Dejan on Mon, 29 Mar 1999 09:17:33 +0200

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Syndicate: War and pea

>From the very beginning of war I heard no one in this country saying
that Yugoslavia has to sign Paris document in order to stop the war.
National consensus is reached: supporters and opponents of the regime
both believe that Yugoslav president was right not to sign the Paris
agreement and that there is no other way to protect national interests
but to resist NATO aggression. Having in mind Serbian sense of justice
and pride, I claim that if the aggression is not miraculously stopped
soon, the consequences of this war could be worse than anybody could
predict. Under the excuse that the aggression aims to stop humanitarian
catastrophe on Kosovo, NATO is on the way to produce a total
humanitarian catastrophe in Yugoslavia. In the industrial city of
Kragujevac, where industrial block "Zastava" (which serves both military
and civil purposes) supports the existence of the majority of the
population, workers have decided to form a living shield with their own
bodies in order to protect the factory from air strikes. If the factory
is destroyed, it would cause a hunger for thousands of families in the
city. The destruction of civil objects has already started and it will
surely increase if the war intensifies as it seems.

Both sides in this war have already reached the point of no return.
Serbian slogan might be "death or victory", but what about NATO?
Refusing to sign Paris agreement, Milosevic forced NATO to face the
reality of its own threat. Without clear political backup for this
military operation, Western politicians were convinced that mere
pronouncement of the military threat is enough to put pressure on
Yugoslav president to accept their conditions as he did in October. In
other words,  they did not believe in the reality of the threat until
Milosevic forced them to do it. As the protests and criticism against
the aggression spread all over the world, it seems that Milosevic has
won the first battle of the war by outwitting Western politicians in the
most unexpected way. He took their threat more seriously than they did
and decided to calculate with it. On the other side, Paris meeting
turned into a political scandal which provided Milosevic with the wide
national consensus. Even the hardest opponents of his politics had to
admit that for the first time since he came to power he was right. Any
Serbian politician who would sign a document which gives Albanians any
chance to gain Kosovo independence in the future, would be a dead
politician. The same goes for Kosovo Albanians: any Albanian politician
who would sign a document which does not gives guarantees for the future
independence of Kosovo is a dead politician. Yugoslav president has
nothing else to loose but Kosovo, but this time he will have a perfect
excuse in the eyes of the nation: he could not win the war against
military superpower. He is now pardoned by Serbian people for the
previous disastrous results of his rule thanks to NATO, which means that
he will maintain power after the war, with or without Kosovo in Serbia.
Under current circumstances people easily forget that we bear the
consequences of the inadequate political measures applied by Serbian
government on Kosovo in the last decade. I am not sure if there is still
a space for the Serbian-Albanian reconciliation, but if the final
solution for Kosovo is imposed by force, it would produce unstable
situation in the region for a long period of time ahead.

Dejan Sretenovic