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KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

February 3 2004 at 9:57 AM
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First KosovO thread.

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Kosovo seen as test of new NATO approach.

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) NATO's top commander in Europe said Sunday he views the alliance's mission in Kosovo as a testing ground for how it will operate in future missions around the world.

Gen. James L. Jones made the comment at the end of a two-day visit to this U.N.-run province.

NATO's Kosovo mission, known as KFOR, is currently the alliance's largest military mission. It consists of some 18,500 troops from 35 contributing NATO and non-NATO nations down from an initial deployment of 50,000 troops.

The planned transformation of KFOR into an even smaller force with greater flexibility reflects NATO's larger transformation, Jones said.

"NATO has signaled that it desires to be much more flexible and have a greater role on a global basis," he said. "It has been wonderful to see this transition occur right here in Kosovo, which I consider to be one of the great testbeds for how the operational forces and the alliance worldwide will have to work in the future."

NATO is planning to create its first multinational military unit combining air, land and sea power for use anywhere in the world on short notice. Known as NATO Response Force, it was first proposed by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2002.

Counterterrorism is one of the main tasks of the force, which will be 20,000 strong when it becomes fully operational by the end of 2006. Troops will be able to deploy within five to 30 days to deal with operations including peacekeeping, evacuations and embargoes, NATO has said.

NATO, an alliance forged during the Cold War to protect Western Europe from the perceived threat of the Soviet Union, has in recent years redefined its mission, taking on peacekeeping tasks in war-torn regions outside its traditional sphere of interest.

It saw military action for the first time in 1999 when it launched air strikes against Serb targets to end Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Since then, NATO has joined the mission in Afghanistan and the 19 member states are mulling a U.S. proposal for the alliance to take on military tasks in postwar Iraq.


    
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February 3 2004, 10:06 AM 

SERBIA-ANA-ARREST.

More than ten ANA leaders arrested.

10:13 BELGRADE , Feb 3 (Tanjug) - At least about ten ethnic Albanians, leaders of the banned Albanian national army (ANA), were arrested in coordinated police operations in the Balkans and several European countries, the German news agency DPA quoted a Belgrade intelligence official as saying.

"The arrests were a result of cooperation between law-enforcement agencies throughout the region and general political stance that we cannot allow any extremist group to endanger the quest for lasting peace in Balkans," the official told the DPA.

 
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February 3 2004, 10:19 AM 

UNMIK Deputy Head: Kosovo Provides Lessons in Preventing Ethnic Cleansing.

(UN, Washington File, AFP - 28/01/04)

The 1998-1999 conflict in Kosovo provided lessons about the kind of international efforts needed to prevent ethnic conflicts, UNMIK deputy head Jean-Christian Cady has said.

"Kosovo is a good example of what the international community and the UN can achieve to stop ethnic cleansing and build policy instruments that will prevent it from occurring again," Cady said Wednesday (28 January) in Stockholm, addressing an international forum on preventing genocide.

The success of efforts in this area, he said, required "a clear and common will of the international community to stop ethnic cleansing". Another prerequisite, he said, is the quick deployment of an international mission on the ground "with a military component and a robust mandate", as well sufficient means to ensure the establishment of law and order.

Citing the Kosovo example, where the UN leads the civil component of the international presence and the military is under NATO command, Cady said there were two main problems. One, he said, was that "during the time it took to establish the full peacekeeping presence, in the summer and autumn of 1999, numerous interethnic retaliation actions took place and the victims became the perpetrators".

The second shortcoming was in the area of refugee returns. "If practically all members of the Albanian community returned to Kosovo in a matter of weeks after the establishment of the international presence, the same thing cannot be said of the Serbs," Cady said. About four and a half years after UNMIK's establishment in June 1999, most members of the Serbian community who left Kosovo have not returned, citing fragile security and high unemployment.

Effective justice to ensure that no crime is left unpunished was a precondition for reconciliation, Cady said, reiterating UNMIK's determination to prosecute war criminals.

"The main challenge of UNMIK is to create stable conditions for a multiethnic Kosovo, not only to prevent ethnic cleansing from occurring again when the mandate of the international mission comes to an end but also to ensure a normal development and prosperity of all communities, free from harassment and with equal access to institutions, an impartial police and justice system," the UN official said, adding that a truly multiethnic police and justice system was already in place.

Kosovo's future status can only be discussed when the standards approved by the Security Council in December have been achieved, Cady said.

In a keynote speech Monday at the opening of the conference, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed the creation of a special rapporteur on the prevention of genocide and a "committee of the prevention of genocide" to act as an early warning service.

Representatives of more than 50 governments, the UN, NGOs and academic institutions attended the three-day forum.


    
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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February 4 2004, 3:34 PM 

Systematic Destruction of Orthodox Churches and Cemeteries Continued in 2003.

Serbianna.com
by Carl Savich


Burial of the murdered Kosovo Serb family.

In 2003, the attacks against Orthodox churches and cemeteries continued in Kosovo and Macedonia. On January 18, 2004, ethnic Albanian attackers broke into the Church of the Holy Archangel Michael in Stimlje and set the belfry on fire. The UNMIK police investigated the fire and filed a report. The conclusion was that the burning of the belfry was accidental, caused by children playing. The UNMIK report also referred to Stimlje as Shtime, the Albanian form of the Serbian name. The church was surrounded by barbed wire and the belfry entrance had a lock. The evidence clearly indicated a systematic plan that was ethnically and religiously motivated. This was an arsonist attack, a criminal act. By adducing that the attack was by Albanian children, UNMIK sought to negate criminal responsibility. Minors are by law deemed to lack the mental capacity to commit felonies such as arson. Two years ago, small children were alleged to have removed and carried off the entire copper roof of the Church of St. Lazar in Piskoti near Djakovica. Children were also alleged to have dug up the Orthodox cemetery in the town. UNMIK dismissed these criminal acts as random acts of violence by unknown persons. They have also been blamed on Kosovo Serbs to implicate the Albanian population. Outside the Stimlje municipal building, the Albanian national flag was flown. Although UNMIK had its offices in the same building, there was no UN flag, only the Albanian national flag.

On January 6, 2004, the day before Orthodox Christmas, the Saint Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Gornja Brnjica near Pristina was desecrated. Pristina parish priest Fr. Miroslav Popadic described it as follows: The spectacle I found was horrible. Three metal bars on the church windows were cut and the window was broken. The holy chalice, the Holy Scriptures, a candle holder, and icons were thrown and scattered on the floor. Two silver candle holders, an icon lamp, and church donations and the money from the sale of candles were missing.

On December 15, 2003, Tanjug reported that a hand grenade was thrown into the church courtyard of the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Uros in Urosevac.

On November 27, 2003, SRNA reported that the Sveti Dimitrije Orthodox Church in Susica outside of Gracanica was damaged. The Gornja Brnjica church outside of Pristina was also attacked. The iconostasis in the church was seriously damaged and the door and windows were smashed.

On September 24, 2003, Studio B reported that in the Orahovac municipality, the Holy Sunday Church (Crkva Svete Nedelje) in the village of Brnjac was broken into and the interior was demolished.

The St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Pristina was attacked by ethnic Albanians who damaged the entrance door and broke several windows. The attack was the sixth in 2003 and the second in a month against the church. In Vitina, 15 Orthodox tombstones were overturned and smashed to pieces in the Orthodox cemetery. The fence around the cemetery was also damaged. On July 7, 2003, the St. Nicholas Church courtyard was attacked with stones and the parish home windows were broken.

On May 4, 2003, in Kosovska Vitina, Albanian attackers set on fire an Orthodox cross on a Serbian grave. The Orahovac Orthodox cemetery continued to be desecrated. Albanians were farming over the cemetery with tractors.

On February 28, the Serbian Orthodox chapel in Zubin Potok was desecrated and icons were destroyed.

The so-called Kosovo Ministry of Education and Pristina University sought to have the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior demolished to eradicate the Christian presence in Pristina. The Gornja Brnjica church outside of Pristina had been desecrated on several occasions. Cultural genocide occurred when several thousand Serbian language books in the Gnilanje city library were thrown in trash bins and destroyed.

UNMIK denied humanitarian aid in the form of heating oil for the Serbian Orthodox Church in Prizren and for the Gracanica monastery.

Who is responsible for the planned and systematic destruction of Orthodox churches and cemeteries? An article which appeared in the UK Sunday Mirror for December 7, 2003 offers a clue. In We Buy Bag of Semtex from Terrorists by Graham Johnson, he recounted how he bought Semtex explosives from a deputy commander of the KLA/UCK, Niam Benljulji. Johnson described the events as follows:

We made our deal in Kosovo, a breeding ground for fanatics with al-Qaeda links. Our contact was the deputy commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Niam Benljulji, known as Hulji. The group were trained by Bin Ladens men.

What resulted was the arrest of 12 local Albanian policemen on terrorist charges. In Kosovo, the US/NATO-installed police were engaging in terrorist activity.

Introduction: Erasing the history of Christianity in Kosovo.


The only parlaimentarians in Europe which arrive to their sessions in miliatary armoured vehicles under a heavy police escort Serb Coalition members arrive to session of Kosovo Parliament.

On November 17, 2002 UNMIK police reported that the Serbian Orthodox Church, St. Basil the Miracle Worker of Ostrog (Sveti Vasilije Ostrovski) in Ljubovo village between Istok and Banja near Pec, had been totally destroyed with explosives, with only the front faade still intact. In Djurakovac, 30 miles west of Pristina, a second Serbian Orthodox Church was bombed/mined and heavily damaged, the Church of All Serbian Saints. The interior of the church was gutted following three explosions. This brought the number of Orthodox Churches destroyed or damaged since NATO and the UN occupied Kosovo to 112. This was an unprecedented act of genocide. The planned and systematic destruction of the Christian history of Kosovo-Metohija under US/NATO/EU sponsorship. No Serbian representatives of the Orthodox Church were contacted by UNMIK. After inspecting the destruction with Bajram Rexhepi, the "Prime Minister", SRSG Michael Steiner stated: "We will not speculate on who is responsible." Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the explosions. The UNMIK police report filed on November 16, 2002, was in the passive form: "An explosion occurred inside a Christian Church." The UNMIK report by William T. Burgstiner gave the location as Gurakoc, the Albanian name for Djurakovac, in the Istok district. The UNMIK report stated that only the doors and windows were damaged by the explosion. In fact, the entire interior of the church was gutted and destroyed by three explosions. The destruction of two Orthodox Churches was dismissed as random, unconnected acts of arson by unknown persons with an unknown motive. The mining of the churches came days ahead of a visit by UN General-Secretary Kofi Annan. The destruction was politically motivated, intended to send a message.

Even the dead were not spared. Since the NATO occupation of Kosovo, over 10 Orthodox cemeteries have been vandalized and desecrated. Not even the innocent dead are immune from Albanian "revenge". On June 10, 2002, vandalism of the Orahovac Orthodox cemetery was discovered. In a RIA Novosti article of June 27, 2002, "Russian Church Denounces Vandalism with Cemeteries Desecrated in Kosovo", the Russian Orthodox Church protested the genocide being carried out in Kosovo under NATO/US supervision. The global media and international human rights groups, however, ignored the vandalism of Orthodox graves in Kosovo. In Orahovac and Djakovica, Orthodox gravestones had been smashed and UCK/KLA symbols had been spray painted on them. In the Orahovac Orthodox cemetery, 50-60 Orthodox tombstones were desecrated and vandalized. Bishop Artemius/Artemije reported that the Albanians had exhumed human remains and had scattered them around the graves in Siga and Brestovik Orthodox churchyards near Pec in Metohija. Bishop Artemius stated that over 10 cemeteries and over 100 Orthodox churches had been ransacked and destroyed. Human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International (AI), and the Helsinki Human Rights Group had ignored these acts of genocide. KFOR and UNMIK had done nothing to prevent this vandalism. Bishop Artemije was incredulous how NATO/KFOR/UNMIK could not prevent the destruction of 110 Orthodox churches and 10 Orthodox cemeteries:

It is absolutely incredible that 30,000 best and NATO led troops and UNMIK police have not managed to prevent systematic destruction of the Serb holy sites and cemeteries.


Mutilated body found in an empty house. This photo was secretly obtained from a UN policeman. The police has officially refused to give any further information on his murder.

On December 2, 2002, 46 tombstones at the Orthodox cemetery in Kosovo Polje and Decani were destroyed following celebrations of Albanian Flag Day celebrations held on November 28 near the Visoki Decani Monastery. The KFOR troops did nothing to protect the cemetery. The Orthodox cemetery is one hundred meters from the Italian checkpoint and the KFOR base. The Serbian Orthodox Church stated that "the cemetery is now completely desolate with not a single grave intact." These acts of vandalism and wanton destruction "threaten to erase any trace of Serbian presence in the region." The Serbian Orthodox Church of Kosovo called for the protection of Serbian churches and cemeteries. UNMIK and KFOR had done nothing to prevent these acts of genocide. The Church dismissed Steiner's actions as a "theatre play", a farce. The Church stated that 122 Serbian orthodox churches had been destroyed or damaged since the NATO/UN occupation of Kosovo, 982 Kosovo Serbs had been killed, and 1,083 had been kidnapped.

No only were Orthodox Churches attacked and destroyed. On the same day as the two churches were bombed and destroyed, a Serbian family in Vrbovac near Kosovoska Vitina was attacked by Albanian gunmen while working in the fields. Earlier in 2002, 50 elderly Serbian pensioners were attacked in Pec by Albanian mobs. Moreover, Albanians have prevented the delivery of food to Serbian residents in the area to starve them out and force them to leave.

Genocide or Multi-Ethnic Society?

Why are the US, NATO, the UN, UNMIK and KFOR, and the EU unable to prevent the systematic, planned, and organized destruction of Orthodox Churches and cemeteries in Kosovo-Metohija? Is not NATO/KFOR complicit and responsible for this genocide?

In "NATO Turns a Blind Eye as Scores of Ancient Christian Churches are Reduced to Rubble, in The Independent (UK), for November 20, 1999, by Robert Fisk in Djakovica, gave eyewitness accounts of how US/NATO was sponsoring the genocide. Fisk noted how a Serbian Orthodox Church outside Pristina was destroyed by Albanians. Fisk noted:

[T]he church was in ruin. A single wall stood. The rest was pulverized stone. Goodbye, then, to the icons and the saints with the staring eyes. Goodbye to Jesus. Goodbye to the Serb Orthodox Church. All across Kosovo I found identical scenes, places of worship---sometimes 600 years old---levelled with explosives and hammers, the very identity of Serb history turned to dust amid fields and hillsides Nato's Kosovo Albanian allies.

The systematic destruction of Orthodox churches was reported in the mainstream media. In the Montreal Gazette article "God's Houses in Ruins" for February 27, 2000, Mark Abley noted: "The world keeps silent as Serb churches, monasteries are destroyed in Kosovo under noses of peacekeepers." Abley saw KFOR, NATO, and US complicity in the church destructions. Abley pointed out that on January 14, 2000, the Orthodox Church of St. Elias in Cernica was destroyed by explosives just 70 meters from a US checkpoint. KFOR troops from the United Arab Emirates were supposed to protect church property but they withdraw. The UCK then attacked the ST. Nicholas Orthodox Church. Abley described the outcome: "It was soon blown to pieces." He argued that many of the churches were not only important for the Serbian Orthodox, but were a part of the European heritage. The destruction of the churches was a crime not only against the Serbs, but against the Orthodox religion, and against all Europeans, in fact, against mankind. These were crimes against humanity itself. But not as far as the US/NATO/KFOR were concerned. Abley concluded:

Some of the buildings were jewels of European civilization. Now they are rubble.


At large: Albanian terorists in Kosovo.

In Keston, the systematic destruction was examined in "Kosovo: Dynamiting of Orthodox Churches Continues", July 28, 2000. The Los Angeles Times in an article for September 22, 1999, "Christian Sites Being Decimated in Kosovo" noted the destruction with blas indifference. The Times noted that "Serbs accuse ethnic Albanian rebels of systematically destroying places sacred to Orthodox." The destruction of churches was thus not a fact but merely an "accusation" or claim by the Serbs. They the Times quoted unsubstantiated counter-claims by supporters of the UCK. The end result, a systematic policy of genocide is spin doctored into non-existence. Welcome to the free world, welcome to the free press of the New World Order. Welcome to the morality of the New World Order.

Was this an attempt to create a "multi-ethnic society" or was it in fact a planned and systematic campaign of genocide? Was this an instance of "revenge" or a systematic policy to create an ethnically pure Albanian state of Kosova? Fisk himself wondered whether this was random vandalism or a systematic policy of genocide. Fisk soon found the answer. Fisk interviewed a Kosovo Albanian, Ymer Qupeva, who was at the scene of a blown-up and bombed out Orthodox Church in Klina. Qupeva said:

I have come to view the professionalism of the destruction. They did very well---they planted explosives against all four walls...It was good.

Fisk described Qureva as a "graduate of 'pyrotechnics' at the University of Zagreb."

Who is responsible for this destruction of Christian churches? KFOR is responsible for the prevention of these wanton acts of destruction and genocide. But KFOR has stood by and done nothing while Orthodox churches have been destroyed. This reflects policy. Troops enforce policy. Troops do not make policy decisions. The decision has been made politically to allow for the destruction of the Christian churches in Kosovo. This decision was made in Washington, DC. Indeed, representatives of the US government and military even boasted that US policy would ensure that the Serbian population of Kosovo would be eliminated and the Serbian presence erased. The pattern was based on the US plan that eliminated the Serbian population of Krajina in Croatia in 1995. That was the largest single act of ethnic cleansing during the Yugoslav conflict. It was planned, organized, and executed by the US government with the assistance of the quasi-governmental surrogate organization, MPRI. There was a method to the madness. There was a systematic and planned policy. It was made in the USA. The media gleichschaltung sought to conceal this fact. But the fingerprints of the US government were all over this policy. Indeed, the US government even admitted as much. But why then was the US behind the systematic policy of destroying Orthodox churches and cemeteries? The US goal is to recognize the new nation of Kosova. By expelling 240,000 Kosovo Serbs, Roma, Jews, and other non-Albanians, the US seeks to create a fait accompli. If there are no Kosovo Serbs in Kosovo, then why shouldnt it become a second Albanian nation, Kosova? Similarly, if there are no Serbian Orthodox churches and Orthodox cemeteries in Kosovo, then there is no Serbian historical presence in Kosovo. It has been erased or eradicated. So much the better from a US standpoint. It makes the recognition of Kosova as a nation that much easier. So the systematic destruction of Orthodox churches and cemeteries is not random or senseless or mindless violence by children and unknown assailants. It serves a purpose. That purpose is the creation of an Albanian state. The US government is behind this policy, just as it was behind the destruction and elimination of the Serbian population of Krajina in 1995. The US peacekeeping troops in Camp Bondsteel spend most of their time eating fast food at the Burger King, dining on hot meals of ribs and fried chicken which are trucked in every day, watching Armed Forces Television, and bowling. They did nothing to prevent the destruction and desecration of 112 Orthodox churches and cemeteries. They did nothing to prevent the murders and kidnappings of thousands of Serbian civilians. Camp Bondsteel allowed the UCK to infiltrate the Presevo valley and to conduct the UCK guerrilla war in Macedonia. In both instances, the UCK crossed the border because US troops allowed it to. How else did they infiltrate Southern Serbia and Northern Macedonia? Is this a surprise, though? They are there to create a Greater Albania, a new country of Kosova, after all.

It was reported on August 18, 2000 that two Orthodox churches were destroyed that were protected by United Arab Emirate soldiers of KFOR. There is, however, a conflict of interest here. UAE had pledged to build 50 new mosques, to turn Kosovo into a Muslim province and to erase the Christian history. What motive did Muslim troops of the UAE have to protect Orthodox churches? Not surprisingly, the UAE troops did nothing to prevent Albanians from destroying the St. Elijah Orthodox Church built in 1834 in Vucitrn, which was blown up. The St. Nicholas Orthodox Church was blown up on January 30 in Banjska also protected by UAE troops.

Bishop Artemije of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren in a US Congressional statement before the Helsinki Commission hearing of February 28, 2000, described the policy of genocide in Kosovo:

More than 80 Orthodox Churches have been either completely destroyed or severely damaged since the end of the war. The ancient churches, many of which have survived 500 years of Ottoman Muslim rule, could not survive 8 months of the internationally guaranteed peace. Regretfully, all this happens in the presence of KFOR and UN.


Aftermath of a Kosovo Albanian terrorist attack against Serbs.

NATO and the UN were supposed to prevent destruction and genocide. But since NATO occupied Kosovo in June, 1999, 240,000 Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and Jews have been ethnically cleansed. NATO was supposed to prevent genocide. In fact, NATO has committed a genocide. The systematic policy of the UCK/KLA to destroy the Serbian Orthodox Churches of Kosovo began with the NATO occupation of Kosovo and was sanctioned by the US and NATO. Before the US/NATO occupation of Kosovo, Yugoslav police, security forces, and army troops were able to protect Orthodox churches and cemeteries and to prevent the expulsions of non-Albanians from Kosovo. But this changed with the military occupation of Kosovo by NATO and the UCK, the NATO proxy forces. Between June 13 and October 30, 74 Orthodox Churches had "been turned to dust or burnt or vandalised." The CIA propaganda network Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) rationalized the systematic destruction of 112 Orthodox churches in Kosovo by US/NATO allies/clients/proxies the UCK/KLA as legitimate and appropriate because they were symbols of Serbian "colonization". This CIA propaganda can be easily disproved. The Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Musutiste was built in 1465. This 15th century Orthodox monastery was "leveled with explosives" by the UCK/KLA "freedom fighters". The Serbian Orthodox Monastery of the Archangel of Vitina built in the 14th century was burned. The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas (Sveti Nikola) in Djurakovac was built in the 14th century. This church was destroyed in 1999. The Orthodox Church of the Archangels in Gornje Nerodimlje and the St. Paraskeva Orthodox Church near Pec were destroyed. The St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Prekoruplje was razed to the ground and the 16th century icons in the church were lost. Following the destruction of the Zociste Orthodox Monastery near Orahovac, Bishop Artemije requested that there should be increased protection of these religious sites and that more should be done to repair and rebuild them. He was told by Dieter Skodowsky of the German contingent that KFOR/NATO would not support the rebuilding of the Orthodox Churches because Albanians opposed this.

In a speech on September 16, 1999, Amfilohije noted the murder of a Serbian Orthodox priest by the UCK and the disappearance of another:

Recently, a hole has been discovered in the vicinity of Istok and in it 40 corpses were found, among which was the body of Father Stefan from Budisavac monastery. Father Hariton is still unaccounted for.

He described the murder and mutilation of Serbian women by the UCK:

On the eve of the Vidovdan liturgy...[w]e laid to rest the bodies of Mileva Vujosevic, 50, shot dead with a bullet, her brains in which I stepped on entering her house, strewn and Marica Maric, a retarded girl, who was raped in her poor abode in Belo Polje. We found her on a broken couch, dead, disfigured.

Islamic Revival in Kosovo? The Islamization of Kosovo-Metohija.


Christian Orthodox Church destroyed in Kosovo by Albanian militants.

The NATO military occupation of Kosovo has made it possible for the Islamization of Kosovo. In the Stars and Stripes article "In Kosovo, Islamic groups work to rebuild country, attract followers," September 21, 2001, Terry Boyd examined how Muslim countries were seeking the Islamization of Kosovo. The US State department listed Kosovo as having active cells of al-Qaeda, Ossama bin Laden's terrorist network. Boyd reported that an Iranian Islamic group offered 120-300 German marks a month for Albanian Muslim women to wear headscarves and other religious attire. He noted that Arab/Muslim countries had set up aid and relief agencies in Kosovo. Saudia Arabia had established the Saudi Joint Committee for Kosovo and al-Haramain, a Arabic language center. Saudi Arabian Abdullah Al Turki, the Secretary General of the Muslim World league, was providing aid to "Kosovo refugees" announced on March 25, 2002 by Saudi government. Bahrain had funded the El-Asla Society, Islamic youth centers and instruction in Islam and in Arabic language of the Koran. Sudanese nationals had set up youth centers, the World Association of Muslim Youth. Boyd, however, noted another goal: "But nations hostile to the United States may be using benign efforts to camouflage more sinister plans, including creating an Islamic republic---similar to Iran---on Europe's southern flank, according to sources." On July 19 and 22 2001, four Iranian gun runners were arrested by KFOR. But as early as 1999, US Rep. Helen Chenoweth, R-Idaho, in the Congressional debate on Kosovo, stated that the KLA is "a collection of Maoist drug-peddlers and terrorists who have been armed by Iran and provided with training and support by Saudi terrorist financier Osama bin Laden." Boyd revealed the goal of the Islamic relief/aid groups to be to achieve the independence/secession of Kosovo from Serbia as a ethnically pure Islamic nation/republic. This is identical to US policy on Kosovo. He noted that if the US/NATO could not achieve this, the Islamic countries would be willing sponsors: "That plan is to present fundamentalist Islam as an alternative to Western reluctance to grant independence to Kosovo."

Concomitantly with the destruction of Orthodox churches, Islamic countries are being encouraged by the US and NATO to build mosques and Islamic centers in Kosovo, further erasing the Christian history of Kosovo. On August 20, 2000, the United Arab Emirates announced that they would finance the construction of 50 new mosques in Kosovo. In "Mohammed Orders Building 50 Mosques in Kosovo", in the UAE Interact, it was reported that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Dubai Crown Prince and Defense Minister, would fund this project.

Ahmadiyya is an extremist Islamic movement from Pakistan that came to Kosovo to educate Muslims. Ahmadiyya offered help only if Albanian Muslims would accept the radical Islamic doctrines of the group and if they would train Muslim preachers. Naim Berisha said: "The Ahmadiyya came with copies of the Islamic holy texts in Albanian, plus pamphlets promoting their leaders, and especially their hatred of the West." Two other Muslim groups were in the Balkans seeking to recruit Albanian Muslims: Ahl as-Sunna and Wa'al Jama'at.

Roman Catholic Revival in Kosovo?


Richard Holbrook meeting Kosovo Albanian terrorists. London Mirror has uncovered these men are al-Qaeda trained.

Roman Catholic organizations in the US saw the NATO occupation of Kosovo as an opportunity for proselytizing and a chance to Catholicize the population. The goal was to supplant and eliminate the Orthodox presence in Kosovo. The MO was the same as that followed in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and in Krajina. The Roman Catholic-Orthodox conflict is long-standing in the Balkans. The Vatican sought to exert influence in the Balkans and to eliminate Orthodox influence. The Vatican has historically sought to create a bulwark against Orthodox Christianity in the Balkans, necessitating an anti-Serbian policy. The Vatican opposed Orthodoxy, then "Bolshevism", Communism, and Titoism because they threatened Vatican control of the Balkans. The issue was always control.

The NATO occupation of Kosovo became a focus for US Roman Catholics who sought to exert and expand Catholicism in the Serbian Orthodox province. In "Catholic Revival in Kosovo?, September, 1999, in the San Francisco Faith, Stephen Schwartz, noted how the Roman Catholic Church was like Islam, seeking to transform Kosovo-Metohija into a Roman Catholic nation. Like Islam, Roman Catholicism was conducting a genocide against the Serbian Orthodox population, supporting the destruction of Orthodox churches and the expulsion/ethnic cleansing of the Orthodox population. Now that 240,000 Serbian Orthodox were expelled and 112 Orthodox churches and over 10 Orthodox cemeteries were destroyed, Kosovo was ideal for conversion and transformation. Schwartz noted that "at least 15 percent of the Kosovar population" was Roman Catholic. Kosovo Albanians are mostly Sunni Muslims, Bektashi (Shia, Shiite) Muslims, and Orthodox Christians. But religion is secondary in Albanian nationalism. As Pashko Vasa, an Albanian nationalist figure stated, "the religion of the Albanians is Albanianism", i.e., Greater Albania is the overriding ideology of Albanians, not any particular religion. Historically, Kosovo Albanians converted to Islam in Kosovo during Ottoman Turkish rule to obtain land and privileges in Kosovo, thereby displacing the original Serbian Orthodox inhabitants. Catholic Charities and Professionals International Evangelical Christians were recruiting in Kosovo. Evangelicals came to the Rakovica refugee camp "attacking Islam and calling the Albanians to become Evangelicals." Evangelicals provided aid only if Albanians would convert to Evangelicalism. The family of Osman Hamdi had a son who suffered from a congenital heart defect. The Evangelicals offered to pay for his treatment if he would convert to the Evangelical sect. American Joe Horning was an Evangelical who had come to Kosovo from Chicago to convert Albanian Muslims to Evangelicalism. Horning stated: "Allah as the Muslims say is not the same as the God we Christians and Jews worship. According to Horning, "Muslims worship the pagan moon god."

Schwartz emphasized that the Roman Catholic Church was at the forefront of anti-Orthodox and anti-Serbian activity for centuries. The Vatican had been first to recognize the secession/independence of Roman Catholic Croatia and Roman Catholic Slovenia in 1991. The Vatican gave Roman Catholic Austria-Hungary authorization in 1914 to destroy Orthodox Serbia by sanctioning the declaration of war. In 1941, the Roman Catholic hierarchy led by Alojzije Stepinac in Croatia was at the forefront in the genocide of the Serbian Orthodox population of Croatia and Bosnia, the Ustasha NDH, Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska. The Vatican has never acknowledged its complicity and responsibility for this genocide of Orthodox Christians. The genocide committed against several hundred thousand Orthodox Serbs in Croatia organized by Roman Catholic priests remains an unacknowledged and unknown genocide in the so-called West. Is this by accident or by design? Schwartz noted that the program to Catholicization of Kosovo was based in Santa Clara and San Francisco in the US: "Much of the education of Kosovar and other Albanians about their Catholic heritage is a consequence of the work undertaken in Santa Clara and San Francisco." Gani Murtezi, a UCK/KLA member, was quoted: "We were Catholics before the Turkish conquest in the 15th century and many of us will now return to Catholicism." Founded by Gjon Sinishta, Ray Frost now heads the Albanian Catholic Institute in the US. Roman Catholic Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo.

The Expulsion of the Jewish Population of Kosovo.

There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Kosovo-Metohija for over 500 years. During the Holocaust in World War II, Kosovo-Metohija became a part of a Greater Albania created by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Kosovo Jews were imprisoned in a makeshift detention center/jail in Pristina by the Italian occupation authorities. After Italy surrendered, Germany reoccupied Kosovo and established the Kosovar Albanian 21st Waffen Division der SS Skanderbeg, a Kosovar Nazi SS Division whose first task in Kosovo was to round up the Kosovo Jewish population. The Germans sent 281 Kosovo Jews that the Skanderbeg division had rounded up for them to the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen Belsen where they were murdered.

Following the NATO bombing and subsequent military occupation of Kosovo, the Jewish population of Kosovo was forced to flee with other non-Albanians. Aca Singer, the President of the Association of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia, explained why Kosovo Jews fled Kosovo:

Soon after the withdrawal of the Serbian security forces (in 1999), a mass exodus began because the everyday life had become dangerous. Almost all of the members of the small Jewish community in the provinces capital Pristina have found refuge in Belgrade.

Singer stated that the reason Kosovo Jews cannot return to Kosovo was that there was no security for them in Kosovo, the KLA/UCK had destroyed the economic infrastructure of the Serbian province, and because they spoke Serbian. The KLA/UCK had made Albanian the official language of Kosovo. There was no ethnic, religious, linguistic, or cultural tolerance in Kosovo under the UCK/KLA. The result was that non-Albanians were expelled from Kosovo or forced to flee as refugees. Kosovo Jewish leader Cedomir Prlincevic, who fled to Belgrade, has charged that NATO has allowed the KLA/UCK to conduct a terror campaign against non-Albanians. Thus, along with the Serbian Orthodox religious and ethnic community of Kosovo, the Jewish community of Kosovo was likewise expelled from Kosovo. Not only was the Orthodox religion under attack, the Jewish community of Kosovo similarly faced eradication.

Destruction of Orthodox Churches in Macedonia by the UCK.


The St. Atanasus monastery near Tetovo blown up by ethnic Albanian terrorists. During WWII the monastery was also attacked by Albanian SS units to kill local Christians.

In 2003, ethnic Albanian attackers damaged six icons in the Sveta Bogorodica (Saint Mother of God) monastery near Matejche in the Kumanovo region.

When the UCK invaded Macedonia from Kosovo in 2001, the modus operandi evolved in Kosovo was duplicated in the terrorism conducted in Macedonia. Like in Kosovo, Orthodox churches were targeted for destruction and desecration. Why did the UCK target Orthodox churches for demolition and attack?

A terrorist war seeks to foremost destroy the morale of the target population, to destroy the will to resist. Terrorism seeks to create panic and fear and insecurity. The ultimate objective is to demoralize the civilian population by attacking the symbols of unity and national cohesion and order. Terrorists create fear and insecurity by attacking and killing police, security forces, and representatives of state authority. Terrorists can rarely ever win a conflict by a direct assault. Instead, the battle is mostly psychological, targeting morale, by creating instability and insecurity. Moreover, by creating instability and political, economic, and social crises, the terrorist can exert disproportionate pressure on the country. In many cases, intervention is sought. Terrorism can induce intervention.

Why target Orthodox Churches and cemeteries? There are several reasons why the UCK is targeting Orthodox Churches in Serbia and Macedonia. First, by destroying the churches, the UCK is able to erase the Orthodox history of the region. By eliminating the Orthodox history of Kosovo and Macedonia, the UCK can then manufacture its own history for Kosovo and Macedonia, with the assistance of NPR, the CIA, CNN, RFE/RL, the VOA, the IWPR, ICG, and the US State Department. Before the US can manufacture a history for the UCK, however, the Orthodox history must be destroyed without leaving any trace. Second, by destroying symbols of the religion of the Serbian and Macedonian populations, the UCK is able to destroy the belief systems of their intended targets. By attacking religious symbols, the UCK seeks to demoralize by attacking the source and foundation of the belief system of the Serbs and Macedonians. That belief system is Christianity, Orthodox Christianity. Third, the goal is genocide, the total and complete elimination of the target population. Targeting churches sends the message that the UCK has a total contempt for Serbs and Macedonians as human beings. The UCK regards the Serbs and Macedonians as cattle and swine. Nothing shows this more than the systematic and planned destruction of Orthodox churches and monasteries.

Not even the dead are immune from the genocide of the UCK. The UCK systematically attacks gravestones and cemeteries and desecrates graveyards. Why target cemeteries? What offense could the dead have committed against the UCK? The UCK seeks to totally and completely destroy and eliminate all traces and vestiges of the Serbian and Macedonian presence in the regions. The goal is genocide, to create a fait accompli. In Macedonia, the UCK destroyed or damaged over 30 Orthodox churches in the Tetovo region of Western Macedonia under the control of the UCK. Mirko Stankovski of the Tetovo diocese submitted these facts in a report submitted to the Macedonian Government, the OSCE, and EU.

On December 10, 2001, the St. George (Sveti Gjorgjij) Orthodox Church in Golema Rechica in the Tetovo district, built in the 14th century, was burned down. The walls, icons, frescos, and screen were also burned. The destruction of the church was timed to coincide with the Orthodox holiday of St. George. The Orthodox Church St. Nikola in Slatina was burned down by the UCK. The St. Atanasije Orthodox Church in the Leshok-Brezno region, built in 1924 and dedicated in 1936, was completely destroyed by the UCK. Icons, church and religious books and documents were stolen, damaged, or destroyed in the St. Bogorodica Orthodox Church in Leshok, the St. Gjorgjija Orthodox Church in Mala Rechica, the St. Atanasij Orthodox Church in Tetovo Kale, St. Ilija and St. Gjorgjij in Neprosteno, St. Gorgjij in Otunje, St. Gjorgjija in Lavce, St. Nikola and St. Bogorodica in Tetovo, St. Kuzman and Damjan in Jedoarce, St. Petka in Varvara and Uspenie na Bogorodica and Sveto Blagovestie in Jelosnik.


Elderly woman in Macedonia weeping. Albanian terrorists plundering property.

On August 21, 2001, the St. Atanasije Orthodox Monastery in Leshok in the southeast corner of the Shar Planina mountain range in the Polog valley was totally destroyed with explosives by UCK troops. The conachs or monastic cells were also stolen by the UCK. Built in the 13th century, rebuilt in 1818, the Leshok monastery was one of the oldest Orthodox churches in western Macedonia and had been the cultural and religious center. The church was on the UNESCO list of Heritage sites. The church was an example of Byzantine and Orthodox architecture and was irreplaceable. The church was in territory occupied by the UCK. The UCK mined the church with explosives and detonated the explosive devise with a car battery that was left at the crime scene. A small donkey was killed in the explosion, upon which the letters "UCK" were painted. The tombstone of Macedonian educator and Orthodox prior Kiril Pejcinovic was destroyed and his memorial statue in Tearce was demolished. Why did the UCK fear even the dead? Not even the dead were spared by the UCK. The UCK and their US and European handlers even concocted an outrageous and mind-boggling conspiracy theory. US/NATO/EU propaganda accused the Macedonian government of blowing up the Leshok monastery to discredit the UCK and to sabotage the peace agreement. The World Catholic News headline for August 22, 2002, was: "Macedonian Orthodox Church Blown Up by Rebels". The truth managed to sneak through the mainstream US media, the "free press". This represented the nadir of the US/NATO/EU propaganda war against the Orthodox. It is a perfect example of the morality of the New World Order. Nothing shows the utter moral and ethical bankruptcy of the NATO countries that this propaganda hoax. Nothing better shows the soulless and undemocratic nature of NATO.

The Matejce Orthodox Monastery was damaged, vandalized, and desecrated by UCK troops who used the church as a headquarters. The frescoes of St. Matejce were damaged and vandalized when the UCK used the church as a command post during the "insurgency" in 2001. The UCK had written graffiti on the Orthodox frescoes, writing the name of the Argentinean soccer star, "Diego Armando Maradona" and painting a black beard and sunglasses on the fresco. A black double-headed eagle, the symbol of Albania, the national flag of Shqiperia or Albania, with the letters "UCK" was painted on the Church wall. This showed with what racist contempt the Albanian "freedom fighters" held the Orthodox populations of Kosovo and Macedonia. The UCK defecated on the most sacred religious sites of both Serbs and Macedonians. How could they do this without US and NATO sponsorship and support? What makes them think they can get away with such racist and bigoted acts? Why do they so gladly commit genocide if they were not supported by the US and NATO? For anyone with half a brain would know that these acts violate the Geneva Conventions on Genocide and violate basic human rights. Only if the US propaganda machine supports you can you get away with genocide. Only if the CIA propaganda machine is in your corner can you do it so shamelessly and arrogantly.

On February 9, 2002, an attempt was made by the UCK to mine the St. Petka Orthodox Church in Galate in the Gostivar district. Investigators found 400 grams of unexploded explosives inside the church with a fuse and detonation devise. The frescos in the church were damaged by the discharge by automatic weapon.

The UCK continued its modus operandi from Kosovo-Metohija to Macedonia with the desecration of Orthodox cemeteries. New damage to the Orthodox cemetery and to the XVth century St. Nikola Orthodox Church in Dolna Lesnica near Zelino was reported. The UCK was replicating the Kosovo MO.

Systematic Policy of Genocide or "Revenge" Attacks? Repression or Secession?


Lobbying for Greater Albania: Front page of the Albanian Civic Union in US shows intent to acquire Serb, Montenegrin, Macedonian and Greek land to Albania.

The Kosovo crisis was always about the creation of a Greater Albania. The conflict was always a secessionist conflict having nothing to do with repression/oppression.

The US/NATO propaganda line is that the murders of Serbian civilians, men, women, and children, and the expulsion of 240,000 Kosovo Serbs can be explained as the "revenge" attacks or "revenge killings" due to the "repression" and "oppression" of the Slobodan Milosevic regime. In other words, the US propaganda rationalizes genocide and murder and ethnic cleansing on the grounds that it was justified due to the repression of Slobodan Milosevic. But this US State Department/CIA/NATO propaganda argument can be disproved easily. The destruction of Serbian Orthodox churches and the murder and expulsion of Kosovo Serbs did not begin after 1989 when Milosevic began "repressing" Albanians with a "crackdown".

The Albanian objective to create an ethnically pure Greater Albania began with the Ottoman Turkish occupation of Kosovo. Following the 1878 League of Prizren, a Greater Albania ideology emerged that would incorporate Kosova, Kosovo-Metohija, southern Montenegro, Illirida, western Macedonia, southern Serbia, and northern Greece, into an Etnic Albanian state. The destruction of Orthodox churches and the murder of Serbian civilians in Kosovo did not start with Slobodan Milosevic.

In a July 12, 1982 article in the New York Times, "Exodus of Serbians Stirs Province in Yugoslavia", the goal of Albanian violence was noted:

The [Albanian] nationalists have a two-point platform...first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then the merger with Albania to form a greater Albania.

So there was a planned and systematic policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide in Kosovo. But it did not originate with Slobodan Milosevic. In fact, Milosevic tried to prevent a genocide from occurring. The New York Times report noted: "Some 57,000 Serbs have left Kosovo in the last decade."

In the Washington post article "Ethnic Rivalries Cause Unrest in Yugoslav Region," November 29, 1986, Jackson Diehl correctly identified the two central issues in the Kosovo crisis: 1) the genocide of the Serbian population of Kosovo through murder and expulsion; and, 2) the separatist policies of Albanian political leaders to create an independent state of Kosovo, a second Albania. Diehl noted that "separatist and nationalist groups" were "seeking Kosovo's independence from Serbia." He noted that the crisis was precipitated by the "forced emigration of Serbs from Kosovo". Diehl reported: "More than 20,000 have emigrated since 1981."

David Binder wrote in The New York Times, on November 1, 1987, "In Yugoslavia, Rising Ethnic Strife Brings Fears of Worse Civil Conflict that "separatist-minded ethnic Albanians" were seeking not greater rights due to repression, but an ethnically pure Albanian state that would secede from Serbia and become an independent Albanian nation, Kosovo. Binder described the separatist policies of the Albanians in 1987:

Slavic Orthodox Churches have been attacked. Wells have been poisoned and crops burned. Slavic boys have been knifed, and some young ethnic Albanians have been told by their elders to rape Serbian girls.

Binder explained that the goal for the violence was never about "repression" but about the creation of Greater Albania, secession:

The goal of the radical nationalists among them, one said in an interview, is an "ethnic" Albania that includes western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, part of southern Serbia, Kosovo and Albania itself...Other ethnic Albanian separatists admit to a vision of a greater Albania governed from Pristina in southern Yugoslavia rather than Tirana.

Binder noted that there were 40 racially-motivated attacks against Serbs in 1986. The goal was not "revenge" but to create "an 'ethnically pure' Albanian region" in Kosovo. Another method of ethnic cleansing was by quasi-legal means. Binder noted: "Ethnic Albanians in the Government have manipulated pubic funds and regulations to take over land belonging to Serbs."

There was incitement to genocide. Fadil Hoxha, a leading Albanian political leader in Yugoslavia, said that "Serbian women should be used to satisfy potential ethnic Albanian rapists." Aziz Kelmendi murdered four Yugoslav army recruits based on anti-Slav racism. Binder reported that in 7 years, 20,000 Serbs have left Kosovo because of the climate of racism.

Binder noted: "Ethnic Albanians already control almost every phase of life in ...Kosovo, including the police, judiciary, civil service, schools and factories."

In the Newsweek article of October 24, 1988, "Power to the Serbs", Harry Anderson and Theodore Stanger reported on the genocide in Kosovo:

One account speaks of 1,119 attacks on Serbs and Montenegrins by ethnic Albanians since 1986. Many of the stories allege rape and other atrocities. One described how a group of Albanian adolescents dug up the corpse of a Serbian child from a Kosovo cemetery and began tossing it around. "It is hard for anyone who calls himself a Serb to remain cool when he hears of such outrages," said Stefan Pilic, a medical student in Belgrade. "We are on the verge of a revolution," said Milovan Djilas, Yugoslavia's best-known dissident.


Kosovo Serb girl: Give me back my daddy.

On April 19, 1993, British author Nora Beloff wrote a letter to British MP Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd explaining the Kosovo crisis:

On Kosovo, I told him I happened to be one of the rare Westerners who knew the province when it was still ruled by the pitiless Albanian thugs to whom Tito and his successors gave power, patronage, and bags of money...I knew very well that, for years, the Serb minority, particularly the Orthodox priests, had often been beaten and constantly harassed.

She stated that Milosevic should "have invited foreign diplomats and journalists to go and see what life had been previously like for the Serbs." They should "have visited demolished churches, desecrated cemeteries, and the Kosovo villages 'cleansed' of Serbs." The US State Department/NATO/CIA propaganda machine---National Public Radio (NPR), RFE/RL, Voice of America (VOA)---attributed ethnic cleansing to Slobodan Milosevic. But objective and unbiased observers of the Balkans knew that ethnic cleansing was developed in Kosovo and used against the Kosovo Serbian Orthodox population.

British historian Nora Beloff witnessed the first post-World War II instance of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo-Metohija: "Indeed, it was in Kosovo in 1980, while writing my book, that, for the first time since the Nazi era, I heard that epithet." Albanians in Kosovo were ethnically cleansing the province to create an ethnically pure Kosova/Kosove to create a Greater Albanian state. Beloff noted that separatism/secession/independence were the goals of the ultra-nationalist GreaterAlbanian movement, not human rights. She stated that Albanians have "not the faintest interest in human rights." Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the UN, the US State Department, which has made "human rights" the cornerstone of US foreign policy, censored and suppressed this silent and unknown genocide in Kosovo.

The destruction of Serbian Orthodox churches did not begin with the NATO occupation of Kosovo in 1999. The Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Devic was destroyed during World War II when Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini made Kosovo and western Macedonia a part of Greater Albania. The pro-fascist Balli Kombetar, the Ljuboten battalion, and the Nazi 21st Waffen SS Division "Skanderbeg", made up mainly of Kosovo Albanians, instituted a policy of genocide against Kosovo Serbs, Jews, and Roma. Following the creation of the Second League of Prizren, which revitalized the Greater Albania ideology, under the sponsorship of Nazi Germany, Orthodox churches were destroyed and Serbian Orthodox priest were murdered in order to create an ethnically pure Kosova. This policy continued after World War II. On March 16, 1981, the 13th century Orthodox monastery at Pec was set on fire and burned in an attempt to kill the priests. On January 7, 1983, Orthodox Christmas, human feces and excrement were left around the Prizren Orthodox church and a cross made out of feces was placed on the church door. The Albanian destruction and desecration of Orthodox cemeteries did not start with the NATO/KFOR occupation of Kosovo either. Gravestones and monuments in Orthodox cemeteries were vandalized throughout the 1980s, before Milosevic even appeared on the scene. The goal was genocide, the creation of an ethnically pure or clean Albanian Kosova. In the village of Dvorane, Albanians destroyed and vandalized 29 newly erected Orthodox Christian gravestones.

Under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Resolution 260 A (III), promulgated on December 9, 1948, genocide is defined as follows:

Article II

[G]enocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin coined the term "genocide" in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress (1944) in which he defined genocide as follows:

By "genocide" we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group...It is intended...to signify a coordinated plan...aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups...The objectives of such a plan would be...the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity...Genocide is directed against...members of a national group.

Is not the expulsion of 240,000 Serbs from Kosovo, the destruction of 112 Orthodox churches and the desecration and vandalism of over 10 Orthodox cemeteries genocide under these fundamental formulations. First we need a coordinated plan of genocide. US/NATO/KFOR always report that the systematic and organized destruction of 122 Orthodox churches was random. There is no organized plan. This is why epistemology is crucial. It is all in how you report it. One man or woman can see a terrorist and another a freedom fighter/patriot. This is why US/NATO/KFOR never know who is responsible and why no one is ever apprehended or punished. No one knows who is destroying Orthodox churches. They are "Albanian extremists". This negates responsibility. This also negates an organized and systematic policy of genocide. This also explains why human rights groups are blind to genocide in Kosovo. If they don't report it, it is like it never really happened. It is your word against theirs. And the CIA has the most massive propaganda/infowar machine ever assembled.

Why didn't international human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and UN human rights organizations notice this glaring genocide at the end of the 20th century? For the same reason that they don't notice the genocide in Kosovo now. If you don't report on a genocide, if you censor and suppress it, it is like it never occurred at all. The concept of human rights was devised to allow its use as an instrument of US foreign policy. The concept of human rights is merely a CIA propaganda construct. Nothing proves this more than Kosovo. How can a genocide be allowed to occur there? What genocide?

Gorazdevac Massacre.


One of the 4 wounded Kosovo Serb children. Other 2 were slaughtered by Albanian terrorists.

In 2003, the attacks against the Serbian population and Serbian Orthodox Churches and cemeteries continued unabated. On August 15, a fire was set in the Serbian cemetery in the village of Bresje near Kosovo Polje. The so-called international community and human rights groups remained in ignorant bliss.

The ethnically motivated attacks against Kosovo Serbs in 2003 culminated in the Gorazdevac Massacre, the attempted massacre of Kosovo Serb teens. On August 13, a group of Kosovo Serb children were swimming in the Bistrica River outside of Gorazdevac, a town near Pec in Metohija. An Albanian attacker then opened fire with a Kalashnikov machine gun, firing three rounds at the Serbian teens. Panto Dakic, 11, and Ivan Jovovic, 20, died from their wounds. They were taken to the Pec hospital where they were pronounced dead. Bogdan Bukumiric, 15, and Nikola Bogicevic, were in critical condition. Dragana Srbljak, 14, Djordje Ugrenovic, 20, and Marko Bogicevic, were sustained serious wounds. Milovan Pavlovic, who attempted to take the injured by car to a hospital, had his car stoned by Albanians while the injured child was attacked. This was an ethnically motivated crime meant to kill the remaining Serbian population. Both Serbia and Montenegro demanded an emergency security council meeting at the UN. The attacks against Kosovo Serbs, however, continued. On August 17, five Serbian children were shot at by ethnic Albanians in the Gorazdevac town square.

On August 19, an elderly Serbian woman, Vukosava Ivkovic of Gnjilane, was gang-raped by Albanian attackers. Kosovo Serb Dragan Tonic was beaten and shot execution-style in the mouth in Skulanevo. Ethnically motivated attacks against Kosovo Serbs continued unabated.

Kosovo Serbs under NATO Occupation: Looking Like a Prisoner from Auschwitz

The NATO military occupation of Kosovo-Metohija was premised on the condition that NATO would ensure security for both the Albanian and Serbian populations of the Serbian province. Indeed, Madeleine Albright presupposed that the NATO occupation of Kosovo would bring stability and security to Kosovo. But life under NATO occupation for Kosovo Serbs was similar to that of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto or even Auschwitz. But there is no Elie Wiesel or Susan Sontag or Anthony Lewis or Christianne Amanpour to document these abuses and crimes. Not even Roy Gutman is concerned about the human rights abuses in Kosovo. And that is because the US government does not want them to be concerned. It is against US policy at any rate.


Morbid desecration of Serbian churches in Kosovo.

On October 17, 2003, Beta reported that Zivorad Velikinac, 65, of Urosevac had died of starvation because he was unable to leave his home to obtain food due to attacks from ethnic Albanians. He was taken to the hospital in Kosovska Mitrovica where one staff member described him as looking like a prisoner from Auschwitz. Amnesty International had reported that Kosovo Serbs lived like prisoners in own homes. The Serbian population of Urosevac had decreased to 15 from 10,000 before the NATO humanitarian intervention.

In a June 13, 2003 article, the AFP concluded: Four years later, Kosovo is still a human disaster. On May 7, 2003, members of the Albanian National Army (ANA) abducted and murdered Kosovo Serb teacher Zoran Mirkovic, 41, of Vrbovac. He was shot twice in the head and his body was dumped in a river.

In Cernica, Miomir Savic, 35, was killed in an ethnically-motivated murder when Albanian attackers threw a bomb at his shop. Four others were injured in the bomb attack. A hand grenade was thrown at the same time into a childrens playground in the Serbian part of Cernica.

In Obilic, the three members of the Stolic family were hacked to death with an axe and shot like animals. Slobodan Stolic, 80, his wife Radmila, 70, and their son, Ljubinko, 53, were axed and shot to death while there were sleeping in their house, which was then burned down to conceal the murders. This was an ethnically-motivated murder committed by ethnic Albanians to prevent the return of Kosovo Serb refugees. Albanians in the town had demanded that the Stolic family sell their house to ethnic Albanians and that they move to Serbia proper. Before the NATO military occupation of Kosovo, 7,500 Serbs lived in Obilic. After the NATO occupation, only 400 Serbs were left. More than 760 houses had been burned. Twenty eight Kosovo Serbs were killed and there were 2,720 assaults. UNMIK released a report that found that ethnic Albanians had seized 75,000 to 77,000 Serbian and other non-Albanian homes and torched 30,000.

The Albanization of Kosovo had been realized with the ejection of Kosovo Serbs from Kosovo hospitals, schools, colleges, the public service sector, and utilities. Pristina University became an all-Albanian institution with the expulsion of Serbian and non-Albanian instructors and staff.

The UN report announced by AFP on October 9, 2003, found security worsening in Kosovo. The presence of 22,000 peacekeepers in Kosovo had only made the situation worse. Since 1998, 1,303 Kosovo Serbs were missing in Kosovo, 90% after the NATO occupation. This was the finding of the Association of Families of Abducted and Missing Serbs from Kosovo-Metohija. Since NATO and UNMIK occupied Kosovo on June 10, 1999, the Serbian Ministry of the Interior had found that there were 6,535 attacks in Kosovo, killing 1,201, injuring 1,328, and kidnapping 1,146. Of these 6,535 attacks, 5,932 were against Kosovo Serbs and Montenegrins.

Conclusion: Kosovo, "Black Hole" of Human Rights.

What has been the result of NATO military occupation of the Serbian province of Kosovo-Metohija? Kosovo Ombudsman Merek Nowicki announced the findings of his investigations on December 19, 2002. Nowicki concluded that Kosovo might become a "black hole" of human rights in Europe. UN Resolution 1244 was not being followed. Nowicki concluded that UNMIK was "not respecting human rights regulations established by international community." He found that the remaining Kosovo Serbs lived in Holocaust-style ghettos in Kosovo. The Serbian population has no human rights protections and is under daily pressure to leave Kosovo. What has US/NATO/ KFOR done to allow for the return of the 240,000 Serbian refugees expelled by the UCK in 1999? According to Nowicki, NATO and UNMIK have done absolutely nothing: "The possibility of a Serb return to urban areas is almost zero, because a minimum of conditions for their return have not been secured." He found "severe violations of human rights". He examined the status of Serbs living in the village of Gorazdevac near Pec. The Serbs were heavily guarded, living under constant protection by FKOR troops. They were living in ghetto-like conditions. KFOR could not obtain food for them because the Albanian leaders were attempting to starve them out, thereby forcing them to leave Kosovo permanently. NATO was supposed to be ensuring democracy, but was in fact violating the fundamental tenets of democracy. Nowicki concluded: "UNMIK was not established in line with the principles of democracy and it represents a surrogate state." He found that UNMIK and KFOR had complete immunity for their actions in Kosovo. Thus there were no protections from violations of civil or human rights. There was no rule of law. This is what NATO occupation was achieved: The genocide of the Serbian population. Life in Kosovo for the Serbian population is like life in a Nazi ghetto, like the Warsaw Ghetto. This is what NATO has achieved in 4 and a half years of military occupation.

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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February 6 2004, 12:45 PM 

US opposes rush solution to Kosovo status | 10:12 | AFP

WASHINGTON -- Friday The United States said today it opposed immediate consideration of Kosovo's independence from Serbia-Montenegro and urged leaders in the UN-administered province to concentrate on democratic reform.

Before any discussion on its political future, the State Department said Washington first wants progress on meeting standards for multi-ethnic democracy laid out in December by Harri Holkeri, the UN chief in Kosovo.

"At this time, we believe the focus needs to be on making progress on those standards, particularly those involving multi-ethnicity, and not a discussion of final status," spokesman Richard Boucher said.

He said that message had been delivered to visiting Kosovo prime minister Bajram Rexhepi on Wednesday by US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman.

"During the course of these meetings, we stressed the importance of implementing the internationally endorsed standards and cooperating with the UN interim administration mission in Kosovo to achieve that goal," Boucher said.

He said the United States had not yet taken a position on whether to support or oppose a bid for Kosovo's independence but would "continue to work its allies to create a stable and democratic Kosovo."

And, Boucher said Washington stood firmly behind Holkeri who on December 10 unveiled a series of measures - "Standards for Kosovo" - that had to be achieved before discussions on the province's final status.

Holkeri's document sets out goals in areas such as the return of ethnic minority refugees, economic reform and the rule of law.

Implementation of the plan will serve as a basis for a UN assessment by mid-2005 of the Kosovo's readiness to engage in talks about its final legal status - either independence or autonomy within Serbia.

Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since NATO warplanes forced Serbian forces under then-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw in 1999, ending a brief but bloody conflict with separatist ethnic Albanian guerrillas.

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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February 6 2004, 12:52 PM 

UN Security Council to discuss Kosovo | 10:41 | Beta

NEW YORK -- Friday UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected to give the green light to limited changes to Kosovos Constitutional Framework, in a report at todays Security Council session in New York.

In his report, Annan will suggest to the UNs governor in Kosovo that he support certain changes to the Framework provided they have the backing of two-thirds of the provinces parliament and are in line with Security Council Resolution 1244, reports Beta news agency.

The Security Council will also hear from Kosovo governor Harri Holkeri and Serbia-Montenegro deputy foreign minister Zeljko Perovic.

In a regular report published at the weekend, Annan warned that the parliament in Kosovo is once again refusing to take into account legitimate minority concerns in the legislative process.

He criticised the parliament for overstepping its competencies.

 
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February 6 2004, 12:57 PM 

Kosovo: Trade Booms Between Old Enemies.

Albanians may have thrown off Belgrade rule but they are still part of the Serbian economy.

IWPR
By Tanja Matic and Altin Ahmeti in Pristina (BCR No 479, 04-Feb-04)

Every week, ethnic Albanians from Pristina head into the citys supermarket and fill their shopping baskets with goods from Serbia - a republic that most of Kosovos majority think of as enemy Number One.

Four years after the armed uprising that resulted in Kosovo throwing off Serbian political control, the region remains reliant on its powerful northern neighbour for many of its most basic needs.

Stores in the international protectorate are lined with Serbian goods, ranging from foodstuffs to shopping powder and even bricks and mortar all evidence of the fact that while political dialogue between Serbs and Albanians remains stalled, trade between the two is booming.

The goods pour in from every part of Serbia. Favourites from the sweet section include Medeno Srce (honey heart) and Plazma biscuits, from the northern town of Subotica and from Slobodan Milosevics home town of Pozarevac respectively. Over in the dairy section is Imlek milk from Belgrade, while the hardware shelves stock Tesla light bulbs from Pancevo in Vojvodina and Merix soap powder from Krusevac.

Pristina store owner Avni says no one makes a fuss, "I sell these products and people do not complain. Some even ask for Beogradsko Mleko (Belgrade Milk) that they used to buy for years, though we dont have that one any more.

Avni laughs at the idea of boycotting Serbian goods out of patriotism. Shoppers, he says, easily distinguish between much-loved products and the state that produced them. We dont identify Serbian products with the Serbian state, he said with a smile, and whats most important is that these products are mostly the cheapest ones.

The Albanians certainly do not buy Serbian goods out of any nostalgia for the former regime. Geography and simple economics play the largest part. Under UN Resolution 1244, Kosovo has remained part of Yugoslavia pending a decision on its final status. That means no customs duties are paid on goods from Serbia and Montenegro, the successor state to Yugoslavia.

The other factor is that Kosovo simply doesnt produce much these days. With very few home-grown products to offer, people here have to buy their goods from somewhere.

One obvious area of cooperation is building. The armed conflict between Albanians and Yugoslav forces left thousands of homes destroyed. As a result, one of the main economic activities in the entity is the construction industry.

If Kosovo Albanians see any irony in buying bricks and mortar from the republic whose forces destroyed their homes, they are not disturbed by it.

Milos Boskovic, sales director of the Vojvodina-based Potisje brick factory, told IWPR that since the end of conflict cooperation has blossomed with Kosovo Albanians. Kosovo is a very important market to us. Up to 70 per cent of our annual production goes there, he said.

But not everyone is happy with the flourishing trade relations between these two former enemies.

Kosovo economists point out that business is very one-sided. Thanks to the entitys undeveloped economy and Serbian reluctance to recognise Kosovo travel documents, the goods only travel one way - south.

Mustafa Ibrahimi, of the Kosovo Chamber of Economy, complains that even if the regions economy was more developed, container trucks from there would not be in a position to enter Serbia.

Serbia has the advantage over exports to Kosovo, as Albanians are not able to travel to Serbia on Kosovo licence plates, he said.

Statistics from the entitys ministry of trade illustrate the stark imbalance. Serbia exported goods to Kosovo in first nine months of 2003 worth 108 million euro, just over 15 per cent of the regions total imports. Over the same period, Kosovo sold Serbia goods worth some 3.5 million euro.

Goods heading north were worth less than one-thirtieth of the amount travelling south.

Kosovo trade minister Ali Jakupi says the duty-free regime between Serbia and the protectorate hinders the growth of local industries and makes Serbian products more competitive than local ones.

We should trade with Serbia under different conditions, because without proper customs duty, Serbia has advantage in selling us products such as flour, oil, sugar, which are consumed in huge amount here, he said.

There are no psychological reasons for this trade Serbian products are just cheaper.

While Milos Boskovics brick factory in Vojvodina is flourishing, Shemsedin Rashitis in Podujevo, north-east Kosovo, is close to bankruptcy, owing to competition with Serbia.

Bricks bought in Serbia costs 13 to 19 cents each but in Kosovo they cost about 30 cents per brick, he said. People have no interest in buying from us here in Kosovo.

Until Kosovo starts producing goods that are cheaper and as good as Serbian products, the Albanian money will continue to flow north to Serbia.

People want the lowest prices and we have to meet customers needs, said Agron, a store keeper from the Besa supermarket in Pristinas Bregu i Diellit district, pointing to shelves covered with products from everywhere but Kosovo.

I have to buy this container of Serbian salt, as that is the only one in this shop, a customer explained defensively. If there was any other one, I wouldnt buy this Serbian one.

Tanja Matic is IWPR Kosovo project coordinator. Altin Ahmeti is an economics journalist with Koha Ditore.

 
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February 9 2004, 10:47 AM 

Departure of KLA leaders to Hague matter of days, Batic.

09:51 BELGRADE , Feb 9 (Tanjug) - Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic has said that the departure of KLA (so-called Kosovo liberation army) leaders to The Hague is a metter of days.

"Indictments will be issued. Two investigations against three KLA leaders have been closed, and it is expected that the indictments will shortly be issued. It has been promised that that would done by the New Year, and I expect that that will be very soon," Batic stressed in an inteview for the Monady issue of the Belgrade daily Glas Javnosti.

 
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February 9 2004, 12:14 PM 

US Urges Kosovo to Focus on Creation of Multi-Ethnic Democratic Society.

David Gollust
State Department
05 Feb 2004, 23:38 UTC

The United States Thursday urged Kosovo's leaders to focus on meeting U.N. standards for democracy rather than the question of the majority ethnic-Albanian province's possible independence from Serbia and Montenegro. The prime minister of Kosovo, Bajram Rexhepi, is in Washington this week and met Wednesday with Secretary of State Colin Powell and other officials.
Though Kosovo's leaders say that uncertainty about the province's future is hurting its economy, the State Department says their attention should be on creating a multi-ethnic democratic society rather than Kosovo's ultimate status.

The comments follow talks late Wednesday between Secretary Powell and Mr. Rexhepi, who was in Washington to attend Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event that attracts a number of foreign leaders and political figures.

Kosovo, a province of the former Yugoslavia, has been a United Nations protectorate since 1999, when NATO air strikes forced Serb forces to withdraw after a brief but bloody conflict with separatist ethnic-Albanian guerrillas.

In December, the U.N. chief for Kosovo, former Finnish prime minister Harri Holkeri, presented a set of standards for building democracy for Kosovo.

They are to serve as the basis for a U.N. assessment by the middle of 2005 on whether the province is ready for talks about its final status, either independence or autonomy within the new Serbia and Montenegro.

At news briefing State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that in meetings with Mr. Rexhepi, Secretary Powell and Under-Secretary of State Marc Grossman stressed the importance of implementing the U.N. standards and cooperating with Mr. Holkeri's administration.

"We continue to support the efforts of the U.N. in Kosovo and the leadership of U.N. Special Representative Holkeri to bring about a multiethnic, democratic society in Kosovo, as defined by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244," he said. "At this time, we believe progress needs to focus - the focus needs to be on making progress on standards, particularly those involving multi-ethnicity, and not a discussion of final status. We have not taken a position at this time on the outcome of final status discussions."

Mr. Boucher said the United States remains committed to the province's development and will continue to work with allies to create a stable and democratic Kosovo.

In an interview with The Washington Times newspaper Thursday, Mr. Rexhepi said the U.N. administration had overstayed its welcome, and that inability of the international community to focus on an "ultimate vision" for Kosovo had made the job of governing it much harder.

He said Kosovo's uncertain future was, among other things, scaring away investors and delaying privatization deals for state-owned industries.

Mr. Rexhepi also said Kosovo's ethnic-Albanians, who make up 90 percent of the population, remain overwhelmingly committed to independence.

The province's ethnic Serbs, most of whom fled Kosovo during the war, want it to stay a part of Serbia and Montenegro. The estimated 80,000 Serbs who remain in Kosovo live mainly in enclaves protected by the 19,000 member NATO security force there.

 
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February 9 2004, 2:23 PM 

Vitina, Kosovo: Fear Forces Them To Flee From Their Centuries-Old Homes.

Reality Macedonia ^ | February 8, 2004

"Vesti" reporter visits Serbs in Kosovska Vitina

Only 208 Serbs remain in this small town out of a pre-summer 1999 population of 3,500. They are safest close to the church, the location of the KFOR checkpoint. Albanian physician who treats our illnesses threatened by his compatriots, says teacher Milusa Jokic.

