Serbs and Roma flee KLA terror in Kosovo
claims that the US-NATO war against Yugoslavia was conducted
many as 170,000 Serbs of a pre-war population of 200,000 have left
last week in the Kosovo capital Pristina, where the number of
of the United Nations mission in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, revealed
have been a series of killings in Pristina. On June 23, for
of the Serbs remaining in the capital are the elderly and disabled
Monday, two Serb teenagers were killed and five other Serbs injured
A documented reign of terror
US-based Human Rights Watch organisation released a report at the
viewed the bodies of three Serbs killed on June 19 in the
soldiers in the village of Pones in the Gnjilane municipality
the town of Lipljan, KFOR officers reported that a male Serb was
elderly Serb men in the village of Slivovo were reportedly abducted
also document the abduction, interrogation and torture of
report describes the following testimony of 71 year-old S.B. as
are a commonplace occurrence. Thirty Roma homes were
Serb and Roma homes in the village of Slovinje suffered a similar
Rights Watch observed: "The most serious incidents of violence...
report concluded: "The intent behind many of the killings and
light of this evidence, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's
International response to KLA inspired "ethnic cleansing"
all of the nationalist militia groups in the Balkans, the KLA's
Human Rights Watch report makes clear that the KLA has a history of
At least 130 Serbs went missing during this time and are presumed dead."
assessment underscores the fact that a bitter civil war was raging
KFOR's occupation of Kosovo, the public position of US-NATO
Rights Watch made the following assessment of the role of KFOR
has dismissed warnings by the United Nations High Commissioner for
Clashes with KFOR
of the Serbs remaining in Kosovo are concentrated in a few towns
on August 6, crowds of up to 1,000 Albanians, many of them
Mitrovica is a mining centre, some 20 miles north of Pristina,
at a news conference on August 8, KLA political chief Hashim
also denounced the Russian contingent on August 1, after its
the withdrawal of Yugoslav Army units, the KLA has declared itself
are signs of tension between the Albanian nationalists and the
immediately issued a statement describing KFOR as the "sole
actions and statements are not motivated by humanitarian
plans for a virtual military protectorate in Kosovo are coming
Old Serbs become terror target
Bird in Podujevo
But Mrs Cemburovic is not to be allowed a peaceful old age and a dignified death. The hatred felt by Podujevo's ethnic Albanians, thirsty for revenge against the Serb minority here for the horrific excesses of the Serbian security forces during this year's war in Kosovo, has seen to that.
The frail old woman, with inflamed blue eyes and a heart condition, is now a prime target for groups of armed ethnic Albanians who have carried out a spate of murders of the Serb elderly to terrify the handful of Serbs, Montenegrins and gypsies still left in Kosovo into leaving. At the weekend Nato peacekeepers found an elderly couple shot dead in their apartment in the south-western town of Prizren. "We presume they are Serbs," said a spokesman for K-For yesterday.
Brutality characterises these murders, intended to act as an example to those who refuse to leave. Belgrade's media reported that a 62-year-old Serb woman was found dead in the village of Landovica, near Prizren, last week. An elderly Serb woman was found beaten to death in her bath in Pristina earlier this month.
In a report this month detailing abuses against Serbs and other minorities in Kosovo, the US-based Human Rights Watch recorded how two elderly Serb neighbours had their throats slit in June.
One of the victims, Marica Stamenkovic, was found by German peacekeepers to have been almost decapitated. The victims had ignored repeated warnings to leave issued by ethnic Albanians wearing the uniforms of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
"We sit here," said Mrs Cemburovic, an enamel plate of bitter walnuts on her dining room table accenting her still life. "We do not go out anywhere."
Across the table sat her friend Jelica Miljanovic, in her 70s. After threats from ethnic Albanians telling her to "Go to Serbia!", she fled her apartment to join Mrs Cemburovic.
They are two of three elderly Serbs not to have left the town when British peacekeeping troops arrived in June.
