Imperialism's long-term opposition to Kosova’s independence

By Michael Karadjis

The previous article of this series showed that the basis for Kosova’s right to self-determination is real, and that there has been a genuine, mass-based striving for it all century. Yet some on the left have argued that Kosova’s recent declaration of independence is merely an initiative of the imperialist powers, which allegedly have had a long-term aim to create an ``independent’’ Kosovar state under their control.

(Click here for the first article in the series.)

This article will show that the imperialist powers have long opposed Kosova’s right to independence, and explains the reasons for this. As such, imperialism’s belated recognition of it is an acceptance of the inevitable, and given this, an attempt to control, ``supervise’’ and limit Kosova’s independence. A key focus will be the war in 1999, showing how even as NATO bombed Serbia, it acted not to promote Kosovar independence, but to derail it.


Post-war Yugoslavia had a ``special relationship’’ with the West, due to Tito’s break with Stalin. Yugoslavia was a ``de facto member of NATO’’, with military obligations in the event of war.[1] The US supplied Yugoslavia with US$1 billion in weapons from 1950 to 1991, according to the Pentagon’s Security Cooperation Agency, including 15 F-84G Lockheed Thunderstreak fighters, 60 M-47 tanks, hundreds of artillery pieces and anti-aircraft guns, a mine countermeasure ship and millions of dollars worth of sophisticated electronic equipment.[2]

Western support increased after Tito’s death in 1980, as de-Titoisation removed many progressive aspects of Titoism. In the 1980s, Yugoslavia had more political prisoners than any country in Eastern Europe, and the bulk were Albanians. In the 1980s, the US sold Yugoslavia $193 million worth of air-to-surface missiles and air defence radar systems. After Milosevic seized power in 1987, the US supplied $96 million in arms and training to 1991, including fighter aircraft, tanks and artillery.[3] Officers of the Yugoslav Peoples Army (JNA) were trained by the US until 1991.[4]

The US ignored the massive human rights violations in Kosova due to Yugoslavia’s role in the Cold War as a bulwark against the Warsaw Pact: ``(while) human rights in Kosovo has been the subject of US concern, its relative importance was reduced by many other factors; the USA saw Yugoslavia as a symbol of differences within the communist world. Its human rights policy seemed liberal in comparison with the countries of the Warsaw Pact, while its foreign policy was one of non-alignment.’’[5]

Yugoslavia’s ``market socialism’’ also allowed deeper economic relations with imperialist countries than elsewhere in Eastern Europe. The ``Belgrade mafia’’ – George Bush Senior’s assistant secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger, his national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and ``permanent adviser’’ Henry Kissinger – who had significant economic interests in Yugoslavia – was in charge of the Bush government during Yugoslavia’s collapse. Eagleburger flew from his Belgrade embassy to Washington in 1981 to campaign in Congress against condemnations of human rights abuses in Kosova, during the murderous crackdown that year.

Not surprisingly, the US media in the 1980s parroted the Deep South-style racist horror stories about a lawless Albanian mafia running Kosova, the story spread by their Serbian nationalist friends. A good example is an oft-quoted New York Times article, which also asserted the rise of Milosevic was a ``rare opportunity for Yugoslavia to take radical political and economic steps. Efforts are underway to strengthen central authority through amendments to the constitution. The hope is that something will be done then to exert the rule of law in Kosovo.’’[6]

Yugoslavia’s federal president during the rise of Milosevic, Ante Markovic, was described by the BBC correspondent as ``Washington’s best ally in Yugoslavia’’.[7] Markovic sent the federal Yugoslav army into Kosova in early 1989, at Serbia’s behest, to crush the Kosovars’ struggle to defend their constitutional autonomy. When Milosevic completed the task, via killing 24 miners and surrounding the Kosova assembly with tanks and helicopters, Markovic congratulated him on this destruction of the federal order and of the Yugoslav constitution.

It became hard to avoid the worst human rights situation in Europe, but the US tried. A letter supposedly signed by Bush senior during his election campaign in 1988, expressing concern about human rights in Kosovo, was denied by the State Department, which reported it was a forgery, a somewhat different response to the loud US policy on ``human rights’’ in Eastern Europe.[8]

The only concern was about the effects that resistance by Kosovars might have. The alienation of the Albanians might cause damage to the ``territorial integrity and stability of Yugoslavia’’ (which the US ``has a strong interest in’’), if the Albanians ``increase the pressure for a change in the political and territorial status quo in Yugoslavia, either by forceful or peaceful means’’.[9]

Serbia’s smashing of the Yugoslav constitution in Kosova, its imposition of economic sanctions on Slovenia in October 1990, its new 1990 bourgeois constitution declaring its ``right’’ to intervene in other republics, and finally its refusal to accept the Croat Stipe Mesic’s legal turn as Yugoslav president, led to overwhelming majorities of Croats and Slovenes voting for independence in early 1991. While remaining unrecognised by any country, the Yugoslav army then smashed Croatia to pieces in six months of massive bombing, smashing anything that remained of the concept of ``Yugoslavia’’ in the eyes of the masses. At the end of this, in late 1991 the European Union launched the Badinter Commission to assess the claims of Yugoslavia’s republics for independence. Because Kosova was not officially a republic, its independence declaration was ignored, leaving Kosova in limbo under apartheid throughout the 1990s. Arguably, its legal pre-1989 status as constituent unit of Yugoslavia entitled it to self-determination like the republics the West belatedly recognised.

The abolition of Kosova’s autonomy and years of repression and apartheid in the 1990s drew little reaction from Western circles, and never calls to reinstitute autonomy. The EC Declaration on Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 1992[10] outlined policy towards the successor states of Yugoslavia. Regarding Serbia, it called for ``respect for the rights of minorities and national or ethnic groups, including Kosovo’’, making no mention of autonomy. By contrast, in Croatia it called for ``special status for Krajina’’, the Serb region torn out of Croatia by the Yugoslav army. For Bosnia, a ``political solution can only be based on’’ partition into ``three (territorial) constituent units’’, as outlined by the EC in February 1992, despite no internal borders existing and the intermingling of the three populations.

When Milosevic finally abolished the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992, setting up the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between Serbia and Montenegro, Kosova had no say in the matter, thus its inclusion was constitutionally invalid.

While Western powers accepted Serbian rule, no UN resolution recognised the new state’s borders, as its insistence on occupying the seat of former Yugoslavia was rejected by other successor states. Therefore, the talk about international ``legality’’ being violated by Kosova’s recent independence declaration has an ironic underpinning: the first time the UN Security Council recognised Kosova as part of new Yugoslavia was in June 1999 in Resolution 1244, the result of the NATO intervention!