Until June 1999 just over 3,500 Serbs lived in Kosovska Vitina, a small town on the fertile Kosovsko Pomoravlje plain. Today only 208 remain. Most of them moved away. Those who stayed in Vitina, where most of them live in the few small streets not far from the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Petka and in so-called Dajic Mahala, cannot really say life is good.

"We live in fear. The only lucky thing in our misfortune is that the KFOR troops are here near the church. They have a permanent security checkpoint and since we are right next to them we feel a little safer. Otherwise we would have to leave. We don't have the feeling of security that people have who are living normal lives," said Gordana Tajic, who lives in Kosovska Vitina with her husband Dragan and their two sons. Her family owns a lot of land nearby but they still do not dare plant crops as a result of frequent attacks and provocations by their Albanian neighbors.

Planting crops a life-threatening danger

"Two years ago my husband tried to plant crops on those fields but he was attacked. They fired four shots at him," said Gordana.

When asked what they are planning for the future, Gordana shrugged her shoulders and replied that "many of our neighbors have sold their houses..."

"Recently an Albanian man who usurped a part of land[, and] built a cattle market on it. I sued him, I complained to UNMIK, 70 year-old Milorad S. Rajkovic told us. He said that the most difficult thing for him is that he is forced to live on meager social assistance.

Serb children in Kosovska Vitina attend classes for grades one to eight in the private house of Radovan Dajic. Every day the 40 or so children worry whether their teachers will come to class. The children are not provided with KFOR escorts but luckily, the locals tell us, in the last few months children have not been targeted although the fear is always there while they are on their way to and from the improvised school. In the past four years 60 Serbs have been killed in the Vitina region. One of the victims was a 17 year-old youth from Vitina, Sasa Dodic.

"We don't have a doctor in our small town. Most of the Serbs go to Vrbovac or to other Serb villages. But when someone has a problem and no transportation or opportunity to go to a Serb doctor, then we are sent to an Albanian private physician. Dr. Fetija generally charges us symbolic fees for his services. He is nice, despite the fact that local Albanians threaten him for treating Serbs," Milusa Jokic, a teacher in the Serb school, told us.

Most Serbs in the enclave are without work and waiting for buyers for their houses; meanwhile, their hopes for survival in this small town are quickly fading.

*

Combination shop and reading room

The Serbs get together in the shop across the road from the church. The same building houses an area where younger Serbs, and a few not so young, read newspapers and magazines to keep up with events in other parts of Serbia.

"The foreigners say that this is an improvised youth center. Since we don't get the Belgrade press and can watch only Albanian TV, if it was not for the center, we would not even know that we are in Serbia," said 19 year-old Boban.

 
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February 11 2004, 8:48 AM 

U.N. Report.

Washington Times
By Betsy Pisik

Kosovo laws updated.

Transnational crime analysts for years have been looking at the Balkans with dismay, wondering how to slow the traffic on its smugglers' superhighway.

So it was good news when the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) issued a regulation on Friday that requires banks, nongovernmental organizations, political parties and any entity that handles large amounts of cash to report transactions to UNMIK's new Financial Information Center.

"This is a major step forward, a powerful tool that we have to fight money laundering and by implication, penetration of the economy by organized crime," Jean-Christian Cady, the acting head of UNMIK, said in Pristina on Friday.

The new rules, which take effect March 1, are necessary, said Harri Holkeri, the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general in Kosovo and de facto leader in Pristina.

"The Balkans are east of the West and west of the East," Mr. Holkeri, a Finn, said in an interview Friday after briefing the U.N. Security Council on the situation in Kosovo. "It's a smuggling route, a trafficking route, for everything ... money, people, cars."

If the new rules are enforced, it would set Kosovo above scores of countries in terms of financial transparency and accountability two qualities that asset-shelterers hate. It's not yet clear whether Kosovo eventually will become a sovereign state or return to being a mainly Muslim province in mostly Christian Serbia.

Belgrade has made it plain that it will not tolerate losing Kosovo, and Kosovars are equally intractable about returning to their old status.

The failure of the international community to decide Kosovo's fate remains a problem, Mr. Holkeri told The Washington Times. The United Nations has administered Kosovo since June 1999.

"This final status is the biggest thing for everyone," he said, "but the question itself is totally in the hands of the Security Council."

 
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February 11 2004, 8:50 AM 

Ombudsman urges KFOR to return Serb checkpoints | 13:51 | Beta

PRISTINA -- Tuesday Kosovo ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki has urged international peacekeepers in the province to re-establish military checkpoints in a number of villages populated solely by Serbs.

In a letter to KFOR commander Holger Kammerhoff, Nowicki expressed concern that Serb villagers felt insecure without the checkpoints, adding that there are no adequate telephone services in the villages and the residents would be unable to seek help in any emergency situations.

 
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February 12 2004, 2:05 PM 

Draskovic claims US support for Kosovo division | 14:53 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Thursday Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic said today that his proposal for the cantonisation of Kosovo has won support in Washington.

He said it was essential to the global struggle against terrorism for Kosovo to be divided, with Serb Kosovars and Serb security forces returning to their own territory as part of the allied forces.

Draskovic, speaking after a visit to Washington, said that his concept had been received with great interest in the White House, the State Department, the Senate the Congress and the National Security Council.

He added that he had received assurances that the US would never abandon its position on Serbias historic right to Kosovo, unless hostile forces seized power in Serbia.

 
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February 23 2004, 1:29 PM 

B92/Beta
February 18, 2004

Protection Corps Members Interrogated.

-Associations of former Liberation Army members said today that they will protest in a number of Kosovo municipalities over the arrests, accusing the UN mission in Kosovo of an attack on the values of the former guerrilla organisation.

PRISTINA -- Wednesday - An international investigative magistrate today began interrogating four members of the Kosovo Protection Corps who were arrested in southeast Kosovo on Monday.

One of those arrested is the commander of the Corps' Second Zone, Selim Krasniqi.

The four are suspected of committing war crimes against Albanian civilians in Kosovo in 1998, while members of the former Kosovo Liberation Army.

Associations of former Liberation Army members said today that they will protest in a number of Kosovo municipalities over the arrests, accusing the UN mission in Kosovo of an attack on the values of the former guerrilla organisation.

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B92/Beta
February 18, 2004

KFOR Refuses Escort for Aid Deliveries

-More than eight thousand Serbs lived in Prizren [Kosovo's second largest city] before the NATO war of 1999. Now only 68 remain, relying on aid packages of food and toiletries.

GRACANICA -- Wednesday - Humanitarian aid packages delivered this week by the Serbian Red Cross to a monastery near Prizren cannot be delivered to the town's Serbian population because KFOR has refused to provide a security escort, Serbian Orthodox Church representatives said today.

More than eight thousand Serbs lived in Prizren before the NATO war of 1999. Now only 68 remain, relying on aid packages of food and toiletries.

The Church says the monks in the monastery have received no reply to their numerous requests for an escort in order to deliver the aid packages to the remaining Prizren Serbs.

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3)
Tanjug
February 18, 2004

SCG Defense Minister Announced His Early Resignation

-Tadic said that the international community was first and foremost interested in a reformed security system, that Serbia and Montenegro did not have a good interntional position and that one of the essential ways to improve it was to reform the Army of Serbia and Montenegro.

17:08 BELGRADE , Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Serbia and Montenegro Defense Minister Boris Tadic said on Wednesday that one of the crucial issues for the future of the country was the reform of the security and defence system and announced that he would probably tender his resignation to the post of minister.

Tadic said that the international community was first and foremost interested in a reformed security system, that Serbia and Montenegro did not have a good interntional position and that one of the essential ways to improve it was to reform the Army of Serbia and Montenegro.

 
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February 23 2004, 1:31 PM 

B92/Beta
February 20, 2004

Serbs Killed in Kosovo Village

LIPLJAN -- Friday - Two Serbs are reported to have been murdered last night in the Kosovo village of Lipljan.

Beta news agency names the victims as Zlatimor Kostic from Kosovo Polje and Miljana Markovic from Staro Gacko.

A senior Kosovo Serb MP this morning described the killings as "horrific," and blamed the "inaction" of the United Nations administration, UNMIK, and the international peacekeeping force, KFOR.

"They haven't established law and order in Kosovo or shed light on crimes committed before," said Oliver Ivanovic, a member of the Kosovo Parliament Presidency.

He claimed the murders would "encourage extremists" and were aimed at driving out the remaining Serbs.

Ivanovic warned of "tragic consequences" for efforts to improve the situation in the UN-governed province.

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Tanjug
February 20, 2004

Kosovo Serbs Riddled With Bullets

12:28 LIPLJAN , Feb 20 (Tanjug) - Two Kosovo Serbs were riddled with bullets near Lipljan late on Thursday, while they were driving down the Staro Gradsko - Lipljan road.

Milijana Markovic (24) from Staro Gradsko and professor of electronics Zlatimir Kostic from Susice were found dead in the car, following the late Thursday firing from automatic weapons.

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February 20, 2004

KPC Wants to be "Protection Force," Not Gendarmerie - Ceku

11:06 PRISTINA , Feb 20 (Tanjug) - Commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KZK) General Agim Ceku has said that KZK sees itself as the province's future "protection force" - a Kosovo-Metohija army.

In an interview for the Thursday issue of the Pristina [Prishtina] daily Zeri, Ceku said that KZK had made a project on setting up military police forces, something like a gendarmerie, as part of the future "protection forces" which would derive from the corps.

 
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February 25 2004, 4:10 PM 

Solana pledges ongoing support for Kosovo | 12:49 -> 19:14 | B92

PRISTINA -- Tuesday European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said today that the EU will continue to support Kosovo both politically and financially.

Speaking in Pristina after talks with President Ibrahim Rugova, Solana announced that the EU will invest 100 million euros in Kosovo to assist with implementation of the standards imposed by the international community.

He told journalists that the Union had already invested more than five hundred million euros in Kosovo, adding that the implementation of standards is a process of great importance for the future of the province.

Solana also met with Harri Holkeri, the head of the United Nations mission to the province, and leaders of the Kosovo Serb minority.

The foreign policy chief said that Brussels would closely follow progress in implementing the standards set out by the international community, focusing on reforms to the economy, the rule of law and minority rights.

He urged political leaders to specify issues of politics or economics on which the EU could provide support, and warned that the period ahead is of vital importance.

Theres no time to lose. As soon as the implementation of the plan begins, the better it will be for all, Solana told reporters.

He promised to return to the troubled province to observe how the strategy is progressing on the ground.

 
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February 27 2004, 11:10 AM 

Kosovo Assembly Murals Enrage Serbs.

New buildings dcor angers both Serbs and guardians of good taste.

IWPR
By Jeta Xharra in Pristina (BCR No 482, 26-Feb-04)

As you walk into the renovated wing of the Kosovo parliament in Pristina, a circle of marble tiles in the lobby is meant to conjure up associations with NATOs insignia an artistic thank-you to the alliance for the bombing that drove Serbian troops from Kosovo in 1999.

With its grandiose mahogany staircases, the main hall resembles the interior of a luxury liner about to embark on a smooth ocean crossing. But the opening of the 2.5 million euro premises has been anything but smooth.

The controversies that followed the inauguration ceremony on December 18 have turned the building into an obstacle, rather than an aid, to the assemblys work.

The money for the renovation work came from Kosovo taxpayers while the electronic voting system was a gift of the European Agency for Reconstruction.

The parliament has been at work since December 2001, when the Albanians who make up 90 per cent of Kosovos population, regained their own assembly after more than a decade under the direct rule of Slobodan Milosevics regime in Belgrade.

But in a sign of the trouble that was to come, Harri Holkeri, head of United Nations Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, refused to attend the opening ceremony. According to Holkeri, this was because the murals on the walls were of a mono-ethnic character.

Two tall murals, each more than 5 metres high, on either side of the entry hall represent Skenderbeg, the medieval Albanian hero who defeated an invading Ottoman army. A third painting represents the Prizren League, a 19th-century gathering of Albanian leaders that paved the way for the creation of an independent Albania in 1912.

The murals in the assembly are mono-ethnic in nature, while the assembly is a multi-ethnic institution and the murals should reflect the multi-ethnic nature of the assembly as well as of Kosovo, said Mechthild Henneke, UNMIKs press officer.

Despite this criticism, Nexhat Daci, speaker of the assembly, has refused to remove the murals, saying that would only humiliate the Albanians.

He suggested that local Serbian representatives in the Povratak coalition should instead install paintings reflecting their own history on the remaining blank spaces.

However, as there is no room for more paintings of the same size in the entrance hall, they would effectively - have to be hung in the interior of the assembly caf.

The Serb members of parliament are unimpressed and have boycotted every session in this new building.

Oliver Ivanovic, the Serbian member of the assemblys presidency, told IWPR on February 23 that Serb deputies would only return to the parliament if the Albanians removed one of the three large murals, so that we could put up one painting with Serbian motifs of the same size.

Ramush Tahiri, advisor to the speaker of parliament, said he had received a faxed proposal along those lines from the Povratak coalition but had refused to consider it on account of the nature of the communication.

The fax is directed to the Institutions of Kosovo and Metohija, he declared. We cannot review or discuss this proposal in parliament since this is an unacceptable name.

The terms Kosovo and Metohija, which is sometimes abbreviated to Kosmet, are exclusively Serbian and a cause of great irritation to the Albanians who call the land Kosova.

Nevertheless, Tahiri admits that Albanian deputies - including himself - are not happy with the murals. These paintings are badly made copies and we want a committee formed to decide on replacements, he said. But no one wants to be seen as the person who removed the great Skenderbeg [from the walls], at least not before any new elections.

A need to take a patriotic stance in public and to glorify the nations heroes has been a distinguishing feature of Kosovo Albanian cultural and public life since the Serbian withdrawal.

In some places, statues have been erected in honour of countries that took part in the bombing of Serbia in 1999. A prominent example is the miniature but eye-catching American Statue of Liberty placed on top of the roof of the Pristinas Victory Hotel.

Zake Prelvukaj, a well-known painter teaching in the University of Pristina, is one of many intellectuals who believes the attempt to render patriotism into art in the new assembly has not benefited Kosovo.

Why did they not let Kosovar painters decorate the parliament instead of allowing Italians to deliver these embarrassing paintings? she asked. We are training artists who are virtually starving from lack of work.

Prelvukaj criticised the decision to leave the assemblys design and furnishings to the Italian interior design company Mabetex, which had been subcontracted to renovate the parliament.

The artist said the motifs chosen by the company had done more harm than good. Albanians must be clever in this phase of state-building, she said, which means choosing authentic symbols for Kosovo that do not stir up such animosity.

This has actually hindered the development of a Kosovo state and has definitely harmed the image of the Albanians.

Bexhet Pacolli, the head of Mabetex group, defended his organisation, The paintings and murals where not a part of our contract at all. But when we noticed there were three big walls in the entry hall we asked painters from the League of Painters in Kosovo to come up with three paintings. They told me that it will take at least 9 months to finish them. None of these painters was prepared to come and work in sub-zero temperature this winter and slave away like my workers did.

Additionaly, the paintings might not be of a high artistic value but I assure you that we have made an effort to be politically sensitive in our choice. For example, we removed the guns and knives from the original painting of the Prizren League because we wanted to create an image of diplomacy rather than war and bloodthirsty images.

I am sure that more can be done and images could be improved but we have done what we could to our capacity. The issue is that it would take five minutes to remove these murals and put something else. Why don't they do this? Nobody has asked me to do this. That is because they would have to actually work harder to produce these paintings and artists would rather prefer they gather and criticise as they sit in cafes of Kosovo.

Jeta Xharra is IWPR project manager in Kosovo.

 
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March 1 2004, 2:16 PM 

Ceku released as Croatian citizen | 23:35 | Beta

BUDAPEST -- Sunday - Agim Ceku, a former guerrilla leader and current commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps, was released by Hungarian police today and handed over to Croatian diplomatic authorities.

A spokesman for the Hungarian border patrol said the Croatian embassy in Budapest had identified Ceku as a Croatian citizen.

That individual entered Hungary with Croatian documents, but in the warrant against him it is stated he is a citizen of Serbia, Sandor Orodan told Beta news agency.

He conceded it was perfectly clear that the individual detained was the individual on the warrant, but said that Interpol was not able to unequivocally identify him.

Ceku was detained today at the airport in Budapest on a warrant issued by the Serbian authorities, accusing him of genocide in Kosovo after the arrival of the international administration and peacekeepers.

 
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March 3 2004, 12:10 PM 

Apologetics of the Albanian Land Grab.

Serbianna.com
By M. Bozinovich

Recent International Crisis Group's (ICG) report "Pan-Albanianism: How a Big a Threat To Balkan Stability?" should raise serious concerns not only in Belgrade, but also in Skopje and Athens because it is suggesting to policy makers that a conditional independence of the Serbian Kosovo province is a good thing for the stability of the region. The prospect of further fragmentation of the region hardly helps the cause of the European integration.

In fact, the latest ICG document reeks on Milosevic-style land grab initiatives where one enumerates an endless catalogue of grievances against those from whom one wants to acquire land and then enlists armed thugs to ethnically cleanse the ground and lobbyists like ICG who will overlook it while pressing for urgency in settling the matter, presumably while the thugs are still capable of holding on to the territory.

ICG is frantically urging a fast-track solution in Albanian favor wherever an Albanian lives or else, suggests ICG, blood will spill. For example, on matters in Kosovo ICG says: "[i]f the final status of Kosovo is not resolved within the foreseeable future, the southern Balkans will inevitably see a resumption of conflict." Elsewhere, ICG claims that: "The issue of reform in Macedonia and the Presevo Valley of Southern Serbia is pressing". In Greece ICG urges speed because Albanians hold grievances against Greeks over Cham (East Epirus) region and, siding with Albanians, ICG claims that East Epirus is "a festering wound in Albanian-Greek relations, [that] could easily be used by Albanians" so the matter should be settled "before it gets hijacked".

Of course, to analyze all grievances Albanians hold against Greeks and Slavs in the Balkans that ICG lists in the report would be wondrous just to see how many of them are fictitious. Suffice it to say, however, that there are many, some tangible, others intangible so that in an aggregate, an inexperienced reader gets an impression that the Albanians in the Balkans are festive souls husbanding a refined culture that is under organized armed threat by evil Christians that forcefully took domicile in their pristine midst in order to ravage it.

The Lying Communists
- ICG writes that "Albanians... never saw Yugoslavia as a country they had freely chosen to join" because communists lied to them by promising them "right to self-determination, up to and including secession" but never delivered because they got a handpicked group that voted to make Kosovo part of Serbia and not Albania. Well, communists also got a handpicked group of Serbs that placed Serbs in 3 other countries - Bosnia, Croatia and Macedonia.


... and even on this historical point, ICG is selective and deliberate in what it leaves out. For example, the report states that the greatest Albanian hero of the 1400s, Skenderbeg, fought for Ottomans before he switched on them yet fails to mention that an overwhelming number of Albanian chieftains have been vicious proxy fighters for Muslim Turks that ruled Balkan Christians for 500 years and have been rewarded for their brutality with Greek or Slav land. The report also fails to mention that Albanians were against Greek, Serbian, Romanian and Bulgarian wars of liberation; that Albanians fought on the side of Austria in WWI and Nazis in WWII. Importantly, ICG fails to mention that it is the Ottomans that invited the Albanians into Kosovo, Macedonia and Epirus by granting them land they forcefully confiscated from Greeks and Slavs. So, when ICG eulogizes that the 1912 London Conference shortchanged the Albanians, an unsuspecting reader may believe in a Christian conspiracy rather then the fact that Albanians have, for the last half of millennia, fought against civilization in the Balkans.

The selectiveness, however, allows ICG to skip modern-day unpleasantries such as hundreds of demolished Christian churches in the Albanian administered Kosovo, hundreds of thousands of ethnically cleansed Serbs and Roma, insecurity of the citizens particularly non-Albanians, increasing influence of the extremist and intolerant Islamic Wahabbis, presence of al-Qaeda cells, revival of medieval culture of vendettas... In fact, ICG recommendations require everyone against whom the Albanian extremists have a grievance to do something because these thugs are holding a cocked gun... except the Albanians themselves whom ICG requires to simply speak.

Says the report in its point number 11: "To Albanian Political Leaders throughout the Balkans: 11. Speak out against extremist politicians and violent groups which seek to undermine the peace agreements of the last five years."

By phrasing the recommendations as messianic commandments in which Greeks, Slavs and EU must accommodate the aggrieved Albanians because they hold everyone under barrel of a gun, ICGs unreasonable prescription that further fragments Balkans is, ironically, a result of a sound premise. Not only is ICG asking a correct question as to the ceiling of the Albanian nationalism in the Balkans but correctly points that it will be tamed over time as the process of European integration expands into the Balkans that will, eventually, establish an open border regime.
"The context of European integration now has the potential to change the political dynamics of the entire region. If and when the states of the region join the European Union, then Albanians will all be part of the same political unit for the first time since 1912, with no economic barriers and complete freedom of movement." writes ICG.

Given the inevitability of the European integration process, why is then ICG in such a rush to reward Albanian violent demands? What difference does it make to anyone whether Kosovo remains a province of Serbia within the context of a European integration to which Serbia is firmly committed?

Impatient allocation of Serbian Kosovo to Albanians now, as advocated by the ICG, would reward Albanian violence and encourage these nationalists to administer another violent salvo on Greece and Macedonia then demand piece of their territory. The sequel to the independence of Kosovo is rather clear: then, as now, ICG will steadfast claim, once again as now, that it is not about Greater Albania and it will once again, as now, demand that Albanian leaders "speak" and do nothing about violence their nationals are perpetrating, then upon Greeks though.

The anti-peace recommendations of this well funded organization that enjoys money from many world's governments is a rather bizarre matter that may easily venture a conspiracy-prone person to believe that certain members of the ICGs Board of Directors may dictate what this think-tank should think. While ICGs Board of Directors does not include a single person from the Balkans it, for example, has a number of members with prior hostile relationship with Serbs - Wesley Clark, Louise Arbour, George Soros - and several Islamic members who may be, ex-ante, sympathetic to the Albanian nationalism because Albanians are Muslims and according to Islam cannot do any wrong.

Leaving conspiracy on the side, ICG report is, however, quick to invoke it when discussing Greater Serbian designs while denying any about Greater Albanian ones. For example, ICG document claims that "The programme for a Greater Serbia the Nacertanie was perpetuated in the notorious 1986 Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts" although the Albanian Academy of Sciences in 1998 wrote a similar "Platform for the Solution of the National Albanian Question" seeking acquisition of land from 4 other countries. Since then, this institution has presumably had a change of heart and is now supposedly advocating tranquil, bridges-building policies for the Albanians because Paskal Milo wrote a book refuting Greater Albania.

Writes ICG: "Paskal Milo, who served as Albanias foreign minister from 1997 to 2001, was so dismayed by the number of questions he was asked by foreigners pertaining to the issue of a greater Albania that he felt compelled to write a booklet to refute the notion that a desire for a greater Albania exists in mainstream political circles in Albania, Kosovo or Macedonia."

Since we are all now convinced that Albania is a benign, constructive force for good that does not want to enlarge itself at expense of others, then why are Albanian militants fomenting violence in Serbia and Macedonia demanding their land and are now threatening Greece with the same?

Leaving this matter unanswered, ICG also remains mute at explaining the peculiar tendency of Balkan leaders to delink themselves from the thugs that perpetrate politically complementary violence. For example, an erroneous belief exists that in the 1990s Croatian leadership never supported Ustashi formations led by Paraga when it is transparent that Tudjman armed them and used them to kill Serbs. Similar case is between an alleged relationship of Milosevic and Arkan, Bosnian Muslim leadership and al-Qaeda...

Writes ICG: " Ibrahim Rugova posed... at the end of September 2003, warning that if the independence of Kosovo was not recognised, then sooner rather than later, extremists can be expected to try and form a unified Albanian state."

How does president of Kosovo know what the "extremists" will do unless they are working for him and are therefore obligated to execute what he wills?

The inevitability of the European integration renders Albanian nationalism that seeks to acquire Slavic and Greek territory for itself an antiquated imperial land-grab that will remain a festering wound upon the future of the European Union.

ICG admits that over time, Albanian nationalism will get tamed. One then is left wondering whether business of the International Crisis Group's is to promote rather then solve crisis.

 
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March 10 2004, 9:53 AM 

Kosovo 'Court' Overturns Convictions In Inter-KLA Murder Trial.

Kosovo court overturns murder convictions

B92.net

PRISTINA -- Monday The Kosovo Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of three ethnic Albanians accused of killing a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army. The case has been returned to the Prizren district court. Ekrem Rexha was killed in a hail of bullets outside his home on May 8, 2000.

 
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March 10 2004, 10:14 AM 

KOSOVO - BULGRIA-INTERIOR MINISTRY VISIT.

KFOR Commander Gen. Kammerhoff Says He Hopes Bulgarian Troops Will Stay in Kosovo until End of Mission.

Pristina, March 9 (BTA Special Correspondent Dimiter Abrashev) - Bulgaria's Interior Ministry Chief Secretary Boiko Borissov, who arrived on a one-day official visit to Kosovo on Tuesday, conferred with UNMIK Police Commissioner Stefan Feller and with the Principal Deputy Head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo Charles H. Brayshaw.

Borissov and Feller discussed the October 1999 murder in Pristina of UN officer Valentin Kroumov, they told a news conference after their session. Feller assured General Borissov that investigation into the case is in progress and has never been put on the back burner.

The UNMIK Police chief praised the performance of the Bulgarian contingent in Kosovo, General Borissov told the news conference. During his visit, members of the 98-strong Bulgarian civilian police contingent were decorated with 11 jubilee medals at a formal ceremony.

General Borissov invited Feller to visit Bulgaria soon.

The Research Institute of Forensic Science and Criminology at the Bulgarian Interior Ministry will continue to make expert examinations for Kosovo, it was announced at the news conference.

General Borissov said that a political decision is expected by March 15 on the problem of the travel to Bulgaria of Kosovo citizens on interim identity documents and interim vehicle registration numbers.

Emerging from the session with Borissov later on Tuesday, Brayshaw expressed support for Bulgaria's idea to set up a Balkan centre for the fight against organized crime and terrorism. He told the guest the Interim Administration appreciates highly Bulgaria's contribution to the preservation of peace in Kosovo. "Organized crime has a regional shade, and success in the fight against it requires our joint effort through information exchange," the Deputy Head of UNMIK said. The guest familiarized him with the latest Bulgarian police operations which received high marks.

Ending his conference with General Borissov, the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) Commander, Lieutenant General Hoger Kammerhoff, said he hopes the Bulgarian contingent will stay in Kosovo until the end of its mission.

The Bulgarian police contingent is small but efficient, the KFOR cooperation with it is very important and the Bulgarians play a key role in the peacekeeping mission, General Kammerhoff also said.

The delegation led by General Borissov includes General Roumen Stoyanov, Director of the Sofia Directorate of the Interior; General Zhivko Zhivkov, Chief of the National Gendarmerie Service; General Iliya Iliev, Director of the National Police Service; and General Valentin Petrov, Director of the Regional Directorate of the Interior in Plovdiv.

"Kosovo is turning into a better place to live in with every passing day, and you also take credit for it," General Borissov said addressing the contingent of Bulgarian police officers in Kosovo during the formal ceremony at which 11 officers got medals.

Three days ago a large explosive device of 4.6 kg in trotyl equivalent was defused, the chief of the contingent, Colonel Kiril Kirilov, said. He admitted that the number of crimes against foreign representatives has grown. Colonel Kirilov did not rule out the possibility of terrorist acts against foreigners.

The clearance rates of murders in Kosovo have increased by 40 per cent, the chief of the Bulgarian police contingent said.

Three Bulgarian nationals were detained for 60 days each and they still are under arrest in Pristina. Hundreds of kilos of narcotics and a lot of automobiles of unclear origin have been seized.

The Research Institute of Forensic Science and Criminology at the Bulgarian Interior Ministry has made 750 expert examinations for Kosovo. On Tuesday the Bulgarian police officers in Kosovo raised nearly 4,000 euros. The money was handed over to General Borissov and will be donated to children of Interior Ministry officers killed in action.

 
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March 12 2004, 1:46 PM 

Explosives found near UN building in Kosovo.

Serbianna.com

POLICE and NATO-led peacekeepers found explosives placed close to the UN mission headquarters in Kosovo early today after receiving a bomb threat.

The homemade bomb was found in a black sports bag by a fence adjacent to the UN mission headquarters' parking lot in the centre of the province's capital, Pristina, said UN police spokesman Derek Chappell.

The find was made after police received a phone call tipping them off that a bomb had been planted near the UN building, he added.

"The sports bag was found to be an improvised explosive device containing a quantity of explosive connected to a timer and battery."

The device was disarmed by NATO-led bomb disposal teams two hours after police received the tip-off.
Police declined to disclose the amount and type of explosives found. The area was cordoned off and a search was launched, Chappell said.

Harri Holkeri, Kosovo's UN administrator, condemned the action and said: "Additional security measures are being implemented to prevent future attacks of this nature." He did not elaborate.

Kosovo officially remains part of Serbia-Montenegro, the successor state to Yugoslavia. But it has been run by a UN mission and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation peacekeepers since mid-1999, when a NATO bombing campaign forced Serb military and police to end their crackdown on the independence-seeking ethnic Albanian majority and pull out of the province.

02-07-04

 
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March 12 2004, 1:48 PM 

Serbian Families Want Clark Testimony On NATO Bombings.

BELGRADE (AP)--Parents of Serbian Television workers killed by NATO bombs during the 1999 campaign want U.S. presidential hopeful Wesley Clark to testify in Belgrade that Slobodan Milosevic knew of the TV strike in advance, one of the mothers said Sunday.

Zanka Stojanovic, the mother of one of the 16 workers killed, said she and the other parents were urging Clark to come the Serbian capital to reveal what he knew of the 78-day alliance bombing.

"We just want the truth to finally come out," Stojanovic told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "None of us have been able to get over what happened."

NATO missiles slammed into the television's Belgrade headquarters on April 23, 1999, killing 16 people - technicians, doormen and a makeup artist.

Clark, who was NATO's top commander at the time, has said Milosevic was in a position to know about the TV bombing because the alliance had revealed the plan to a CNN journalist with the understanding that Milosevic would be informed.

Clark made the comment in an interview aired Jan. 26 by Democracy Now!, a New York-based alternative radio and television program broadcast on more than 140 stations in the U.S.

Stojanovic said she and other parents decided to write the letter after Belgrade media reported Clark's comment.

"My question for you is this: are you ready to come to Belgrade and testify in a court that Milosevic was informed of the upcoming bombing of the television," the letter said.

Stojanovic said there were plans to deliver the letter to the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade on Monday, in hopes it would reach Clark. Her son Nebojsa, 26 at the time of the bombing, worked as a technician at the television.

For the parents, Clark's testimony before Serbian court magistrates would provide a legal document that could serve to bring clarity to the deaths, Stojanovic said. She declined to say whether the victims' parents were preparing for a lawsuit.

"Only one thing is certain, my son and his colleagues never got that information," she said of the TV bombing.

Stojanovic also urged Clark to name the CNN journalist told about the bombing and answer whether he had received any response that the information had been passed to Milosevic.

"You are an officer and I trust in your honor ... you owe me the truth," Stojanovic quoted from the letter.

A CNN spokeswoman did not immediately return a phone call placed by the AP.

Clark in December testified against Milosevic before the U.N. war crimes tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, where the former Yugoslav president is on trial for his role in the Balkan bloodletting of the 1990s. The television strike was not mentioned in the court during Clark's appearance.

NATO in 1999 launched the air war to halt Milosevic's crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians in the southern province of Kosovo. The Serbian television, then a mouthpiece for Milosevic, was proclaimed by NATO a "legitimate" target.

The workers' deaths caused a public outcry in Serbia, with the victims' families blaming both NATO and Milosevic for consciously placing their loved ones in harm's way.

Milosevic's troops were forced out of Kosovo in mid-June, 1999. A pro-democracy movement toppled him in October, 2000, and in June 2001 he was extradited for trial to the Netherlands.

Although Milosevic was never charged in Serbia with the TV deaths, his former chief of network, Dragoljub Milanovic, was sentenced in 2002 to 10 years in prison for failing to evacuate the workers during NATO air raids.

 
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March 16 2004, 2:53 PM 

Shot fired during Kosovo Serb protest | 13:21 | B92

CAGLAVICA -- Tuesday A student in Caglavica near Pristina was lightly wounded this morning when a gunshot was fired from an Albanian house during a protest in the village.

The alleged shooter and the owner of the house were taken away by international peacekeeping troops.

Serbs in the village began protesting after a local teenager, 18-year-old Jovica Ivic, was shot three times in a drive-by shooting last night.

The shot this morning was fired after an argument broke out with members of the local high school. Protestors then stoned the house.

 
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March 16 2004, 2:55 PM 

Kosovo Serbs protest drive-by shooting | 11:06 -> 13:17 | B92

CAGLAVICA -- Tuesday Hundreds of Serbs from the village of Caglavica in Kosovo are continuing to block roads leading to the capital Pristina, following the shooting of a teenage boy last night.

Eighteen-year-old Jovica Ivic has been transferred to the hospital in Kosovska Mitrovica. His condition is reported to be stable following surgery during the night.

Local Serbs last night took to the streets of Caglavica and Gracanica in protest at the shooting. This morning, they continued to block roads around the two villages, not far from the capital.

Eye-witnesses say the shots were fired from a red Golf which came from the direction of Skopje and sped off towards Pristina.

Police say that eight shots were fired at Ilic from a pistol fitted with a silencer. Ivic was hit twice in the abdomen and once in the arm.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Serbs say roadblocks will stay until shooter found | 15:22 | SRNA

GRACANICA -- Tuesday Serbs in Kosovo have insisted they will maintain blocks on two of the provinces main roads until police find whoever was responsible for shooting a Serb teenager last night near the village of Caglavica.

Local Serbs set up roadblocks on the Skopje-Pristina and Pristina-Gnjilane roads after 18-year-old Jovica Ivic was shot hit times in a drive-by shooting.

Meanwhile, Serbs in Gracanica have set up a crisis group and called for the urgent decentralisation of power in the UN-governed province.

 
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March 17 2004, 9:12 AM 

US-KOSOVO-SENATOR.

US Senator Brownback warns Bush of situation in Kosovo-Metohija.

18:28 WASHINGTON , March 16 (Tanjug) - In a letter to US President George Bush, US Senator Sam Brownback has said that ethnic Albanian extremists in Kosovo-Metohija continue to kill Serbs and destroy their churches unpunished, and called on the United States to make its support and assistance to Kosovo-Metohija conditional on the consistent observation of human rights in the province.

The United States must make it clear to Kosovo Albanian leaders that they are expected to conduct a consistent investigation into crimes against Christians and to arrest and sentence their perpetrators, Brownback said in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by Tanjug on Tuesday.

 
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March 17 2004, 9:25 AM 

Explosion in Kosovska Mitrovica | 21:48 | Tanjug

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Tuesday The northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica was shaken by a powerful explosion just after 7.00 p.m. this evening, barely twenty minutes after international peacekeepers had deactivated another bomb in front of a nearby apartment building.

The explosion caused panic among both Serbs as well as among the exclusively Albanian residents of three nearby high-rise buildings.

UNMIK police had earlier sealed off part of the area when the first explosive device was discovered.

A quantity of explosives was found at almost the same site a little less than a year ago.

 
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March 17 2004, 11:27 AM 

Kosovo ombudsman warns on human rights, UN cooperation | 11:04 -> 11:11 | Beta

PARIS -- Wednesday The Kosovo ombudsman has warned that the human rights situation in the UN-governed province remains unacceptable.

It is clear that it is far from the minimum democratic standards, Marek Antoni Nowicki told a Council of Europe hearing yesterday in Paris.

The ombudsman echoed comments made by Kosovo Serb MP Milos Todorovic, who said that in terms of human rights, Kosovo today is the black hole of Europe.

The hearing was convened yesterday as part of the preparations for a report into how the European Convention on Human Rights can be applied in the troubled province.

Nowicki used his address to strongly criticise the United Nations authorities in Pristina (UNMIK), who he said had failed to support his work. The ombudsman claimed the UN mission and the local authorities frequently fail to provide him with the documents he asks for, adding that he had complained several times without reply.

It takes two to dance, and Im often forced to dance alone, said Nowicki.

He accused UN officials of playing down the importance of his recommendations, which he said were often ignored by the local authorities.

Nowicki said that though UNMIK and the office of the ombudsman are supposed to work together, he often has the impression he is working alone against the local institutions.

I dont really have the support of UNMIK, he told the hearing. If we want to protect human rights, lets work on it together.

 
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March 17 2004, 11:28 AM 

Clashes in divided Kosovo town | 12:00 | Beta

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Wednesday Clashes have been reported in Kosovska Mitrovica between international peacekeepers and ethnic Albanians trying to enter the predominantly Serb half of the ethnically-divided town in northern Kosovo.

Beta news agency reported that several thousand Kosovo Albanians tried to cross the bridge over the Ibar River shortly after 11.00 this morning. International KFOR troops used tear gas to drive them back, said the agency.

Hundreds of Serbs have assembled on the north side of the bridge.

 
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March 17 2004, 2:45 PM 

Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 14:21 GMT

Seven die in riot-hit Kosovo town.

BBC



At least seven people have been killed in clashes between crowds of Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the flashpoint town of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo. More than 200 are reported injured as heavy bursts of gunfire erupted. Nato-led peacekeepers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to keep the angry crowds apart. Tensions flared in the northern Kosovo town after two ethnic Albanian boys drowned on Tuesday, following an alleged chase by Serbs. Another boy is still missing.

Their deaths came a day after an 18-year-old Serb was wounded in a drive-by shooting in central Kosovo, prompting clashes between Serbs and Nato peacekeepers. Mitrovica has seen some of Kosovo's worst post-war violence but has been relatively quiet for more than a year.

Scores wounded.

Hundreds of Kosovo Albanians converged on the southern part of the divided town to vent their rage after the boys drowned in the Ibar River. Kosovo Serbs controlling the northern part also started gathering for the confrontation. The peacekeepers blocked off a bridge separating the Serbs and ethnic Albanians to keep the crowds apart. But soon there were bursts of gunfire - reporters said they had seen an Albanian firing with a submachine gun toward the crowd of Serbs on the other side of the bridge.

Hospital sources said up to 250 people had been injured. It is not clear who the dead people were - but some reports said there were three Serbs and and least two Albanians.


"It is a mad situation," a UN spokeswoman said, according to Reuters news agency.

"It is going to be very bad, the end result... naturally it's not helping the peace process." Violence has also been reported further south, near the village of Caglavica, near the capital, Pristina - scene of Tuesday's shooting incident in which the 18-year-old Serb was wounded. Serbs have blamed Albanians for the attack and protested by blocking the road that links Kosovo with Macedonia. Nato peacekeepers then set up their own barricades to keep the crowds apart - but some reports suggest ethnic Albanians have broken through them to march on Caglavica.

 
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March 17 2004, 2:45 PM 

Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 14:21 GMT

Seven die in riot-hit Kosovo town.

BBC



At least seven people have been killed in clashes between crowds of Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the flashpoint town of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo. More than 200 are reported injured as heavy bursts of gunfire erupted. Nato-led peacekeepers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to keep the angry crowds apart. Tensions flared in the northern Kosovo town after two ethnic Albanian boys drowned on Tuesday, following an alleged chase by Serbs. Another boy is still missing.

Their deaths came a day after an 18-year-old Serb was wounded in a drive-by shooting in central Kosovo, prompting clashes between Serbs and Nato peacekeepers. Mitrovica has seen some of Kosovo's worst post-war violence but has been relatively quiet for more than a year.

Scores wounded.

Hundreds of Kosovo Albanians converged on the southern part of the divided town to vent their rage after the boys drowned in the Ibar River. Kosovo Serbs controlling the northern part also started gathering for the confrontation. The peacekeepers blocked off a bridge separating the Serbs and ethnic Albanians to keep the crowds apart. But soon there were bursts of gunfire - reporters said they had seen an Albanian firing with a submachine gun toward the crowd of Serbs on the other side of the bridge.

Hospital sources said up to 250 people had been injured. It is not clear who the dead people were - but some reports said there were three Serbs and and least two Albanians.


"It is a mad situation," a UN spokeswoman said, according to Reuters news agency.

"It is going to be very bad, the end result... naturally it's not helping the peace process." Violence has also been reported further south, near the village of Caglavica, near the capital, Pristina - scene of Tuesday's shooting incident in which the 18-year-old Serb was wounded. Serbs have blamed Albanians for the attack and protested by blocking the road that links Kosovo with Macedonia. Nato peacekeepers then set up their own barricades to keep the crowds apart - but some reports suggest ethnic Albanians have broken through them to march on Caglavica.

 
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March 18 2004, 11:27 AM 

KOSOVO-MITROVICA-ALBANIANS.

Armed ethnic Albanians start moving towards Kosovska Mitrovica

21:13 KOSOVSKA MITROVICA , March 17 (Tanjug) - Thirteen buses full of armed ethnic Albanians left the region of Drenica in northern Kosovo for the northern, Serb-populated part of Kosovska Mitrovica, reliable sources told Tanjug late on Wednesday.

The sources said that ethnic Albanians planned to attack UNMIK and KFOR positions in northern Mitrovica during the night and to ensure that Serbs get the blame for the attack.
(end)



KOSOVO-ATTACKS

Thirty Serb houses set on fire in Kosovo Polje

21:10 KOSOVO POLJE , March 17 (Tanjug) - Serbs in Kosovo Polje were also attacked by ethnic Albanians on Wednesday afternoon and the situation in this town near Pristina became critical during the evening since there is no electricity and Serbs are fleeing to neighbouring villages.

The unrest started at about 3 p.m. (1300 GMT), when armed ethnic Albanians from Pristina and Kosovo Polje started to move towards the village of Bresje, and until the evening 30 Serb houses were set on fire, Tanjug's correspondent from the area reported.
(end)



KOSOVO-PRIZREN-UNREST

Unrest at Kosovo Albanian protests in Prizren

20:44 PRIZREN , March 17 (Tanjug) - In a clash between several thousand ethnic Albanian protesters in Prizren and strong UN police forces at about 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Wednesday, protesters turned a police vehicle upside down.

Thousands of protesters in this southern Kosovo-Metohija town on Wednesday demanded the release of recently arrested members of the Kosovo Protection Corps, shouting slogans of support to the illegal "liberation army of Kosovo."
(end)



KOSOVO-ALBANIANS-UNREST

School, outpatient hospital, cafe in Kosovo Polje set on fire

20:30 KOSOVSKA MITROVICA , March 17 (Tanjug) - Somewhat before 6 p.m. (1600 GMT), a large group of ethnic Albanians who entered the Serb-populated part of Kosovo Polje set fire to a school, outpatient hospital and a Serb cafe.

A large number of UNMIK police and KFOR are trying to prevent an escalation of violence in this town near Pristina.
(end)



SERBIA-KOSOVO-KOSTUNICA

Serbia-Montenegro to call for urgent UN Security Council session - Kostunica

20:28 BELGRADE , March 17 (Tanjug) - Serbian Premier Vojislav Kostunica said on Wednesday that due to the latest violence against Kosovo-Metohija Serbs, Serbia-Montenegro would immediately make an initiative for an urgent UN Security Council session.

Kostunica also said that the Serbia-Montenegro Supreme Defence Council would meet on Thursday and that the chief of the Serbia-Montenegro General Staff would make and maintain direct and constant contact with KFOR commander.
(end)



SERBIA-MONTENEGRO-UN-KOSOVO

Serbia-Montenegro president calls on UN to stop violence in Kosovo

20:19 BELGRADE , March 17 (Tanjug) - Serbia-Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan over the phone on Wednesday to ensure that UN missions do all in their power to stop violence and normalise the situation in Kosovo-Metohija, Marovic's advisor Ivan Cvejic told Tanjug.

Marovic appealed that KFOR members, in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, do all in their power in order to fully protect non-Albanians.
(end)



KOSOVO-MITROVICA-SHOOTING

Facades in Kosovska Mitrovica damaged, bullets found in flats

20:05 KOSOVSKA MITROVICA , March 17 (Tanjug) - No shots have been heard in Kosovska Mitrovica since 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) and hundreds of people are in the streets of the northern Serb-populated part of the town.

Facades of many houses in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica are damaged by bullets, fired from the ethnic Albanian-populated part of the town during the unrest on Wednesday.
(end)



KOSOVO-MITROVICA-CURFEW

Curfew imposed on Kosovska Mitrovica

20:01 PRISTINA , March 17 (Tanjug) - A curfew was imposed in Kosovska Mitrovica at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Wednesday and according to UNMIK police spokesman Derek Chapel, all people who are found in the streets will be arrested.

About ten persons were killed on Wednesday in the ethnic unrest in Kosovska Mitrovica and elsewhere in Kosovo-Metohija and the victims of clashes in this northern Kosovo-Metohija town include a KFOR member who was trying to separate the conflicting sides, news agencies, which have reporters on the ground, reported.
(end)



SERBIA-GOVERNMENT-KOSOVO

Serbian government will do everything to stop violence in Kosovo - premier

19:58 BELGRADE , March 17 (Tanjug) - The Serbian government on Wednesday strongly condemned violence against Kosovo-Metohija Serbs and informed all citizens that state organs would do everything in order to stop violence and terror in the province.

After a special Serbian government session, attended by members of the Serbia-Montenegro Council of Ministers, army representatives and officials of the coordination centre for Kosovo-Metohija, Kostunica said that developments in Kosovo "show the true nature of ethnic Albanian separatism and its violent and terrorist character."
(end)



KOSOVO-UNREST-TOLL

Seven people killed in unrest in Kosovo

19:49 KOSOVSKA MITROVICA , March 17 (Tanjug) - Seven people were killed in the unrest in Kosovska Mitrovica on Wednesday, including a French KFOR soldier who was among the troops who were trying to separate the conflicting parties, news agency reporters on the ground reported.

Initial reports say that four ethnic Albanians and two Serbs were also killed and that about 300 people were injured.
(end)



KOSOVO-MITROVICA-HOSPITAL-WOUNDED

Two Serbs sustain axe injuries in Vucitrnska Slatina

19:46 KOSOVSKA MITROVICA , March 17 (Tanjug) - Two Serbs whom ethnic Albanians had wounded in the head by axes were taken from Vucitrnska Slatina to the Kosovska Mitrovica hospital in a very bad state, hospital manager Dr Vladimir Adzic told Tanjug.

He said that the wounded people's lives were in danger and that another 10 Serbs had been hospitalised after being injured by ethnic Albanians in clashes in the province on Wednesday.
(end)



KOSOVO-LIPLJAN-VIOLENCE

Kosovo Albanians on rampage in Lipljan

19:25 LIPLJAN , March 17 (Tanjug) - Several thousand ethnic Albanians have gone on a rampage in the streets of Lipljan, south of Pristina, shooting firearms and exploding at least two hand grenades, Lipljan City Hall Vice-President Borivoje Vignjevic confirmed for Tanjug on Wednesday evening.

"More than a thousand ethnic Albanians have passed through Novo Naselje district, after they were evidently turned back from their progress toward Laplje Selo village, where they were headed this morning. Now, they are in the town center, shooting and toppling everything standing in their way," Vignjevic said.
(end)



KOSOVO-DECANI-MONASTERY

Kosovo Serbs are exposed to pogrom - Decani Monastery head

19:25 DECANI , March 17 (Tanjug) - Head of the Mediaeval monastery of Decani in southern Kosovo-Metohija Sava Janjic said on Wednesday that Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija were under pogrom and called on authorities to urgently take measures aimed at protecting Serb civilians and their sacred facilities.

In a statement to Tanjug, Decani head said that Kirilo and Metodije School of Theology in Prizren was on fire and that the fate of the eight remaining Serbs and another 60 Serb civilians in Prizren, southern Kosovo-Metohija, was unknown.

German KFOR forces are still succeeding to defend the Monastery of Holy Archangels near Prizren, he said and added that their number was insufficient to protect the monks and civilians who had found shelter there.
(end)



KOSOVO-PEC-SERBS

Kosovo Albanians expell Serbs from Belo Polje,
incidents in Pec, says UN source

18:27 PEC , March 17 (Tanjug) - Kosovo Albanians have expelled resident Serbs from Belo Polje village, near Pec, and torched their houses, United Nations (UN) spokesperson for the press Angela Joseph said on Wednesday, and ethnic Albanians have also attacked the regional UN headquarters in Pec, southern Kosovo and Metohija, and damaged a number of vehicles.

There is no information yet on whether there were any casualties in these conflicts, Associated Press said.
(end)


KOSOVO-CLASHES-KFOR

Nine KFOR members wounded in clashes, says spokesman

17:12 BELGRADE , March (Tanjug) - Nine KFOR members were wounded on Wednesday in clashes between ethnic Albanians and Serbs that broke out in Kosovska Mitrovica this morning, including two gravely, spokesman for the peacekeeping forces, Lt-Col Jim Moran said.

There is no further information about the gravely wounded troops, he told Belgrade-based BK TV.
(end)


KOSOVO-MITROVICA-CLASHES

Kosovo Albanians and UNMIK clash in South Kosovska Mitrovica

16:50 KOSOVSKA MITROVICA , March 17 (Tanjug) - Kosovo Albanians and UNMIK members clashed in South Kosovska Mitrovica on Wednesday.

Sporadic shots and clamor can be heard coming from this part of the town, populated by ethnic Albanians, also in North Kosovska Mitrovica, which is populated by Serbs.
(end)


LIPLJAN-SERB-ATTACK

In Lipljan beat up Novica Denic

14:45 LIPLJAN , March 17 (Tanjug) - Several Albanians attacked on Wednesday, around 13.00, Serb Novica Denic (70) in the middle of Lipljan and beat him up.

"Albanians attacked him in the street without any reason, while he was going about his business. They hit him, and when he fell, kicked in the head and body," Tanjug was told by municipal assembly vice-president Borivoje Vignjevic.
(end)



KMITROVICA-MURDER

Second victim in clashes in northern Kosovska Mitrovica

14:32 KOSOVSKA MITROVICA , March 17 (Tanjug) - A man of Serbian nationality was kIlled on Wednesday in Kosovska Mitrovica, who is the second victim in the clashes, Tanjug was told in the Kosovska Mitrovca hospital.

It has not been determined yet under what circumstances the man was killed, but according to unconfirmed information, the accident otook place in a clash of Albanians and Serbs in the vicinity of three highrises in the northern part of town.
(end)



KMITROVICA-MURDER

In northern Mitrovica woman of Serbian nationality killed

13:38 KOSOVSKA MUTROVICA , March 17 (Tanjug) - A woman of Serbian nationality was killed on Wednesday on the terrase of her apartment in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, it was confirmed to Tanjug in a local hospital.

It has been learned that the woman was shot dead from a sniper, some time before 13.00.
(end)

 
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March 18 2004, 11:28 AM 

American pussies crawl out of their big bad camp to take a look around and do nothing
by THE SERB!! (no login)

US troops enter Caglavica | 21:24 | Beta

CAGLAVICA -- Wednesday Thirty armoured vehicles carrying US KFOR troops have arrived in Caglavica from the direction of Urosevac, where the US military base, Camp Bondsteel is located.

A number of UNMIK vehicles are burning beside the access road to the village on Veternik Hill.

International security forces are reported to be attempting to pull out soldiers and policemen injured in clashes with Albanian gangs from Pristina.

About ten Serb houses are burning after being set alight earlier during the days clashes.

Caglavica has about a thousand Serb residents.

FOR SUCH A MIGHTY ARMY, THEY SURE DO NOTHING. WHAT DO THEY DO IN KOSOVO EXCEPT LIVE ON THEIR BASE AND ACT LIKE PUSSIES. LETS SEE THEM DO SOMETHING. OH WAIT, THEY'RE AMERICANS. THAT WOULD BE ASKING TOO MUCH FROM AN AMERICAN SOLDIER TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. THEY ARE GOOD AT BOMBING, BUT NOW THEY ARE AFRAID OF THEIR OWN ASS. WHAT A BUNCH OF PUSSIES.

Posted on Mar 18, 2004, 12:57 AM
from IP address 24.165.84.60

 
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March 18 2004, 11:29 AM 

B92, March 17, 2004

No Serbs involved in drowning: UNMIK.

PRISTINA -- Wednesday UNMIK spokesman Derek Chappell said tonight that the survivor of yesterdays Ibar River drowning has told his parents that he and three friends entered the river alone and were immediately caught up in the heavy current.

The boy managed to reach the opposite bank of the river, but his three companions were swept away.

The incident happened at about 4.30 p.m. and police began a search of the river about an hour and a half later. Two bodies have been found so far.

Todays violent incidents around Kosovo were sparked after claims that the boys had been chased into the river by Serbs with a dog.

Chappell told media in Pristina tonight that this was definitely not true according to the account of the surviving boy.

 
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March 18 2004, 11:29 AM 

UN administrators flee Kristallnacht | 23:46 | B92

PRISTINA -- Wednesday UN administrators have abandoned offices in the Kosovo towns of Gnjilane, Prizren and Pec, fleeing what one UNMIK official described to B92 as Kristallnacht.

Kristallnacht is under way in Kosovo, the official told B92 on condition of anonymity.

What is happening in Kosovo must unfortunately be described as a pogrom against Serbs: churches are on fire and people are being attacked for no other reason than their ethnic background, he added.

Serbs and UN officers have been the target of attacks by Kosovo Albanians during most of the day and night. The most dramatic withdrawal was from Belo Polje on the outskirts of Pec, where UNMIK officials, retreating with Serb residents, where forced to shoot Albanian assailants in self-defence.

The Serbian Orthodox seminary in Pec has been razed, and Albanians celebrated its destruction by setting fire to the local church., said the UN official.

 
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March 18 2004, 11:37 AM 

Clashes across Kosovo leave 10 dead.

Thursday, March 18, 2004 Posted: 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) -- Furious ethnic Albanians blaming Serbs for the drowning of two children clashed with Serbs in a gunfight Wednesday that left eight dead and more than 300 injured.

Riots broke out in at least five other towns, touching off one of the worst days of Serb-Albanian bloodshed since the end of the Kosovo war in 1999.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the violence, saying it "jeopardizes the stability of Kosovo and the security of all its people."

The conflict ignited amid reports that Serbs in a nearby village set a dog on a group of ethnic Albanian boys, sending three fleeing into an icy river.

After authorities recovered two bodies -- and searched for a third -- ethnic Albanians and Serbs gathered near a key bridge over the Ibar River that divides Mitrovica, long the flashpoint of tensions in this southern province of Serbia-Montenegro.

The two sides traded insults, threw rocks and charged at each other several times before gunfire rang out. A hand grenade exploded and a machine-gun burst rattled the crowd.

Rioters set U.N. police cars on fire. Even before police could move in to separate the sides, a riot swept the town, with protesters throwing rocks and other objects at peacekeepers.

NATO-led peacekeepers and Romanian riot police moved in firing tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to stop ethnic Albanians from surging across the bridge toward the Serb side of the city, where another crowd had gathered.

Gunfire rocked the town sporadically throughout the afternoon.

"I heard several bursts of gunfire, and then just felt pain and went down on the ground," said Ridvan Lahu, 41, who suffered a gunshot wound.

The dead included six ethnic Albanians and two Serbs, said Derek Chappell, the chief U.N. police spokesman. A U.N. police officer shot and killed one of the ethnic Albanian victims, who was attempting to hit the officer with a brick in the western town of Pec, Chappell said.

Lt. Col. Jim Moran, a spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeepers, said 17 peacekeepers were injured -- 15 French, one Dane and one Polish soldier.

By evening, the immediate vicinity of the city was clear of crowds, and a tense calm had settled on both sides of the city.

Peacekeepers in armored vehicles were positioned on the bridge, the focal point of past conflicts. In the predominantly ethnic Albanian southern side of Kosovska Mitrovica, hospital floors were swamped with blood.

Doctors urged bystanders -- including weeping relatives -- to give blood in the crowded corridors. Hospital workers counted 200 hurt, including several who were shot.

On the Serb side, Milan Ivanovic, a hospital physician, said 80 Serbs were wounded. In a separate melee near the provincial capital, Pristina, hundreds of ethnic Albanians broke through barricades erected by U.N. police and NATO-led peacekeepers to march on the Serb village of Caglavica.

Hand grenades were thrown and Serb houses were set on fire, Joseph said. NATO troops and police used water cannons and tear gas to push the crowd back as authorities tried to regain control.

Several U.N. cars were in flames. Violence also occurred in Pristina, where U.N. cars were set on fire. In the nearby city of Kosovo Polje, dozens of Serb houses were also ablaze and ethnic Albanians appeared to be in control on the streets.

A local hospital used by the Serb minority was also burning. Riots also were reported in the western city of Pec, where crowds targeted international institutions.

Crowds clashed with peacekeepers and police in the town of Gracanica and cars were destroyed in the city of Gnjilane. With Orthodox Christian Serbs regarding Kosovo as their ancient homeland and mostly Muslim ethnic Albanians seeking independence, hatreds between the two sides continue to boil over into violence.

The province itself is U.N.-administered but remains part of Serbia and Montenegro, the successor state to Yugoslavia, with its final status to be decided by the United Nations. The lack of movement on the status question, however, has left postwar tensions simmering.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kosovo violence 'worst since 1999'

Thursday, March 18, 2004 Posted: 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Serbia-Montenegro (CNN) -- Ethnic clashes which broke out throughout many areas of Kosovo have been described by U.N. and Serb officials as the worst wave of violence in the country since the end of the Kosovo war in 1999.

"The situation is very tense," said Bajram Rexhepi, Kosovo's prime minister, an Albanian, after Wednesday's violence.

"It is of high importance that every citizen calms down in order for this tense situation to calm down."

Slobodan Samardzic, chief adviser to Serbia's prime minister, told CNN that at least 10 people were killed -- three Serbs and seven Albanians.

More than 100 people were injured in the fights, which broke out in regions that total at least half the country, he said. It was the worst day of violence the country has seen since the war ended in 1999, he said.

Soldiers with the NATO-led peacekeeping mission KFOR worked to stop fighting and riots, spraying tear gas on crowds and setting up roadblocks.

Thirteen KFOR soldiers were wounded, two of them seriously, KFOR spokesman Col. Jim Moran said.

Video from Caglavica, south of Pristina, showed a burning house that had been set fire by rioters. Local residents threw stones at U.N. vehicles. Soldiers were equipped in riot gear.

KFOR established a curfew at 7 p.m. local time (1800 GMT) -- and military crews were working to enforce it, a KFOR spokesman told CNN.

But Samardzic said the violence showed that the minority Serb community in Kosovo "cannot be protected by KFOR."

The wave of violence was triggered by the drowning of three Albanian children Tuesday night near Mitrovica, said Angela Joseph, a spokeswoman for the U.N. mission in Kosovo.

The children were fleeing Serbs who were chasing them along with dogs, she said. The children crossed the river in hopes of fleeing, but were swept away by the current and drowned, she said.

Wednesday morning, hundreds of Albanians gathered in the area to mourn the children, and the crowd quickly grew to a few thousand, she said.

They began to attack Serbs, and widespread fighting broke out in the area.

Word of the drowning quickly spread through the country, triggering the clashes, she said.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tadic to meet Contact Group ambassadors | 21:37 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Wednesday Federal Defence Minister Boris Tadic is this evening meeting ambassadors of the Contact Group countries to discuss the wave of violence engulfing Kosovo.

Tadic told Belgrades BK Television that Serbian and federal bodies were engaged on a number of diplomatic fronts, warning that there was a danger of violence spiralling out of control in the province.

There were currently no indications of Albanian terrorists approaching the Serbian border, he said, adding however that the Defence Ministry had stepped up security measures in the buffer zone to protect federal troops and the municipalities of southern Serbia.

Warning of the danger of a media war worsening the situation, Tadic described as incomprehensible reports by the US network CNN which described the Albanian attacks as logical.

The network also reported that Kosovos borders have been sealed to prevent Serbs from Serbia proper coming to support their brothers in Kosovo.

We must carry out a significant foreign political counter-offensive, said Tadic.

It is very important for our citizens to understand that we must act rationally, that any escalation from our side is out of the question, but on the other hand we have to offer absolutely every assistance we can to our population in Kosovo, he added.

The defence minister said that his ministry had information that Albanian terrorists were being trained in camps in Kosovo.

We have warned all the international institutions, KFOR and UNMIK, but theres been no adequate response from them.

We have adequate information of movements of certain paramilitary troops from various parts of Kosovo and Albania towards Kosovska Mitrovica. Some of these were armed and were stopped by the authorities in charge in Kosovo, but the question remains of whether all of them have been intercepted, said Tadic.

 
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March 18 2004, 11:38 AM 

Kosovo Polje on fire.

09:31 KOSOVO POLJE , March 18 (Tanjug) - Kosovo Polje, where there are about one hundred Serbian houses, was set on fire in the night between Wednesday and Thursday by the Albanians and it is still on fire.

"In the afternoon and evening hours Serns withdrew from the village, and armed Albanians on the rampage entered the village and systematicallyu started to set houses on fire," villager Zoran Grujic confirmed to Tanjug.

 
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March 18 2004, 11:39 AM 

KOSOVO-DECANI-ATTACK.

Mortars fired on Visoki Decani.

09:42 GRACANICA , March 18 (Tanjug) - Albanians are firing mortars around the monastery Decani, where monks in prayers are awaiting the arrival of American troops, as a reinforcement, Eparchy of Raska and Prizren of the Serbian Orthodox Church stated Wednesday evening.

The Eparchy infornmed the public that around the monastery Visoki Decani fell several mortar grenades fired by the Albanians. Italian forces are securing the monastery, and also expected is the arrival of special US forces to reinforce the defence.

 
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March 18 2004, 11:44 AM 

Mosque set alight in central Nis | 00:23 | Beta

NIS -- Wednesday A mosque in the southern Serbian city of Nis has been set on fire as thousands of local Serbs protest against ethnic violence in Kosovo.

The blaze erupted at the mosque immediately after demonstrations in the citys central square.

Protesters have gathered around the mosque watching it burn and shouting anti-Albanian slogans as locals photograph one another against the blazing mosque.

Fire fighters have arrived at the scene but taken no action.

Meanwhile, in Belgrade, protesters have clashed with police who have blocked attempts to march on a mosque in the central city.


 
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March 18 2004, 11:44 AM 

Albanian demonstrators attack Greek soldiers guarding church in Kosovo.

17/03/2004 23:07:44

Fifteen Greek soldiers guarding a church in Kosovo were attacked by 1,000 Albanian demonstrators on Wednesday evening, according to press reports. The reports said the Albanians threw a handgrenade against the Greek soldiers, resulting in the destruction of a VBL armoured vehicle and minor burns to the face of a lieutenant.

 
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March 18 2004, 11:47 AM 

ERP KIM Newsletter 17-03-04

Diocese of Raska and Prizren appeals to the people of Serbia to hold street protests and light candles in protest against the pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija

Holy Archangels Monastery evacuated, 14th century Church of the Mother of God of Ljevis in flames - Explosions near Visoki Decani Monastery - Pec Patriarchate in danger - U.S. soldiers urgently requested to assist in defending Serb holy shrines

Gracanica, March 17, 2004

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija appeals to the people of Serbia and the Serb diaspora to organize street protests and light candles in protest against the pogrom that is being carried out in Kosovo and Metohija in the presence of 18,000 armed KFOR soldiers and several thousand members of UNMIK police. Serbia must not remain with its head bowed and must show the world that persecution and crimes must not be tolerated. Silence and resignation is the greatest possible aid to those who are taking advantage of the situation to completely put out the last flame of Serbdom and Orthodoxy in this region.

We appeal to the priests, monks and nuns to help with their devout prayers and all-night wake their suffering brothers and sisters in Kosovo and Metohija who are going through a Golgotha of unprecedented suffering, brutality and violence by Albanian extremists.

While dozens of buses of armed Albanian extremists head toward Mitrovica and Gracanica, while both churches in Kosovo Polje, the hospital and St. Sava School are burning, while the Serbs of Kosovsko Pomoravalje struggle desperately to defend themselves against the attacks of thousands of armed Albanians, Serbia must not remain with its head bowed. Kosovo and Metohija are in flames today and Serbia must remain upright, courageous and dignified.

According to the latest information serious clashes are taking place near Gracanica in which at least 20 Swedish soldiers have been seriously wounded. Armed Albanians are attacking KFOR soldiers who are blocking them from entering the village. At the same time a contingent of U.S. soldiers have arrived in the Gracanica and Caglavica area reportedly authorized to fire upon the extremists.

What has happened today and is happening this evening in Kosovo and Metohija represents a horrible defeat for the entire UN mission which has been deceiving the world for the past five years with their alleged successes when in fact they were enabling militarization.

Situation continues to deteriorate throughout Kosovo and Metohija

According to news coming from Kosovsko Pomoravlje the situation remains critical. Serbs in the village of Silovo near Gnjilane are surrounded by a large group of 5,000 Albanians who are shooting at the village. Two Serbs are already wounded: Ratka Jovanovic and Srecko Stojic.

In Kamenica the Serbian Orthodox church has been stoned and the priest and his family evacuated to a nearby Serb village.

In Djakovica Italian soldiers evacuated five elderly women who have lived for years next to the Church of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Albanians first started stoning the church and threatening to kill the old women, and the Italian soldiers were forced to evacuate them to a nearby military airport while Italian soldiers are guarding the church.

Boban Doncic informed the ERP KIM Info Service that Serbs from the returnee village of Bicha have been evacuated from their homes because, according to local residents, the Italians advised them to leave the village for security reasons.

 
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March 18 2004, 11:49 AM 

Serb Government Demands Urgent Meeting of UN Sec. Council Over Albanian Rioting in Kosovo

Belgrade to demand urgent Security Council sitting | 19:43 -> 20:31 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Wednesday - Vojislav Kostunica said today that Belgrade would demand an urgent sitting of the UN Security Council to discuss today's clashes in Kosovo.

