Technologies To The People on Tue, 30 Mar 1999 10:41:48 +0100

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Syndicate: Albanian News & Information Network 2/2

Bombing Spreads
Kosovo Exodus Grows; Attacks Aim To Cut Army Supply Lines

By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 29, 1999; Page A01

NATO warplanes launching bombs and missiles broadened their assault against
the Yugoslav military yesterday as alliance officials expressed mounting
alarm at evidence that government forces are pursuing a sweeping,
systematic effort to kill or expel ethnic Albanians from the Serbian
province of Kosovo.

After four nights of air attacks focused on wearing down Yugoslav air
defenses, U.S. and allied aircraft moved into a campaign aimed more at
cutting off Yugoslav supply lines to Kosovo and obliterating storage and
staging areas in the region. But defense officials said the assaults
stopped short of lower-level -- and more vulnerable -- strikes against
soldiers and police in the field who are carrying out the executions,
burning of villages and forced emigration reported in Kosovo.

President Clinton and top NATO authorities reacted to the growing
humanitarian crisis by saying they will persevere with air strikes, with
some officials saying for the first time that the attacks could go on for
weeks. At the same time, administration officials acknowledged the
dimensions of the refugee surge out of Kosovo and the scope of the
crackdown there exceeded their expectations.

But they reiterated there are no plans to send in ground forces, despite an
appeal from Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani for troops to help alleviate
a flood of refugees into his country and expressions of skepticism from
several U.S. senators about the ability of air strikes to halt the

Holding out the prospect that a new diplomatic initiative might yet help
sway Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, French officials reported that
President Jacques Chirac urged Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov in a
lengthy phone conversation Saturday night to go to Belgrade for talks.

There was no word on Primakov's response. But in Moscow, police and gunmen
exchanged shots in front of the U.S. embassy after attackers tried to fire
a grenade launcher at the building, sending anti-NATO protesters diving for
cover. The embassy has been the target of virulent anti-NATO protests since
the attacks on Yugoslavia began.

Officials in Washington, though, appeared to be bracing for a protracted
campaign. One senior general spoke of the need for at least several weeks
of airstrikes to grind down Milosevic's forces. His estimate was echoed by
two senior senators -- Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, who is the top
Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and Carl M. Levin of Michigan,
who is the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.

"We're talking about probably somewhere between 28 and 30 days before you
have any sense of it," Biden said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

At the same time, the intensity of the crackdown in Kosovo and the surge in
ethnic Albanian refugees confronted the United States and its NATO allies
with a more immediate humanitarian problem of overwhelming proportions.
NATO Secretary General Javier Solana estimated that 27 percent of Kosovo's
population of about 2 million people have been driven from their homes
since the ethnic Albanian revolt began more than a year ago, with an
alarming new surge since the bombing began.

"It seems as if Milosevic is trying to create a new situation on the ground
-- in his view, irreversible," said NATO spokesman Jamie Shea at NATO
headquarters in Brussels. "He is trying to destabilize the entire area."

Despite the offensive, there was evidence of continued resistance from
Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas, who have been fighting for an
independent Kosovo for the last year. Police in Kosovo reported more than
20 KLA attacks on police targets over the weekend, according to a report
from Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times in Pristina. The police
characterized the attacks as a desperate effort by remnants of a defeated
terrorist force, but they also suggested government forces may be having
some difficulty eliminating opposition in the rebellious southernmost
province of Serbia, the dominant republic in the remnant Yugoslav

British Air Commodore David Wilby told reporters in Brussels that the
alliance is "just beginning to transition" from focusing the air campaign
mainly on Yugoslavia's air defense network to targeting the Serb-run army
and Interior Ministry police forces that are continuing to pound the ethnic
Albanians in Kosovo. U.S. and NATO officials provided little information
about the new emphasis but said the expanded target list includes
headquarters and storage facilities used by Yugoslav troops in Kosovo as
well as dug-in artillery positions.

"We are going to move into a wider array of targets, including not only
those dealing with command-and-control structures, ammunition dumps, but
also start to go after the forces in the field as such," Defense Secretary
William S. Cohen said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

With heavy cloud cover forecast to impede strikes over Yugoslavia for at
least the next few days, however, defense officials indicated it may be
some time before commanders unleash slower, lower-flying aircraft like A-10
Warthogs designed for use against tanks.

Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, emphasized
that despite the punishing strikes on Yugoslavia's air defense system, "the
skies are very dangerous, they have a very well-integrated, multilevel,
robust air defense system. We are working on it but it is still a dangerous
environment to fly in."