In the US-imposed Dayton Plan ending the Bosnian war in 1995, Bosnia was partitioned into two ethnic-based republics. Even if this had become necessary due to the destruction of the mixed Bosnian population and of proletarian solidarity by the war itself, the Serb 30 per cent of the population would have been entitled to only this share of the territory, yet the US plan gave the Serb Republic 49 per cent of Bosnia, recognising ethnic cleansing.

Yet when Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova, leading a peaceful ``Gandhian’’ resistance, appealed to be invited to Dayton to put the plight of the Kosovars on the table, he was ignored. Kosova, despite its Albanian majority, was left on a lower footing than ‘Republika Srpska’, though the latter had not had a Serb majority before its expulsion of non-Serbs. Kosova in Serbia was part of Dayton’s Serbo-Croatian regional balance.

A Kosova Liberation Army (KLA) commander explained, ``we feel a deep, deep sense of betrayal. We mounted a peaceful, civilised protest. We did not go down the road of nationalist hatred, always respecting Serbian churches and monasteries. The result is that we were ignored.’’ Dayton ``taught us a painful truth: those who want freedom must fight for it.’’[11] This is crucial for understanding the decision of this radical group to give up the peaceful road.

The `nightmare scenario’ of Kosova’s independence precedent

The West greatly feared this threat of an armed uprising. Western leaders believed independence for Kosova may be a precedent for other peoples, such as Turkey’s Kurds or Spain’s Basques, to also fight for independence. Further, while the Bosnia disaster was contained within former Yugoslavia, and was dealt with via Serbo-Croatian partition, an outbreak in Kosova, either large numbers of Albanian refugees being driven across borders, or Albanian armed resistance, would pose a threat to the stability of fragile bourgeois regimes in Albania, Macedonia and the southern Balkans. A large influx of Albanians into Macedonia would alter the precarious ethnic balance, radicalising the large Albanian minority there, which may join a struggle for a united Albania.

Kosova’s union with Albania was considered even more dangerous. As the leading US ruling class journal Foreign Affairs wrote during the 1999 war: ``With most ethnic Albanians concentrated in homogenous areas bordering Albania, the drive to extend Albania’s borders remains feasible. That drive is not only a wider threat to European stability to also to Albanian moderation. Many KLA commanders tout themselves as a `liberation army for all Albanians’ -- precisely what frightens the NATO alliance most.’’[12] These homogenous regions include Kosova, a large part of Macedonia, and parts of Montenegro and south Serbia.

This could in turn lead Macedonia, truncated to its ethnic core, looking to closer ties with its oppressed ethnic kin in Greece and Bulgaria, resulting in a wider conflict involving Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, the latter two NATO allies on opposite sides, threatening NATO’s ``southern flank’’.[13] This was called the ``nightmare scenario’’.

For these reasons, Washington long feared instability in Kosova more than elsewhere. During the darkest days of the Bosnian genocide, in November 1992, Eagleburger warned that ethnic cleansing in Kosova would be ``qualitatively different’’ from Bosnia and would require US intervention, which Bosnia did not.[14]

The West advocated improving human rights to dampen Albanian resistance while insisting Kosova remain in Yugoslavia. France and Germany, pushing Milosevic and Rugova towards some educational reforms for Albanians in late 1997, offered to reward such mild concessions by fully normalising EU-Yugoslav relations.[15]

However, for the Serbian ruling class the aim was less clear.Kosova’s population was completely alienated from Serbian rule and set up ``parallel’’ institutions; many forms of protest intensified. Though victorious at Dayton, how could Greater Serbia, effectively controlling half of Bosnia on an ethnic basis, continue to rule an area 90 per cent Albanian? This was a source of permanent instability. Stabilising an ethnic state may require shedding this troublesome population. In 1998, Serbian voices were raised for partition of Kosova, in particular by Dobrica Cosic, the ``father’’ of Serb nationalism.

Voices in the imperialist camp also pushed this solution. ``Kosovo is to Serbs what Jerusalem and the West Bank are to Israelis -- a sacred ancestral homeland now inhabited largely by Muslims. The Kosovo issue may have to be settled by some sort of partition’’, stated Warren Zimmerman, former US ambassador to Yugoslavia.[16] David Owen, Britain’s negotiator in the Bosnian war, proposed partition, with every square mile ``lost’’ to Serbia and ``given’’ to its Albanian population compensated by the same amount of territory in Republika Srpska joining Serbia. This was taken up by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times[17] and other Western policy makers.[18] Given permanent conflict, they believed formalising the separation of peoples was essential to stabilise the region.

However, this could also pose great risks for Western policy. The independence or union with Albania of even part of Kosova could have even worse destabilising effects than independence for the whole, as it would even more clearly pose the ethnic principle as a basis for border changes; if an autonomous Kosova could be called multi-ethnic, the precedent effect could be dampened. Therefore, any internal partition would have to avoid the Albanian part formally breaking away. Further, Serbs were a far smaller section of the population in Kosova than in Bosnia, so a much greater proportion of Albanians would need to be cleansed for a partition that would satisfy Serbia, which would overwhelm the southern Balkans.

Thus both actions by Serbia (driving out hundreds of thousands) and by the Kosovars (armed struggle for independence) were threats. The latter case was more of a threat if carried out by an armed liberation movement outside of imperialist control. The only thing that began to change the rhetorical attitude of Western leaders in 1998 was the sudden rise of the KLA as an independent armed force.

*Rise of the KLA and Washington’s reaction

The KLA’s sudden rise in late 1997 was due to the liberation of hundreds of thousands of weapons in Albania during the revolutionary uprising that year, which found their way across the border and were eagerly snatched up by Kosovar villagers living under brutal repression. This coalesced with increasing Kosovar frustration with the failure of the peaceful resistance road of Rugova. Volunteers, arms and money came from the 600,000 Albanians working in Europe, while Albanian former officers of the JNA and Kosovar Territorial Defence Forces provided military experience.

At this time the US began supplying its first arms shipments to Serbia since 1991, ``in the name of the War on Drugs’’.[19] Given the widespread demonising propaganda from the US and Western imperialist media, that the Kosovar Albanians were leaders in heroin trading, this arming of Serbia may have been aimed at helping its crackdown on the Kosovars.

