economic lines dictated by the U.S., which would open the province up to American investors.
In our propaganda to get rid of Milosevich, we fail to note that he was elected President in an open election in which his own party controls only 35 percent of the seats in the Yugoslav parliament. In the last election, the U. S. preferred him because his principal opponent was considered an ultranationalist. The Yugoslav parliament itself rejected the Rambouillet Accord. The unrest in Kosovo that he has been trying to deal with has existed in various manifestations since at least the 1920s. Milosevich has attacked no neighbors nor engaged in any terrorist activities around the world. He is not manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.
The assistance that Milosevich provided the Serbs of Croatia and Bosnia when Yugoslavia was breaking up must be understood in the context of what was in effect a civil war within Yugoslavia, where Serbs had justifiable reasons to fear a recrudescence of the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the 1940s by Croats and Bosnian Muslims, who massacred more than 600,000 Serbian non-combatants during World War II.
Franjo Tudjman, the current president of Croatia, has resurrected the flag, other national symbols, and even the uniforms and arm bands of the Croatian fascists of World War II. He declared a few years ago that the Jewish Holocaust was a fabrication, and he destroyed all records of the notorious Croatian concentration camp at Jasenovac in Bosnia, where tens of thousand of Jews, Gypsies, and Serbs perished in the 1940s. In 1995, with the assistance of the CIA and American military advisers, he drove several hundred thousand Serbs from their ancestral homes in Croatia where they had lived since the fifteenth century. The U.S. cooperated in this act of ethnic cleansing.
Alija Izetbegovich, the Muslim fundamentalist leader in Bosnia, helped organize the notorious Muslim Waffen SS "Handzar Division" during World War II. Officered by Germans, the division slaughtered thousands of Bosnian Serb civilians before going off to Russia to fight for the Nazis. When declaring Bosnia's independence from Yugoslavia, he obtained military assistance from Iran and brought in Muslim mujehadeen from the Middle East to fight on his behalf. Tudjman and Izetbegovich have been the U.S.'s friends in the Balkans.
In fact, there are currently more than 700,000 Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia living in what is left of Yugoslavia after being driven from homes they had lived in since the fifteenth century or earlier. No Western TV crews filmed their plight or interviewed them about the atrocities they had suffered. No international relief agencies have come to their assistance. Yugoslavia has had to absorb them while under an economic embargo since 1992.
The war initiated on March 24 did not go well for NATO. A ground invasion was never a serious military or political option, and Mr. Clinton had been advised to that effect beforehand. There are few logical routes through which Yugoslavia could be invaded. Hungary, the only NATO country bordering Yugoslavia, was admitted to NATO only a few weeks before being pushed into war with its neighbor, and would be unlikely to consent to being used as a staging area. The neighboring Serbian province of Vojvodina that would come under immediate attack is home to more than 350,000 ethnic Hungarians.
Neither would Rumania, Bulgaria, or Madedonia likely consent to being a staging area for an invasion. They are not NATO members, and public opinion in all three is strongly anti-NATO after the bombing started. An attack from Bosnia, also not a NATO nation, would have to go through the Republika Srpska and ignite the conflagration in Bosnia all over again. An invasion from Albania into Kosovo would be a costly military operation, given the extremely poor infrastructure in Albania and the few passes through mountainous terrain that an invader would have to use.
Another very significant factor in a land invasion was the Yugoslav Army itself. In preparing since the 1940s for a possible invasion by the Soviet bloc, it built up an enormous network of underground ammo dumps, hangars, petroleum storage facilities, bunkers, barracks, and perhaps even petroleum refineries in the mountainous terrain of the nation. Most of this infrastructure remained untouched by NATO bombing after two and a half months, since it was designed to withstand nuclear blasts. The Yugoslavs have also developed a flexible command structure for concentrating and dispersing troops as needed in fighting a defensive war.