Then, the town popped and crackled with gunfire between departing Serbian forces, defeat in their eyes, and ethnic Albanian KLA fighters who stole into the town behind the British troops. Now, red Albanian flags, martial songs glorifying the KLA, and crowds clogging the streets make a frightening din below her cramped, concrete balcony.
two old women are now under constant protection from a unit of British
peacekeepers from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, red and white feather
hackles on their berets. Corporal Alan Lovett, stood standing at the
entrance to Mrs Cemburovic's apartment block with an assault rifle,
was a little deflated by "granny patrol". "I thought
I'd be fighting my way through
To Mrs Cemburovic and Mrs Miljanovic, the British soldiers outside their door are mnogo fino, "very fine", despite the frightening time people had earlier this summer under bombardment by Nato jets. "If I was younger..." mused Mrs Miljanovic, a kittenish look on her face, lined like the walnuts on the table.
Mrs Cemburovic - the more serious of the two characters - said that without the soldiers she would not be able to stay in Podujevo. The glass in the windows of her apartment overlooking the street were smashed when unidentified attackers threw rocks. She whacked her palms on her cheeks, saying this was how ethnic Albanians had slapped her in the street.
"The KLA have told our neighbours not to talk to us," she said. "The KLA run everything here," she said. When she ventured out to the post office to collect her pension last week - escorted by Corp Lovett's men - the ethnic Albanian clerks told her there was no money for her, for which she blames the KLA.
The smiles on the ragged children playing around the entrance to her apartment block hide a disturbing malevolence. On the rare occasions Mrs Cemburovic leaves the flat, the children run their fingers across their throats to mock her.
"I said to one of their mothers once, 'Why do you let them behave like that?' " she said. "She wasn't in the least sorry, just said they were 'politicised'. I think someone's stirring them up to do it."
Relations between the Serb and ethnic Albanian communities in Kosovo have seethed for decades, but she still finds it hard to understand the hatred now ranged against her. All across Kosovo, peacekeepers are keeping similar vigils. Irish Guards are parked outside my elderly Serb neighbour's house in Pristina in a large armoured vehicle. "We're here as long as they [the old Serbs] want to stay," said one of the guardsmen yesterday. "But many are deciding to leave."
International officials here are asking how long they can afford to keep the Serbs and gypsies inside Kosovo. "You just can't protect everyone 24 hours a day," said Ron Redmond, spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in Kosovo.
"There is a question: how long are K-For and the other international agencies going to be able to provide this kind of protection?"
Mr Redmond estimates that 180,000 Serbs have left Kosovo, of whom he thinks 50,000 had gone before Nato started bombing in March. About one-tenth of the original Serb population remain.
Even if she wanted to leave, Mrs Cemburovic seems to have nowhere else to go. The last she saw of her two adopted children was when they drove to Podujevo from the provincial capital, Pristina, during the Nato bombardment to see if she was alive. She speaks vaguely of a relative in Belgrade. Like their counterparts from Croatia in 1995, Serb refugees are not welcome in northern Serbia.
"My husband's at the cemetery," said Mrs Cemburovic. "I have a place next to him, I just want to be buried next to him. That is all."
UNHCR says Kosovo nearly "emptied out" of Serbs
are pretty much approaching the line of an almost Serb-free Kosovo,
"One exodus is following another," he added.
authorities have told the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
ethnic Serbs and Gypsies left during or immediately after NATO's
Albanians in the province have carried out scores of retaliatory
not had reports over the last 10 days or so that we used to have of
latest fgures from the Federal Yugoslav government indicate that
can't vouch for the accuracy of the figures. Nevertheless, the trend
UNHCR was evacuating 28 "vulnerable elderly Serbs" on Tuesday
all of the 28 have received verbal threats and begged to be
how many ethnic Serbs might remain in Kosovo, Janowski replied:
Beatings Of Gorans Heighten Ethnic Tensions
is wide knowledge of the harsh treatment facing Serbs and Roma in
Kosovo; 24 August 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Gora is one of the least
Gorans are a small minority who, according to the last census in 1991,
the outset of the NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia last March, Serbian
some Gorans also went to Belgrade to demonstrate against NATO air
Turkish KFOR commander in Dragash, Izzet Cetingoz, says that when his
forces arrived in the district, anger among ethnic Albanians toward
we arrived here more than one month ago it was said among the
notes that the Gorans insist they are innocent of any collaboration
Gora intellectual, speaking to RFE/RL on condition of anonymity for
KFOR troops, who control southwestern Kosovo, gave the Dragash
German KFOR spokesman in Prizren told RFE/RL over the weekend that all
minorities in Kosovo regardless of their size are under pressure to
The spokesman says the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) appears to be building up pressure to create an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo -- first by chasing out the Serbs and Roma and subsequently the Turks and Gora.