Only "some kind of territorial autonomy" for Serbs in the province could secure their safety, said the prime minister, adding that the way the province is administered at present had "failed the test".

Three members of the federal government attended today's emergency sitting of the Serbian Cabinet to discuss the conflicts now tearing across Kosovo.

Defence Minister Boris Tadic, Foreign Affairs Minister Goran Svilanovic and Minority Rights Minister Rasim Ljajic attended the meeting, together with army representatives and the head of the Kosovo Coordination Centre, Nebojsa Covic.

Kostunica told journalists after the meeting that the chief of staff of the Serbia-Montenegro Army would be in constant contact with the commander of international peacekeepers in Kosovo and that initial discussions had already been held.

Other security measures would be put in place at tomorrow's meeting of the Supreme Defence Council, said the prime minister, adding that the state's security forces were prepared for any kind of cooperation with international forces in Kosovo which was aimed at establishing peace in the province.

He emphasised that reports of Serbian security forces massing on the Kosovo border were not true.

"Our public knows that the federal state and Serbia have no direct access to Kosovo and thus no real opportunity to directly defend the besieged population and their property.

"But let the people be assured that the government will do everything in its power to protect them," added the prime minister.

 
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March 18 2004, 11:51 AM 

ERP KIM Newsletter 16-03-04

"Hunting season on Serbs continues" -
Serb teen shot by Albanians near Pristina - Serb protests and riots in Gracanica area

This cowardly attack which occurred around 19.00 hrs yesterday clearly demonstrates that the "hunting season" on Kosovo and Metohija Serbs continues despite hypocritical statements of the leading UNMIK officials that the security situation in the province has significantly improved. The general atmosphere of insecurity for Serbs, even in their own villages and settlements through which Kosovo Albanians travel in their cars, absence of KFOR check-points and police patrols encourage extremists to continue without obstacles their campaign of ethnic terror and crimes against unprotected Serbian population.



ONE THOUSAND SERBS PROTEST IN GRACANICA
GRACANICA, March 16 (BETA) - Roads from Pristina to Gnjilane and Skopje were blocked in Caglavica and Gracanica on March 16 by Serbs protesting the shooting of 18-year-old Jovica Ivic.

Three unknown gunmen shot Ivic at the entrance to Caglavica late on March 15. Ivic is currently recovering at a hospital in northern Mitrovica.

Over one thousand Serbs gathered at the main protest rally in Gracanica demanding that international police and KFOR immediately find the attackers, reinforce patrols in Serbian villages around Pristina and reinstate checkpoints at entrances to Serb villages.

UNMIK spokesman Derreck Chappel said that police on March 16 had not succeeded in reaching the crime scene, because of angry citizens who hurled stones at police. Chappel said he completely understood the anger, but called on the Serb community to assist police in the investigation.

On March 16 a minor incident occurred in Caglavica involving several high school students who were injured after clashing with international police. According to a local Serb radio station, prior to the incident, police had arrested an Albanian man near Caglavica, who had allegedly fired wild shots into the air. The Albanian media reported that Serb youths later stoned the Albanian's home.

Serbian local leaders and representatives of educational and health institutions created on March 16 a an emergency camp that has called on UNMIK and KFOR to take immediate and strong action to arrest Ivic's attackers.

http://www.beta.co.yu/eng

 
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March 18 2004, 12:03 PM 

Thu 18 Mar 2004

Kosovo clashes were planned, says UN official.

THE SCOTTSMAN
MATT ROBINSON IN SERBIA AND CHRISTIAN JENNINGS

ALBANIANS and Serbs fought pitched battles in towns and villages across Kosovo yesterday, leaving at least eight people dead and injuring nearly 300 in the heaviest street clashes since the arrival of NATO troops in 1999.

The worst violence came in the divided northern town of Kosovska Mitrovica, after thousands of angry Albanians gathered to protest against the apparent drowning of two children who were reportedly chased into a river by Serbs.

But in a sign that the outbreak of violence could have been planned, Serb enclaves in the towns of Caglavica and Gracanica, as well as villages elsewhere, were also attacked. A senior international United Nations police official said: "The situation is not under control. This is planned, co-ordinated, one-way violence from the Albanians against the Serbs. It is spreading and has been brewing for the past week.

"Nothing in Kosovo happens spontaneously."


Crowds had begun gathering at both ends of the Ibar crossing in Kosovska Mitrovica in mid-morning, after Albanian media reported that Albanian boys aged nine and 12 had drowned in the river near the town.

The reports quoted a survivor as saying they had been chased into the water by a gang of Serb youths taking revenge for the near-fatal shooting of a Serb teenager in Caglavica, a village near the capital, Pristina.

UN police confirmed they had found two bodies in the river and were looking for a third boy. A spokesman said it was unclear how they had died and expressed shock that the media had rushed to judgment.

But it was too late and by late afternoon, Kosovska Mitrovica was a war zone. Serbs and Albanians on either side of the river pelted each other with stones and exchanged gunfire from rooftops and balconies.

NATO-led peacekeepers fired teargas and rubber bullets in an attempt to stop the Albanians crossing the bridge to the Serb half of the town. A UN spokesman said at least a dozen members of the peacekeeping force, KFOR, had been injured.

"This is a very dangerous situation. This is very large-scale," said Derek Chappell, a UN police spokesman.

Hospital personnel on both the Serb and ethnic Albanian sides of Kosovska Mitrovica said six ethnic Albanians had died, apparently of gunshot wounds, and that two Serbs had died.

The hospital on the ethnic Albanian southern side of town was a scene of chaos, with doctors in crowded corridors urging people to give blood. Their voices were occasionally drowned out by the cries of relatives looking for loved ones among the victims.

"I just felt pain and went down on the ground," said Ridvan Lahu, 41, who was shot in the stomach.

Hospital employees counted more than 200 injured.

On the Serb side, Milan Ivanovic, a hospital physician, said 80 Serbs were wounded, some critically.

With automatic gunfire ringing out in Mitrovica, hundreds of Albanians headed for Caglavica, where they broke through a UN blockade and set fire to about ten Serb homes. Fighting broke out as KFOR helicopters circled overhead.

A journalist said the village was barely visible through the smoke from fires, and reported hearing loud explosions.

Violence was also reported in nearby Kosovo Polje, where Albanians set fire to a Serb health centre.

In the village of Belopolje, ethnic Albanians drove out Serb residents and set fire to their houses, the UN said. In Pec, 50 miles west of Pristina, ethnic Albanians attacked the local UN base and damaged the organisations vehicles.

Albanians reportedly set fire to three Serb homes in Pec and some 30 Serbs took shelter in a church, which was then stoned by Albanians. Shooting was also reported in the area.

With most of Mitrovica back under KFOR control by early evening, UN staff imposed a curfew and warned that anyone found outdoors during the night would be arrested.

As leaders in Pristina and Belgrade appealed for calm, Serbias new prime minister demanded an urgent session of the UN Security Council.

Vojislav Kostunica, who recently called for the partitioning of Kosovo, said the provinces current set-up had "clearly failed the test". His comments came after an emergency session of the government.

Kosovo has been under UN protection since 1999.

 
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March 18 2004, 12:08 PM 


A mosque is attacked in Serbia [Nis] as Serb demonstrators vent their anger. BBC

 
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March 18 2004, 1:14 PM 

Kosovo in flames as Albanians renew war on Serbs.

telegraph.co.uk ^ | 18/03/2004) | Harry de Quetteville

Ethnic Albanians rose against the Serb minority across Kosovo yesterday in co-ordinated attacks on them in the worst bloodletting in the province since the 1999 war.

A French peacekeeper was one of at least 11 people killed in grenade attacks and gun battles. About 250 were injured as the five-year peace in Kosovo was shattered.

The trouble started in the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo, where thousands of Albanians armed with heavy automatic weapons and hand grenades clashed with Serbs.

The explosion of ethnic violence apparently was provoked by reports that two ethnic Albanian children had drowned in the Ibar River after being pursued to their deaths by a Serb gang. The river is the dividing line between the town's Serb and Albanian populations.

It is thought that hardline Albanian political parties had been stoking existing tensions before the violence broke out. Fighting later spread south of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, and to towns in the west of the province.

"It's very dangerous. This is a very large, comprehensive uprising," said Derek Chappell, a spokesman for the United Nations police force.

He added that the force's 10,000 officers in the province had been mobilised.

"We are getting reports in all the time, from all over Kosovo. Wherever there is a Serbian population there is Albanian action against them," he said.

Mr Chappell described the violence as "by far the worst since 1999", when a Nato bombing campaign forced the withdrawal from Kosovo of Serbian troops sent by the then Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, to repress an Albanian independence movement.

After the campaign, about 40,000 Nato troops arrived in Kosovo to monitor the tentative detente between the province's Serb and Albanian communities.

Fewer than 20,000 troops remain, but many Serbs still live in ghetto conditions, and very few who fled with the Yugoslav army in 1999 have returned to their former homes.

Those who have remained now represent only about 10 per cent of Kosovo's two million population, and they appeared to have come under well-organised attack yesterday.

The first shots were fired as 3,000 Albanian protesters gathered at the bridge that divides Mitrovica demonstrate against the drownings.

As Serbs gathered on the other side of the bridge, heavy machineguns began firing and hand grenades were thrown. With ambulances rushing the wounded to hospital, hundreds of Nato troops and riot police under French command went to the scene, firing rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the crowds.

Four hours later, 11 Nato troops were injured, two UN jeeps had been set on fire and shots were still being fired, but the situation was a little calmer. By then, however, the violence was spreading across the province, with Albanians attacking a number of Serb enclaves.

One of them, the southern village of Caglavica, was the site of a recent drive-by shooting of a Serb youth, which may have prompted the retaliatory drownings of the Albanians in Mitrovica.

There, UN police erected a road block to prevent Albanians from the capital marching on the village, where Serbs had set up their own barricades to protest against the shooting.

But hundreds of ethnic Albanians broke through the road block, marching on Caglavica. A UN spokesman later said hand grenades were thrown and several houses were set on fire.

"These are well organised extremists leading these attacks," said Mr Chappell. "They hate the progress of the last four years and this is their final attempt to destroy any ethnic integration."

He called on leaders from both sides to appeal for calm, but reports emerged from Serbia that interior ministry forces were massing on the border with Kosovo ready to intervene if attacks on Serbs continued.

"We have closed the border with Albania and Macedonia," said Mr Chappell. "But we can't hold the entire province back."

 
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March 18 2004, 1:22 PM 

No Bulgarian Soldiers Injured in Kosovo Clashes.

Novinite.com
Politics: 18 March 2004, Thursday

No Bulgarian soldiers have been injured in yesterday's ethnic clashes in Kosovo.

Still, the Bulgarian soldiers are actively participating in maintaining the order in the conflict region, Interior Ministry reported. The Bulgarian unit is working in collaboration with several other multinational contingent in Kosovo.

At least 17 people were killed and over 300 were wounded in the clashes that erupted on Wednesday and spread across Kosovo, a United Nations-administered province of Serbia.

The conflict, which began in Kosovska Mitrovica, spread to Lipljan, Pec and Gnjilane. Several policemen were also injured in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, as ethnic Serbians protested the violence.

 
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March 19 2004, 9:17 AM 

35 international troops injured -- expect more to come as the albos turn against them.'

by THE SERB!! (no login)

KOSOVO-VIOLENCE-KFOR - KFOR says 35 international troops injured in Kosovo.

19:35 PRISTINA , March 18 (Tanjug) - During the violence, which started in Kosovo-Metohija on Wednesday, 35 international peacekeepers were injured, KFOR spokesman James Moran told the AFP news agency.
Moran did not specify the circumstances in which the troops were injured or their nationality.

IT LOOKS LIKE THE ALBOS ARE BURNING UN CARS AND BURNING UN OFFICES. THE UN PEOPLE ARE FLEEING WITH THEIR FAMILIES. THIS IS AGAINST THE UN AND THE SERBS. THE ALBOS MUST PAY FOR THIS!!!!

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March 19 2004, 9:18 AM 

Bulgarian Injured in Mitrovica Clashes.

Novinite.com
Politics: 18 March 2004, Thursday

A Bulgarian soldier got slightly injured during ethnic clashes in the town of Kosovska Mitrovica. In the divided city, Albanians set an Orthodox Serbian church on fire Thursday, despite efforts by US and French peacekeepers to prevent violence.

The Bulgarian man got injured by a thrown stone, and was taken to a hospital. Shortly after being examined, he was released from the medical center.

A day earlier, at least 22 people died in fire exchange between ethnic Serbs and Albanians.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

19:04 - 18.03.2004

Rampaging Kosovo Albanians set on fire houses hosting Bulgarian military, police.

SOFIA (bnn) Rampaging Albanians in Serbias UN-run province of Kosovo destroyed several houses sheltering Bulgarian military and police serving in international peace forces, the BGNES news agency reported Thursday.

No Bulgarians have been hurt in the attacks the report said. The houses were located in Caglavica, some 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of Kosovos administrative center of Pristina.

The assailants set the houses on fire and looted them, the agency quoted the Kosovo civil administration as saying. It said the attacks were not directed against the Bulgarian staff, but against the house owners, who were ethnic Serbs.

One Bulgarian policeman was lightly injured Thursday in separate clashes between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovska Mitrovica, the Interior Ministry said.

The foreign ministry warned Bulgarians to refrain from traveling to Kosovo.

A total of 110 Bulgarian police and military serve in Kosovo.

At least 22 people were killed and 55 were wounded in last Wednesday clashes between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo. /bnn/

 
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March 19 2004, 9:21 AM 

Interesting article from NEW YORK TIMES on Kosovo - note the last paragraph especially.

by THE SERB!! (no login)


NATO Expanding Kosovo Forces to Combat Violence

New York Times
By NICHOLAS WOOD
Published: March 19, 2004

RISTINA, Kosovo, March 18 NATO ordered reinforcements to Kosovo on Thursday as peacekeepers struggled to stem a wave of ethnic violence across the province, in southern Serbia.

The additional 1,000 troops, which will bring the overall NATO force to 19,000, began arriving Thursday evening, at the end of a second day of violence between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in which at least 31 people have been killed and hundreds injured, according to United Nations officials. Most of the dead were Serbs.

Security forces appeared at a loss as to how to reassert their control over the predominantly Albanian province as crowds attacked Serbian neighborhoods for a second night.

Throughout the day, scores of Serbian houses were set on fire, and according to a spokesman for the Serbian Orthodox Church, at least 20 churches were burned.

"There is a pattern emerging," said the Rev. Sava Janjic, speaking by phone from Decani monastery in western Kosovo. "The U.N. evacuates Serbs, and immediately afterwards Albanians come in and burn" houses and religious sites. Most Albanians are Muslim.

In one of the most serious incidents on Thursday, Swedish soldiers opened fire when gunmen emerged from a large group of Albanian protesters near the ethnically mixed village of Caglavica, south of Pristina, the provincial capital. The demonstrators had been trying force their way through a barricade set up to protect Serbs' houses.

The shooting appeared to reflect a toughening of the peacekeepers' response to the violence. Earlier in the day, the German commander of the force, Gen. Holdger Kammerhoff, announced at a news conference that "proportionate force" would be used to ensure the troops' safety.

Gunmen exchanged fire with United Nations police in Pristina and in Lipjan, according to a police spokesman, Derek Chappell.

Many Serbian leaders voiced outrage that the United Nations seems unable to protect Serbs, who make up just under 10 percent of the population. But local leaders also noted that some Albanians had shielded Serbian neighbors from attack.

In Decani, the Albanian mayor intervened to prevent youths from marching on the monastery, Father Sava said.

In Kosovo Polje, a mixed town three miles west of Pristina, heavily armed United Nations police evacuated up to 50 Serbs who had sought refuge in the town headquarters. Riot police lined the road as three white buses carried the Serbs, most of whom appeared to be elderly, out of the town.

As they drove down the road, groups of Albanian youths gathered by the side of the road and stared. Nearby, smoke rose from the remains of six houses that had been set alight the night before.

The scenes were reminiscent of the evacuation of Serbian refugees at the end of the Kosovo war, in 1999, when about 100,000 fled the province.

In the same town, forensic teams began to pick their way through the remains of burned houses and the Serbian hospital in search of human remains. None had been found by Thursday evening.

In Pristina, hundreds of demonstrators roamed the streets at intervals throughout the day, sometimes chanting the initials of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the ethnic Albanian guerrilla group that fought against Yugoslav security forces during the war.

By nightfall, dozens of riot police had gathered in the center of the city to protect the main United Nations buildings from possible attack. The crowds chose not to take them on and moved on to attack the last remaining Serbian Orthodox church in the city. By 11 p.m., two buildings next to church, a priest's house and the offices of a foreign charity were on fire. Police and soldiers attempted to disperse the crowds with tear gas, but their action came too late to save the buildings from destruction.

Earlier, foreign United Nations employees were advised to restrict their movement. Charred wrecks of United Nations vehicles served as reminders that the unrest was aimed as much at them as at Serbs.

The United States shut its embassy in Belgrade temporarily and advised Americans in the country to avoid public places.

As the United Nations sought to restore law and order, many international officials were trying analyze how and why their control seemed to fall apart so quickly.

The clashes appeared to have begun as a spontaneous response to the drowning of two Albanian children in Mitrovica. One boy who had been with them said they had been chased by a group of men with dogs. Albanians blamed Serbs for the deaths.

But the fact so many people took so quickly to the streets was seen by some as evidence that problems stemming from the 1997-99 war in Kosovo have not been resolved.

The events of the past two days, said one senior Western diplomat "should remind us that we froze an insurgency in 1999," referring to NATO's intervention in the fighting between ethnic Albanian gunmen pressing for Kosovo independence and Yugoslav security forces. "But we did nothing to solve the political reasons underlying it."

The United Nations mission was established after NATO troops forced Yugoslav forces to withdraw in June 1999. The Yugoslav Army and the Serbian police were accused of committing widespread atrocities during the conflict.

Almost five years later, no timetable has been established for the United Nations' withdrawal, and Kosovo's final status has yet to be decided. Albanians want independence, while Serbs want to remain a part of Serbia.

Leading Albanian politicians condemned the violence, but many said part of the blame lay elsewhere.

"We condemn the acts of violence, as well as the slow pace of the U.N. mission towards a resolution of Kosovo's final status," said Arsmim Bajrami, parliamentary leader of the province's second largest Albanian party, the Democratic Party of Kosovo.

***"The partnership between Albanians" who welcomed the United Nations and NATO forces as liberators when they first arrived in Kosovo "and the international community, is coming apart," said Alex Anderson, Kosovo project director of the International Crisis Group, a political think tank with offices throughout the Balkans. "It is an incredibly dangerous situation."***

AS YOU CAN SEE, THEY ARE SLOWLY TURNING AGAINST THE UN FORCES. AND AS ANOTHER 4 or 5 YEARS PASS WITH NO INDEPENDENCE... DONT EXPECT ANY NOW.... YOU WILL SEE MORE ANGER. A LOT MORE!!!!

Posted on Mar 19, 2004, 5:59 AM
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March 19 2004, 9:32 AM 

KOSOVO-VIOLENCE-NATO.

Admiral Johnson says violence in Kosovo may be orchestrated.

21:45 PRISTINA , March 18 (Tanjug) - NATO South Wing Commander Admiral Gregory Johnson said in Pristina on Thursday that mass violence which was presently being occurring in Kosovo-Metohija might be orchestrated.

According to the US Admiral, who arrived in Pristina on Thursday, developments in Kosovo-Metohija indicate that there is a model of organisation of this violence, the AFP news agency reported.

 
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March 19 2004, 9:33 AM 

Britain Sending 750 More Troops to Kosovo.

London
March 19, 2004 - 1:38AM

Britain was rushing 750 extra troops to Kosovo after the worst ethnic violence in the Serbian province since it was put under UN administration in 1999, the Ministry of Defence said yesterday.

The infantry troops - from the 1st Battalion Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment - should, in principle, be on the ground in Kosovo within four days, a ministry spokesman told AFP.

NATO earlier today sent out a call for reinforcements after 22 people died in the violence between ethnic Albanians and minority Serbs in the southern Serbian province.

The last such major clashes between the rival ethnic communities date before the July 1999 takeover by UN authorities following a NATO bombing campaign on Serbia which forced Belgrade to cede control of the province.

Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman told reporters that the decision to dispatch reinforcements was "an acknowledgement that we take our responsibilities to Kosovo seriously".

He said the call for help - sent from NATO military headquarters - was considered by chief of defence staff General Sir Mike Walker, and the decision announced by Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon at a weekly cabinet meeting.

Blair's spokesman said the deployment should not have an impact on British operations in Iraq or elsewhere.

"The government would ensure that any deployments that have to be made are consistent with our other obligations elsewhere in the world," he said.

British soldiers have been in Kosovo since 1999 as part of the multinational NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force, though their numbers had been drawn down to about 280 prior to today's announcement.

On its website, KFOR said the 12th Mechanised Brigade of the British army is headquartered in the provincial capital Pristina, with personnel drawn from the Staffordshire Regiment, Royal Engineers and Royal Military Police.

Besides Kosovo, Britain has 1,130 troops in Bosnia and Croatia, 8,800 in Iraq, 1,385 in Kuwait and other Gulf countries, 350 in Afghanistan, 1,240 in the Falklands, 420 in Gibraltar and 100 in Sierra Leone.

A further 450 troops are deployed on various UN missions around the world, plus 3,200 soldiers stationed in Cyprus, 22,500 in Germany and 13,500 in Northern Ireland, the Ministry of Defence said.

Sir Menzies Campbell, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Liberal Democrats, backed the decision to rush British reinforcements in Kosovo.

"There is a risk that the enormous gains made for Kosovo and the Balkans as a whole could be severely prejudiced by continuing unrest," he said.

- AFP

 
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March 19 2004, 9:34 AM 

Independence Key to Stability in Kosovo, Says Leading Politician
Barry Wood.

VOA - VoiceOfAmerica
Washington
18 Mar 2004, 04:38 UTC

On a day when ethnic conflict again erupted into deadly violence in Kosovo, a leading Kosovar Albanian politician rejected ethnic division of the southern Serbian province and said independence is a pre-condition for stability in the region.

Hashim Thaci told an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace that 2005 must be the year that the international community agrees to independence for Kosovo. Mr. Thaci, a founder of the Kosovo Liberation Army and head of the Democratic Party of Kosova, said the citizens of Kosovo-90 percent of whom are ethnic Albanians demand and expect independence. Since Nato forces drove Serbian forces from the province five years ago, Kosovo has been occupied by Nato-led troops and administered by the United Nations.

The U.N. promises to discuss Kosovo's future late next year provided the Albanian led government meets certain international standards of conduct.

Mr. Thaci, more radical than Kosovo's current prime minister, favors dialogue with Belgrade but only on technical matters. Belgrade, he says, should have no veto over Kosovo's future. Mr. Thaci even rejects the notion that Kosovo was ever part of Serbia. "With respect to your question about whether Kosovo's partition from Serbia could be detrimental," he says. "I would say that Belgrade has nothing to lose because Kosova has never been part of Serbia, because Kosovo was run by force."

It was in Kosovo that Serbs lost an epic battle to the Turks in 1389. The province is filled with historic Serbian orthodox monasteries, several of which have been destroyed by ethnic Albanians. Kosovo's remaining Serbs - less than 100,000 - live in ethnic ghettoes protected by Nato forces and U.N. police.

Partition has become a volatile issue because Serbia's new prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, is seeking increased autonomy for Kosovar Serbs.

A congressional committee meanwhile discussed Serbia's political situation in light of the December elections in which radicals and nationalists made big gains. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Stephens said Washington is determined to work with the United Nations to achieve a secure and democratic future for all of Kosovo's citizens.

Ms. Stephens said despite progress under the previous government, the Serbian authorities are currently not in compliance with U.S. requirements that they hand over 16 people who have been indicted for war crimes by the Hague tribunal. Serbia has extradited 23 people to the Hague, include former strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

"We are particularly focused on our effort to see [former Bosnian Serb general] Ratko Mladic brought to justice," says Ms. Stephens. "We believe this would be a transforming event for Serbia-Montenegro's democratic development."

Prime Minister Kostunica has said cooperation with the Hague tribunal is not a priority and that he is willing to risk a possible cutoff of U.S. assistance. The United States is the biggest foreign investor in post-Milosevic Serbia. Ms. Stephens said Washington wants Serbian reform to succeed.

 
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March 19 2004, 9:36 AM 

Belgrade says army prepared to help protect Serbs in Kosovo | 10:23 -> 10:30 | B92

BELGRADE -- Thursday Serbia-Montenegros defence minister has said that the army is ready, with the agreement of the NATO-led peacekeepers force in Kosovo (KFOR), to participate in the protection of Serbs in the province, after violent clashes erupted leaving 18 people dead.

We have expressed readiness to participate in the protection of our citizens, respecting international obligations, Boris Tadic said early this morning following an emergency meeting of the Serbia-Montenegro Supreme Defence Council.

Tadic said he had proposed to the NATO commander in Kosovo that Serbia-Montenegro troops be allowed to protect Serbs in Kosovo, their property and cultural and historical monuments.

The situation is more than an emergency and demands heightened security measures, said the defence minister, adding that all hot-lines were open to NATO, the United Nations and Brussels.

Tadic said it was possible that the UN Security Council, which is due to sit today to discuss the situation in the UN-governed province, take a decision on how the Serbia-Montenegro military could be used to protect Serbs. He ruled out any unilateral action or violations of international agreement.

A statement from the Supreme Defence Council meeting called KFOR and the UN mission in Pristina to protect the lives of Serbs and Montenegrins and their property in Kosovo.

Tadic said that the situation in the ground security zone, a thin strip of land along the administrative border with Kosovo, was calm. The minister said he had information on movements of Albanian terrorists in the area and the situation was being watched closely.

 
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March 19 2004, 9:38 AM 

Obilic emptied of Serbs | 15:40 | B92

OBILIC -- Thursday The Kosovo town of Obilic, near Pristina, has been completely evacuated of Serbs, B92 reports.

A local Serb said all Serb houses in the town had been set on fire by groups of ethnic Albanians.

Mirce Jakovljevic told B92:

There are no more Serbs in Obilic. They are all in Plemetina now. Cerska Street, where the massacred Stolic family lived, is ablaze. All 15 Serb houses are on fire. Hooligans are now heading towards Plemetina. There are no KFOR forces at all, and only small number of UN forces showed up. Theyre located around Albanian houses in Plemetina and they openly say they have come to defend them, I dont know from whom. Thats why I fear clashes between Serbs and the UN. I appeal to our state to put pressure on KFOR to somehow give us weapons to defend ourselves. We have nowhere else to evacuate to.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Priest says Serbs being killed in their homes | 14:01 | B92, Beta

OBILIC -- Thursday A Serbian priest in Kosovo has told B92 that Serbs are being killed in their homes in Obilic, just outside the Kosovo capital Pristina.

The situation is alarming, said Father Sava of the Visoki Decani monastery.

Beta reports that a number of Serbs have been injured after the town was attacked by a group of Albanians, who broke into Serb homes and set them on fire.

The Albanians are reported to be heading towards the ethnically-mixed village of Plemantina, where some 1,000 Serbs live. UN police and NATO-led troops are blocking the access road to the village.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fourteen Serb churches in Kosovo destroyed | 16:15 | B92

PRISTINA -- Thursday Fourteen Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo have been destroyed, the Raska-Prizren Eparchy has said, in a wave of violence that erupted yesterday in the province.

The oldest of the churches dates back to the 12th century.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Serb man and son killed in Strpce | 13:01 | Beta

STRPCE -- Thursday A Serb man and his son were killed last night in the village of Drajkovce in Kosovo, Beta reports.

Dobrivoje Stolic (45) and his son Borko (20) were shot at from the ethnic Albanian village of Firaja, said Kosovo MP Sokol Djordjevic.

Drajkovce is in the Strpce municipality, which was reported to be quiet overnight.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kostunica demands state of emergency be called in Kosovo | 16:10 | SRNA

BELGRADE -- Thursday Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has demanded a state of emergency be called in Kosovo as the only way to protect Serbs.

Kostunica told a press conference in Belgrade that yesterdays action resembled an attempt to ethnically-cleanse Serbs from the province, and called on the Unnited Nations Security Council to adopt a special resolution condemning Albanian terrorism.

On behalf of the Serbian government, he urged against violent reactions, warning that unprotected Serbs in Kosovo could be made to pay for it, and terrorists could see it as an invitation to enter our territory.

The government invited all citizens to join political and religious leaders in a march to the St. Sava monastery, where they will light candles in an expression of solidarity with Serbs in Kosovo.

Kostunica announced organised protests for noon tomorrow.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tadic warns of Albanian attack plans | 15:40 | FoNet

BELGRADE -- Thursday NATO forces in Kosovo have information that around 6,000 ethnic Albanians are preparing to attack three Serb villages in Kosovo during the day, Serbia-Montenegro Defence Minister Boris Tadic has said.

Tadic said he had been told of the information by NATO regional commander Gregory Johnson, but refused to specify which villages would be targeted. Tadic said Johnson had assured him he would send members of the peacekeeping force, KFOR, to protect the villages.

The defence minister said the army had been on the highest level of alert.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, March 18, 2004 - Serb houses burn on the outskirts of Mitrovica (FoNet)


BELGRADE, March 18, 2004 - Hundreds gather in downtown Belgrade in protest at clashes in Kosovo (FoNet)

 
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March 19 2004, 9:56 AM 

Albanian extremists set fire to Orthodox monastery in Kosovo.

18.03.2004,03.37

BELGRADE March 18 (Itar-Tass) -- Albanian extremists have set fire to the Orthodox St. Archangel Monastery not far from Prizren in Kosovo.

The 650th anniversary of the monastery was marked two years ago.

German soldiers of the KFOR international forces in Kosovo evacuated eight people from the monastery.

The St. Georgy church in Prizren was also afire as a result of Wednesday's clashes in Serb enclaves in Kosovo.

Serbia-Montenegro Defence Minister Boris Tadic on Wednesday evening described the new violence acts in Kosovo as organised terror against Serbs who still reside in the old Serb territory inhabited now mainly by Albanians.

According to reports from Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on Thursday denounced the violence outbreaks in Kosovo and demanded to immediately stop attacks against KFOR servicemen.

According to preliminary data, four Albanians, two Serbs and one French KFOR soldier were killed in clashes that began in Kosovo on Wednesday morning. Four Serbs were killed on Wednesday evening. About 200 Serbs were reported missing. There are injured people, including in U.N. police and KFOR units in Serb enclaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fierce clashes continuing in Kosovo.

18.03.2004, 13.18


BELGRADE, March 18 (Itar-Tass) - We strongly condemn the instigators of the current riots in Kosovo and want them to be stopped immediately, since they may explode the situation both within the territory and in the entire region, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Razov stated here on Thursday, commenting on the current situation in Kosovo. The Russian side is ready to take part in the search for ways to settle this problem by means of the instruments it possesses, Razov stated. The Russian deputy foreign minister had planned to visit Kosovo in the course of his three-day visit to Serbia and Montenegro. However, in reply to a request from Head of the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo Harry Holkeri, the visit had to be put off due to the dangerous situation there.

The situation in Kosovo is still very tense Albanian extremists are attacking the Serbs, the U.N. police and International KFOR units. Dozens of houses in the predominantly Serbian villages were burned down. The U.N. police and KFOR soldiers are waging real battles against throngs of Albanians. At least fifteen men were killed and not less than three hundred others were wounded during the Wednesday clashes of Albanian extremists with Serbs, KFOR soldiers, and U.N. policemen. These figures were released by the Crisis HQ of the Clinical Centre of Pristina University.

The most dangerous situation is in the village of Chaglavica, not far from Pristina, where approximately one thousand Serbs had lived. The Albanians broke through the U.N. police cordons into the village forcing Serbian women and children to flee to the neighbouring Serbian village of Laple-Selo. About ten U.N. police vehicles are aflame on the road into Chaglavica. About thirty armoured cars of the American KFOR contingent were moved into the village. The Americans were able to save the lives of at least ten wounded servicemen of the international force. Serbian houses are aflame in the village.

Albanians attacked on Wednesday afternoon the several dozens of Serbians, still remaining in Pristina. Their apartments were stoned and incendiary bombs were hurled into them. A curfew was clamped down on the city on Wednesday. However, according to a report of the Serbian BETA News Agency, about two thousand armed Albanians were moved towards the city from other districts of Kosovo.

Albanian extremists have set fire to the Holy Archangel Orthodox Monastery near the town of Prizren. The Monastery had celebrated the 650th anniversary of its foundation two years ago. The St. George Church in Prizren is also on fire. The Albanians ransacked a Serbian Orthodox Church in Djakovica, where five women had sought asylum. The fate of about two hundred Serbs from Gnilan in eastern Kosovo is still unknown. All the Serbian houses there were burned down. The population of Gnilan tried to flee to Serbia, but only five burned automobiles were so far found on the Bujanovac-Gnilan road with no bodies inside. The Albanians had most likely captured them all.

The Belgrade television describes the Kosovo events as an ethnic purge. There are about two million Albanians and 70-100 thousand Serbians and people of other nationalities living in Kosovo today. Increasing numbers of Serbian politicians believe Kosovo will shortly be ethnically clean due to the Wednesday massive exodus of Serbians from their lands, which can be expected to continue in the next few days. After that the Albanians will be able to declare their independence from Serbia.

Head of the Serbian Governments Coordination Committee on Kosovo Affairs Neboija Chovic has accused the U.N. police in Kosovo and KFOR for guarding only themselves. For his part, Head of the Interim U.N. Administration Mission in Kosovo Harry Holkeri described Wednesday as a black day for Kosovo. He called on the population to keep the peace and to give the U.N. police and KFOR soldiers a chance to guarantee safety for every citizen.

It was learned that an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the situation in Kosovo would be held in New York on Thursday.

 
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March 19 2004, 9:58 AM 

Kosovo Smolders After Nightmare for Peacemakers.

Thu Mar 18, 2004 04:03 AM ET
By Fredrik Dahl

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - Peacekeepers guarded key locations in Kosovo Thursday after the worst ethnic clashes since NATO and the U.N. took control in 1999 shook hopes of a success for international intervention.

Flights in and out were suspended and internal boundaries with Serbia were closed after Wednesday's clashes between Albanians and Serbs that killed at least 17 people. Peacekeeping troops of over a dozen nations patrolled key areas, in some cases next to gutted Serb buildings.

It was the scale of violence rather than the death toll which signaled crisis.

In a severe blow to international hopes of calm ahead of talks this year or next on Kosovo's future status, the outburst of pent-up ethnic hatred in over a dozen locations suggested that reconciliation of the two communities was years off.

Clashes were reported from Mitrovica in the north to Urosevac in the south and Pec in the west, with U.N. police and troops injured in several places, at least three gravely.

The violence triggered angry protests in Serbia's three main cities, where demonstrators stoned and burned Mosques and Islamic buildings.

The Kosovo Health Ministry said 16 were confirmed killed -- six in Mitrovica, three in Lipljan, three in Caglavica, two in Urosevac, one in Pec and one in Gnjilane. A 17th victim was recorded in the capital Pristina, where some burned out U.N. vehicles cluttered the morning scene.

SEETHING IMPATIENCE.

Kosovo has been under the control of the United Nations since NATO bombing drove Serb forces out in mid-1999, halting Serb repression of Muslim Albanian civilians but also granting victory to Albanian separatist guerrillas.

Fueling fears that impatient Albanians might turn on their NATO and U.N. saviors if independence is delayed, mobs clashed with peacekeepers and police across the province.

United Nations Kosovo police veteran Derek Chappell said he believed the violence was coordinated. Kosovo Serb politician Momcilo Trajkovic said: "We are back in 1999," when Albanians took revenge on fleeing Serbs as NATO forces moved in.

Wednesday's violence began when Albanians massed in Mitrovica to vent their rage at Tuesday's drowning of three boys. A survivor had said they were hounded into a river by Serbs, who were exacting revenge for a teen-ager wounded in a drive-by shooting.

Shooting broke out and grenades were thrown as police and troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets to stop Albanians storming the Serb half of the town.

Hundreds of angry Albanians surrounded a Serb enclave in Pristina, setting U.N. jeeps ablaze and stoning police who fired rubber bullets. U.S. troops were evacuating Serbs whose apartments were under attack. U.S. troops in a convoy of 30 armored cars evacuated Serbs from Caglavica.

In Belgrade, Serb demonstrators broke through a police cordon and set fire to a mosque. Witnesses said demonstrators also smashed windows of the U.S. embassy. There were protests in the northern city of Novi Sad and the mosque was burned in the southern city of Nis.

(Additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl and Beti Bilandzic)

 
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Kosovo on fire.

03/18/2004 18:45

For two days Serbs and Albanians have been fighting in Kosovo, 22 people were killed and more than 500 wounded.

In New York special meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation in Kosovo is in progress. Meanwhile, in Kosovo and Metokhia crowds of Albanian extremists are attacking Serbs, UN police and international peace-keeping troops.

The peace-keeping troops have started evacuating Serbs from the towns in Kosovo. All Serbian residents of Pristina administrative center had been brought to the "safe place", LCI French TV channel reported.


Many armored vehicles of the peace-keeping troops have been deployed in Boshnyachka Makhala District where Serbs and Albanians are living. Meanwhile, commander of the peace-keeping forces general Holger Kammerhof rejected the offer of Serbian President Voislav Kostunica about cooperation with Serbian Security Forces to stop the riots.

NATO is deploying more troops in Kosovo. 750 special force troops will arrive in Kosovo from Bosnia shortly. There are 17 thousand international peace-keeping troops in Kosovo and 12 thousand in Bosnia.

The conflict started in town Kosovska-Mitrovica divided by the river Ibr into Albanian and Serbian areas. Crowds of Albanians tried to rush to the Serbian area through the bridge guarded by French peace-keeping troops.

The cause for the riots became the deaths of three Albanian teenagers. Serbian teenagers were accused of pushing the young Albanians into the river where they drowned. UN Mission Press Secretary Derek Chepel has denied these allegations. Moreover, by the evening the teenager who had been considered to be drowned, was found. This boy did not say that Serbs were attacking the Albanian kids.

The riots disseminated to a number of towns and villages. The most dangerous situation is in village Chaglavitsa near Pristina where about one thousand Serbs lived. In the daytime Albanians broke through the UN police cordons into the village. Serbian women and children escaped to neighboring village Laple-Selo. Ten vehicles of the UN police near the village and the cottages of Serbs are on fire. Americans rescued 10 wounded officers of international peace-keeping troops.

In Pristina curfew has been imposed by the authorities. However, about 2 thousand armed Albanians approached the city from other areas of Kosovo. Earlier the houses of several dozens of Serbian residents who remained in Pristina, were attacked with stones and petrol bombs.

Albanian radicals burned Orthodox Monastery of St. Archangel near town Prizren and St. George Church in Prizren.

In Jakovits extremists attack the Orthodox Church after five women tried to hide themselves there.

There is no information on the 200 residents of Gnilane in the East of Kosovo. All the cottages of Serbs have been burned in this city. The residents of Gnilane had tried to escape to Serbia, but later five burned vehicles were found on the road, and no sign of the Serbians. There is a version that Albanians captured them.

Belgrad TV named the events in Kosovo "ethnic purge". Currently 2 million of Albanians and 70-100 Serbs and people of other nations are residing in Kosovo. Serbian politicians believe that after the rest of Serbians leave Kosovo in the days to come, the territory will become ethically homogeneous and will proclaim their independence from Serbia.

Head of Coordinating Committee on Kosovo from Serbian government Neboisha Chovich said that the un police and peace-keeping troops are protecting only themselves.

Source: Information agencies

http://english.pravda.ru/accidents/21/93/376/12301_Kosovo.html


 
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March 19 2004, 10:44 AM 

Thursday, 18 March, 2004, 23:28 GMT

UN pulls out of Kosovo flashpoint.

BBC


Religious symbols are bearing the brunt of the violence.

UN staff have been pulled out of the flashpoint town of Mitrovica in Kosovo where two days of inter-ethnic clashes have left 31 dead. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the decision had been taken in view of the worsening security situation. He was addressing a special session of the UN Security Council after the worst violence since the 1999 Kosovo war. Mobs of angry Albanians set alight Serbian Orthodox churches and Serb-owned homes across Kosovo on Thursday. The attacks came as Nato announced it was sending another 1,000 troops to reinforce the 18,500 already there. The Security Council has strongly condemned the violence - calling it "unacceptable" - and demanded that it stop immediately.

Mr Annan said it showed that, despite the progress, communities in Kosovo were not ready to accept multi-ethnicity. He urged all sides to co-operate with the international presence in Kosovo. But his message was aimed primarily at the Kosovo Albanian leaders, who - as the largest ethnic group - had a responsibility "to protect and promote the rights of all people within Kosovo, particularly its minorities". After calls from Nato and the European Union earlier, the main Kosovo Albanian political parties issued a statement urging their supporters to call off the protests - but it appears to have gone unheeded.

Drownings.

Trouble first erupted in the divided city of Mitrovica after the drowning deaths of two Albanian children, blamed on members of the province's small ethnic Serbian community. Flights in and out of Kosovo have been suspended and internal boundaries with Serbia have been closed. The top commander of the Nato-led force in Kosovo, known as K-For, has authorised the troops to use force if necessary. As attacks multiplied, angry demonstrators over the border in Serbia itself responded by burning several mosques.

A Serb Orthodox church in the heart of Pristina was the target of an attack on Thursday evening. Earlier, Albanians managed to get past Nato peacekeepers to set fire to churches in Mitrovica and the town of Obilic, west Pristina, where about 100 local Serbs had to be evacuated. Crowds of Albanians were also reported to be trying to storm a church being protected by Finnish peacekeepers in the central town of Lipljan. Nato troops had to use tear gas against Albanian protesters seeking to march on the village of Caglavica, south of Pristina, for the second day on Thursday.

Accusation.

Serbia has accused both the UN and Nato of failing to protect Kosovo's Serbs. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has described the attacks as "planned in advance and co-ordinated... this was an attempted pogrom and ethnic cleansing" against Kosovo's Serbs. He has called for a state of emergency to be imposed in Kosovo. Mr Kostunica was addressing protesters in the Serbian capital Belgrade - a day after similar gatherings ended up stoning and burning mosques and other Islamic buildings.

The situation has sparked growing debate about how to resolve the status of the Kosovo province, says the BBC's Nick Thorpe. The latest outbreak of violence has revived debate about the idea of partitioning Kosovo, with the area north of the River Ibar, which divides Mitrovica, falling to Serbia. But it is an idea which is an anathema to the majority Albanian population and has also been rejected by the UN administrators of the province, our correspondent says.

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REAL-PLAYER,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/video/39939000/rm/_39939293_kosovo06_forrest_vi.ram

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Since June 1999, under Nato protection, more then 200,000 Serbs have been forced to flee Kosovo, while some 2,000 are missing since. Is that kind of peace that Nato keeps?
Roman, Belgrade, Serbia

My uncle is trapped in a small Serb village in Kosovo (I am afraid to reveal his exact location). This morning we talked to him and he said that there were no peacekeeping troops anywhere near the village. They cannot get out and they are afraid to stay in. Since Serb troops are not allowed to go back to Kosovo and protect the Serbs, I beg you to send more Nato troops and help the remaining Serbs.
Pathon, London

I served in the British Army in Kosovo in 1999. I have seen first hand what people are capable of doing to each other. I was impeded at every step by the policies and politics at various levels of the Military System. I have left the Army now, and am ashamed of this Nation's failure to implement the peace. I also fear far worse is yet to come.
Martin, UK

Peace can't be restored in Kosovo simply because there was no peace before. For past five years, Kosovo has been a cradle to murders and violence. Kosovo is a Gordian knot, a hot potato being handled between politicians. While civilians keep dying. Kosovo's problems need swift military solutions. My opinion is that five years of talking has done nothing, as we're witnessing now.
Janja, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro

Kosovo is not Northern Ireland or Bosnia or Croatia. Peacekeepers should know that. Five years is not enough. It will take a decades to have peaceful Kosovo. You can't even talk about the peace at this moment, but just about the security of the civilians.
Rada, Sombor, Serbia

Sending more UN troops to Kosovo will not resolve the problem of Albanian terrorism which we have seen demonstrated yet again on Wednesday 17th March throughout the province. I propose, as should the entire civilised world, an immediate return of Serbian forces as outlined by Resolution 1244.
Marko Kezunovic, London, UK

I have been working here for four years now. I had asked that very same question to one local Albanian, he said "After 500 years we will still fight the Serbs". The Serbs feel the same way about the Kosovars. I don't believe this is a religious conflict, since the Albanians are Muslims by name, not by practice. Kosovars are quick to put blame elsewhere except themselves... yesterday they blamed the Serbs, today they blame the UN, who are they going to blame tomorrow??
"International", Pristina, Kosovo

Although clashes are undesirable, perhaps we should remember that Kosovo is a part of Serbia, and that the Albanians have colonised from another country. Having said this, the peoples still need to find a way to live together; neither will go away.
Dr T Smith, UK

Tensions between Serbs and Albanians on Kosovo originated decades ago. Even in former Socialist Yugoslavia there have been tensions and even a kind of Albanian uprising against the Belgrade regime. As long as Serbs will treat Kosovo as "Serbian cradle" and Albanians will talk about "Great Albania" or "Independent Kosovo", there will be tensions and violence between those two nations, who obviously have nothing left in common now. Maybe the best solution is to divide the land along ethnic lines. But there might also be a lot of objections from both sides, due to the fact that region is rich with coal and minerals. The international community is only wasting time, money and lives trying to keep the region as a whole.
Mitja Koren, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Peace is a state of mind. With the attitudes of both Albanians and Serbians so distrustful and hateful of each other, there can be no talk of peace in Kosovo. I have lived and worked here for nearly four years too, but sometimes I wonder why I am here. It seems as if the moment NATO leaves, things will be back to the state it was immediately before, during and immediately after the 1999 conflicts.
Another "International", Pristina, Kosovo, Serbia & Montenegro

We can discuss for a whole century about who is older: chicken or an egg. And in between, there would be no solution and only innocent people will die. I am afraid that there are too many interests involved in one small region such as Kosovo. You can call it manipulation or a cause, but at the end you will have ethnically clean region in a heart of Europe with no intention of becoming multi-ethnically democratic society. And that would be unimaginable contradiction to everything. A really sad failure for everyone.
Rade, Malta

A sad fact that after being assured and reassured for five years that Kosovo is advancing toward a true democracy we are faced with what is clearly an organized campaign to once and for all purge the remains of Serbs from Kosovo. With all due respect from people outside of these territories they cannot and will never understand this clash, but it is easy to understand that peace is far from here, and will continue to be so unless the international community finally excepts faults at both sides, faces the problems in both communities and stops cheering for one side and starts being what it should be - an independent arbiter while talks start - no matter how long they take it is the only way. Provided of course there are any Serbs left to talk by the time this is finished.
Cica, Belgrade, Serbia

How depressingly familiar it all is, each side believing itself to be the victim of the other and referring to incidents which occurred hundreds of years ago to justify today's atrocities. As somebody said about Northern Ireland, both sides say they want peace, but what they really mean is they want victory. We should either swamp the area with troops and enforce a peace, or withdraw entirely and let them get on with it. Both sides will criticise us either way
Mark Alcroft, Bolton, UK

To the extent that Iraq is a US problem that Europe shouldn't help with, this is a problem for continental Europe that the US (and Britain) shouldn't help with. Get NATO out and let a coalition of France, Germany, Belgium, etc. step up and do something productive outside of their borders. If Old Europe can turn Kosovo into a peaceful paradise in short order they will have some credibility in attacking US policy in Iraq.
Michael, Kansas City, USA

Let's stop playing political games and start protecting the innocent people. Kosovo can not be divided as this would give the green light to the Albanians that terrorism pays and we would see the same in Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and so on. Kosovo is part of Serbia, we need the world community to finish what they started because too many innocent people are dying both Serb and Albanians due to their flawed policies and decisions.
George Stojanovic, England, United Kingdom

Until our leaders accept that military action is not in fact an effective long term solution to the world's problems, we are stuck in a terrible downward spiral of violence. Neither Yugoslavia nor Iraq were actually a threat to us, but by throwing these countries into chaos we have released gangs of criminals and terrorists. Let's have some isolationism, please!
Andrew, Cirencester, UK

The international community must come up with a solution. The former Serbian government led by Milosevic failed. Neither do the Albanians have any idea other than to declare independence. The Kosovo issue will have the effect of radicalising the Serbian population yet again. Time and again Serbs are told to 'move on' from the issue but how can they when they cannot live in peace in Kosovo? All options should be considered.
Sasa Markovic, Belgrade Jugoslavia

Yes, peace can be restored in Kosovo, at least a temporary peace; a peace that will require an armed International presence forever more until we grant the Albanians independence. They will not stop until they have their independence, and if we allow them to have, Macedonia's next. When NATO backed the KLA against the Milosevic regime, it demonstrated - very clearly - to the Albanians how to achieve their aim: by violence.
Mac, Sarajevo, Bosnia

To Western People: Give new Serbia a chance! There's no more Milosevic! You must validate it, as well as you must stop burning of the world inheritance, UNESCO legacy, not only Serbian.
Dejan Milosevic, Kragujevac, Serbia

Is this why NATO bombed Serbia in 1999? SHAME
Maria, Canada

I've truly believed that end of Milosevic was the end of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Now there are no Serbs left in Kosovo, their houses are burned down. These are the black days for democracy and multi ethnicity in Kosovo.
Ivan Cikaric, Zajecar, Serbia

It's been five years since Nato troops and the UN were deployed in Kosovo. Their promises that they would create a multi-ethnic society and provide for freedom and liberty for all Kosovo citizens have not been fulfilled. Five years later, in only one night, centuries old symbols of Serbian Christian existence in Kosovo have been set ablaze. Under the rule of the most powerful military organisation in the world, people are being killed, their houses burnt and destroyed. Nato and the UN should ask themselves where things went wrong. Today, more then ever, Kosovo desperately needs help.
Mickey, Pittsburgh, USA

Peace will only be restored if the Serbs and the Albanians realise that we are all the same no matter what colour or race.
Tayo Adekoya, Lagos, Nigeria

The Balkans has been a troubled region for more then 200 years. Several empires and countries occupied this land and tried to make a peace, either by exterminating one side, either by obliging all sides on a single way of living... All those methods have failed.. Now, in Kosovo, the Balkans is showing its true face as a troubled region. I can't see how Nato could succeed where the Ottomans, Germans, Communists, and Milosovitch have failed before...
Vincent, France

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/3522710.stm

 
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March 19 2004, 11:01 AM 

BULGARIAN POLICEMAN - KOSOVO - INJURY.

Bulgarian Policeman Sustains Light Injury in Kosovska Mitrovica.

Sofia, March 18 (BTA) - A Bulgarian policeman in Kosovska Mitrovica was wounded slightly by a stone, the press office of the Interior Ministry said in a press release about events in Kosovo.

After receiving medical aid and undergoing a through check in a local hospital, he left in good condition. No one else from the contingent of Bulgarian policemen in Kosovo was hurt, says the press release.

Some of the cars of the officials in the mission were set on fire; a building where several Bulgarian officials in UNMIK lived was robbed.

Lowest status of mobilization readiness has been declared. The Bulgarian policemen continues to perform their tasks. The National Police Service directorate is in constant contact with the contingent.

The Bulgarian force in Kosovo is involved in certain activities in connection with the conflict which broke out there on Wednesday, the Sofia Interior Ministry said earlier on Thursday.

The Interior Ministry reported a "very complicated situation" in Kosovo Wednesday night, when many Serb homes in Pristina were attacked by Kosovo Albanians. Although it is somewhat calmer on Thursday morning, demonstrations are expected.

The Bulgarian police in Kosovo are working together with colleagues from other international forces in many places. The Bulgarians have the necessary equipment, the Interior Ministry said.

The wave of violence has swept nearly all Serb population centres in Kosovo, where crowds of ethnic Albanians have been attacking the Serb population.

 
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March 19 2004, 11:33 AM 

Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily

Volume XXII, No. 50 Friday, March 19, 2004

2004, Global Information System, ISSA

Exclusive Special Report

New Kosovo Violence is Start of Predicted 2004 Wave of Islamist Operations: the Strategic Ramifications

Analysis. By Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS, with input from GIS Stations in Pri?tina, Belgrade and elsewhere. The major wave of violence instigated in the Kosovo region of Serbia on beginning on about March 14, 2004, and escalating dramatically through March 18, 2004, is the start of the forecast series of unrest, guerilla warfare and terrorist activity planned by radical Islamist leaders in Bosnia, Albania, Iran and in the Islamist areas of Serbia, and directly linked with the various al-Qaida-related mujahedin and terrorist cells in the area.

Attempts have already been made to blame the violence on the very small Serbian population which remains in Kosovo, but this is not credible, and nor has the Serbian Government shown any enthusiasm to get involved in the situation.

Sources confirm that the violence, which began on March 17, 2004, and continued to escalate through March 18, 2004, is not an isolated expression of frustration, but, rather, part of a planned season of unrest designed explicitly to pull US and Western strategic focus away from Iraq, and to ensure that US and Western peacekeeping forces which have been progressively diverted to Iraq operations and away from Kosovo and Bosnia will need to be held in the Balkans. The purposes are multifold:

1. To remove US and Western focus on Iraq, thereby relieving pressure on Irans clerical leadership and helping to ensure the retention of Iranian capability to link, via Iraq, with Syria;

2. To demonstrate the failure of the Western war on terror and specifically to discredit those Western leaders who supported the war in the run-up to elections in the US and Australia;

3. To create a climate of instability around the Olympic Games, scheduled for August 2004 in Athens, and which feature as a major target for unrest and terrorism;

4. To consolidate Islamist control over parts of the Balkans, specifically the so-called green transversal1 belt which links the Adriatic Coast through Albania, FYR of Macedonia, the Serbian Kosovo and Metohija region, the southern Serbia/northern Montenegro Ra?ka (Sandzak) region, through the Gorazde Corridor into Bosnia, not only as a terrorist corridor but also to facilitate a clear highway for narco-trafficking and weapons shipments.

Significantly, the Serbian Government within the union of Serbia & Montenegro, had, until the recent Serbian elections, attempted to ignore the growing incitement to a new outbreak of violence and unrest on the part of the Muslim community of southern Serbia (Ra?ka) and Kosovo because it did not wish to be seen to be drawing attention to the growing Muslim agitation. However, this action merely allowed the process to continue to build without any major intelligence or policy focus on the problem. The issue was compounded by the fact that two major international oversight bodies the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and the German-controlled command of UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) both sided with radical Islamists and known war-criminals also, presumably, to avoid the appearance of being anti-Muslim.

The warnings of this wave of violence were explicitly clearly and starkly forecast by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs reports over the past year, and specifically on October 15, 2003, Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, in a report entitled Strong Warning Indicators for New Surge in European Islamist Terrorism, which noted:

Intelligence sources in the Balkans and Middle East indicate that the Iranian and Osama bin Laden terrorist networks, assets and alliances built up in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Southern Serbia and elsewhere in the Balkans are preparing for significant new slate of operations. Initial operations in this new slate have already begun in Kosovo, and are expected to expand in southern Serbia in late October and into November 2003.

The intelligence, from a variety of primary sources within the Islamist movements, points to:

1. Escalation of Islamist terrorist attacks on Serb civilians within the predominantly Muslim region of Kosovo and Metohija in the Serbian province of Kosovo;

2. Commencement during October-November 2003 of seemingly-random bombings of public places, including schools, in Muslim-dominated cities in the southern Serbian/northern Montenegrin Ra?ka Oblast (this oblast, or region not a formal sub-state as in the Russian use of the word oblast is referred to by Islamists by its Turkish name, Sandzak) as a prelude to wider violence in this area, and eastern Montenegro, adjacent to the Albanian border and reaching down to the Adriatic;

3. Coordination of incidents by the so-called Albanian National Army a current iteration of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, or UCK: Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves, in Albanian; OVK in Serbo-Croat) in Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with activities in Ra?ka, led by the Bosnian radical Islamist party, SDA (Party of Democratic Action) of Alija Izetbegovic, and all supported by Albanian Government-approved/backed training facilities inside Albania, close to the border with Serbian Kosovo;

4. Escalation of incidents including threats, political action, terrorist action within Bosnia-Herzegovina, designed to further polarize the Serbian and Croat population away from the Muslim population;

5. Eventual escalation of incidents to create a no-go area for Serbian, Montenegrin, Republica Srpska security forces and international peacekeepers in a swathe of contiguous territory from the Adriatic through Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Southern Serbia and Macedonia into Bosnia-Herzegovina, effectively dissecting the Republica Srpska state (which is within Bosnia-Herzegovina) at the Gorazde Corridor and isolating Montenegro;

6. Using the extensive save-haven areas and no-go zones created by the actions, undertake a range of terrorist actions against targets in Greece which is contiguous with Albania and (FYR) Macedonia during (and possibly before) the August 2004 Olympic Games. Specific intelligence points to the fact that the Islamist groups have already predetermined target opportunities during the Games.

News sources indicated on March 18, 2004, that NATO could dispatch nearly 2,000 additional troops to Kosovo, including 750 from the United Kingdom, to deal with the new unrest. As of March 18, 2004, after only a few days of unrest, it was understood that 35 NATO troops had been injured. Some 350 extra troops were already being sent in, including US and Italians from Bosnia, as well as British forces. The UK Government then announced it was sending 750 new troops into Kosovo. At least 14 people had been reported killed in Kosovo as a result of the new fighting, much of which centers around the divided town of Mitrovica; hundreds have been injured.

A crowd of Albanians, estimated at 3,000 strong, attacked the UN police station in Mitrovica before crossing the city's main bridge and heading into the Serbian side where there were exchanges of machinegun fire and hand-grenades. The Albanian groups were seen to be in possession of heavy automatic weapons and grenades. It had been claimed that the Albanians had mobilized to attack Serbs who had allegedly chased several boys into a river where three of them were drowned, ostensibly in retaliation for an earlier (and confirmed) drive-by shooting in which a Serbian youth was killed.

However, UNMIK spokesman Derek Chappell said on the night of March 18, 2004, that the survivor of the March 17, 2004, Ibar River drowning had told his parents that he and three friends entered the river alone and were immediately caught up in the heavy current. The boy managed to reach the opposite bank of the river, but his three companions were swept away. It was clear that the Albanian forces were mobilized and ready for the assault and that the story about the drownings was merely used as a convenient claim on which to base the attacks.

But what seemed clear was the the German-run UNMIK forces were totally unprepared for the outbreak, despite the warnings and knowledge of Islamist plans for such actions. As a result, UN forces were known to have withdrawn rather than protect Serb areas and Serbian Orthodox churches, which were supposedly to be protected as cultural heritage sites. The Kosovo Force (KFOR) units fared somewhat better, using rubber bullets and tear gas, but they, too, were unprepared for the scale of the operations conducted by the Albanians.

A German spokesman had, in recent months, made clear anti-Serbian remarks, highlighting the biased nature of the supposedly impartial international force supposedly administering Kosovo with the support of KFOR military units and police provided by donor nations [a Polish police unit was in charge of the area of Metrovica when the incident occurred]. UNMIK had, additionally, on several occasions, tried to overturn international warrants and criminal proceedings against one of the key Kosovo radicals, known war criminal Agim Ceku, who was now working as the Commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), which was, in fact, created out of the narco-terrorism organization, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK).2

The October 15, 2003, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs report also indicated that Cekus KPC was directly engaged in support of Albanian-trained Islamist terrorists, noting:

During the first half of August 2003, 300 Albanian-trained guerillas including appr. 10 mujahedin (non-Balkan Muslims) were infiltrated across the Albanian border into Kosovo, where many have subsequently been seen in the company (and homes) of members of the so-called Kosovo Protection Corps which was created out of Kosovo Albanian elements originally part of the KLA. In fact, the Kosovo Protection Force seems almost synonymous with the Albanian National Army (ANA), the new designation for the KLA. The guerillas were trained in three camps inside the Albanian border at the towns of Bajram Curi, Tropoja and Kuks, where the camps have been in operation since 1997.

All of the warning signs are there for an escalation of substantial proportions, both in Kosovo and in neighboring areas. On March 18, 2004, Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily highlighted the confluence of Islamist terrorist activities in 2004, in a report entitled Terrorism, the Olympics and Elections: the 2004 Confluence. What that report made clear was the fact that the March 11, 2004, bombings in Madrid were a precursor for the season of violence, and the success of the actions there in shaping the political outcome of the Spanish general election gave strong impetus to the actions planned for the Olympics, the US and elsewhere.

The campaign to paint the Serbs as the aggressors included references, picked up by international media, that Serbia & Montenegrin forces and/or internal security forces from the Republic of Serbia were deployed to move back into Kosovo. Serbian Premier Vojislav Kostunica said on March 17, 2004, that our military and police units are not deployed along the administrative line with Kosovo-Metohija. Speaking at a news conference after the Serbian Government's special session held to discuss the clashes in Kosovo-Metohija, Kostunica said that news about the army and police presence at the administrative line dividing Kosovo province from the rest of Serbia were misinformation spread on purpose in order to justify a further radicalization of the situation.3

This was confirmed by intelligence sources on the ground in Kosovo; there were no Serbian military or police deployments in the area.

Similarly, reports of the sacking of a mosque in Belgrade by Serbs was also distorted, largely to cover the fact that a significant number of Serbian Orthodox churches had been destroyed by the Albanians in Kosovo: destructions which were witnessed, and not prevented, by UNMIK forces on some occasions. There was, however, an incident at the mosque in Belgrade, and a GIS source witnessed the incident on March 17, 2004, and noted: Hooligans and thats what they really were: drunk kids, 17 to 22 years old pillaged the interior of the mosque as well as the madarasa [Islamic school]. The source said that the teenagers lit a fire in front of the mosque, but did not damage it.

UN Police Director for Information in Kosovo, Derek Chappell, noted on March 17, 2004: In the past weeks there have been a number of incidents that have escalated tension. We had a hand grenade attack on the residence of President of Kosovo last Friday, we have had four or five hand grenades thrown on the streets of Pri?tina, we had a bomb left on the front of UN headquarters two weeks ago and a Serbian youth was shot in a drive-by shooting this last Monday evening [March 15, 2004]. These incidents have tended to create a feeling of fear and uncertainty and last night we had three Albanian youngsters who drowned in a river, allegedly as a result of being chased into the river by Serbs, and this seems to have been the catalyst that finally drove people into the streets and we saw this violence that erupted today [March 17, 2004].

However, as noted in repeated reports by GIS since mid-2004, the escalation was planned, and because of pressures to move US and other forces out of the area to aid Iraq deployments NATO intelligence and planning officials downplayed the threat.

The matter was not helped when, in recent weeks, former US Clinton Administration State Dept. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke said that the break-up of the former Yugoslavia was not yet complete: it required that Montenegro and Kosovo be broken off to form separate sovereign states. A number of officials from the region told GIS that they thought that this comment must have reflected official positions in Washington. Almost certainly the statement by Holbrooke gave encouragement and incitement to the new wave of attacks in Kosovo.

Meanwhile, on the night of March 18, 2004, Serbia & Montenegro Pres. Svetozar Marovic convened a special session of the Serbia & Montenegro Supreme Defense Council, to discuss the latest escalation of clashes. The Council issued a statement that which said that it was following with great concern the escalation of organized violence in Kosovo and Metohija, and was calling on, and expecting from, UNMIK and KFOR, as well as from other international institutions, to ensure the protection of the lives of Serbs and Montenegrins and of their property in Kosovo and Metohija and to fulfill other commitments undertaken under resolution 1244. The Supreme Defence Council supported the contacts of relevant bodies of Serbia and Montenegro, the Serbian Government and the Army of Serbia and Montenegro with international institutions and expressed a readiness of the Army of Serbia and Montenegro to lend assistance to the international forces for stabilizing the situation in Kosovo and Metohija in keeping with resolution 1244, within the mandate of KFOR and UNMIK.

The Supreme Defense Council, along with the existing activities of the Army of Serbia and Montenegro, ordered the Chief of Staff to follow the situation and to suggest to the Supreme Defense Council what measures should be taken next. Apart from the chairman and members of the Council, Acting Pres. of Serbia Predrag Markovic and Montenegrin Pres. Filip Vujanovic, also took part in the meeting, along with Serbian Premier Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia & Montenegro Defense Minister Boris Tadic, Deputy Defense Minister Vukasin Maras, Chief of Staff Gen. Branko Krga and Supreme Defense Council secretary Col. Ljunisa Jokic.

Fewer than 20,000 KFOR troops remain in Kosovo, and the few Serbs who remain there still live in ghetto conditions; very few who fled during the fighting in 1999 have returned to their former homes. Serbs now represent only about 10 percent of Kosovos two-million population.

It would, however, be unwise to focus solely on the Kosovo incidents without seeing them in the light of regional developments and the larger picture, including operations in and related to the ongoing peacekeeping operations in Iraq. Significantly, as the Kosovo operation itself got underway, al-Qaida senior leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was reportedly being besieged by Pakistan Army forces in southern Waziristan, in the Pakistani tribal areas. Ayman al-Zawahiri, and his brother Mohammed (currently in an Egyptian prison) organized and led much of the terrorist, mujahedin and narco-trafficking arrangements in both Bosnia and Kosovo. And these arrangements remain central to al-Qaida and Iranian strategic operations to move from defensive operations against the US-led Coalition forces to strongly offensive operations in the run-up to the 2004 US elections.

Footnotes:

1. The attempt to create a Muslim belt from the Adriatic Sea up into the heart of Europe has been known for many decades by the Islamists as the green transversal, the green standing for the Muslim color (although, ironically, it is also the color of the Orthodox Christians), and transversal meaning a line or path on the ascendant. The Bosnian Muslims, even during the Tito era, managed to inject the name onto sports stadium in Sarajevo, now the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina. The Zetra Stadium specifically stands for ZElena (Green) TRAnsverszala, in Serbo-Croat.

