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Sorry, I didn't reply to the point earlier about the chronology. Actually, it's not fuzzy anymore. The NATO action in Kosovo accelerated the ethnic cleansing which was already taking place. It was estimated that 11,000 men of military age had been killed or detained by the Serbs by the time the NATO response was initiated. Though this figure was disputed at the time, it was later shown to be accurate.

It was calculated by, among other things, estimating the number of military age men who should have been showing up at the Albanian border with the women and children, but weren't.

It remains a good question whether the NATO action did more harm than good, however. The fact that the Serbs were already known to have gotten away with a genocide was, I think, the determining factor. And is a slow(er) ethnic cleansing (I'm wondering about the settlements on the West Bank at the moment) any better than a fast one?

Another question entirely to ponder.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:14:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to remember reading a leaked MI6 memo that dates the start of the outright ethnic cleansing to after the opening of the war.

Then there's the fact that various Western(TM) powers were arming the KLA. And that Milosevic's proposals for a resolution that would have granted some measure of autonomy to Kosova without compromising Yugoslavian territorial integrity (such as it was and what remained of it at the time...).

For that matter, if intervention was necessary, it should have been possible to get Russian approval by granting them concessions elsewhere - they had a laundry list of legitimate grievances with The West(TM) at the time (and still have, although it's gotten markedly shorter since Putin started pruning back some of Yeltsin's most obvious mistakes).

So I don't entirely buy the notion that it was Very Urgently Necessary to intervene over the head of the lawful UN bureaucracy.

And as for the CNN's war... the CNN publishes precisely what it's told to publish. Independent and investigative reporting isn't a part of the CNN concept. Nor, for that matter, is basic fact-checking.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may have information that I lack...however, from wikipedia:

"In 1998, the U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization, indicating that it was financing its operations with money from the international heroin trade and loans from Islamic countries and individuals"

If you know something I don't, please share. I'm off to work now though. Take your time.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 08:03:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't an MI6 memo that said that the massacres were a justification applied post-hoc. It was a quote from an unnamed Blair administration insider cited in the book Blair's Wars, by John Kampfner (on p. 59 of the 2004 paperback edition). Unfortunately, that book is rather vague on attributions and references.

W.r.t. arming the KLA, I got that wrong: The weapons they got from Albanian criminals who raided Albanian military stockpiles during a period of anarchy in Albania, caused by collapsing pyramid scams [IMF alert].

What they got from the CIA was training and advisers (via).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 01:01:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET has covered Yugoslavia rather heavily on a couple of occasions, so there's a lot of research that's already been done and is accessible simply by googling "site:eurotrib.com kla" and reading the comment threads.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 01:04:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what did they get from the Germans?
by vladimir on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 05:47:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I recall, the images of Albanians at the Macedonian and Albanian border crossings only started showing up once NATO's illegal bombing campaign started.

The KLA was armed to the teeth in 1999 (by Germany and the US) and had NATO air support. Just how many Serb troops would be required to expulse 800 000 people from their homes (while at the same time engaging in a systematic campaign of rape and torture of Albanian girls - young and old...). I say Serb troops because their heavy weapons were out of commission given the NATO air campaign.

Any military experts willing to give estimates?

by vladimir on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 09:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, to go by Blair's Wars again, Serbia's heavy weapons were essentially unharmed by the bombing campaign.

But I'm not sure that matters as far as ethnic cleansing is concerned - if the guy you're shooting at hasn't got a gun, it doesn't matter that you don't have a tank. And presumably, during an ethnic cleansing, most of the "cleansed" population would not have guns (otherwise it'd presumably be a "civil war").

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 01:18:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm always leery of claims that the US is arming anyone to the teeth. The last time I had occasion to deal with this kind of fallacy was last August, after the Georgian-Russian mess.

I forget where, but the blanket claim that the US and NATO had armed Georgia had been made, and it simply wan't true. The NATO recommendation, supported by the US, contains one guidline that a military budget shouldn't run more then 2% GDP. This is a NATO requirement. Pre-NATO, Georgian armed forces numbered about 34,000 men. NATO recommended a maximum force size of between 13,000 and 15,000 men, less than half the existing size of the Georgian military. Following these recommendations, Georgia was well on it's way to meeting this goal, with a force size down to about 17,000-18,000. Sometime around 1994, Georgia decided, on its own, to increase it's manpower. Gains in the Georgian economy allowed it to do so without going beyond the NATO 2% rule. Georgia, however went further, and basically rebuilt it's force back to the 34,000 troop level. This was partly due to the Georgian military having nationalized it's National Guard force, which operated as a semi-private militia and is responsible for many of the atrocities committed by the Georgian side in its sad history.

Almost all Georgian military hardware did, in fact, come fron NATO countries, though. Georgia equipped its military on the cheap, from old Warsaw Pact cast-offs.

Georgia launched it's idiotic attack on South Ossetia with Grad rockets (used illegally on civilian targets, and yes, that's a war crime) and T-53 tanks. In the past 10 years, US sales of military materiel consisted of a few helicopters (my understanding is that the number is no more than 6), computers, and communications gear. All in line with the NATO requirements, and intended mostly to enable the Georgian Iraq contingent to evacuate casualties and coordinate its activity with other coalition forces in Iraq.

If the West armed Georgia at all, it was a consequence (perhaps intended) of the modernization of forces of NATO countries that had been equipped with Warsaw Pact materiel.

I don't know enough about the KLA - yet - to speak about how they were armed.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sat Feb 28th, 2009 at 01:48:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this factual analysis.  You seem to have read up quite comprehensively on the Georgian situation.  Of course a lot of the arms industry operates outside strict public policy channels, and there is undoubtedly also clandestine stuff going on.  But the onus is on those who make sweeping charges of "arming to the teeth" to provide some official, local on the ground, or at the very least anecdotal evidence to support it.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 10:32:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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