The US reacted with hostility to the KLA’s appearance, giving the green light for Milosevic to crack down following attacks on Serbian police in early 1998. US envoy Robert Gelbard, speaking in Pristina, congratulated Milosevic for a ``constructive’’ policy in Bosnia, then stated ``the KLA is, without any question, a terrorist organisation’’.[20]

``Moslem aid for Albanians’’ was ``a threat to peace’’ according to US advisers, and could turn the KLA into ``a more dangerous military force’’. US envoy Richard Holbrooke briefed Milosevic in May ``on US intelligence assessments which demonstrate the growing strength of the KLA and how it poses the threat of a large-scale regional conflict’’.[21]

Some who believe the US later bombed because Milosevic was a ``socialist’’ hold out in Eastern Europe assert the West may have wanted to undermine Milosevic by ``encouraging’’ the KLA. In fact, Milosevic had launched a sweeping privatisation program in 1997, giving vast opportunities to Western firms. Half of Serbian Telecom was sold to Greek and Italian investors, a French firm was buying the Beocin cement industry, Kosova was all up for sale and French and Greek firms already had interests in the giant Trepca mining and metallurgy complex. It was the underground Kosova parliament which in January 1998 denounced such ``flagrant violations of the rights of Kosovar workers and citizens’’ and warned foreign capitalists investing in Kosova that ``the Albanian people will treat them as neo-colonialists and demand reparations’’,[22] given the decade-long lock-out of the entire Albanian working class from the state industries being flogged off.

The uprising in Kosova drove the Serbian elite to the right; in March 1998 Seselj and his fascistic Serbian Radical Party (SRS) was brought back into the ruling coalition for the first time since 1993. The SRS advocated solving the Kosova problem by expelling the Albanian population.

Within weeks of Gelbard’s speech, villages in Kosova were in flames, dozens of civilians killed and thousands driven from their homes, their villages attacked by helicopter gunships, providing thousands of recruits to the KLA, uprooted people with nothing to lose. As the pattern continued, the KLA blossomed into an organisation of 20,000 guerrillas, based in villages throughout the country.[23]

In this new reality, regional branches of Rugova’s Democratic League, of Demaqi’s Parliamentary Party and Qosja’s Democratic Union -- the major political groups of the peaceful struggle – became local KLA village guards. Under massive military attack, the movement responded by taking up arms, rather than setting up a new ``parallel school’’. “There is no doubt that these groups have the full support of the local population.”[24]

The KLA thus became the armed force of the Kosovar population, containing vastly different political currents, from its Maoist core to left, right and liberal currents, to those more or less in favour of accommodation with imperialism, from former human rights fighters in the peaceful struggle to traditional clan leaders, advocates of independence and of union with Albania, from Albanian anti-Serb chauvinists to strong defenders of the rights of the Serb minority. While demonisers of the KLA often focus on more negative traits among some elements and attempt to roll them together and depict the KLA as a uniformly Serb-hating, mafia-led tool of the CIA, in reality its political breadth reflected its emergence as a real national movement.

Western intervention follows Serbian elite’s failure to check KLA

Thus the strategy of the new Serbian government had the opposite effect to that intended. Gelbard’s speech indicated US support for a counterinsurgency war against the KLA, but the US also noticed Rugova after a decade of ignoring him. In May, US envoy Richard Holbrooke visited Belgrade, and pressured Milosevic and Rugova to negotiate the return of some limited autonomy in order to head off the growth of the KLA.

The first Western intervention was an arms embargo on massively armed Yugoslavia. NATO pushed for its forces to be employed along Albania's and Macedonia’s borders with Kosova, to prevent arms getting to the KLA.[25] Albania agreed to 100 international police to train Albanian forces to block arms crossing the border.

With far superior weaponry, the Serbian forces drove the KLA back from much of the central region. Western rhetoric went up and down, but the Economist reported that ``the operations by the Serb security forces that began in central Kosovo in late July were quietly condoned by western governments’’.[26]

Holbrooke negotiated a ceasefire with Milosevic in October. Serbia withdrew its special units, while keeping 20,000 troops there. The US presented a plan for limited autonomy, falling short of the level Kosova had enjoyed under Tito: Kosova would have only municipal police but no armed forces, there would be no central bank, and it would not have the federal representation it once had. Minorities would be able to block legislation deemed against Kosova’s ``vital interests’’[27] – outlawing any independence push.

The KLA rejected the plan as ``not even worth dealing with’’[28], appalled at being asked ``to negotiate about rights and institutions which the citizens of Kosova once enjoyed and which were then abolished unlawfully’’.[29] The ``autonomy’’ offered was not only less than what Milosevic took away in 1989, but even ``less than what he was ready to give us back’’.[30]

But none of this stabilised the situation. As people were not fleeing across borders, the scenario of mass refugee exodus was avoided; but the 250,000 uprooted Kosovars inside Kosova provided a huge base of recruits to the KLA. ``Western diplomats in Yugoslavia thought the KLA had been destroyed in last summer’s fierce Serbian offensive’’, wrote Chris Bird in the Guardian. They ``then tried to ignore the KLA in political talks’’. But while Serbian forces had captured the main towns, in the villages ``as soon as you head off the main roads, held by sullen Serbian police, you encounter officious KLA guerrillas manning sandbagged checkpoints’’.[31]

A situation of permanent instability developed, which did not only affect Kosova, but Yugoslavia, Albania and Macedonia. Milosevic’s ambitious privatisation plans dried up, as few wanted to invest in a war zone; the same occurred in Albania.[32]

The main problem with Milosevic’s brutal tactics were not their success, but lack of success. The Guardian, a key pro-war Blairite mouthpiece, pointed to the dilemmas. Doing nothing, or even a ``limited bombing campaign’’, could lead to a drastic attempt by Milosevic to ``wipe out the KLA’’, which might include ``large scale evacuation of villages’’, but ``all this might be done quite quickly and the casualties might not be huge’’. The Guardian implied this would be an enviable outcome, but ``even if that were the case, the situation would be absolutely unstable. Kosovars would never be reconciled to it, nor would their kin in Albania. Sooner or later the war would resume.’’[33]

A further fear was that the KLA ``will swiftly become utterly disenchanted with the west and turn to Islamic radicals. There are already signs contacts have been established’’, according to Chris Hedges in Foreign Affairs,[34] claiming to have seen ``mujahideen, who do not look Albanian, wandering around Albania’’.

The growing chorus for intervention by early 1999 did not result from dramatic new Serbian offensives. Milosevic’s new operations in January were well below the scale of mid-1998. In January, Serbian forces massacred 45 civilians in Racak. Yet while blown up in the media, it was not the catalyst for the NATO war, as is often claimed by both propagandists for the war, and left opponents of the war, who call Racak a ``hoax’’.