2. See Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, October 23, 2003: Slovenia Arrests Key Kosovo Islamist, Based on Serbia-Montenegro Indictment. And Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, March 5, 2004: UN Mission In Kosovo Continues Protection for KLA Leader Ceku. See also Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, February 11, 2004: Report on Albanian Criminal-Terrorist Links Providing Key Intelligence for Olympics Security, War on Terror.

3.. See Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, November 17, 2003: New Balkans Islamist Weapons Supply Line Tied to 9/11 Players and Contact of Holbrooke. And Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily report of September 17, 2004: Bosnian Official Links With Terrorism, Including 9/11, Become Increasingly Apparent as Clinton, Clark Attempt to Justify Support of Bosnian Militants.

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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March 19 2004, 11:49 AM 

Pristina: All Serbs are gone.

According to Orthodox priest Miroslav Popadic, special units of UNMIK police evacuated him and the last handful of Pristina Serbs to the besieged enclave of Gracanica.

Burned out of their ghetto, they had sought shelter in the parish hall basement next to the torched church of St. Nicholas. As of 9:12 PM (3:12 PM EST) on March 18, 2004, there are no more Serbs in Pristina.

 
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March 19 2004, 12:20 PM 

17 Kosovo churches, monasteries and convents looted or set ablaze.

Reuters ^ | Thu 18 March, 2004 21:22 | Fredrik Dahl

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - Albanians have set fire to Serb churches across Kosovo in a second day of attacks as NATO boosted its force by 1,000 and vowed to stamp out ethnic violence with "robust" action.

Serbia and Montenegro's Defence Minister Boris Tadic said he expected more violence in the majority Albanian province and appealed to NATO to do more to calm the "terrible situation".

"I am afraid there will be more attacks during the night. This is an emergency situation and we need the help of the international community," Tadic told a news conference on Thursday in Bratislava, where he was attending a European forum.

The appeal came after the worst ethnic clashes in Kosovo since NATO and the United Nations took control of the province from Serbia in 1999.

At least 23 people -- Albanians and Serbs -- were killed, and 500 wounded, of whom 20 were in intensive care.

"The thousands of ethnic Albanians that attacked KFOR, the police, Serb enclaves and churches should be aware of robust reserve forces," KFOR mission commander General Holger Kammerhoff of Germany told reporters in the capital, Pristina.

Commanders of the multinational brigades were authorised to use "proportional force necessary to ensure safety of our soldiers, to protect the innocent people of Kosovo and reestablish freedom of movement of all of Kosovo", he said.

CHURCHES, MONASTERIES ABLAZE

A Serb official in Lipljan, central Kosovo, said about 300 Albanians were trying to enter a church protected by Finnish U.N. peacekeepers. Some threw hand grenades and Finnish troops fired back, municipal leader Borivoje Vignjevic told Reuters.

Serb Orthodox clergy in Kosovo said 17 churches, monasteries and convents had been looted or set ablaze.

Nuns from Devic Monastery near Srbica, south of Mitrovica, were flown out on KFOR helicopters -- after French troops sought church permission -- when at least 1,000 armed Albanians threatened the convent, the church said.

The Orthodox church in Pristina was also burning on Thursday evening and the priest was hiding in the cellar of his parish house next door, a spokesman at the Belgrade Patriarchy said.

NATO troops fired tear gas and plastic rounds to stop an Albanian march on Caglavica, a Serb village hit in the violence.

In the central town of Obilic, Serbs appealed to KFOR for weapons to defend themselves as Albanians, whose religion is Islam, set fire to their homes and drove them out.

"There are no more Serbs in Obilic," local Serb Mirce Jakoljevic told Belgrade's B92 radio. "I urge our state to exert the strongest possible pressure on KFOR to send us weapons."

FROM CLARK TO JONES

The Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General James L. Jones -- whose predecessor but one General Wesley Clark bombed Serbia to force it out of Kosovo -- said extra troops were part of "a prudent reinforcement" of 18,500 already there.

"The reinforcements include a battalion sized, rapid response reserve force" to be deployed where needed, he said.

The violence began on Monday when a Serb teenager was wounded in a drive-by shooting. The following day three Albanian boys drowned in a river, reportedly after being chased by Serbs. On Wednesday, the province exploded.

Serbia's main representative on Kosovo, Nebojsa Covic told Serbs in Mitrovica the violence "has all been organised in advance and pre-planned by Albanians and their lobbyists".

"This might be the decisive battle for Kosovo and the survival of Serbs in Kosovo and we must win," he said.

In a session of the Kosovo parliament, representatives of three main Albanian parties said the only way to calm Kosovo was to declare it independent - a constant demand held at bay by the United Nations, which wants peace before any status decision.

U.S. soldiers blocked the Pristina-Mitrovica road and were checking all travellers as 150 more U.S. troops and 80 Italian carabinieri arrived and Britain readied 750 troops.

In Serbia, the Interior Ministry put paramilitary police on the boundary with Kosovo on the top level of combat readiness.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica urged the U.N. Security Council to act to stop "ethnic cleansing" by Albanians.

"We are doing our utmost to find a political solution to stop this," he told Serbian state television.

Angry protesters in Serbia's three main cities stoned and burned mosques and other Islamic buildings on Wednesday night, furious at what they called NATO's failure to check Albanian "terrorism".

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To: konijn
It is so good the the United Nations is right there bringing peace to that war-torn country (sarcasm off)
2 posted on 03/18/2004 2:57:30 PM PST by LauraJean

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You got that right. Where is Europe? Most of it is bending over and grabbing its ankles.

9 posted on 03/18/2004 3:16:01 PM PST by Salve Regina (When Islam takes the last city, you will be given a choice: a prayer rug or a coffin.)

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Look at BBC slide of the story!!!

Kosovo violence BBC

Unbelievable!

Lets look at the slides. 1 of 11 A second day of clashes saw religious sites targeted - here in the flashpoint town of Mitrovica Albanian protesters managed to burn a Serb Orthodox church.

THEY ARE ALBANIAN PROTESTORS?? PROTESTING AGAINST WHAT?

THEY MANAGED to burn a church?

4 of 11 There was also the rare occasion of an Albanian putting out the fire at his Serb neighbour's house.

EVEN WHEN THE WORST OF ALBANIAN TERRORISM IS SHOWN BBC finds a nice Pro Albanian propaganda angle.

5 of 11 But the two sides remain poles apart - Kosovo Albanians protest to demand independence as a way of ending the long conflict.

I THOUGHT IT WAS a violence due to some boys drowning in the river BBC KNOWS IT IS PROTEST ABOUT INDEPENDENCE

16 posted on 03/18/2004 3:58:12 PM PST by Makedonski

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Where is Europe?

Sleeping as usual, and pulling the covers over their collective heads thinking that this will just - go - away like everything else.

17 posted on 03/18/2004 4:06:44 PM PST by OpusatFR (Liberals lie because the truth would kill them all off.)

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LATEST NEWS:

Morter rounds landed in the grounds of a hospital in Mitrovica fired from the Southern Albanian side.

A Danish soldier has died shot by Albanians in Mitrovica half an hour ago.

22 posted on 03/18/2004 4:47:26 PM PST by Makedonski

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To: Makedonski

By mortar shot or gunshot?

23 posted on 03/18/2004 4:48:19 PM PST by joan

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To: joan

I think gunshot I don't think it is the mortar incident.

I am following beograd.com and serbiancafe.com

24 posted on 03/18/2004 4:54:03 PM PST by Makedonski

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To: Makedonski

inet news says it was a sniper and that the Danish soldiers killed the sniper:

"It has been confirmed that Danish KFOR soldier was killed by the Albanian extremist sniper. Danish soldiers have killed ethnic Albanian sniper in action that followed."

25 posted on 03/18/2004 5:06:33 PM PST by joan

 
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March 19 2004, 12:24 PM 

SERBIAN FORUM ABOUT KOSOVO, CLICK ON IT!

 
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March 19 2004, 12:39 PM 

Albanians Turn on NATO Liberators, as War Explodes in Kosovo.

by Chrostopher Deliso in Skopje
First Published by Balkanalysis.com

The seemingly spontaneous street war that erupted yesterday between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo confirms exactly what kind of a success the West has created in Kosovo. At least 22 people, including a French KFOR peacekeeper reported dead and hundreds more wounded; machine gunners firing at will, churches and mosques ablaze, whole populations chafing at the bit, programmed to seek and destroy.

And through it all, the NATO liberators have become everyones target. Aside from the French casualty, 10 Irish soldiers, 20 Norwegian troops, some Swedes, Bulgarians and several Greeks have also been attacked.

According to Itar-Tass, heroic American troops saved the lives of another 10 wounded international soldiers. Now, Belgrade is waiting for the green light from NATO to send in the troops, as Minister for Kosovo Nebosja Covic invokes Serbs right to self-defense. Indeed, its all come full circle in Kosovo.

The biggest surprise in all this is that anyone could be surprised. Really, how many times and for how longdid they need to hear it just to admit whats really been going on in Kosovo?

While the violence seemed spontaneous, now a senior international United Nations police official charged that the attacks began according to the plan that has predominated since NATOs 1999 intervention:

this is planned, co-ordinated, one-way violence from the Albanians against the Serbs. It is spreading and has been brewing for the past week. Nothing in Kosovo happens spontaneously.

According to another UN official,

Kristallnacht is under way in Kosovo what is happening in Kosovo must unfortunately be described as a pogrom against Serbs: churches are on fire and people are being attacked for no other reason than their ethnic background.

Now, hundreds of fresh NATO reinforcements dragged in from Bosnia and elsewhere are in Kosovo, where Reuters relays that Albanians in southern Mitrovica were again clashing with U.N. police and NATO peacekeepers. The Albanians became livid when they saw NATO protecting the Serbian minority it accuses of beginning the aggression. According to Albanians, fighting began after 2 of their young were unnecessarily drowned. They claim that vengeful Serbs had unleashed a dog on them and they were chased into the river separating the city into its ethnic halves. Serbs claim that this was preceded on Monday, when a Serb teen in the village of Caglavica was severely wounded in an Albanian drive-by shooting. In any case, what is not reassuring for Kosovos long-term peace and prosperity is that a war between adults has sprung up from the antagonisms of children.

The Albanian drowning story came from a third boy who claimed he was with the 2 who died, but then somehow escaped. Although their bodies were found, UN officials expressed shock that the cause of death wasnt confirmed. Yet UNMIKs attempts to cool the situation couldnt keep pace with the chain reaction of rumor-fed violence engulfing the whole province.

Indeed, most telling of all is that the Mitrovica clashes triggered reflexive waves of violence throughout Kosovo. An Albanian hospital in South Mitrovica, its floors stained with blood catered to over 200 wounded. Some Albanian mosques were torched, including within Serbia proper.

Yet the helpless Serb minority felt the brunt of it. An Orthodox church and several Serb houses were seen in flames in the ethnically mixed town of Obilic on Thursday and NATO troops blocked the town center with armored vehicles. According to Tanjug, in Caglavica UNMIK and KFOR couldnt stop the many Albanians who wanted to go in the village they demolished 2 houses and detonations and shootings were heard. Serbian villagers are defending themselves with farm equipment. A photo carried by Skopjes Dnevnik showed a scene of carnage, the fleeing elderly, NATO tanks and general mayhem.

KFOR troops who got in the way of angry Albanians in Pristina found out the hard way about the price of humanitarianism. People were trapped inside [a] burning building, U.N. spokesman Derek Chappell told Reuters. Police came under repeated gunfire when they tried to rescue them. He added for another report, this is a very dangerous situation. This is very large-scale.

In Kosovo Polje, site of the famous 1389 battle between the Serbs and Ottoman Turk invaders that helped make the Balkans what it is, Albanians burned down a Serb health centre. In Belopolje, the Albanians drove out Serb residents and burned houses, according to UNMIK. Albanians reportedly set fire to three Serb homes in Pec and 30 Serbs took shelter in a church, which was then stoned by Albanians, the Scotsman reports. Shooting was also reported in the area.

Now, the KFOR peacekeepers involvement in Albanian-Serb violence seems to be increasing in direct proportion to the speed with which those forces are being reduced. Or, were being reduced, that is. Now, with all hell breaking loose in Kosovo, a company of 100 to 150 U.S. troops and 80 Italian carabinieri were already on the way. Britain is sending 750 additional British troops. The province, currently has 17,500 KFOR peacekeepers and 9,000 police, both UN and the local Kosovo Protection Corps force. However, the latter are largely composed of the same paramilitaries that provoked the fighting throughout the 1990s as the Kosovo Liberation Army. Hardly a confidence-builder.

KFOR and the UNMIK civilian administration have worn out their welcome in Kosovo, as has been attested for a long time. Yet the colossal stupidity of the West- in assuming that solving other peoples conflicts would somehow leave them free from retribution- is being confirmed and increasingly quickly. Now, we are only one major provocation away from a full-scale war.

Already the last few months have seen threats and attempted terrorist attacks on UN facilities and vehicles. Yesterdays exposion of violence only increased this trend. In Pec, Albanians attacked the local UNMIK base and damaged vehicles. In Mitrovica, several UN police trucks were seen ablaze. Everywhere, UN offices were attacked.

So much for Kosovos stable, multi-ethnic future. If the West thinks they can pull out without immediate interethnic war breaking out, they are severely deluded. Any future Albanian-dominated regime will brush aside any of the typical Western threats, such as economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure. The West has only itself to thank for that. Demonizing and then eliminating Milosevic ensured that it would go from having quite a lot of influence to having none, once the legitimate center of authority and power was destroyed. The result is a black hole, amorphous and irresistible, that is dragging NATO and the US into yet another quagmire- not good timing considering the deteriorating situations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, the determined little Jamie Shea is saying we will contain this.

Indeed. Were sure Shea is ready to roll up his sleeves, don his body armor and hunker down with the grunts who are risking their lives to end the violence which he and the other effete little chickenhawks in Washington, London and Brussels began. Itll be just like the way Wolfie, Perle and Cheney are pitching in to help the conscripts in Iraq.

The most telling part of any mass media news story is its postscript. Here is where resides the kernel of conventional wisdom, that aggregation of falsehood that allows interventionists to prevail time and again, manipulating the media and the public towards the endless production of war.

In this light, Reuters postscript is truly revealing: Kosovo has been under U.N. control since NATO bombing forced out Serbian forces in mid-1999, halting Serb repression of Muslim Albanian civilians. Now there are fears Albanians may turn on their saviours if demands for independence are delayed.

The mass media, like the powers-that-be, is timid. It confuses objectivity with outspokenness and takes the press dispatches of formidable institutions for truth itself. The first bit- about Serb repression of Muslim citizens is fundamentally a lie. Yet admitting so would expose the utter fraud that was the NATO bombing of 1999.

True to form, the second sentence is weak, self-evident and belated. Only now are there fears that Albanians will turn on their saviors? Anyone with the slightest bit of common sense could have predicted this months ago, when the signs of physical intimidation of Western forces began to accumulate.

Indeed, it would not have taken a Nostradamus to predict, even before the intervention began, that this would be the final result- a hopeless quagmire marked by a colossal waste of time, money and most of all, by a needless loss of life. As with all the others, this intervention has succeeded only in radicalizing the world through violence; the ascendancy of the terroristic.

 
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March 19 2004, 12:42 PM 

The Ongoing Albanian Gambit in Kosovo.

Serbianna.com
By M. Bozinovich

The intensity of the orchestrated violence Albanians are perpetrating on Kosovo Serbs may have caught NATO by surprise, yet the infliction of calculated violence on NATO troops itself indicates that Albanians have a political motive beyond their 'spontaneous' church burnings, killing of Serbs and general mayhem.

It appears that the Kosovo Albanians are deliberately cleansing Kosovo of all Serbs and sporadically engaging NATO troops in a gamble to coerce the West, the main decision maker of Kosovo's final status, to cut its losses and grant Albanians the independence. While the start of these hostilities is few months before the start of the Olympic games in neighboring Athens, this particular timing is an additional indicator that Albanian violence is deliberate and calculated in order to achieve these specific political results.

While a news spin has so far alluded that this is the case, NATO has decided, at least for the immediate future, to quell the violence by force. KFOR mission commander General Holger Kammerhoff of Germany told reporters in Pristina that "The thousands of ethnic Albanians that attacked KFOR, the police, Serb enclaves and churches should be aware of robust reserve forces,.

Although long-term outcomes should never be based on short-term maneuvers, NATO does find itself in a precarious bind.

For starters, Albanians may dismiss KFOR threat as empty rhetoric because of their unwillingness to use live ammunition. Thus far, NATO has limited itself to usage of tear gas and rubber bullets - not much of a threat to Albanian gangs armed with grenades and machineguns. In turn, any NATO decision to use live ammunition to quell Albanian violence will increase their already precarious position and completely erode their coveted status of a benign, even-handed peacemaker.

On the other hand, Albanian ethnic cleansing of the Serbs spits in the face of Western commitment to multiculturalism and just by virtue of having Belgrade remind NATO of this commitment may have Brussels wish they chose to remove Milosevic by some other means.

Signs of the Rebellion

In the early March and at the onset of the US-Albanian exercises in the Adriatic, explosive devices have been planted in the UN headquarters in Pristina and the US Embassy personnel in Tirana, Albania. Both of the bombs have been, conspicuously, discovered through an anonymous tip off and in both instances authorities in charge said very little about it. Few days later, an anonymous tipster uncovered a bomb in the house of Kosovos president Rugova, apparently used as a pretext by the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) to file a demand to the UN to recreate itself into a 40,000 strong military of Kosovo. Soon Spain is set on fire, and few days later, Kosovo.

Although appearing disconnected, these events have a very logical set up.

First, Pristina and Tirana bombs have been deliberately planted and deliberately tipped off by the terrorists in order to illustrate to the West their infiltrating power, and ability to strike western interests in the Balkans. The fact that terrorists had bombs planted 200 miles away from Greece and few months before Olympics indicates their readiness to strike West during the games. More significantly, the notion that terrorists can strike at will in the Balkans, especially when their muslim Albanians demand something out of the West, is a tremendously potent deterrent against European recalcitrance towards islamic demands in general and Albanian ones in particular.

Second, placing a bomb inside a home of Kosovos president is a convenient way to shield him from accusations that he is in on the upcoming anti-Serb, anti-NATO violence in Kosovo. In fact, extremists need Rugova post-violence, so once they are done cleansing Kosovo of all Serbs and coercing NATO into granting them independence, to have a convenient, unblemished politician to put a bright face upon their morbid achievements.

Finally, having the demand to recreate the KPC into an Albanian armed force of Kosovo officially filed with the UN gives the Kosovo Albanians a diplomatic negotiating point with the NATO eager to cut a deal so that in case the ongoing Albanian violence does not yield an outright independence then, through the negotiations, the perpetrators and the President of Kosovo, Rugova, could call upon this document as a minimum requirement NATO needs to meet in order to silence Kosovo Albanians.

More significantly, as Kosovo has proven to be a foreshadowing of events in Macedonia, is NATO ready to once again appease Albanians over some fictitious legal demands there as well?

Finally, the fact that the Albanian violence in Kosovo follows the tragedy in Madrid has several indications of which that Kosovo Albanians may have been tipped off about the Spanish tragedy in order to minimize the perpetrated pogroms in the media.

The Outcome Anyone?

As much as the Albanian gambit appears deliberate so much it also looks as desperate. Why would the Kosovo Albanians, 4 years into their own self-rule, demand to turn the political principle of standards before status on its head?

Moreover, is West foolish enough to fall into the status trap and postpone the Kosovo standards issue for some later time without any certainty that desired standards could ever be established? In fact, UKs parliamentarian Alice Mahon echoed the duplicity in which Kosovo Albanians are placing all of Europe: Kosovo is a monoethnic state run by the Mafia, with ethnic minorities living in guarded enclaves.

As for Belgrade: those quarrelsome politicians should be scolded and perhaps they may be, by NATO itself: in the past 4 years, Belgrade could have divested itself from all of those that tarnish Serbian image; could have instituted quick economic reforms, came up with a military plan as to how to integrate Kosovo so that when opportunities like these arise, Serb military and the government is ready to fulfill the agreement of the UN Resolution 1244.

and Belgrade should have protected those few remaining mosques in Serbia more vigilantly... at least out of professionalism.

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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March 19 2004, 12:52 PM 

I used to not understand what the fighting in the Balkans was all about. Now I do - BLOODY ISLAM!

5 posted on 03/18/2004 3:14:39 PM PST by TexasRepublic (Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!)

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Clinton assured us that we would be out of there in 6 months.

6 posted on 03/18/2004 3:24:09 PM PST by Vinnie

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To: TexasRepublic

you are spot on.

9 posted on 03/18/2004 4:07:05 PM PST by Robert_Paulson2 (the madridification of our election is now officially underway.)

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It's not war - it's a christina kristallnacht - finishing the genocide of Kosovo Serbs

http://www.sramota.com/nato/

23 posted on 03/18/2004 5:29:04 PM PST by Truth666

 
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March 19 2004, 1:00 PM 

UN Security Council condemns violence in Kosovo.

RosBusinessConsulting. Friday, Mar. 19, 2004, 3:50 PM Moscow Time

The United Nations Security Council met this morning to hear the presidential statement denouncing the inter-ethnic violence in Kosovo, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported. The 15-member body condemned the attacks on staff from the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the troops of the Kosovo international security force (KFOR) and called for preventing the escalation of violence in the future. The Security Council called for the province's authorities to ensure that the rule of law is maintained, all ethnic communities feel properly secure and the perpetrators of crimes are brought to justice. The Council welcomed moves to strengthen the international security presence there. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he especially wanted to remind the leaders of the Kosovo Albanian community, the province's biggest ethnic group, of their responsibility to protect and promote the rights of all Kosovars, particularly its minorities. The Russian representative stressed the need to stop the violence.

 
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FOLLOWING ARE SUMMARIES OF STATEMENTS IN TODAYS SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGON KOSOVO. A COMPLETE SUMMARY OF THE MEETING WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING AS PRESS RELEASE SC/8030.

The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in Kosovo.

KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General, said that the overall security situation was still highly unstable. The number of fatal casualties stood now at 31. He could not emphasize enough his deep disappointment and sadness at the resurgence of violence, which had left many dead and hundreds wounded. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that this violence is ethnically motivated, with communities attacking each other. Such violence must be strongly condemned. The deliberate targeting of houses, as well as religious sites, was shameful and inexcusable, as were the subsequent attacks against mosques in other parts of Serbia and Montenegro.

It was also necessary to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, deliberate attacks on representatives of the international community, in particular, the staff of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and troops serving in the multinational security force (KFOR). The situation in Mitrovica had become sufficiently serious to warrant the relocation of international staff from Mitrovica to a safer place in the region.

The recent events had highlighted the fragility of the structures and relationships in Kosovo, he said. It shows that, despite the progress that has been made since 1999, we have not come far enough. The first priority must be to restore safety and security. He thanked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for its decision to reinforce its troops in Kosovo. The violence must cease. The leaders of Kosovos communities and the representatives of its Provisional Institutions must work with the international community, with each other, and with the people of Kosovo, to restore calm.

GORAN SVILANOVIC, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro, said the extremely grave developments of yesterday in Kosovo warranted immediate and resolute action by the Security Council. Violence against the Serbian population in Kosovo on 17 March was jeopardizing the United Nations Mission there. All the efforts of the international community aimed at a peaceful resolution of the problem of the province were endangered. It was particularly distressing that such an outburst of violent attacks by Kosovo Albanian extremists were taking place almost five years after the establishment of the international presence there.

The attacks, he said, were sending more than one signal. It was sending a signal to the Serbs that there was no life for them in the province and that they should leave. It was saying to KFOR and UNMIK that they had no real authority and power in their area of operation. To the Security Council, the signal, rather a challenge, was that its resolution 1244 would not be implemented. It also sent a signal from the Provisional Institutions of Self Government and Kosovo Albanian political leaders to the international community that they could not, or did not want to, go out on the streets and prevent such mass violence.

The timing of the attacks was also indicative, he said. In the near future, the Council was supposed to finally receive the standards implementation plan. Also, just after the Special Representative of the Secretary-General had announced the date for the upcoming province-wide elections, the Serbian community was given a notice that they should not think about their participation in the election, but pack up and go instead.

The situation required urgent action by the Council, he said. First and foremost, international forces should be strengthened and should adopt a resolute stand. Extraordinary measures were needed to physically protect the Serbian population, which was already preparing to flee to central Serbia. Authorities and security forces of Serbia and Montenegro were ready to provide assistance to the United Nations Mission in applying those measures. The situation called for urgent and complete security stabilization. International presences had to regain full control on the ground.

In that regard, it was of utmost importance that urgent measures were taken to secure international borders of Serbia and Montenegro in the area of Kosovo towards Albania and Macedonia. According to his information, the border was completely unguarded now, and groups of armed terrorists were coming into Kosovo with large quantities of arms and other military equipment. That could lead to further deterioration of the security situation in the province.

The recent events clearly highlighted the fact that political extremism could not lead to the resolution of the problem. Additional efforts were required, as well as additional institutional guarantees. In that regard, decentralization was essential and could be a potential step towards stabilizing the situation of the Serbian community in Kosovo. Condemning extremism and terrorism was not enough. The Council should define the appropriate political and security instructions and guidelines for the civilian and military missions in the province in the new and difficult circumstances.

As a matter of urgency and as a minimum, all planned reductions of the composition and resources of KFOR and UNMIK should be cancelled. Also, KFOR should re-establish protection for communities that were gradually deprived of that. Religious and cultural sites must also be protected. If urgent action was not taken, the objective of creating a multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo would be irreversibly damaged.

JOSCHKA FISCHER, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, said he was shocked and dismayed as he learned of the events unfolding yesterday in Kosovo. That violence had claimed many lives and caused injury to a large number of people among the Kosovar communities, as well as UNMIK, the international police and KFOR. He extended his condolences and deeply felt sympathies to the victims and their families.

He said that the international community, as well as political leaders in Kosovo - both ethnic Albanian and ethnic Serb - had large responsibilities over the next few days. The most important immediate task was to take whatever steps were necessary to stop the violence. He was deeply disturbed by reports that KFOR troops were themselves the object of attack yesterday. Germany supported the decision made to bring in additional KFOR troops.

All leaders of Kosovo must show the utmost political courage, in order to prevent that violence from undoing all of the painstaking efforts over the past several years towards building a tolerant and democratic Kosovo. The joint statement made yesterday by politicians together with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General was a useful step. It rightly emphasized that need to support the police and KFOR. It also noted the importance of responsible media behaviour. Political violence was fed by misinformation, and the press should not abet the plans of extremists by crediting unfounded rumours.

He urged political leaders in Kosovo to go further. Inter-ethnic violence was absolutely unacceptable. He expected them not only to speak out against violence, but also to actively promote inter-ethnic understanding. They must also explain to their constituents that no political grievance justified taking the law into their own hands. Political leaders should visibly support all efforts by law enforcement authorities to apprehend and punish anybody who committed crimes or abetted the violence, and explain clearly why those people were not only enemies of public order, but of the legitimate democratic aspirations of the people of Kosovo.

There will be no impunity for the perpetrators, he said. Now was the time for responsible Kosovo-Albanian and Kosovo-Serb politicians to appear together before the people of Kosovo and defend democratic values against anarchy and mayhem. Political leadership in Belgrade should also exercise its responsibilities. That was especially important now to prevent acts of retribution in Serbia, which would only lead to an escalation of violence and feed into the hands of the extremists. He urged Belgrade to do all it could to prevent further attacks on religious sites. He also urged Belgrade to continue the direct dialogue with Pristina, which began this month with the working groups on energy and missing persons.

He said that yesterdays events highlighted the stark choice facing the people of Kosovo. Either they created a society based on tolerance and democratic values or they lived in chaos and misery. It was too early to say how that violence had set back the process of implementing democratic standards. But, once calm was restored, the only responsible course was to proceed as quickly as possible with the efforts to implement the standards for Kosovo and to finalize the Implementation Plan. Only by focusing on achieving those standards could Kosovo put that ugly series of incidents behind it and begin again to make progress on its European aspirations.

HERALDO MU?OZ (Chile) said his Government condemned in the most vigorous terms the atrocious acts of violence, the worst since 1999, between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs, causing regrettable loss in terms of human life, injuring hundreds, including UNMIK and KFOR personnel, and the substantial material damage. Those responsible must be brought to justice and impunity must be prevented from taking a grip in Kosovo. He conveyed his condolences to and solidarity with the families of the victims.

He said that those acts of violence, which appeared to be out of control, could not and should not pressure anyone into interpretations concerning ultimate motivations or allow the international community to falter in its efforts to achieve a multi-ethnic Kosovo. He was concerned at the political damage that might be done to the process by those reprehensible acts. For that reason, he called on all parties involved to put an end to combative attitudes and use peaceful and democratic means to resolve their differences. The guns must be silenced and dialogue must be resumed. Without that, the achievement of concrete and tangible results would remain a remote expectation and undermine the most important of all objectives, namely, for every inhabitant of Kosovo to live in his or her homeland in peace and dignity.

ZHANG YISHAN (China) condemned those tragic events, which had demonstrated that nearly five years since the Councils adoption of resolution 1244, the situation was still very fragile and there was still a long way to go before peace, stability and multi-ethnic harmony was achieved. The international community, the Government of Serbia and Montenegro, and the Special Representative must redouble their efforts now. He welcomed the joint statement of 17 March made by UNMIK, the Special Representative, and the political leaders, among others. And, he supported all efforts made by the Special Representative, UNMIK and KFOR to restabilize the situation. He sincerely hoped that the Special Representative and other relevant parties would work closely to prevent similar events from recurring.

MIHNEA IOAN MOTOC (Romania) said that before anything else, all violence must stop immediately. The Special Representative, UNMIK and KFOR had his full support to use their capabilities and powers to restore calm and protect Kosovars, regardless of their ethnic identity. He welcomed NATOs decision to send reinforcements in Kosovo, demonstrating the alliances will and capability to carry out its mission in Kosovo. Any attack against KFOR troops and UNMIK personnel was unacceptable. Perpetrators of such attacks and any of the violent acts that erupted in Kosovo must be brought to justice as soon as possible.

The deplorable and tragic events in Kosovo had demonstrated beyond doubt that the international community should remain focused and determined, and that the highest priority should be given to enforcing the rule of law, ensuring proper security for all ethnic minorities and bringing to justice the perpetrators of criminal acts. Until there was progress on those issues, it would not be possible to approach other problems related to Kosovos future.

At the same time, we should not allow for five years of tremendous efforts in Kosovo to be washed up by these events, he stated. The international community should be undeterred in its fundamental objective of establishing a stable, multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo, according to resolution 1244. There should be no turning back to the past and no giving in to extremists.

JAMES CUNNINGHAM (United States) said that the events of the past days had threatened the security of Kosovo and the wider region. They were the most serious incidents since the end of the NATO intervention there in 1999. He fully supported the strong efforts of KFOR and the Secretary-Generals Special Representative to re-establish order and calm. The KFOR, together with the international civilian police and the Kosovo Police Force, were fully engaged. Those responsible for the violence should be brought to justice. He condemned the violent attacks in Kosovo. Nearly 30 people had died, hundreds had been wounded, and churches and homes had been burned. He also condemned the attacks on the international presence. That was completely unacceptable and must cease.

He called on all in Kosovo to resort order, return to their homes, cease the violence and support the efforts of KFOR and the international civilian police. He also urged the Serbian people to support efforts in Kosovo. There was no way forward other than to respond to yesterdays appeal of UNMIK and Kosovo leaders to restore calm and order. The rule of law was an essential condition for the future. He urged leaders of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, from all communities, to urge their constituents to desist from violence. He appealed to the leaders of Kosovo to understand that the complete cessation of violence was the precondition for the consideration of future steps for Kosovo.

ISMAEL ABR?AO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said that the events now taking place in Kosovo were threatening years of hard work by dedicated peace-builders and those who had in so many ways invested in peace. Upon consideration a few weeks ago of the Secretary-Generals report, the events now taking place were not on our minds. The difficulties were understood, as well as the long road ahead, before a democratic and truly multi-ethnic society in Kosovo could take root. But, he had felt assured that real progress had been achieved and that the benchmarks established by the international community could be met in the foreseeable future. The current events deserved the strongest condemnation, and served as a wake up call.

He said that, at the Councils last meeting on Kosovo, the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro had called attention to the increased incidences of ethnically motivated crimes and the impunity for their authors. He had also highlighted the discouraging number of returns of displaced persons, as well as the lack of political will to create the conditions for the effective participation of Kosovo Serbs in the political process. Those points, among some of his others, would help the Council recall that something was brewing -- that was a warning to the Council.

Yet, despite the gravity and seriousness of the situation, it was not fully despairing. Efforts must continue, as well as the strategies applied so far, particularly the standards before status policy. That approach was just and, with determination, it would bear results. Present event showed that attaining the objective was farther away than planned, but he was confident that the people of Kosovo, with the assistance of the international community, would be able to meet the objectives set forth in 1244.

EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) said that yesterday was a very bad day for Kosovo. As the violence spread, the clock was turned back. Kosovos leaders must not only condemn the violence, but they must use their influence to work with KFOR to restore calm. It was time for measured, considered action, not impetuosity, and time to show solidarity among the different communities. It was also time for continued and strengthened dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade.

At NATOs request, his Government was deploying a battalion into Kosovo, he informed the Council. The battalion would be there from tonight to help stabilize the situation on the ground. Looking forward, he said that resolution 1244 had charted the future and set a clear vision for Kosovo. The international community had invested substantially in that future. The UNMIK, Special Representative and KFOR enjoyed the full support of his Government in helping to achieve that future. Those attempting to derail the process would not be allowed to succeed. The international community was entitled to respect and require the implementation of the set of basic standards for Kosovo.

JOEL W. ADECHI (Benin) said that the tragic events had proved that ethnic reconciliation in Kosovo still had a long way to go. Trust had not yet been fully established, and, quite the contrary, the mistrust ran so deep that the slightest incident was likely to provoke an outbreak of violence with incalculable implications for the future of building a multi-ethnic Kosovo guided by the rule of law. The damage to UNMIK and KFOR was totally unacceptable, as well as the loss of human life in the two communities. The destruction to property and cultural artifacts was also unacceptable.

He said that the international community must see to it that no crime and no human rights violation went unpunished. It was urgent, in the present circumstances, for the Security Council to send a strong message to the Serbian and Albanian communities. It must ask them to exercise maximum restraint and to show tolerance and respect for the rule of law. Acts of intimidation and violence threatened creation of a Kosovo that was democratic and respectful of the rule of law. Everything must be done to prevent another humanitarian catastrophe in the province. He supported measures to strengthen order and calm and build trust between the communities. Their reconciliation should be further promoted through the strengthening of the democratic institutions, under strict adherence to the norms established by the international community, which would precede a final status decision.

RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG (Brazil) said that peacekeeping and international police forces had reacted quickly to try to defuse yesterdays riots. Unfortunately, their effort could not prevent an escalation of violence that had resulted in the death of civilians and left hundreds injured. Moreover, a number of KFOR soldiers and UNMIK civilian police were among the wounded. He expected that those responsible for such acts would face justice and that the announced deployment of three new peacekeeping units would strengthen KFOR and UNMIKs effort to prevent further clashes.

During its five years of tireless work in Kosovo, the United Nations presence had helped fight crime, terror and ethnic cleansing, he continued. It was disheartening that, despite that strenuous effort, the situation threatened once again to deteriorate into chaos, rioting and ethnic conflict. It was undoubtedly the severest case of unrest since the end of conflict in 1999. His country continued to support full implementation of resolution 1244 and the standards before status policy as the only reasonable choice for a multi-ethnic, democratic and peaceful Kosovo.

Brazil condemned ethnically induced brutality, he said, adding his voice to the Secretary-Generals strong condemnation of the incidents and his call for an immediate halt to ethnic violence. He also fully supported the work of the Secretary-Generals Special Representative Harri Holkeri. The alarming outburst of violence called for an appropriate and vigorous reaction by the international community.

While many important challenges still remained, nothing could be done without serious efforts of the parties involved, and that included local authorities, both in Pristina and Belgrade. A truly multi-ethnic society could only be built by the decisive involvement and participation of all individuals and groups, including all minorities. The ultimate responsibility in preventing Kosovo from being engulfed again in conflict rested on the people and the leaders. Their commitment to provisional institutions, their peaceful engagement in the political process and their willingness to fight corruption and adopt needed economic reforms would determine their ability to find the way out of the present deadlock.

INOCENCIO ARIAS (Spain) condemned the clashes in Kosovo, which had resulted in a high number of deaths and injured, as well as the attacks on international personnel. He appealed to all Kosovo communities to end the violence and return to dialogue and negotiations. He reaffirmed his conviction that resolution 1244 was the sole legal framework for the establishment of a democratic and multi-ethnic society in Kosovo.

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) condemned the violence in Mitrovica and other parts of Kosovo in the strongest terms, especially the loss of life, including those of children. He also condemned the attacks against KFOR and UNMIK personnel and the religious sites, and demanded that such acts stop. He also appealed for investigations into the attacks and that the perpetrators be brought to justice. He supported the call by the Secretary-General and the Special Representative to restore calm and stability.

The violence underscored the need to ensure the rule of law and bring to justice all those involved in criminal acts, he said. All people of Kosovo must work through legitimate channels to address their grievances. The establishment of a democratic and multi-ethnic society remained a fundamental objective in the implementation of resolution 1244. The present disturbances were the worst since 1999. It was necessary to reflect deeply on the reasons for that and whether the international communitys approach required any adjustment.

As to what steps could be taken to address the challenges, he emphasized the need to press all parties to reign in their extremists and ensure that such violence was not tolerated. Secondly, it was necessary to intensify security efforts against extremist elements and organized crime, which fed those extremists, including securing Kosovos borders.

LAURO L. BAJA (Philippines) said that yesterday Kosovo had, once again, become a war zone, in the worst explosion since the international community stepped in five years ago to put an end to a bloody conflict that neither side seemed willing to forget or forgive. He joined other Council members in insisting that the violence must stop, and it must stop now. What happened had been unfortunate. Only a few weeks ago, the Council heard the Special Representative say that Kosovo was slowly and surely moving in the right direction. Yet, the violence had erupted only a few days after the announcement of the holding of elections in October. That violence might seem to be a spontaneous eruption, but it had taken time to build up and it had not occurred without warning.

He said that Kosovo was still the ethnic tinder box it had always been. Current events had, indeed, dealt a severe blow to efforts to bring peace and stability to the province. A second look should be taken at the situation, and adjustments should be made, if necessary, to prevent such violence from recurring. Right now, the most important thing was to restore order. The international community must take the necessary steps to ensure that the rule of law prevailed. Ethnic Serbs and Albanians must avoid any action that could lead to further chaos. It must also be ensured that those responsible for the latest violent wave were brought to justice. He also joined the call for the leaders to exercise restraint. It should be kept in mind that peace efforts could not be implemented as a political product unless the soil was fully cultivated.

 
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March 19 2004, 1:02 PM 

New York, 18 March 2004 - Secretary-General's statement to the Security Council on the situation in Kosovo

Mr. President,

The Secretariat briefed the Council this morning on the deplorable events of the past two days in Kosovo. The overall security situation throughout Kosovo is still highly unstable. The number of fatal casualties now stands at 31.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough my deep disappointment and sadness at this resurgence of violence, which has already left many people dead and hundreds wounded.

Mr. President, we cannot close our eyes to the fact that this violence is ethnically motivated, with communities attacking each other. Such violence must be strongly condemned.

The deliberate targeting of houses as well as religious sites -- such as churches, cemeteries and monasteries -- is shameful and inexcusable, as are the subsequent attacks against mosques in other parts of Serbia and Montenegro.

We must also condemn, in the strongest possible terms, deliberate attacks on representatives of the international community -- in particular the staff of UNMIK and the troops serving with KFOR. The situation in Mitrovica has become sufficiently serious to warrant the relocation of international staff from Mitrovica to a safer place in the region.

Mr. President, the recent events have highlighted the fragility of the structures and relationships in Kosovo. It shows that despite the progress that has been made since 1999, we have not come far enough. Mutual respect between different communities is still not the accepted norm that it should be. It is clear that we need to study very carefully the implications for Kosovo's future.

Our first priority must be to restore safety and security. I thank NATO for its decision to reinforce its troops in Kosovo.

The violence must cease. The leaders of Kosovo's communities and the representatives of its provisional institutions must work with the international community, with each other, and with the people of Kosovo, to restore calm.

Allow me, in particular, to remind the leaders of the Kosovo-Albanian community, that as the largest ethnic group, they have a responsibility to protect and promote the rights of all people within Kosovo, particularly its minorities.

I trust the Security Council will give the situation the urgent and serious attention it requires. Thank you very much.

 
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March 19 2004, 1:07 PM 

Another Bill Clinton success story.



2 posted on 03/18/2004 12:29:10 PM PST by The Duke

 
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March 19 2004, 1:40 PM 

This article was published by F18News on: 19 March 2004

KOSOVO & SERBIA: Pristina Orthodox priest "lucky" to be alive.

By Branko Bjelajac, Balkans Correspondent, Forum 18 News Service

The parish priest of the St Nicholas' Church in Kosovo's capital Pristina has told Forum 18 News Service that he is lucky to be alive after an Albanian mob burnt his his church down yesterday evening, and set his parish house on fire just before dawn this morning. "I was lucky they did not look in the cellar otherwise God knows if this morning I would still be alive," he told Forum 18. St Nicholas' church, has long been under threat, especially since KFOR's guard force was removed last May. Since 1999, no attackers on this or any other Orthodox Church have been arrested by UNMIK, KFOR, or the mainly ethnically Albanian Kosovo Protection Service. At least 31 people have been killed so far, and about 17 churches and other Serbian Orthodox sites destroyed in the anti-Serb violence that began on 17 March and is still continuing (see F18News 18 March 2004 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=280 ). Some Albanian politicians have, along with the Visoki Decani Orthodox Monastery, tried to stop the violence, which the international ombudsperson, Marek Anton Antoni Nowicki described as "the intent to cleanse this land from the presence of all Serbs, in total rejection of the idea of a multi-ethnic cohabitation in Kosovo". An Orthodox Church in neighbouring Bosnia was also set on fire late yesterday (18 March).

The parish priest of the Church of St Nicholas in Kosovo's capital Pristina has told Forum 18 News Service he is lucky to be alive after his church was set on fire by an Albanian mob yesterday evening (18 March) and the parish house where he was hiding was set on fire when the mob returned just before dawn this morning. ''I went to the cellar and hid,'' Fr Miroslav Popadic told Forum 18 News Service in tears from Pristina on 19 March. ''They entered the church yard, spread petrol or diesel around and set it alight. I was lucky they did not look in the cellar otherwise God knows if this morning I would still be alive."

Some seventeen churches and other Serbian Orthodox sites have been attacked and burnt in Kosovo in the anti-Serb violence that began on 17 March (see F18News 18 March 2004 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=280 ). At least 31 people have now been killed with hundreds wounded as Nato has rushed extra troops to the United Nations-administered Kosovo to reinforce the 18,500-strong international KFOR peace keeping force as it struggles to cope with the violence.

The situation of St Nicholas' church, along with other Orthodox shrines in Kosovo has caused the Orthodox Church deep concern for a long time, with an immediate increase in attacks on St Nicholas' after KFOR removed its guard force last May (see F18News 13 May 2003 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=54 ). As with all the other attacks on Orthodox shrines since 1999, neither UNMIK, nor KFOR, nor the mainly ethnically Albanian Kosovo Protection Service have arrested any attackers.

Fr Popadic said the mob arrived about 8.30 pm yesterday to attack the nineteenth century St Nicholas' Church, destroying and desecrating it before setting it on fire. When the mob returned almost at dawn, he escaped by hiding in the cellar of the parish house. Before leaving, the mob set his house on fire. KFOR troops entered the church yard soon after and evacuated Fr Popadic in an armoured car to the safety of their nearby base.

He said KFOR had put all the more than 300 Serbs from Pristina and the nearly town of Obilic in the vicinity of the city's old military barracks, where they are protected by Norwegian troops. "There are pregnant women and two babies 2-3 weeks old," he told Forum 18. "We have no beds and the food is detestable. We were freezing last night. People are desperate and some of them are planning to leave for Serbia on foot. We have no life here anymore."

Another priest described the situation on 17 March as being "like a state of war". "It was an armed clash, houses were burned, and people were wounded and killed,'' Fr Nektarije, serving in the KIM Radio station, a local Serbian and Orthodox radio station in Gracanica area near Pristina, told Forum 18 on 19 March. ''We had to evacuate women and children to Laplje selo, inside Serbian territory."

On 18 March, Albanian mobs destroyed three more Serbian Orthodox churches: in Donja Slapasnica, near Kamenica; in the village of Brnjak, near Bela Crkva and Orahovac; and the church of St Sava in the southern, Albanian-populated part of the divided city of Mitrovica.

Some Albanian elected politicians have tried to calm the violence. The Decani monastery brotherhood reported on 18 March that the mayor of Decani, Ibrahim Selmonaj of the Alliance for the Future of Kosova (AAK), phoned Fr Sava Janjic, the deputy abbot of the Visoki Decani Monastery, to inform him that the leadership of Decani municipality and the AAK, the most influential party in the area, were making all possible efforts to prevent the escalation of violence and damage to the monastery. Fr Sava thanked Selmonaj for his political leadership and responsibility.

Decani monastery also appealed to all political leaders to refrain from issuing emotional statements and to return to moderation and diplomacy to defuse the tensions. The monastery particularly appealed to the media to help the process of reconciliation and stopping the violence.

Zivojin Rakocevic, editor in chief of KIM Radio in Gracanica, believes the violence was organised by Albanian "tribal structures" which had never been brought under official control, whether under Ottoman rule, during the Yugoslav kingdom or under Communist rule. "Their teams of executors roam around and level everything that is not theirs, whatever does not belong to their nation. This is Albanian nationalism, and religion and faith does not have a part in this," he told Forum 18 on 19 March. "The international community today in Kosovo also does not control this irrational sentiment."

Marek Antoni Nowicki, the international community's ombudsperson in Kosovo, said yesterday (18 March) that "The recent developments have, however, suggested that not all members of the Albanian community in Kosovo really want this prosperous future. Instead, the current pictures of horrible violence and heinous criminal acts against members of the Serbian community and the international security forces create the impression in and outside Kosovo that there exists the intent to cleanse this land from the presence of all Serbs, in total rejection of the idea of a multi-ethnic cohabitation in Kosovo".

Attacks on churches have also spread to neighbouring Bosnia. The Holy Virgin's Birth Orthodox Church in Bugojno was also attacked, and its roof set on fire late yesterday (18 March), parish priest Fr Slavisa Djurisic reported.

In the wake of the attacks on fourteen Orthodox churches and other sites in Kosovo in the night of 17 to 18 March, mobs made reprisal attacks on mosques in the Serbian capital Belgrade, the southern Serbian city of Nis and on the Islamic community headquarters in the town of Novi Sad in the northern Vojvodina region, leaving them gutted (see F18News 18 March 2004 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=280 ).

Visiting the remains of the mosque in Nis on 18 March Forum 18 saw the roof totally destroyed, the inside gutted and the minaret damaged. The walls have been daubed with Serbian nationalist graffiti, such as "Out of our land this is Serbia!" Police are now guarding the remains of the building, and local people come to look at it as though it were a museum exhibit.

The Catholic bishops of Serbia and Montenegro condemned the wave of violence. ''With deep sorrow we commiserate with the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Islamic Faith Community because of the destruction and burning of the sacral sites, churches and mosques," they declared on 18 March. "Such destruction and burning represent acts deserving strong condemnation and regret, because they are putting down civilisation and especially the possibility of coexistence and mutual respect."

The Serbian government has been in permanent emergency session, while on 18 March the United Nations Security Council denounced "the large-scale inter-ethnic violence", calling for the province's authorities to ensure that the rule of law is maintained, all ethnic communities feel properly secure and the perpetrators of crimes are brought to justice.

Today (18 March) the government has organised a procession from the government building in Belgrade to the city's St Sava cathedral. Church bells across the country will toll.

 
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March 19 2004, 6:30 PM 

NATO troops raid Albanian apartments in Mitrovica | 11:09 | Reuters

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Friday About 300 French troops and gendarmes of NATO's Kosovo peacekeeping force raided Albanian apartment blocks in the flashpoint city of Mitrovica on Friday after apparently coming under fire from the location.

A Reuters cameraman said about 15 French armoured personnel carriers blocked the bridge over the river that divides Serb and Albanian communities. Heavily armed troops began raiding three buildings and setting up rooftop gun positions.

There had been sporadic gunfire from the area around midnight, he said, and NATO soldiers were firing back at an unseen target. A helicopter was seen evacuated an injured man.

But local reports that a Danish member of the KFOR peacekeeping force had been killed were denied in Copenhagen.

The three 11-storey apartment towers sit just across the Ibar River, protected by concrete blocks, barbed wire and tank traps and accessible from the Albanian south bank by a pontoon bridge but not from surrounding Serb districts.

Albanian residents of the high-rises were initially given NATO protection to remain in their homes after the alliance took over Kosovo in 1999, but recently Kosovo's own Protection Force has provided security.

Mitrovica was reported quiet in the hour following the French deployment.

 
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March 20 2004, 5:25 PM 

KOSOVO - POLICE CONTINGENT.

Bulgarian Police Contingent in Kosovo Still on High Combat Alert.

Sofia, March 19 (BTA) - The Bulgarian police contingent in Kosovo is still on a high combat alert, contingent commander Col. Kiril Kirilov told journalists Friday.

The situation in Kosovo is calming down and is under control, he said and added not a single Bulgarian policeman had been withdrawn from the region where Reuters reports NATO has mobilised hundreds of troops to bolster its 17,500-strong Kosovo force and quell the unrest.

Part of the policemen working at the General Staff and the other specialized departments were sent out to regions where police force needed assistance, Col. Kirilov said. In his words, some of these policemen have already begun to return from Pristina to the contingent headquarters in Kosovo.

Asked whether there were any negative feelings against the Bulgarian policemen, the contingent commander answered in the negative.

In turn, Interior Ministry Chief Secretary Boiko Borissov said he hoped the 2005 national budget would allot funds for the Bulgarian policemen in Kosovo, who are on unpaid leave as Interior Ministry staff and receive salaries only from the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

 
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March 20 2004, 5:27 PM 

KOSOVO - OSCE - PASSY - KOSTUNICA.

OSCE Chairman-in-Office Calls for Restraint, Condemns Violence in Kosovo.

Vienna, March 19 (BTA) - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman-in-Office, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, renewed his condemnation of violence in Kosovo in a telephone conversation with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, the OSCE Web site said.

Both leaders agreed on the need for restraint and moderation from all sides.

Minister Passy called on all political leaders in Kosovo to use their influence to put an end to the deplorable violence of the last few days.

 
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March 20 2004, 5:54 PM 




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March 20 2004, 5:56 PM 

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March 22 2004, 10:02 AM 

List of churches destroyed in Kosovo and Metohija thus far, Mar. 17-19, 2004

ERP KIM Info Service
March 19, 2004, Gracanica

Below is a list of churches and church buildings regarding which the Diocese has received information that they were destroyed in the riots occurring between March 17 and March 19, 2004. In process is the intensive verification of all data, especially in the area of Prizren where there are indications that all Orthodox churches have been destroyed. In Urosevac, Athens News Agency advised this morning that members of Greek KFOR have abandoned protection of three church buildings. The only thing that they were able to confirm is that the church of the Holy King Uros in Urosevac has been burned. In any case, it can be officially said that at least 16 churches have been destroyed (according to UNMIK confirmation). It is entirely possible that the number exceeds 20 (on the basis of information arriving in the Diocese of Raska and Prizren). Together with the 112 churches already destroyed or heavily damaged since the beginning of the UNMIK "peace mission" in June 1999, over 130 Orthodox holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija have been destroyed or demolished. Two churches in Lipljan apparently have not yet been destroyed even though initial reports indicated that they were under attack.

This list will be added to or amended as needed as the Diocese receives new information regarding the destruction of Orthodox churches in Kosovo and Metohija:

1. Orthodox Cathedral of the Most Holy Mother of God of Ljevis, 14th century (Prizren)
2. Church of Holy Salvation, 14th century (Prizren)
3. Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Great Martyr George, 20th century (Prizren)
4. Holy Archangels Monastery, 14th century (Prizren)
5. Church of St. George Runovic, 15th century (Prizren, courtyard of the Episcopate)
6. Church of St. John the Fore-runner and Baptist (Pec) with parish home
7. Church of the Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple (Belo Polje near Pec)
8. Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God (Djakovica) with parish home
9. Church of the Holy King Uros (Urosevac)
10. Church of St. Nicholas (Kosovo Polje)
11. Church of St. Catharine (Bresje near Kosovo Polje)
12. Church of St. Nicholas (Pristina)
13. Church of St. Nicholas (Gnjilane)
14. Church of St. Sava (Kosovska Mitrovica)
15. Church in Vitina (Vitina near Gnjilane)
16. Devic Monastery, 14th century (Srbica)
17. Church in Donja Slapasnica (Kosovska Kamenica)
18. Church in Brnjak near Bela Crkva (Orahovac)
19. Church of St. John the Fore-runner and Baptist (Pecka Banja)
20. Church of St. Elijah, 19th century (Vucitrn)
21. Church of St. Michael (Stimlje)
22. Church in Obilic (Obilic)
23. Church of St. Lazarus in Piskoti (Djakovica), damaged in 1999, now burned

24. Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary building (Prizren)
25. Episcopate - seat of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren (Prizren)

- The Albanians are removing the ruins of the Church of the Holy Trinity (Djakovica) blown up in 1999

We are still verifying whether the following churches have been destroyed:

- Church of St. Nicholas (Tutic church), 14th century (Prizren)
- Church of St. Nedelja, 14th century (Prizren)
- two churches near Urosevac

 
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March 22 2004, 10:03 AM 

some of the victims

by THE SERB!! (no login)

-Trifun Stojilovic (1939) from Bresje on Wednesday around 17.00 hrs beaten and wounded by knife by a group of armed Kosovo Albanians. Left half dead with four wounds from the knife.

-Nebojsa Djokic (1971) i Milorad Lekic (1954) from Caglavica, wounded by automatic weapons by a group of Albanians who were shooting from the direction of Pristina.

-Zora Dancetovic (1921) from YU program building, paralysed woman wounded during evacuation from her apartment in Pristina.

-Stana Joksimovic (1934), Stanka Kaliskic (1936,mother) i Gordana Kaliskic (1962, daughter) from Kosovo Polje on Thursday afternoon brutally beaten by sticks and metal bars by a group of Kosovo Albanian men and women in UCK uniforms

-Jovan Cirkovic (1933) from K.Polja, during the attack of Albanians on his family home hit by a stone on his head, also wounded later by an explosion of a grenade. His house was burned.

-Dragoljub Radivojevic (1955) from Kosovo Polje wounded by grenade thrown into his home by Albanians. His house was burned.

 
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March 22 2004, 10:09 AM 

17:23 2004-03-20

Putin comments on Kosovo.

Pravda.Ru

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the actions of Kosovo Albanians ethnic cleansing against Serbs, reported president's press-services. They also noted that the statement had been made by the president today during a traditional meeting at Kremlin concerning the matters of Russia's internal and foreign policies. According to Putin, "there has to be immediate reaction to protect Serbs". "We cannot simply watch and remain inactive," remarked the president.

ABOUT 2000 troops were being rushed to Kosovo to boost a 17,000-strong NATO-led peacekeeping force that is struggling to contain an explosion of violence between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.

At least 32 people have died and about 500 have been injured in the violence in the UN-administered Serbian province where about 80,000 Serbs live amid a predominantly Muslim Albanian population.
The violence led to the burning of mosques and medieval churches, and some Serbs said they had been given 10 minutes to leave their homes or die.

Hospitals were overflowing with dead or wounded, including 61 NATO peacekeepers, three of whom were reported to be seriously hurt.

The violence has all but buried Western hopes.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15:39 2004-03-20

President Putin speaks about ethnic purges in regard to Serbs in Kosovo.

Russian President Vladimir Putin considers the developments in Kosovo an ethnic purge in regard to Serbs.

"Russia cannot watch indifferently what is going on there. It is, as it has also been admitted by our Western colleagues, nothing but an ethnic purge. An adequate tough response to it is required, in this case, to defend the Serbs," the Russian President said at a regular Saturday meeting in the Kremlin.

"I ask Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to clearly formulate Russia's position on this problem," Putin stressed.

In the near future, he said, Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu is to pay a planned visit to Serbia and Montenegro.

"Of late, hard events have been going on there, bringing suffering to many people," the President said. In this connection Putin asked Shoigu to inform about actions that may be taken to help the Serb refugees.

Shoigu replied that the planned trip to Serbia and Montenegro is associated with Russia's economic cooperation with that country.

"At present the situation has worsened seriously. Refugees have fled already 20 populated areas in Serbia. So, urgent actions must be taken to help those people," Shoigu said.

Reference here, he explained, to aid by providing tent camps, medicines, and foodstuffs. Most probably a field hospital is to be opened there, the Emergencies Minister said.

RIAN

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

15:23 2004-03-20

Anti-Serbian action in Kosovo is evident provocation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes that the anti-Serbian action in Kosovo is an evident provocation.

"Nobody has any doubts of this," the foreign minister said at a traditional meeting held by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We shall work out proposals on further actions in this area taking into account the complicated processes in Serbia and Montenegro in order to preserve its unity," Sergei Lavrov stressed.

He pointed out the general aggravation of the Albanian factor on the Balkans.

RIAN

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Putin calls Kosovo events "ethnic cleansing"

Interfax. Saturday, Mar. 20, 2004, 4:05 PM Moscow Time

MOSCOW. March 20 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has described current developments in Kosovo as "ethnic cleansing" and said that Serbs in that province need to be protected.

"I am asking Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to clearly formulate Russia's position on this problem," Putin said at a regular meeting with the premier, the presidential chief of staff, and the heads of law enforcement and security ministries and agencies.

"Russia cannot remain indifferent to what is going on" in Kosovo, Putin said. "Our foreign colleagues are also acknowledging that this is nothing but ethnic cleansing, and a proper, tough response should follow in defense of the Serbs," he said.

Putin also said "Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu will make an earlier planned trip to Serbia and Montenegro in the near future."

 
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Serbs pour into NATO camps.

news.com.au
From correspondents in Pristina
March 20, 2004

AROUND 900 Serbs in Kosovo had taken refuge in NATO camps over the past few days after fleeing violence from groups of Albanians, a source close to the multinational KFOR force in the province said today.

"Around 900 Serbs have taken refuge in KFOR camps and seven Serbian villages have been burned," said the source, adding that 25 Serbian Orthodox religious monuments had also been destroyed by fire.

The source said the Serbs had been evacuated from the villages of Obilic, Kosovo Polje, Belopolje and also from the town of Prizren.

Serb houses had been burned downed, 26 in Prizren alone, where six churches and monasteries, considered gems of mediaeval architecture had also been wrecked, the source said.

The violence, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 32 people, was triggered last Tuesday in a northern town by a report that three ethnic Albanian children were pushed into a swift-flowing river by a group of Serbs and drowned.

 
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March 22 2004, 10:18 AM 

The looters move in as Serbs are driven out.

By Harry de Quetteville in Svinjare
(Filed: 20/03/2004)

In the Kosovo Serb village of Svinjare yesterday, the yelping of the dog being dragged to its death was drowned out only by the squeals of pigs being roasted alive. The pigs were tortured only because the Serbs themselves had fled.

Hours before, the hundreds of ethnic Serbs who once lived here were rescued by French Nato troops. But, as they fled, mobs from the divided province's Albanian majority moved in to destroy what they could not loot.

Albanian children took the smallest pickings, scratching for matchsticks in the road. Older men arrived with vans and lorries to forage firewood, or construction blocks, forming human chains to load their cargos and drive them away undisturbed by police.

It was the young men who took greatest delight in the carnage though, torturing Serb-owned animals where they could not lay their hands on Serbs themselves.

The recent refugees of Svinjare, although shielded from the carnage itself, were not protected from the vista of destruction. From above their former homes, at a vantage point behind the wire at the French Camp Belvedere, they looked down at the smoke from more than 50 fires.

All their possessions were wrecked or stolen. Even the blackened remnants of a tractor clearly deemed worthless by one looter, was winched away by a more determined second.

Across from the small-holding where half a dozen pigs were repeatedly driven into the furnace of a flaming barn, a road sign was smashed back at a 45 degree angle. On its blue and golden star background were the words "European Agency for Reconstruction".

As up to 1,000 Serbs cower in Nato bases across the province, and five years after the Nato bombing campaign that was intended to end violence here, reconstruction will once again have to wait for the destruction to end.

 
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March 22 2004, 10:29 AM 

Saturday, 20 March, 2004, 10:46 GMT

Fearful Serbs hope for peace.

By Nick Thorpe
BBC News correspondent in Mitrovica

The orthodox monk is a model of composure. His long black beard, black habit and gentle nervous smile somehow out of place in this tense, industrial town. Father German, abbot of the Monastery of the Archangel, near Prizren, was in Mitrovica by chance when the violence spread across Kosovo. He could only listen in dismay to the news that his monastery, built in 1352, had been destroyed on Tuesday night and his fellow monks evacuated by German K-For troops.

Now he waits quietly in the hope of a K-For escort back to Prizren to rejoin his brothers. He is adamant that the Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church will not leave Kosovo. He does not blame all Albanians for the latest violence, only those he called the extremists. And he blames the international community for not tackling those radical elements in the Albanian community long ago.

Influencing debate.

"This is worse than 1999," he says - the year Nato bombed Kosovo and the rest of Serbia and forced Serb forces to withdraw from Kosovo. He says 126 churches and monasteries in Kosovo have been damaged or destroyed in the five years since, and 22 more in the last three days alone. The other Serbs in Mitrovica are more easily recognisable than Father German. Nebojsa, a lawyer sitting in the offices of the Serbian National Council, close to the heavily guarded bridge in the town, is one example.

"Some of us have guns," he admits when pressed on the issue. "We will defend ourselves like any other people would." But he hopes it will not come to that, and the international reinforcements flooding into Kosovo will re-impose order. In Serbia there is already much debate about how this latest upsurge of violence, in which Serbs are clearly the main victims, will influence debate on the future status of Kosovo. Some analysts believe the violence could accelerate Kosovo's independence from Serbia.

Widespread impatience.

But Serbs who have long felt that Belgrade has done too little to champion Serb rights in the province, are basking in the new importance of the Kosovo issue and clearly see an opportunity now to save Kosovo for Serbia. For many Serbs it is also a consolation, albeit a small one, not to be the pariahs of the international community for once and to feel some international compassion for their plight. Albanian leaders in Kosovo have appealed to their own community to end the violence immediately, so far with little apparent effect.

The one exception was when the prime minister of the PISG - provisional institutions of self government - Bajran Rezhepi, and several of his ministers, were reported to have successfully persuaded one Albanian crowd to disperse as it prepared to march on the Serb village of Caglavica. One of the underlying causes of the violence is clearly widespread impatience on the Albanian side with the lack of progress towards independence. They accuse the international community of making one excuse after another to delay talks on the final status of the province. Back in Mitrovica, Father German says this is not a religious war but an ethnic conflict. Nationalism is to blame, he says. Elsewhere in the Balkans, many will recognise this explanation from their own experience.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, 20 March, 2004, 14:00 GMT

Kosovo triggers media war.

BBC


Serbian state TV responded to a government call to broadcasters.

Serbia's broadcast and print media have not only ramped up coverage of violence in Kosovo but are openly making their own mark on the conflict.

"All Belgrade TV stations responded to the Serbian government's call and interrupted their broadcasting in sign of protest over the events in Kosovo," BETA news agency declared to coincide with Friday's mass rally in Belgrade.

Just before its regular midday newscast, Serbia's RTS state television flashed up the statement "Stop the terror against Serbs, three minutes of warning to the world!" on a black background.

And Tanjug news agency said it was advising subscribers that from midday local the agency's national service would join electronic media which will interrupt their broadcasting at the invitation of the Serbian government to voice their protest over the pogrom of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija."

Serb press coverage.

All of Serbia's papers have devoted dozens of pages each day to covering the anguish of Kosovo Serbs driven out of their homes, and Serbia's reaction.

"Serbs spend the night dreading the sunset and a new destructive surge by Albanian extremists," Politika , a leading pro-government newspaper, wrote on Friday.

On its front page Borba newspaper cited a senior Serbian official, Nebojsa Covic, as saying: "I fear that Kristallnacht is happening" - a reference to Nazi actions in 1938 when thousands of Jewish targets were attacked and dozens killed.

Several papers agreed the violence proved the failure of a security system set up by international community.

It was "simply unbelievable that Unmik and K-For were unable to get the situation under control"; there was a "total collapse of UN security systems", Borba said.

While for tabloid Vecernje Novosti the violence was an "Albanian Jihad", one Politika writer said "events in Kosovo have nothing to do with Islam. This is a wild rampage, sheer nationalism and irredentism."

Other Serb papers, including Dnevnik and Politika, condemned arson attacks on mosques in Belgrade and Nis after the destruction of Christian Orthodox churches.

Foreign media accused.

Some papers turned their guns on international media reporting, particularly over an incident on Tuesday when three Albanian boys drowned in a river outside the flashpoint town of Mitrovica. A 13 year old boy claimed he was with them at the time and that they were being chased by local Serbs.

One Politika columnist accused CNN of being the first to report "untruths about the four Albanian boys", whose fate was seen as a trigger by some media.

In response to what it said were remarks by CNN that "there was not enough time for an investigation", Politika asked "were two days really not enough to question the surviving boy?"

Another analyst writing in the paper said "this was done by design, as CNN was in charge of giving media 'treatment' to the action, according to a familiar scenario."

The Albanian media "did their job well, too, raising tensions to the maximum, accusing the Serbs of allegedly chasing the Albanian boys and letting dogs after them," Politika's analyst said.