a result, the area has experienced what Gora residents say were several
Many Gorans have emigrated this year to other parts of Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, and Austria. The outflow began the day the air strikes started on March 24 but turned into a flood after the fighting ended. More than half the estimated 20,000 Gorans in Gora have left. The massive outflow is caused by economic as well as security reasons. Most Gorans are now unemployed.
Goran intellectual says he will not flee and would prefer to share a
and other remaining Gorans say they are not satisfied with how they
in many other parts of Kosovo, UN police have been slow in taking up
Friday was market day in Dragash. A number of Albanians dressed all
in black descended on the town from nearby villages and in the course
UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the UCK organized
Friday's assaults in Dragash, sending people into bars and shops to
stir up trouble by accusing Gorans of being "paramilitaries"
or of having
The UN and KFOR called a meeting that evening with ethnic Albanian and Goran representatives in a bid to cool tensions and asked the UCK to keep its men out of Dragash.
The UCK rejects the allegations made by UN staffers. A local UCK spokesman, squad commander Ymredin Halimi, tells RFE/RL that Friday's incidents were between civilians and had nothing to do with the UCK. But asked what reassurance the UCK can offer the Gorans, Halimi says the Gorans must decide their own fate:
lived together with the Gorans for centuries. But they did not flee
UN officials criticize the Turkish KFOR soldiers in Dragash for failing
the UN officials say that had the Turkish soldiers not been present
Criminal "Strongmen" Leave Tropoja
of the criminals in police uniforms have already left the north-eastern
a Tuesday report from that region, the paper highlighted as significant
said there were some who might have gone to various towns in Kosovo
Following are excerpts from the report:
had become a shelter for the majority of Albanian criminals, who
the duels between the clans of Haklaj, Hoxhaj and Haxhia are infamous
1997, the town of Bajram Curri and its environs have become a
three weeks the special forces succeeded in covering the whole
of the wanted went to Gjakova, Peja and Prishtina, while some have
Targets of terrorism, Pristina's Jews forced to flee
Members of centuries-old kosovo.netmunity mistaken for Serbs or Serb collaborators by vengeful Albanian paramilitaries
Belgrade -- In a seedy hotel across the street from Belgrade's Jewish Museum, the head of Kosovo's tiny Jewish community recalls the day two months ago when Albanian paramilitaries armed with submachine guns came to the door of the Pristina apartment where he and his family lived.
told us to get out, said Cedomir Prlincevic, 61, a small, white-haired
man who worked as director of the Pristina regional archive. We
asked him why. He said, My house was burned. I said, But
I'm not the one who did it. He said, I'm not interested.
Get out or I'll slaughter
By the end of June, four generations of the Prlincevic family and other Jews were forced to flee Pristina, almost bringing to an end five centuries of Jewish settlement in Kosovo.
While this flight of about 40 people represented but a drop in the sea of an estimated 300,000 non-Albanians who have fled Kosovo -- mostly Serbs, Gypsies, and Montenegrins -- their departure diminishes the former multifaith character of the region.
Many Jews thought they would be spared. When ethnic-Albanian refugees fled Serb attackers this spring, Israel was among the first countries to dispatch mobile hospital units to help the sick. Israeli officials spoke of being able to relate to the plight of refugees driven from their homes for ethnic reasons.
Because Mr. Prlincevic and his family had good relations with Albanians and had protected Albanian neighbours during the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo by Serb forces, they believed they had no reason to flee when Serb forces withdrew. They also believed in the guarantees of the international community and the promises of KFOR, the peacekeeping force in Kosovo led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to protect Serbs and other minorities.
