Ivo Skoric on Wed, 5 May 1999 05:15:02 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> developments

NATO on the bus issue

NATO says that bus is hit in the area where civilians have no 
business being in the first place, so it was perhaps full of Serb 
policemen, who allegedly use civilian buses for transportation often. 
To that extent there are KLA reports of Serbs removing uniformed 
bodies from the site of incident before the appearance of foreign 
press. NATO also says that despite the bus then was a legitimate 
target - they did not hit it. Because NATO despise killing people, 
civilians, policemen alike. Blood is not a good p.r. So, NATO now 
finds no evidence - and they checked all gun cameras and interviewed 
all the relevant pilots - that they ever bombed that bus. It is 
rather possible, NATO claims, that the Serb police bus was caught in 
the KLA ambush. KLA did neither confirm, nor deny the incident. But 
unlike NATO, which operates under different rules, KLA may p.r.-wise 
allow itself being viewed as culprits to killing two dozens of Serb 
policemen - this would actually improve their rating as soldiers.

Croatian Army brigadier (general) heads KLA

Agim Ceku, a Kosovo Albanian who joined Croatian forces in 1991, was 
wounded in battle in 1993, acquired additional training and the rank 
of a brigadier (equivalent to a general in NATO countries), quit 
Croatian Army and went to help his brethren in Kosovo - he is named a 
chief of staff of KLA forces (there is one more Croatian Army 
brigadier of Kosovo Albanian origin now with KLA: Rahim Ademi).

Serbia as a testing ground

NATO demonstrated its frightening power by turning the lights off in 
Serbia on Sunday. NATO airplanes took down 70% of Serbia's electrical 
power, returning Serbia literally to dark ages. The disruption was 
temporary due to a new weapon the NATO was testing - something they 
call a "soft bomb" - that explodes over the target and disperses a 
thin film of electricity conductive graphite over the equipment, 
short-cirquiting the machinery, while not causing permanent damage.

Chernomyrdyn's shuttle diplomacy: Russia's move

Yeltsin said that possible NATO attacks on Russian ships carrying 
fuel to Serbia will not be left unanswered. So, now both Russia and 
the U.S. are hoping to be able to avoid that likely embarassing 
situation - where NATO ships would have to shoot at Russian 
oil-tankers to save NATO's face and Russians would have to shoot back 
to save their face. Russia senses that NATO actually had enough of 
this war, but of course cannot stop, because the strikes did not 
bring Milosevic to senses despite virtually erasing his country's 
economic potential. Leaders in Europe, except maybe UK, are faced by 
serious opposition in their countries to continuation of NATO action 
against Yugoslavia. And the US administration starts to show signs of 
impatience: they thought they would have win that war some times ago. 
Congress is fed up, and the price tag climbed from 5 to 13 billions 
dollars in emergency spending. KLA is slow in retaking positions in 
Kosovo. Serbs are still strong enough to engage in ethnic cleansing. 
The extraordinary damage NATO bombs cause to Serbia in a long range 
seem not to have effect on the actual ground situation in Kosovo. The 
West is ready to settle. Well, Milosevic is or should be ready to 
settle even more. After all it is his country that's being pounded. 
He is signaling readiness to receive "international presence" in 
Kosovo, i.e. non-NATO troops to monitor the cease-fire between Serbs 
and Albanians in the province. I am not sure, however, if this is 
enough for Clinton: you can't ask Congress for dozen billions dollars 
of taxpayers money and then deliver the same situation as it was 
before the spending of that monies. Milosevic has to agree to 
withdraw his military and police force from Kosovo, and let the 
security of Serb people and the precious monasteries in Kosovo be 
guaranteed by the "international presence" - that makes Clinton look 
much better, and he then may agree to have Russians instead of 
Americans patroling peace in Kosovo. Albanian refugees should return 
safely and KLA should asume a role of civilian police in the region, 
under the supervision of "international presence."

A portrait of a hero

He goes unarmed to some of the most ruthless dictators in the world 
in times when State Department advises travellers to avoid the region 
at all costs, and he achieves his goals. It requires believing in 
miracles to accept that Jesse Jackson can get American captives out 
of the countries who would rather see them burned alive. And he does 
it over and over again. The State Department, although of course 
they cannot publicly admit that, is very happy with Jesse Jackson (I 
am not that sure if he is so happy with them, though). They 
actually begged him to go there, but publicly had to display 
displeasure with his trip. So, how does he pull the trick? First he 
waits for the moment, he waits for the foreign dictator's battle 
fatigue, he waits for his desperate desire to do some gesture of good 
faith that would improve his international standing, and when the 
moment comes, Jackson flies in, risking his own life, like early 
Christian preachers. What he offers is - prayer. No politics. It 
works well with Muslim patriarchal heads of state (Iraq) as well as 
with their Orthodox Christian counterparts (Serbia). Milosevic let 
the three young Americans go for the picture of him holding hands 
with Jackson in prayer, and Jackson wouldn't mind holding (briefly) 
hands with Satan himself if that would set the American POWs free. He 
actually fared better in Serbia than in New York city - where mayor 
Rudolph Giuliani had him arrested on demonstrations against New York 
police brutality - following the incident in which NYPD shot an 
unarmed Guinean immigrant with 19 bullets, Serb style. But that is 
precisely what makes him succeed - that he adheres to the same 
fundamental human principles all the time.

Ivo Skoric
19 Baxter St., 2nd floor
Rutland, VT 05701

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