Another senior Pentagon official described the shift into the second phase
of the air operation as "more of an evolution than a sharp change in

NATO authorities, while providing few specifics, reported yesterday that in
Saturday night's operation, 66 aircraft flew in two waves, striking 17
sites in Yugoslavia. Providing a glimpse of the kind of damage being done,
Shelton displayed aerial photographs showing an army headquarters building
in Pristina reduced to rubble by a cruise missile on the second night of
strikes and four helicopter hangars at an airfield in Nis similarly
destroyed during a bombing run the same night.

Despite the intensive air operation, NATO officials reported the Yugoslavs
are still using some slow, low-flying Super Galeb aircraft in their own
attacks against ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Kosovo.

"We also know that Serb forces are making good use of deserted schools and
public buildings as barrack accommodation in the field," Wilby said,
complicating efforts by allied aircraft to strike purely military targets
and reduce the danger to innocent civilians.

Cohen asserted that the loss of a F-117A stealth fighter Saturday, the
first downing of allied aircraft in the five-day-old air campaign, would
not affect NATO's air campaign. Still, the episode provided a sharp
reminder of the risks to the Western alliance's forces and the limited U.S.
tolerance for casualties.

While offering no official explanation for the crash of one of America's
premier radar-evading planes, Pentagon sources said evidence suggested that
the plane was hit by a Yugoslav SA-3 surface-to-air missile. One senior Air
Force officer called the hit "really lucky," saying "a lot of things had to
come together" for the Yugoslavs to be able to detect and hit the $43
million aircraft.

Cohen said the pilot of the stealth fighter is in "good shape" after being
rescued in a daring nighttime operation and returned to his base in Aviano,
Italy. At the site where the plane went down about 30 miles northwest of
Belgrade, meanwhile, Yugoslavs gathered to view the wreckage and celebrate
their soldiers' feat.

Shelton, speaking on CNN's "Late Edition," disclosed that the two Yugoslav
MiG-29 fighters shot down Friday over Bosnia were not, as NATO officials
first reported, targeting NATO ground troops. The general said the MiGs
were armed with air-to-air weapons.

"So there's no indication that they were in fact bound to attack our
troops. That's not the type of ordnance that you'd carry for a mission like
that," he said.

In a series of televised interviews yesterday, administration officials
appealed for patience, acknowledging the air campaign had yet to achieve
its stated objective of blocking Milosevic's ability to terrorize Kosovo
but pledging to continue the strikes until the Yugoslav forces withdraw or
are rendered largely ineffectual.

"We've been at this four nights," Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, the president's
national security adviser, said on ABC's "This Week." "As the president
said yesterday to us, this is not a 30-second commercial."

Disputing suggestions that the NATO operation has aggravated the repression
in Kosovo, administration officials argued that the crackdown had been
underway before the allied air strikes began last Wednesday and would have
intensified in any event. "To say that this has now backfired is just dead
wrong," said Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

"It's obviously very difficult to stop every killing in a situation like
this," Berger said. "What we can do is increase substantially the cost to
Milosevic and, thereby, change this calculation so that he is deterred in
the future and is substantially diminished at his capacity to go forward in
the future."

But Sen. Richard C. Shelby, the Alabama Republican who chairs the
intelligence committee, was among those voicing skepticism about the
efficacy of air strikes alone. "I don't know myself of any war . . . that's
been won totally by air power," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Sen.
John McCain (R-Ariz.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, suggested
that NATO ultimately may have to send in ground forces -- or threaten to do

"We have to exercise every option," he said. If Milosevic is convinced
ground troops are an option, McCain added, "it could lend impetus to
convincing him that he cannot win and we will not allow him to win."

Senior Pentagon officials also harbor doubts that an air campaign alone can
stop the kind of terror being practiced in Kosovo, in many cases by
hard-to-target military or police units or bands of armed civilians going
house to house. But they have told the White House that a NATO invasion
likely would tie up a large number of U.S. and other alliance troops in
Kosovo for years.

Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recalled that 60,000 NATO
troops were required initially just to enforce the 1995 peace accord in
Bosnia. Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," the general said combating
hostile Yugoslav forces in Kosovo "would involve hundreds of thousands of
ground troops over a rather protracted period of time and in a very
dangerous situation."

Short of dispatching a NATO force, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), a
member of the Armed Services Committee, argued that alliance governments
should consider arming the Albanian guerrillas in Kosovo.