The tabloid Blic also poured scorn on foreign reporting of events.

Both the BBC and CNN fed their viewers the "story about bloodthirsty Serbs and their dogs" despite receiving from Blic an Unmik statement that the Albanian boys' deaths were an accident, and pledging to correct their reporting.

Kosovar criticism.

Kosovo Albanian television, KohaVision TV , aired strenuous appeals by province leaders to Kosovo Albanians to stop attacking Serbs, their churches and the security forces.

"We reiterate that attacks against the international presence... are completely unacceptable... The destruction of religious and cultural sites, property and homes, is unacceptable for the Kosova people and we condemn it," the TV cited Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova and Premier Bajram Rexhepi as saying.

But in the Albanian-language press, prominent activist Veton Surroi said events showed "there was no real state or political authority that could stop the violence."

Writing in Koha Ditore , he blamed the Kosovar political establishment and international administration for failing to understand the region's problems.

The weekly Java identified frustration built up for years as a result of "Unmik's inefficiency and bureaucracy" coupled with "frustration at the unfinished peace and terrible ambivalence."

Pristina's Epoka e Re , a daily aimed at students, said the violence "should make us all feel guilty, but this will definitely hurt the conscience of our politicians." It accused the Kosovar leadership of "deceiving" the people since the 1999 war.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday, 19 March, 2004, 21:24 GMT

'Sinister purpose' to Kosovo clashes?

By Bill Hayton
BBC Europe news editor

Nato peacekeepers in Kosovo are investigating whether the past three days of violence in the province were organised by militants from the ethnic Albanian community. The commander of Nato forces in southern Europe, Admiral Gregory Johnson, has said he believes that the trouble has been orchestrated.

During the height of the protests in the Kosovan capital Pristina, thousands of demonstrators marched down the main street chanting the name of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The KLA was disbanded almost five years ago, but while most of its members joined mainstream politics, some clung to their dream of creating an independent Kosovo by force.

Anger.

Until recently their ideas had little support, but this week tens of thousands of Albanians took part in attacks on Serbian villages and enclaves. These began as spontaneous outbursts of anger from a population which has become disillusioned by their low standard of living and frustrated by the uncertainty about the province's future status. However, the veteran Kosovan political analyst, Veton Surroi, told the BBC he detected a sinister purpose behind them.

"I think that now we have come to the second phase, when this kind of violence is clearly conducted and organised," he said. "It's organised with the intention, on the one hand, of frightening the Serb population - to expel it from parts of central Kosovo by destroying Serb religious buildings. "And on the other hand [it has the effect] of directing the accumulated anger of the population against Unmik [United Nations Misson in Kosovo] and K-For [the Nato-led Kosovo Protection Force], things that until now were not considered possible."

Dangerous consequences.

Nato and the UN also suspect there is a wider purpose to the violence. The attacks have been concentrated on Serb enclaves in central Kosovo. By forcing the Serbian population to move north, the attackers are making it easier to partition Kosovo in the future, something which - until now - has been opposed by all mainstream politicians.

While that might seem an easy solution in the short term, it would have profound and potentially dangerous consequences for all of Kosovo's neighbours. It would also represent the undoing of everything the international community has tried to do in the past five years.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, 20 March, 2004, 08:12 GMT

Nato troops tackle Kosovo discord.

BBC


Some 1,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

Nato peacekeepers are consolidating their positions in Kosovo after an outbreak of violence earlier this week that left more than 30 people dead. Fresh reinforcements arrived in the province overnight, with an extra 2,000 troops expected in total. The deployment is to prevent further clashes between the majority Albanian population and the Serb minority. A BBC correspondent in Mitrovica says the force is now acting more robustly to prevent further killings. The Nato commander responsible for Kosovo, Admiral Gregory Johnson, has likened the violence in the province to ethnic cleansing.

He said almost 1,000 Serbs had been driven from their homes after attacks by ethnic-Albanian rioters. Nato is investigating whether there has been an orchestrated Albanian attempt to drive out part of the Serb population. In the Serbian capital, Belgrade, thousands of people attended a rally organised by the government to protest against the attacks - the worst outbreak of violence since Nato forces entered Kosovo in 1999 to end years of ethnic unrest. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has alleged the attacks were "planned in advance and co-ordinated... this was an attempted pogrom and ethnic cleansing" against Kosovo's Serbs.

Atmosphere of fear.

Serbia has accused both the United Nations and Nato of failing to protect them. On Friday, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the decision to send Nato reinforcements had been taken in view of the worsening security situation. The BBC's Nick Thorpe in the flashpoint town of Mitrovica says the violence has not yet reached a point of no return and that the UN troops should be able to restore order. Nonetheless, our correspondent says the atmosphere in the town remains one of fear and apprehension.

Trouble first erupted in Mitrovica after the deaths by drowning of two Albanian children, which were blamed on members of Kosovo's small Serbian minority. Mobs of angry Albanians set alight Serbian Orthodox churches and Serb-owned homes across Kosovo on Thursday. On Friday, Nato troops in Mitrovica shot and killed a sniper who fired at peacekeepers from a block of flats chiefly housing ethnic Albanians in the northern half of the town.

 
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March 22 2004, 10:30 AM 

Clintons Embarrassing Successes

The American Thinker ^ | March 20, 2003 | Richard A. Baehr

One Clinton foreign policy initiative that was claimed to be successful by the former President and his supporters was the Nato mission to stop the Serbs attempted ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. The Nato bombing mission in 1999 forced the Serbs to succumb, and allowed several hundred thousand Muslim Albanians back into Kosovo from temporary refugee camps in surrounding countries.

Little mentioned at the time was that when the Albanians came back, they took their revenge on the few remaining Serbs in Kosovo, driving more than half of them from the province. Now, with discussions about permanent partition lines between Serbia and Kosovo in the offing, the Albanians are attempting to put some facts on the ground, and have begun a campaign of violence to force out the few remaining Serbs, and enable Kosovo to be free of them. In the past few days, 31 have been killed (most of them Serbs) and over a hundred wounded in the attacks by the Kosovar Albanians.

This attempt at ethnic cleansing, like the previous one by Serbia, has brought Nato into the picture, though this time without any bombing campaign. Nato forces will attempt to restrain the Albanians and prevent them from succeeding in making Kosovo Serb-free. Just a few years back, Nato forces were also called in to prevent Albanian Muslims from destroying the new nation of Macedonia with a terror campaign aimed at splitting that nation into two separate states.

The Kosovo fighting followed shortly after the collapse of the Aristide government in Haiti, another supposed Clinton foreign policy triumph. The duration of Clintons success in getting North Korea to stop its nuclear arms programs was another multi-billion dollar boondoggle, subsidizing a tyrant who happily took our taxpayers money, while never intending to live up to his promises. Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright apparently never heard of Ronald Reagans famous dictum, Trust, but verify.

 
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March 22 2004, 10:32 AM 

NATO Reopens Kosovo Road as Violence Abates.

Sat Mar 20, 2004 07:15 AM ET | By Fredrik Dahl

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - NATO-led peacekeepers reopened a major road in Kosovo on Saturday in a sign of returning calm after three days of violence in which majority Albanians torched Serb houses and churches.

In Belgrade, the Serbia and Montenegro authorities accused the majority Albanians of trying to drive Kosovo's remaining 100,000 Serbs away and made a veiled threat to use military force to prevent that.

And in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the Kosovo violence as "ethnic cleansing" of the region's Serb minority and said tough action was needed to defend them.

A spokesman for the KFOR stabilization force in Kosovo said no major incidents took place overnight, with NATO-led peacekeepers patrolling the streets in the divided town of Mitrovica, the scene of worst clashes earlier in the week.

"Things are very calm in Kosovo right now," Lt-Colonel Jim Moran told Reuters in Pristina. "We had a quiet night basically everywhere," added a United Nations spokeswoman.

A Reuters reporter said NATO peacekeepers, the KFOR, reopened an 80 km (50 mile) stretch of a main road linking Kosovo capital Pristina with Skopje in Macedonia.

The road, which runs through some of the flashpoint areas, was sealed off on Tuesday when violence broke out and was now patrolled by KFOR.

Pristina airport was reopened to commercial flights as well.

Moran said 1,125 Serbs and other minorities had been evacuated from villages around Pristina and were now sheltered by NATO-led forces and the U.N. police.

"VIOLENCE WITH VIOLENCE"

Twenty-eight people, both Albanians and Serbs, were killed in the three days of clashes which saw ethnic Albanian mobs torching houses and churches in isolated Serb villages. Earlier NATO officials spoke of 31 dead.

NATO said the level of coordination seen in the attacks verged on "ethnic cleansing."

Defense Minister Boris Tadic said late on Friday Serbia and Montenegro did not want to react "with violence to violence" but may have no choice.

"I told NATO representatives that Serbia and Montenegro will review policy if the military-technical agreement from Kumanovo is not respected," he said referring to an agreement in which Belgrade surrendered control of Kosovo to the United Nations.

"If our vital interests are endangered we have to take over the responsibility," Tadic told Serbian state television RTS.

Serb forces were removed from the province after NATO's 1999 bombing campaign against Serbia, aimed to stop reprisals against Albanians.

Tadic's warning may be primarily intended for an angry domestic audience. Serbia's new coalition government knows that the Kosovo crisis could push more voters into the camp of the hardline nationalist Radical Party, which already seems well placed to win a presidential election due in May or June.

The likelihood of any unilateral military intervention by Serbia, far less a confrontation with NATO forces, remained extremely small.

Putin called for a clear Russian position to be drafted on the issue by new Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the longserving predecessor he replaced, Igor Ivanov, now Secretary of Russia's Security Council.

He also said he was sending Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, who deals with Russia's recurring calamities, to Serbia to tackle difficulties caused by the violence.

"Russia cannot merely watch what is happening there," Putin told a weekly ministerial meeting discussing the violence in Kosovo. "There must be a corresponding tough reaction in this instance to defend Serbs."

NATO, which is responsible for keeping peace in the restive province since wresting it away from Serbian control in 1999, is sending some 2,000 extra troops to beef up the 18,000 strong force already inside Kosovo.

This week's violence dealt a blow to Western efforts to foster reconciliation between the majority Albanians and Serbs, seen as a necessary step toward resolving its final status.

Serbia, which sees Kosovo as its integral part, warned the West it could step in unless NATO managed to bring the situation under control.

 
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March 22 2004, 10:33 AM 

Russian Duma: Serbia Should Be Let Defend Kosovo Serbs.

MOSCOW (AP)--The Russian parliament Friday unanimously passed a resolution saying the Serbian-Montenegrin military should be allowed to help defend the Kosovo Serbs.

The resolution also condemned the failure of international organizations to stem the ethnic violence between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.

The lower house of parliament, the Duma, said a new U.N. resolution on Kosovo should be passed to reaffirm the Belgrade government's sovereignty over Kosovo and that "the military units of Serbia-Montenegro should take part in defense of the Serb population of the region, of Orthodox churches and guarding borders."

"So far all measures taken by KFOR (peacekeeping troops) and the U.N. mission have in fact brought nothing but a temporary freeze of the conflict," the Duma said.

The lawmakers, who passed the resolution by a 397-0 vote, said they were also ready to offer "any necessary assistance on Russia's part, including emergency measures to evacuate Serbs from the conflict zone and humanitarian aid" if Serbs are forced to flee Kosovo.

Russia's Emergency Situations Minster Sergei Shoigu was to travel to the Balkans soon to discuss the situation in Kosovo, said the head of the Duma's international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, Interfax news agency reported.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Friday deployed more peacekeeping troops to regain control of Kosovo and warned it was prepared to take harsh measures against rioters.

Russia has strong cultural ties to the Serbs, sharing the Orthodox religion and Slavic roots.

 
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March 22 2004, 10:34 AM 

Bulgarian Policemen Ready for Action.

bnt.bg

The Bulgarian police contingent in Kosovo is in a red-alert state, Commander of the BG Police Contingent Col. Kiril Kirilov reported. He attended the ceremony for granting a donation, provided by the Bulgarian policemen in Kosovo, to children of IM officials, who died in the line of duty, the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) reported. Not a single Bulgarian policeman was called off from Kosovo.

 
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March 22 2004, 10:37 AM 

Albanians Blamed For Kosovo Unrest - U.N. and NATO Criticize Extremists.

By Daniel Williams
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 21, 2004; Page A18

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, March 20 -- The violence that convulsed Kosovo last week, leaving 28 people dead and driving 3,500 Serbs from their homes, was partially orchestrated by extremist ethnic Albanian groups, according to U.N. and NATO officials and Albanian observers.

The groups, which mobilized supporters to reinforce violent protests and attack specific targets, made it more difficult for international and Kosovo police to contain the situation, they said. An initial reluctance by international peacekeeping forces under NATO command to use deadly force against assailants allowed the marauding to intensify, U.N. officials say.

"Maybe this began spontaneously, but after the beginning, certain extremist groups had an opportunity to orchestrate," said Harri Holkeri, the special U.N. representative who is the chief international administrator of Kosovo. "That is why we urgently have to work to get the perpetrators."

The violence began Wednesday after reports that three Albanian children had drowned in a river in the ethnically divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica, north of Pristina, the capital. Ethnic Albanians accused Serbs of chasing the boys into the river. By Thursday, anti-Serb violence had spread across the province.

In 1999, the Albanians were the victims of mass expulsions, which ended when NATO intervened with airstrikes and drove Serbian forces from the province. Since then, Kosovo has effectively been separate from Serbia proper and from Montenegro.

Talks to forge a final peace between Serbia and its erstwhile province have yet to take place. Under a U.N. framework, Serbs and Albanians would live as equals in Kosovo, regardless of whether the province is declared independent, as the Albanians want, or if it remains under Serbian control. But U.N. administrators in Kosovo say the recent attacks have undermined chances for reconciliation.

U.N. police and officials with the NATO-led peacekeeping force said the mayhem this week took on characteristics of ethnic cleansing of Serbs. Homes were burned, sometimes with occupants inside. Mobs also torched schools and Serbian Orthodox churches. Other ethnic minorities were also driven from their communities.

Holkeri said Saturday that the situation had calmed down but added, "I cannot say the situation is over."

But Lt. Col. Jim Moran, a spokesman for the peacekeeping force, said: "I don't think we will have any more problems."

U.N. officials were cautious about saying who was responsible for the violence. Some suggested the People's Movement of Kosovo, an anti-Serb party that wants independence for Kosovo, was behind it. The movement issued a statement during the rioting that laid out conditions for halting the violence. The demands included a reduction of or end to the U.N. role in the province and abolishment of autonomous Serbian authority that currently exists in Serbian enclaves.

But a leader of the party, Emrush Xhemajli, said that the United Nations should stop "spreading rumors" about his group.

Veton Surroi, the Albanian editor of Koha Ditore newspaper, wrote about a situation "dictated by figures almost anonymous in our institutional life." Their "organizing capacity was confirmed by the number of weapons that emerged immediately in the 'peaceful demonstrations.' "

In analyzing the violence, police officials said several incidents exhibited a high level of organization. In Mitrovica on Wednesday, the size of a crowd trying to cross a bridge to the Serbian north side of the city quickly swelled as convoys of buses from Pristina began arriving with supporters. Large mobs also gathered within a half-hour of each other in the western town of Pec, the eastern city of Gnjilane and several towns in between, suggesting that orders had been conveyed to groups already prepared to move, a police official said.

On Thursday, police intercepted three busloads of Albanians leaving Pristina for the nearby hamlet of Caglavica shortly after a group of Albanians were blocked by barbed wire and peacekeepers from entering the village. A U.N. official said attacks on neighborhoods to the west and south of Kosovo built especially for Serbs who returned since 1999 also indicated "coordination."

"There has definitely been orchestration," said Col. Horst Pieper of Germany, a spokesman for the peacekeepers.

Pieper said the peacekeepers initially made protecting their own forces a priority, a decision that delayed the aggressive pursuit of gunmen and rioters.

He added that the arrival Friday and Saturday of more than 2,000 NATO reinforcements, including Americans from Bosnia, would send a "message" that NATO meant business. Pieper said, however, that the increase would not be permanent. Since 1999, the number of peacekeepers in Kosovo has fallen from 48,000 to 17,000 as responsibility for security was transferred to police.

Holkeri, the U.N. administrator, rebuked Albanian leaders for initially failing to speak out against the rioting. "At least now," he said, "they have spoken out quite clearly." Another U.N. official argued, however, that as late as Friday, top Albanian leaders had condemned only the attacks on international peacekeepers, civilians and religious sites but not on Serbs.

The expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo has presented the United Nations with a new problem: caring for displaced people and eventually finding housing for them. About 1,100 Serbs are living in the peacekeeping force's compounds; the rest are in Serbian safe areas or in hiding.

 
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March 22 2004, 10:37 AM 

Serbs flee as UN protection fails.

By Nicholas Wood
Lipjan
March 22, 2004

As her daughter, 6, clung to her legs, Bogdanka Miric recounted how she, her family and about 20 neighbours, all ethnic Serbs, escaped as an ethnic Albanian mob rampaged through the town of Lipjan.

They escaped, they said, by jumping from a second-floor balcony on to a waiting military truck. On the other side of the concrete building, gunmen fired into the apartments from nearby buildings.

The family's narrow escape on Wednesday mirrored that of hundreds of other Serbs across this province, illustrating the apparent inability and failure of the UN mission that governs the region to provide protection to the people here.

It was unclear whether those behind the marauding mobs had succeeded in altering the ethnic balance of the province. In the short-term, the burning of Serb homes and churches forced many to leave areas that were once ethnically mixed.

At least one town, Kosovo Polje, outside Pristina, had no Serbs left. But in other areas, Serbian men were returning to their homes to inspect the damage, and possibly to stay.

"No one had any idea it would be so violent," said police sergeant Angel Feliciano, who was working with the UN police in Lipjan.

He and about 14 other officers tried to prevent a crowd of several hundred people from reaching a group of houses owned by Serbs but the police were outnumbered. Three armoured personnel carriers stood by, but the Finnish troops received no orders to back up the police.

- New York Times

 
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March 22 2004, 10:46 AM 

Why French Troops Stood by as Albanians Burned a Serbian Village to the Ground

Dispatch from Agence France Presse,
21 March

EC Comment by Jared Israel
[Posted 21 March 2004]

========================================================

EC Comment


Really, could it be clearer?

As most of our readers are probably aware, for the past five days Albanian terrorists have raged through Kosovo, beating and killing Serbian residents, destroying their homes and property.

Below is a dispatch sent out today, 21 March, by Agence France Presse. It describes how French NATO "peacekeepers" sat in their military base on top of a hill and watched for hours as Albanian thugs burned a Serbian village to the ground. The French troops evacuated some Serbs, but otherwise they did nothing.

Why?

Obviously, the French, with all the weapons of a modern army, could have stopped the thugs in five minutes: they only needed to use those weapons. But although they managed to evacuate Serbian residents before any were killed (or so we are told), they allowed the Albanians to burn everything down. Of course this means the French troops had orders from NATO not to intervene. Indeed it means more: it means the Albanian thugs knew that the French had orders from NATO not to intervene. For unless the thugs were sure French troops would refrain from taking appropriate action - i.e., doing whatever was necessary to stop the attack - the thugs would never have dared launch a several-hours long assault on the Serbian village. In other words, the NATO troops and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) terrorists have a division of labor. NATO oversees; the KLA does the dirty work.

According to Agence France Presse, the Serbian residents were confused about the French role. Thus one Serb, furious at the French, is quoted as follows:

"We were friends," he said of the French troops. "We knew they were there to protect us. Unfortunately, when the biggest problem arose, they turned their backs on us."

But he is quite mistaken. The French were not there to protect the Serbs.

Sure, some French troops were friendly to individual Serbs - if you have met any Serbian farmers you know they are as likeable as anyone on earth. But NATO has a dark strategy: the fostering of a fascist movement among Albanians. To that end, NATO troops were sent into Kosovo. Up until now they have had three purposes:

a) to make sure the Yugoslav Army does not return;

b) to guarantee that the KLA functions - as they do indeed function - as the government of Kosovo;

c) to foster a fascist political base for the KLA among Albanians.

This last - fostering fascism among Albanians - has been the most important.

In order to strengthen the KLA as a fascist movement, so it can be used by NATO for various purposes in the Balkans, and to encourage similar forces elsewhere - for example, the Chechen terrorists whom NATO uses against Russia - the KLA must be made to feel and appear powerful. Thus KLA leaders were told to stage this massive pogrom, and they were allowed to do so successfully.

All over Kosovo, Albanian terrorists, returning home from burning down villages such as Svinjare, are telling other Albanians, "You should have been there. NATO just sat and watched. It was like shooting ducks in a barrel. Nothing can stop us."

In 1929 fascist agitators incited Arabs to murder Jews in the city of Hebron, in the Palestine Mandate area. To embolden would-be murderers, the fascists told them, "The government [meaning the British government] is with us!" [1]

The current message is that the Western powers may decry terrorism, but in fact "the government is with" the fascist terrorists. This message of 'hope' will not be lost on similar forces in Palestine or Chechnya or Kashmir or Algeria. Or Western Europe...

Jared Israel
Editor
Emperor's Clothes

 
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March 22 2004, 10:49 AM 

The fatal flaws underlying NATO's intervention in Yugoslavia.

USI, New Delhi,
April 6, 1999

INTEGRAL QUOTE:

My year long experience as the Force Commander and Head of Mission of the United Nations Forces deployed in the former Yugoslavia has given me an understanding of the fatal flaws of US/NATO policies in the troubled region. It was obvious to most people following events in the Balkans since the beginning of the decade, and particularly after the fighting that resulted in the emergence of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, that Kosovo was a 'powder keg' waiting to explode. The West appears to have learnt all the wrong lessons from the previous wars and applied it to Kosovo.

(1) Portraying the Serbs as evil and everybody else as good was not only counterproductive but also dishonest. According to my experience all sides were guilty but only the Serbs would admit that they were no angels while the others would insist that they were. With 28, 000 forces under me and with constant contacts with UNHCR and the International Red Cross officials, we did not witness any genocide beyond killings and massacres on all sides that are typical of such conflict conditions. I believe none of my successors and their forces saw anything on the scale claimed by the media.

(2) It was obvious to me that if Slovenians, Croatians and Bosniaks had the right to secede from Yugoslavia, then the Serbs of Croatia and Bosnia had an equal right to secede. The experience of partitions in Ireland and India has not be pleasant but in the Yugoslavia case, the state had already been taken apart anyway. It made little sense to me that if multiethnic Yugoslavia was not tenable that multiethnic Bosnia could be made tenable. The former internal boundaries of Yugoslavia which had no validity under international law should have been redrawn when it was taken apart by the West, just as it was in the case of Ireland in 1921 and Punjab and Bengal in India in 1947. Failure to acknowledge this has led to the problem of Kosovo as an integral part of Serbia.

(3) It is ironic that the Dayton Agreement on Bosnia was not fundamentally different from the Lisbon Plan drawn up by Portuguese Foreign Minister Cuteliero and British representative Lord Carrington to which all three sides had agreed before any killings had taken place, or even the Vance-Owen Plan which Karadzic was willing to sign. One of the main problems was that there was an unwillingness on the part of the American administration to concede that Serbs had legitimate grievances and rights. I recall State Department official George Kenny turning up like all other American officials, spewing condemnations of the Serbs for aggression and genocide. I offered to give him an escort and to go see for himself that none of what he proclaimed was true. He accepted my offer and thereafter he made a radical turnaround. Other Americans continued to see and hear what they wanted to see and hear from one side, while ignoring the other side. Such behaviour does not produce peace but more conflict.

(4) I felt that Yugoslavia was a media-generated tragedy. The Western media sees international crises in black and white, sensationalizing incidents for public consumption. From what I can see now, all Serbs have been driven out of Croatia and the Muslim-Croat Federation, I believe almost 850,000 of them. And yet the focus is on 500,000 Albanians (at last count) who have been driven out of Kosovo. Western policies have led to an ethnically pure Greater Croatia, and an ethnically pure Muslim statelet in Bosnia. Therefore, why not an ethnically pure Serbia? Failure to address these double standards has led to the current one. As I watched the ugly tragedy unfold in the case of Kosovo while visiting the US in early to mid March 1999, I could see the same pattern emerging. In my experience with similar situations in India in such places as Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, Nagaland, and elsewhere, it is the essential strategy of those ethnic groups who wish to secede to provoke the state authorities. Killings of policemen is usually a standard operating procedure by terrorists since that usually invites overwhelming state retaliation, just as I am sure it does in the United States.

I do not believe the Belgrade government had prior intention of driving out all Albanians from Kosovo. It may have decided to implement Washington's own "Krajina Plan" only if NATO bombed, or these expulsions could be spontaneous acts of revenge and retaliation by Serb forces in the field because of the bombing. The OSCE Monitors were not doing too badly, and the Yugoslav Government had, after all, indicated its willingness to abide by nearly all the provisions of the Rambouillet "Agreement" on aspects like cease-fire, greater autonomy to the Albanians, and so on. But they insisted that the status of Kosovo as part of Serbia was not negotiable, and they would not agree to stationing NATO forces on the soil of Yugoslavia. This is precisely what India would have done under the same circumstances.

It was the West that proceeded to escalate the situation into the current senseless bombing campaign that smacks more of hurt egos, and revenge and retaliation. NATO's massive bombing intended to terrorize Serbia into submission appears no different from the morality of actions of Serb forces in Kosovo. Ultimatums were issued to Yugoslavia that unless the terms of an agreement drawn up at Rambouillet were signed, NATO would undertake bombing. Ultimatums do not constitute diplomacy. They are acts of war. The Albanians of Kosovo who want independence, were coaxed and cajoled into putting their signatures to a document motivated with the hope of NATO bombing of Serbs and independence later. With this signature, NATO assumed all the legal and moral authority to undertake military operations against a country that had, at worst, been harsh on its own people.

On 24th March 1999, NATO launched attacks with cruise missiles and bombs, on Yugoslavia, a sovereign state, a founding member of the United Nations and the Non Aligned Movement; and against a people who were at the forefront of the fight against Nazi Germany and other fascist forces during World War Two. I consider these current actions unbecoming of great powers.

It is appropriate to touch on the humanitarian dimension for it is the innocent who are being subjected to displacement, pain and misery. Unfortunately, this is the tragic and inevitable outcome of all such situations of civil war, insurgencies, rebel movements, and terrorist activity. History is replete with examples of such suffering; whether it be the American Civil War, Northern Ireland, the Basque movement in Spain, Chechnya, Angola, Cambodia, and so many other cases; the indiscriminate bombing of civilian centres during World War Two; Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Vietnam. The list is endless.

I feel that this tragedy could have been prevented if NATO's ego and credibility had not been given the highest priority instead of the genuine grievances of Serbs in addition to Albanians. Notwithstanding all that one hears and sees on CNN and BBC, and other Western agencies, and in the daily briefings of the NATO authorities, the blame for the humanitarian crisis that has arisen cannot be placed at the door of the Yugoslav authorities alone. The responsibility rests mainly at NATO's doors. In fact, if I am to go by my own experience as the First Force Commander and Head of Mission of the United Nations forces in the former Yugoslavia, from March 1992 to March 1993, handling operations in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia, I would say that reports put out in the electronic media are largely responsible for provoking this tragedy. Where does all this leave the international community which for the record does not comprise of the US, the West and its newfound Muslim allies ?

The portents for the future, at least in the short term, are bleak indeed. The United Nations has been made totally redundant, ineffective, and impotent. The Western world, led by the USA, will lay down the moral values that the rest of the world must adhere to; it does not matter that they themselves do not adhere to the same values when it does not suit them. National sovereignty and territorial integrity have no sanctity. And finally, secessionist movements, which often start with terrorist activity, will get greater encouragement. One can only hope that good sense will prevail, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Lt General Satish Nambiar Director, USI, New Delhi 6 April 1999

 
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March 22 2004, 10:53 AM 

Bulgarian Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman Solomon Passy is going to visit today Kosovo and meet there with NATO's Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Schefer.

Novinite.com

 
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March 22 2004, 11:26 AM 

'No proof' for child drowning tale.

From correspondents in Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia
March 21, 2004

INVESTIGATORS in Kosovo had not been able to confirm claims that Serb attackers drowned three children in a river, thus sparking the latest inter-ethnic violence in the province, a UN official said today.

There has been widespread local publicity for the story that the ethnic Albanian children were drowned when pursuers from the rival Serb community pushed them into a river.

The allegations have triggered riots and arson that led to 28 deaths and more than 600 wounded in the UN-administered territory in Serbia.

But the sole source for the version of what happened was a fourth child who escaped, the UN source said today.

"All the things the Albanian child has said have never been corroborated or confirmed by proof," said Barry Polin, head of the UN police force in Kosovo.

"We don't have any tangible elements to confirm his claims."

According to the story, the victims, aged 9, 11 and 12, drowned when they were pushed into the River Ibar dividing the town of Kosovska Mitrovica into separate ethnic zones.

The funerals of two of the chidlren whose bodies have been recovered will take place with a special detachment of the NATO-led KFOR multinational stabilisation force on standby to prevent further disturbances.

General Xavier Michel, commanding the KFOR northeastern brigade, said it had established a so-called interposition zone on both sides of the Ibar in Kosovska Mitrovica to prevent direct contact between the two warring communities.

Agence France-Presse

 
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March 22 2004, 11:39 AM 

An open letter to Bajram Rexhepi, PM of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo

Source: Council of Europe
Date: 19 Mar 2004

Link on Council of Europe site: http://assembly.coe.int/Communication/TemporaryDocs/letterrexhepi.htm

Strasbourg, 19/3/2004 -

Peter Schieder

"Just a few days ago, the Assembly's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights organised a hearing on the human rights situation in Kosovo. The meeting focused on ways to protect human rights of all citizens of Kosovo. Today, Serbian villages across Kosovo are in flames, and a raging mob is set to destroy orthodox churches as symbols of the Serbian presence in Kosovo. Their acts are disgraceful, but so is the absence of clear and unequivocal condemnation of the anti-Serb violence by the Kosovo Albanian leadership. Shifting the blame to the other side, and attempts to exploit the escalation of ethnic violence to further the political cause of the majority population, are unacceptable. Kosovo cannot build its future on the blood of innocent people and the ashes of their burned homes and churches.

All the circumstances that triggered this outbreak of violence have not yet been fully clarified, but whatever the outcome of the investigation will be, it is already evident that the Albanian majority in Kosovo - and its political leadership - are failing to demonstrate that they can create a future of Kosovo in which all its people will have a chance to live in peace and stability. This is not a comment on the future status of Kosovo, but you should bear in mind that the international community will never allow Kosovo's future to end up resembling its past.

The events in Kosovo triggered appalling scenes of ethnic hate and vandalism in several Serbian cities, and I have condemned these incidents publicly. But the violent protests in Belgrade, Nis and elsewhere in Serbia in no way diminish your responsibility to end the violence in Kosovo. You are the Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government " representing all, and not only the Albanian population in Kosovo. You and your colleagues bear a major responsibility to end this escalation of violence and show greater commitment to a multi-ethnic and tolerant society in Kosovo."

Peter Schieder, President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly

 
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March 22 2004, 11:49 AM 

Albanian LIES about the drowning of the childern: Albo arrested by UNMIK for lies
by THE SERB!! (no login)

Halid Berani arrested for deceiving media and inciting violence - the truth of manipulation with the case of drowning of three Albanian boys unfolding

International forces arrested HALID BERANI (Kosovo Albanian), the president of the so called "Council for protection of human rights and freedoms in Kosovo", confirmed KFOR sources sources to B92 Radio reporter Tanja Matic, it is said on the Web site of B92 Radio (14:02 CET). Berani supplied Kosovo Albanian media at the beginning of this week the news that three Albanian boys were drowned in the Ibar river "because they were chased by Serb youths". This misinformation triggered public unrest and was used as an excuse by so far unknown extremist groups and elements to activate a pre-planned operation of ethnic persecution of all Serbs from Kosovo.


ERP KIM Info-Service
Gracanica, March 21, 2004 (15:27)

International forces arrested HALID BERANI (Kosovo Albanian), the president of the so called "Council for protection of human rights and freedoms in Kosovo", confirmed KFOR sources to B92 Radio reporter Tanja Matic, it is said on the Web site of B92 Radio (14:02 CET). Berani supplied Kosovo Albanian media at the beginning of this week the news that three Albanian boys were drowned in the Ibar river "because they were chased by Serb youths". This misinformation triggered public unrest and was used as an excuse by so far unidentified Albanian extremist groups and individuals to activate a pre-planned operation of ethnic persecution of all Serbs from Kosovo.

KFOR sources informed B92 that in Berani's house documentation was found which was taken by KFOR. During the armed conflict in Kosovo in 1998-1999 Berani was an active member of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK). It is believed that Berani might be involved in the plan of ethnic cleansing of Kosovo which had to be presented to the world media as a "justified anger of Albanian population after the alleged killing of three Albanian boys".

Serbian Orthodox Church is shocked that this false information and manipulation with the tragic death of Albanian children, which was denied by the UNMIK police spokesman Derek Chapel the next day, was so easily picked up not only by media in Albanian language but also by some professional and trustworthy international agencies without previous confirmation of the information. This regrettable example of media manipulation encouraged the extremists and contributed to the suffering of many civilians and deaths of dozens of innocent people.

However, no matter how much this manipulation contributed to the deterioration of the security situation international sources in the Province say that there are many reliable indicators that the plan of expulsion of all Serbs and destruction of all Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo was a strategy planed beforehand, which was even admitted by some of the Kosovo Albanian political analysts like Veton Surroi.

The Church remains confident that the International peacekeeping forces and UNMIK police will trace down the organizers of this unrest and crimes which have been committed and bring them to justice.

 
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March 22 2004, 11:52 AM 

March 20, 2004

Kosovo Burning - Pogrom in the Occupied Serbian Province.

Antiwar.com
by Nebojsa Malic

It is D?j? vu in Kosovo, back to 1999. After four years of creeping secession and covert ethnic cleansing, the Albanians have taken the next step and begun a war on UNMIK, KFOR, and whatever Serbs remained after the 1999 war. Throughout the occupied province, Serb houses and churches are burning, UN offices and KFOR troops are under fire, and those non-Albanians who survived the ethnic cleansing of the past four years are fleeing for dear life, as mobs of well-armed and apparently closely coordinated Albanians continue their rampage. Since Wednesday, March 17, Kosovo has been a war zone.

"Clashes" With Reality

Almost all media reports from Kosovo described the situation as "inter-ethnic violence" or "clashes," implying there were battles between Albanians and Serbs. Very few noted that the only real clash was in Mitrovica, where the Serbs have organized resistance, while in the helpless Serb enclaves throughout Kosovo Albanians rampaged with impunity. Also missing was the fact that besides Serbs, Albanian mobs were openly attacking KFOR and UNMIK personnel.

Here is how one UNMIK official, fleeing Albanian mobs in Gnjilane (in the US sector), described the situation:

"Kristallnacht is under way in Kosovo," the official told B92 on condition of anonymity. "What is happening in Kosovo must unfortunately be described as a pogrom against Serbs: churches are on fire and people are being attacked for no other reason than their ethnic background," he added.

Consider now the words of KFOR commander, German general Holger Kammerhoff, who warned that "thousands of ethnic Albanians that attacked KFOR, the police, Serb enclaves and churches should be aware of robust reserve forces." (Reuters) Note how clearly he identifies the attackers and their targets.

The Daily Telegraphs headline was just as precise: "Kosovo in flames as Albanians renew war on Serbs." Interestingly, the story suffers from cognitive dissonance, as the correspondents words and "editorial guidance" passages often contradict each other. Here is the correspondent:

"Ethnic Albanians rose against the Serb minority across Kosovo yesterday in coordinated attacks the five-year peace in Kosovo was shattered thousands of Albanians armed with heavy automatic weapons and hand grenades clashed with Serbs It is thought that hardline Albanian political parties had been stoking existing tensions before the violence broke out."

He also quotes UNMIK spokesman Derek Chappell:

"This is a very large, comprehensive uprising We are getting reports in all the time, from all over Kosovo. Wherever there is a Serbian population there is Albanian action against them These are well organised extremists leading these attacks..."

According to UNMIK, 14 Serbian churches have been destroyed. Church sources put the number at 22. There are no more Serbs in Pristina the last have been evacuated by KFOR and the same is happening in half a dozen other enclaves.

The Kosovo human rights Ombudsman, Marek Nowicki, said Thursday that "there exists the intent to cleanse this land from the presence of all Serbs."

Clearly, what is taking place is not "clashes," but a pogrom by the Albanians against the Serb population wherever possible. UNMIK and KFOR troops are also targets, whenever they stand in the way of Serb-killing.

A Spin on Murder

Attacks of Albanian mobs are only one aspect of the pogrom, though. For whatever reason, Western media is covering the crisis in a way that absolves Albanians of responsibility and obstructs the extent of their persecution of Serbs. Classifying the situation as "clashes" and Albanian militants as "protesters" or "demonstrators" (what exactly are they protesting, or demonstrating against the existence of Serbs?) are just two specific examples.

BBCs main report on Kosovo, around 2300 GMT on March 17, called the situation "inter-ethnic clashes" and "protests" by Albanians. BBCs analyst Gabriel Partos also spoke of "clashes," strongly implying that it was a two-sided fight and that Albanians were provoked by Kostunicas statements. Papers such as the New York Times and the Guardian also repeated the "clashes" definition, and implied Serbia was somehow responsible.

But the worst media atrocity was the incessant repetition of the blood libel broadcast by Kosovo Albanian TV just as before the first wave of attacks was underway: that Serbs chased a group of Albanian boys into the river Ibar Tuesday, where three drowned in the rapid currents. Sometimes it was a "gang," sometimes a group of children, sometimes they had a dog the story varied, but they were always Serbs.

UNMIKs press briefing from March 17 (PDF) mentions that one boy, Fitim Veseli, alleged something though not what. Subsequent statements by UNMIK personnel indicated that the boy did not claim a Serb attack in the statements to them only to the Albanian media. All too eager to run such a story, they published Veselis allegations as fact. Agencies and wire services picked up the refrain and appended it to all stories from Kosovo, until it became fact by virtue of repetition. Editors at one paper even coined the phrase "retaliatory drownings" (The Daily Telegraph).

That the Western media chose to disseminate demonizing disinformation is not surprising. Theyve done so about the Serbs, specifically, for over a decade and longer in some other instances. What should be shocking is the sheer banality of their evil. According to reporters of the German-owned Serbian daily Blic, the BBC European News editor told them his network "has not received any other news while he has to explain to the world public why the clashes occurred." So they lied, and they keep on lying. Nothing personal; just laziness.

"Serbian Rampage"

Hearing the news from Kosovo, small but angry crowds in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis attacked mosques in those cities. Despite the efforts of Serbian police to stop them, and even the appeal of the bishop in Nis, the mosques were set ablaze. It was an immoral, cowardly act, and one which will most likely antagonize Serbias Muslim population ironically, themselves victims of Albanian terror in Kosovo. Western media, however, played it for all it was worth, imputing moral equivalence between organized Albanian pogroms and Serb hooliganism, grasping at straws to retain the well-worn stereotype built so painstakingly over the years. Both are immoral, of course, and neither justifies the other, nor is justifiable by anything rational. However, the Serbian government has already pledged to rebuild the torched mosques. If the Albanians have their say, all the Orthodox churches in Kosovo will be gone forever. Therein is the difference.

Appeasement Now!

The New York Times suggested Thursday that "the violence reflected a growing impatience among Kosovos Albanian majority about the future of the province."

Certainly, Albanian leaders from Hashim Taqi to Ibrahim Rugova, have used the occasions to call for independence. Albanian members of the Kosovo "parliament" proclaimed that "the only way to calm Kosovo was to declare it independent." (Reuters)

In a Friday editorial in the Washington Post, the Albanians onetime advisor and eminence grise of Washington politics, Morton Abramowitz, confirmed the violence was committed and even planned by Albanians. But he blamed Serbia and the EU for that, noting the West only ever listens to violence, and that withholding independence from the deserving Albanians incurred their wrath. Abramowitz argues that "freeing Serbia" from Kosovo and Montenegro, while at it would help "fundamental reform" and stabilize the Balkans. Besides, now that Albanians have made their hatred of Serbs abundantly clear, what is the point of trying for a multiethnic democracy? Independence is now the only solution.

UNMIK spokesman Chappell has a theory about the attackers: "They hate the progress of the last four years and this is their final attempt to destroy any ethnic integration." (The Daily Telegraph) But there has been no "progress" in integration whatsoever unless one deems it such when the murder rate drops from one Serb a day to one Serb a month. And though progress towards independence a topic dear to Albanians has been slow, but steady, it appears their patience has run out. Albanians have played the fait accompli card once before, using NATOs occupation to expel most Serbs. Now they want to finish the job. So it is a "final attempt," after a fashion at the Final Solution.

There is no doubt the pogroms goal is to force the issue and leave UN/NATO no choice but to recognize the fait accompli. And there appears to be no question as to whether Washingtons interventionist establishment gathered around Abramowitz and the International Crisis Group firmly believes that pogrom should be rewarded, and Albanians wrath appeased. What a marvelous "coincidence," such synchronicity bordering on predestination.

Last Chance

By March 19, Reuters finally seemed to recognize the truth:

"Albanians are trying to cleanse the Serbs and create a fait accompli before any talks," said a Western source on condition of anonymity. "Anyone with political experience can see that."

The question now is not what Kosovos Imperial overlords can or cannot see, but what they plan to do about it. At this point, NATO is issuing what amounts to empty threats. UNMIK is still in denial about what is happening. Washington and Brussels offer meaningless condemnations of "violence," as it if was somehow committing itself. Meanwhile, Serbs are being ethnically cleansed wholesale, many are being murdered, and their history is going up in flames. The occupation of Kosovo illegal, immoral and irrational from day one has now been emphatically demonstrated as such. Kosovo is burning, but the West is only vexed over what tune to fiddle.

The Alliance, so full of bluster when it bombed Serbia from afar, now seems both unwilling and unable to stop what is effectively genocide, or at the very least a humanitarian catastrophe. Both reasons, people may remember, cited in justification of the original intervention in 1999. What is happening in Kosovo right now is a direct consequence of that intervention. When KFOR and UNMIK ousted Serbian law enforcement and military indeed, the Serbian state and society from Kosovo in June 1999, they assumed responsibility for the protection of all in the province. From the first exodus of over 250,000 non-Albanians in 1999, to the present pogrom, they have consistently failed in that responsibility. They should start living up to it right now, this very minute or admit failure, leave forever, and pay damages to the victims of their criminal stupidity. And leave the resolution of the conflict to people who are both willing and able to see it through. In the meantime, any blood spilled in the province over the past four days, and likely to be spilled yet, is on NATOs hands.

 
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March 22 2004, 11:57 AM 

Monday, 22 March, 2004, 08:10 GMT

Kosovo mourns violence victims.

BBC


Serbia held a day of mourning on Sunday.

Kosovo is holding a day of mourning for the 28 victims killed in last week's violence between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in the province. With tensions still high, Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is due in Kosovo later on Monday. It is the first in a series of high-level visits by leaders who are deeply involved in Kosovo. About 2,000 Nato reinforcements are being deployed to Kosovo, to join 18,500 international troops already there.

Blame.

Flags are flying at half mast across Kosovo a day after the funerals of two ethnic Albanian boys whose deaths last Tuesday sparked a violent backlash against the minority Serb community. It was the worst violence since Nato forces entered Kosovo in 1999. As the violence dies down, the apportioning of blame has begun, reports the BBC's Nick Thorpe in Kosovo's capital, Pristina. International officials blame the Albanians for refusing to offer Serbs in Kosovo the enhanced rights they need to feel safe, while the Albanians blame the Serbs for not recognising their demands for independence.

Mr de Hoop Scheffer on Sunday warned against resorting to violence to achieve political aims. "Nobody in Kosovo should think - and that goes more specifically for the majority community in Kosovo, the Albanians - that by inciting violence they will bring their political ambitions closer," he said. Thousands of Serbs were driven from their homes in last week's clashes. The unrest broke out after three Albanian boys drowned near the town of Mitrovica last on Tuesday. The body of one of them is still missing.

UN police are still investigating allegations by another youngster who says the boys jumped into the river to escape a dog set on them by two Serbs from a neighbouring village. Amid tight security, the two boys were laid to rest in the village of Cabra on Sunday. Mourners wept as the boys' schoolmates carried photographs of the children and banners reading "No more deaths" and "Peace for everybody". Also on Sunday, Serbia held a day of remembrance for the 28 victims during which the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Pavle, appealed for calm.

Rebuilding.

The ethnic Albanian authorities are setting up a special fund to rebuild Serb homes and churches damaged in the violence, which left hundreds of people injured. At least 15 Orthodox churches and more than 100 homes in Serb enclaves were damaged or destroyed by Albanian rioters. About 1,100 Serbs and non-Albanians are being sheltered in camps run by the Nato peacekeeping force, K-For, while others have gone to Serb areas. The top UN official in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, said on Saturday he believed extremists were behind much of last week's violence.

 
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March 22 2004, 1:39 PM 

Covic calls on Holkeri to apologise or resign | 12:27 | Beta
BELGRADE -- Monday The head of Belgrades Kosovo Coordination Centre, Nebojsa Covic, has called on UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri to apologise to Kosovo Serbs or resign.

Covic was responding to a statement given by Holkeri to US public radio in which he played down the wave of violence which swept Kosovo last week.

The Kosovo governor played down the violence which has erupted under his stewardship, dismissing NATO Southern Europe Commander Gregory Johnsons assessment of it as ethnic cleansing and writing off the damage to dozens of Serbian church buildings as a couple of Serbian Orthodox Churches have been set on fire.

Covic called on all Serbian state bodies to demand that Holkeri be replaced in Kosovo, saying that thirty torched churches and monasteries and thousands of expelled Serbs and destroyed homes could not be described as anything but ethnic cleansing.

I believe Holkeri is an experienced politician but I do not believe he has made his assessment of what has happened in Kosovo from experience. I believe there is malice behind this statement, said Covic.


Sporadic violence continues | 13:13 | FoNet
VRANJE, KOSOVSKA VITINA -- Monday An elderly man has been admitted to hospital in Serbia after claiming to have been beaten by Albanians in Kosovo.

Stanislav Stankovic told police he was beaten while tending his cattle near Gnjilane.

In Kosovska Vitina, a group of Albanians are reported to have set fire to a house abandoned by Serb Misko Mirkovic.

International peacekeepers have broken up a group of about twenty young Albanians who had gathered near abandoned Serb houses in the village.

 
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March 22 2004, 1:47 PM 

!!! What is really happening on Kosovo

March 20 2004 at 4:50 PM
Average Score 5.0 (2 people)
Simargl (Login Simargl)

This morning my firend came from Kosovo. He lives in Belgrade but he studied economy in Zubin Potok on Kosovo, last year. Few days ago he got a news that his friend from Kosovo has burned alive in his house with whole his family (Mother, father, and two little brothers). And house was burned by guess who... With his fathers relations he made an agreement with Serbian (Yugoslavian) Army to go by the helicopter to Kosovo on funeral of his friend. He had to wear a millitary uniform and he had fake ID. Officialy Serbian helicopter should have to take a dead body of some guy died on Kosovo. In the helicopter was a box (I don't know how to say word for the box were dead people should be taken). It wasn't empty box but I won't say what was in it because it's not secure to share those kind of informations... Any way the other one helicopter was on the way to the other place on Kosovo, at the same time... They had an agreement to be followed by two KFOR chopers, when they enter the Kosovo border zone... And it was like that... They landed there... the place was near village and near to village's graveyard by agreement to local Serbs, one older man came to KFOR soldiers ( I am not sure if they were US or France soldiers), and told them that it is traditional to drink rakija ( brandy ) for the soul of the dead,(people that came to funeral were arriving), so they were taken from chopers, and those few minutes were enough to take out the box from the serbian chopper... When it was empty they put in the dead body and took it slowly back to helicopter... My friend found out later about that action... He went on the funeral of a friend... he said that he talked to the people "down there" and that they said that story of a boys that drowned in a river is just stupid story that they needed as an initiation. They already knew that months before albanians were well organised even in a small villages, becaues they always had 4-5 older men, in each village that were ex UCK soldiers... So everything was arranged but they needed the main "reason why"? And then came a story about the boys... After the funeral he (my friend) saw murdered animals all around, even a dog hanged to the tree... he said he got sick... By the aranged timing they had to go back to the helicopter and to take the way back... During the road they got the information to hurry because the other one Serbian helicopter was shot down... Luckily he wasn't the one...

That's the story... and if I lie I wish I was dead.
Shame is that you can't get this informations even on Serbian TV. I know that many people won't beleave to something unless they see it on TV but this is what happened. They keep telling us here in Serbia that it is better each day but everyone knows that something big is cooking it is shame... Free medias? What are they talking about...

Who needs another war... There are speculations that some Serbs are selling arms to Muslims at South Serbia (Novi Pazar - north from Kosovo).

People are selling they own people. I gonna get sick of this situation. I heard that some Serbs coudn't get out from the country because it's some kind of not-official war situation... and nobody really says anything..

 
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March 22 2004, 2:30 PM 


Albo writing, "death to the serbs" outside a razed church..

 
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March 22 2004, 3:08 PM 

KOSOVO - PASSY - VISIT.

Foreign Minister Solomon Passy Leaves for Kosovo, March 22.

Sofia, March 21 (BTA) - Foreign Minister Solomon Passy will leave for Kosovo in his capacity of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman-in-Office on March 22, the Foreign Ministry told BTA.

Passy will visit the region together with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. The Bulgarian Foreign Minister is expected to leave around noon and to return in the evening the same day.

 
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March 23 2004, 11:11 AM 

Violence has hastened cantonisation, says Batakovic | 18:28 | B92

BELGRADE -- Monday Last weeks violence in Kosovo has confirmed the failure of the international communitys concept of a multi-ethnic province, Dusan Batakovic, a historian and the man behind the proposal for the cantonisation of Kosovo, told B92 today.

Batakovic, Serbia-Montenegros ambassador to Greece, said it was clear the mandate of the UN mission and the NATO-led peacekeeping force would be redefined, and the province territorially reorganised.

Batakovics proposal envisages five Serbian cantons covering some 30 percent of the territory of Kosovo. He claimed the European Union was now ready to rethink how to resolve the Kosovo crisis.

I believe that the EU, regardless of the fact the Contact Group has the defining word on proposing new solutions, will be increasingly prepared to consider a kind of fundamental decentralisation of Kosovo, he told B92.

 
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March 23 2004, 11:24 AM 

Pictures of the destroyed Kosovo Churches and the injured Serbs.....

by THE SERB!! (no login)

Very sad pictures....

http://www.spc.org.yu/



Posted on Mar 23, 2004, 12:48 PM
from IP address 24.165.84.60

 
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March 23 2004, 12:42 PM 

Violence setback for resolution of Kosovo status | 13:03 | Beta

PRISTINA -- Tuesday OSCE president Solomon Passy said this morning that last weeks violence had set back the process of resolving Kosovo status.

Speaking after a visit to Kosovo this morning, Passy, who as Bulgarian foreign affairs minister is the current chair of the OSCE, said that the violence, in which 28 people had died, was planned.

This isnt about a chance happening; Albanian extremist elements stirred up the violence, destroying trust in the local authorities.

Passy called on NATO to consider deploying more troops in the province, saying that the violence must be brought to a stop and those responsible punished.

 
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March 23 2004, 3:19 PM 

Romania, Bulgaria to Boost Military Cooperation.

Novinite.com
Politics: 22 March 2004, Monday

Bulgaria's Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov and his Romanian counterpart Ioan Mircea Pascu agreed that despite the fact that defense cooperation is satisfying, it should be boosted.

They pledged to work for more active contacts in that field. Both Svinarov and Pascu expressed their worries over the recent violence in Kosovo and the increasing international terror threat.

Bulgaria's Defense Minister is also scheduled to meet Romania's Foreign Minister Mircea Dan Geoana.

 
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March 23 2004, 3:55 PM 

Monday, 22 March, 2004, 23:19 GMT

Nato condemns Kosovo extremists.

BBC

The Nato Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has blamed last week's violence in Kosovo on extremist ethnic Albanian factions.

Speaking in Kosovo's capital, Pristina, he said the attacks that killed 28 people from both Serbian and Albanian communities were "unacceptable".

The Nato chief urged local Albanian leaders to condemn the riots and help rebuild some 300 burnt-down homes.

Meanwhile, Kosovo's president said the security of Serbs must be ensured.

In his first interview since the violence erupted last week, Ibrahim Rugova told the BBC the Serb minority should be more integrated in Kosovan society.

But he said only an independent Kosovo would bring stability to the region.

More than 3,000 Serbs fled their burning homes and churches when ethnic Albanian crowds attacked. Nearly 900 people were injured during the clashes.

Nato rushed in 2,000 more troops to help quell the violence.

The Nato-led peacekeeping force - now more than 20,000-strong - appears to have reasserted control over the province.

On Monday, Kosovo observed a day of mourning for the victims of the violence, as well as two ethnic Albanian boys whose deaths triggered the violence.

'Political illusions'

"What happened last week, orchestrated and organised by extremist factions in the Albanian community, is unacceptable," Mr de Hoop Scheffer said.

He said the trust between the community and Nato-led peacekeeper in the United Nations-administered province of Serbia had been lost.

Serbia and the Kosovo Serbs strongly oppose ethnic Albanian demands for independence.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels called on both Serbs and ethnic Albanians to refrain from provocative acts.

They issued a statement calling on all leaders, "in particular the Kosovo Albanian leadership, to take responsibility for the situation."

"Extremist forces have no role to play in settling Kosovo's future," the statement said.

Intervention debate renewed

The head of the UN administration in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, said he was shocked by the recent incidents, but that he was determined to see peace established there.

Mr Holkeri said it was "utterly disappointing" that ethnic Albanian leaders failed to condemn the violence against Serbs.

He made the comments as he visited a burnt-down block of flats in Pristina, inhabited by Serbs until the attacks. He was accompanied by Kosovo's Prime Minister, Bajram Rexhepi.

Mr Rexhepi reiterated that the predominantly ethnic Albanian provincial authorities would help fund the reconstruction of more than 100 Serb homes and at least 15 Serbian Orthodox churches that were damaged or destroyed.

Serbs and other minorities are guaranteed rights and positions in local and central government by the UN administration of the province but have often preferred to administer their own affairs.

Albanian leaders accuse them of running parallel structures.

 
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March 24 2004, 8:22 AM 

Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 02:19 GMT

Policemen killed in Kosovo attack.

BBC

A UN police officer and a local policeman have been killed in Kosovo, local police and the UN say. The two were shot dead in their UN vehicle in the village of Luzane, north of the capital, Pristina, police chief Sheremet Ahmetli said. Kosovo - the UN-administered province in Serbia - last week saw some of the worst ethnic clashes in more than four years, in which 28 people died. The incident comes on the fifth anniversary of the Nato air strikes. Hundreds of others from both Serbian and ethnic Albanian communities were injured in last week's clashes after the violence started in the divided town of Mitrovica. As the clashes spread across the province, more than 3,000 Serbs fled their homes and churches attacked by ethnic Albanian mobs. Nato rushed in 2,000 more troops to help quell the violence.

Under fire.

According to a UN police spokesman, the ambush took place after dark on Tuesday evening. A clearly marked UN patrol car with three officers and an interpreter was travelling south towards Pristina from the town of Podujevo. It came under fire in a rural area from at least one gunman and crashed into the hillside, killing the two police officers. Reports suggest the international police officer was Ghanaian. An investigation into the incident is now under way with the help of British K-For soldiers. UN police spokesman Derek Chappell, speaking from the scene of the crime, told the BBC these kind of attacks were quite rare in Kosovo. The only previous attack of this kind took place in August last year when an Indian police officer was shot dead, says the BBC's Tamsin Smith in Pristina.

Separate regions.

Earlier on Tuesday, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica once again defended his case for Kosovo's division along ethnic lines. After talks with top European Union officials in Brussels, Mr Kostunica said establishing separate regions for Albanians and Serbs was the only way to prevent further violence in Kosovo. Kosovo's unresolved status is the subject of a bitter dispute between its independence-seeking majority Albanians and minority Serbs who strongly oppose it.

 
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March 24 2004, 10:49 AM 

Leaflets against UNMIK, Kfor in Kosovo and Metohija.

20:48 PRISTINA , March 23 (Tanjug) - In some towns in Kosovo and Metohija appeared on Tuesday leaflest demanding "liberation (of Kosovo) from UNMIK at any price," and which called the international forces an enemy of Kosovo.

In the leaflets that apperaed on buildings it is said that last week's violence was "in essence revolt that has accumulated durign the incessant injustice towards our people to date by the dictatorial UNMIK leadership and erroneous policy of domestic institutions."

 
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March 24 2004, 1:34 PM 

Albanian terrorist attacks on Serbs - A MAP OF THE INCIDENTS!!!

by THE SERB!! (no login)



Shiptars will pay for this.

The UN will not let this go unpunished!!

History has seen the true face of the Animal Shiptars.

Posted on Mar 24, 2004, 1:50 PM
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March 24 2004, 1:41 PM 

Kosovo Marks Anniversary of NATO Bombing.

Novinite.com
World in Brief: 24 March 2004, Wednesday

Kosovo marked the fifth anniversary of the start of a NATO-led bombing campaign on Wednesday even as the alliance tracked down suspects behind recent violence that has deepened ethnic hatreds in the province. Harri Holkeri, UN top official in Kosovo appealed for a new beginning following the worst violence since the end of war in 1999. Kosovo's President Ibrahim Rugova called for people to remember the "one of the most important dates of Kosovo's history." Billboards were erected throughout the provincial capital, Pristina, reading, "Days of Hope - The New Beginning." In Belgrade, the capital of Serbia-Montenegro, memorial services were scheduled for the Serbs slain in the alliance bombing campaign.

 
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March 24 2004, 2:05 PM 

Bulgarian Diplomacy Mediates in Kosovo Conflict.

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Business: 24 March 2004, Wednesday

In a bid to calm down recent ethnic tensions in Kosovo, Bulgaria's OSCE Chairman Solomon Passy undertook a diplomatic shuttle in the region.

No act of ethnic cleansing will be tolerated in South Eastern Europe, Solomon Passy stated during his talks with Serbia and Montenegro's President Svetozar Marovic on Wednesday.

Besides Marovic, Bulgaria's top diplomat has met in Belgrade with Nebojsa Covic, Serbia's chief official in charge of Kosovo and Metohija.

Within his one-day official visit in Serbia's capital he will also meet Prime Minister Vojslav Kostunica, as well as with outgoing and incoming foreign ministers Goran Svilanovc and Vuk Draskovic.

On today's date five years ago NATO launched its operation in the Serbian province in an attempt to stop the so-called "state terrorism" committed by then President Slobodan Milosevic.

Since the official end of the conflict in June 1999, NATO and UN have tried to secure the peace in the region with its special missions KFOR and UNMIK.

 
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March 24 2004, 2:09 PM 

Centuries of Culture Vanish in Kosovo City.

By DANICA KIRKA
Associated Press Writer

Serb Orthodox bishop Atanasije Jevtic,left, next to an unidentified prelate, enters the 14th-century Holy Virgin of Ljevis Cathedral in the southern Kosovo town of Prizren, Monday, March 22, 2004. Orthodox Christian Serbs and symbols of their culture and history were targetted throughout Kosovo in violence last week. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Bishop Atanasije Jevtic dusted ashes away from the base of the fresco in the 14th-century cathedral gutted during recent mob violence in Kosovo.

He then softly placed two fingers on the image of Virgin Mary in the soot-covered fresco. But his visit to the cathedral to assess the damage would last but four minutes: a U.N. police officer acting as his bodyguard, a semiautomatic shotgun at the ready, hustled him away, shouting, "It's not safe! It's not safe!"

Orthodox Christian Serbs and symbols of their culture and history were targeted throughout Kosovo in violence last week, exposing the underlying tensions with the mostly Muslim ethnic Albanian majority that led to a war that ended in 1999.

Days after the rioting began, the extent of the material damage is only now becoming clear. In all, 366 homes were destroyed and 41 churches burned.

In this southern Kosovo city, centuries of culture vanished in seconds when mobs blamed Serbs for the deaths of two ethnic Albanian children and rampaged through the city.

Eight churches here were set on fire and at least a dozen homes. The devastation scarred the heart of this Ottoman-era community, with a hillside overlooking the Bistrica River now scarred by abandoned and blackened hulks of buildings set alight by the melee.

The mobs specifically targeted churches, the very symbols of Orthodox Christian Serbs, who want the U.N.-run province to remain part of Serbia-Montenegro. Kosovo's mostly Muslim ethnic Albanians want independence.

For the last five years, NATO has stepped between the two. The alliance moved into Kosovo after a 78-day air war aimed at stopping former President Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown on ethnic Albanian seeking independence. The conflict killed an estimated 10,000 people, mostly ethnic Albanians.

In the early years of the mission, the alliance set up elaborate protection for the churches of Kosovo, the province which is considered hallowed ground and the birthplace of Serbian identity. Kosovo was the site of an epic battle between Serbs and Turks in 1389.

Among the province's many treasures was the Holy Virgin of Ljevis Cathedral, which is located just down the street from the U.N. administration's offices. Mobs transformed the brick structure into a gutted hulk.

Of particular note was a fresco of Jesus Christ, said Father Sava, a spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Kosovo, who wept upon learning that flames, smoke and soot left only a vague image on the wall.

"The church meant so very much," he said. "In France there is Notre Dame ... but for us that was the Holy Virgin of Ljevis Cathedral."

Father Sava said that Serbs who remained in Prizren after the war have left for good now, and the only people visiting the wrecked structures this week were ethnic Albanians curious about what damage had been done.

Among them was Bashkim Dauti, 37, a construction worker, who wandered into the cathedral of St. George and gaped at the toppled tower in the center of the rubble.

"I don't like what I'm seeing," he said, noting that the riots would damage the hopes of ethnic Albanians to win independence.

"It's my feeling that we went back in time," he said. "(Independence) will take as much time as we will need to repair the churches and the houses that were burned."

Others suggested the destruction as revenge for the war. At the Holy Virgin of Ljevis Cathedral, Ruzhdi Krasniqi, 23, smoked a cigarette as he assessed the damaged and said he felt "OK" about its destruction.

"I don't want the Serbs to return here," he said. "They've got no place here."

Atanasije didn't stop to offer his views, intent on getting in and out of the church with his life intact. But as he saw the damaged fresco of the Virgin Mary, he paused even though his security detail frantically screamed for him to go.

"This is the mother of God," he said, describing the fresco.

Then he crossed himself and ran for the door.

 
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Peacekeepers Collect Evidence in Kosovo.

AP via Yahoo ^ | March 23, 2004 | DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press Writer

GRACANICA, Serbia-Montenegro - NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo smashed through doors and tossed stun grenades in pre-dawn raids Tuesday to collect evidence on what caused the worst ethnic violence here since the 1999 war.

About 200 peacekeepers raided four houses in Obilic, a city just outside the provincial capital, Pristina. Norwegian forces arrested two people and stuffed evidence in trash bags, seeking clues on who was behind the clashes between Serbs and ethnic Albanians that killed 28, destroyed 366 homes and burned 41 churches. In all, 196 people have been arrested.

Also, two police officers were shot to death in a morning attack in the village of Sakovica, some 15 miles north of the capital, said U.N. police spokesman Derek Chappell.

The police vehicle was riddled with bullets. NATO-led peacekeepers arrived at the scene and started searching a small hill nearby with flashlights.

"This is a very extensive crime scene," Chappell said. "A lot of bullets have been fired."

In a visit to the town earlier Tuesday, the top U.N. official in Kosovo declared that there was organization behind the violence. Harri Holkeri said those behind the attacks "tried to destroy the whole future of Kosovo."

"They are responsible for severe crimes against humanity," Holkeri said.

The NATO commander in the central part of Kosovo apologized for failing to anticipate the potential for violence in a province where tensions still simmer five years after the end of the war.

"We got it wrong," Swedish Brig. Gen. Anders Braennstroem said at a meeting with leaders from the Serb communities near Pristina. "For that I am very sorry."

Last week's attacks were the worst outbreak of violence since 1999, when a NATO air war ended a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanians seeking independence. The war killed 10,000 ethnic Albanians.

Kosovo has been an international protectorate since then, its final status to be decided by the United Nations. For now, it officially remains a part of Serbia-Montenegro, the successor state of Yugoslavia.

The deaths of two boys in an incident blamed on the Serbs triggered days of rioting, looting and arson by ethnic Albanians. About 600 people were injured and 4,000 were homeless by week's end.

About 180 Serbs left homeless by the violence tried to leave the province or travel to the province's largest Serb enclave with little success Tuesday. Peacekeepers escorted the Serbs off a NATO base where they had taken shelter, but local leaders backed down on promises to provide buses or other transportation for them to leave.

Weeping women stood in front of buses that had taken them from the NATO base to the Serb enclave of Gracanica, insisting they had been promised passage to places they felt safer under an agreement with local Serb officials. The deal had been witnessed by an officer serving with NATO-led peacekeepers.

"They promised! They promised!" said Milica Todorovic, 48, who became hysterical after learning she would have to stay on a cot in a school converted to an emergency shelter. "We don't want to come here."

Irish Lt. Col. Ger Aherne stood against a schoolyard wall, arms folded across his chest, flatly reminding local representative Dragan Velic of his promises.

"You publicly reneged on your agreement," Aherne said.

Velic promised to provide buses, but by late afternoon, none had arrived.

The United Nations defended Velic's decision, arguing that no arrangements had been made to care for the Serbs in the areas where they want to go.

The incident underlined the tremendous pressure being placed on the remaining 100,000 or so Orthodox Christian Serbs in Kosovo. Many wish to leave, fearing further attacks in the mostly Muslim ethnic Albanian-dominated province. But Serb leaders want them to stay so they can retain their territorial claims on the province, which is run by the United Nations but remains part of Serbia-Montenegro.