I had trust in the world, Mr. Prlincevic said. I never believed for a minute that I'd be the target of a primitive mass.
But when heavily armed Albanian paramilitaries arrived, apparently from Albania, the Jews of Pristina found themselves targeted and terrorized by men who either assumed they were Serbs or had collaborated with them.
It's a real inquisition down there. It's not like you can talk to someone and explain things. Those are wild people.
The Prlincevics' ethnic-Albanian neighbours were unable to protect them from the paramilitaries.
I saved two or three Albanian families during the war. When we were leaving Pristina, my neighbour called to me. He said, Neighbour. Forgive me. I couldn't help you. You helped me, but I can't help you.
envoy of the U.S. Jewish Joint Distribution Committee met with Kosovo
Liberation Army leader Hashim Thaci to seek protection for Kosovo's
Jews. Mr. Prlincevic himself wrote to Mr. Thaci seeking protection.
Mr. Thaci issued a letter ordering the entire Kosovo Liberation
Efforts to obtain protection from KFOR also proved fruitless. Mr. Prlincevic sought personal protection, as president of the local Jewish community, from a British major. The officer told him he was too busy to talk to him that day.
I'm not saying that KFOR encouraged this violence, Mr. Prlincevic said, but the forces which were supposed to protect all nationalities didn't do their job.
Almost all of Pristina's Jews left the city during a 10-day period in late June, with the assistance of the Joint Distribution Committee. They are now living in Belgrade and Vranje, where the Federation of Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia helped them settle. The JDC supports them.
historian by training, Mr. Prlincevic did research in Ottoman archives
in Istanbul on Jewish settlements in Kosovo going back to the 15th century.
He says the history of Kosovo Jewry until the Second World War was one
of good relations with Albanians, Turks, and Serbs, and that there was
a high rate of intermarriage with these groups. His father was Serbian,
and his wife,
In April, 1944, Albanian fascists, acting on Gestapo orders, interned and plundered the belongings of 1,500 of Pristina's Jews, most of whom were sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Mr. Prlincevic's mother, Bea Mandil, was one of the few who escaped being deported, but her large extended family was almost wiped out in the Holocaust.
Now in her 80s, Mrs. Mandil is proud she can still speak the Spanish she learned in her parents' home, a remnant from her ancestors who were expelled from Spain in 1492.
large family's eight apartments and three houses in Pristina have reportedly
been looted and damaged. She now lives in a crowded Belgrade apartment
with Mr. Prlincevic and other family
It's terrible, said Mrs. Mandil, who was married in 1938. Sixty years later, having to start again.
Less than half of Kosovo's pre-Second World War Jewish population of 1,700 survived the Holocaust, Mr. Prlincevic said. Most of those that did emigrated to Israel from 1948 to 1952.
The continuation of more than 500 years of Jewish presence in Kosovo now comes down to four Jews living in the environs of Pristina -- one of Mr. Prlincevic's sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren -- and two Turkish-Jewish families in Prizren, which comprise 22 or 23 members.
Aca Singer, a 76-year-old Auschwitz survivor who is president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia, is pessimistic about the chances for survival of the Kosovo Jewish community. He is disappointed that the Pristina Jews were forced to leave at a time of peace, with international troops present, and when the international community's representative in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, is a Jew from France.
Although a few Jewish families from Kosovo fled to Israel on the eve of the NATO's bombardment of Yugoslavia and five young Kosovo Jews are on a paid excursion to Israel to explore living and studying there, efforts by Mr. Singer's organization to get Israel to accept all the Kosovo Jews have been stymied thus far.
He blames Orthodox Jews within the Israeli ministries of religion and the interior for thesituation, saying that they are applying purely religious criteria in defining Jewishness.
Mr. Singer is disappointed that the Kosovo Jews were left out of Israel's efforts to helprefugees during the Kosovo war, when Israel sent its army hospital and humanitarian aid,and took planeloads of ethnic Albanians to Israel.
