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<nettime> ivogram 042299: news, greens, bombs
Ivo Skoric on Fri, 23 Apr 1999 02:35:21 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> ivogram 042299: news, greens, bombs


"Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
          no title
          The European Greens are in favor of NATO Bombing
          The NATO bomb that made even Serbs smile

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 15:18:23 +0000
Subject: no title

Serbia-Montenegro

Following the pattern of earlier wars (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and
Kosovo), foreign journalists are being roughed up by the army,
refugees are being killed or detained by the army and the tension
between the republic government controlled civilian police force and
the army is on the rise. Yugoslav Army and Montenegrin authorities are
currently quarreling over the control of the borders. Montenegro wants
to keep its borders open, allowing trade, journalists and refugees to
cross over. Army wants to keep the borders closed. Army put a
roadblock on the crossing between Croatia and Montenegro. Montenegro
threatened to send the police to remove the roadblock. So far they
reached the agreement to share the control over that crossing.
Meanwhile, the Army assumed patrolling of the Montenegro-Albanian
boarder and Montenegro send sizeable police force to monitor Army's
moves (after reports that Army killed several Albanian civilians).
Army seized the control of Montenegrin TV, but a handful of
independent newspapers as well as Montenegrin anti-Milosevic
government are still in place. However, for 50th anniversary of NATO,
an anti-government rally is planned by Momir Bulatovic, the leader of
pro-Milosevic Montenegrin largest opposition party and Milosevic's
prime minister. Milo Djukanovic, the president of Montenegro, promised
it citizens police protection from what is expected to be large and
unruly crowd at that rally. The rally may be the beginning of
Djukanovic's unmaking.

Rugova

The enigma about Rugova showing up on Serbian television is finally
resolved. His aide met journalists in Macedonia, explaining that
Rugova lives under Serbian "police protection" (house arrest) in
Prishtina and was driven to Belgrade on several occasions to serve
Milosevic's propaganda purposes. Serbian TV edited his original saying
that he wants NATO bombing to stop, but that he also wants that Serbs
unconditionally pull out their forces from Kosovo into him saying that
he wants NATO to stop bombing raids unconditionally.

Army Morale

Good news: there are more desertions from Yugoslav Army and there is
more draft resistance in Serbia and Montenegro. Bad news: this is a US
intelligence assessment with no independent confirmation so far.

Serbia-US

Unlike in cases of Vietnam, Somalia or Iraq there is neither tradition
nor history of mutual hate between Serbs and Americans. On the
contrary: Americans see Serbs as the heroes of both World Wars, proud
and skilled soldiers, and Serbian was for some time the "secret
language" of choice among the high State Department officials in both
Republican and Democrat Administrations (Lawrence Eagleburger, Brent
Scowcroft, Madeleine Albright...). The Serbs on the other hand, as
well as the other former Yugoslavs, *like* Americans. Tito was
infatuated by westerns. Young generation in former Yugoslavia grew up
listening to American music, watching American movies, drinking Coke
and buying Levi's jeans. The defiance of the heroes in Hollywood
action movies was always widely praised by "Yugoslavs" and, as we
witnessed, well practiced in stand- offs during the past and present
wars in the territory of former Yugoslavia. Therefore, both sides in
their propaganda efforts limit themselves to portraying only the
leadership (Clinton vs. Milosevic) of the opposing side as evil,
genocidal, Nazi (the labels are actually eerily similar).

Albania-China

Once upon a time, when it was the only ally of the Maoist China,
Albania gave China crucial support securing China's veto holding
permanent seat at the UN Security Council. Today, China would use that
veto power to give its former "revisionist" enemy - Yugoslavia - the
power to continue to harm Albanians. So, Albania turned to NATO. On
the other hand, despite the fierce rhetoric, I don't see any real help
coming Serbia's way from China. China is just interested in securing
its position as a world's power.

Serbia-Albania

Yugoslav Army repeatedly shelled locations in Albania killing and
injuring several people on pretext that Albania gives shelter to KLA
(which is true). Yugoslav Army also crossed the border and briefly
occupied Albanian village of Padesh. The attacks just caused Albanian
government to open its doors wider for NATO troops, begging for
protection.