Western politicians more and more gave the actions of the KLA as a major concern. UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook claimed the KLA had been responsible for more deaths since the ceasefire than the Serbian forces,[35] not mentioning that most of these were of military forces. The KLA’s alleged sin was to re-occupy the regions Serbian special forces had withdrawn from under the ceasefire.[36] The head of the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM), the international monitors of the ceasefire, claimed ``the irresponsible actions of the KLA are the main reason for the significant increase of tension’’,[37] yet the KLA insisted that not only did it stick to the ceasefire, but did so despite increased Albanian suffering,[38] as the KVM prevented it from aiding its people under attack.[39]

Almost every outburst in January-February stressed both sides were at fault and faced air strikes. Following Racak, NATO’s General Klaus Naumann, warning of air strikes, said that ``both sides must be made to understand that they’ve reached the limit’’.[40] NATO head Solana declared, ``We rule out no option to ensure full respect by both sides in Kosovo for the requirements of the international community’’.[41]

However, as the US News and World Report (``Bomb ‘em Both’’) explained, it would be easy to destroy ``the heavy weapons, command centres, and air defence batteries belonging to the Serb forces in Kosovo. The Albanian rebels, however, are a guerrilla force with few assets visible from above.’’ Thus strikes on Serbian weaponry would benefit the KLA, meaning ``renting our air force out to the Albanians’’.[42] US analyst Jim Hoagland explained that air power requires the aid of ground forces, but the KLA is a ``ground force’’ US leaders ``distrust and disparage’’, hence ``there is neither appetite nor convincing logic for bombing raids’’, because, ``whatever Washington’s intentions, bombing will have the effect of bringing Kosovar independence closer’’.[43] The Guardian warned that ``Bombing, especially attacks directed specifically against Serbian units operating in Kosovo, would encourage the KLA to take advantage of the altered odds’’.[44] Solana insisted NATO ``cannot be the KLA’s air force’’. If air strikes reduced Serbia’s military capacity it ``might hand the Albanians independence -- which the West fears would see the Kosovo crisis spreading into neighbouring countries’’.[45] NATO leaders in Brussels opposed action which aided the KLA, as ``KLA fanaticism is as frightening as Milosevic’s ruthlessness’’.[46]

Thus air strikes would need to be supplemented by Western troops to prevent the KLA taking advantage. Hoagland continues, ``Britain, France and now Germany have formally told the United States that they will commit ground troops to a NATO force in Kosovo if a small number of US troops join that force. They are opposed to air raids alone.’’[47] The Guardian claimed that even with air strikes the two sides ``will fight unless a substantial third force, armed and determined, stands between them’’.[48] Imperialism decided it needed its own troops in Kosova to disarm the KLA, having lost confidence in Serbia’s brutality to be anything but counterproductive.

In early 1999, the US put its autonomy plan in negotiations in Rambouillet. Until now, NATO had ignored the KLA, but now the it was invited along with the two other Kosovar political blocs. NATO had to include the KLA because by then the bulk of Kosovars were supporting the KLA, so any deal without its consent would be unenforceable (the same process that led Israel ultimately to negotiate with the PLO).

In this autonomy, the KLA would be disarmed, and a purely local police force would be set up, with less powers than most police in the world.[49] Most Serbian forces would withdraw, but 2500 Yugoslav troops would patrol a 5-kilometre border zone inside Kosova, and 2500 dreaded Serbian Interior Ministry police would remain the first year.

Given the Albanians’ disbelief they could feel secure within Serbia, the US offered a NATO ``peace-keeping force’’ to police the deal. As Austrian diplomat Wolfgang Petritsch explained, the mediators believed an international force was essential to disarm the KLA, as the Yugoslav army had ``already tried to disarm the KLA and had failed’’.[50]

In the first Rambouillet round in February, the KLA refused to capitulate to autonomy and Serbia refused to allow a NATO security force. Petritsch however claimed the Serbian delegation ``significantly contributed to achievement of the compromise on the future political and legal system in Kosovo’’ (i.e., autonomy), and even expressed a willingness to discuss the ``scope and character of an international presence’’, meaning it was open to further discussion on this aspect.[51]

Of the three Kosovar Albanian delegations, only the KLA held out. To get the KLA to sign on, the US pressured a section of its leadership under Hashim Thaci to surrender its independence demand, capitulating on March 15. Veteran Kosovar independence fighter Adem Demaqi, who had led the KLA politically over the six months until Rambouillet, denounced this attempt to ``convince Albanians to accept capitulation, by launching illusions and empty promises’’,[52] and quit the leadership.

NATO’s air war: Defending Kosovars?

By this time, the aim of getting in to control the Albanian movement had coalesced with a broader US aim of establishing a new strategic doctrine for NATO’s post-Cold War existence and for imperialist intervention: executing ``out of area’’ actions with ``humanitarian’’ aims. This tendency wanted a victory for NATO force to crown the alliance’s upcoming 50th birthday in April.

Between the first and second Rambouillet meetings, an annex was inserted into the agreement allowing NATO troops in Kosova to roam all over Serbia and not be bound by Serbian law. It is widely believed that this was inserted to guarantee a Serbian rejection, as NATO was now determined to bomb. Milosevic’s ``No’’ to NATO troops allowed imperialism to turn his government into a convenient ``rogue regime’’ target as a trophy for NATO’s birthday, made easier by the real crimes it had committed.

Serbia’s rejection led on March 24 to NATO’s air war. Did the actual war, whatever the previous motivations, now constitute an imperialist intervention on behalf of the KLA, for Kosova independence?

The bombing imposed a terrible toll on Serbian working people and infrastructure. Use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium was indicative of how anti-humanitarian this ``humanitarian’’ war was; destroying the bridges across the Danube, hundreds of kilometres north of Kosova, also indicated aims beyond ``defending Kosovar Albanians’’. The Serbian government claimed a death toll of some 2000 civilians and 600 troops, though some estimates of both are higher.

Neither did this anti-humanitarian war have any humanitarian effects for the Albanians. Belgrade had been tied down with its ``Vietnam’’ in Kosova. Parents all over the country demonstrated with the message: ``Bring our sons back from Kosovo’’.[53] When nationalist parties attempted in February 1999 to organise rallies outside parliament to demand rejection of Rambouillet, a few dozen turned up. Passers-by took no notice;[54] few in Belgrade had any interest in volunteering to go and fight in Kosova. With 2 million Serbs out of work and pensioners owed seven months’ pension, Serbia was close to social rebellion.

Then the bombing gave the regime the political cover it hadn’t had previously to carry out its most radical plan: emptying Kosova of its Albanians. Within a couple of weeks of the bombing beginning, the Serbian armed forces had driven some 850,000 Albanians – half their population – from their country into gigantic camps in Albania and Macedonia. Some 10,000 Albanians were killed, and 100,000 houses and 215 mosques destroyed.

What then was NATO’s aim? Many claim NATO had aimed to get Milosevic’s rapid capitulation, which they believed required ``a few days bombing’’ to give him the political cover to do so, but ``blundered’’.[55] In the first two weeks, bombing was fairly light, initially concentrating on scattered air defence targets and command and control facilities far from major cities. The US aircraft carrier in the region was moved out of the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf just eight days before the bombing began![56]

However, a ``few days’’ was unrealistic. When NATO bombed the Bosnian Serb armoury in late 1995, even though the Dayton partition was what Karadzic had been fighting for, and Milosevic was already signed on and pressuring Karadzic, it still took two weeks of bombing for Karadzic to feel politically able to sign Dayton. It was scarcely likely to take less time over Kosova. While NATO had not expected an 11-week war, its anticipated ``few days’’ campaign should be translated as ``a few weeks’’.

Did NATO expect Milosevic to play dead during those few weeks? Western leaders were surprised by the attempt to empty Kosova, but did expect an all-out attempt to smash the KLA. ``All the alliance’s secret services had the same hypothesis: (Milosevic) was about to clear away the two or three main centres of the KLA as soon as the bombardments began. Nobody imagined the deportations.’’[57] Wesley Clarke said ``we thought the Serbs were preparing for a spring offensive that would target KLA strongholds, but we never expected them to push ahead with the wholesale deportation of the entire Albanian population’’.[58] Was getting Belgrade to soften up the KLA actually Western strategy?

The desire to bomb as a NATO trophy dovetailed with an understanding that a peaceful entry of NATO into Kosova, even if approved by the KLA leadership, would not make it easy to disarm the KLA. Michael Mandelbaum of the US Council on Foreign Relations claimed that if both sides accepted Rambouillet, ``NATO forces would enter Kosovo’’ but ``are not guaranteed a peaceful stay. NATO’s plan envisages keeping Kosovo as part of Yugoslavia indefinitely. The Kosovars are unlikely to accept this, nor is the KLA likely to surrender its arms. (NATO’s) forces might well become KLA targets.’’[59] Hedges claimed it was ``wildly unlikely’’ the KLA would disarm. ``Villages have formed ad hoc militias that, while they identify as KLA, act independently.’’[60]

Guerrilla armies are based on such a village structure. It was in NATO’s interests for Serbian forces to destroy the KLA’s real village social base, rendering it less able to resist NATO’s disarmament later. As Turkish journalist Isa Blumi suggests, while the bombing ``was initially intended only to be a face-saving gesture, to allow Milosevic to return to the table, the paucity of the first few weeks of night bombing was also meant to allow Serb forces to eliminate the KLA … Serb daytime operations inside Kosova were not immediately threatened by NATO's night-time bombing.’’[61]

NATO bombing escalates

Where NATO did miscalculate was that Milosevic would use this crackdown to further the more radical aim of emptying Kosova of its Albanians. These massive refugee camps in neighbouring countries were the kind of regional destabilisation NATO wanted to avoid; even worse for NATO credibility, it had occurred as a result of its actions.

It was then, in later phases of the war, that the bombing escalated into a horrific attack on civilian infrastructure, as NATO sought to force Serbia to quit and allow the refugees to return. This sequence also discredits the theory that NATO aimed to destroy Serbia’s economy, which was hit later in the war as a by-product of this unintended escalation.

What of the claim that NATO aimed to destroy the Serbian military? This is related to the claim that NATO aided the KLA. In fact, Solana’s statement that NATO cannot be the KLA’s air force was stuck to during the war; the Serb military was largely untouched.

In the first two weeks – when nearly all the Kosovars were driven out – not a single Serbian tank was hit in Kosova. Even when NATO later stepped up its bombing, hitting bridges, factories and civilian infrastructure in Serbia, it did little to attack the Serb military in Kosova. Forty per cent of total damage to the Serb military occurred in the last week of the 11-week war, and 80 per cent in the last two-and-a-half weeks.[62]

By the end of the war, NATO had destroyed only 13 of the 300 tanks Serbia had in Kosova. As Serbian troops marched out, ``at least 250 tanks were counted out, as well as 450 armoured personnel carriers and 600 artillery and mortar pieces’’.[63] ``All NATO’s powers have anti-tank helicopters, but no country offered to send them into Kosovo.’’[64]

Zero NATO support for KLA

This meant zero NATO action to support the KLA. ``It is all very well to blast bridges and oil refineries in Novi Sad, but our struggle to shield Albanian villages would be more effective if NATO focused on hitting Serb forces in Kosova’’,[65] KLA fighters were quoted. KLA officer Shrem Dragobia claimed ``when we signed Rambouillet, we were led to believe NATO will help the Albanians. So we stopped arming and mobilising ourselves. The KLA was not to take advantage of any NATO action to embark on an offensive.’’ The KLA kept its word, but ``NATO has failed to keep its part of the besa’’.[66]

During a visit to a rugged corridor which the KLA was desperately holding against a Serb offensive, the Christian Science Monitor’s Jonathon Landay claimed ``there was no sign of any NATO support, even though American and British military officials visited the area last week. Yugoslav tanks, troops and artillery opposing the rebels are untouched by NATO’s bombs, as are watchtowers along the border from which Serbian artillery spotters direct fire.’’ KLA fighter ``Guri’’ told him, ``NATO has basically done nothing against the Serbian ground troops. At least we have not seen anything in the vicinity of the fighting.’’[67]

The KLA ``has not persuaded Western governments to lift an arms embargo that has blocked its access to the Swedish-made BILL-2 anti-tank missile, the Carl Gustav M2 missile, Western-made heavy artillery and other sophisticated weaponry’’.[68] The Albanian government appealed to the West to arm the KLA, but the US State Department spokesperson James Rubin stated the US continued to oppose arming or training them.[69]

Sections of the left’s demonisation of the KLA

Despite all this, much ink has been spilt on claims the West backed the KLA. Michel Chossudovsky compared the demonisation of Milosevic to his straw dummy of the KLA being ``upheld as a self-respecting nationalist movement struggling for the rights of ethnic Albanians’’.[70]

Yet, the Washington Post claimed ``NATO is seeking to maintain its distance from the KLA, declining to supply it with weapons, or endorse the goal of independent Kosovo. It remains an object of suspicion. There is concern about their role in a post-conflict Kosovo.’’[71] The London Times claimed ``there is a concern within NATO that once its troops are inside Kosovo, the KLA could be part of the problem. Thus they have not been supplied with ammunition.’’[72] The KLA remained on Germany’s list of terrorist organisations, and the government banned their fund-raising and confiscated funds.[73]