He was visiting Israel at the time, and pressed interior-ministry officials to relocate Kosovo's Jews to Israel as well. I said, If there's a problem, then accept them as Albanians, and sort out later whether they're Jews or not. They got mad at me.
For Mr. Prlincevic, however, the prospect of going to Israel -- a region, as he says, with its own ethnic conflicts -- is not heartening. If he must emigrate, he would prefer Canada, but most of all he would like to be able to return home with his family.
can't comprehend in my 60th year, or my mother in her 81st, having to
start a new life elsewhere. I'd look upon that as a moral death. This
doesn't have to do with the Jewish community, it has to do with the right
of a citizen to live where he belongs. I belong there, however primitive
or undeveloped it is.
Serbs Driven From Kosovo Live Bitterly in Exile
By STEVEN ERLANGER
Serbia -- Srbislav Bisercic, a competent,
I'm depressed," he said. "How could I not be? I left
on the street, Bisercic is all smiles at first, but his mood
biggest problem is being jobless, not having work," he
a southern Serbian town of 14,000 people just 15
the school year starting, Serbs who had been living in
percent of Podujevo's Serbs are looking for a flat
is depressed," said Milivoje Mihajlovic, a Serbian
humiliated and distraught, vows to return to Kosovo
to Vesna Petkovic of the United Nations High
all of Yugoslavia, including Montenegro, 157,259 people
500,000 to 700,000 other Serbs displaced from Bosnia
policies and nationalist wars of Slobodan Milosevic have
Nikolic, Deputy Minister of the Yugoslav Ministry for
families, with whom some 85 percent of the displaced
Nikolic and Ms. Petkovic agreed that Belgrade's policies
is a pleasant but isolated town in the middle of an
is no cellular telephone service as there is in bigger
the shops, people buy 200 grams, or 7 ounces, of meat at
anything, the influx of Kosovo Serbs has pushed up prices
the small main square, surrounded by parking, there are
lost," said Caslav Bojovic, 44, who was the principal of a
are 'temporarily dislocated people,' " he said bitterly, "and
shrugged and said: "We all feel like this. Whatever I had
he is angry that Kosovo's Albanians are driving out
is now looking for a building here to try to reopen his
the street, at the shabby Evropa Restaurant, the
restaurant serves 1,000 meals a day to the Kosovo Serbs
refugees have cards that entitle them to the meal,
wouldn't come at first, but we have to eat," said a woman
the Podujevo official, had insisted that he would stay
Serbs who stayed there are dead," Bisercic said. "I
faults NATO for the vacuum of power, but he also
asked if he blamed President Milosevic, Bisercic bristled,
Malevic, 37, was head of the Podujevo tax police. On
get a salary but I'm not working," Malevic said. "That's the
said he dreamed about his life before. "It's the biggest
like the others, insists that the Albanians of Podujevo
told how ridiculous his version would seem to an
wife, Sladjana, worked at the Fagar factory in Podujevo.
said the people from Kosovo were overwhelming the
buried her nose in the hair of her son, Lazar, 4, named
MAFIA MOVED INTO KOSOVO
TIRANA - Albanian criminals wanted by the police have moved into Kosovo on the heels of the deployment of NATO troops to escape justice, police sources confirmed on Thursday.
police spokesman said that investigators have compiled a list with the
"When the border checkpoint at Morina was opened, dozens of criminals moved into Kosovo together with hundreds of thousands of Kosovo refugees," an official at the Ministry of Order said. He asked not to be identified.
of the Albanian anti-Mafia investigation body reported that the
from Kosovo say that Albanian gangs are already running lucrative
the Kosovo roads the mobsters' are easy to spot in their glossy black
Bashi, the former owner of a bar in the northern Kosovo town of
pointed to a row of cars with no registration plates. "You see...
Kosovar population is simply trying to survive but the Albanians from
1998, because of military operations in Kosovo, international drug
with the opening of the Albania-Kosovo border, the absence of proper
reported last month its soldiers had detained many Albanians citizens
prosecutors said that notorious criminals may have been already
Albanian mafia pounces on Kosovo power vacuum
Profiting from Serb flats: Europe's most feared criminals targeting well-financed aid community
PRISTINA - The Albanian mafia, among Europe's most feared, is consolidating its grip on Kosovo, imposing taxes on trucks, taking over flats and houses, running drugs and targeting the burgeoning and well-financed aid community.