The New Cold War

Russia moved its fleet back to Mediterranean and Yeltsin wowed to stay
by Milosevic. But there will be no re-targeting of nuclear missiles
back to the western capitals (unless there is a coup by Zhirinovski),
and essentially there will be no military help to Serbia. Russia made
it clear that military alliance may be discussed once the peace
agreement over Kosovo is reached. Russia behaves like an HMO: Serbia
requested the health insurance once the surgery became inevitable, and
Russia said - ok, we will provide the insurance, except for that
surgery which will remain your own responsibility. It is more a
positioning game. NATO defeated Warsaw Pact so thoroughly that four of
the former WP members are now NATO members (Poland, Czech Republic,
Hungary, East Germany), and the rest of them (Bulgaria, Romania,
Slovakia) made its primary foreign policy goal to become NATO members.
This hurts Russia not only in terms of pride, but also in terms of
economy and geopolitical interest. With Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia
and Albania also wanting to become part of NATO, and Bosnia
effectively policed by NATO, Europe is de-facto completely immersed in
NATO, making the US lead NATO the strongest military alliance in
history. In the entire Europe there was only one country that never
expressed desire to become a part of NATO. On the contrary they on
many occasions expressed the desire to form the alliance with Russia,
that everybody else tries to escape from. The Serbs. They are the dark
spot in perfectly NATO-ized Europe, and Russians can't turn back on
them. So, despite it is obvious that there will be no help over
Kosovo, Yeltsin made it clear that Russia will not let the West defeat
Milosevic and take over the entire Yugoslavia. The West so far has no
intentions to do so. Therefore the endgame that I described in
http://balkansnet.org/raccoon/kosova2.html seems reasonably possible.

KLA-US

Although US officials deny any assistance to KLA, there are reports
that they help covertly arm KLA with European-made weapons. Also,
Albanian-Americans openly join KLA - not as it was in the case of the
war in Croatia, where Croatian-Americans joining Croatian Army had to
hide that from the US authorities under a threat of loss of their
immigration and naturalization status in the US.

Displaced

The western media apparently inflates the number of Kosovo Albanian
refugees in order to help justify the US lead NATO air strikes against
Yugoslavia which bolster the program ratings. On the other hand the
western media is denied access to displaced Kosovo Albanians inside
Kosovo. There are hundreds of thousands of people expelled from their
homes wondering in the mountains without any help from humanitarian
organizations. They are exposed to starvation and diseases. Some
reports say that there are cases of cholera recorded among the
internally displaced. There is no way to help them until the ground
forces are in place. Until then they all may starve or die from other
causes.

Ivo

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 16:31:13 +0000
Subject: The European Greens are in favor of NATO Bombing

 Dany Cohn Bendit ,the head of the Green list in the European 
elections, has written an article in Libération  calling for the 
sending of ground troops to Kosova.DCB recently spoke at a metting of 
Comité Kosovo at which he said that the Germans should be grateful 
for the allied victory in World War 11.

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 16:31:22 +0000
Subject: The NATO bomb that made even Serbs smile

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------

WELCOME TO IWPR'S BALKAN CRISIS REPORT, NO. 23, 22 April 1999
http://www.iwpr.net

*************************************************

NATO STRIKES HOME

For the first time, the West has struck at the heart of the regime: a
presidential command post, offices of the ruling Socialist Party and a
television station run by the Milosevic family.

A correspondent in Belgrade

NATO has struck home, taking out transmitters of the state's main Radio
Television of Serbia (RTS), and several local stations in Belgrade. As a
result, the media choices are rapidly declining, and with them the regime's
ability to pump out its propaganda.

Four weeks ago, just before NATO launched its attacks on Yugoslavia, people
in Belgrade could choose among 13 TV channels. The first three on the dial
were all programmes of the state Radio Television of Serbia (RTS). In
addition, Belgraders could receive TV Novi Sad and Novi Sad Plus from
Vojvodina and the local stations TV Politika, TV Palma, SOS Channel, TV Art
and TV Studio B. There were also TV BK, owned by Bogoljub Karic, a media
mogul and close friend of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, and
entertainment stations, TV Pink and TV Kosava. Owned by Milosevic's
daughter Marija, TV Kosava has been involved in organising and heavily
covering the anti-NATO protests, and also rebroadcast RTS programming.

When air strikes on Wednesday, April 21, hit the 20-plus storey tower in
New Belgrade, it destroyed the transmitters of TV BK, TV Pink and TV
Kosava, which were on the top. For years this tower symbolised the
Milosevic regime since it also housed Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia
and, for a time, his wife Mira Markovic's Yugoslav United Left (JUL) Now
after a few missiles, the signals of TV signal from TV Pink, TV BK and TV
Kosava are out.

