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Clark ordered a British/French paramilitary force to be deployed to the airport, in order to get there before the Russians. The British refused, with General Jackson stating to Clark that he did not want to start WW3.

Just a friendly dash to the airport gets some Brit thinking he's about to start WW3. Anyway, the situation was eventually resolved, mostly in favour of NATO.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 04:37:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mike Jackson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
He served in the NATO chain of command as a deputy to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Wesley Clark. In this capacity, he is best known for refusing, in June 1999, to block the runways of the Russian-occupied Pristina Airport, to isolate the Russian troops there.[1] Had he complied with General Clark's order, there was a chance the British troops under his command could have come into armed conflict with the Russians; doing this without prior orders from Britain would have led to his dismissal for gross insubordination. On the other hand, defying Clark would have meant disobeying a direct order from a superior NATO officer (Clark was a four-star general; Jackson only a three-star). Jackson ultimately chose the latter course of action, reputedly saying "I won't start World War III for you",[1] though the point became irrelevant when the American government prevailed upon the Hungarians, Romanians, and Bulgarians to prevent the Russians from using their airspace to fly reinforcements in.
Wikipedia's source is the BBC: Confrontation over Pristina airport
Details of Russia's surprise occupation of Pristina airport at the end of the Kosovo war are revealed in a new BBC documentary on the conflict.


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 04:43:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the timeline in the BBC report has Jackson making his statement with regard to the dash Clark ordered, not the blocking of runways. Just a note.

But to recap, there never was an order to open fire. That's four or five steps down some hypothetical scenario.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 04:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clark did order a British/French force to be deployed to the airport. The British didn't refuse, they just got to the airport after the Russians.

You don't start WW3 by seeking diplomatic solutions. You start it by firing on the enemy.

by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 03:33:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Jackson refused the deployment. Read the BBC report.

The occupation of the airport was an aggressive move by Russia after they felt they had been double-crossed in the negotiations. Clark wanted to prevent it. The WW3 part is a personal estimation of Jackson that the situation would get out of hand. Clark and Solana had a different view. But the troops in the area were mainly British.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 04:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"deploy" is a rather vague term - especially in military jargon. The allies planned to "deploy" their troops in Normandy in 1944.

The Russian move was aggressive? Interesting you don't qualify NATO's moves as being aggressive. The Russians, who were instrumental in negotiating a deal between NATO and Milosevic, had an agreement with NATO that they would "deploy" their forces in the North of Kosovo. To thank the Russians for their mediation, NATO later reneged on this agreement (surprising of such a worthy organization).

by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 04:44:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
The Russian move was aggressive? Interesting you don't qualify NATO's moves as being aggressive.
Isn't that implied in what nanne said?
The occupation of the airport was an aggressive move by Russia after they felt they had been double-crossed in the negotiations.
(My emphasis)

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:01:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. Maybe nanne can clarify?
by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO's moves in Kosovo were clearly aggressive (dropping bombs and all). I don't know enough about the negotiations to tell whether the Russian sentiment of being double-crossed is justified.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:50:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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