In these circumstances, there was little likelihood that a ground invasion would ever take place. The costs of victory would have been very high against a well trained professional army. During World War II, Serbian forces tied down 700,000 Axis troops with only the Greeks as their allies in the Balkans. Albanians, Croats, Bosnian Muslims, Hungarians, Rumanians, and Bulgarians all fought for the Axis, and Germany herself had 23 divisions in Yugoslavia. Assuming we did occupy the country, what would we then do to govern a hostile population of 11,000,000? How long would we have to stay to control our new protectorate? A land invasion, moreover, would have provoked even stronger reactions around the world and within NATO countries.
Militarily, the air war was a debacle for NATO. The Yugoslavs had great success in preserving their anti-aircraft capabilities throughout. Many of their fixed sites were destroyed early, but they retained mobile sites and were strong in their ability to target lower flying aircraft. They set up dummy tanks, trucks, and SAM sites for NATO planes to attack, regularly moved and carefully concealed AAA and SAM sites, confused NATO aircraft with fake radar signals, and were highly successful in targeting the UAVs that NATO had to rely on to get real time surveillance over moving targets. Though they lost about half of their few MIG 29's, their most advanced aircraft, their pilots also shot down a number of NATO aircraft, including a Stealth fighter. The great bulk of their air force remained intact in underground hangars. Already, other nations in the world who assume they too might one day face a bomb-happy NATO are studying Yugoslav defensive tactics.
Though the official NATO line thus far is that only a few aircraft and no lives were lost, it is unreasonable to assume that such could be the case. The International Strategic Studies Association of Alexandria, Virginia, in its April issue of Defense & Foreign Affairs, reported that in the first month of the fighting NATO lost at least 38 fixed winged aircraft, including three Stealth fighters, six helicopters, seven UAVs (unmanned reconnaissance drones), and large numbers of cruise missiles. Remains of one Stealth aircraft and intact cruise missiles are already in Russia. These calculations were based on intelligence coming from a variety of sources.
The most careful ongoing effort to post to the Web information on NATO losses gathered from newspaper, radio, TV, and e-mail reports all over Europe, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Greece, and Yugoslavia itself now lists more than 300 NATO aircraft of all kinds as having been downed or disabled by early June. Several F-117 stealth fighters were lost. Recently, two B-2 stealth bombers appear to have gone down over Yugoslavia. Several B-52s were shot down. A minimum of four Apache helicopters (two were said to have been lost in "training exercises") were downed before the U.S. announced it would not use them. At least 25 UAVs were downed, and more than 200 cruise missiles were hit in the air. Macedonian and Greek sources have verified the passage of dozens of coffins through their countries.
Whatever the exact figures, which NATO will not publicize, it is true that General Wesley Clark asked twice to increase the numbers of aircraft committed to the war. On May 8 it was announced that 176 additional aircraft would be brought into action. At the end of May it was announced that an additional 68 aircraft would join the war. These were only American aircraft. Additional helicopter rescue crews were also brought in, since efforts to rescue downed NATO pilots often resulted in the loss of helicopers, their crews, and some commando units. Some military experts feared that if another serious military front were to open up elsewhere in the world, the U.S. would be hard pressed to respond adequately.
Indeed, the war against Yugoslavia may have the effect of undermining the mystique of Western air power that had developed in the bombing of Iraq, a poorly defended desert state. Intelligence communities will not be fooled. In Yugoslavia, Stealth fighters and bombers have proven not to be invincible, and their remains are now in the hands of other countries for scientific and engineering analysis. Older Russian-built AAA and SAM sites, handled by well trained Yugoslav crews, proved to be effective against aircraft. Shoulder-held missiles have been very destructive. The Russian-built MIG-29s, flown by competent pilots, acquitted themselves well in air-to-air combat with NATO aircraft. The MIGs that were lost were almost all destroyed on the ground in air raids.
Because NATO was largely unable to get at truly military targets, it soon had to broaden its definition of "military" to go after the civilian infrastructure. Some describe what resulted as a campaign of terror to intimidate Yugoslavia into surrendering. One result is what the Defense & Foreign Affairs article reported as morale problems among the NATO military. They found themselves fighting a war in which "there are questions about the wisdom of the orders they are receiving, and a total lack of clear strategic (let alone military) objectives."
NATO took to bombing public buildings, bridges, rail lines, fertilizer plants, automobile factories, plastics factories, shoe and clothing factories, pharmaceutical plants, post offices, power plants, refugee columns, trains, buses, and other essentially non-military targets. Numerous bombs and missiles struck purely residential neighborhoods or small isolated villages. NATO has destroyed much the infrastructure of the Yugoslav economy, putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work and creating widespread suffering for civilians, whose deaths have outnumbered military casualties by 4 to 1. GDP has declined by an estimated 25 percent.
Since 300 schools were hit in "collateral damage," the country had to close down its educational system. Collateral damage also affected hospitals, libraries, museums, cemeteries, and numerous religious sites and shrines. Recent attacks on electrical installations and water supplies have endangered the lives and health of large numbers of civilians. Hospitals could not run dialysis equipment or incubators, bakeries could not bake bread, fresh water could not be pumped. Unable to defeat the Yugoslav military through the air and unwilling to confront them on the ground, NATO resorted to making hostages of Yugoslav civilians in a shameful campaign aimed primarily at the helpless.
Italian fishermen in the Adriatic were killed pulling up cluster bombs in their nets, and many ceased fishing out of fear. NATO first claimed they were World War II bombs, then stated that it was routine practice for NATO planes returning from raids over Yugoslavia to drop their remaining bombs into the Adriatic.
A damaged aircraft would likely jettison its ordnance before landing. However, the presence of bombs in the Adriatic would also corroborate reports that some NATO pilots were dropping their bombs and missiles over the Adriatic rather than on Yugoslavia. There are uncorroborated reports that one NATO country pulled its pilots out of the war. NATO pilots, when interviewed, admitted that the Yugoslav antiaircraft defenses were resourceful and highly professional. Another said that this was a "credible" enemy.
The NATO bombing of petroleum and chemical installations in the Belgrade area is threatening a large scale ecological disaster as dangerous chemicals such as phosgene, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, naphtha, ethylene dichloride and transformer oil are released into the atmosphere or into the Danube and seep into underground water supplies. In some areas, water has become undrinkable. It was nearly miraculous that a NATO bomb did not explode a liquid ammonia tank that would have poisoned many in Belgrade. The result of such bombing is a kind of low intensity chemical warfare.
It was admitted that American aircraft were using munitions tipped with depleted uranium (DU), whose use in Iraq has precipitated a seven-fold increase in leukemia, caused thousands of children to be born with various deformities, and is a suspect in Gulf War Syndrome. The U.S. was also using cluster bombs in clearly civilian areas such as Nish. This is strictly an antipersonnel weapon akin to a type of land mine whose use has been outlawed because of its continuing destructiveness long after fighting has ceased.
In the attack on the village of Korisa, where many Albanians died in homes they had just returned to, the U.S. planes were using a type of thermal bomb that generates up to 2000 degrees Celsius and burns people beyond all recognition. Besides the attack on Korisa, NATO aircraft on at least three other occasions targeted refugees who were returning to their homes in Kosovo. NATO aircraft targeted a Greek and a Rumanian humanitarian relief convoy going into Yugoslavia whose movements had been announced in advance. They attacked a convoy of Western journalists in Kosovo, which included the French philosopher Daniel Schiffer. The three low yield missiles that struck the Chinese Embassy each hit the apartment of a Chinese journalist who had been writing against the war.
The extensive bombing of bridges and the pollution of portions of the Danube River have had economic repercussions for Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Rumania, and Bulgaria, since all traffic and trade on the waterway have been halted. Tourism has also been affected.
The adversaries finally agreed to a settlement each for their own reasons. On the Yugoslav side, the NATO attacks on the power grid in Yugoslavia in the last few weeks were threatening massive civilian suffering and death that the Yugoslav government had to be sensitive to. Also, NATO had used various indirect means to build up and arm a larger KLA military force to use as a ground army in attacks on Kosovo, changing the military complexion in the province.
On the NATO side, the alliance was becoming hopelessly divided within. Opposition in may parts of the world was strong, and criticism was arising within the Western nations themselves as the horrors of a war against civilians sank in. Greece opposed the war from the outset, and all three new members, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, expressed powerful reservations about the direction NATO was taking. Norway appears to have had second thoughts very quickly about the nature of the air war. Belgium and the Netherlands followed suit. Ultimately, Italy and Germany both began to push for a compromise negotiated through the Russians, with the U.S. and Britain continuing to hold out for Yugoslavia's unconditional surrender. Clinton finally had to give in.
What have been the actual results of the war diplomatically? Though the rhetoric is seeking to conceal the reality, Clinton and Albright have agreed to a UN force rather than a NATO one, though NATO nations will be represented as UN members. Russian forces may also be used. Moreover, since the operation will be under UN supervision, China and Russia will have much say in the decision-making.
Clinton and Albright have yielded on occupying Yugoslavia in general or even Kosovo in particular. The exact form that home rule will take is not being dictated and will be worked out under a UN-appointed administrator. There is a commitment to recognize Kosovo as an integral part of Yugoslavia, and there will be no referendum in three years.
Very important is that UN forces must now seek to "demilitarize" the KLA, whom Clinton used when he thought he could get leverage to take over Yugoslavia. It was always dangerous to dither with the KLA for any purposes, since they are a terrorist organization that can also disrupt Macedonia and Greece. News reports from everywhere are indicating that getting the KLA to put down its arms or desist from military activity could be the most difficult part of the entire process.
Just what will happen now in Kosovo in the near and far future is impossible to discern. Just how much control the UN will be able to exercise over the peacekeeping force, consisting at the moment exclusively of troops from NATO countries, is impossible to say. How vindictive Clinton will be in continuing to pursue Milosevich or seek to undo Yugoslavia in other ways is an unknown. What anyone can do about the KLA is uncertain. Macedonia, which is nearly 25 percent Albanian, has been disquieted throughout this war because of seeming NATO support for the KLA. Greece also has an Albanian population, as does Montenegro, a part of Yugoslavia.
It was disturbing to see the much publicized news footage of the meetings on the Macedonian border between NATO and Yugoslav officers. With much macho bluster, the NATO generals were trying to force their way into Kosovo before the UN mandate had been approved as outlined in the plan that the Yugoslav parliament had approved. The Yugoslavs were not resorting to delaying tactics; they were standing on the text of the agreement. Were NATO actions merely a propaganda show, seeking to put the best public face on what can certainly be seen as a NATO loss? Or was NATO seeking to subvert the signed agreement in an effort to snatch a victory out of the jaws of defeat and manipulate the UN into also becoming an appendage of NATO? It is frightening to contemplate the latter scenario.
In short, after two and a half months of bombing that devastated the province we were supposed to be saving, created enormous suffering for all Kosovars, Albanian and non-Albanian alike, and destroyed much of the economy of the rest of Yugoslavia, we are right where we could have been in March without ever dropping a bomb: a guarantee that Kosovo is part of Yugoslavia, a negotiated local autonomy for the province with protections for all Kosovars, a UN peacekeeping presence, and demilitarization of the KLA terrorists.
In the meantime, Mr. Clinton and Mrs. Albright have squandered billions of dollars in NATO resources, killed thousands of Yugoslavs, mostly innocent civilians many of whom were children, and sacrificed the lives of many dozens, perhaps hundreds, of NATO pilots, airmen, and commandos. They have driven the Russians and Chinese closer together than they have been in decades, exposed internal weaknesses in NATO, and caused many to question the rationale for that organization. There is talk in Europe of creating a separate European military organization with its own separate command structure that will not include the United States, Great Britain, Canada, or Turkey.