Meanwhile, several thousand ethnic Albanians walked toward the cemetery in the divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica to attend the funerals of four men who were killed in last week's riots. Local leaders appealed for calm.

Two NATO helicopters hovered overhead while mourners held a minute of silence. They buried the men in coffins draped with Albanian flags, and said they died while demonstrating to unite the city.

"We feel great pain and pride," said Halil Haliti, the uncle of one of the dead. "His death has strengthened our determination not to let the city go and achieve independence."

 
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March 24 2004, 2:22 PM 

Holbrooke Says Violence in Kosovo Was Inevitable.

Reuters via Yahoo ^ | March 23, 2004 | Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Tuesday that violence in Kosovo was predictable because the international community failed to move on the final status of the Serbian province.

Holbrooke, a veteran Balkans trouble-shooter, said in an interview that the European Union, the United Nations and the United States needed to be prepared to go directly to Kosovo's status "but only if the violence subsides on both sides."

Clashes between Albanian and Serb communities last week left 28 people dead and 870 injured.

Holbrooke said he had warned Harry Holkeri, the chief U.N. envoy in Kosovo, during a visit to Pristina last October that if the delay continued, the violence would escalate and "we could have a West Bank retaliatory cycle."

"Unfortunately Holkeri did not take action to accelerate the status talks because he did not seem to realize that time was not on his side," said Holbrooke, who negotiated the 1995 end to the Bosnia war. He was speaking to Reuters by telephone during a trip to San Francisco.

Kosovo is legally a province of Serbia, but has been a U.N. protectorate since June 1999 after 11 weeks of NATO bombing forced out Serb troops to end their repression of Albanians during an Albanian separatist uprising.

Its unresolved final status is the subject of bitter dispute between independence-seeking Albanians and Serbs who say the province could be granted autonomy, but only within Serbia and Montenegro sovereignty.

Holbrooke said discussions over refugee returns, water rights, electricity and other issues inevitably were related to the status of the province.

The current policy was to have "talks about talks" in March 2005 on the final status. "So on the condition that the violence subsides, the process should accelerate," he said.

"The United States abandoned the issue as soon as the Bush administration took over, subordinating it to a low level in the bureaucracy," said Holbrooke, who served under former President Bill Clinton.

"The European Union made a series of mistakes and Harry Holkeri did not understand the situation," he said.

But he stressed that "Albanians are only hurting their long-cherished goal, which is independence, by what amounts to reverse ethnic cleansing." He said that a satisfactory solution needed "ironclad" guarantees for the Serb minority.

 
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March 24 2004, 2:25 PM 

They Wanted to Burn Us.

ERP KIM BLIC ^ | 3-20-04 | Verica Mladenovic

A Personal Account Of Ethnic Cleansing, Terror: "They Wanted to Burn Us"

'I heard a terrible noise. I looked through a window and saw our church in fire. I took the children to Hranislav's yard so quickly. The children did not ask me 'Mama will they kill us?' because they are too small to ask something like that', Verica Mladenovic says.

She is 40. She is from Obilic. She lived in Cerska Street only several gardens from the Stolices house. The Stolices were killed and burnt last year. Two days ago while rushing children into armored UNMIK jeep she saw smoke from the direction of her house. She has three sons, Milosh 11, Milorad 8 and Nikola 5.

We are dialing the number of her mobile telephone.

'Is that Belgrade', she says and begins to tell her story immediately.

'The first night when the violence started we all were sitting in front of our houses. The situation with us was peaceful, but nobody went to bed. Then all of a sudden it began. About 8 a.m. after our church, three white skyscrapers were set on fire. Kosovo Police arrived and took us into the station. We ran away to Hranislav Radovanovic, the man that has bees. There were 50 adults and 11 children. My neighbor, that Albanian is not telling me whether I should stay or leave. He was only watching.

When I left I did not know that I would never see my house again. . Very soon Kosovo Protection Corpus arrived to tell us that we should leave Obilic', Verica says.

Since they refused to leave, later on they were taken to a barracks in Pristina where Italian soldiers are.

'We have decided to leave. Italian soldiers told us that everything that belonged to Serbs had burnt in fire. We all shall leave from here as soon as possible'.

 
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March 24 2004, 2:26 PM 

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE (USA)

March 22, 2004, 10:07 a.m.

Carnage in Kosovo - Where's the Western resolve?

By Nikolas K. Gvosdev

The world should be watching Kosovo, but it probably isn't. In the United States, many believe that the dispatch of additional forces to the troubled province of Kosovo "solved" the crisis. The problem is, the damage to NATO's credibility has already been done - and is worsening by the day. The alliance that for 50 years was prepared to spit in Joe Stalin's eye is frightened to death by rampaging ethnic cleansers.

The whole premise of the American-led intervention in 1999 was that the Western Alliance could stop ethnic cleansing "at the heart of Europe" and bring the conditions necessary for the creation of a peaceful, multiethnic society. It was an embarrassment, of course, that in the first weeks of NATO's deployment nearly 100 Serbian Orthodox holy sites were destroyed and some two-thirds of the province's Serb population (along with other non-Albanian ethnic groups) were ethnically cleansed. But the line adopted in Washington, London, Berlin, and Paris was that once NATO was firmly in control of Kosovo these outrages would cease. The Serbs who remained in the province took the West at its word.

The latest outbreak of violence, which in a three-day period has already left 25 churches and monasteries - including UNESCO-protected sites - in ruins and made nearly 4,000 people homeless took place under the noses of 18,000 international peacekeepers and exposes the hollowness of Western guarantees. No one should have been caught by surprise. "It was planned in advance," said Derek Chappell, the U.N.'s Kosovo Mission spokesman. Another put it more forcefully: "This is planned, coordinated, one-way violence from the Albanians against the Serbs. It is spreading and has been brewing for the past week.... Wherever there is a Serbian population there is Albanian action against them." International officials have used the terms "pogrom" and "Kristallnacht" to describe the violence against the Serbs.

And yet, even in the last few weeks, the NATO mission in Kosovo has been touted as an example of successful peacekeeping. Over the last year, proposals have been advanced for deploying NATO forces to keep the peace in other sensitive areas in the Balkans and the Greater Middle East such as Moldova and Georgia, among the two communities in Cyprus, and between Israel and the Palestinians once a settlement is reached. After the events of this past week, does anyone believe that others will trust NATO promises?

Two sad lessons have been communicated. The first is that NATO countries have placed such a high value on "no-casualty" missions that aggressive and effective peacekeeping - including disarming militias, hunting down war criminals and combating organized crime and terrorist groups - takes a back seat to "not stirring things up." Even if the deployment of additional U.S. and British forces this week to Kosovo calms things down, we simply return to the pre-March 2004 status quo.

The second is that ethnic cleansing still works as a strategy, despite all the West's moralizing. Throughout the region, there has been a clear logic at work: When an ethnic community that forms an overall minority in a country wants to purse self-determination, it finds it useful to establish itself as the absolute majority in the territory in question. The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Abkhaz, and the Turkish Cypriots all found it politically expedient to push out residents of the titular majority (Azeris, Georgians, Greek Cypriots, respectively) to bolster their case for separation.

Kosovo was supposed to be different. Then-president Clinton and Prime Minister Blair stated that the West had to draw the line and stop this cycle of violence. The immense power of the Western Alliance was to be deployed to first reverse the expulsion of the Kosovo Albanians by Slobodan Milosevic, and then to make members of all Kosovo communities feel safe and secure, so as to construct civil society and lay the foundations for democracy. The whole justification for ending actual Serbian jurisdiction over Kosovo and placing it in the hands of an international authority backed by NATO firepower was to prevent any further ethnic cleansing.

And now you find that many of the same people who pushed for intervention in 1999 are arguing that, regretfully, the only solution is to push for an independent Kosovo. Yet the attempt to advance a political agenda through the use of violence and terror tactics should be of particular concern to the West. Apparently NATO, the grand alliance prepared to stop the forces of the Soviet Union from overwhelming Western Europe, is unable to prevent mobs from frustrating the West's stated desire to ensure that ethnic cleansing will not be legitimized.

The Bush administration can throw up its hands and do nothing - and, in so doing, kiss goodbye to any hope of solving the area's other protracted conflicts. Or, it can take action to make a reality the declaration made on Friday by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro Goran Svilanovic that "no party can be allowed to profit or advance a political agenda through violence."

And it is essential that the West not abandon its commitment to "standards before status" with regard to Kosovo. Aid and assistance must be made conditional upon a fundamental improvement of the security of the non-Albanian population. As far as the reality on the ground is concerned, we are back to June 1999: We need to start from scratch in how we approach the province's governance. The failures of the past five years do not provide a workable foundation for further progress.

It may be that the ultimate solution to Kosovo is cantonization between an Albanian and a Serbian entity (with extraterritorial supervision for Orthodox sites in an Albanian zone). But that should come about through negotiation and compromise, not murder and arson.

In Iraq and in Kosovo and elsewhere, the United States has made promises about providing peace and security. Extremists and terrorists everywhere are challenging America's commitment to seeing its promises through. And others are watching to see how our resolve holds up.

- Nikolas K. Gvosdev is a senior fellow for strategic studies at the Nixon Center.

 
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March 24 2004, 2:27 PM 

The burning and rioting of the Shiptar extremists continued until morning in Kosovo Polje and Bresje. Kosovo police was present everywhere Serb property was burned and destroyed.

From the very beginning, on Wednesday, March 17 at 15,00 hours until the morning of the next day the Albanian extremists who led the raging crowd burned about 20 houses in Kosovo Polje and 16 houses in Bresje. On Thursday, March 18, two more Serb houses were burned during the day, and 20 more during the night. At about 10,30 on the same day the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in Kosovo Polje, built in 1939, was burned. The home of the priest in Kosovo Polje was not burned because of its proximity to an Albanian house.

We are also aware that during the course of these events, at least one Serb was killed: Zlatibor Trajkovic, whose body, his family learned, has been taken to Orahovac for autopsy. A second Serb, Trifun Stojilovic, was ambushed by the Albanians on the way to his house, repeatedly stabbed with a knife and heavily beaten prior to being left for dead on the road. Also heavily beaten was Predrag Jovanovic of Kosovo Polje.

Mirko Lopata "Lale" is a Serb who has gone missing and nothing is known of his whereabouts.

The houses of all eminent Serbs who fought to live and survive in Kosovo Polje have been burned.

During the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo Polje a clear tactic could be observed. First members of the KPS would chase the Serbs from their homes; they were followed by masses of Albanians who would first loot and then set fire to the Serb houses. This looked like a well rehearsed and coordinating campaign.

In Gracanica, on March 21, 2004
Fr. D. Jerinic
Parish priest of Kosovo Polje

 
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March 24 2004, 2:33 PM 

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, March 23, 2004

Report on events in Serb returnee village of Belo Polje near Pec on Wednesday,
March 17, 2004

Arandjel Arsenijevic, a Serb returnee from the village of Belo Polje near Pec, informed the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija today regarding unfortunate events that occurred on March 17 of this year. In the early afternoon on that day, the village of Belo Polje was one of the first targets of Albanian extremists during their three-day pillaging and burning in the province.

Several members of the UNMIK police in Pec, suspecting an incident could occur, came to the Serbs in the village and advised them to all gather in a single location in order to facilitate their own protection if needed. Italian troops had a hard time understanding what was happening due to a lack of knowledge of English. At the entrance to the village there was no KFOR security checkpoint and security was ensured by periodic patrols.

"Suddenly about 5,000 people appeared who were rushing at us in a real stampede," explained Arandjel. "We were all surprised, of course. They were carrying axes, knives and rocks in their hands. One of the Albanians lunged at me and stabbed me with a knife in the arm. Then he tried to lunge at another Serb returnee. An UNMIK policeman shouted at him and the Albanian suddenly switched targets, heading toward a policewoman from the U.S. Seeing what the extremist was getting ready to do, the policewoman opened fire and killed him on the spot," said Arandjel, explaining how it all began. The fired shot caused confusion among the Albanians, enabling the Serbs to flee to the parish home, where the majority of them were temporarily housed.

The Albanians then began to shower the parish home with rocks. "We placed chairs over our heads for protection; without the chairs, they would have killed us all with the hail of rocks they threw at us," Arandjel continued, elaborating on the horrible details. "It was our great fortune that they did not simply throw a grenade at us in that moment or we would have all been killed."

While all this was going on the Italians somehow managed to get organized and drive their truck up to the parish hall. They began to organize the transfer of Serbs into the KFOR truck. "We all headed for the truck and the mass rushed at us, so that half of us hesitated and returned to the parish home," Arandjel continued his testimony. "That's what ultimately saved us because 30 people wouldn't have been able to get quickly into the truck." The Italians then came back and in a second round managed to get the remaining 15 Serbs into their truck and remove them to safety in the nearby Italian military base.

After this the Albanians set fire to all 25 houses that the refugees had managed to restore with a lot of hard work since their return to the village on July 14 of last year. The reveling over the ruins of the village lasted all night. The Serbian Orthodox Church of the Entry of the Holy Mother of God into the Temple was again set on fire; the church had been destroyed in 1999 but had been partially restored for use in religious service. All grave markers on the cemetery in Belo Polje were also destroyed. In addition to Arandjel, other seriously wounded Serbs included Milutin Batojevic and Mijo Petrovic; neither of them is in life-threatening danger.

The Serb returnees to Belo Polje are temporarily lodged in the Italian military base near Pec even thought the official UNMIK report states that they were allegedly evacuated to Montenegro. The Serbs are willing to remain in their centuries-old homes but the situation in Pec remains extremely tense and their safety without full KFOR military protection would not be possible.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

CACCIARI WARNS OF DESTRUCTION OF ORTHODOX HERITAGE

Ansa - Rome, March 20, 2004

Italian philosopher Massimo Cacciari issued a statement today following the destruction of the Orthodox artistic and cultural heritage in Kosovo, which is endangered as a result of violence between the Albanian and Serb communities. In a written communiqu? Cacciari said that some of the most beautiful artistic and architectural expressions of the Eastern Church have in recent days been exposed to fire and sword.

In Kosovo, which for centuries has been the center of this culture, churches and monasteries are in flames. In addition to the dead and wounded, they are also killing the irreplaceable witnesses of everything that we still want to call Europe.

"The desperate appeal of the monks and nuns of Djakovica, Pec, Prizren, Vitina and Urosevac," continued Cacciari, "appears to be falling into an endless abyss. Where are the forces that were supposed to protect these treasure troves and these people?" Cacciari asks, reminding that the West "started a war for that very reason" and that last year the Italian foreign affairs ministry "assured us of reinforced defensive forces".

ZGARBI ASKS FOR ITALIAN REINFORCEMENTS

ANSA - Belgrade, March 20, 2004

The destruction of ancient Serbian monasteries and churches in Kosovo shows the "insensitivity" of the Kosovo of Albanians, who are not sparing even those buildings that are not only religious but historically. More Italian soldiers need to be sent to defend this heritage.

This is the opinion of Vittorio Zgarbi, who visited these historic locations of Serbian Orthodox spirituality a few months ago. "We cannot hold peace marches if we are incapable of ensuring the survival of these cultural monuments," said this art critic during a telephone interview for Ansa. "It's irrelevant whether or not you support the policies of (U.S. president George) Bush. Italian soldiers are in Iraq and in Kosovo to protect the cultural heritage which does not belong to this or that group but to humanity."

"They are historical symbols that must be protected in Iraq from carelessness and looting, in Kosovo from civil war." Frescoes in Orthodox churches in Kosovo "have the same value for art history as Giotto's Scrovegni Chapel in Padua".

The priority that must be stressed by the presence of Italian troops defending this heritage is that it is not a political or a religious issue but a responsibility. Zgarbi also announced his intention to return to Kosovo soon to see for himself the extent of the damage.

 
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March 24 2004, 2:38 PM 

Beta News Agency, Belgrade
March 20, 2004

Italian general: We will defend Orthodox sites

PRIZREN - The Pec Patrarichate, Visoki Decani Monastery and other Orthodox sites in the area responsibility of KFOR Multinational Brigade South-West will be defended to the last soldier, said brigade commander Italian Alberto Primiceri.

We will fire at anyone who tries anything, said the Italian general in Prizren.

"I have already issued orders to my troops," said Primiceri at a meeting with representatives from those Orthodox sites held on Friday evening.

According to well-informed sources, Primiceri has announced the same is true in case of attack of Serbs in Gorazde, Orahovac, Velika Hoca, Sredacka Zupa and other locations where they have returned or stayed to live after the deployment of NATO troops in June 1999.

Prizren, its burned churches, monuments and Serb houses will be restored and anyone wanting to return to his home will be able to do so, promised the Italian general.

KFOR and police still have not officially confirmed information reported by Pristina TV KohaVision that members of the Kosovo Police Service pulled the burned body of a Serb man from the torched Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Prizren.

In the meanwhile, KIM Radio, which broadcasts a Serbian language program from Caglavica, reported that the body of 55 year-old Dragan Nedeljkovic had been found in the seminary.

The seminary was set on fire on Thursday, as were the medieval Church of the Mother of God of Ljevis and four other Orthodox shrines in Prizren.

May God Bless and Protect you, Alberto Primiceri, and May He honor your integrity.

 
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March 24 2004, 2:43 PM 

The violence in Kosovo

OC Register ^ | 3/23/04 | Op/Ed

As if the difficulties of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan weren't bad enough, now Kosovo is back in the headlines.

On March 24 five years ago, President Clinton ordered the bombing of Serbia to get that country's government, led by Slobodan Milosevic (currently on trial at the Hague as a war criminal), to stop oppressing the Albanian majority in Kosovo, a province of Serbia then and now.

The U.S.-led NATO intervention did not end the ethnic cleansing by the Serbs, but only shifted the oppression of Serbs against Albanians to the opposite situation - despite the continued presence of 18,500 NATO troops, including about 5,000 Americans. "Ethnic Albanians torched Serb homes and churches Thursday as Kosovo convulsed in a second day of violence, its worst since" 1999, an AP story in the March 19 Register noted.

Reuters reported, "At least 22 people were killed as NATO troops scrambled to quell the outbreak. But it was the scale of the violence rather than the death toll that signaled crisis."

Things haven't quite worked out the way President Clinton expected when he told U.S. troops in a Thanksgiving 1999 visit to Kosovo, "Thanks to you, we have reversed ethnic cleansing." Well, that's history.

What's clear now is that the problem should be left to Europeans - that is, NATO without U.S. troops or European troops outside the NATO structure - in whose own back yard the problem continues to take place. Neighboring countries have the most to gain by working toward a peaceful solution.

The United States, on the other hand, is "too extended with our military around the world," Ivan Eland, senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute, told us. "We have 150,000 troops in Iraq and 11,000 in Afghanistan. We're also in Haiti. Turn Kosovo over to the Europeans. They're perfectly capable of taking care of it themselves. Bush on the [2000] campaign trail talked about getting out of there [Kosovo]."

Given that two major European powers, France and Germany, did not support the U.S. invasion of Iraq, this would be a good time to let them take care of Kosovo (aided by other NATO powers).

During the 2000 campaign, President Bush promised a more "humble" U.S. foreign policy. Kosovo would be a good place to start.

 
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Terrible

orthodox news yahoo group ^ | 3/22/04 | Zlata Bojovic

Letter from Zlata Bojovic, professor at Belgrade University:

Friends!

I just had a phone call from my colleague Mitra Reljic, one of the rare Serbs who until last night spent five years alone in self-imposed house arrest in Pristina, in daily life threatening danger, who is now in some camp in Kosovo Polje. She is in despair. A few minutes ago she received a cell phone call from Father Miroslav, the priest of St. Nicholas Church in Pristina. The church is in flames. It is surrounded by rampaging Shiptars (Albanians). Father Miroslav is alone in the basement of the church. It is still not known who, when and whether anyone will go in and save him.

Please inform everyone near and far from you what is going on. There is a pogrom against the Serbs going on in the presence of the armed forces of the "civilized" world who are vaguely pretending to be what they are not. In Svinjare 2,000 KFOR troops silently allowed the Shiptars to enter the village and set it on fire.

There is video footage filmed by a man who lost everything. Churches from the 12th and 14th centuries are in flames. I am ashamed that I cannot do anything. No one should be keeping their eyes and ears shut for the sake of their health and their good mood. Those who cannot do anything better should at least feel ashamed. For themselves and for those who have forgotten.

And to say a prayer for all those martyrs down there (in Kosovo and Metohija). Send this message to everyone you know. Disturb those who are not yet distrubed. They should thank you if you succeed in awakening their conscience. Write to the world. Don't let anyone say they didn't know. Write. Ring the bells.

----------------------------------------------

Faites suivre cette lettre dramatique re?ue du professeur Zlata Bojovic, de l'universit? de Belgrade, qui prie de la diffuser. Amis ! Je viens juste de recevoir un appel t?l?phonique d'une coll??gue Mitra Reljic, une des rares Serbes qui jusqu'? hier soir vivait depuis cinq ans seule, dans une sorte de r?sidence surveill?e ? Pristina, expos?e chaque jour ? un danger de mort et qui maintenant se trouve dans un camp de Kosovo Polje. Elle est d?sesp?r?e parce que le p??re Miroslav de l'?glise Saint Nicolas de Pristina l'a appel?e sur son t?l?phone portable et lui a annonc? que l'?glise avait ?t? br?l?e, et qu'il ?tait seul dans le sous-sol cuisine sans savoir s'il sera sauv?, par qui et quand. Les Albanais festoient dehors. Par piti? faites savoir ? tous, pr??s ou loin, ce qui se passe. L? -bas a lieu un pogrom contre les Serbes sous les yeux des forces arm?es du monde "civilis?" qui pr?tendent rester neutres. A Svinjare se trouve une force de 2000 de la KFOR qui a laiss? sans un mot les Albanais entrer et tout br?ler. Il en existe une preuve directe, une video film?e par un habitant. Les ?glises du 12? et du 14? si??cles finissent de br?ler. J'ai honte de ne rien pouvoir faire.

Personne ne doit fermer les yeux et les oreilles pour pr?server sa sant? et sa bonne humeur. Celui qui ne peut rien faire de mieux doit au moins avoir honte, pour lui et pour ceux qui ont m??me oubli? la honte. Et dites une pri??re pour tous ces martyrs l? -bas. Diffusez cette lettre ? tous ceux que vous connaissez, alertez ceux qui ne savent pas encore.

Ils devraient vous ??tre reconnaissants si vous arrivez ? r?veiller leur conscience. Ecrivez dans toutes les directions. Ne permettez ? personne de pouvoir dire ensuite qu'il n'a pas su. Ecrivez. Sonnez le tocsin. ----------------------------------------------

Inoltro questa drammatica lettera ricevuta da Zlata Bojovic, prof.ord. dell'universit? di Belgrado, pregando di diffonderla:

Amici! Ho appena ricevuto una telefonata dalla collega Mitra Reljic, una delle rare donne serbe che fino a ieri sera viveva da cinque anni sola, in una specie di arresti domiciliari a pristina, esposta a quotidiani pericoli di vita e che adesso si trova in un capo di Kosovo Polje. E' disperata perche il responsabile della chiesa san Nicola (sv. Nikola) di Pristina l'ha raggiunta sul telefonino dicendole che la chiesa stava bruciano, mentre lui si trovava nella cantina aspettando una salvezza improbabile, con gli albanesi fuori che imperversavano fuori. Inoltre, nel paese Svinjare 2000 soldati delle forze di "pace" stanziati l?, hanno fatto entrare gli albanesi che hanno incendiato e distrutto il paese. Esiste la testimonianza diretta, un filmato fatto da un abitante.

Stanno bruciando le chiese del XII e del XIV secolo. Mi vergogno perche non posso fare nulla. nessuno deve tapparsi le orrecchie e gli occhi, pensando alle altre cose: la propria salute o per non rovinarsi il buon umore. Chi non e' in grado di fare qualcosa, dovrebbe almeno vergognarsi, per se e per quelli che hanno dimenticato cosa vuol dire questa parola. Inoltrate questa lettera in modo che vengano toccati anche coloro che non sono ancora stati toccati. Dovrebbero esservi grati se riuscite a risvegliare la loro coscienza. Inoltratela a tutti e non permettete che poi dicano, di non avere saputo nulla.

----------------------------------------------

Pismo od Zlate Bojovic, redovnog profesora beogradskog Univerziteta:

Prijatelji!

Upravo mi je telefonirala koleginica Mitra Reljic jedna od retkih Srpkinja koja je do sinoc zivela pet godina sama u dobrovoljnom kucnom zatvoru u Pristini, u svakodnevnoj zivotnoj opasnosti, a sada je u nekom kampu u Kosovu Polju. Ocajna je. Pre nekoliko trenutaka javio joj se mobilnim otac Miroslav staresina crkve sv. Nikole u Pristini. Crkva gori. Okruzena je Siptarima koji divljaju. Otac Miroslav je sam u podrumu crkve. Jos se ne zna ko ce, kad ce i da li ce iko krenuti da ga spasava. Molim vas javljate svima bliskim i dalekim sta se desava. Tamo je pogrom nad Srbima u prisustvu oruzanih snaga "civilizovanog" sveta koje mlako glume da jesu ono sto nisu. U Svinjarama je 2000 vojnika KFOR/a cutke propustilo Siptare da udju u selo i zapale ga. O tome svedoci u kameru covek odatle kome je sve izgorelo. Gore crkve iz 12. i 14. veka. Stidim se sto ne mogu nista da ucinim. Ne treba niko da zatvara oci i usi , da cuva zdravlje i da ne kvari sebi raspolozenje.

Ko ne moze nista bolje da ucini treba barem da se stidi. Za sebe i za one koji su to zaboravili. I da se pomoli za sve one mucenike dole.

Posaljite ovu poruku kome god znate. Uznemirite one koji se jos nisu uznemirili. Treba da vam budu zahvalni ako uspete da probudite njihovu savest. Pisite na sve strane. Ne dozvolite nikome da kaze da nije znao.

Pisite. Zvonite.

 
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March 24 2004, 2:49 PM 

UN forbids use of church bells in Kosovo (because they irritate the muslims)

Beta ^ | S. Lazovic

Priest Velimir Stojanovic, who lives with his family in the churchyard of the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Sava in the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, told Tanjug that the Greek soldiers protecting this shrine have forbidden the use of the church bells.

"Representatives of KFOR introduced this ban with the explanation that Orthodox church bells irritate the Albanians," says Father Velimir. "The last time the bells were heard was on Easter Sunday, April 15 of this year," he explained, adding that so far he has not publicized this ban because he thought it was temporary. "The church bells did not ring on Ascension Day (Spasovdan, May 25) and I think that this is not good for either the church or the people," said Father Velimir.

Every day, five times a day, the song of the muezzins from the minarets of three mosques in the southern, Albanian part of the town can be heard. A fourth mosque is open and undisturbed in the village of Zabari, near Kosovska Mitrovica.

 
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March 24 2004, 2:54 PM 

shiptar BI'TCH STEALING from the Serbian church!!!


 
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KOSOVO - PASSY - VISIT.

Solomon Passy: International Community Will for Kosovo Should Meet the Interests of all Parties Concerned.

Sofia, March 22 (BTA) - According to Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy who is also Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman-in-Office, the will of the international community regarding Kosovo should correspond to the interests of the Serbian people, the interests of the Kosovars and the interests of the region.

Passy made this statement on Monday before leaving for Kosovo, which he will visit in his capacity of OSCE Chairman-in-Office together with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Late on Sunday the two discussed the situation in Kosovo and the itinerary of their visit there. First they are scheduled to meet with representatives of international organisations there and the political leaders of the communities in Kosovo,including the Serbian minority.

"We will try to convince the political leaders to tone down their rhetoric and call upon their followers to avoid violence and for an entirely peaceful solution to the conflict," Passy said and added the Balkans had witnessed six wars in the last 15 years. "Although fragile, we nevertheless have peace now and will do everything in our power to preserve it," the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said.

Passy said he did not see escalation of the conflict at this stage as the international community is intervening at a sufficiently early stage to tone down tension.

"The international community was determined and adamant when it had to prevent an ethnic purge in Kosovo in 1999 and it is our firm resolve to preserve peace and stability there," he added.

"Stability in the region, stability in Kosovo are to Bulgaria's interest," Passy said, "and that is why we shall represent not only the 55 OSCE member states their, but also the Bulgarian Government. The situation in Kosovo is exceptionally important for Bulgaria: Kosovo is just 60 km from the Bulgarian border and everything that happens there is of exceptional interest to us," Passy said.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chairman-in-office.


Dr. Solomon Passy

Solomon Passy, the Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE was born on 22 December 1956 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Prior to taking up a political career, Solomon Passy was an academic at the St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia and at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He holds a PhD in Mathematical Logic and Computer Science. Under the communist regime, he was closely involved in the dissident movement and in 1984 founded Bulgaria's Green Party, remaining active as its spokesman until 1994.

In 1990, Solomon Passy joined Bulgaria's Grand National Assembly as a member of the Union of Democratic Forces, the opposition movement which brought together the most important non-communist parties. He helped to frame the new Bulgarian Constitution, which was adopted on 13 July 1991.

In 1991, he founded the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, the largest non-governmental organization in the country, and was its President and CEO from 1992 to 2001. In 2001, he became a member of Parliament for the National Movement Simeon II, founded by Bulgaria's current Prime Minister and former King. In 2001, Solomon Passy chaired for a short time Bulgaria's Foreign Policy Committee for Defence and Security in the 39th National Assembly. He was appointed the Foreign Minister on 21 July 2001.

Solomon Passy is involved in a number of public initiatives, such as the Bulgarian Aero-Space Agency, the NATO Information Centre, and the Institute for Regional and International Studies, of which he is the co-founder and a Board member.

He has shown great engagement in civic and ecological issues, being an active member of several Bulgarian societies and NGOs, such as the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and the Union of Bulgarian Foundations. From 1993 to 1996, he was a member of three successive Bulgarian Antarctic Expeditions.

Solomon Passy is married and has three children.

PICTURE LINK, CLICK ON IT!


    
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March 24 2004, 3:49 PM 

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Chairman-in-Office

24 March 2004

OSCE Chairman-in-Office, visiting Belgrade, condemns killings of police in Kosovo.

BELGRADE, 24 March 2004 - The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, met senior government officials of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as of Serbia, today and reiterated his strong condemnation of the violence in Kosovo.

"Violence and intolerance do not help to resolve the situation in Kosovo. On the contrary, they complicate it," Minister Passy said.

He also condemned yesterday's killing of an UNMIK police officer and a Kosovo Police Service officer.

The Chairman-in-Office briefed the authorities of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as of Serbia, about his visit to Kosovo yesterday on behalf of the OSCE. He told them that victims of the recent acts of violence in Kosovo should be compensated and the perpetrators should be brought to justice.

"The international community is united in its efforts to prevent such violence happening again," Minister Passy added.

The Chairman-in-Office expressed his support for Serbia and Montenegro's ambition to become integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions.

"This would come about as a result of democratic reforms, which would secure political stability in the country and in the region," he said.

Minister Passy said the challenges of extremism, organized crime and terrorism required a regional and global response. Initiatives to this end will be discussed at a meeting of OSCE Heads of Mission from south-eastern Europe in Sofia on 13 and 14 April 2004.

 
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Solana, Patten "horrified" by violence | 14:06 | Beta

PRISTINA, KOSOVO POLJE -- Wednesday v The European Union-s senior foreign affairs officials said in Kosovo today that they were horrified by the violence which swept the region last week.

European Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten and EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana spoke to media as they visited burnt out health centres and schools.

"It-s sad to see schools destroyed and children evacuated, people killed and homes burnt. This is something which can-t be tolerated," said Solana.

"I-m shocked at the brutality, the destruction of schools, preventing children from being educated, the destruction of churches in which people only want to pray," he said.

"Serbs are brave and must stay here, they must try to rebuild their homes and we will help them with that," he added.

Patten told media that the people responsible for last week-s crimes had not only destroyed the future of others, but their own as well.

The two European officials are scheduled to meet Kosovo governor Harri Holkeri, KFOR commander Holger Kammerhoff and Kosovo political leaders during the day.

 
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March 25 2004, 3:26 PM 

Czech-Slovak Kosovo unit to remain at full strength.

Radio Prague

Defence Ministry officials have said the four hundred-strong Czech-Slovak K-FOR contingent in Kosovo will most likely remain at full strength for an extra two months, in the wake of the recent unrest in the province. The Defence Ministry had planned to reduce the contingent. The Czech Army has received a request from K-FOR commanders not to reduce the number of troops serving in Kosovo.

 
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March 25 2004, 3:35 PM 

Kosovo: selective silence or something else?

03/25/2004 14:13

One may call it selective silence. I call it fascism.
Once upon a time everything was quite simple and self-explanatory. The public knew who bad guys were. Once upon a time human rights activists knew very well what they should protest against. Just five years ago there was a hot topic for all western media: humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. We were reading, watching and listening to horrific never-ending stories of gang rapes and mass murders perpetrated by Serbs. By that time the international community was already prepared to this sort of information. Anti-Serb campaign started soon after the beginning of the war in Croatia. It was far too easy: Serbs are bad, all others are good (or not as bad as Serbs, depending upon circumstances). Just keep it simple and the whole world knows what is going on.

Kosovo is not a big deal anymore. Having looked through Yahoo! headlines a couple of days ago I discovered that stories from Kosovo were far behind the Iraqi war on terrorism, US presidential elections and the issue of gay and lesbian marriages. CNN just briefly mentioned Kosovo uproars in its world news report. Well, I guess I should not have been surprised. Sure, gays and lesbians have the right to get marriage and the right to be heard, US presidential candidates have the right to explain their views to the US and international public.

Serbs do not have right to live and practice their religion on their own land.

Who cares about Serbs after all? Serbs are evil. It is a postulate.

Since the end of the World War Two there were no particularly serious military conflicts in Europe. This peaceful state of affairs ended up after the collapse of Yugoslavia. Soon after unhappy events had happened the whole world had a chance to see the new evil. In the whole chain of occasions the people quickly forgot the simple principle: there are no good and bad nations, there are good and bad individuals.

The wars in Croatia, Bosnia, an armed conflict in Kosovo and NATO bombings provided hundreds if not thousands of jobs for various kinds of writers, reporters and political analysts who played a major role in forming international opinion in respect of the former Yugoslav republics. One of the most prolific and successful Balkan writers was Tim Judah. His books "The Serbs. History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia" and "Kosovo: War and Revenge" instantly became authoritative sources of information on recent Balkan wars. Trying to explain the nature of Serbs and Serbia"s "sad present in the light of its past" the author comes up with an example of a famous Serbian (Montenegrin) poem "The Mountain Wreath" or "Gorski Vijenac" (Serbian) by Petar Njegos, a Montenegrin prince. The poem tells about the historic happenings of the end of the 17th century known as "the exterminations of the Turkish converts." The main outcome of the author"s reasoning was: only mentally crazy nation may glorify such deeds and consider the mass killings of one religious group an act of heroism. Tim Judah however overlooked the fact that the history of every nation is in a certain way based on wars against others, particularly on wars against those considered oppressors. The whole Jean d"Arc legend is based upon the war against the British. I would not go so far as to call the French an insane nation though. Tim Judah was just one of the many proponents of Anti-Serb hysteria and by all means not the worst one. He was just one of the myriad of contributors to "insane nation" myth.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Sheffer called burning down Serbian churches and expelling Serbs from their homes where the lived for centuries "a very bad thing". His further message to Serbs was to be self-restrained and avoid any violence.

Jaap de Hoop Sheffer could have used stronger terms to describe the current situation in Kosovo but why should he?
Who cares about Serbs? Serbs are mentally sick. Just read Tim Judah"s books.

Walking along a Danube embankment in the city of Novi Sad with a Hungarian friend of mine we were talking about some insignificant stuff that pals normally discuss at 11 p.m. "Serbia seems nice and the people are so extraordinary friendly"- she said to me, suddenly. "I did not expect this. I watched some footages from Serbia before, our TV always showed Albanian women who were raped by Serbs, they looked terrified," she added a few seconds later.

For the period between the 17th and the 19th March more than 20 Orthodox churches and monasteries were set on fire. Some of them were built in the 14th century and protected by UNESCO. More than 3 000 (three thousand) Serbs had to leave their homes.

Harri Holkeri, Kosovo"s UN administrator, said attacks "came so suddenly the security forces were not in the right place at the right time". United Nations condemned violence in Kosovo. What else could they do? Condemnation is already too much.
Who cares about Serbs? Serbs are rapists. Just watch TV to understand this.

During last ten years the whole world has been learning by heart only one phrase: "Serbs are bad". It turns out they finally succeeded. No one seems to be disgusted by the fact that for the past several days thousands of Serbs were expelled from their homeland and many Orthodox churches were destroyed. An average American is more concerned about same-sex marriage than about burning Orthodox churches. An average British is more interested in Kylie Minogue-Oliver Martinez relationship than in thousands of Serbian refugees.

Nobody talks about ethnic cleansing or genocide this time, ethnic cleansing simply does not apply to Serbs; they are the ones who ethnically clean others but not the ones who get ethnically cleaned. Nowadays there are just ethnic clashes between "the majority Muslim Albanians and the Orthodox Christian Serbs" as Reuters say.

I just wonder how one should call well-planned and systematic attacks against ethnic and religious minority as well as persistent destruction of religious objects?

It is pretty simple though.

This is just fascism, mere fascism, no more, no less. If you say the others are inferior just because they belong to a particular nation it is fascism. No doubt about that. If no one is going to do anything about current Kosovo crisis it means they deny Serbs the very basic human rights: the right to human dignity and the right to life just because they are Serbs.

I do understand that very few actually expected this. People in the United States and the EU get used to receiving information about barbaric acts committed by Serbs and do not want to learn about crimes committed against Serbs. As I have said it was all too simple before and it is a bit more complicated now. Perhaps the rest of the world does not believe Serbs can suffer as much as other nations. It may also be they think Serbs deserve current sufferings and that the situation in Kosovo is getting better in any case. I remember very well a talk with a young intellectual from Czech republic right after the NATO military campaign against Yugoslavia. He was arguing that NATO military intervention was inevitable. He admitted some "collateral damage" had been caused to the country but said that it had been necessary to prevent further harm and stop humanitarian catastrophe.

Or they do not have an opportunity to learn more about the genocide that is going on in Kosovo now.

Looks like just very few of us are appalled at the images of Serbs leaving their homes and blazing Serbian churches. The rest of the world does not want to see these images or does not want to believe them. They are ignoring the truth.

One may call it selective silence. I call it fascism.

-----

Igor Motsnyi

Lawyer, (LL.M in European Community Law, Leiden University, the Netherlands)

Especially for "PRAVDA.Ru".

 
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March 25 2004, 3:43 PM 

SERBIA-BULGARIA-PASSY.

OSCE Chairman-in-Office Passy Meets President Marovic in Belgrade.

Belgrade, March 24 (BTA correspondent Nikolai Koev) - Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, who is also Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), met Wednesday in Belgrade with Svetozar Marovic, President of Serbia and Montenegro.

The sides discussed OSCE's role in the process of regulating the situation in Kosovo and the observation of human rights in the region.

Passy underscored the need for rational approaches to peace in Kosovo, and warned that the idea of ethnic cleansing in Southeastern Europe is inadmissible.

For his part, Marovic said that OSCE is an important factor in human rights observation, which is why Serbia and Montenegro count strongly on it. An efficient form of protection of the status of Kosovo should be found, he stressed. "The battle for Kosovo is not a one-day battle, it is a battle for the future of the entire region," the President stressed.

Meeting with Nebojsa Covic, Chairman of the Coordination Council for Kosovo and Metohija, Passy reiterated his stand for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo problem. He also said he supports a realistic increase of KFOR's numeric strength in the province. "We are concerned over the events in Kosovo not only as an OSCE Chairman-in-Office but as a country neighbouring Serbia and Montenegro," he said.

The Bulgarian Foreign Minister stressed that those who think they can achieve independence for Kosovo through violence, are wrong.

With the latest events in Kosovo the situation there is back to what it was five years ago, Covic commented. It is not realistic to speak of multiethnic and democratic Kosovo in the current circumstances, he pointed out.

Serbia and Montenegro should join the Partnership for Peace programme as soon as possible so as to avoid a situation where it will be a "non-NATO island surrounded by NATO", Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic told Passy.

Passy voiced readiness to assist the legislative reforms in Serbia and Montenegro.

Draskovic said he hopes the international community will speedily, before August, release funding for the restoration of the burnt down and destroyed churches in Kosovo.

In his opinion, five Serbian cantons should be set up in Kosovo and the international community should provide the money to build roads between these cantons. He also said that all refugees should be ensured a safe return to the province.

Passy discussed Kosovo with Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic, as well. Belgrade expects that, with Bulgaria's help, the international organizations will receive objective information about the situation in the province.

Serbian Deputy Defence Minister Vukasin Maras thanked Passy for the support which Bulgaria renders to Serbia and Montenegro in the process of accession to the Partnership for Peace programme. He also voiced satisfaction with bilateral cooperation, including in military intelligence.

Maras reassured Pasys that the Serbian authorities will not resort to military force in Kosovo.

Later in the day, Passy met with Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.

"The Balkans clearly need a European perspective and a new type of motivation. Only a concerted effort on the part of the UN, KFOR, NATO, the EU, the Council of Europe and the OSCE could yield results," Passy told BTA, emerging from the meeting.

Kosovo, the future of the region and the overall situation in the Balkans, topped the talks between Passy and Kostunica.

Earlier on Wednesday in Sofia it emerged that Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha had asked Passy to deliver to Kostunica his greetings on the occasion of the latter's 60th anniversary.

"In Bulgaria we assess highly your talents of a modern politician, proven democrat and a fighter for cooperation between our countries and peoples," reads Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's letter.

Passy also met with Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rumpel, with whom he discussed Kosovo and the role of the international institutions in finding peaceful solution to the conflict.

Slovenia takes over from Bulgaria next year the OSCE's Chairmanship-in-Office.

 
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March 25 2004, 4:04 PM 

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Chairman-in-Office
24 March 2004


OSCE Chairman-in-Office, visiting Belgrade, condemns killings of police in Kosovo.

BELGRADE, 24 March 2004 - The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, met senior government officials of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as of Serbia, today and reiterated his strong condemnation of the violence in Kosovo.

"Violence and intolerance do not help to resolve the situation in Kosovo. On the contrary, they complicate it," Minister Passy said.

He also condemned yesterday's killing of an UNMIK police officer and a Kosovo Police Service officer.

The Chairman-in-Office briefed the authorities of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as of Serbia, about his visit to Kosovo yesterday on behalf of the OSCE. He told them that victims of the recent acts of violence in Kosovo should be compensated and the perpetrators should be brought to justice.

"The international community is united in its efforts to prevent such violence happening again," Minister Passy added.

The Chairman-in-Office expressed his support for Serbia and Montenegro's ambition to become integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions.

"This would come about as a result of democratic reforms, which would secure political stability in the country and in the region," he said.

Minister Passy said the challenges of extremism, organized crime and terrorism required a regional and global response. Initiatives to this end will be discussed at a meeting of OSCE Heads of Mission from south-eastern Europe in Sofia on 13 and 14 April 2004.


OSCE Chairman Solomon Passy (left) with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica in Belgrade on 24 March 2004. (Photo OSCE)


OSCE Chairman-in-Office Solomon Passy (left) met Serbia and Montenegro's Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic in Belgrade on 24 March 2004. (Photo OSCE)


    
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March 25 2004, 4:07 PM 

Czechs hold line in Kosovo - KFOR soldiers defend Serb enclaves against attacks by Albanians.

By Eva Munk
For The Prague Post
(March 25, 2004)

Captain Jindrich Plescher had never seen anything like it.

"We were defending a Serb Orthodox church in the town of Podujevo against a mob of 500 Albanians, but there were too many for us," he recalled. "When they broke through the wall [around the church], we got orders to retreat.

"They smashed everything inside, including our communications center, made a big pile in front and set it on fire. Then they turned their attention to the adjacent Serb cemetery. They knocked over tombstones, dug up the coffins and scattered the bones in them."

For the first time March 21, the professionally optimistic voice of Plescher, press spokesman for the Czech-Slovak KFOR battalion in Kosovo, sounded tired.

"Sorry, we've been on our feet since last week," he said. "Our boys have been rounding up Serb families, pulling them out of cellars and out of burning houses -- saving their lives."

Czech and Slovak soldiers have been supporting KFOR's Brigade center -- a multinational unit consisting of Finnish, Swedish and Irish troops, located around the administrative center of Pristina -- since mobs of ethnic Albanians went on a rampage against Kosovo's Serb minority March 17.

"The Serbs are very happy to see Czech and Slovak troops. They see us as keepers of the peace," Plescher said.

For most of the week, they helped defend Serb enclaves in the towns of Lipljan, Plemetina, Babin Most, Caglavica and Gracanica. By March 21 they had consolidated around the village of Obili?, a Serb enclave northwest of Pristina, and were evacuating the remaining Serb inhabitants to military headquarters in the city. The Serb homes in the village were ransacked and burned, said unit commander Josef Kopecky.


Albanian rage

In times of peace, the 500-strong Fourth Czech-Slovak KFOR battalion keeps the peace in an area of 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) in the northeast corner of the province, including 104 kilometers (65 miles) of borderland and a long stretch of the Belgrade-Pristina highway. The area was expanded by 179 square kilometers March 22 to include more ethnically mixed villages.

Now their mission is simply to protect Serbs from enraged mobs of ethnic Albanians.

"The residents have gone to war with each other using whatever they can -- iron bars, rifles, handguns and even grenades," Kopecky said March 19. "In Serbian enclaves, Kosovo Albanians are destroying property, burning houses, chasing people away and even lynching them. The Serbs are trying to defend themselves and we are trying to keep them apart."

No Czech or Slovak soldiers have been hurt, except for one Slovak who was hit on the head with a rock, Plescher said. "He was up on his feet again the next day. Please, please tell everyone back home that all our boys are alive and well."

The Czech government had planned to withdraw 100 troops from Kosovo by May 1. But the performance of the Czech soldiers in quelling the riots has made the government change its mind about downsizing the force in the province, Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla told reporters.

The rampage broke out March 17 after two Albanian boys were drowned in the Ibar river, reportedly chased there by Serbs. That event triggered the worst violence the province has seen since 1999. Mobs of ethnic Albanians attacked Serb enclaves and KFOR units, leaving 24 dead and about 850 more wounded, 22 of them seriously.

Mobs razed hundreds of Serb houses and 17 Orthodox churches and monasteries.

Ironically, the riots started days after UN Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno praised evident progress in Kosovo and urged displaced persons to return to their homes.

That hardly seems likely now.

Instead, NATO plans to augment its 17,000-strong presence in the province with 2,000 more troops. UN officials and the commander of NATO forces in Southern Europe, Admiral Gregory Johnson, are now saying the riots appear to have been well-planned and organized.

In Serbia, the violence triggered anti-Albanian protests, and several mosques were burned.

Serbian Foreign Minister Goran Silvanovic said the riots prove that KFOR and UN forces have no real authority in the province and are incapable of protecting Kosovo's minorities.


Independence demand

For their part, Kosovar leaders say the only way to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict is to give the province independence. But European leaders agree that such a move could again destabilize the Balkans -- not to mention what such a move would mean for Kosovo's Serb and Romany minorities.

"Of course they would kill us or drive us out," said Romany journalist Jackie Buzoli.

So far, according to Romany activist and Kosovo correspondent Paul Polansky, the Albanians' rage has bypassed the Roma, who are merely being urged not to help the Serbs.

 
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March 25 2004, 4:14 PM 

Slovenia Ready to Play Role in Kosovo Stabilisation, Rop Tells Solana.

Speaking to EU's foreing policy chief, Prime Minister Anton Rop stressed that Slovenia was ready to play a role bringing stability to Kosovo and the southeastern European region as a whole.

25.03.2004 13:05

 
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March 25 2004, 4:18 PM 

Berlin in favour of independent Kosovo: Svilanovic | 17:08 | B92

BELGRADE -- Thursday The foreign minister of Serbia-Montenegro has accused Germany of blocking every attempt within the UN Security Council to clearly define last weeks wave of violence against Kosovo Serbs.

Speaking on Radio B92 this morning, Goran Svilanovic claimed Berlin was in favour of granting the UN-governed province independence from Serbia.

Certain European countries blocked the arguments made in the UN Security Council, namely Germany, he told B92. The participation of Germany in the Kosovo crisis is a big issue, and its obvious that at the moment our and their interests are not the same.

The dialogue must continue, but stances must be clearer than they have been. I believe Germany is not speaking only for itself. In talks Ive had in recent years they noticeably speak in favour of the independence of Kosovo. Thats my assessment of their policy, although they wont agree and they wont see anything dramatic in what Ive said.

The foreign minister said he expected Germany to change its policy with regards Kosovo, adding that recent talks with Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer suggested this might happen.

 
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March 25 2004, 4:22 PM 

We Will Arrest Kosovo Ringleaders, Says Solana.

Wed Mar 24, 2004 01:53 PM ET
By Shaban Buza

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana told Kosovo Albanians Wednesday that Western intelligence had a clear picture of who led last week's orgy of arson, rioting and expulsion of Serbs.

"When we start arresting those responsible, do not jump up clamoring for their release," he was quoted as saying by sources close to his talks with Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi, President Ibrahim Rugova and other Albanian leaders.

NATO allies have blamed Albanian extremists for organising the violence, but Solana's comments appeared to indicate that they have specific information about the ring-leaders. Kosovo was calm over the weekend, but late Tuesday gunmen outside the capital, Pristina, raked a U.N. patrol car with bullets, killing a Ghanaian officer and his Albanian partner.

They were the first peace officers killed since Kosovo erupted last week in its worst spasm of ethnic violence in nearly five years of U.N. rule. Before they died, they fired back. Police later found a man dead of gunshot wounds.

U.N. police commissioner Stefan Feller suggested the ambush might be tied to "criminal activities" and said in a statement he "did not wish to" link it to last week's mass violence.

Some 51,000 people took part in 33 riots over two days, resulting in 28 deaths, hundreds of injured and the expulsion of 3,600 Serbs whose homes and churches were burned.

HEAVY IRONY

It was Solana, as head of NATO, who ordered the alliance's 78-day bombing war to stop Serb "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovo Albanians, which began on March 24 in 1999.

Albanians marked the anniversary, but the irony was heavy. Last week, NATO had to rush 2,000 extra troops to Kosovo to stop what one commander said amounted to ethnic cleansing in reverse.

"Now we have two big debts to NATO," wrote respected Kosovo Albanian publisher Veton Surroi. It had saved Albanians from genocide once and now rescued them from self-destruction.

The road ambush fueled speculation that Albanian extremists were turning on the international community and were ready to avenge Albanians killed by NATO peacekeepers in last week's clashes which left 28 dead from both ethnic communities.

Serbs say U.N. Kosovo governor Harri Holkeri should be fired. Veteran U.S. Balkans troubleshooter Richard Holbrooke said Holkeri "did not understand the situation" and "did not take action ... he did not realize that time was not on his side."

In a swipe at the 67-year-old former prime minister of Finland, Serbia's point man for Kosovo, Nebojsa Covic, said: "These are not jobs for pensioners, these are difficult multi-ethnic conflicts that have to be resolved."

Solana said Holkeri had the EU's full support.

The Belgrade daily Nedeljni Telegraf, close to Serbian security and intelligence services, said former guerrillas now in the Albanian Movement for Independent Kosovo drew up an expulsion plan three months ago called Spring River.

It claimed the U.N. mission's intelligence chief had put this plan on Holkeri's desk in January and alleged it included re-arming guerrillas and seizing NATO armor and heavy weapons.

 
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March 25 2004, 4:26 PM 

Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 15:40 GMT

Kosovo Serbs jeer EU chief Solana.

BBC


Mr Solana was barred from entering a refugee apartment.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana has been met by an angry crowd of Serbs in Kosovo, a week after violent riots killed 28 people.

A group of Serbs, driven from their homes by the attacks, screamed at Mr Solana when he visited Kosovo Polje, saying he had failed to protect them.

Mr Solana urged them to be brave and to stay in Kosovo despite difficulties.

His visit coincided with the fifth anniversary of Nato air strikes which forced Serbia's army to leave Kosovo.

He was Nato's secretary general during the two-and-a-half month campaign.

Following the air strikes, Kosovo - nominally still a part Serbia - was placed under UN administration, reviving the majority Albanian community's hopes for eventual independence.

More than 1,000 Albanians gathered in provincial capital Pristina on Wednesday to mark the anniversary and thank Nato troops for stopping the attacks by Serb forces which left thousands dead.

They gave flowers to Nato peacekeepers and international police officers and held banners calling for an end to the recent attacks.

'Western politics'

Hundreds of people from both communities were injured in last week's riots.

As the violence spread across the province, more than 3,000 Serbs fled their homes and churches, which were attacked by ethnic Albanian mobs.

Mr Solana visited the town of Kosovo Polje, north of Pristina, to see the damage.

"I am appalled by the brutality of the actions," he told residents. "It is very, very sad to see."

He added that the international community "cannot tolerate and will not tolerate" such actions.

But a Serb man, pointing to burned houses in the distance, shouted: "This is your Western politics."

"See what they've done - it happened under your protection," yelled a weeping woman, according to the AP news agency.

The crowd turned back Mr Solana, EU External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten and the head of the United Nations administration in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, when they tried to enter a block of flats to speak with displaced Serbs.

Meanwhile, two planes carrying humanitarian aid from Russia to Serbs fleeing ethnic violence in Kosovo have landed in Serbia.

Russia's Emergencies Minister Sergey Shoigu told a news conference in capital Belgrade that Kfor and UN police "have failed to fulfil their pledge to maintain peace and security in the province in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244".

Shooting.

The Russian foreign ministry had previously described last week's ethnic violence in Kosovo as a medieval barbarity, saying it amounted to ethnic cleansing against Serbs.

UN police say more than 200 suspects have been arrested on suspicion of instigating riots since last week.

But as their operations continued, an international policeman and a local officer were shot dead near the village of Luzane, north of the capital, Pristina.

UN police spokesman Derek Chappell said the victims were travelling in a clearly marked UN patrol car when they came under heavy fire on Tuesday night.

The only other attack of this kind in five years of Kfor peacekeeping operations took place in August last year.

 
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March 25 2004, 4:32 PM 

Thursday, Mar. 25, 2004. Page 9

Pogroms Evoke Indifference.

MoscowTimes.Ru
By Boris Kagarlitsky

Pogroms have once more rocked the Balkans. This time, rioting Kosovar Albanians destroyed Serbian homes and burned Orthodox churches. The enlightened West looked on with a mixture of bewilderment and indifference. People have become so accustomed to humanitarian catastrophes in the Balkans over the past decade that they now regard them as par for the course.

This latest crisis in Kosovo is not unfolding in the midst of a civil war, however, nor as the result of the nationalist policies of Slobodan Milosevic or some other local dictator. The pogrom occurred in a province that has been run by the UN and controlled by NATO troops since 1999. It occurred after the creation of transitional structures in accordance with Western guidelines, after elections were held for a new parliament, after countless conferences devoted to rebuilding the region, and so on. It is now obvious that none of this has worked. Western intervention has not solved the problem, it has merely modified it.

Despite this, the West remains unwilling to accept any blame for turning the Balkans into a permanent disaster zone. Throughout the 1990s it was common practice to blame everything on the Serbs. Not on the Milosevic regime, mind you, but the Serbian people. The portrayal of Serbs as rapists and aggressors became as much of a clich in Western liberal propaganda as the suffering Orthodox Slavic brother had been in Russian nationalist mythology. Serbs were the stock villains in Hollywood action movies and television shows until 2001, when they were quickly displaced by Muslim terrorists.

As soon as events in Iraq began to heat up, the Balkans receded into the background -- but the tragedy there continued as before.

It is indicative that even Russian public opinion has not been roused to any great extent by the latest news from Kosovo. Five years ago, Russians worried themselves sick over the fate of their Serbian brothers. When the United States began bombing Belgrade, protesters hurled rocks at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and many Russians dreamed of enlisting in the Serbian army. Moscow officially reacted with strongly worded statements that were all the more remarkable for their departure from the pro-Western liberal rhetoric that then prevailed in the Kremlin.

Nothing comparable has occurred this time around. The government has limited its response to a series of restrained, toothless and utterly incomprehensible statements. Even opposition politicians don't seem terribly upset. Consumed in their own squabbles, most seem not to have noticed that the latest crisis has happened at all. Even the most die-hard nationalists no longer have time to stick up for their Slavic brethren.

In the 1990s, Russians put the Serbian theme to good use in domestic politics. The myth of a small heroic people was contrasted to the glaring impotence of official Russia and its complaisance toward the West. Slobodan Milosevic was cast as the positive hero, the defender of the rights of all Slavs and the antithesis of the "Westernizer" and "traitor" Boris Yeltsin. The Russian elite, divided into "Westernizers" and "patriots," was in the grip of an identity crisis, and the Serbs were seen as a means of helping to resolve it.

Vladimir Putin's first term solved the crisis by very different means: Russia's elite has consolidated around the Kremlin. Although the government and the armed forces are no more effective after four years of Putin's stewardship, Kremlin propagandists discovered new ways to reconcile the public with the status quo: Putin's mesmerism, combined with the pain-relieving effect of high oil prices, created a sense of rejuvenation. The Serbs had become unnecessary.

In Western Europe, a significant portion of the liberal and even left-wing politicians who applauded the bombing of Belgrade and the occupation of Kosovo five years ago now find themselves in the antiwar camp. President George W. Bush's policy in Iraq has alienated many Europeans who until recently had supported the idea of humanitarian intervention. But even now, few of these newly minted pacifists are willing to admit that their stance in the late '90s was tragically and criminally wrong.

It wouldn't take much. The point is not that the West backed the wrong side in the conflict. Serbian nationalists are no more decent and honorable than the Albanians who incite riots and murder. In feuds like this there are no good guys, just the bad and the very bad. And determining who is who with any certainty is impossible.

Boris Kagarlitsky is director of the Institute of Globalization Studies.

 
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March 26 2004, 12:14 PM 

Russian humanitarian aid for Kosovo arriving in Serbia

Interfax. Friday, Mar. 26, 2004, 1:34 PM Moscow Time

BELGRADE/MOSCOW. March 26 (Interfax) - Two Russian Emergencies Ministry Il-76 cargo planes carrying humanitarian cargo for Serb refugees and displaced persons in Kosovo arrived at Belgrade's airport on Friday.

One of the planes had delivered power generators, a water purification system, lamps and other equipment for a tent camp in Kosovo, and the other brought 35 tonnes of hygiene products, detergents, office goods and sporting goods sent by the United Russia party, Sergei Kudinov, head of the ministry's team operating in Serbia, told Interfax.

One plan landed at 11 a.m. Moscow time and the other at 11:36 p.m., he said.

A convoy of six heavy MAZ trucks loaded with beds, mattresses and blankets left Noginsk in the Moscow region for Belgrade at 9:45 Moscow time. It will travel through Bryansk, Kyiv, Zhitomir, Lviv, Uzhgorod and then across Hungary. The convoy is expected to arrive in Serbia on Monday or Tuesday, an Emergency Ministry official told Interfax.

The first convoy, carrying 40 tonnes of Russian humanitarian cargo delivered Wednesday to Belgrade on two planes operated by the Ministry, arrived in the town of Mitrovica in Kosovo on Friday.

The Ministry plans to send two more planeloads of humanitarian cargo from Moscow to Belgrade on Monday.

 
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March 26 2004, 12:37 PM 

Serbia poised to demand autonomy for Kosovo Serbs | 19:32 | B92

BELGRADE -- Thursday The Serbian parliament is expected to adopt a declaration tomorrow calling for territorial and political autonomy for Serbs in Kosovo as the only way to guarantee their security.

The draft declaration calls on the Serbian government to recommend a political solution to the current situation in the UN-governed province that will not prejudge its future status. The proposed solution must stress that Kosovo remains an inviolable part of Serbia and the state union of Serbia-Montenegro, says the draft.

 
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March 26 2004, 12:38 PM 

Impartiality and responsibility

Veran Matic, Editor-in-Chief of RTV B92s

25.12.2003. RTV B92 has been accused of unbalanced reporting during the campaign for Serbias parliamentary elections. Those accusations include favouring democratically-oriented parties and ignoring parties which were in government during the Milosevic regime, as well as those which advocate isolationist ideas and the symbols of intolerance and hate speech. Because of these allegations we feel obliged to publicly explain B92s editorial policy, particularly as it relates to election campaigns.

Is this editorial policy a violation of the professional standards and impartiality of journalism?

A full and precise answer to this question can only be given in the context of Serbias social and political situation at this point of time. Serbia is in a deep and unpredictable social, political and economic crisis. The country is facing the challenge of growing nationalism and extremist populism wrapped in the crudest social demagogy. The new hate speech is self-generating, feeding on tabloid journalism in a tabloid-driven political arena. The election campaign now being waged is creating the clear impression that anyone close to the political victors, and anyone who can take great credit for defeating the opponents can count on future grace and favours.

The statement by Radical leader Tomislav Nikolic a week before the elections that he is not sorry that journalist Slavko Curuvija was murdered is probably the most cynical slap in the face possible for the whole democratic public of Serbia. It is certainly also a slap in the face for professional and unbiased journalism in Serbia.

Serbian media have long failed to discriminate between good and evil. Many publishers and broadcasters still feel the need to be of service to someone or, even worse, to guess at what will be acceptable to someone in power or soon to be in power.

During the Cold War, Serbia stood at the halfway point between the East and the West, and we took the same unbiased approach to authoritarian Real-Socialism as we did to democratic societies. During the era of the non-aligned countries, African dictators were presented as decent statesman on the same footing as the prime ministers of the worlds most democratic countries.

Even now, to put it cynically, there is a failure to discriminate between vice and virtue. Some media treat those who praise or ignore crimes as normal and decent participants in political life in the same way they treat those who cry foul and warn that the era of crime could return. We are even-handed towards the hangman and his victim: when it comes to the Hague Tribunal we are obsessed with the welfare of the prisoners while forgetting about their victims. Worse still, it is now regarded as indecent to remind those from the former regime about the crime and suffering; were not allowed to come out and say that we are virtually trampling on mass graves because that would be offensive to them and spoil their chances in elections.

Serious media must take responsibility for their actions. This responsibility is not only connected to the direct impact of their work, but also the long-term ramifications. Anyone who fails to confront the ideologies of revenge, death and hatred which resulted in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of people and the impoverishment and suffering of millions just a few years ago, giving the thin excuse that ethical positions have nothing to do with the job, is not aware of the essence of the profession of journalism.

These are not only grave ethical lapses: they also support the suicidal braggadocio and demagogy which could lead Serbia once more into ruin. The comparison with Germany in the time of the Weimar Republic is obvious. Germany, too, failed to face defeat and the crimes committed by German soldiers after World War One. The German Kaiser Wilhelm should have stood trial, but instead fled to a foreign country. He could not be returned because incredible as it may seem the crimes of which he was accused were only political. Germany then promised to try a group of officers accused of war crimes. At the Leipzig trial the majority of those accused were cleared, while several were given light sentences and mysteriously escaped from prison. The military commanders who lost the war put the blame on democratic politicians and killed them off in a series of assassinations. The generals themselves became the leaders of nationalist parties, while Marshal Hindenburg rose to become president of the republic. Petty machinations among the non-nationalist parties put Hindenburg in a position to offer the prime ministership to Adolf Hitler, who led Germany to new suffering and ruin. Through all this, many German media turned a blind eye and presented Hitler, who had already been convicted of attempting a coup detat, as a normal, decent politician.

Not until the end of World War Two did the people of Germany learn their lesson and eliminate the Nazis from the acceptable circle of political speakers. Do the politicians and journalists of Serbia need another bloody war to come to the same democratic conclusion?

All publishers, all broadcasters have the right to apply their own values to the events they report. They all have the right to say whether they are for democracy or against it, whether they are for crime or against it, whether they stand for virtue or vice. Those who only sum up events with no attempt to explain their nature and import are behaving irresponsibly in a country where, once again, democracy is seriously imperilled.

 
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March 30 2004, 1:00 PM 

120 YEARS OF ALBANIAN FREEDOM FIGHTING

By, Cossack, Boris, Tourkophagos, and Klephtopoulo

Just as we are being familiarized with yet another tactic of the KLA - the killing of civilians and minors - an anniversary is being marked: for the last 120 years, killing and raping Slavs has been done in the name of Albania, in the name of an Islamic Albanian-dominated state. The Albanians originally did not want to acquire a "Greater Albania", their first choice was the whole Ottoman Empire, they were second in command after the Osmanli Turks in the Ottoman Empire. Albanians once hoped of spreading themselves throughout all of the Ottoman Empire in order to dominate it, or as they called it "to introduce the Albanian way of life into the world", from Moldavia to Aden, from Algeria to the Persian Gulf. In history, one Albanian stands out for having conquered and formed his own empire, Muhamed Ali, born in Aegean Macedonia (Albanian colonies went even further from there), in the 1830's he conquered a large portion of the Middle East - northern Sudan, Egypt, the Levant as well as Arabia from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf and from the deserts of Nejd to Anatolia. He even left a lineage in Egypt, the dynasty that ended with the last caliph Farouk, in 1952, was of Albanian descent and Farouk's great-grandfather was Muhamed Ali. No doubt, the Albanians wanted to rule the Middle East just like their mentors, the Turks.The situation can be compared to a slowly sinking ship (Ottoman Empire), with a dead captain (Osmanli Turks), the lieutenant-captain (Albanians) did all in his power save the ship knowing he would become the captain of the ship (Ottoman Empire), but once the sinking was imminent, then the lieutenant-captain (Albanians) decided to take with him as much of the ship he could fit into the life rafts (greater Albania). So after it became evident that the Ottoman Empire would be no more the Albanians skipped to plan B - acquire as much land as possible before the Balkan Christian allies liberate it.