More importantly, the television signal of Serbian State Television can no
longer reach the whole of Serbia. Its signal in Belgrade has become patchy,
and its transmitters in Vojvodina and Kosovo have, according to official
reports from RTS, been knocked out. A score or more of local transmitters
have also been destroyed in Serbia proper. As a result, the ability of the
regime to manipulate information and public opinion for its own purposes
has, for the first time in a decade, been seriously weakened.

The strikes against the party headquarters have in fact had a larger
propaganda impact than those against many military objects. This is the
first time that NATO has hit something directly belonging to the Milosevic
family. Indeed, despite its puerile output, his daughter's TV Kosava had
the some of the most sophisticated and expensive equipment of any station.
Many people in Belgrade could not hide their pleasure in seeing the
building in flames. Then the next day, NATO strikes compounded the affront,
hitting a presidential command post, essentially one of Milosevic's
residences.

But the key blows may still be those against the television. For 12 years,
Milosevic used RTS and other TV stations for the most vicious kind of
political manipulation. It was the media, many analysts have argued, that
created the hatreds which made the wars possible. The power of the
propaganda has been so strong that many people in Serbia became accustomed
to coming to any political opinion only after they had watched the report
on TV.

Without the power of the television, the regime may be in serious trouble.
There will be no clear way to guide its supporters or gain feedback from
them. Gossip about the duration and impact of the NATO attacks will spread
uncontrolled. The situation in Serbia is becoming very different from what
it was four week ago: Milosevic is losing the power to tell people what to
think.


COMMENT: THE BALKAN ENDGAME

Belgrade still believes it is on the verge of a historic victory. In
response, the West needs a comprehensive regional strategy.

By Sonja Biserko

Even at this late stage, the Serbian regime--not just President Slobodan
Milosevic, but a substantial proportion of the establishment--believe it
has a chance not only to survive the NATO campaign but indeed to emerge
victorious with a new Greater Serbia.

Under scenarios seriously discussed in Belgrade, officials hope that
fatigue and splits within the NATO alliance, and concerns for the regional
ramifications, will cause the West to call a conference and negotiate
peace. This would be a major historical event, along the lines of the 1878
Congress of Berlin, involving all the regional players. And, if Serbian
negotiators have their way, it would be a time for territorial swapping and
fresh map-making. The key deal would be to partition Kosovo, hiving off a
southern strip from Yugoslavia in exchange for some of Bosnia.

It is crucial for Western planners charting the course of the war to
understand the implications of this. Far from in retreat, the Belgrade
regime--while losing important military and economic assets--feels itself
to be well positioned for a historic victory against the world's largest
military alliance and its only superpower.

To most Western observers, this may seem astounding. But a proper
understanding of the Serbian power structure reveals why--from Belgrade's
perspective--it is utterly logical. And it makes clear that the West must
adopt a comprehensive strategy and a region-wide approach for long-term
peace and stability.

The destruction caused by NATO will cost Serbia dearly. It will annul the
efforts of several generations in developing its infrastructure. But it is
also destroying the rudimentary institutions of democracy. As a result,
contrary to expectations both in the West and in the region, an uprising
against Milosevic is hard to imagine. Thus the likely outcomes within
Serbia are: Milosevic's survival and a personal dictatorship, a coup d'etat
and a military dictatorship, or rivalry among competing warlords and total
chaos. None of these would be likely to bring a positive policy change from
Belgrade.

The negotiations, at Rambouillet and then Paris, also suggested a flawed
strategy. The delayed and inadequate response by the European powers
leading up to the talks gave ample time for Milosevic's expansionist and
repressive policies to be put in place. Resisting a leading US role in
Kosovo for so long, the Europeans allowed Belgrade to launch the war
unopposed. The negotiating posture tended to equalise all sides and
inevitably led to concessions to the "stronger side"-ie, the Serbs.
Confusion over the response to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), without
any effort to analyse the roots of the crisis and the reasons for the
emergence of the KLA, gave a green light to Serbia to launch its attacks on
villages, under the guise of "exterminating terrorists." The Europeans'
anxiety over refugees also contributed to a negative stereotype about
Kosovo Albanians.

The Holbrooke-Milosevic agreement of October 1998 was probably the last
chance for a peaceful resolution. Understanding that the international
community did not expect conflict until spring, and believing that there
would probably be no intervention anyway, Milosevic initiated his build-up
in Kosovo and, once again, confronted the international community with a
fait accompli.

