P r e s s I n f o   # 7 2

N A T O   I N   K O S O V O -
F A I L E D   P E A C E K E E P I N G

June 18, 1999

"If a UN operation had gone this wrong from the beginning, if the mandate
had been violated to this extent, politicians, diplomats and media
worldwide would have cried 'Failure!' But  since it is a US-lead NATO
operation, independent-minded evaluations and criticism is conspicuously
absent from mainstream media and the political discourse. The
homogenisation of public opinion with NATO propaganda throughout the
Western democracies is disheartening," says TFF director, Dr Jan  Oberg.

1. THE NATO DOG WILL WAG THE UN TAIL

While NATO troops have been in Macedonia the last 8 months, only on June 14
could the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan present a plan for a civil UN
administration for Kosova. It  puts the EU in charge of reconstruction and
gives the OSCE primary responsibility for establishing democratic
institutions, organising elections, and monitoring human rights. The UNHCR
will take charge of the resettlement of refugees and displaced persons. The
UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will administer the
police, justice, schools, public transport, telecommunications, and power
plants. An international police unit of up to 2,000 will oversee the
establishment of a Kosova police force. On 12 June, Annan appointed UN
Undersecretary-General Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil as interim -
interim! - special representative.

SC Resolution 1244 consistently mentions "the rapid early deployment of
effective civil and security presences" and consistently mentions the two
components  simultaneously. Reality on the ground is already totally
different. Evident for everyone who wants to see, the NATO dog will wag the
UN tail as it pleases, in time and in space. And it will take months before
the civilians are in place and co-functioning. Remember that it took 5-6
months to get the former OSCE KVM mission of 1200 deployed - only to be
forced out due to NATO's bombing plan.

This is catastrophic. Precisely in this type of conflict, the need for
social, village-based security provided by civil police and what the UN
used to call 'Civil Affairs' staff is absolutely essential. While NATO is
simply not trained for this or has any experience in it, the UN an OSCE and
civilian NGOs everywhere have.

IMAGINE instead that world leaders had wanted to increase the capacity for
civilian conflict-management, had wanted to finally realise the
UN Charter's finest norm: peace by peaceful means. Imagine that the
international 'community' and leading security organizations had spent
energy, money and creativity since 1989 on adapting the global system to
civilian conflict-management, that the UN had had a pool of thousands of
civilians - social workers, psychologists, economists, police, lawyers,
teachers etc. - on stand-by for rapid deployment in post-war regions.
Imagine that the OSCE and the UN had been given just a fraction of the
funds, NATO has at its disposal. Imagine, in short, that the civilian
aspects and the human dimensions of security and conflict-resolution had
been nurtured and new civilised tools had been given priority, including
early warning to prevent wars and violence in the first place.

2. THE KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY - KLA/UCK - IS NOT DISARMED

Resolution 1244 states in para 9 a) that the security presence shall
prevent renewed hostilities and b) demilitarise KLA and other armed
Kosovo-Albanian groups. They must comply with the requirements 'laid down
by the head of the international security presence in consultation with the
Special Representative of the S-G.' The latter however is not yet on the
ground!

And indeed, why should KLA comply? As they see it, they have liberated 'our
Kosova' (albeit with a little help from their NATO allies) and they are not
signatories - as are no Albanian - to the deal made in Belgrade. A major
player was simply ignored (or given secret promises as to the future?)

Literally speaking, of course, it is impossible to disarm or demilitarise a
force like KLA in this culture. In contrast to the Yugoslav forces, it is
not an ordinary army - many of their members are simply armed civilians.
Kosovo-Albanian leaders always responded to the question 'Who is UCK?' that
'it is me, him and her over there, we are a people in arms." But! NATO -
the organization that flexes its muscle and just issued demands and refused
to negotiate with the legitimate government (at least not officially) in
Belgrade - will now NEGOTIATE with UCK, a force that has never obtained a
mandate from the constitutional authorities or parliament of the
independent republic of Kosova.

Yes, this is true! This is what Radio Free Europe reported on June 16:
"NATO Negotiates Disarmament with UCK. U.S. Army General John Craddock told
dpa from Skopje on 16 June that NATO officials are negotiating with the
Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) about its demilitarisation. Craddock did not
release details about the content or location of the talks. He added that
the UCK's possible disarmament is up to the "discretion" of the respective
peacekeeping troops. Craddock said that "we approach it in a fair and
even-handed manner...Our soldiers are not instructed to routinely disarm
[the guerrillas]. However, we have got to make sure we defuse explosive
situations. We don't want armed [UCK] in proximity with withdrawing Serbs."
Pentagon officials said in Washington that both the Serbs and the UCK have
initiated confrontations resulting in as many as "two dozen" deaths. They
added, however, that "we are generally satisfied with the amount of
compliance" with NATO's ban on armed violence.

It is difficult to understand the American general's statement as anything
but a violation of UN SC Resolution 1244. Virtually all important media
around the world have told us that the West can not trust Milosevic or the
Serbs. What prevents people from not even now asking the opposite question?
Up till now the Yugoslav government has kept its side of the G8 Agreement
and withdrawn its forces according to schedule. Not so NATO, the UN and KLA.

IMAGINE instead that the UCK/KLA had not been fed with weapons, ammunition,
uniform and training by a number of Western countries, private arms dealers
and, presumably, intelligence services. Imagine instead that the parties
had been persuaded to sit down and talk at some point since 1992, that
moderates on both sides had been supported by the West and that an economic
development program had been promised for the Kosovo province - in exchange
for democratization in Serbia and a lifting of sanctions and diplomatic
isolation. Imagine that OSCE had not suspended Yugoslavia and that OSCE's
mission in Yugoslavia had therefore not been abrogated in 1992. Imagine
some of this - and you may begin to see a possible truth: this war, this
humanitarian catastrophe, all this irreparable hate could have been
avoided.

3. STABILITY?

Resolution 1244 welcomes the EU and others 'to develop a comprehensive
approach to the economic development and stabilisation of the region
affected by the Kosovo crisis, including the implementation of a Stability
Pact for South Eastern Europe..' There can be no doubt that this
formulation covers not only the Kosovo province but also the rest of
Yugoslavia and countries such as Macedonia and Albania as 'affected.'
President Clinton, President Chirac and other government leaders, however,
have already stated that no economic aid (presumably including
reconstruction aid) will be given to Yugoslavia as long as President
Milosevic is around.

This conditionality has no back-up in the UN Resolution. Furthermore, who
would believe that there can be stability in this region if 11 million
citizens of Yugoslavia shall be kept for decades in a poor,  war-torn
society?

"Remember," ends Jan Oberg - "old Yugoslavia began to break down when the
effects of global capitalism's restructuring produced the economic crisis
of the 1970s and 1980s hit Yugoslavia hard. Economic and social misery
breads dissatisfaction, scape-goating, nationalism and ultimately violence.

The West first introduced sanctions, isolation and demonisation, then
destroyed the country's civil society, economy and infrastructure. It also
forgot to care for its 650.000 refugees. If the West now refuses to give
reconstruction aid it is a sure indicator of a future plan: to bring about
the further destruction of present Yugoslavia in, let's say, Sandzak,
Voivodina and ultimately Belgrade. But don't worry, we will be told by the
managers of the military-industrial-diplomatic-media complex that it's all
the fault of one man and that the Serbs deserve it."

© TFF 1999

You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but
please retain the source.

Dr. Jan Oberg
Director, head of the TFF Conflict-Mitigation team
to the Balkans and Georgia

T F F

Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
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