Balkan Primer (IV) - The KLA and the Tangled Web We Weave

 April 18, 1999

Comment: #262

Discussion Thread:  #s - 253, 254, 258

References:

[1] Anthony Daniels, "It's bad now, but what if the KLA were in control?" Telegraph (UK), ISSUE 1423, 18 April 1999

NATO is moving rapidly toward an alliance with the Kosovo Liberation Army, an organization with a questionable background, to put it charitably. In the attached article, Anthony Daniels describes some of the nuanced relations between the Albanians, Milosevic, and the KLA, and argues that the West, with its predilection to see the world in terms of good guys and bad guys, bears a responsibility for the polarization of events in the Balkans.

Excerpts:

"It is not a straightforward struggle of good against evil: indeed, the West as a whole bears a considerable degree of responsibility for the present disastrous polarisation, in which anyone opposed to the Kosovo Liberation Army (the KLA) is for Milosevic, and vice versa

"Once the KLA was armed, there was an escalation of political violence in Kosovo. Until then, there had been 10 or 12 "political" murders a year in Kosovo. Every death is regrettable, of course, but Kosovo was no inferno. Even in the 18 months before NATO started bombing, there were "only" about 3,000 deaths in Kosovo: bad, but no holocaust.

"Moreover, of the 3,000 deaths, 500 to 600 were of Serbs or Kosovar government officials. While the majority of the deaths were undoubtedly caused by the Serbian security forces, it is not true that there was no terrorist activity. Indeed, until the American government suddenly discovered the transcendental evil of Milosevic, it had no compunction in branding the KLA as a terrorist organisation.

"IN this, they were almost certainly right. How many examples do we need of national liberation movements that intimidate those whom they claim to liberate? And how many such liberation movements have ushered in an age of freedom and democracy once they have achieved power? There are already reports of the KLA impressing young men into its service."

Chuck Spinney

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