"If we come to the point where we bombed as much as we can from the air, I
think we then have a moral obligation not to turn away, but at least to
create the same kind of balance of forces that we did in Bosnia by arming
the citizens of Kosovo, allowing them to defend themselves, their families
and their country," said Lieberman, who with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
has cosponsored a bill to that end.

But administration officials rejected that idea, too.

"We do not believe that that is appropriate," Albright said on CBS. "And
besides, it would not deal with this issue now. It would take two or three
years to do something like that. What we have to do is to make sure that we
deal with this systemic ethnic cleansing now."

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company


Wave of Refugees Stirs Fears Of a New Balkan Nightmare

By William Drozdiak
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 29, 1999; Page A01

BERLIN, March 28?As NATO warplanes carried out a fifth consecutive day of
assaults against Yugoslavia, the Western alliance faced a grave new
challenge: how to prevent a flood of ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo
from destabilizing the fragile governments of Albania and Macedonia -- and
possibly the rest of southeastern Europe.

NATO has long feared that instability in Macedonia, a former member of the
old Yugoslav federation and now an independent country, would trigger a
scramble by its neighbors to grab chunks of territory they have long
claimed. More than 400,000 Albanians live in Macedonia's western
borderlands, prompting concerns that they might move to join a "greater
Albania" encompassing Kosovo and Albania proper.

Greece has contested even the legitimacy of Macedonia's name because of
lingering border disputes. Bulgaria, which abuts both countries, also
contains an volatile ethnic mixture that could explode if present borders
crumble. Most of all, NATO officials fear that any Balkan upheaval
involving Greece would inevitably draw in its arch-rival, Turkey, pitting
two NATO militaries against one another.

So far, NATO's response to the growing upheaval in Kosovo has been to
ratchet up the level of bombing and embark on a second phase of the
offensive that will emphasize targets related to the military crackdown in
the Serbian province. Allied commanders said the primary sites to be struck
over the next few days will include command and control centers and supply
and ammunition dumps, as well as Yugoslav tanks and troop concentrations in

But there are signs of fresh tensions between NATO military and political
leaders over how to conduct the bombing campaign in a way that would
address the humanitarian crisis more directly.

U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO's supreme commander who is orchestrating
the air campaign, has said he needs many more than 400 aircraft to carry
out an effective bombing campaign to thwart Yugoslav security forces in the
field and not just decimate air defenses, according to NATO sources.
Several allied governments, including the United States, have pledged to
dispatch at least two dozen more aircraft that could provide the kind of
close air support needed to hamper ground actions.

"If you want to stop what looks like genocide with just air power, you are
going to need a lot more firepower so that you can go in hard and fast,"
said a senior NATO commander. "But that also involves some risks that we
must be prepared to take if we want to achieve our goals."

When the United States and its European allies launched the campaign of
airstrikes last week, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic justified the
action as necessary to prevent the crisis in Kosovo from spilling across
international borders. Today, NATO political and military leaders sought to
refute arguments that the airstrikes -- far from deterring Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic from waging a scorched-earth campaign through
Kosovo -- had only intensified the misery and accelerated the exodus of
ethnic Albanians, contributing to the very catastrophe that their policy
was supposed to prevent.

"Whether we bombed or not, Milosevic would have done this," Clark said in a
telephone interview. "There was clearly a long-term plan worked out many
months ago. We saw preparations well underway even before last month's
peace negotiations, and they swung into high gear within the past two

In Serbia's sister republic of Montenegro, whose government has tried to
break from Milosevic's grip, Deputy Prime Minister Dragisa Burzan
complained that the airstrikes were hardening attitudes against the West
and only making Milosevic more popular. Despite sympathy for Montenegro's
plight, NATO has targeted Yugoslav army and air defense facilities there to
clear an attack path toward security forces in Kosovo.

"The result of the bombing has been to radicalize things," Burzan said.
"The psychological effect here and, to a much greater extent in Serbia, was
the opposite to what [NATO] desired."

In neighboring Macedonia, where 12,000 NATO troops originally destined to
serve as Kosovo peacekeepers are based, the government has demanded full
protection from the Western military alliance against any Yugoslav attacks
or attempts to disrupt a delicate demographic balance that includes Muslim
Albanians and Orthodox Christian Serbs.

Senior U.S. officials said they have concluded beyond any doubt that the
violent demonstrations this week at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia's
capital, were organized and conducted by an ethnic Serb party acting on
orders from Belgrade. "This was vintage Milosevic," said an American
official with extensive experience in the region.