Chossudovsky alleged the CIA funded the KLA, providing two sources: Belgrade, and ``intelligence analyst’’ John Whitley. Whitley, a ``right wing conspiracy nut’’, also claims the war was planned by the Bilderbergers, and that US President Clinton was conspiring to facilitate a ``planned Russian and Chinese imposition of a Marxist New World Order on America’’.[74]

However, there is ample evidence that the US had made contact with the KLA several months before the war, providing small-scale assistance. Given the refusal to arm the KLA or give it air cover, it is worth looking at what US aims may have been. All the pro-Milosevic left and right has come up with are a couple of articles in the mainstream media, notably one Sunday Times article in which US agents admit they had infiltrated the OSCE ceasefire monitors’ mission in the months before the war, developing links with the KLA, giving them ``American military training manuals and field advice’’.[75]

US agents had also made early contact with less known KLA figure Hashim Thaci, who emerged at Rambouillet as new number one. Given US hostility to the KLA’s goals, the aim of this small-scale ``training’’ and ``advice’’ was to win influence and mould a pro-imperialist current around Thaci, in order to moderate its aims, to drop the independence demand, allowing Thaci to sign Rambouillet which only allowed for ``autonomy’’. This also allowed the CIA to ``gather intelligence on the KLA's arms and leadership’’.[76]

Meanwhile, when the OSCE mission left before the bombing, ``many of its satellite telephones and global positioning systems were secretly handed to the KLA’’ by these agents, ``ensuring guerrilla commanders could stay in touch with NATO’’.[77] These KLA spotters relayed intelligence on Serbian positions, to help NATO targeting. Yet as shown above, NATO rarely used it to give cover to the KLA; aiding a struggle for independence remained distant from NATO’s objectives even when ``coordinating’’ with it.

NATO even reminded the KLA who was boss. On May 21, US planes bombed a key KLA base, held for six weeks, though ``for more than a month, regular reports on who controlled which small parts of this mountain were fed back to NATO on a satellite fax link from rebels’’. A reporter visiting two days earlier ``was told by KLA officers that they frequently sent NATO targeting information on Serb units opposing them’’.[78]

Certain facts are unassailable. First, if the US was sending all the aid to the KLA that many imagined, it was strange that they were hardly able to defend any villages once the war began. A million people were driven from their country because the KLA had so few arms.

Second, the only arms ever seen in possession of the KLA were the AK-47s looted from Albanian armouries. If they got a few more as an influence-buying gesture, they were clearly not aimed at helping their struggle.

Third, even if imperialist states had supplied some small arms to the KLA, engaged in its life and death struggle to defend Kosovars, this itself cannot transform the entire KLA from a liberation movement to a tool of NATO. While both fighting Serbia, they had opposite aims. The KLA was fighting for independence; any influence buying by NATO was aimed at derailing this struggle.

For example, Clinton made a widely touted tough speech in mid-April, warning Serbs to expect more civilian casualties. Yet he sounded less ``tough’’ when warning Serbia that Albanians, given all they were suffering, now have a right to … autonomy within Serbia.

NATO’s goals were spelt out in the US ruling-class journal Foreign Affairs, which claimed NATO ``is working feverishly -- even as it bombs the Serbs -- to blunt the momentum toward a war of independence. The allies want NATO troops to separate the warring factions. The underlying idea behind creating a theoretically temporary, NATO-enforced military protectorate is to buy time for a three-year transition period in which Albanians will be allowed to elect a parliament and other governing bodies -- meeting enough of their aspirations, it is hoped, to keep Kosovo from seceding.’’[79]

If NATO had armed sections of the KLA, the aim would have been to use them as an auxiliary, and then be in a position to cut them off before the KLA could use the arms to achieve its goals. This would have required only minimal arms going to the KLA. If the Kosovars had sufficient arms to defend themselves they would not have needed NATO.

Kosovars’ just struggle

It must be remembered that, aside from NATO’s criminal bombing of Serbia, there was concurrently a just war being waged by the Kosovar people to defend their lives and villages. According to the Independent, the KLA was ``defending 250,000 civilians in the Lapski and Shalja region in the north’’ from a fierce Serbian offensive.[80] In such a struggle, did the KLA not have the right to defend those villages, which would otherwise be ethnically cleansed? Was expelling the population necessary for ``anti-imperialist resistance’’? Of course, the KLA leadership is also to be condemned for supporting NATO bombing of Serb working people. But the KLA as a whole was simply the only armed force the Kosovars had to defend themselves. Socialists cannot call on an entire people to commit ``revolutionary’’ suicide because they have a bad leadership, yet that is what much of the left did by opposing the Kosovars’ just struggle.

Much of the ``NATO supported the KLA’’ claims rely on events near the end of the war, when the Serbian military was hit, due to NATO’s increasing desperation to force a surrender. The risky strategy of finally giving air cover to some controlled KLA attacks from Albania into the border region, to flush out Yugoslav troops and hit them, was employed only in the last 10 days of the war. By hitting the military, NATO brought the war to an end within days, quickly enough to bring the KLA back to heel.

In early June, just before the peace agreement, Operation Arrow, ``involving up to 4,000 KLA guerrillas, was launched to drive into Kosovo from across its south western border with Albania’’, where they ``received their first known NATO air support’’.[81]

However, there remained ``uncertainty’’ in the West ``about the extent to which the KLA, designated a terrorist organisation by the US, should be supported’’.[82] Despite the KLA’s earlier capture of territory near the Albanian border, ``armed only with light weapons, it has been unable to break through Serbian armour since NATO started bombing’’, revealing how little support the it had received until then. ``NATO commanders are reluctant to enter into a formal relationship with the KLA. They have not, for example, provided secure communications channels.’’

A NATO source explained: ``We are acutely conscious that at some point, in enforcing a peace agreement, we may have to disarm the KLA and even fight them.’’[83]

The peace agreement, signed in early June, mandated that Kosova remain under Serbian ``sovereignty’’, while putting it under a UN authority (UNMIK) and an occupation by thousands of mostly NATO troops (KFOR). Given NATO’s smashing victory; if it had desired a move towards independence, it could have set the ball rolling; it clearly did not.

To trick the KLA into signing Rambouillet, a clause had said the future of Kosova would be determined by a conference in three years’ time, taking into account ``the will of the people’’. However, it would also be based on ``opinions of relevant authorities, each party’s efforts regarding the implementation of this Agreement, and the Helsinki Final Act’’[84]-- the latter ruling out border changes. Petritsch maintained the mediators ``expressly included this provision to ensure Kosovo would remain in Yugoslavia’’.[85]

Nevertheless, with the overwhelming NATO victory in June, even this vague suggestion about the ``will of the people’’ was removed. One NATO promise that was kept, however, was the disarmament and dissolution of the KLA, achieving what Milosevic could not.