The "League of Prizren"

Now let us go back in history to 1875, another Herzegovinian revolt has turned once again ugly by the cruelly oppressing Turks and their henchmen, the Bosnian moslems. The situation develops into a Balkan crisis which instigates wars in 1876 between the Christian states of Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania against the Ottoman Empire. In April of 1878, the "Albanian Central Revolutionary Committe" was formed in Constantinople by Abdyl Frasheri. "League of Prizren" was created. In this they tried to present their interests to the European powers as those of an "independent Balkan nation". Of course the western powers did not buy into this yet they still, fearing the expansion of Russian influence, provided for an expansion of Austrian interests in the Balkans as well as the maintaining of as much Ottoman territory as possible. The Berlin Congress provided for this in July 1878.

Moreover, the Serbs were weary of the Prizren League ever since its creation because it had just happened to meet in Prizren. Prizren was not only a royal capital of Serbia during the Middle Ages but at that time, the region surrounding Prizren, called Prizren plain, was populated in majority by Serbs and even the town itself had a Serbian majority. Therefore, the Serbs were the first to notice the League's expansionist aspirations.

Since its formation, the Prizren League disguised its Islamic and Ottoman tendencies by calling for Albanian solidarity regardless of religion, clan or language. In fact it gathered most if not all of Ghegs (who live in northern Albania and Old Serbia) including both catholics and moslems as well as Moslem Tosks (living in southern Albania), both Sunnis and Bektashis. And yet it had also gathered Moslem land owners from Raka (current Sandzak) and Bosnia and Herzegovina, these were not Albanophones, this attested to the fact that the Prizren League was indeed one for moslems and not "Albanians regardless of religion". Then, something occurred, the Catholics realized, much like the Orthodox Tosks did much sooner, that the League was nothing more than a scam to preserve an Islamic Ottoman state, they immediately sent representatives to Cetinje, the royal capital of Montenegro, to demand protection from the Montenegrin Knjaz (Prince-Duke), which they received.Yet soon, the League of Prizren plan backfired, the Albanians realizing that the Ottoman Empire would surely crumble and seeing how their plan was mostly uncovered, turned the League into an expansionist Albanian organization instead of guardian of Ottoman principles and ideals. Its goal became to conquer and bring under their control the four viyalets (Turkish provinces) which had an Albanian population (two of which had an Albanian majority and two others which had an Albanian population). When of course, they realized the irrationality of their "pet project" they reduced their claim to the western and central part of the Kosova Sanjak and the western part of the Manastir Sanjak. This "state" would include: all of present-day Albania, most of FYROM (Ohrid, Bitola, Kruevo, Kicevo, Prilep, Gostivar, Tetovo, Skoplje, Kumanovo), Epirus (in Greece), Old Serbia (Metohia, Prizren plain, Gora, Has, Sirjinic, Sredska, Skospak Crna Gora, Crnoljevo, Drenica, Rugovo, Kosovo plain, upper Ibar valley, upper Binicka Morava valley, Lab valley, Eastern Sandzak) and Western Sandzak all the way to Bosnia, a part of eastern Montenegro (Bar, Ulcinj, Tuzi, Podgorica, Spuz, Medun, Andrijevica, Plav, Gusinje, Berane, Rozaje) and the Ni sanjak (Ni, Prokuplje, Leskovac, Kurumlija).In 1879, the Albanian League's expansionism exploded, the Albanians took arms against the Turks and Slav and and all those who stood in their way even if they were Albanian Catholics - many non-Muslims were killed.Western FYROM-SKOPIA and eastern Montenegro were taken over by the Albanians since they were the main land-holders in these Ottoman terroritories. Their rule was harsh towards the ChristinanDuring that part of history, no organization, lobby or charity body worried about the suffering of Serbs, Montenegrins and other Christians so the actions of Albanians went unpunished and sometime even scarcely recorded.In 1881, the rebellion was crushed, the League dismantled and the Albanians resumed cooperation with the Turks. A few years later, in 1899, a new organization which had a much narrower support was formed - the League of Pec. The League of Pec did not at all try to disguise its "ethnic cleansing ideals". A few northern Gheg clan leaders who had as their leader Isa Boletini formed it. Isa Boletini's methods were the cruelest of all, for Boletini, it included besieging an Ottoman town just to try to prevent the establishment of a Serbian consulate in Kosovska Mitrovica in 1903.

But then thunder struck again - in 1908, the Young Turk regime took over the Ottoman Empire, the Albanians opposed the Young Turks in that the latter were "reformists" and worst of all, stated that all ethnic and religious groups living in the Ottoman Empire were to be equal. Of course this was not applied since massacres of Armenians, Assyrians, Serbs, Montenegrins and Slavic Macedonians continued. But the Albanians had enough, they would not permit anyone to take away their privileged position, they were the heirs of the Ottomans for crying out loud. So they rebelled again from 1909 until 1912, once again killing all those who dared oppose them.In 1912, the Serbian and Montenegrin armies liberated the Sandzak, Kosovo, Metohia, Vardar Macedonia and other smaller regions. This did not please the Albanians very much, they wished to include most of these territories into their "Greater Albania", so with the weapons they stole from the retreating Turks (there was always plenty of guns in Albania, always enough to go around for every trigger-happy Shqip), they organized into bands which attacked easy Serbian prey, in order to terrorize them. They operated from their strongholds in northeast Albania, much like today, when the Serbian security forces arrived they hid in their homes. That was done 77 years ago and is still being done today.

Since September of 1912, all Serbian troops were on full alert because of armed Albanian formations called kachaks who acted as a form of terrorist organization by attacking civilian Slavs and the Serbian authorities.

Between the First Balkan War (1912) and the First World War (1914), the kachaks' (name of the Albanian brigands and terrorists) attacks were directed from northern Albania. The situation got so bad that in October 1913, after a massive invasion of kachaks, Serbian troops had to invade northern Albania to put an end to attacks on Serbian civilians living in Old Serbia. Austria-Hungary, looking to use the Albanians as pawns in her anti-Serbian policy aimed at submitting the Serbs ordered the Serbian troops to retreat immediately. The latter had to do so while leaving their backs exposed to Albanian provocations which they could not afford to answer and further invasions into Serbian territory by Albanians. As we see, once again, twice in history (in 1912-8 and 1998) have Austria's foreign ministers ordered that Serbia's security forces let the Albanian terrorists be while the latter would multiply their attacks on the retreating Serbs.

In 1915, when the Serbian Army was retreating after a years' fight against Austrians and later Germans and Bulgarians who were attacking from all sides, the "Albanian freedom fighters" decided to attack the retreating civilians and the sick and wounded. Just as the Serbian Army was approaching Old Serbia, kachaks led by Isa Boletini advanced into parts of Old Serbia adjacent to the Albanian border and made life much harsher for Slavs living in those parts, robbing the civilians retreating with the Serbian Army and attacking food and medical convoys.Let us quote Duan Cvetkovi now: "Coming down, we arrived at the river Bistrica, Here a horrendous image engraved itself in my memory, which I will never forget. Next to the river, on the shore, a murdered young woman, completely naked, crouching, on her knees, while her head was pressed into the river mud, over her gurgled the small waves of the river Bistrica. Just a hundred meters away a soldier from our 9th infantry regiment (Danube division) lies dead, with his throat slit and his skin ripped off. Walking in the same way, we came upon a horrible sight: on one small plateau lies an artillery captain, a lady, a young woman and a boy - all dead, and next to them sits a live child, no more than three years old. We asked her who these people were, she said: "This is my mommy, this is my daddy, this is my bata (affective name for brother) and this is our young lady (devojka)." We asked her who killed them, she said: "Some people dressed in white (Gheg Albanian national costume), well they killed me too", showing that a bullet penetrated her chest, which was bleeding a little and had coagulated a bit. We came upon another unbelievable sight, a mother and daughter both naked, wearing only a few pieces of fur they attached to themselves. When asked who did this to them, they pointed to a house on a mountain. We offered the people in that house to surrender. They answered by opening fire upon us and one of our men was wounded. We bombed the house and we shot anyone who tried to get out."

This is very reminiscent of the tactics currently used by the "KLA", responding to calls for surrender by firearm fire. As we will see later, as decades passed the "Albanian freedom fighter" trick to barricade oneself in a home with firepower continued. As techniques for dealing with these kinds of "assiegers" progressed the "assiegers" refined their techniques especially in architecture - the old wood and brick shack with loopholes on each side changed into a bulletproof fortified house with underground tunnels and stacks of heavy artillery in basements. And although now the Albanians have fatigues instead of the traditional costume, they still use the same tactics and have not changed much. Even more striking is that more atrocities were committed near the same Bistrica River in the summer of 1998, which were uncovered in September of that year.

The Albanian terror continued from 1915 until 1918, in fact during that time, the Albanians kachaks of Hasan Prishtin were practically left to rule Old Serbia with the support of the Austrian occupiers.

From 1918 until 1941 the organization that organized and directed terrorist actions in Yugoslavia was called the "Kosovo Comitee". This organization received financial support from a great foe of the Serbian people that aimed at the disintegration of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats & Slovenes and the division of Serbian territories amongst its neighbors - the Comintern. Its base of operation was northeastern Albania, the regions of Kuks, Tropoj and Bajram Curri (town named after an "Albanian freedom fighter" who fought the Turks but also terrorized Serbian civilians), which were interestingly located in a district of Albania named "Kosovo". The largest incursions of kachaks into Serbia took place in 1919-21. In 1919, the monastery of Devic was attacked by 1000 armed Albanians and several thousands of them were controlling the town of Kacanik while another ten thousand of them were preparing an attack on other towns.

In just one day, in fights with Albanian kachacks, during the summer of 1920, 550 Yugoslav soldiers and several dozen officers were killed.

After the fascist coup in Italy in 1922, the Italian Fascists also started supporting Albanian kachaks financially. In fact, the kachaks were divided into formations which were supported either by the Comintern (Bajram Curri's kachaks) or by the Fascists (Hasan-beg Prishtin and Mustafa Kroja). Although the ideologies of their "sponsors" were different, the Albanian kachak leaders all had a common goal - the establishment of Greater Albania as dictated by the League of Prizren. By 1926, the whole districts of "Kosovo" in Albania was run by the Albanian kachaks, it had a form of autonomy and even its own nominal prince, who was king Zog's son. In order to combat the kachaks, the Royal government of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes formed special divisions composed of gendarmes, soldiers and volunteers or chetniks. Some of the divisions were even commanded by Moslems from the region, the most prominent being the half-Albanian Sadrija Ametovi.

World War II

From 1941 until 1943, the Balli Kombtar or ballists were operating in Old Serbia and were terrorizing Serbs by means of massacres, torture, deportations and rapes. In 1943, after the Italian capitulation, the German Nazis took over Albania. In September of 1943, the "Second League of Prizren was formed" by Xhafer Deva and with the support of the mufti of Jerusalem El-haj Emin Huseini a jihad was proclaimed against Slavs, Communists and Orthodox. The jihad was not proclaimed on Catholics because they hoped to get support from the Catholic Albanians who they would envisage converting into Islam later, some Catholics fell for it, but not as many as had joined the ballists. The "Second League of Prizren" was even more radical than the ballists and committed even worse atrocities, in fact a volunteer SS division was formed in Old Serbia - the Skanderbeg division. The worst atrocities were comited between the time of the formation of the "Second League of Prizren" and March 1944. In December of 1944, a "rebellion", led by Shaban Palluzha, took place in the Drenica as well as a smaller upheaval in Uroevac. The ranks of the followers of Palluzha included 10,000 of the remnants of the ballists, Skanderbeg SS officers and other Islamic and Nazi formations. The commander of the Yugoslav communist forces, Tito, had to commit about 30,000 troops, who instead of fighting on the northern front against the Germans, had to quell the fascists in the south. The fascist rebellion was crushed only in 1945. The Nazi-Islamic terrorists that escaped the Partizans formed an organization called "Shaban Palluzha" which organized terrorist activities during the communist regime until 1951.

With the coming of the communists in Albania, that terror was still state-sponsored by Albania, but was in a disguised form from 1945 until 1948. From then on, not only were organizations formed for the terrorist aims of forcing secession from Serbia but also to spread the very propaganda that is starting to affect the media. Meaning, two sorts of organizations were formed - terrorist and propagandist.

During the communist regime of Yugoslavia, communist organizations backed by the Hoxha regime appear. This is for two reasons: 1- Because their only method of funding was the hard-line communist-Stalinist regime in Tirana; 2- Because they wanted to gain support from communist countries by trying to justify their terrorist actions as a battle against the Titoist revisionist communists who broke with Stalinism in 1948 and with Albanians in 1947. One notorious organization which was former in the early 1960's was the "People's Liberation of Kosovo" (LPK).

Also, rightist organizations appeared such as the "Army of National Liberation of Ethnic Albania" and the "Kosovo Movement". Another such armed group called the "Army of National Liberation of Ethnic Albania" was organized and funded by the "Council of National Liberation of Albania", who's founder was Leka Zogu, son of Ahmed Zogu also known as king Zog I of Albania. His son, from his power-base in Franco's fascist Spain, formed the organization in order to overthrow the Hoxha regime in Albania and take over the regions of Old Serbia (Autonomous Province of Kosovo-Metohia and the Sandzak), eastern Montenegro, western Macedonia (Vardar and Aegean) and southern Epirus (north-west Greece). Leka Zogu became himself the commander-in-chief of the terrorist forces but never dared set foot in the Balkans. Still, the combined forces of fascists and anti-Communists hoped very much for Leka to overthrow somehow the communist regime. To help this meager cause, they helped in the dropping of propaganda pamphlets over Albania in the late 1970's which culminated in 1978, for the 100th anniversary of the "League of Prizren". Those pamphlets just happened to contain an expansionist message, not just the fighting against the communist regime but also the "liberation of ethnic Albania" (meaning the former-mentioned territories) which was implying direct aggression against the then-Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Greece.

Since the awakening of the Albanian chauvinism propagated by the Tirana regime of Enver Hoxha in 1967, Albanian armed terrorist groups start gaining momentum in recruitment, armament and terrorist activity. During the 1980's, almost all of the Albanian groups all followed a strong Stalinist ideology. After an obviously failed attempt at a coup d'tat in the 1981 riots many of the older underground organizations merged with others. One such organization was the "People's Movement of Kosovo" (PMK - Narodno oslobodjenje Kosova - NOK), a communist organization formed in 1982 from four previously separated underground organizations: the "National Liberation Movement of Kosovo and other regions populated by Albanians in Yugoslavia" (LNCK-VSHJ - Nacionalni oslobodilacki pokret Kosova i oblasti naseljenih Albancima u Jugoslaviji), the "Marxist-Leninist organization of Kosovo" (OMLK - Organizata Marxist Leninist e Kosoves - Marksisticko-lenjinisticka organizacija Kosova), the "Communist Marxist-Leninist Party of Albanians in Yugoslavia" (Komunisticka marksisticko-lenjinisticka partija Albanaca u Jugoslaviji) and the "Red People's Front" (FKB - Crveni narodni front). The PMK gave birth to the "People's Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo" (NMLK - Levizje Nacional Clirimtare e Kosoves - LNCK) in 1989, the NMLK operated from Switzerland among the Albanian migrs with Avni Klinaku as its leader. Another organization which was an amalgamation of former underground organizations was the "Movement for the Albanian Socialist Republic in Yugoslavia" (MASRY - Pokret za albansku socijalisticku republiku u Jugoslaviji - PASRJ) which had its "head-quarters" in Zagreb. Its predecessors were organizations formed in the second half of the 1970's such as the "National Party of Labor", "Albanian Party of Labor", "Albanian Communist Party in Yugoslavia" and the "National Liberation Movement".

In the period between 1981 and 1988, 241 underground and illegal organizations were uncovered by the Yugoslav authorities along with 1600 members of the Yugoslav People's Army who either lead the various groups or contributed to them while at the same time continuing their training in Yugoslav reserves' barracks.

In the 1990's however, the terrorist organizations started adopting newer names that included the words - "liberation" and "democratic". And such was the case with the PKLM which became the "Movement for Liberation of Kosovo" (MLK). This change in ideology permitted its 2000 members to be trained in NATO military bases in Germany (Tupingen, Nrnberg, Hannover, Bonn, Frankfurt) on top of the training they received in specially designed camps in Albania and Turkey.

In FYROM-SKOPIA, in 1992 a terrorist group called the "All Albanian Army" was uncovered by the authorities and its members were arrested under the charges of attempting to lead a coup and initiating a civil war. The most active and largest organized terrorist group in the first half of the 1990's was the AFRK - "Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosova". In 1993, from the former LPK, a new organization is formed - the "Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA or UCK - Ushtria limitare e Kosovs). All in all, from 1991, terrorist activity started dropping. Many tried to explain this by "a change in Albanian politics", such as the election of "pacifist" Ibrahim Rugova. But it is rather due to a far simpler explanation: since the wars in the former Yugoslavia began in 1991, Albanians with military skills and many "Albanian freedom fighters" went to join first the ZNG (Croat Army) and later in even larger numbers the Muslim Bosnian Army. As we shall see, the emergence of the "Albanian freedom fighters" will come in 1996, after the signing of the Dayton agreement which called for a cease-fire and which obliged the Bosnian moslems to dismiss the foreign mercenaries and mujahedins from their armed forces.

After a slow gain towards desegregation and integration in 1996 through efforts of dialogue by both the Serbian government and the political representatives of the Albanians, a newer and much more radical organization took over the AFRK's role, it was the KLA. In April of 1996, three simultaneous attacks took place in three different cities of the Province of Kosovo-Metohia. The KLA said that its message is : "if the international community accepts normalization of Serbo-Albanian relations in Kosovo, many people will die"... The KLA targets not only police and security personnel, but also non-Albanian civilians and less-radical Albanians.

In February of 1998, a massive attack of the KLA against Serbian police that caused the death of 4 policemen urges a major crackdown on the Jashari clan faction of the KLA centered in Donje Prekaze. The police crackdown was costly in lives (5 dead Serbian security officers and 66 Albanian terrorists and members of their families dead), there were civilian casualties, as was explained before, the "Albanians freedom fighters" favorite tactic is to barricade oneself in a fortified home, the Jashari compound was said to contain complete fortified homes with underground tunnels and large weapons depots. Out of this luxury, the Jasharis tried to kill as many "besiegers" as possible. The crackdown caused more alarm as the KLA threatened to retaliate which it did. Heavy weapons started coming at a fater rate through supply routes from abroad or Albania itself. To add to arms, foreing "freedom fighters" started coming in, whether Albanians from Albania or abroad, mujahedins (fanatical Islamic terrorists) or mercenaries from western countries. In July of 1998, the KLA was composed of about 1000 mujahedins and mercenaries from regions such as Chechnya, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Croatia, Egypt, Malaysia and even Germany. It goes without saying that Albanians living in western Europe and Slovenia, Bosnia and Croatia also mobilize in large numbers to "come and liberate Kosova" as they so cheerfully claim. There was even a presence of a mujahedin organization of the notorious Osama bin Laden. Of the 1000 foreigners fighting alongside the KLA there were 300 Bosnian moslems of the "Black Swans", "Zivinice Wasps" and "Mosque golubi", all of which were known for having commited atrocities and even terrorist attacks against Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1991 until 1996. It is also very well known that there are also many other terrorist training camps in Turkey in which both Turkish officers and formerly employed Chechen mujahedins train the Albanians in military and fighting skills. Weapons from Turkey, Iran and the Sudan which finaly find their way into the "Albanian freedom fighters" hands.

At the end of August, mass graves were found in Klecka, where about two dozen kidnapped Serb civilians were tortured and incinerated. On September 9th, in Glodjane, another mass grave was found, near the river Bistrica! It contained the bodies of 40 civilians. Two captured terrorists, Bekim and Luan Mazrreku, admitted to having raped, tortured and killed men, women, children and the elderly under "leadership" from a fanatic moslem named Aslan Kleqka (1947-1998), who wore a Saudi dress and forced all moslems to kill Christians in order to have a Moslem state.

When threats from NATO increased, the KLA decided to step up its effects, since seeing how it lost much ground in Kosovo, it needed air support quickly. In September, 16 member of the Delije clan were killed in a most horrific way.

In December of 1998, six unarmed Serbian teenagers were murdered in cold blood while playing pool in a Serbian caf in Pec. There killing marked a beginning of the unveilling of the Albanians ruthless policy to the world eventhough the latter was reluctant to see the truth. The Albanians continued in their efforts, attacking caf after caf or even discotheque, all in view of killing young unarmed people who did not agree with their political and terrorist ideologies.

Throughout history, around 600,000 Serbs were expulsed from their homes and dozens of thousands were killed.

As we can conclude, the "Albanian freedom fighters" have not changed much over the last 120 years. without taking into account the modernization of uniforms and weaponry: the tactics, the mentality, the names, the ideals and goals all remain the same - to create the a Greater Islamic Albanian Jamahiriya which would ideally unite with a Bosnia to form a great Islamic Empire in the Balkans. You see the Turks once hoped to join the Moslems of Europe (Bosnian and Albanian) with the Turks, creating an "umbilical cord" that would unite them with "mother Turkey". But that was never completed, it was still interrupted in FYROM-SKOPIA, the Macedonians are keeping the Pomaks (Bulgar moslems) from the Albanians, and later the link between Bosnian Moslems and Albanian ones is interrupted in western Sandzak (Priboj, Prijepolje, Pljevlja). For now the Albanians and Bosnians wish to create separate Islamic states and later join them by further ethnically cleansing Serbs, Montenegrins and Slavic Macedonians....

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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March 30 2004, 1:11 PM 

New NATO member says Kosovo rethink needed.

By Martin Walker
UPI Editor
Published 3/29/2004 5:13 PM

WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -- NATO's peacekeeping mission in Kosovo is in trouble and needs a fundamental re-think, Slovakia's Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda warned the Bush administration Monday.

In Washington for the Slovakia's formal accession to NATO along with six other central and Eastern Europe countries, Dzurinda told United Press International Monday that after his recent visit he had concluded "there has been no progress in Kosvo in recent years."

Dzurinda, who has sent troops to join NATO missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, is seen in Washington as one of the most reliable and pro-American of the new NATO members. His call for a re-assessment of NATO policy in Bosnia marks the first high-level policy intervention of the new alliance members.

"We need to debate where we go from here, whether to change the policy, to try to organize Kosovo more like Bosnia-Herzegovina," Dzurinda said. "We need to be more active."

Dzurinda faced heavy domestic criticism for his support of NATO's 1999 military operations against Serbia that led to withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo, a former province of Yugoslavia and now under NATO-backed U.N. administration.

Dzurinda, who saw President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after the formal White House ceremony Monday, said that he intended to visit Serbia and Kosovo again soon. He added that Slovakia's background in the old Soviet bloc meant that his country "could play a useful role, and we want to be helpful, particularly in NATO relations with Ukraine and the west Balkans."

Kosovo was rocked this month by a two-day eruption of ethnic violence that hit all the major urban centers, leaving 28 dead, more than 600 wounded and hundreds of homes and churches in ruins. Two U.N. police officers were also ambushed and killed last week. NATO has sent reinforcements to take it deployment to 20,000 troops after ethnic Albanians rampaged through many of the remaining Serb areas in what has been condemned as a burst of ethnic cleansing in reverse, with Albanians seeking to evict the remaining Serb minority from Kosovo.

Dzurinda spoke in Washington as U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Marc Grossman held talks in Kosovo's capital, Pristina, with U.N. Gov. Harri Holkeri. On arrival in Kosovo, where he was joined by NATO's commander for southeast Europe, Gen. Gregory Johnson, Grossman said the latest wave of violence in the province was "unacceptable and could not be repeated."

But Dzurinda stood firm against the demands of Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi for full-scale independence for Kosovo, with power in the hands of the Albanian majority. At the same time, NATO has rebuffed pleas from Serbia to send Serb police and troops back to Kosovo to protect the Serb enclaves. That is seen in Kosovo as a prelude to an ethnic partition of the province.

"Belgrade (the Serb capital) is appealing for a return to war. The return of the army and police is an unrealistic demand which cannot even be considered," Rexhepi told the regional daily newspaper Dan. "The division of Kosovo is the aim of the majority in Belgrade, but that proposal is unacceptable for us."

The senior U.N. official in Kosovo, Holkeri, insists that the policy remains focused on rebuilding a multiethnic society in which Serbs and Kosovars can live peacefully side by side, with the constitutional future of Kosovo left for future decision. But Dzurinda's call for a re-think by NATO, which is expected to be reinforced later this week when Britain's Europe Minister Denis MacShane visits Washington, could force the United Nations to reconsider.

The seven new members of the NATO alliance are Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria. They join as the United States is weighing a major redeployment of its forces in Europe, cutting back as many as half the 80,000 troops in Germany, and shifting them to less permanent bases in the Balkans, closer to what the Pentagon has called "the arc of crisis" in the Caucasus and Middle East.

While Dzurinda hailed Monday the "historic" entry of his country into NATO -- and joining the European Union on May 1 -- his government faces political challenges. The opposition has called for a recall vote in a forthcoming referendum that would require new elections, just as Dzurinda's government in weathering some difficult opinion poll ratings after introducing a spate of unpopular reforms. And next month's presidential election in Slovakia could bring back to power Vladimir Meciar, the once-discredited leader who took the country out of the Czechoslovak federation and whose cavalier ways with democracy delayed Slovakia's entry into a disapproving NATO. The presidency in Slovakia, however, is not as powerful as the premiership.

"I do not think Meciar can be elected president. I believe that the Slovak people are too responsible to do so, or to recall their government through a referendum. It is an unfair system, since it would mean no government would dare introduce tough reforms in the future if they knew they could be replaced through a referendum. Our people know that our reforms are stating to pay off," Dzurinda said.

"We have introduced a 19 percent flat tax, reformed the welfare and health systems, and started making people pay their share for university education. This is unpopular with some people, but we have economic growth of 5 percent a year, and foreign investment is pouring into the country, bringing 80,000 new jobs. Our reforms are working, and I believe our people understand that, just as they understand the importance of our joining NATO and the EU."

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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March 30 2004, 1:50 PM 

Fears of new Kosovo attacks against UN and NATO | 11:45 | Sunday Telegraph

PRISTINA -- Sunday The murder of a UN policeman in Kosovo last week was committed by ethnic Albanians posing as Serbs, the Sunday Telegraph reports today.

The UN policeman, from Ghana, and a local Albanian police officer were killed in a hail of bullets near the heavily Albanian populated town of Podujevo. The paper reports that as the gunmen opened fire they were heard speaking Serbian. But according to a senior security official, when one gunman was shot by a survivor, he instinctively screamed in Albanian: Ive been hit.

The ambush, reports the Sunday Telegraph, has heightened fears that the mob violence against Serbs which recently broke out in the disputed enclave will usher in a new campaign of attacks against Nato Kosovo Force (KFOR) troops and the UN mission by Albanian extremists impatient for Kosovos independence.

KFOR troops raided a local Albanian-owned farm soon after the attack, where they found two Kalashnikovs and a corpse with gunshot wounds, believed to be that of the gunman hit in the exchange of fire.

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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March 30 2004, 2:30 PM 

The Continued Reverse Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo: Too Embarrassing for the International Community.

PressInfo # 195
March 29, 2004
By Jan Oberg, TFF director

Time to give Reality Show politics a reality check.

Back to Square One. A few days before the 5th Anniversary of the war against what was then called Yugoslavia, ethnic cleansing again reared its ugly head in the Balkans. Carl Bildt, most knowledgeable and clear-sighted former diplomat in the region, said that we saw five years of international policy go up in flames. Bildt is right in substance but his time perspective is too short; it is 15 years of Western conflict (mis)management policies that has gone up in flames.

And indeed, some have reasons to try to play down this catastrophe and its consequences: the international so-called community and its allies, the Albanian leadership in Kosovo.

When Milosevic and extremists on the Serb side committed crimes there in the 1990s, they were pointed out as the perpetrators, often before anyone had checked the events and circumstances. Whenever extremists on the Albanian side have committed crimes since 1999, it goes virtually unnoticed and unpunished and is described as "inter-ethnic" or "ethnically-motivated" violence that must - for the sake of appearances - be condemned. The UN's chief of mission, Harri Holkeri, called it mob violence and criminal activity in an misguided attempt to de-politicise the events. Then follows the mantras and the "shoulds" - the local parties should work for a multi-ethnic Kosovo, work closely with KFOR and UNMIK, respect Resolution 1244, work to realise (European) Standards before Status and should see to it that such bad things don't happen again.

This is the remarkably inept and evasive political response of the UN Security Council President of March 18, the EU's European Council of March 26, the US and of the governments in Europe. There are reasons to believe that the situation is much worse and ominous than we are told, both inside Kosovo and for the international community that has taken responsibility for the province.

In fairness, NATO commander Admiral Gregory Johnson called the spade a spade. He stated that the bloody clashes was "ethnic cleansing," that it was "orchestrated" and added, most appropriately, that he knew that "Kosovars are better than this."

From honeymoon to divorce.

It seems that the international community is now facing a situation quite similar to the one Milosevic was facing: being seen by hardline Kosovo-Albanians (i.e. not by everyone) as an occupier that must be forced out to permit the emergence of the independent state of Kosova. The international community has no better solution when violence flares up but to send more troops, as did Milosevic.

My conversations with Albanians and internationals in Kosovo late last year made it abundantly clear that the honeymoon between the two ended long ago. What is in the air is divorce. The international community believes the divorce will come peacefully when it drags its feet for several more years and talks master-like about Standards before Status followed by negotiations that may (or may not) lead to independence.

Albanian hard-liners have a different agenda: make life politically impossible, get rid of the remaining non-Albanian citizens and, if that is not enough, make life physically impossible for the UN, NATO-KFOR and OSCE. When the last Serbs, Roma, Askhalis, Bosniaks, Jews, etc. have left, there is no need for an international presence or protection anyhow.

And who could be surprised? Kosova, the independent state, is much more important to them than the distant promise of European and transatlantic integration. Old-timers among the internationals in Kosovo understand this, newcomers there and most European politicians don't. They will, I guess, the day the US declares that it believes the Albanians should be rewarded for living up to Western standards and declared independent - irrespective, of course, of reality on the ground. And thereafter, Kosovo will be a multi-decade problem and economic burden on the EU. That's not a bad exit strategy for Washington; it will maintain that it did the job in 1999 and have more important things to attend to - which indeed it has.

But the US will remain at one spot in Kosovo: the Bondsteel Base outside Pristina and Camp Monteith nearby. They are the largest and most expensive bases built since the Vietnam War and, funnily, the free press has said next to nothing about their existence since they did not match so well the noble motives stated by President Clinton. They cost around $ 180 million to operate per year and employ 7.000 Albanians. In February 2003, the US started also to build two new bases in the Bulgarian town of Burgas, Camp Sarafovo, and secured an agreement to use Bulgaria for its military operations against Iraq. Burgas happens to host the country's largest oil refinery. And, third, the air force is building a base in Constanta, that happens to be the centre of the oil industry in Romania.

All this has to do, of course, with AMBO, the Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria Oil Trans-Balkan pipeline. Oil will flow from the Caspian basin across the Black Sea to Burgas and this pipeline will pump it from there through Macedonia to the Albanian Adriatic port of Vlore. More about that in Chalmers Johnson's The Sorrows of Empire.

Thus, the war of 1999 about Kosovo had at least as much to do with the military-strategic-oil complex and European/US dependence on imported oil as it had to do with the oppression of Kosovo-Albanians. And it had less to do with Milosevic' human rights violations and more to do with the fact that he did not want to sell out and subordinate Yugoslavia and his own interests to those of neo-liberal globalisation.

The Fools' Crusade - to borrow the title from Diana Johnstone's free-of-illusions-book on international politics during the Balkan crisis - continues unabated. Few policy-makers have learned anything during the last 10+5 years. But they have repeated for public consumption that, first, "we never make mistakes" and, second, "everything goes better by the day"; so much so, that they now believe it is true.

It's time to give the politics of Reality Show a reality check.

Unbiased reporting very difficult now.

Leading mainstream media face a problem too. Could it be that the black-and-white image of all Albanians as moderate and innocent and as victims of generic Serb ethnic cleansing of the 1990s was a bit naive, if not false? Is it really possible that people on the appointed innocent side are able to commit the same type of crime now, after having been supported by the world against the Hitler-like "butcher of Belgrade"? Is it possible that they do so even under the very eyes and against the express will of history's largest peace-building mission that came in on the ticket of "humanitarian intervention" and have poured in billions of dollars in that tiny province to their benefit?

Honest reporting today would seem to be impossible without admitting, at least implicitly, that the earlier image was deceptive, built on propaganda, including lies and omissions, and on policy makers' opportunist ignorance.

So, they've got to maintain the image and do damage limitation. This is where the story about Serb youth with a dog - was it Serb too? - chasing the Albanian boys into the Ibar River, comes in handy as the event "that sparked it all off." If a simultaneous all-over-the-place ethnic cleansing against Serb enclaves and against other minorities shall be seen as a spontaneous reaction to such events, what about the attack on a Serb boy in Gaglavica on the 16th or the grenade thrown at Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova's private villa in Pristina on March 12?

At UNMIK's Press Briefing March 16, there is not a word about Serbs chasing these boys:
"The tragic case of the children lost in the River Ibar in Mitrovica continues to unfold today. Police were first informed of the possible drowning at 6 pm yesterday evening. A child had returned home and told their parents that at about 3:30 PM, near the village of Zubce, he and three other children had entered the river and had immediately got into difficulty in the water. He had reached the other side but his three friends had been swept away and lost as they attempted to cross the river."

UNMIK Police spokesperson, Derek Chappell, dismissed the story about the boys as untrue. The Beta News Agency in Belgrade reported this on March 17:
"UNMIK spokesman Derek Chappell said tonight that the survivor of yesterday's Ibar River drowning has told his parents that he and three friends entered the river alone and were immediately caught up in the heavy current. The boy managed to reach the opposite bank of the river, but his three companions were swept away. The incident happened at about 4.30 p.m. and police began a search of the river about an hour and a half later. Two bodies have been found so far. Today's violent incidents around Kosovo were sparked after claims that the boys had been chased into the river by Serbs with a dog. Chappell told media in Pristina tonight that this was definitely not true according to the account of the surviving boy."

According to the Daily Telegraph March 28, Derek Chappell "was 'moved to other duties' on the orders of senior UN mission officials, who are believed to think he had been too frank."

This does not prevent media around the world from repeating the story more than a week later and, whether intended or not, it makes the ethnic cleansing more understandable and installs a sympathy with the Albanian plight that was never offered the Romas, the Serbs or other minorities.

However, even if the story is true - that the Albanian boys escaped into the water and drowned because some Serbs with a dog chased them - does that justify what happened? And, if so, where is the proof that there was a causal connection between this admittedly sad event and the "spontaneous" response all over Kosovo within hours? So far we haven't seen them.

Here are the latest results of the "spontaneous" action, reported by Jeta Xharra in Pristina, for Institute of War and Peace Reporting:
"The latest attacks took place well after the ethnic rioting that saw 22 people killed and 600 wounded. About 150 international peacekeepers were injured during three days of violence, most of them caught in cross fire between Serbs and Albanians, rather than being targeted deliberately. About 4,366 people have been displaced, of whom 300 are Albanian and the rest Serbs, Romas and Ashkalis."

Other sources state that 28 people were killed and over 800 wounded but it is not clear whether that includes the internationals. An increasing number of internationals have been murdered, attacked and wounded during the last few weeks.

Material destruction is also extremely high. 30 Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries destroyed, about 360 Serb homes torched, and six villages populated by Kosovo Serbs are completely deserted.

In addition, international media showed footage from the funeral of the Albanian boys and the perfectly understandable grief of the Albanian community. We have seen no footage from the funerals of the 22 or 28 people who died in the following ethnic cleansing. Quite remarkably, I have not been able to find a single source of information as to their ethnic origin. And even more conspicuous, there has been extremely little coverage of the mentioned devastation of property, churches etc. How do you think it would have been covered if Serbs had done the same to Albanian citizens and the mosques?

Politically correct media presents an image of it all as an isolated, spontaneous event. They give voice to people who maintain that the Kosovo-Albanians are deeply frustrated about the fact that the status of the province has not come closer to a decision and that there are still many problems in the region. That is true but does that really explain or legitimate this behaviour? Is it compatible with European standards to not dig in one's heels and say, enough! It was said repeatedly some years ago that Milosevic had lost the moral right to Kosovo; after five years of ethnic cleansing of Kosovo's minorities by hard-liners of the majority Albanians, isn't it time to ask: when will they lose the moral right to an independent Kosova?

There is still no understanding for the Serbs and other minorities in Kosovo and their frustration of living, since 1999, in enclaves in a province that used to be their home. There is still a complete media neglect of the Serb refugees in Serbia, still about 500.000, the largest in Europe. Why? Simply because their existence there does not fit the image of them as the ethnic cleansers par excellence and the only ones.

Memory is short. CNN still uses Wesley Clark as an expert on the politics of Kosovo; he happens to be the man who was militarily responsible for destroying Yugoslavia and bombing civilians and civilian facilities in 1999. And the fact that Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, was met with angry protesters in Kosovo is presented with no background and, thus, comes through as an evidence that Kosovo-Serbs are pretty uncivilised. Their suffering the last 5 years has been made invisible and we are supposed to have forgotten that Solana, at the time NATO Secretary-General, was the highest civilian responsible for that shameful bombing.

To do otherwise and report without bias, of course, would be to admit the banality of the Reality Show and the blakc-and-white image. It would be to admit the truth that truth is the first victim, complexity the second and fairness the third casualty in times of war. Also in the supposedly free press.

In conclusion, the international community's political and media reaction is an evasive, subdued understatement of the embarrassing catastrophe.

According to the Tanjug Agency of March 27, 2004, Coordination Centre for Kosovo and Metohija chief Nebojsa Covic said that he had information according to which everything was being done to hush up last week's events in Kosovo: "I have information that efforts are being made towards hushing up the things and events that occurred from March 10 to March 20-something and to sweep all that under the carpet, even though UNMIK knows and has data about the participants in the ethnic cleansing of Serbs," Covic said as a guest on Radio-Television Serbia.

Chances are that he will be proven right. In PressInfo 196 I shall deal with the underlying reasons for this embarrassment.

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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March 30 2004, 2:39 PM 

Albanians posed as Serbs to stoke ethnic fires in Kosovo.

By Neil Barnett in Pristina
(Filed: 28/03/2004)

The murder of a United Nations policeman in Kosovo last week was committed by ethnic Albanians who posed as Serbs in an effort to cast their bitter rivals as villains, the Telegraph has learned.

The UN policeman, from Ghana, and a local Albanian police officer were killed when their car was sprayed with bullets near the town of Podujevo, the centre of Albanian resistance against the Belgrade government.

Kosovo, in which Serbs make up only about 10 per cent of the population, is nominally part of Serbia and Montenegro but has been administered by the local UN mission since the war in 1999.

The ambush has heightened fears that the mob violence against Serbs which recently broke out in the disputed enclave will usher in a new campaign of attacks against Nato Kosovo Force (Kfor) troops and the UN mission by Albanian extremists impatient for Kosovo's independence.

The UN car was hit after a man flagged it down at the roadside. As the gunmen opened fire with Kalashnikovs, they were heard speaking Serbian. According to a senior security official, however, when one gunman was shot by a survivor, he instinctively screamed in Albanian: "I've been hit."

Afterwards the gunmen were forced to hijack a passing Mercedes when their getaway car failed to start. Security officials said that police officers gave chase for several miles, exchanging fire with gang members, but failed to capture them.

Soon after, however, Kfor troops raided a local Albanian-owned farm where they found two Kalashnikovs and a corpse with gunshot wounds, believed to be that of the gunman hit in the attack. Four people were arrested.

During the riots a fortnight ago in the towns of Mitrovica and Pristina - the first serious unrest for five years - 28 people died and 500 houses were destroyed, as well as 42 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries.

Major Tim Dunne, a Kfor spokesman, said that there was evidence that the mob violence had been carefully orchestrated. "We stopped numerous buses carrying men aged 18 to 40 from going to Mitrovica," he said. The troops believed that the men were being bussed in to take part in the unrest.

The violence flared when three Albanian children drowned after allegedly being chased into a river by Serbs. Unrest quickly spread and, according to one UN official, the "subsequent disturbances all over Kosovo, and their prolonged nature, point to widespread orchestration".

Doubts have also been cast over how the children came to drown as suspicions grew that the blame had been wrongly placed on Serbs. Allegations that they were involved were made by a fourth child who survived, yet during the violence a spokesman for the UN mission, Derek Chapple, said that police had no conclusive evidence. Last Wednesday, Mr Chapple was "moved to other duties" on the orders of senior UN mission officials, who are believed to think he had been too frank.

Last week, after mainly British reinforcements arrived, the streets of Kosovo were largely calm. With more than 3,800 Serbs still displaced, however, tensions remained. Major James Daniel, second in command of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, said that his troops had been "well received" by both communities.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/03/28/wkos28.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/03/28/ixnewstop.html

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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April 13 2004, 1:53 PM 

MUP-KOSOVO-KFOR.

In clashes with ethnic Albanian terrorists, Kfor kills one ethnic Albanian.

10:12 BELGRADE , Apil 8 (Tanjug) - In clashes with ethnic Albanian terrorists, while trying to arrest Iso Brijani, a policeman of the Kosovo Police Service, Kfor members killed one ethnic Albanian, wounded two others and arrested still another two in Kuzmin, near Kosovo Polje on Wednesday.

Brijani is suspected with having taken part in the March 23 attack in the village of Sakovici, in the Podujevo municipality, when a Ghana UNMIK policeman and a member of the Kosovo Police Service got killed, and a translator wounded.

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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April 13 2004, 2:06 PM 

OSOVO is center of crime in Europe: (is there any other positive articles on Kosovo?)
by THE SERB!! (no login)

THIS IS JUST ONE... ONE OUT OF DOZENS AND DOZENS OF ARTICLES ON KOSOVO THAT PAINT THE PROVINCE AS BEING A CEASEPOOL. (Thanks to the Albanians!) IS THERE ANY POSITIVE ARTICLES ON THE ALBOS AND KOSOVO? I DONT THINK SO. THIS IS JUST ONE OF WHAT MANY ARTICLES ARE SAYING............

Expatica, Netherlands, April 06, 2004
NATO success in Kosovo `doubtful

BERLIN - Kosovo has become Europes capital of organized crime and there are doubts over whether NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers will be able to build a multi-ethnic society there, an influential German army officer said Monday.

"Its getting harder and harder to explain the sense of serving in Kosovo," said Colonel Berhard Gertz who heads the German Armed Forces Association - a high-profile lobby group for troops.

Gertz, in a Die Welt newspaper interview, painted a grim picture of Kosovo after last months violence between ethnic Albanians and minority Serbs which left over 20 people dead, hundreds injured and Serb homes and churches torched in a three-day rampage.

"We have to ponder whether the Kosovo concept - which is supposed to yield peaceful relations with Albanians and Serbs living together - can still be realized," said Gertz.

The latest events made this doubtful, said Gertz, adding that this meant a re-evaluation of the military presence was needed.

Gertz noted the violence had been planned and carried out with military precision but that NATO intelligence had failed to pick up any advance warning.

"This does not bode well for KFOR troops being able to contain future unrest," Gertz said.

He underlined that German troops in Kosovo were confronted with grim realities of the province.

"Those who are there on frequent missions can certainly see that nothing has gotten better and the country has become the centre of organized crime in Europe," Gertz said.

The Kosovo Force (KFOR) is a NATO-led force responsible since 1999 for maintaining security in Kosovo under a United Nations Security Council mandate.

There are now about 18,500 troops in Kosovo, down from almost 40,000 stationed there in 2000.

Posted on Apr 6, 2004, 5:08 AM
from IP address 24.24.130.140

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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April 13 2004, 2:53 PM 

Security Council to discuss Kosovo | 10:16 | Beta

NEW YORK -- Tuesday The United Nations Security Council meets today in New York to discuss the situation in Kosovo, following the worst wave of violence in the province since the arrival of the UN mission in 1999.

Nineteen people died and more than 700 Serb homes were destroyed in two days of rioting in mid-March by the provinces ethnic Albanian majority. Some 3,600 Serbs and other non-Albanians fled their homes in the attacks.

The UNs Kosovo mission will not be represented at todays session of the Security Council

 
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April 13 2004, 2:55 PM 

NATO mission in Kosovo on edge of collapse | 21:36 | FoNet

BELGRADE -- Monday Kosovo is becoming a hotbed of global terrorism, and the NATO mission in the province is on the edge of collapse, Vojislav Kostunica warned today.

International terrorism is moving from large cities to the smaller towns and villages of Kosovo. Albanian terrorism has the clear goal of ethnic cleansing, said the Serbian prime minister, adding that this was the only way in which terrorism in Kosovo differed from that in the US, Spain and Russia.

Kostunica described international peacekeeping activities in Kosovo as being on the point of collapse, adding that UN police and administrators had not addressed the tasks prescribed in the mandate given them by the UN Security Council.

They were aware of the exceptionally difficult and dangerous situation in the country, but they have been more concerned with their own safety than the security of the Kosovo population, he said.

The terrorists are not afraid of the 17,500 NATO troops and several thousand UN police in Kosovo, said Kostunica, adding that they were laughing at the international public which had always believed in the activities of ethnic Albanians.

Although it was not possible to say with certainty that al-Qaeda had been involved in recent events in Kosovo, it was certain that Bin Ladens organisation had been active in Kosovo, he said, adding that Bin Laden had supported the Liberation Army of Kosovo.

Al-Qaeda is probably present in the province, but behind a mask of humanitarian and religious organisations, said the prime minister.

 
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April 13 2004, 3:02 PM 

Why do Russians help Serbs?

18:40 2004-04-08

The other day I interviewed Georgy Poltavchenko, presidential representative in the Central Federal District. He told me that the district board had decided that the 18 Federation members of the district, the core regions of Russia, would provide financial assistance to Serbs.

This is not the humanitarian aid that the Russian government is providing to Serbian refugees forced from their homes by the recent outbreak of violence in Kosovo. Several planeloads of humanitarian cargoes were then dispatched to Belgrade by the Emergencies Ministry and Minister Sergei Shoigu accompanied them. But it was an emergency situation.

The initiative of the Central Federal District is different and more effective: the 18 regions are collecting money to send to Serbia, as foodstuffs and everything else can be bought on site - and much cheaper. The money will be transferred to the Serbian authorities for assistance to the hundreds of thousands of Serb refugees who have been forced from their homes in Kosovo in the years of the province's troubles.

This is not a state initiative but the decision of the public supported by politicians as private citizens, which may be better for the government. Politicians - in the true meaning of the word - need this initiative also because it cleanses the soul. For us, death is no longer a tragedy; we see it in numerous television soap operas and news reports of contract killings and other forms of death from all over the planet. We no longer distinguish between the death of imaginary characters and real people. Maybe assistance to fraternal people will help revive compassion and a desire to help the neighbour? For human souls cannot live without it.

I am very pleased that statesmen and bureaucrats are not avoiding this problem, though nobody ordered them to contribute, to collect money; it is a purely voluntary decision. But the majority of the people in the district supported it immediately and Mr Poltavchenko told me that he would make a public appeal for money.

And here is another example. The Foundation of St Andrew the First-Called, a non-governmental public institution, is tackling the Serbian problem by means of citizen diplomacy. Last Christmas, a senior delegation of politicians, public figures and journalists from Russia headed by Alexander Melnikov, president of the Foundation, visited Serbia. They spent a week there, meeting the country's leaders and archpriests of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and visiting Kosovo where they saw for themselves the destroyed houses and churches and dead Serbs. Albanians threw stones at their bus - and it was before the violence in Kosovo about which the world now knows.

In short, Russians know more about Serbia and Serbs than many other nations and powerful support for Serbia is rising from the depths of the Russian nation.

What connects us? Why are we helping Serbia when this world is full of pain? I would begin with the religious aspect, though many people try to ignore the link between international conflicts and inter-faith strife. The Serbs are our brothers in origin and religion; they are a small Orthodox nation that has been persecuted for centuries and has probably suffered more than the Russian nation.

We must admit that, traditionally, Russia is Orthodox by 85%. Our common traditions influence our relations. Yes, we support Serbs because they are our brothers. Yes, we support them because they are Orthodox Christians. Yes, we support them because we remember very well how our churches and monasteries were destroyed in the not so distant past. And we cannot remain indifferent today when more than 30 Orthodox holy places, monuments of the past and part of the world's heritage, were destroyed within a week without the world community raising a finger.

Regrettably, few people in the world take note of this religious connection between our nations. We are divided by more than a thousand kilometres but in the Orthodox school that my son attends pupils study the Serbian language and revere the memory of St Savva the Serb. Early this year the students welcomed a delegation from the former Yugoslavia, which included Serbs and Montenegrins, who came to talk with children and speak with them in the language the children love. In the summer, my son and his classmates go to Serbia for a month, where they see the country and make new friends.

As for adults, Russian volunteers fought and died for the Serbs during the recent conflict. As far as I know, they were not paid lavishly for this, they were not mercenaries. It was simpler - and certainly less dangerous - to earn more in Russia even in those difficult times. This means that something inside forced these people to go to a foreign country and die there for that country's people. These are very serious deeds.

The society of Russo-Serbian friendship was set up long ago and, as far as I know, has been facilitating the development of contacts between our people, including delegation exchanges.

As for business, there are Serbian businessmen of the world class who have headquarters in Moscow and other large cities of Russia. Take the group of companies of the Karic brothers, who have been working on the Russian market for more than a decade. They cannot work in their home country but they help their people by working in Russia. I once met a man from the pharmaceutical industry who had a business in France but worked mostly in Russia. And there are many more like him.

I remember there were very many Yugoslavians involved in Moscow construction projects in the 1990s. They had fled to Moscow from unemployment and crisis in their home country, ravaged by war and international sanctions. I do not know how many Yugoslavians are working in Russia now.

In a word, there are many ties between us and they are very strong. There is also a vital element that is frequently overlooked outside Russia, which leads to problems. I said that support for the Serbs is coming from ordinary Russian people. But a certain part of Russian society cannot understand why Serbia is so special. It is easy for foreigners to talk to many such people - simply because they know foreign languages. And this creates the impression in the West that there are no special relations between Russians and Serbs, which is a great misunderstanding.

These are people who are only after money and do not care for the pain of other people. What is Serbia to them, what do they care about refugees and orphans? This psychology of the consumer society, which developed in Russia overnight, is more distorted than anywhere in the West. The rich who have bought enough cars or a sumptuous country house simply do not know how to use their money because they have only consumerist desires. They live for themselves and one or two university degrees and a knowledge of foreign languages does not help them to be human.

But those who, though they do not come to church, nevertheless believe - they become the patriots and defenders of Serbia. Orthodox intelligentsia and millions of ordinary Russians take to heart everything that happens in Serbia. For Serbs often say: What happens to us today may happen to you tomorrow. Serbs are an independent and freedom-loving people and they will hardly accept the status of a subordinate, oppressed nation. The technologies which NATO are testing in Serbia - and NATO has advanced to Russia's borders - may be applied against Russia any day. When I hear that Russia and NATO are friends forever, I say that this is an illusion. Nothing has changed, as proved by the example of Serbia, in 1999 and today.

Serbs see the withdrawal of Russia peacekeepers from Kosovo as a betrayal. A great many bad things happened after our peacekeepers, who were seen as liberators, left the province. Russians have always fought willingly for their Serb brothers. But today they say we abandoned them, for the first time in history.

We Russians will rally society, sooner or later, and come to an agreement on what is happening to us and outside Russia. The country's current leadership is working hard to solve the problem of Serbia and Kosovo, keeping the issue in the spotlight at the highest possible level. In a way, this rehabilitates us for the mistakes made by our previous authorities.

RIAN

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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April 13 2004, 3:27 PM 

Peacekeepers Arrest Four in Kosovo UN Police Murder.

Thu Apr 8, 2004 09:17 AM ET

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - United Nations police and NATO peacekeepers arrested four Kosovo Albanians in connection with the murder last month of a U.N. policeman and his local partner, officials said on Thursday.

They were arrested on Wednesday in the town of Kosovo Polje, following a police chase in which one of the suspects was shot and injured, U.N. police spokesman Neeraj Singh said.

He confirmed the arrests were linked to the killing of a Ghanaian U.N. policeman and his Kosovo Albanian partner in a machinegun ambush late last month.

"U.N. police have four suspects in custody, including the injured one," Singh said, adding one of the suspects was a former Kosovo policeman who had left the service last year.

The March 23 attack came on the heels of the worst outbreak of ethnic violence in the province since the arrival of peacekeepers in 1999, when NATO bombing compelled Serbia to withdraw its forces.

In two days of clashes in mid-March, 19 people were killed and 3,600 Serbs driven from their homes by mobs of ethnic Albanians as NATO rushed in reinforcements from Bosnia. One NATO commander said the violence resembled the Serb "ethnic cleansing" that NATO had stopped five years ago.

However, the security situation has improved in recent weeks and NATO said on Thursday 130 Italian carabinieri paramilitary police and around 100 British soldiers would return to Bosnia after being rushed to Kosovo to quell the violence.

 
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April 13 2004, 3:36 PM 

April 8, 2004

Imperial Relapse - Kosovo Pogrom Forgotten.

Antiwar.com
Nebojsa Malic

After the mid-March pogrom against Serbs in Kosovo, which clearly aimed at their physical destruction, Empire's propaganda machine went into full spin trying to cover up the extent of the occupiers' failure to prevent such aggression. Albanian partisans in the West launched passionate tirades about the necessity of giving the "Kosovars" independence now, and helping them overcome the frustration with evil Serbs that has provoked them into entirely justifiable if not exactly humanitarian violence. The Serbian leadership once again demonstrated ineptitude at dealing with a coordinated hostile media campaign, mounting feeble and ineffective challenges to the onslaught of Albanian advocacy. Meanwhile, the Empire escalated the issue of "war crimes," thus making sure that any news from the Balkans if it gets past the headlines about the meltdown in Mesopotamia would deal with a topic whose tone and targets it can easily dictate.

On Paper, Violence Continues

A wave of editorials supporting the Albanian cause began appearing in leading Western papers on the second day of the pogrom, and has continued unabated since. Though differing in tone and angle, the commentaries overlap on several salient points: Albanians are the majority in Kosovo, have been oppressed by Serbs, and would never accept anything but independence, therefore it is the only option; partition is also unacceptable to Albanians, as Kosovo's borders are sacred; what caused the "violence" in mid-March was fear of Serbs and frustration with uncertainty about future, so the obvious way to solve the problem would be removing the fear (by implication, removing Serbs?) by giving Albanians independence. As days go by and the pogrom recedes in people's memories thanks to the widespread reluctance to publish graphic images of Albanian destruction the screeds get bolder in their assertions, and more brazen in their denial of what has been happening for years.

Paul Williams and Bruce Hitchner co-authored an editorial advocating an independent, Albanian Kosovo on March 23, in the Baltimore Sun. They clamor that "the United States must reassert its leadership in the region" by leading efforts to "provide for the emergence of an independent Kosovo by fall."

Williams's claim to infamy is his role as the "legal advisor" to both the Izetbegovic regime in Bosnia and the KLA, and involvement in both the Dayton blackmail and the Rambouillet charade. Hitchner chairs a "Dayton Peace Accords Project," and has advocated Kosovo independence before, also in tandem with Williams.

Clinton's point-man in Kosovo James Dobbins claimed in the International Herald Tribune on April 1 that "there are really only two viable options for Kosovo, both involving independence." Of those, the one that would avoid partition would be "most consistent with existing U.S. and EU policies in the region, and provides the less bad precedent."

The very same day, journalist Tim Judah "analyzed" the pogrom for BBC by saying that "The problem, then, is how this province will ever be reabsorbed into Serbia and the likelihood is that it will not. In that case, the problem is how to separate it." He further insinuated that the Serbian government was willing to give up Kosovo, claiming that a US envoy visiting Belgrade "was reportedly stunned when a top Serbian officially proposed that everyone simply dispense with the niceties and Kosovo be partitioned sooner rather than later."

Perhaps forced to atone for his earlier sincerity, Nicholas Wood of the New York Times produced a piece on April 3 describing the barbarous destruction of medieval churches as a "cycle of revenge," invoking as excuses the alleged Serb destruction of mosques during the war and the attacks on mosques in Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad during the pogrom.

Finally, on April 5, a former "media commissioner" and "political adviser to the UN Kosovo protection corps coordinator" in occupied Kosovo wrote the most overtly formulaic case for the Albanian cause in The Guardian. Not only did Anna Di Lellio dispute the description of the pogrom as "ethnic cleansing," she blamed it on the Serbs, much like Hashim Taqi some ten days prior.

No Fighting Back?

Response to this media onslaught has been largely muted. Ivan Vujacic, the hapless Serbian Ambassador to Washington, tried to answer Morton Abramowitz's March 19 editorial with a "Yes, but" approach. One Serbian parliamentarian even tried to present a pragmatic case for Serb "minority self-rule" in Kosovo to the rabidly Serbophobic IWPR, which sounded reasonable but appeared downright foolish in the medium's context.

It fell to Western commentators two Canadians and a Brit, with Americans predictably absent to offer a counter-argument, after a fashion. On the pages of the National Post on March 22, George Jonas described NATO's Kosovo intervention as an "ethnic cleansing project sponsored by the West." In the April 3 edition of the Spectator, diplomatic correspondent Tom Walker describes how while "Kosovo goes to Hell," he receives "regular emails from Albanian agencies in Pristina arguing that when a Serb village is wiped from the map, it is somehow Belgrade's fault." And former peacekeeper and retired General Lewis MacKenzie opined on April 6 (in the National Post, again) that "We bombed the wrong side," exposing the Albanians' goals and a deliberate cover-up of information about the recent pogrom:

"The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have subsidized and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure and independent Kosovo. We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early '90s and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary."

Changing the Subject

The Empire is also trying hard to change the subject from the uncomfortable topic of Kosovo. News from the Balkans over the past week have been dominated by the "war crimes" issue, given a higher profile by a set of new Inquisition indictments, a renewed hunt for Radovan Karadzic, and escalation of Washington's pressure on Serbia.

A SFOR raid on a church in eastern Bosnia early last Wednesday did not find Karadzic. It did result in severe injuries to the priest and his son, who are still in a coma. NATO claims the two were injured by the explosion used to demolish the church door, and claims the injuries were "completely unintended and an unfortunate consequence," even as US officials blamed the Bosnian Serbs for NATO's aggressive behavior and presented the raid as "resolve".

But according to the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who protested to the NATO commander in Bosnia, SFOR troops "savagely beat [Fr. Jeremija and his son] using rifle butts, boots and whatever else they had on hand." Adding to the mystery is the fact that the two men were airlifted to a hospital in Tuzla (where the US has a major military base), rather than the much closer capital, Sarajevo.

Amidst public outcry over the attack, Bosnia's viceroy Ashdown launched another assault on the Bosnian Serb republic, cutting off all government compensation to the ruling SDS party, until it can submit a financial report to "prove the claims [of somehow aiding Karadzic] were false."

It is logically impossible to prove a negative, but Ashdown really doesn't care even if they do; he has absolute power, and has conducted a campaign to undermine the Serb Republic pretty much since he arrived in office. One regional newspaper mentions him giving a statement accusing the Serb Republic of "obstructing reform," after meeting with its Croat and Muslim vice-presidents (but no Serbs).

On the other hand, Serbia was officially cut off from US foreign aid as of March 31, having refused to submit to demands of the Hague Inquisition. Previously touted as $100 million, the actual value of the aid is closer to $26 million, most of which is going to Kosovo, "democracy-building" and "humanitarian aid" anyway. That's right, the supposedly "badly needed" aid to Serbia is nothing of the sort, as it actually funds Albanian separatism, pays the missionary intellectuals, and lines the pockets of American NGOs. Its withholding is more a symbol of Washington's displeasure than anything else.

Wastelands Called Peace

Though it looked for a moment that the sheer vileness of the terror unleashed in Kosovo might shake the pillars of perception, Empire's aggressive relapse into the usual bullying patterns suggests that impression was deceptive. Two weeks after their policies were burned to cinders, Balkans' western occupiers are back on their hobbyhorse.

Outside powers have meddled in Balkans issues for centuries, with increasingly disastrous consequences. Even if one stipulates that the most recent meddling (in the 1990s) had a benevolent intent for the sake of argument, as this is obviously not true the "problems" it supposedly attempted to solve were by and large the symptoms of the crisis, not its causes. Those causes have been so thoroughly misidentified (often on purpose) that instead of resolving issues, the intervention only made them worse.

By way of example: Bosnia was not a case of "external aggression," but a conflict over centralized power that would enable one ethnic group to dominate others. The problem in Kosovo was not one of "repression" or "human rights violations," but of separatism based on ethnic cleansing. The same applies to Macedonia.

Balkans interventions then paved the way to an invasion in the Middle East. Now Iraq has exploded entirely predictably just as the Balkans has been imploding for years. In the war-torn leftovers of what was once Yugoslavia, most people are reluctant to start a new war, with the memories still fresh. But their children are growing up schooled not just in hatred, but in the "value" of coercion. They will be the ones fighting the next war, which the Empire's insistence on imposing and perpetuating fiction is making just about inevitable.

Nearly two millennia ago, in his Life of Agricola, Roman historian Tacitus put these words in the mouth of a Germanic chieftain; Calgacus describes the Romans thus: "Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant." They create a wasteland, and call it peace.

For a nation that fancies itself the heir to Rome, this is entirely fitting.

 
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April 14 2004, 2:33 PM 

KOSOVO

Sterben fr das Vaterland.

In der Unruheprovinz stehen sich Albaner und Serben feindlicher gegenber als je zuvor. Die Mission der Uno, ein friedliches Miteinander zu befrdern, ist klglich gescheitert - neue Lsungswege sind noch nicht in Sicht.

Es ist, als wollte sich die Geschichte wiederholen: "Wir werden unsere Freiheit bekommen - egal um welchen Preis", steht auf den Flugblttern, die in diesen Tagen unter den Scheibenwischern geparkter Autos im Kosovo klemmen.

Hinter dem Aufruf steht eine Partei, die sich "Nationale Bewegung fr die Befreiung des Kosovo" nennt. Ihr Ziel ist die Vereinigung der Unruheprovinz mit Albanien, ihr Feind die Uno-Verwaltung Unmik. "Dafr", sagt der Parteivorsitzende Fatmir Humolli, "werden wir notfalls auch einen neuen Krieg beginnen."

Humolli hetzt, Unmik und die Kfor-Friedenstruppe seien Besatzungsmchte, nun msse gehandelt werden. Der 40-Jhrige, der schon 1981 die Albaner-Aufstnde mit organisierte und deswegen drei Jahre im Gefngnis sa, ist sicher: ber Nacht knnten die 10 000 Aktivisten seiner Organisation ein greres Heer an Kmpfern zusammentrommeln als einst die legendre UK, der er natrlich auch gedient hat.

Sind dies nur Phantasien eines nationalistischen Auenseiters, dem die albanischen Medien des Kosovo in diesen Tagen ungewhnlich viel Publizitt einrumen?

Wohl nicht. berall in der Krisenprovinz haben Kriegstreiber derzeit leichtes Spiel. "Bei den nchsten Kmpfen im Kosovo werde ich sterben", prophezeit stolz der UK-Veteran Ramush. Der 45-Jhrige besitzt keinen Pass, sein 16-jhriger Sohn ist in keinem Geburtenregister erfasst. "Alles, was ich meiner Familie hinterlassen kann", sagt Ramush, "ist die Ehre, fr das Vaterland zu sterben."

Ramush war auch bei den jngsten gewaltttigen Ausschreitungen gegen die serbische Bevlkerungsminderheit an vorderster Front dabei. Und er rumt ein: Natrlich seien die Unruhen nicht "spontan" gewesen. "Kein Albaner wrde es wagen, solche Aktionen ohne hheren Einsatzbefehl zu beginnen", sagt er fast amsiert.

Und auch in Brssel sind sich EU-Politiker inzwischen sicher: Der jngste Aufstand der Kosovo-Albaner, bei dem 19 Menschen gettet, mehr als 900 verletzt, 800 Huser niedergebrannt sowie 29 serbisch-orthodoxe Kirchen und Klster zerstrt wurden, war eine geplante Provokation. So ist etwa EU-Auenkommissar Chris Patten berzeugt davon, dass prominente albanische Politiker der Krisenprovinz die Angriffe auf Serben, Roma und Kfor-Truppen angezettelt haben.

Der Arzt Sali Bytyqi aus Musutiste hat ebenfalls kein Mitleid mit den serbischen Opfern der Gewaltexplosion. Wie er fhlen sich viele Albaner um die Frchte des Befreiungskampfes betrogen. Auch er wre bereit, fr die Unabhngigkeit des Kosovo noch einmal zu den Waffen zu greifen, falls die Unmik ihre hinhaltende Politik nicht grundlegend ndert. Schlielich, erklrt Bytyqi, sei die Uno hier, um den Albanern zu dienen und nicht etwa umgekehrt.

Auch fnf Jahre nach dem Ende des Nato-Bombardements, das die Vertreibung der Albaner durch serbische Soldaten stoppte, sitzt der Hass zwischen den Volksgruppen tief. Die Brandschatzungen und Vertreibungen durch die Truppen des damaligen Belgrader Diktators Slobodan Milosevic haben die Albaner noch lange nicht vergessen. Die Angst, eines Tages womglich erneut unter der Fuchtel Belgrads leben zu mssen, ruft bei ihnen kollektive Panik hervor - und wachsende Gewaltbereitschaft.

Der Westen habe sich im Kosovo eine multi-ethnische Gemeinschaft zum Ziel gesetzt, die dort letztlich keiner wolle - warnte jngst der OSZE-Beauftragte Marek Nowicki vor dem Europarat. Auer in den Kpfen westlicher Politiker habe es niemals eine realistische Chance fr eine Rckkehr der Serben gegeben.