But by taking Kosovo and the whole Kosovo Albanian community hostage,
Milosevic triggered a reaction he did not expect and has no answer for.
Milosevic's decision to reject the Rambouillet accords finally forced the
NATO powers to define the nature of the conflicts that have plagued
southeastern Europe for the past decade. For the first time, the West
recognised them clearly as a series of Serbian wars of aggression and
conquest.

This posture incensed the regime in Belgrade, which then fully revealed its
war aims: the complete cleansing of Albanians from Kosovo. The possible
loss of Kosovo was first mentioned in the infamous Serbian Academy
Memorandum, which laid out the Greater Serbia national project back in
1986. Dobrica Cosic, the national writer and one-time president of the
country, has predicted many times that "the 20th century will end for the
Serbian people with the loss of Kosovo and Metohia." Yet by unleashing a
full war against its own Albanian citizens, the regime displayed its
complete inability to adopt to the shift in Western policy towards such
regional conflicts, and the Balkans in particular. Instead it has
sought--and so far succeeded--in creating "new realities" on the ground in
Kosovo, in pursuit of its maximalist aims.

The beginning of the bombing campaign was treated in Belgrade as another of
NATO's simulations. Belgrade simply did not believe it was real.
Accordingly, the first reactions by the regime and the public were defiance
and derision. Officially, this remains the stance, as evidenced for example
by the daily rock concerts throughout Serbia.

Yet in fact only a few days of air strikes sufficed to strip the Serbia
political scenery of its false covering. The ethnic cleansing of Kosovo
Albanians demonstrated once again the utmost cruelty and barbarity of the
Serbian war machinery. The concerts and other demonstrations actually
reveal a refusal of the population to confront the atrocities being
committed in Kosovo in their name. People in Serbia are undergoing a mass
denial which is itself commensurate to the crime taking place before the
eyes of the whole world.

Unfortunately, the developments have also demonstrated that the democratic
alternative is almost negligible. The media became the first victim of the
bombing, and all information has been put under direct state control. The
declaration of a state of emergency, as well as the introduction of capital
punishment, martial law, a partial mobilisation, a pardoning of criminals
and the drafting of volunteers--such measures  have closed all avenues of
possible resistance. Fuelled by wild propaganda and increasing criminal
banditry, Serbia is heading down the path of no return.  Displaying, indeed
glorifying Serbian obstinacy, the regime is on the verge of
self-destruction, rejecting all prospects of mediation and causing damage
throughout the region.

Rather than strengthening, the structure in Serbia is in fact crumbling and
heading towards chaos. Serbia faces an inevitable moral collapse and
historic debacle. It refuses to confront the policies of the past, and even
the crimes for which it is responsible day by day. Indeed, while Milosevic
bears primary responsibility for disasters caused by the regime, in
Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and now Kosovo, he has only followed and
expressed the collective consciousness of much of the Serbian
elite--especially within the security forces.

As such, Serbia cannot hope for integration into the mainstream of European
structures without massive assistance from the international community.
This means that the expected NATO presence in Kosovo will not be enough. A
protectorate in the province will enable the deportees to return in safety
and prevent the spreading of the refugee wave in to Europe.

But after a decade of failed policies in the Balkans, it is essential that
the US and the European democracies articulate a long-term vision for the
whole region. This must start with the de-Nazification of Serbia. A
mini-Marshall plan for economic recovery will be essential. And a long-term
security structure is a prerequisite for continued peace and stability. The
West may debate ground troops in Kosovo. But the reality is that, in the
long term, an international force will be required in Serbia, too.

Sonja Biserko is director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in
Serbia. She is now living outside the country.


THE ALLIANCE'S MOST EAGER PARTNER

Once isolated and hostile to the West, Albania is welcoming NATO's
deployment on its territory and aspires to eventual membership of the
alliance.

Artan Puto in Tirana

How times have changed. For decades Albania was allied to the Soviet Union,
China or defiantly isolationist. Throughout this period the country was
committed to Marxism-Leninism and hostile to Western "imperialism" and
NATO. Today it is rapidly becoming the alliance's main staging post for the
war in the Balkans.

The volte-face came in 1990 with the fall of communism. With elections and
the arrival in power of the avowedly non-communist Democratic Party in
1992, Albania quickly made it known that it wished to join NATO. A year
later, it was among the first Eastern European countries to join
Partnership for Peace, NATO's programme for aspiring members from the
former communist bloc.

For Albania, as for Eastern Europe's other former communist countries, NATO
membership offers political status and the prospect of further integration
into European structures, in addition to the obvious military benefits.