From the outset, everyone from Bernard Kouchner (the first UNMIK proconsul to rule Kosova) to US, UN and EU leaders insisted there would be no independence for Kosova.[86] On September 23, 1999, NATO chief Solana insisted that ``one outcome will not be independence for Kosovo’’.[87] UN interim governor Sergio Vieira de Mello declared ``we will determine on a case to case basis’’ whether the KLA mayors who had sprung up were performing according to Western dictates. If they are not, ``You sack them, absolutely.’’[88]

In December 1999, Kouchner forced the Kosova provisional government, which UNMIK had refused to recognise, to dissolve into his new ``Interim Administrative Agency’’ of Kosova, consisting of four members of UNMIK, three Albanians and one Serb, and giving Kouchner final say – the 90 per cent majority got 37.5 per cent of the power, in a structure dominated by anti-independence forces. Despite Thaci taking part, other factions of the KLA condemned this body which made Kouchner ``the King of Kosova’’.[89]


As Kosova set in for nine years of limbo under a colonial authority, the threat of being returned in any form to the state which had tried to annihilate them weighed heavily over the heads of its people. Total opposition to independence, whatever the ``behaviour’’ of Kosovars, remained official imperialist policy through the first half of the next decade.

This imperialist view contrasts sharply with the century-long struggle by Kosovar Albanians for independence, and the overwhelming nature of this aspiration among Kosovar Albanians, as demonstrated in the previous articles in this series. These facts illustrate how incorrect is the view that Kosova’s recent declaration of independence as an imperialist, not Kosovar, initiative.

However, given that the imperialist states have now accepted a form of so-called ``supervised’’ (by them) independence, the next article of this series will discuss how and why imperialist states finally changed their view, and their broader geo-political objectives.

[Michael Karadjis is the author of Bosnia, Kosova and the West: The Yugoslav Tragedy: A Marxist View. Published by Resistance Books, 2000, 256 pp, $24.95. He is a member of the Democratic Socialist Perspective of Australia.]


[1] Anton Bebler, “US Strategy and Yugoslavia’s Security,” Yugoslav and American Views on the 1990s, Simic, Richey and Stojcevic Eds, Institute of International Politics and Economics, Belgrade, 1990.

[2] Abel, D, “US Arms, Training Aided Milosevic,” The Boston Globe, July 4, 1999.

[3] ibid.

[4] Janes Defence Weekly,July 20, 1991.

[5] Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, Washington, November 2, 1989, p19.

[6] Binder, D, “In Yugoslavia, Rising Ethnic Strife Brings Fears of Worse, NYT, November 1, 1987.

[7] Glenny, M, “The Massacre of Yugoslavia,” New York Review of Books, January 30, 1992, p34.

[8] The New York Times, December 28, 1988, pB7.

[9] Woehrel, S, “Yugoslavia’s Kosovo Crisis: Ethnic Conflict Between Albanians and Serbs,” Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, November 2, 1989, p19..”

[10] EC Declaration on Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 11, 1992.

[11] Hedges, C, “Kosovo’s Next Masters,” Foreign Affairs, May-June 1999.

10 ibid.

[13] This scenario was widely discussed. See for example articles “Catastrophic Kosovo”, “The Fire is Being Rekindled”, “The Next Domino?”The Economist, March 7, 1998.

[14] Broder, J, “US Warns of Broad War Over Kosovo,” Sydney Morning Herald, November 30, 1992.

[15] Minxhozi, S, “Why Did Kinkel Visit Tirana,” Alternative Information Mreza, February 12, 1998.

[16] Zimmerman, op cit, p13, 130.

[17] Friedman, T, “Redo Dayton on Bosnia, and Do a Deal on Kosovo,” International Herald Tribune, February 8, 1999; ‘Op-Ed – Foreign Affairs,” New York Times, September 15, 1999.

[18] Mearsheimer,J, and Van Evera, S, “Redraw the Map, Stop the Killing,” NYT, April 19, 1999.

[19]Wayne Madsen, ‘Mercenaries in Kosovo: The US connection to the KLA’, The Progressive, August 1999, “In the aftermath of the Dayton Accords, the Clinton Administration viewed Milosevic as an ally against America's other great enemy: international drug dealing.” Testifying before Congress on May 1, 1997, Clinton's drug czar General Barry McCaffrey requested national interest waivers “to ship weapons to various nations, including some with questionable human rights records,” including Serbia, "which the president granted.” The panel was headed by Republican Dennis Hastert, who was "very supportive" of weapons to Serbia.

[20]Washington ready to reward Belgrade for "good will": envoy’, AFP, February 23, 1998.

[21] Kitney, G, “Muslim Aid For Albanians a Threat to Peace,” Sydney Morning Herald, May 16, 1998.

[22] Commission for Economy and Finances/Commission for Industry, Power Industry and natural Resources, Parliament of the Republic of Kosova, Pronouncement, January 7, 1998.

[23] After the war the International Organization for Migration (IOM) registered 25,723 ex-combatants, but this may include “non-combatants looking for assistance,” Human Rights Watch, ‘Structure and Strategy of the KLA’, Under Orders – War Crimes in Kosovo, October 2001,

[24] Rexhepi, F, “Unproclaimed Curfew,” Alternative Information Mreza, Pristina, February 24, 1999.

[25] Newman, R, “One Possibility: Bomb ‘em Both,” US News and World Report, July 20, 1998.

[26] “Kosovo in Peril,” The Economist, August 8, 1998.

[27] Perlez, J, “Kosovo Talks Offering Limited Autonomy,” New York Times, February 8, 1999.

[28] Kosova Liberation Army, General Headquarters, “20th Political declaration,” December 9, 1998.

[29] Krasniqui, A, “Negotiations, Despite Everything?” September 21, 1998; and Inic, S, “Kosovo: Municipality or State Within a State,” both from Alternative Information Mreza.

[30] Interview with Pleurat Sejdiiu by Christopher Ford and David Black, Hobgoblin, London, May 6, 1999.

[31] Bird, C, “People Will Come and Force Us Apart,” Guardian Weekly, January 24, 1999.

[32] Stefani, A, “Shooting in Kosovo Prevents Investments in Albania,” Alternative Information Network, Tirana, June 20, 1998.

[33] Editorial, “Kosovo Requires a Forceful Response,” The Guardian Weekly, March 28, 1999, p14.

[34] Hedges, Foreign Affairs, op cit.

[35] Cornwell, R, “Serbs Goad Impotent West,” The Independent International, January 20-26, 1999.

[36] Bird, op cit; Guardian Weekly editorial January 24, 1999.

[37] Schwarm, P, “Drama of Eight Soldiers,” Alternative Information Mreza (AIM), January 13, 1999.

[38] Rexhepi, F, “With massacre Against Dialogue,” AIM, January 17, 1999.

[39] Smakaj, L, “Kosovo on the Verge of Controlled Chaos,” AIM, Podgorica, January 11, 1999.

[40] Kitney, G, “New Atrocity Throws Talks Bid Into Doubt,” Sydney Morning Herald, January 27, 1999.

[41] Kempster, N, “Fire at Will, NATO Orders,” Sydney Morning Herald, February 1, 1999.

[42] Newman, op cit.

[43] Hoagland, J, “Time to Call Up GI Joe,” Washington Post, in Guardian Weekly, February 7, 1999, p16.

[44] Editorial, “Kosovo Requires a Forceful Response,” The Guardian Weekly, March 28, 1999, p14.

[45] Cornwell, R, “Serbs Goad Impotent West,” The Independent International, January 20-26, 1999.

[46] Kitney, G, ‘View to a Kill’, SMH, January 23, 1999.

[47] Hoagland, op cit.

[48] Editorial, “Stopping War in Kosovo,” Guardian Weekly, January 24, 1999; Mary Kaldor, “We Must Send in Troops to Stop the Killing in Kosovo,” Independent International, January 20-26, 1999.

[49] Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government in Kosovo, “Chapter 2: Police and Civil Public Security,” February 23, 1999.

[50] Mirko Klarin, ‘Petritsch sheds light on Rambouillet’, IWPR – Tribunal Report, No. 273, 1-6 July, 2002,

[51] Ibid.

[52] Adem Demaqi in Pristina daily Sot, February 27, 1999.

[53] Putnik, M, ‘Vojvodina Against the War’, Alternative Information Mreza, Belgrade, June 21, 1998.

[54] Hofnung, T, ‘Make or Break for Serb Regime’, Le Monde Diplomatique, April 1999.

[55] Macintyre, B, ‘Kosovo Blows Up n Albright’s Face’, The Australian, April 9, 1999; Luttwak, E, ‘NATO Started Bombing to Help Milosevic,’ Sunday Telegraph, London, April 25, 1999. Luttwak is a member of the National Security Study group of the US Defence Department.

[56] ‘Admiral: Could have Slowed Slaughter’, UPI, October 14, 1999.

[57] Jauvert, V, “Nothing Went According to Plan,” Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, July 1, 1999.

[58] Smith, R, and Drozdiak, W, “The Anatomy of a Purge,” Washington Post, April 11, 1999.

[59] Mandelbaum, M, “Washington in a Bind as Talks Resume,” Sydney Morning Herald, March 13, 1998.

[60] Hedges, Foreign Affairs, op cit.

[61]Isa Blumi, ‘A Story of Mitigated Ambitions: Kosova's Torturous Path to its Postwar Future’, Alternatives, Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 1, No. 4, Winter 2002,

[62] Daalder, I, and O’Hanlon, M, “Unlearning the Lessons of Kosovo,” Foreign policy, Fall 1999, p131.

[63] Evans, M, The Times, London, June 24, 1999

[64] Luttwak, E, “Give War a Chance,” Foreign Affairs, July-August 1999, p41.

[65] Heinrich, M, “NATO Urged to Focus on Serb Forces,” Sydney Morning Herald, April 20, 1999.

[66] Meaning “sworn vow,” Nazi, F, “KLA Commander’s Talk of NATO Betrayal,” IWPR, April 2, 1999.

[67] Landay, J, “Despite Shortfalls, KLA Shows Muscle,” Christian Science Monitor, April 27, 1999.

[68] Smith, J, “Training, Arms, Allies Bolster KLA Prospects,” Washington Post, May 26, 1999.

[69] Finn, P and Smith, J, “Rebels With a Crippled Cause,” Washington Post Foreign service, April 23, 1999.

[70] Chossudovsky, M, “Freedom Fighters Financed by Organised Crime,” International Viewpoint, London, April 1999. I responded in Green Left Weekly, May 12, 1999,

[71] Finn, P and Smith, J, “Rebels With a Crippled Cause,” Washington Post Foreign service, April 23, 1999.

[72] Lloyd, A, “Balkans War,” Times, London, April 20, 1999. The Washington Times alleged members of the KLA, “which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by Osama bin Laden,” Jerry Seper, ‘KLA rebels train in terrorist camps’, 5/4/99.

[73] Liebknecht, R, “Inside the KLA,” International Viewpoint,” London, May 1999.

[74] Beyer-Arnesen, H, “The Balkan War and the Leftist Apologetics for the Milosevic Regime,” A-Info News Service,, Oslo, May 11, 1999. Another example of nonsense was ‘Germany’s role in the secession of Kosovo’ (M. Kreickenbaum, It claimed the German Information Service gave “logistical assistance” to the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosovo (FARK), which in 1998 “was integrated into the KLA.” Even if this unreferenced tale were true, in fact FARK entered as an enemy of the KLA, which violently wiped it out!

[75] Tom Walker, Aidan Laverty, ‘CIA aided Kosovo guerrilla army’, The Sunday Times, March 12, 2000.


[77] Ibid.

[78] The Scotsman 24 May 1999.

[79] Hedges, Foreign Affairs, op cit.

[80] Boggan, S and Nazi, F, “War in the Balkans – ‘Arm Us or Invade’, KLA Tells NATO,” Independent, London, April 21, 1999.

[81] Dana Priest, Peter Finn, ‘NATO Gives Air Support To Kosovo Guerrillas’, Washington Post, 2 June 1999.

[82] America in secret moves to aid KLA’ The Sunday Times, 16 May 1999.

[83] Ibid..

[84] Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government in Kosovo, “Chapter 8: Amendment, Comprehensive Assessment, and Final Clauses,” op cit.

[85] Mirko Klarin, ‘Petritsch sheds light on Rambouillet’, IWPR – Tribunal Report, No. 273, 1-6 July, 2002,

[86] Kouchner Says He is to Prepare Kosmet Autonomy Within Yugoslavia,” Serb Info News, July 11, 1999; Gray, A, “UN Not Preparing Kosovo For Independence - Annan,” Reuters, October 14, 1999; “US Reaffirms Opposition to Kosovo Independence,” AFP, September 30, 1999.

[87] “Solana: Kosovo Must Not Be Independent,” UPI, September 23, 1999.

[88] “UN Threatens KLA Mayors With Removal,” Associated Press, July 30, 1999.

[89] Kosovapress, December 20, December 21, 1999.