Taking full advantage of Kosovo's open border with Albania, the gangsters have swiftly filled the power vacuum left by Serb police and militia, setting up operations in cahoots with local criminals.
Albania has long been an incubation house for organized crime. The north is controlled by Rival heavily-armed gangs who operate out of village bases.
During the NATO air strikes they grew fat by fleecing the huge number of international aid workers, journalists and government officials who moved into the area as Kosovar refugees fled over the border.
Once Serb forces pulled out, the streets of the capital, Pristina, and other large towns, teemed with swarthy men in big four-wheel drive vehicles with number plates from Tirana and the gangster towns of Vlore and Bajram Curri.
The mafia is thought to have made a huge profit taking over Serb flats, using ethnic retribution as a convenient cover. Soaring property prices have multiplied their gains. A good flat in Pristina can now cost $75,000.
With most Serb flats now occupied and their contents looted, the organized criminals have begun to target ethnic Albanians and internationals.
Last week two workers for the Danish branch of Caritas, a Catholic charity and aid organization, setting up an office in the western town of Klina were bound and had hoods put over their heads by masked gunmen thought to be from Albania. One was beaten in the chest with a rifle butt and a large sum of money was stolen.
The Albanian mafia is perhaps Europe's fastest growing. With both Kosovo and Albania economic deadspots, young men head west on false papers to join networks in Switzerland, Germany and Italy. The mafias control many of the people-smuggling routes into Europe, as well as running drugs from Asia.
war broke out between NATO and Yugoslavia in March, the Kosovo Liberation
Army, which had always used Albania as a supply point, poured most of
its resources into a cross-border campaign against the Serbs. Links
between KLA elements and the Albanian mafia were strengthened, and
A KLA intelligence chief based in Pristina said: "We are criticized for rising crime rates, but we cannot decommission, transform and fight the mafia all at the same time.''
The woeful inadequacy of the United Nations police force -- now responsible for law and order in Pristina and set to take over other parts of the country -- is apparent to even the casual observer.
There is no system of fines or other effective deterrence. International and local residents of Pristina alike openly flout traffic laws and there are few identity cards.
Plans to open a police academy in Mitrovica where UN staff will train locals are fraught with controversy: Last week its official opening was once again postponed.
While the NATO peacekeeping force is generally respected, UN officers are despised for their inefficiency, while their huge salaries, often more than $150,000 (Cdn) tax-free, are a source of widespread envy.
These conditions provide the mafia with easy pickings. Near the Albanian border, trucks have been made to pay "fines'' to gunmen who melt away as soon as a NATO patrol approaches. Ethnic Albanians looking after Serb flats for their owners have been told to hand them over.
One ethnic Albanian student commented: "We didn't want to be in Serbia, but we certainly don't want to become part of Albania.''
NATO'S KLA PROBLEM
by Michael Radu
Michael Radu is a Senior Fellow at FPRI. His previous E-Notes on this subject are: "Don't Arm The KLA," April 6, 1999; "Bombs for Peace? Misreading Kosovo," March 26, 1999; Dangerous Incoherence in Kosovo," October 21, 1998, and "Who Wants a Greater Albania?" July 10, 1998.
The war in Kosovo ended a few months ago, but the practice of "ethnic cleansing" is flourishing, this time perpetrated by ethnic Albanians who are proving even more adept at it than the Serbs. Whereas Serbian brutality and the war itself pushed only about half of the Albanian population into temporary exile, fully 90 percent of the non-Albanian minority (which numbered about 200,000 at the beginning of the year) have now left the region -- this, during three months of "peace" and under the oversight of the United Nations and NATO.
Simply and undiplomatically put, the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the United Nation's viceroy in Kosovo, France's Bernard Kouchner, are losing their half-hearted struggle to maintain the myth of a "multinational" Kosovo.
reason: the behavior of the Albanians led by the Kosovo Liberation Army
(KLA). First, the KLA and its supporters claimed, probably with some
justification, that the Gypsy minority of 30,000 participated in the
looting of Albanian property during the war. As a result, the entire
Gypsy population was successfully hounded out of Kosovo. The larger
Serbian minority has
And yet somehow, in the face of incontrovertible evidence of these crimes, the KLA-led Albanians have succeeded in maintaining the widespread perception that they are merely the "victims" of Serbian brutality, and as such, must be beyond reproach.
problem is that the KLA wants to have it both ways -- it seeks international
recognition as the effective government of Kosovo while simultaneously
denying any responsibility for ethnic cleansing. On the one hand, the
organization claims to be in control, and its unelected
On the other hand, the KLA military commander, Agim Ceku, claims that whatever abuses against non-Albanians have taken place are the work of rogue elements over which his organization has no control. His political boss, the self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the "Kosovo government," Hashim Thaqi, even sheds crocodile tears over the fate of minorities. No matter that KLA commanders were directing "spontaneous" Albanian demonstrations and attacks on French KFOR troops in Mitrovica. KLA commanders are in tight control of most, if not all, armed Albanian groups in Kosovo and thus directly responsible for the killings of Serbs and Gypsies.
has the Albanian leadership earned any credibility for its adherence
to agreements it signed. On June 21, 1999, Hashim Thaqi signed an Undertaking
of Demilitarization and Transformation by the UCK (the Albanian acronym
of the KLA). Since then, it has violated each and every provision of
that document. According to point 10 (a), it was to cease firing
should be obvious is that these violations are not emotional outbursts
by isolated individuals. Rather, they are part and parcel of a long-standing
KLA policy of emptying Kosovo of non-Albanians, a policy unchanged since
ethnic Albanians enjoyed political autonomy in Kosovo from 1974 to 1989.
Consider that when the KLA had temporary control over the Drenica area
of this is surprising, and in fact the KLA's deeds are fully consistent
with its ideology of authoritarianism and ethnic exclusionism. What
is completely inexcusable, however, is the response of the international
community. Mr. Kouchner said that he was shocked at what he chose
KFOR and Kouchner have few choices at this point, and certainly no pleasant
ones. Once NATO went to war portraying Serbs as evil and Albanians as
angels, it became impossible to admit that there are no angels in Kosovo,
but only a shifting balance of evil against evil. To hope,
Western powers' misplaced good-vs.-evil dichotomy was already evident
last October, when the United States and NATO imposed a de facto capitulation
upon Serbia by requiring it to cease counterinsurgency operations against
the KLA. It continued with the June 1999 agreement
NATO's misjudgment was compounded by the fact that, after it eliminated the Serb presence, it was unprepared to replace it. The porous border with chaotic Albania is left to Italian troops -- tantamount to making it even more open. And there is virtually no international police presence to challenge the KLA, the promised Fijians (!) notwithstanding. But most egregious is the lack of any long-term strategy to deal with the KLA.
cold reality is that, except for a few tenuous Serbian enclaves (parts
of Mitrovica being the largest), Kosovo is on the way to becoming a
purely Albanian area under the de facto control of a profoundly antidemocratic,
duplicitous and violent organization. And Thaqi and co. are nom doubt
aware that as the minority exodus from Kosovo nears completion there
will be even
the costs of the "humanitarian" intervention advocated by
Clinton, Blair, and Albright will be measured in more than just dollars.
The credibility of NATO, the United States, and the United Nations have
all suffered severe damage. And within Serbia itself, the Serbian refugees
from Kosovo will join those who left Croatia and Bosnia to create a
volatile and vengeful mass
NATO's bombs are only as smart as its leaders, and victory in Kosovo has so far gone to the tyrants.