>From NATO's perspective, Albania's position changed soon after the eruption
of fighting in Kosovo in February of last year. Since that time it has been
a front-line state in Europe's most savage conflict.

Since the beginnings of the conflict, Albania has repeatedly sought
deployment of NATO troops on its territory to guarantee its borders.
However, the alliance has pursued a cautious, gradualist approach.

In June of last year NATO aircraft took part in the first military
manoeuvres organised in Albanian air space. It was followed by the largest
joint military manoeuvres between NATO troops and the Albanian army, in
August 1998.

The launch of NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia brought the
alliance still closer to Albania. Last Sunday the Albanian government
officially offered NATO use of the country's airports.

NATO was quick to dispatch the first 1,000 troops to Albania and they are
currently preparing the ground for a larger deployment. These troops will
construct the necessary infrastructure for eventual deployment of up to
8,000 troops. They will support a humanitarian mission to aid Kosovo
refugees in Albania, of whom there are already some 330,000.

Albania is important to NATO because it has given the alliance a friendlier
welcome than neighbouring Macedonia. While Macedonia is reluctant to open
its arms to NATO as a result of internal ethnic tensions and divisions,
Albania is keen to allow the alliance use its territory for whatever action
it considers necessary to halt the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo--including a
potential ground invasion.

NATO's first "humanitarian mission" may yet therefore evolve into a
military one, should NATO decide to intervene with ground troops in Kosovo.
Albanians view the arrival in the capital Tirana of 24 tank-busting Apache
helicopters as a sign in this direction.

As a result of the massive foreign military presence and the free rein NATO
has been given in Albania, Albanians have begun speculating as to whether
their country is becoming a NATO protectorate. Albanian politicians appear
keen to see Albania forge ever closer relations with the alliance. But they
do not wish to be seen compromising Albanian sovereignty.

In an interview with the Tirana daily Koha Jone, Neritan Ceka, president of
the Democratic Alliance, is enthusiastic. He considers NATO protection as
an honour and the on-going co-operation as a second phase of the
Partnership for Peace programme.

Albania's Information Minister, Musa Ulqini shares this view. "NATO came to
Albania as it can provide a whole infrastructure which we do not have," he
says. Its presence "is a sign of the integration of Albania in
Euro-Atlantic structures".

The vice president of the opposition Democratic Party Genc Pollo sees the
foreign presence as close collaboration between NATO and Albania for the
actions in Kosovo and Serbia, rather than anything akin to a protectorate.
"Albania must not turn into a NATO protectorate," he says.

Sabri Godo, former president of the Republican Party, a small right-wing
nationalist party, is adamant that Albania should not be a protectorate.
Nevertheless, he is supportive both of the NATO deployment presence in the
country and, if necessary, of the alliance using Albania to launch a ground
war in Kosovo. He explains that NATO has bases in Italy and other European
countries, but none of them has lost their sovereignty.

Foreign analysts do not share the same spirit in their comments. For them,
the respect Albania is showing NATO comes from the fact that the state is
still fragile and has not recovered from the anarchy of spring 1997 which
followed the collapse of a series of pyramid investment schemes.

Harsh internal quarrels between political parties often require
intervention from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) to calm them down. Public order leaves much to be desired and local
police are being trained by European experts.

The reconstruction of the Albanian army, which all but disintegrated in
1997, is a long-term process. That said, it already appears in better shape
in the border regions where it is facing Serbian forces, including recent
incursions of several hundred troops in the north.

Most Albanians agree that, on balance, the massive NATO presence in their
country is likely to bring considerable benefits. The country's
infrastructure will be improved as much of what is required for the foreign
military deployment will remain in the country. The army will be in a
position to learn from the experience and expertise of NATO troops and
should also get acquainted with new technology. Many Albanians also
anticipate an influx of foreign capital into the country, thus boosting the
weak Albanian economy.

Many Albanians are, nevertheless, nervous about finding themselves involved

directly in the conflict which will happen if and when the Apache
helicopters begin sorties into Kosovo from Albanian soil. Moreover, that
day may not be far off.

On his recent visit to Tirana, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Gen.
Wesley Clark, announced the arrival of Apache helicopters in Albania.. He
also reaffirmed that: "NATO will do its utmost to protect Albania. The
country's integrity and sovereignty are for NATO matters of the highest
importance."

Artan Puto is Albania project consultant for Press Now.

IWPR'S BALKAN CRISIS REPORT, NO. 23

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