Some military strategists, however, believe that NATO needs to take more
drastic action by considering the use of special operations forces that
could be flown in by helicopter to attack Serbian paramilitary forces that
are conducting the most egregious atrocities.

But that step is a giant leap for politicians fearful of public outcry
against sending ground troops into the Balkans. Moreover, Kosovo's
treacherous terrain and landlocked position make the logistical
difficulties of sending in ground forces too immense to be bear serious
consideration, many military analysts say.

"Our best bet is to pray for good weather, hope their air defenses have
been knocked out to a significant degree and send in attack helicopters and
low-flying aircraft that can blast the hell out of these war criminals," a
NATO official said. "It would be too unrealistic, for both political and
military reasons, to ask anything more."

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company


Russia accuses NATO of cooperating with Kosova rebels

MOSCOW, March 29 (AFP) - Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Monday
accused NATO of closely cooperating with Kosovo's separatists, Interfax

"NATO closely cooperates with and is coordinating the work of units of the
Kosovo Liberation Army," or KLA, he was quoted as saying by the news

Ivanov said the KLA was "guiding the alliance's warplanes against Serbian
targets" and paving the way for an eventual invasion of Yugoslavia by NATO

"The developments and our own information make us seriously doubt
Washington's denials that NATO is planning a ground offensive," Ivanov


Kosova E-Mails Show War's Horrors

By WILLIAM SCHIFFMANN Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Her face is a mystery, but the e-mailed words of a
16-year-old girl struggling to survive in Kosovo paint a stark picture of
life in a land torn by war.

Her words, if not her voice, have been heard by millions of National Public
Radio listeners as Finnegan Hamill, 16, a reporter for Berkeley-based Youth
Radio, shares e-mail from the teen-ager he knows as Adona.

At times, there are light, personal moments - she tells Hamill the music
she likes (The Rolling Stones, REM and Sade), and is searching the Internet
for colleges to attend.

But then the war creeps in.

``You don't know how lucky you are to have a normal life,'' the young
ethnic Albanian wrote in February.

``I used to hang out with my friends,'' she told Hamill in another note.
``We were never safe on the streets, but now we're not safe in our own

``If you were the ones to taste this bitter and cruel part of the world,
you would understand me and my imagination,'' she wrote. ``You would also
understand the luckiness I feel just being alive.''

Adona's words are read on the air by Belia Mayeno Choy, another Youth Radio

Hamill, a high school junior, said he got Adona's e-mail address from a
peace worker who visited his church after a trip to Kosovo, and they've
exchanged more than 40 messages via the Internet.

``I started e-mailing her and we developed a friendship through our
e-mails,'' he said Friday. The letters blend the personal and the

``They are half pen-pal stuff, things you would talk about with your
friends, and half really heavy, living-in-the-middle-of-war stuff.''

Ellin O'Leary, who founded Youth Radio in 1992 and produced the series,
says it has had a huge impact.

``We're getting e-mail from kids all over the world wanting to be in touch
with her,'' she said.

O'Leary said Friday they went to great lengths to verify that Adona was
real, speaking to her by telephone and talking to two people who had been
in Kosovo and met her in person.

``The most amazing thing about this girl is that she has no investment in
this war,'' O'Leary said. ``She doesn't hate Serbs, she wants to be
friends, she doesn't hate Christians ... she just wants a normal life.''

Hamill said he hoped to meet Adona soon, and said they had received offers
of scholarships for her and hoped to bring her to the United States.

Her latest message came Monday, two days before the United States and its
NATO allies began bombing Yugoslavia to try to stop attacks by the Yugoslav
military against the majority ethnic Albanian people of Kosovo.

>From her balcony, she told Hamill that she heard gunshots as she watched
people scurry by carrying suitcases. Her bags were packed, but she had
nowhere to go.

``As long as I have electricity, I will continue writing to you,'' she
wrote. ``I am trying to keep myself as calm as possible.''

Hamill and all who listen for her messages have been waiting since.

ALBANEWS Site of the Day: "Kosova Information Centre (KIC)"
ALBANEWS is not affiliated with  the Albanian Government, the Kosova
Government, any association or organization,  nor any information or
news agency.  Reports, articles and  news items from various sources
are distributed via ALBANEWS for INFORMATIVE purposes only.
Opinions expressed/published on ALBANEWS do  NOT necessarily reflect
the views of the owner and the co-owners and/or moderators,  nor any
of their host institutions. ALBANEWS does NOT guarantee the accuracy
of the reports, articles and news items distributed via the list.
ALBANEWS listowner, co-owners and/or moderators can be contacted at: