Ivo Skoric on Sat, 20 Mar 1999 09:35:00 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Sign or else...

Sign or get bombed

Rambouillet agreement was designed to give Albanians in Kosovo
(balkansnet.org/raccoon/kosovo.html) the autonomy that Milosevic
took away from them following the collapse of former Yugoslavia. As
in case of Dayton agreement (balkansnet.org/dayton.html) in Bosnia,
the international community gets the broad authority over the
region, overlooking the implementation of the agreement, i.e. locals
are ordered to lay down their weapons and let themselves be policed
by NATO troops, the peace agreement serves as a substitute for the
constitution, and the chief of implementation mission, a foreigner,
has the actual governing power in the province - at least until a
democratic government shapes up from the local political forces.

Albanians, of course, signed such an agreement. Serbs did not. They
found it too humiliating to voluntarily de facto surrender a piece
of territory, which they believe is rightfully theirs, to foreign
military forces, under a threat of aerial bombing should they refuse
to sign. In just a few weeks from now there will be the 48
anniversary since Germans bombed Belgrade. I am curious if NATO is
waiting for that day.

For those who think that Rambouillet agreement is favoring one side
(Albanian): you are right, but you should consider the high level of
crimes against humanity in which Serbian army was involved in past
decade in Croatia, Bosnia and now in Kosovo. For example, while I am
writing this Serbian forces are shelling some small village in
Kosovo with heavy artillery unavailable to KLA guys, who sit there
in that village and sing to avert fear while shells fly over their

It is also thought that Serbs already mined all roads, bridges and
tunnels that NATO forces may use to crossover to Kosovo. A few days
ago Serbian police intercepted Newsweek journalists and harassed
them for a while asking questions like: "do you want to live?"I
wonder, though, whether the agreement may be used as a legally
binding document if the signature is obtained at the gun- point. In
Dayton, the U.S. used similar hazing tactics by having dinners with
the parties in hangars with cruise missiles and stealth fighters.

Clear & Present Danger

At the session on the U.S. policy in Balkans at House Armed Services
Committee, Walter Slocombe, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy,
used the magic words: "situation in Kosovo is a threat to national
security interest of the U.S." Since this might not look as obvious
to others (particularly to Republicans), he proceeded by invoking
ghosts of the WW I (when the "great" war started in the Balkans, as
Ike Skelton - a Democrat - mentioned) and the WW II (when the
Balkans played a very important role, too). What they are really
scared of is the flow of refugees that would end up in Italy - many
of them on their way to their relatives in the U.S. The possibility
of the Kosovo war to spill over and include other countries is
reasonably high in case of Macedonia or Albania, but I am convinced
that Greece and Turkey (both NATO members) would not get involved.
If they do, then Balkans conflagration becomes connected to the
Middle East one, creating one big instability zone.

Waste of taxpayers money

Republican (chair of the committee) Floyd Spencer (SC) had a
different view: "Peacekeeping in the Balkans is degrading our
ability to fight real wars if they break out." Cold war in essence
was a war of economic attrition - and it is far from over. Soviet
Union lost, because it had an initially weaker economy - but the
U.S. suffered, too. And the U.S., as the sole remaining super-power
still suffers: peace-keeping spreads its armed forces thin, and as
Skelton noted - the only real change after the end of the cold war
was the drastic reduction of U.S. Armed Forces - meaning there is
less of them and they are more spread. Other Republicans in House
and, particularly, Senate, were just awfully conscious about hurting
the sovereignty of the country, that the U.S. does not even
recognize (FR Yugoslavia).

Quality of life funding

Enters Wesley Clark, Gen., Commander in Chief for the U.S. European
Command, yammering about ancient infrastructure in the Army
barracks, and lacking funds for education of kids of military
personnel. It is still better than in Russia, where officers haven't
been paid for several months, but it could be better. And given that
Gen. Clark defended President Clinton's position, some funds must be
on the way already. His pronunciation of "Republika Srpska" was
impeccable, and he was obviously well briefed (unlike people's
representatives who asked him questions). He stated that the
re-enlistment in Bosnia was the highest in the Army. This is true.
American soldiers on duty in Bosnia are proud of their assignment -
they see themselves in a constructive, rather than the destructive
role habitual to the military job. The only real problem is boredom.
Gen. Clark elegantly avoided using that word, but he did say that
they finished building a running track in the woods near Tuzla and
that they were building a polygon for urban fighting simulation (now
that real urban fighting is over...). And how about that halfpipe on

Kosovo - Republika Srpska

In Bosnia there is strange paranoia spreading: the angst that if
Kosovo gets autonomy, Republika Srpska will get autonomy, too. This
nonsense reminds of the beginning of the war in Croatia, when it was
held (mostly by Serbian side) that Croatia's independence (from
Yugoslavia) must be followed by the Krajina's independence (from
Croatia). But it wasn't. In one of the early agreements, all
republics of former Yugoslavia (except one) were recognized as
sovereign states within the borders they had as republics of former
Yugoslavia - meaning Republika Srpska will always be an "entity."
Rambouillet agreement, also, calls for `autonomy' not `independence'
of Kosovo. In reality, with Rambouillet Kosovo would get inside
Serbia, what Republika Srpska got inside Bosnia with Dayton.

Montenegro vs. Yugoslav Army

The only republic of former Yugoslavia that never sought or declared
independence - Montenegro- now faces serious problems. Montenegrin
president, Milo Djukanovic, promised his citizens that their boys
would not be sent to fight NATO forces, but the Yugoslav Army joint
chiefs of staff determined that would constitute treason, and
refused to do that. Some of the Montenegrins sent to Kosovo already
died. Furthermore, Yugoslav Army extended military service for one
month to all soldiers who were due to leave last week. Montenegrin
leadership and Yugoslav Army are in the war against each other.
Montenegrin media write about the Army in the same terms Slovenian
media wrote ten years ago. Is it just a question of time when the
tanks will roll out on the streets of Podgorica?

Belgrade - Saigon

Following French and British decision to stop waiting for the Serbs
to sign the agreement (since they are obviously reluctant to do so),
six embassies in Belgrade were evacuated and Monitors from Kosovo
are preparing to leave, too - leaving NATO free hands to go ahead
with the raid.

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