Page 608 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 608

Dušan T. Bataković
 from 1995 to 1998, notably of Kosovo Serb policemen and civilians, but also of Kosovo albanian officials loyal to Ser- bia, were aimed at destroying the last bridges of commu- nication between the two communities, and punishing all the members of the albanian community unsympathetic to the secessionist cause.
The albanian clandestine paramilitary organization KLa (the Kosovo Liberation army) announced armed re- sistance in February 1998. This was a major turning-point after which the decade-long passive resistance of the al- banians gradually turned into armed rebellion and after- wards into full-scale civil war in the Province. Milošević’s regime responded with severe, often excessive, police mea- sures targeting both terrorist KLa groups and, occasion- ally, civilians involved in providing logistics. after a se- ries of persistent clashes between the KLa and Serbian police forces, the armed conflict escalated in the summer of 1998.192
after the failed Rambouillet negotiations on the fu- ture status of Kosovo, NaTO decided to resolve the cri- sis by military action.193 Officially, the NaTO campaign against Yugoslavia, lacking legal authorization from the
193 David Gompert, “How to Defeat Serbia”, Foreign Affairs, vol. 73, no. 4 (New York: Council on Foreign Relations inc., 1994).
UN, had five initial objectives: 1) safe return of albanian refugees; 2) withdrawal of all Serbian forces from Koso- vo; 3) NaTO military control on the ground; 4) extended autonomy for Kosovo; and 5) the gradual introduction of multiethnic democracy. another two objectives were add- ed subsequently: overthrowing Milošević and no commit- ment of ground troops.194
The bombing of Yugoslavia that started on 24 March 1999 strained Serbian-albanian relations in Kosovo to the limit. The Kosovo albanians supporting the paramilitary KLa units openly rejoiced at the bombs falling on Bel- grade and other towns in Serbia. in addition, the KLa forces resumed operations against Serbian police units and local Serbian civilians, but also against those albanians or members of other ethnic groups (such as Roma, Mus- lim Slavs, Gorani and others) that had remained loyal to Serbia throughout the conflict. in response, the Serbian police and military forces launched full-scale operations against albanians, and the KLa forces, apart from small pockets in central and north-eastern Kosovo (the Dreni-
194 “a Bungled War”, The Economist, London, 8 May 1999, 11. See a rather critical analysis of the Kosovo crisis development and Na- TO operations in ignatio Ramonet & alain Gresh, eds., “La nouvelle guerredesBalkans”,Lemondediplomatique,Manièredevoirno.45 (May–june 1999). Cf another, less critical, Western perspective by Ronald Dannreuther, “War in Kosovo: History, Development and aftermath” in Mary Buckley and Sally Cummings, eds., Kosovo Per- ception of War and its Aftermath (London & New York: Continuum, 2001), 12–29.
Kosovo & Metohija – Serb-inhabited Areas, 1999
  Cf “Serbia: Democratic alternative”, Special Report by US In- stitute of Peace, Washington DC, june 1998, p. 7. For more, see D. T. Bataković. “The Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. War, international Protectorate and National Catastrophe”, Eurobalkans 36–37 (au- tumn/Winter 1999), 23–40.

   606   607   608   609   610