By Andrew Gray
Serbia, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Until recently an
than 50 Serbs in and around Gnjilane, in Kosovo's
the town's Serbian Orthodox Church, volunteers staffing a
is a system to scare those who have remained
least one international agency monitoring the problem
the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in
observers agree the incidents of kidnapping
to the bottom of who might be responsible is a task
KLA, in the midst of a demilitarisation process after
like this would hurt the KLA most of all,'' regional
says he cannot rule out, however, that individual
ETHNIC MIX REMAINS IN GNJILANE
Gnjilane area was one of the most peaceful parts of
Gnjilane is also a rare example of an area in postwar
is one of the few areas with a lot of Serbs left,'' said
180,000 Serbs across Kosovo have fled in fear,
rocket or mortar attacks have taken place
kidnappings are one more sign of how crime has invaded
Serb church centre's list details the case of a man who
another case just a couple of weeks ago, kidnappers
case is a story in itself,'' said a silver-haired
officials agree at least some of the kidnappings
who is doing it and why remain a mystery. Outsiders
International Committee of the Red Cross has
trying to explore all channels to provide families
Old Serb pair live in a state of siege
By Julius Strauss in Podujevo
SOLDIERS from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are having to mount a 24-hour guard to protect two elderly Serb women, the only survivors of an ethnic Albanian purge of their home town.
The women, in their 80s, are besieged in a flat above the high street of the northern town of Podujevo. Looters and scores of children throw stones at their windows and spit at them in the street. Three or four times a week the soldiers take Jelica Cimburovic and Jelica Milanovic under armed guard to the local shops, but most storekeepers refuse to serve them.
Mrs Cimburovic, 87, said: "We are living in a jail. We don't know anything about what has happened to our relatives since the phones were cut three months ago." Hundreds of Serbs lived in the town then but now the two women - one almost deaf and the other with high blood pressure - are all that stands between Albanian nationalists and their dream of an ethnically pure town.
Six months ago Serbian interior ministry troops backed by Yugoslav army armoured personnel carriers and tanks roamed the deserted streets of Podujevo, barely five miles from Serbia. Most of the 120,000 ethnic Albanians who lived in the area eked out a miserable existence in the shadows in constant fear of arrest, torture or even death at the hands of the Serbian authorities.
That changed when the British arrived. Today the streets teem with traders, shoppers and children. But for the ladies living at 5 JNA Ulica (Street of the Yugoslav National Army) life has all but ended.
To add to the ladies' woes they have now fallen out. Mrs Cimburovic, who took in Mrs Milanovic when she was chased from her own home, now wants her to leave. As the two ladies sat together, Mrs Cimburovic said: "At the beginning it was OK and we even shared a bed. But now I hate her. All she does is smoke and talk a lot. I want her out."
A British military policeman said: "I'm afraid the old dears are having a bit of a domestic." But if Mrs Milanovic moves to her home that will mean more British soldiers and another 24 hour guard.
Albanian Mafia, KLA and Kosovo Aid
of aid crates left on the dockside Kosova refugees were denied
In April, readers of The Express joined donors from around Europe in
a wave of sympathy for the refugees from the Kosovo war. Food, clothes,
have recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Italy with the
there is no doubt that large quantities of aid did get through, there
D'Alema has now promised that the aid will be sent to help earthquake
is possible that the aid was left at the port simply through negligence.
there is also evidence that organised crime may have been responsible
scandal demonstrates two things. The first is that the war against
the same token, western governments - especially our own -
second point highlighted by the scandal is the stranglehold the Albanian
Albanian and Kosovan mafias now control the traffic of migrants,
The power of these mafia gangs will be boosted further by the Albanian victory in the Kosovan war because Kosovo has long been a central transition point for the heroin and cocaine trades.
the chief Italian prosecutor with responsibility for the Albanian mafia
The power of the Albanian mafia is also relevant to the current influx of asylum seekers into Britain - more than 200 people a day are now coming here as refugees. Those who cross the Adriatic have all paid the mafia smugglers between £300 and £500 for the short trip. I have visited a number of these "asylum seekers" in Dover, Calais and in southern Italy in recent weeks: not one of the Kosovo Albanians I met said he or she was a victim of political persecution; they all wanted to come to Britain to work.
80 per cent of those who make an initial application for asylum in
Yugoslav war was fought on the basis that the Serbs were diabolical