Solche Kritik an der Kosovo-Politik der internationalen Staatengemeinschaft ist nach den jngsten Unruhen lauter geworden. Die renommierte International Crisis Group glaubt, dass der Westen mit der Vorgabe, zunchst eine rechtsstaatliche Ordnung fr das Kosovo zu schaffen, bevor die heikle Frage des knftigen Status geklrt wird, schlicht gescheitert ist. Recht und Ordnung wrden erst Einzug halten, wenn der endgltige Status der offiziell nach wie vor zu Belgrad gehrenden Provinz festgelegt werde. Einige westliche Vertreter wie die frhere US-Auenministerin Madeleine Albright oder der ehemalige amerikanische Balkan-Unterhndler Richard Holbrooke setzen sich bereits entschieden fr ein unabhngiges Kosovo ein.

Carl Bildt, der ehemalige Bosnien-Beauftragte der EU, warnt indes vor einem solchen Schritt. "Heute der Gewalt nachzugeben", sagt Bildt, "gibt den ethnischen Suberern von morgen Auftrieb."

Und die sind bereits am Werk: ber dem Portal der orthodoxen Gemeindekirche im Zentrum von Prizren steht noch immer in riesigen roten Lettern eine deutliche Botschaft: "Tod den Serben".

"Es war wie in einem Indianerfilm", erinnert sich der serbische Mnch Benedikt, der in der deutschen Kaserne im serbischen Dorf Sredska Unterschlupf gefunden hat. Unter einer weien Fahne habe eine Delegation albanischer Angreifer den Kfor-Schutzposten vor dem Kloster zum "Heiligen Erzengel" versichert, man wolle sie nicht tten, nur das Kloster solle in Flammen aufgehen. Die deutschen Soldaten htten daraufhin die sechs Mnche und zwei Besucher in ihr gepanzertes Fahrzeug verfrachtet und in Sicherheit gebracht.

Um nach Sredska zu gelangen, mssen derzeit alle Fahrzeuge Slalom fahren, an Felsbrocken, Betonkltzen, Stacheldraht und Sandscken vorbei. Hinter den Barrikaden filzen Kfor-Posten jedes Auto peinlich genau. Wie Sredska wird in diesen Tagen jede serbische Siedlung von den Friedenstruppen abgeschirmt. Panzer verstellen die Wege, schwer bewaffnete Soldaten demonstrieren Strke. Dass sie sich vom Hassausbruch der Albaner berrumpeln lieen, hat das Vertrauen der serbischen Minderheit in die Truppen nachhaltig erschttert.

"Wir haben jetzt unsere eigenen Sphtrupps", sagt Branko Gligorijevic, der Brgermeister von Novake, einem Dorf mit einst 450 serbischen Einwohnern. Nach dem Krieg wurden hier mit deutscher Hilfe 61 Huser fr die wenigen serbischen Rckkehrerfamilien wieder aufgebaut. Doch Gligorijevic kann immer noch nicht in Sicherheit leben: "Was ist das fr ein Schutz, wenn mir der zustndige deutsche Kommandant sagt: ,Packen Sie auf jeden Fall Ihre Koffer fr die Flucht.'"

Hilfe erwarten viele Serben ausschlielich von Belgrad. Seine Landsleute hofften, sagt Brgermeister Gligorijevic, dass die neue Fhrung in Belgrad nicht nur Mehl als humanitre Hilfe an die serbischen Enklaven schicke, sondern endlich die Armee in Marsch setze, um die Provinz zurckzuerobern. Sonst, droht der Serbe, werde man aus der Region "einen neuen Irak machen".

Um die angespannte Lage zwischen den verfeindeten Volksgruppen besser kontrollieren zu knnen, wurde das Kfor-Kontingent um 2000 auf 20 500 Mann aufgestockt, die beim nchsten Mal rigoros durchgreifen wollen. Doch die Militrs wissen auch, dass jeder tote Albaner die kritische Lage weiter verschrfen wird. Schon warnt der sterreichische Kfor-Kommandant Anton Willmann vor "einem neuen Guerillakrieg".

Angesichts des unberwindlichen Hasses macht sich im Westen Ernchterung breit. Der Berliner Verteidigungsminister Peter Struck beklagte bei einem Truppenbesuch in Prizren vergangene Woche seine "bitteren Gefhle". Ganz leger, in Jeans und Blouson, verkndete er, dass sich die Deutschen auf ein langes Engagement ihrer Soldaten im Kosovo vorbereiten mssten. Struck: "Wir bleiben."

Der Westen habe bislang "zu stark auf das Militr gesetzt", kritisiert dagegen der frhere deutsche Kfor-Kommandant Klaus Reinhardt. Das internationale Kosovo-Engagement sei konzeptlos, nun stehe die Staatengemeinschaft "vor den Scherben" ihrer bisherigen Politik. Neben der Sicherheitslage, so der General a. D., mssten endlich auch die Lebensverhltnisse der Einwohner sprbar verbessert werden.

Seitdem die Unmik im Juni 1999 das Kommando bernahm, hat sich der Alltag der Kosovaren trotz Aufbauhilfen von mehr als zwei Milliarden Euro nicht verbessert. Schtzungsweise 70 Prozent der Bevlkerung sind arbeitslos, auslndische Firmen halten sich mit Investitionen zurck.

Inzwischen mehren sich die Rufe nach einer internationalen Konferenz, auf der die Zukunft des Kosovo, hnlich wie im Falle Afghanistans, am runden Tisch verhandelt werden soll. Doch die Uno hat Angst, mit einer endgltigen Klrung der Kosovo-Frage neue Konflikte in der Region zu provozieren.

Der finnische Unmik-Chef Harri Holkeri frchtet, dass im Falle einer Unabhngigkeit etwa die sdserbischen Gemeinden um Bujanovac mit mehrheitlich albanischer Bevlkerung ebenso den Anschluss an das Kosovo fordern wrden wie die unzufriedene albanische Bevlkerung im Nachbarland Mazedonien. Und auch Forderungen der bosnischen Serben, als Kompensation fr das Kosovo die Angliederung an Belgrad zu erwirken, wren dann nicht mehr auszuschlieen.

Deshalb will die internationale Staatengemeinschaft auch weiterhin an dem Konzept festhalten, zunchst die Grundlage fr ein friedliches Zusammenleben der Volksgruppen zu schaffen. Eine Lsung der Statusfrage vor Ende 2005 lehnt sie rigoros ab. Laut Unmik-Chef Holkeri werden jedoch bereits informelle Gesprche ber Ergnzungen des Uno-Auftrags gefhrt.

Fraglich ist indes, ob die immer drngender nach Unabhngigkeit strebenden Albaner so lange stillhalten werden. "Jeden Tag ein toter Kfor-Soldat wrde ausreichen", um die auslndischen Truppen aus dem Land zu vertreiben, glaubt der Albaner Ramush. "Sie sind auch nur Menschen und wollen leben."

RENATE FLOTTAU, MARION KRASKE

http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,294975,00.html

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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April 14 2004, 2:35 PM 

UN slams Kosovo leaders' weak response to attacks.

UNITED NATIONS, April 13 (Reuters) - A senior U.N. official accused Kosovo's leaders on Tuesday of a tepid response to last month's ethnic violence in the Serb province and urged them to confront extremism and pursue those behind the outbreak.

Some leaders at first issued statements condoning or justifying the violence after it broke out on March 17, said Jean-Marie Guehenno, the U.N. peacekeeping chief.

While Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi called for an end to the violence, an initial statement issued by the provisional Kosovo government focused on the earlier drowning of Kosovo Albanian children, assuming without evidence that it was a result of interethnic hatred and caused by Serbs, Guehenno told the U.N. Security Council.

Only later, after pressure from the international community, did the Kosovo leadership "come to realize that attempting to justify the violence was unacceptable," he said.

While government representatives ultimately condemned the violence, "their statements largely failed to expressly condemn the attacks on the Kosovo Serb community," he said.

Guehenno urged the leaders to "leave no doubt of their wholehearted commitment to tackle and confront extremism and extremist positions, including within their own ranks."

Politicians and civil servants who may have played a significant role in the violence or used the events to promote intolerance must be identified and punished, he said.

Kosovo, a landlocked Serbian province of 2 million people, has been under U.N. administration since June 1999 after an 11-week NATO bombing campaign to halt Serb repression of its ethnic Albanians.

While the international community weighs whether to make Kosovo independent or leave it a part of Serbia, Albanian mobs last month attacked Serb villages and churches in two days of bloodshed in which 19 people were killed and 954 civilians were injured.

The attacks, blamed by NATO on Albanian extremists bent on driving remaining Serbs out of Kosovo, dealt a severe setback to Western hopes of bridging the province's ethnic divide.

Some 4,100 people were driven from their homes by the violence and 36 Serbian Orthodox churches and religious or cultural sites were looted, burned or destroyed by mobs in "an organized, widespread and targeted campaign," Guehenno said.

04/13/04 18:18 ET

 
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April 15 2004, 1:55 PM 

Kosovo Independence: A Costly Supposition.

Serbianna.com
By M. Bozinovich

In 1927 London Times remarked that "Everyone knows that Albania happens to be an independent state today, simply because the Powers did not quite know what to do about it when the Turkish Empire broke up." The Turkish ambassador to Vienna himself has warned the proponents of independence, Austria and Italy, that annual cost would be 15 million gold franks (about $1.5 billion). In 1923 French diplomat M. Hunger corroborated this figure with a remark that the amount corresponds to the country's economy. In other words, cost of the government in Albania equals the value of all the goods produced. To recoup the tribute paid to Albania, both Italy and Austria had bouts with deep diplomatic and military involvement in Albania, all without any profit and with dangerous and deadly geopolitical outcomes for the region.

Kosovo might be of similar fate simply because the proponents of Albanian nationalism want to grant it independence yet it is unclear whether they are also willing to pay an exorbitant tribute to the Kosovo Alabanian government whose taxable base of less then 2 million people earning average of $30 per month cannot yield not 1% of required costs to run that country.

Case in point is the $2 billion cost of American presence on only one-fifth of the province. Multiplied by 5 sectors that Kosovo is split into, the cost approaches $10 billion annually and even that presence is insufficient to provide complete security to the area. Factoring in the taxable base and potential revenues that Kosovo government may acquire from various kinds of legitimate enterprise, the independent Kosovo entity may cost foreign sponsors at least $5 billion annually to sustain it in addition to value-depleting activities exported out of there such as drugs, prostitution and weapons that may never be eradicated.

On a diplomatic realm, moreover, given that the independent Albania has since 1913 steadfastly exported territorial claims to its neighbors, such a track record hardly lends any credible assurances that any future "conditional independence" to Albanian Kosovo would saturate the ceiling to the Albanian nationalist ambitions in the Balkans. In fact, the track record of Albanian nationalism strongly indicates that it has no ceiling and that any conditional agreement may be precisely that, conditional for that moment.

On the other hand, the difference between Albania then and Kosovo now, is that Turks who ruled Albania then were happy to relinquish the prohibitively expensive control because by doing so they enhanced their state whose existence is not dependent on fate of a remotely located Albania. A colonial power then sees a simple cost-benefit calculus because the value of its existence is located elsewhere.

The American envoy to the Rambouillet talks in 1999, interestingly enough, made a similar argument to then president of Serbia, Milutinovic, asking him rhetorically what profit does Serbia have from that gluttonied province.

As oppose to a colonial region that Albania was to Turkey, Kosovo is an integral part of the Serbian state and Serbia's sovereignty over it is a deed of existential ownership against which costs of maintaining are subtracted. In other words, to a sovereign state, a province has value against which costs of running it are subtracted. That Albanians are a majority in Kosovo province is a fact not inconsistent with that sovereignty.

Therefore, recognizing independence of Kosovo would have to clear a myriad of complicated value issues in order to have Serbia sign off on its deed.

Bill of Sale

Kosovo value to Serbian state is derived from intangible and tangible variables.

While the intangible value, such as spirituality, geopolitical security, viability of the border, national and cultural heritage, may never be adequately remunerated hence no sign-off on independence, the tangible value that Kosovo Albanians have to pay to the Serb state in order to acquire the province for themselves may be prohibitively expensive for them and would be in addition to costs of running a state.

First is the value of the physical property the Serbian government and Serbian Church own. To that property, compensation has to be made for property abandoned by non-Albanians forcefully removed from the province since 1945 as well as cost of providing shelter to them discounted at present value.

Additionally, vast swaths of land confiscated from the Serbian Church after 1945 by communists, especially in Metohia region, must be accurately compensated to the Church then use those property boundaries to settle illegal squatting because vast number of villages, many of them Albanian, have illegally sprung up since 1945 on land that isn't theirs.

Furthermore, independent Kosovo state must pay restitution for their war crimes during WWII because their predecessor state expelled 100,000 Serb families out of Kosovo during WWII and confiscated their land as well as monetary restitution to the next of kin whom that state has murdered or wounded because they were not ethnic Albanians.

Moreover, present value compensation must be made for past Serb government investments into infrastructure of Kosovo, made since 1950s when the communists initiated a fund for rehabilitation of underdeveloped areas that Kosovo Albanian majority received from Serbian tax money. Furthermore, back taxes on property and income owed by Kosovo residents to Belgrade since entrance of NATO in March 1999 to the date of the recognition of independence of Kosovo assessed at, say, average levels of LIBOR for that period plus, say, 2% administrative cost, must be paid.

Finally, restitution for Kosovo Albanian WWII war crimes, government investments into infrastructure, back taxes and illegal squatting are legitimate settlement issues even in the future integration of Kosovo as an autonomous region within Serbia.

The delusional, impotent and pragmatic

Regrettably for the Albanian nationalists, UN Resolution 1244 provides no legal room for any creative interpretation of the document that would support Kosovo Albanian independence. The resolution is explicit in "Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2," where Serbia-Montenegro is the successor state to the mentioned Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia the "other States of the region".

Faced with unshakable legal foundation, Kosovo independence arguments rest on creation of a political pressure mass that will hopefully prompt an unscrupulous administration, especially if such removes Bush from power in Washington this November, to unilaterally violate a UN resolution and grant independence. These illegal arguments stress that:

(1) The will of the people that can be manipulated by political propaganda and intolerant political atmosphere, has precedence over a legal document signed by all nations (as argued by Albanian financed US Senators such as Lantos, Biden or McCain);

(2) Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo is only "notional" as London Guardian and Independent feed to their readers;

(3) Irrespective of the Resolution, independence is, in the long run, inevitable as BBC argues as well as other scribes that in some way have come under influence of the Albanian nationalists. Similar inevitability argument can also be made about winning a lottery or claiming that, say, Upper Volta soccer team is bound to win the next World Cup;

(4) Kosovo Albanians are supposedly native peoples so therefore have a primary claim on the land (although they never explain why every toponym in Kosovo is of Serbian origin);

(5) Kosovo Albanian government is committed to a multi-ethnic state but Serbian interference must be checked with independence, although never explaining where did the 400,000 Kosovo Serbs go since Albanians got their self-rule in 1999;

(6) Independence is a prerequisite for stability in the region otherwise Albanian extremists will perpetrate more violence, as argued by Kosovo Albanian government;

It is indeed very hard to conduct a meaningful public discourse on Kosovo's status, let alone understand it, if the analysis starts from any of the listed fictitious premises.

Meanwhile, perhaps yielding to these pressures, NATO has, in the last 5 years, bended backwards to transfer as many powers to Kosovo Albanians as possible short of independence: it has established a legislative body, executive and recently a judicial one. These 3 are primary functions of a sovereign state with a final one being a standing army. Remarkably, Kosovo Albanian government, granted the self-government theyve desired since 1945, did nothing to enhance multiculturalism or religious tolerance in that province. In fact, the Kosovo Albanian government is pivotal in causing religious hate.

NATOs engagement in creative reinterpretation of the Resolution 1244, unfortunately, has not stymied Albanian violence. As an impotent party to protect Kosovo Serbs from, now, institutionalized Albanian violence, the sooner this alliance finds an acceptable exit out of there the sooner the intolerance and ethnic pogroms may stop.

For this to happen, a pragmatic approach to the problems of Kosovo that is in line with the legal UN documents must bind all parties as a starting premise to resolution of the status.

However, both NATO and Belgrade remain skeptical of one another: NATO of Belgrade because it never brought anything pragmatic and solution oriented to the table, and Belgrade of NATO because the only thing it brought to Serbia was bombs.

Now that NATO is willing to listen to Belgrade, pragmatism of good faith must prevail.

 
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April 15 2004, 1:59 PM 

An Uncertain Future for the Serbian Refugees of Kosovo.

Serbianna.com
by Chrostopher Deliso in Skopje
Also published on balkanalysis.comand antiwar.com

According to the Serbian government, the Albanian riots of March 17-19 in Kosovo resulted in 9 Serbs killed, 143 wounded, 15 missing, and 3,205 displaced. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, and 15 towns and villages ethnically cleansed. Most important of all for Serbian culture, 35 churches and monasteries were destroyed and 3 cemeteries desecrated.

Eyewitness reports indicate that the Albanian mobs were armed with machine guns, AK-47's, pistols, rifles, and hand grenades, not to mention rocks and improvised cluster bombs (Molotov cocktails filled with nails). An informed source claims that four of the Serbs killed had been shot by illegal "dum-dum" bullets that fragment within the body, causing an excruciatingly painful death. Others were knifed or burned alive by the rampaging mobs made up of Albanian men from their early teens into their 80s.

After discussing the riots' organization and goals, I will give the reader a glimpse into the human side of the catastrophe, by citing testimony from some of the refugees I met last week in Kosovo.

The Riots: Organized or Not?

Despite the media whitewashing and contrary to other conjectures, the Kosovo riots were not the spontaneous outcome of the Albanians' righteous rage and grief. Rather, they were well-planned, well-supplied terrorist attacks masquerading as popular marches, carried out with the complicity of the Albanian KPS (Kosovo Police Service) and with the blessings of top figures in the Kosovo Albanian leadership, organized by the successor organizations of the Kosovo Liberation Army and its various youth factions.

Both Macedonian and Serbian intelligence officials have detailed evidence to support this assertion. Eyewitness testimony also confirms that Albanian KPS officers actively participated in leading the riots. The range of weaponry employed, and the fact that buses, vans, and taxis were all mobilized to transport tens of thousands of Albanian rioters reveal the organized nature of the campaign.

International officials agree. "Let's be realistic," Tracy Becker, the UNMIK regional media officer in Mitrovica told me last week. "It's impossible to have Kosovo-wide riots without organization." Another UN spokesman said the same back on March 18, according to the Scotsman: "this is planned, coordinated, one-way violence from the Albanians against the Serbs nothing happens spontaneously in Kosovo."

The Strategy of the Pogrom.

Oliver Ivanovic, a member of the Kosovo Parliament Presidency, told me on Wednesday that the riots were "very well organized. Simultaneous attacks on 15 different places can only be done if you have strong logistics and coordination. It was all in accordance with a plan."

The plan, according to Ivanovic, was strategic:

"first they threatened to attack North Mitrovica, which they never intended to take too many Serbs are there. But this maneuver did succeed in pulling the international soldiers north, and leaving central Kosovo empty and undefended. The Albanians were thus able to attack those Serbian settlements much more easily."

The city of Mitrovica, divided by the Ibar River, is the borderline between the Albanian-dominated bulk of Kosovo and the purely Serbian northern corner of the province bordering on Serbia proper. The population of the northern side has swelled from 8,000 to 12,000 in the last five years, as Serbian refugees from other parts of Kosovo flock there. Even though they are heavily armed and vastly outnumber the Serbs, the 60,000 Albanians of the south know that they cannot take it, and therefore don't try.


Yellow areas indicate where Serbs lived in Kosovo at the time of the 1999 NATO bombing.


Remaining areas with Serbian population as of March 20, 2004.Areas in bright red were ethnically cleansed of Serbs during the riots.

"Cleansing" Central Kosovo.

Thus, rather than concentrate their attack on the northern Serbian stronghold, the Albanian mobs chose to devastate isolated Serb settlements populated mostly by poor, elderly farmers left entirely defenseless by five years of UNMIK weapons collections. Yet the colonial administration does not dare to disarm the Albanians, for fear of provoking retaliatory violence.

Several examples from this latest wave of ethnic cleansing support the theory. South of Mitrovica, the Serbian population of the farming village of Svinjare was expelled, with 140 houses ruined. The scene was "absolutely heartbreaking," said one international official, who added that local Albanian perpetrators had started spray-painting their names on the charred ruins to mark their new "property."

I saw an example of this in Obilic, a village further south, near Pristina, where an Albanian man had spray-painted his name on a burned Serbian home. All around were charred ruins of houses, smashed furniture, and dead pigs, everything of value stolen. Out of the wreckage a playful dog ran up to me, yapping in front of what was once his master's home. He was guarding it from intruders, perhaps. But there was no longer any need.

Obilic was once an ethnically mixed village; directly adjacent to these destroyed houses were the untouched homes of Albanians. I saw one Albanian boy, no older than six, looting firewood from the gutted home of his former neighbor. In the street, we were met by the long, suspicious stares of grouped men defiantly proud of their crimes and unwilling to tolerate any mention of them.

Purging central Kosovo of Serbs was important because the second-largest grouping of enclaves is located there. The village of Caglavica, which was one of the first places attacked, has good soil, and is on the main north-south road from Pristina to Skopje. It is also the first village that guards the largest remaining Serbian enclave in the area, that of Gracanica and its outlying villages. The area has strategic position, comprises a large area of high-quality farmland, and remains a chronic thorn in the side of Albanians striving for an ethnically pure Kosovo.

Other villages in the Pristina area that were decimated include Ljiplan and Kosovo Polje (though some Serbs remain in one corner of the latter town, under KFOR protection). In the capital, Pristina, the entire remaining Serbian population was completely expelled. Although before the NATO bombardment of 1999 some 40,000-50,000 Serbs lived in Pristina, by 2004 only about 150 remained. These survivors were relegated entirely to one apartment block. The mobs took care of them on March 17.

The First Goal: Sever Connections with the Outside World

According to Ivanovic, this pattern of ethnic cleansing indicates that the Albanians' goal was "to push the remaining Serb settlements away from the major roads and railways, and so isolate them from the outside world. This is very easily seen when you look at exactly which villages were targeted."

The Serbian villages of central Kosovo that were spared, such as Priluzje (located a few miles north of Obilic), have, however, lost contact with the outside world. As of last Tuesday, the train connecting them with the town of Zvetcin to the northwest of Mitrovica had been suspended for 10 days. This train represented their only means of getting supplies from Serbia proper. Now, no one knows when the train will resume, but the villagers fear they cannot travel safely without UN police escorts. Some Greek police were present on the train for two years, villagers said, but recent NATO downsizing has meant the elimination of that program.

Meanwhile, shop supplies dwindle, and listless teens file up and down the village's dusty main street. "We have all finished our high school studies," said one 17 year-old boy, "But we can't work, and we have nothing to do."

When asked whether he planned to stay and fight when the inevitable Albanian attack comes, the teen wistfully replied, "we would like it if you could take us to America with you." So much for that much-feared "Serbian nationalism."

The Second Goal: Prevent Any Returns by Destroying Churches

One of the main promises of the UNMIK administration is that all refugees will be returned to Kosovo as part of its "Standards Before Status" conditions for eventual independence. "Yet what's strange," adds Oliver Ivanovic, "is that there were 35 churches destroyed in 2 days. In the 5 years before that, 118 churches were destroyed. All of the churches in Prizren were destroyed, because its previously displaced Serbs are supposed to be brought back there this year."

In this light, the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from hardcore KLA country in the south near Prizren and in the west near Djakovica and Pec become more understandable. Since a mark of any civilization is the presence of cultural monuments, the massive destruction of Serbian churches in this area shows the true intent of the Albanian militants. The western half of Kosovo is known to Serbs as "Metochia," a Greek word denoting church property. The wholesale destruction of Serbian churches and monasteries since 1999 and which accelerated last month betrays the desire to eliminate a whole people's history, culture, and right to exist.

Prizren, which had featured age-old mosques next to churches and a beautiful historic town, was hardest hit. It was described to me as a "little Jerusalem" by one resident Arab, and as "the most beautiful town in the former Yugoslavia" by a Serb. In 2002, it was listed as one of the world's 100 most endangered sites by the World Monument Fund. Among the other priceless churches destroyed was the 14th century cathedral of The Holy Virgin Ljevi?ka, one of the world's most important monuments to Byzantine art. On March 26, Bishop of Kosovo Artemijie lamented:

"how can people destroy a city in which they themselves are living? How can they calmly sit on benches and nonchalantly stroll in front of burning churches whose ruins stink of urine and feces left behind by the attackers? Where did such barbarity at the dawn of the 21st century come from, barbarity promoted not by some small group of extremists but by thousands of people who destroyed centuries of culture and civilization in their campaign of destruction?"

Pristina's Refugees

Some of the 150 Serbians expelled from Pristina on March 17 are currently being housed in an elementary school gym in Gracanica. The scene there is gloomy; cots lined up against the walls, black plastic bags of donated clothes and provisions, tinny music emanating from a little clock radio. Old people lay crouched in their beds while the few small children try to shoot baskets to entertain themselves. My local guide and I sat down to talk with one group of refugees, and instantly hospitality materialized in the form of Turkish coffee made on a plug-in burner. In Kosovo, even people who have nothing left want to give.

According to the refugees, who were all living in the same high-rise apartment block on the western edge of Pristina, the trouble began shortly before dark on Wednesday, the 17th of March. An old woman recalls standing on her balcony and seeing smoke and fire in the distance. She ran to her neighbor to tell her "Something is burning in Kosovo Polje!" This inferno and the arrival of a crowd of Albanian toughs at around 7:30 frightened the Serbs. "And so," the refugee went on, "we began to gather the most necessary items and documents, just in case."

By 8:30, the mob had multiplied to several hundred. It was made up of armed men and boys of all ages. They were chanting the standard rallying cry of the former Kosovo Liberation Army ("UCK! UCK!"), and soon had broken the windows of all the first-floor apartments with rocks and shotgun shells. Witnesses saw taxis and vans continually bringing more and more Albanians in, some of whom they recognized from the neighborhood. According to the refugees, the rioters were enabled by four or five Albanian KPS officers, who invited them to come closer and also threw Molotov cocktails at the trapped Serbs. When someone desperately rang up the UN Police to report the emergency, the officer who answered "just laughed and said, 'we have a patrol in the area.'"

The situation became much more serious after the power was mysteriously cut at 9 PM. This seemed like a cue for the rioters to begin charging the building. They blocked off all the entrances, and began firebombing Serb-owned cars outside the building and then the structure itself. When the power came on again at 10 PM, the people trapped in the building turned off all lights and lay on the floor, intermittently peeking out the windows to see what was happening.

Surviving the Siege

"Was it just a coincidence that the electricity was cut at the same moment they started their attack?" asks another refugee, Tanya Vudatovic. Until the riots, Vudatovic had been working in a Pristina NGO. It was difficult, and sometimes dangerous, but she felt safe enough. Not anymore.

"For five years," she recounts, "we were locked inside a building and subjected to constant surveillance and hostile stares from our Albanian neighbors. Even if you went downstairs to a shop, they were constantly watching you. We didn't even go out after dark. Yet even through all that, we still thought maybe we can live together. Not now."

Despite nearly having been killed by the Albanian mob, Vudatovic and the others are this evening enjoying a laugh with an Albanian colleague working to develop multi-ethnic radio. He had happened to be visiting them on the night of the riots, when Vudatovic and 32 others huddled inside an apartment barricaded by metal bars and marked by an OSCE sign. "Hiding behind such signs has been one of our tricks for survival," said Vudatovic. The presence of the metal bars, she is convinced, is the only reason they survived the attacks.

At around 11 PM, KFOR arrived with 2 vehicles. They passed across the front side of the apartment building and, while they remained, the crowd fell back. This detachment was soon replaced by a UN armored vehicle. The Serbs thought that they had been saved, and some made the mistake of opening their doors. But the peacekeepers inexplicably left after 15 minutes, and the mob regained strength, breaking into the building and baying for blood.

All in all, the rioters ransacked around 30 apartments and burned 4 others, according to the residents. Incredibly, no Serbs were killed, probably because they had taken shelter together in a few well-fortified apartments, placing tables, chairs, and anything heavy in front of the doors. However, had the peacekeepers not returned around 1 AM, many people would surely have died of fire and asphyxiation.

The arriving UN police soon found themselves under attack. The mob was furious at being stymied in their attack. But the police managed to break through the rioting crowd and started sweeping from the top floors down. A young mother named Vesna reveals the vital role American policemen played in the rescue:

"one of them took my son, and the other, a female officer, tried to run with me towards the bus. She shielded me with her body, because the Albanians were shooting at us from all directions. When we got to the bus she pushed me down against the vehicle, blocked me from the bullets and saved my life."

Meanwhile, Vudatovic and the others in the barricaded apartment below waited it out. "Even now when I lie down," she says, "I can still hear this roaring sound in my ears it's very hard to explain what it was like, sitting in a corner in the dark, begging God to help you." When I ask for her to attempt a description anyway, she recounts:

"we could hear the mob gathering outside the door. They were calling for me and my sister, shouting, 'Where are the two Serbian bitches?' We were covering the mouths of the children so they wouldn't scream. Out of the people in the apartment, only 4 were men, and all were unarmed. The Albanians would have killed all 33 people inside that room.

then we heard someone screaming for help. After a few minutes of hearing his cries, one woman said, 'I can't stand it, we have to help him.' So we removed the furniture blocking the door, went out in the hall and found a 34 year-old Serbian man covered in blood. He had been stabbed in the head. At that moment three Irish KFOR soldiers came running up the stairs. It was just a matter of seconds. They said to us, 'We don't have time! Go, go!' But the entranceway was engulfed in flames, and we had to run through the fire in order to get out."

The Story from Kosovo Polje

A few miles west of Pristina, in the little town of Kosovo Polje, Albanian rioters burned the post office, a restaurant, a hospital, and scores of houses, driving the Serbs away from the main road bisecting the town and railroad station. A British SFOR tank hastily imported from Bosnia now stands guard over the town's imperiled church, although it's unlikely that this nominal force of teenaged soldiers will be able to stop any determined attackers.

One refugee, a middle-aged man whose house was located behind the Post Office recounted what he saw:

"first, they took my nephew's car from the garage and burned it. We saw how they were throwing rocks at the Serbian houses. We all stayed indoors. But one old man who was caught outside while cleaning his house with his wife was kicked down by the mob. The Albanians let his wife go, but they lit the man on fire and burned him alive right there."

This witness, whom I encountered in a "safe" part of the (still) ethnically-mixed town, was remarkably composed considering what he had witnessed, and considering that the perpetrators were less than a mile away. He added:

"my elderly uncle was stabbed by Albanians as he was trying to run from a neighbor's house into his own. Luckily we were near enough to see him, and we saved him. But the KPS Albanian police saw them attack him and did nothing."

Eventually, the Serbs were evacuated by three of their ethnic kin who happened to work in the KPS. But these policemen could not save their homes from the Albanian mobs that moved methodically from house to house in groups of 30, looting, pillaging, and burning.

I asked the Kosovo Polje man, standing with some friends outside a little shop in the protected end of the town, what he envisions for the future. After all, he told me that he also owns an apartment in Belgrade but has nevertheless chosen to remain in Kosovo:

"after these five years, we thought it might be possible to live together. We had started to shop in Albanian stores, to walk more freely in the streets. Now there is no chance for that. Still, we had imagined the mob would stop at burning vehicles and big buildings not houses or people. KFOR has taken all our weapons from us only if they allow the Serbian police to return can we be saved."

The End for Obilic

In the village of Obilic, as in Pristina, the entire Serbian population was expelled. I met several refugees from the village now being housed in Priluzje, a Serbian village a few miles to the north. One middle-aged woman made homeless by the riots gave her testimony:

"at 10:30 AM on Thursday the 18th we left our house, my daughter and I. A neighbor took us in the van with them. We didn't have time to take anything, only the clothes on our back. There were over 1,000 Albanians coming towards us, burning and shooting."

I asked the woman whether she hoped to return to her village someday. She replied, "No, I have no wish to go back to Obilic. I will stay here if Priluzje survives, and if our Serbian army and police arrive to protect us, since KFOR does not seem able to do so."

A very old man, bearded and with a gravelly voice, recounted how he has been expelled from Obilic 4 times since 1999, when his home was first burned by Albanians. After that, he moved into a neighbor's house. When that was burned down, too, he was moved into a new building, and then into a camp in Pristina. He claims that since the camp was also used by KFOR for storing gasoline, "the smoke choked us, we felt sick, and I got an infection in my veins."

Like many other refugees, the old man declares that "What I'm wearing now is all that I have." Nevertheless, there is some of the old Serbian obstinacy left in him:

"I will go back to Obilic if there is safety, and if they rebuild our houses. But if they're not capable, let us bring in our own security and police forces."

Another elderly man, Slobodan, is temporarily housing these Obilic refugees in the home of his children and grandchildren. "I am 83 years old," he says, "I have lived through 3 wars, and it has never been harder for the Serbian people than it is now. In the past, our enemies weren't killing children, women, and old men, and destroying churches. How can we live if we aren't allowed to defend ourselves, and no one else will?"

The next day, back in Gracanica, my guide and I give a lift to a Serbian man carrying a heavy box of humanitarian supplies. Turns out that he's a refugee from Obilic too, being sheltered now within the enclave. When we describe the ruins we'd photographed in Obilic, the man recognizes one as being his former house. "Did you happen to see my dog?" he asks, hopefully, and describes the same mutt that'd been yapping around my feet the day before. "Ah! He lives still!" beamed the refugee.

Now, the UN administration in Kosovo claims that the peace has been restored. But no one can know for sure. For Serbian victims of ethnic cleansing and for those others whose villages survived the latest attacks, waiting is the only option. Yet since everyone knows the NATO forces are too few, and the Serbian minority too vulnerable, there's little reason for optimism. Their safety can only really be guaranteed by re-introducing Serbian troops to Kosovo. However, such a decision would cause instantaneous all-out war from the Albanians. And so, since no one is willing to risk the unthinkable of war for the sake of a few straggler Serbs, their gradual elimination will forestall the need for any such decision. And so will that other unthinkable ethnic cleansing in the heart of Europe be quietly tolerated by the West's would-be guarantors of civil society and human rights.

 
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Re: KosovO: Part II (I could add more in the other thread but it loads forever).

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April 15 2004, 2:47 PM 

in 1999, the shiptari had good press, in 2004 they are looking like murderers and thugs

by THE SERB!! (no login)

ic Berkshire, April 15, 2004
Berkshire soldiers on patrol again in Kosovo

The most wanted man in Kosovo was behind bars this week following a dramatic security operation involving Berkshire soldiers.

A high speed car chase was followed by a shootout during which security forces shot and injured a suspect believed to have been involved in the assassination of a United Nations policeman three weeks ago.

It came at the climax of a 12 hour operation mounted by soldiers of the Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment who have been urgently deployed to Kosovo where the country has suffered the worst violence since the Serbian ethnic cleansing of the 1990s.

Operation Rat Trap involved more than 100 local troops, headed by Major George Griffin from Reading.

Commanding office, Lt Col Nick Welch, said: "It has been a very successful day - this was a classic security operation."

The top secret operation had started before dawn when teams of soldiers moved into a housing estate in the capital Pristina. The idea was to flush out several suspects wanted for criminal activities, including the murder of the UN policeman.

But it was not until late afternoon that the operation reached its dramatic conclusion.

A car containing three Ethnic Albanians sped through the outskirts of Pristina, chased by a convoy of UN police cars. Berkshire soldiers set up roadblocks across the city before the suspects dumped their car and fled across fields close to a remote hamlet.

Police shot one man but the others fled from the scene, sparking off a huge manhunt.

We were warned to wear body armour as it was feared both suspects were armed.

Community leaders joined the troops to reassure villagers as they scoured houses and outbuildings for any trace of the wanted men.

Troops sealed off a vast area after they discovered that the shot man was carrying three primed hand grenades. Over the next few hours 20 more grenades and ammunition rounds were found by the soldiers --and both of the missing suspects were also arrested.

Major Griffin said: "The UN police are over the moon at the results."

But there was little time for celebration.

At 4am., the next day Major Griffin and his company of soldiers were back in action, carrying out a series of swoops on houses and flats in Pristina.

By breakfast time rocket launchers and guns had been seized by the soldiers.

Posted on Apr 15, 2004, 11:21 AM
from IP address 24.24.128.251

 
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April 16 2004, 12:43 PM 

The internationals and the mobs :Kosovo's moment of truth.

ERPKIM ^ | 04-16-04 | Christopher DeLiso

In the aftermath of Kosovo's March riots, a new clampdown on communication has been enforced on members of that city's UN administration, police, and military forces. The UN mission is right now facing its greatest crisis of confidence, and the powers-that-be are determined to avoid any potentially embarrassing disclosures. However, the anti-international sentiment that had been stewing for some time has finally exploded into the open. Now there is no concealing the reality: the international "liberators" have worn out their welcome, and are increasingly likely to be targeted should they get in the way of Albanian extremists' plans to ethnically cleanse Kosovo's last minority holdouts.

The Clampdown Confirmed: A Spokesman Sacked

Aside from the general media whitewashing campaign, there have been two main incidents that indicate the damage-control concerns of top UNMIK officials. The first involves Derek Chappell, the longtime UNMIK spokesman who was "internally transferred" soon after stating that there was no evidence to support the Albanian claim that Serbs had drowned 3 Albanian children in the River Ibar an "event" which nevertheless sparked a 3-day pogrom involving 51,000 rioters starting on March 17.

Despite the furious push the Albanian media gave to the drowning story, other international officials backed Chappell up. A senior OSCE official in Pristina told me last week that:

"the surviving Albanian boy had been influenced prior to speaking to the police, and then heavily pressured to say that the Serbs did it. If you have a boy whose brother and perhaps best friends have just died and put him in front of the cameras, under such duress, how could be expected to act?"

Added UNMIK Regional Media Officer in Mitrovica, Tracy Becker, "From the very first phone call from RTK (Radio Television Kosovo), I have been saying there is no evidence for this claim. You have a traumatized child in a very emotional situation who gets thrown in front of the TV cameras. That shouldn't happen."

During the riots, international officials expressed their "shock" that the story all questions of veracity notwithstanding was being used as justification for massive, province-wide attacks on Serbs. Nevertheless, during the riots, KFOR and UNMIK spokesmen in the field weren't allowed to make comments on the rapidly changing developments; everything had to be filtered back to Pristina and Chappell. In this unenviable high-pressure situation, Chappell seems to have done the right thing by telling the truth but has now paid the price for it.

This precedent has had far-reaching implications. One spokesman in Pristina who did not want to be named feared speaking out, lest "they shut me up like they shut up Derek."

The Serbian government is also making hay of the sacking. Minister for Kosovo Nebosja Covic concluded that Chappell's removal and the failure to solve earlier massacres of Serbs "sends a clear signal to ethnic Albanian extremists and terrorists to continue with crimes."

Yet the whole affair could get murkier still: the body of the alleged third Albanian drowning victim has yet to be found, leading some to question whether he ever existed in the first place.

The Clampdown Suspected: A Suppressed Casualty Count

The second indication that UN chiefs are in damage-control mode is the possibility of an incomplete "official" death toll during the riots. Both Serbian and Albanian media alike last week questioned why UNMIK's death count has gone down from 32 to 29 and now, to 19. According to the Kosovo "street," six KFOR soldiers died during the riots (though officially none were killed), including "one Greek in Urosevac, one Italian in Pec, and one French and one Dane in Mitrovica." Of course, none of this would be reassuring for the authorities in NATO home countries who are now quite interested to know why reality is not matching up to all those cheerful summaries of the situation they've gotten used to receiving from their subordinates.

Whispers and Roars

Given this climate of containment, few internationals are willing to say what they really feel for the record. And Serbs, being afraid for their lives, are also shrinking from public testimony. Honest, law-abiding Albanians, too, are reluctant to speak out against the murky and all-powerful groups responsible for the recent carnage. One Albanian woman working for the OSCE and educated in America told me, "Me and my friends were all saying, 'what the hell are they [the mob] doing?' That was not what most Albanians want."

Nevertheless, the Balkans abounds with examples of vicious minority mobs triumphing through violence, extorting or intimidating their way through all opposition. In today's neo-fascist Kosovo, it is in no one's interest to buck the trend and oppose the rule of vigilantes backed up by the local warlords-in-suits.

However, there are a few dissenters willing to speak out. With the additional inclusion of off-the-record testimony from a variety of sources, we can see clearly that the international relationship with the Albanians they "liberated" five long years ago has undergone a radical shift. The peacekeepers, now in imminent danger of further attacks from the emboldened Albanian mobs, are expressing disgust with their tactics and goals. One American special policeman from the Close Protection Unit blasted the rioters' indiscriminate targeting, saying, "I'm sorry but that's just ridiculous, attacking the elderly and little kids." He and a colleague also expressed their concern with the wholesale destruction of Serbian churches last month: "that was just uncalled for. That kind of stuff has got to stop."

In a break with precedent, NATO commander Admiral Gregory Johnson called the Albanian riots examples of ethnic cleansing. An unnamed UN official likened them to a "pogrom" the Serbian "Kristallnacht."

The internationals are now promising to maintain order, no matter what it takes. Swedish Brig. Gen. Anders Braennstroem promised in late March "to protect the minorities that were nearly killed and ethnically cleansed last week and I will use every means I have. I have 3,000 soldiers with weapons in their hands."

Nevertheless, the local power-brokers aligned against the UN mission are far too strong for the peacekeepers to control. "Purging" Kosovo's political scene of criminals, as Javier Solana vowed to do, would be suicidal. It would require a courage that foreign occupiers inevitably do not possess.

While a deceptive calm currently prevails, everyone knows that even the slightest spark can set off a major conflagration which can only be subdued, if at all, by the deployment of many more foreign troops no longer an option, considering that Iraq is itself on the brink of civil war. The American police and soldiers in Kosovo are doing their level best to protect the Serbian minority, but they're not likely to get much back-up if and when they need it.

Shock, Embarrassment, Cynicism

"A lot of people here were very shaken by what occurred," the senior OSCE official in Pristina told me. "Many sincerely believed things were getting better, that the two communities could co-exist peacefully. We're still dedicated to the same ideals but the approach of forcing people to live together who don't want to live together is now being questioned."

However, what do the internationals make of the Kosovo government's pledge to rebuild all the houses and churches destroyed during the riots? The official echoed the cynicism of many when he stated, "in my opinion this is very much just an alibi. The international community was shocked by the riots, and the Albanian leaders needed to react somehow. But I didn't tell you that!"

"A lot of internationals are very disgusted by the Albanians," he said. "We came to help them, and now they pay us back by behaving like the Serbs did to them beforehand! We have tried for five years with monetary donations, with training, with education and other support, but still everything is very superficial. They have learned merely how to mimic the international language of 'human rights,' but offer nothing more substantial."

Wet 'n' Wild in Caglavica

"Well, I just hope you're going to tell the truth," said the American cop with a chuckle. "You're not from CNN, I hope!" I had introduced myself as a journalist interested in documenting his experience of the riots. A thick-chested Texan, "Gary" was happy to oblige, having been in Kosovo for two-and-a-half years and having seen little of the Kosovo reality reflected in the international press.

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday, March 17, he said, "we got the alert." Having been told that a "surge" of Albanians was bearing down on the village of Caglavica, a few miles west of Pristina, the UN police geared up and prepared to stop the rioting. "We had 6 armored vehicles and 40 personnel," Gary said. "We attempted to catch up with the mob but all the roads had been purposely blocked by parked trucks and buses, so we had to take the back route through Kosovo Polje, getting to Caglavica around 12:00. At that time, part of Caglavica was already burning."

Once the detachment arrived on the scene, they tried to coordinate with the Indian, Jordanian, Irish, and Swedish police teams present. Gary estimated the mob at 5,000-6,000, all ready to raise hell: "guys were lined up with rows of Molotov cocktails prepared beforehand. They had AK-47's, heavy machine guns, hand grenades, pistols, hunting rifles, farm tools, knives, rocks, you name it. We were ordered not to fire."

This order vexed the policeman and to this day he believes that unnecessary destruction was caused through this and other "command errors" that occurred that day:

"The Indian policemen, who were facing the worst of it at the front, were asking for permission to use rubber bullets. That permission was not granted at the time. The ground commander thought that we could deter the mob with our presence alone. But with the use of firepower we could have driven them back, thus saving a lot of houses."

Seeing that the UN police were pushovers, the rioters upped the ante. Gary recounts the order of events that resulted in the afternoon's first death:

"At this time we had no riot shields up front, and they were stoning us pretty heavily. We retreated behind some officers who had shields it sounded like rain on a tin roof. We thought, 'come on, they can't continue.' But they did, and still no order was given to use force.

"Finally, as the mob was pushing dangerously close, we were given a KFOR water cannon truck. With the water cannon we were able to push the crowd back, and this pissed them off pretty good.

"So we look, and barreling down the road at us here comes this brave Albanian in a dump truck, all his countrymen rooting him on. And he drives up right in front of the 2 soldiers holding the water cannon and lurches to a stop. The crowd cheers. He lurches forward again and stops. More cheers. A soldier from the back was then forced to take this idiot out because he was about to crush our guys between his vehicle and the water cannon truck. And the crowd went silent when they saw that he was dead. Now we're probably going to have a new monument go up somewhere in Pristina, for this latest hero of the national cause."

Shortly thereafter, Gary says, his team was called back to Pristina to deal with an unfolding refugee emergency. They were replaced that evening by American soldiers who did have orders to use lethal force and for this reason commanded a lot more respect from the mob.

Their contribution, and that of the extraction force that saved Serbian refugees in Pristina, was acknowledged by the Serbian Ambassador in Skopje, Biserka Matic-Spasojevic, who told me last week that "If it weren't for the Americans taking action in Caglavica, over a thousand Serbs would have been lynched. We're really grateful to the US for helping."

Gary contends that "As Americans, our philosophy is that deadly force can be used. The UN takes a somewhat different approach. So it is sometimes frustrating and restricting, working for the UN. To save life and property we were not allowed to use deadly force."

Still, if not perfect, he says, the peacekeepers' reaction was vital: "If KFOR hadn't come in at the time, they [the rioters] could have taken the whole province."

A Suspicious Silence

"Right now, there is a rather suspicious silence," brooded Stelios, a pessimistic Greek policeman in Gracanica. "I don't like it." Taking a drag on his cigarette, he compared the current situation to the calm before the storm, adding that all signs of goodwill have been eroded by the riots:

"Nobody trusts nobody anymore. They [the Albanians] understood that we have now seen them attack us. And so the KPS [Kosovo Police Service] are now walking with their heads down, not making eye contact. It's a way of saying sorry, but we are now enemies.

"Before these riots, you would see UNMIK and KPS officers sitting together from 12-1 on their lunch break. Not anymore."

The new polarization is visible in the streets of Pristina and throughout Kosovo. "This place has become much busier in the two last weeks," said one local observer inside the Cookery Bar, a sports pub popular with foreigners and situated opposite the UN complex. "The foreigners are starting to avoid the Albanian bars they used to frequent, instead sticking to places like this." In front of the UN building, fences and a partial concrete barrier have cut into what used to be a wide avenue.

A German commander from the Close Protection Unit escorting the Serbian bishop agreed. "The local people have been acting very differently towards us since the riots. It's not an encouraging sign."

The Empowerment Problem

And there are still many nagging questions. Along with the aforementioned doubts over the Albanian drowning story and the official casualty toll, there is most importantly the issue of how the "spontaneous" riots started, and who had ultimate control over them. "Why did [Hasim] Thaci and [Agim] Ceku not say 'stop' until three days into the riots?" asked Stelios. "And why, once they did say 'stop,' did everything suddenly stop?"

A former commander in the Croatian and then 1999 Kosovo conflicts, Ceku is the most contentious figure in the Kosovo Albanian leadership. Some believe there is a sealed indictment for him at The Hague. He was arrested in Hungary and Slovenia on a Serbian Interpol warrant last year, but both times he was released, due to the frantic intervention of UNMIK officials. Since the occupiers moved in, he has been in charge of the pseudo-military TMK "Thug Men in Kosovo," as Gary and his peers jokingly refer to them. Mr. Ceku, who actually offered the US Kosovo's "troops" for Iraq, has lobbied continually for developing a real Kosovar army and air force. He, Thaci and a handful of other men more or less control the entire province, commanding the allegiance of formidable private armies and ow!ning many major businesses, hotels, bars, and restaurants.

And so not only do these men dominate the official government and command the formidable UN-approved security apparatus, they also have eyes, ears, and guns everywhere. And so by giving weapons, uniforms, and legitimacy to the former KLA leaders back in 1999, the UN administration set a trap that it would fall into later. At the very beginning of the whole occupation, there may have been a chance to perform the kind of "purge of criminals" Javier Solana dreams of today. But that opportunity has been missed. The criminal and terrorist elements have been allowed to consolidate their power, manipulating both the legal and extra-legal bodies that guarantee it.

Ambassador Matic-Spasojevic maintains that the basic mistake was in simply turning KLA members into KPS and TMK officers in 1999:

"the main aim of that was to make them more easily controlled. The question remains as to why they haven't been controlled. For example, none of the main leaders have been confronted with the possibility of going to The Hague. Our Ministry of Justice has around 40,000 pages of information on the KLA leaders' crimes against humanity. The report weighs 27 kilograms. But Carla Del Ponte has been very quiet on this issue."

Quite understandably, the international administration is terrified of reining in the thugs who control the province. "They are aware that if they try to extradite these leaders," says the ambassador, "there will be all-out frontal war on the UNMIK and KFOR forces."

Reporting this week from Pristina, the Spectator's Tom Walker makes a similar point:

"since 1999, the KLA have not proved to be the great defenders of human rights they were once cracked up to be: some 350,000 Serbs and other minorities have fled, and of the 100,000 left, many will surely go. Empowered, the Albanians have fulfilled virtually none of the conditions the UN has laid down as prerequisites for independence, but nonetheless it is now universally agreed that that is the only answer. The thugs have won the argument, and the last thing Nato or the prototypical EU defence force wants is to have to take on the inheritors of the KLA in their own backyard."

Schizophrenic Balkanians Endanger the Peacekeepers

That the Balkans represents some sort of parallel reality, some black hole of reason goes without saying. But even for this hallucinatory region, the speed with which riot-denial is setting in is remarkable. Gary told me the following vignette:

"I got in an argument with this old Albanian guy today in a shop. I recognized him from the riots. He saw the flag on my uniform and said, 'Oh! Mr. American! We love you!' I said, 'Well, if you love me so much, then why were you shooting and throwing Molotov cocktails at me the other week?' He waved his arm and said, 'No, no, no, that didn't happen. I saw on the TV news, nothing happened.' Most of them really believe it was just a peaceful demonstration."

This experience was seconded by a tough-talking, silver-haired American cop in North Mitrovica. He had fractured a foot and sustained leg injuries from rocks hurled at him during the riots. "Oh, sure," he said, "You have the guy who tries to hurt you one day, and the next morning you see him smiling at you, sitting in the caf? and wearing a turban to cover where you had to clock him the day before." Pausing to light up a stogie, the cop added:

"I don't want to hit anyone with steel. The last thing we want to do is to hurt anybody, but we also have a right to protect ourselves. Nobody can predict the future in the Balkans. The mentality here is angry, different from anywhere in the world I tell the new guys, you can become a goodwill ambassador for your country in this job. But you can never lose focus. Things can change so fast."

The Final Countdown

Indeed, as the Kosovo whirlpool gathers force, things are indeed getting mighty volatile. However, there is little chance that definitive changes such as plotting Kosovo's "final status" will be achieved.

While Serbian and some world media decried the ethnic cleansing aspect of the March riots, the Albanians and their lobbyists in the press and US government blame the violence on UNMIK's failure to make Kosovo an independent state. This eruption couldn't be avoided, because we were just so frustrated and fed up, they seemed to be saying. Sorry. This apologetic overture to impatience is cynical in the extreme.

Now, everything is a mess and a mess it will remain. Serbia wants the province to somehow stay a part of the country; Kosovo Albanians reject this on principle and, as the senior OSCE official stressed, "looking around, you will see it's just not the case. This has become an Albanian province."

And although Serbian police have not been allowed to protect minority areas, as Resolution 1244 envisaged, Belgrade is still servicing the Kosovar debt. Property rights remain undetermined, important economic reforms undone, impetuses for boosting employment non-existent. Even in the best of cases, an independent Kosovo would not be economically viable. Yet were it first to be partitioned, as the Serbian government suggested, then Serbia would retain the best mineral deposits near the Trepca mines north of Mitrovica, leaving the rump Kosovo with even less of a reason to exist.

While progress is slow, last month's riots showed the underlying volatility of the situation something which lends an air of urgency to the proceedings. A brutally frank assessment of what needs to happen was disclosed to me by Oliver Ivanovic, Serbian member of the Kosovo presidency.

"If you can't have a balance of interest," he said, "things will only work if you have a balance of fear. Right now you have euphoric, well-protected and rather brazen Albanians, and frustrated, fearful Serbs. Letting Serbia send police to guard their enclaves would go a long way towards achieving this balance. With moderate protection, we will start negotiating. But it is not fair, they way the situation is now, to hold talks."

This assertion brings us to a very interesting logical juncture. Faced with the prospect of not having enough troops to defend an increasingly vulnerable Serbian minority, UNMIK will have to consider allowing Serbian forces to return to Kosovo. However, since this would spark an Albanian rebellion against UNMIK and Serbia alike, they would probably decide against it. What to do, then, if UNMIK cannot prevent future riots and terrorist attacks against the Serbian minority? States Ivanovic:

"if the Albanians try to drive out every Serb from Kosovo, as it looks like they're doing, this will cause a real war between Serbia and the Albanians, and no one will be able to stop it.

"I said this to Richard Holbrooke in October, when he came here to make a show of his big success with [former UNMIK head] Bernard Kouchner in front of reporters from the New York Times and Washington Post. I told him straight to his face that allowing this Albanian ethnic cleansing to continue was exactly the way for a new Milosevic to appear. Except it will be a new one, much cleverer than the old, and appearing in much different circumstances, now that the US and EU are both fed up with the behavior of the Albanians. Holbrooke just scoffed and kept saying, 'You're wrong.' But we will see."

A new war, for a Kosovo long thought lost? Anywhere else in the world, even the idea would be considered absurd. Yet this is the Balkans, where nothing is ever finished, and where reality tends to be fluid and elastic indeed. No one can control Kosovo or dictate its fate especially not the well-meaning but hapless foreigners who are supposed to be doing so.

Peacekeepers, put on your helmets! It looks like it's going to be a wild ride.

 
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April 20 2004, 11:35 AM 

Kosovo will seek unilateral split from Serbia, premier warns.

Financial Times
By Eric Jansson in Pristina
April 19 2004 5:00 | Last Updated: April 19 2004 5:00

Kosovo's interim prime minister will seek a separation from Serbia in September 2005 if the United Nations has not made substantive progress on the province's future by then.

"If we wait until September 2005 and we see they are buying time, probably we will unilaterally move for a referendum on independence or a declaration of independence," Bajram Rexhepi said in an interview with the Financial Times.

Mr Rexhepi said he would prefer to see a gradual transition to self-rule agreed with the UN.

But he claimed the international community showed signs of "unwillingness" to make progress, scolding some UN officials in the province for "wanting this to continue another five or 10 years".

Mr Rexhepi leads the province's democratically elected government and wields significant authority, especially among Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority. However, it is not clear how the international community would respond to an attempted unilateral separation.

Ultimate authority in Kosovo has rested with the UN since 1999, when Nato intervened to stop a civil war. UN officials overruled an earlier unilateral move by Kosovo's parliament - another provisional institution - to change Kosovo's borders and nullify Serbian laws still valid in the province.

Mr Rexhepi's remarks underline the renewed sense of urgency over Kosovo felt by Balkan leaders since last month, when 19 people died and more than 900 were injured in the worst violence since the civil war.

In the recent violence, Nato's occupying force of almost 20,000 troops failed to stop ethnic Albanian mobs from attacking ethnic Serb enclaves. Thousands of Serbs were forced to flee homes and churches that came under attack.

The violence triggered reprisals against mosques in Serbia proper and has led some observers to question whether negotiations over Kosovo's final status can begin successfully next year.

Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, last week said "we should not talk too much" about Kosovo's final status until ethnic minorities in the province, including Serbs, were better protected.

Fernando Gentilini, Mr Solana's envoy to Kosovo, told the FT he had not been made aware of Mr Rexhepi's threat of unilateral action.

The prime minister suggested Kosovo's political transition could start with two years of "monitored independence". This would allow a provisional government to assume full control while continuing to face strict international scrutiny, even after the dismantling of UN rule.

Pressure is mounting not only from Mr Rexhepi. Serbia's government also has broken the diplomatic silence, publishing a scheme that proposes self-rule for ethnic minority communities in an autonomous Kosovo.

* United Nations police in Kosovo are holding four Jordanian members of the force following a gunbattle with US police in which two American women prison officers and a Jordanian male were killed, Reuter reports from Pristina.

"Four Jordanians were detained yesterday after the incident and they are in custody," Stefan Feller, UN police commissioner, said in Pristina. "We don't know the motive," he said in response to questions about a report that violent emotions over Iraq were behind the clash.

 
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April 20 2004, 11:37 AM 

Friday, 16 April, 2004, 21:12 GMT 22:12 UK

Scores arrested for Kosovo riots.

By Nick Hawton
BBC correspondent, Pristina

The United Nations in Kosovo says it has arrested more than 260 people following the wave of violence which hit the province last month.

Nineteen people died when Serbs and ethnic Albanians clashed in the worst violence in the province since 1999.

The UN mission, Unmik, has vowed to bring to justice those responsible.

An Unmik spokesman said the 260 arrests were for crimes ranging from murder, attempted murder to theft and hooliganism.

Neeraj Singh said the arrests had taken place right across the province and that some of those held were believed to have helped organise the violence.

The 19 deaths occurred when groups of ethnic Albanians attacked Serb communities, burning houses and churches.

International officials described it as an attempt to ethnically cleanse the province of its Serb inhabitants.

Frustration

UN vehicles and buildings were also targeted.

Frustration at the lack of political progress in the province is believed to have been one of the key causes of the violence.

Technically, Kosovo remains part of Serbia but the majority Albanian population want independence.

Unmik has promised to bring the perpetrators of the recent violence to justice.

But with tensions remaining high and with no real sign of political progress, future violence cannot be ruled out.

 
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April 21 2004, 1:47 PM 

Church Grounds Desecrated; Turned into Public Toilet.

http://www.persecution.org ^ | 4/19/04 Kosovo | ERPKIM

The Church property around the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Pristina turned into a squatting ground for Roma emigrants from Albania.

The interior of the church is used as a public toilet.

Pristina Municipal authorities (Albanians) and UNMIK keep tolerating the sacrilege despite warning of Bishop Artemije in January 2004 to protect the church and the church property.

These horrific scenes of extreme lack of culture and savagery in the center of Pristina.

In a statement for the ERP KIM Info Service, the Bishop added: "In addition to all the horrors and the destruction and desecration of over 140 churches since the arrival of the UN mission in this region, the shocking spectacles from the church of Christ the Savior, which has been turned into a public toilet, confirm that the eradication of Christianity and all Christian civilizational values in this region is being carried out with the silent, and frequently the active, acquiescence and participation of Albanian provisional institutions and their sponsors in the UN mission.

 
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April 21 2004, 2:09 PM 

Kosovo Serbs cant survive without cantons | 12:21 | FoNet

BELGRADE -- Wednesday Serbs in Kosovo believe they are unable to survive in the province without cantons being established and security being stepped up, a senior Kosovo Serb politician has said.

Rada Trajkovic, a member of the Serb National Council told journalists after meeting Democratic Party leader Boris Tadic that the Council expected international policy to be implemented in the province.

If it is not, she said, the current policy on Kosovo should be suspended and Serbs guaranteed a place in the provinces transitional institutions.

 
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April 22 2004, 11:05 AM 

British minister says Kosovo president should apologise | 16:44 -> 19:02 | B92

PRISTINA -- Wednesday Britains Minister for Europe has called on Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova to kneel down and apologise for last months wave of attacks against the provinces Serb minority and Orthodox churches, media in Pristina reported today.

"I hope I will soon see Rugova kneeling down and apologizing to Europe for the crimes committed against European culture," Denis MacShane was quoted saying in comments translated into Albanian.

Rugova has yet to publicly condemn the violence, in which more than 600 Serb homes were razed and 29 Orthodox churches and monasteries destroyed.

"What happened in 1999 is shameful, but you cannot take vengeance on churches," MacShane said, referring to attacks five years ago on ethnic Albanians by Serb security forces of the Milosevic regime.

He urged Serb and Albanian leaders to condemn such violence.

The British MP is due in Belgrade today, where he is expected to urge the new Serbian government to implement the reforms launched after the fall of the Milosevic regime in October 2000.

 
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April 22 2004, 11:36 AM 

Reconsidering Our Foreign Policy War when we're not attacked -- Comparing Serbia with Iraq.

San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 12/21/2003 | Tom Campbell

Kosovo and Iraq are both instances of U.S. military action against a country that had not attacked us. The United States bombed Serbia for 79 days in 1999 -- until Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic gave up. The United States bombed and sent ground forces into Iraq in 2003 -- until Iraqi President Saddam Hussein gave up.

In comparing these two, it is worth noting that neither is at peace today. American troops still patrol Iraq; NATO troops still patrol the Serbian province of Kosovo, and they likely will continue to patrol for years to come.

Which situation posed a greater threat to international peace? What started the involvement in Iraq was Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It attacked, claimed to incorporate Kuwait and, during the Persian Gulf War, fired missiles into the territory of two U.S. allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel. After the cease-fire, Iraq expelled U.N. weapons inspectors whose presence it had agreed to as a condition of ending the Persian Gulf War.

By contrast, Serbia was never a threat to other countries. Whatever Serbia did to the people living in Kosovo, Kosovo was and remains, under American and international law, part of Serbia. Serbia had never attacked the United States or our allies, or any of its neighbors. Serbia never even retaliated when the United States was bombing its capital city, Belgrade.

Human-rights abuses were present in both Iraq and Serbia. The CIA documented that 2,000 people were killed by Milosevic in Kosovo in the years prior to the U.S. bombing. Saddam Hussein gassed, shot, tortured and starved hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens before the United States went to war to overthrow the dictator. The now regular unearthing of mass graves in Iraq compels the conclusion that Iraq, not Kosovo, presented the stronger human- rights justification for intervention.

Those who doubt the United States will exit Iraq anytime soon suspect that U.S. and British troops will have to stay for a long time to quell centuries-old Shiite, Sunni and Kurd hostility. The same has proved true for the need for U.S. and other NATO troops in Kosovo: NATO troops are now in their fifth year of occupation to protect both ethnic Serbs and Albanians from annihilating each other.

Critics fault President Bush for not obtaining prior U.N. approval for the recent Iraq war, forgetting that President Bill Clinton did not obtain prior U.N. approval to wage war over Kosovo, either. In Iraq, the U.N. Security Council had given open-ended authority in 1991 to the United States "to restore . . . security to the area." While one can argue whether that wording was sufficient to justify the United States' action 12 years later, President Clinton had nothing like that authority when he dropped the first bomb on Belgrade.

After the capitulation of Milosevic, the U.N. Security Council did pass a resolution recognizing the de facto status of the United States and NATO in Kosovo. The Clinton administration pointed to this as after-the-fact U.N. ratification, claiming that the international community condoned the action. The same can be said about Iraq: Just two months ago, the U.N. Security Council passed a similar resolution regarding the United States' and the United Kingdom's presence in Iraq.

Whatever international law says, what about legality under the U.S. Constitution? President Bush sought and obtained approval from Congress before acting in Iraq (and, in a separate, earlier vote, in Afghanistan). President Clinton never did. When I asked Madeleine Albright, President Clinton's secretary of state, about the constitutional legality in congressional hearings, she said the U.S. action in Kosovo wasn't "war," it was "armed conflict," and therefore no congressional approval was constitutionally needed. I asked her what the difference was; she replied that she would let the lawyers figure it out.

In terms of announced rationale, President Clinton said Serbia posed a threat to NATO's security. President Bush said Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Both prior-announced justifications gave way to others as time passed, rationales that became based on human rights and self-determination in both places.

I can understand opposing U.S. action in both Iraq and Serbia. I can understand supporting it in both. I can understand concluding that, on grounds of human rights, attacks on U.S. allies, international law and U.S. Constitutional law, the war in Iraq was a clearer case than the war in Serbia. To support the decision to attack Serbia, but not Iraq, however, is illogical.

It seems that it comes down to this: To some, President Bush can do no good, and President Clinton could do no wrong. Loyalties to both Presidents Clinton and Bush excite the strong feelings of many, but personalizing American foreign policy impedes objective judgment.

Tom Campbell served five terms in Congress and was a member of the House International Relations Committee.

 
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April 22 2004, 2:28 PM 

Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 05:30 GMT 06:30 UK

Kosovo independence 'impossible'

By Nick Hawton
BBC correspondent in the Balkans

The new foreign minister of Serbia and Montenegro, Vuk Draskovic, has said an independent Kosovo is "impossible". Any attempt to form such a state would go against the wishes and rights of Serbs living there and would be very dangerous, he told the BBC. Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanian population want independence, but the Serbs are against it. Last month, 19 people died when ethnic Albanians attacked Serb communities in the province's worst clash since 1999.

Sensitive issue.

Kosovo's majority Albanian population are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of a long-term political solution in the UN-administered province. However, Mr Draskovic, who was a leading opponent of former President Slobodan Milosevic, said creating an independent Kosovo was not the answer. "It would be very dangerous for both Serbs and Albanians, because generations of Serbs would dream after that day how to liberate Kosovo, and Serbs will become European Jews, dreaming about the liberation of Jerusalem," he said. "If we want multicultural, multi-ethnic Kosovo, that is impossible in the case of the proclaiming of the independence of Kosovo," he added. These were uncompromising words from the new foreign minister, and on one of the region's most sensitive issues. Mr Draskovic said the priority now was for greater security to be provided for Serbs living in Kosovo and for some form of decentralisation of power to be agreed. He said only then could talks start on the province's final status.