The war has caused much revulsion among thoughtful people the world over. A Greek court ruled that Greece could not enter the war militarily because NATO had committed war crimes in violatation of the Geneva Conventions, whose articles are intended to protect civilians and make militaries wage war on other militaries. A group of legal experts from the United Kingdom, Canada, Greece, and Norway have presented a case to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to indict NATO leaders for war crimes. Nothing is likely to come of this, since that same tribunal has been sitting on a request for some time to condemn Croatia for war crimes in carrying out the brutal ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Serbs from that nation.
There is real danger of a reversion to global polarization. After the bombing started, the Ukrainian parliament voted unanimously to revert the country to its former nuclear status. The Ukraine supplied petroleum to Yugoslavia during the fighting. On April 30, a meeting of the Russian National Security Council approved the modernization of all strategic and tactical nuclear warheads. It decided to develop strategic low-yield nuclear missiles capable of pin-point strikes anywhere in the world.
Indian nationalists have now found new reason to continue their march toward nuclear armaments. China, needless to say, is demonstrating unaccustomed hostility to the U.S. and NATO. All over Latin America, previously subdued regimes have been decrying Yanqui imperialism once again. Even Muslim regimes, whom we might have expected to be vociferously pro-NATO in this war, have been subdued, understanding as they do the consequences of a world in which a rogue NATO seeks to replace the UN and a whole web of treaties and international understandings as the arbiter of international "peace" and international boundaries.
Albright and Clinton have done great harm to U.S. and NATO standing in the international community. They have alienated many other nations who fear NATO's efforts to define an entirely new role for itself in the international arena. They have destroyed the military mystique of NATO by suffering heavy losses in a failed attempt to defeat the Yugoslav military from the air. They have destroyed the mystique of Stealth technology. They ultimately resorted to a cowardly war against civilians in an effort to get their way, and still failed to achieve their "non-negotiable" terms at Rambouillet. And yet, they are now crowing about a great NATO victory.
Some experts have stated their belief that the Clinton-Albright team is the most incompetent foreign policy team in the U.S. in the last half century. This may be. Mrs. Albright seems dominated by a Central European Catholic prejudice against the Serbs that has so warped her judgment as to make her ineffective as a negotiator or mediator, which requires some element of neutrality and willingness to understand the legitimate security concerns of all parties. Mr. Clinton's whole political career has been characterized by media manipulation, lying, bullying, vindictiveness, and buying people off. Applying these qualities in domestic politics has been bad enough. Applying them on the international scene can have huge consequences for the entire planet. Much of the world has now become frightened of Mr. Clinton's New World Order, including many of our own European allies. For a man preoccupied with his legacy, he has much to be preoccupied about.
A Historical Postscript
This is the third time in the twentieth century that Serbia has been issued an ultimatum to surrender its sovereignty or be attacked. In 1914, the Austrian Empire issued a 14-point ultimatum to Serbia designed to force the nation to surrender her sovereignty under threat of attack. The Serbs refused and World War I started. It ultimately took an Austrian Army, a German Army, and a Bulgarian Army to occupy the nation. The Serbian Army escaped intact and came back to fight in 1916-1918. Germany and Austria lost the war, Austria lost an empire, and the map of Europe was redrawn.
In 1941, the Serbs rejected a German ultimatum to let German troops move through their country to help Mussolini's beleaguered forces in Greece. The subsequent German invasion delayed the planned invasion of the Soviet Union by six weeks and prevented a knockout blow before the Russian winter came. It also resulted in a prolonged war of attrition against Serbian guerrillas that tied down large numbers of Axis troops, preventing them from being used on either the Eastern or Western fronts. These were crucial factors in turning the tide against Germany, which lost the war. The map of Central and Eastern Europe was redrawn.
The larger consequences of this latest failed ultimatum are yet to be played out. They could also be enormous.
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Albanian terrorism from 1996