Skip to comments.Kosovo Jubilant at KLA Acquittals
Posted on 12/02/2005 3:50:24 PM PST by kronos77
Tribunal Update Tribunal home Kosovo Jubilant at KLA Acquittals
Kosovos majority Albanian population welcomes result of Hague tribunals first case against former guerrillas.
By Janet Anderson in The Hague (TU No 432, 2-Dec-05) The streets of Pristina erupted with flags, horns and celebratory gunfire on December 1 as news spread that the Hague tribunal had acquitted two of the first three members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, ever to face trial there for war crimes.
Judges in The Hague sentenced one former foot soldier, Haradin Bala, to 13 years in prison for his role in a KLA prison camp in the village of Lapusnik where Serbs and suspected Albanian collaborators were tortured and murdered in 1998.
But they declared themselves unconvinced that former commanders Fatmir Limaj and Isak Musliu had played any role at the facility. Limaj, who held a senior role in the guerrilla army which helped drive Belgrade security forces out of Kosovo, gained a high profile as a politician in the wake of the conflict.
While the verdict has met with a predictably downbeat response in Serbia, reactions amongst Kosovos majority ethnic Albanian population have been jubilant. Many feel that the court ruling, despite confirming that horrific individual crimes were committed, vindicates the KLA as an organisation.
The judgement comes at a particularly welcome time for Albanians in Kosovo, with talks set to begin on the future political status of the region. Most hope that the process will result in independence from Belgrade.
Observers in Pristina described a collective sense of relief as the judgement hearing in the case was broadcast live on television screens in homes and bars across Kosovo.
The resulting celebrations were a far cry from the dire predictions published in local newspapers of what might happen if the three were found guilty. Just two days before the judgement was issued, an estimated 20,000 people filed through the streets of Pristina protesting the innocence of the three men.
When Limaj went to The Hague in 2003, Kosovos then prime minister, Bajram Rexhepi, declared that the trial would give the accused a chance to prove his innocence and the purity of the war that was led by the KLA.
Some observers now see particular significance in the judges decision to dismiss charges of crimes against humanity against the three accused. They did so on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence that the atrocities at the Lapusnik camp were committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.
Its been understood here as a cleansing of the resistance, said Petrit Selimi, the managing director of Pristinas new Daily Express newspaper. The verdict, he explained, has been seen as recognition that there were [individual] crimes, not a campaign.
Kosovo parliamentarian Enver Hoxhaj told IWPR that the judgement is a good message while Kosovos final status talks are going on, explaining that it has given the local population a feeling that they are supported by the international community.
With Kosovos president Ibrahim Rugova in bad health and former prime minister Ramus Haradinaj currently awaiting a Hague war crimes trial, there have been concerns that Albanians will lack a strong figurehead for the talks on Kosovos future.
Analysts in Kosovo told IWPR that Limaj is viewed by some as having the potential to fill the vacuum. Selimi explained that Limaj is now viewed as a sympathetic figure because of the dignity with which he went to The Hague.
Hoxhaj, who is a senior member of Limajs Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, told IWPR that he thought Limaj would step back into the crucial role he played in the party before being indicted. We missed him, he added.
The judgement has also served to support the view that Hague tribunals first case involving former KLA fighters was in fact only launched as part of an effort to show the courts impartiality with regard to the various parties involved in the Balkans conflicts of the Nineties.
A series of senior Serbian generals and politicians, including former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, have been indicted for their role in alleged ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999.
There has also been speculation about what consequences the outcome might have on the joint trial of Haradinaj and two others said to have been his subordinates in the KLA. They are charged with involvement in the abduction and murder of Serbs, Roma and suspected Albanian collaborators.
Edgar Chen, a long-time observer of proceedings at the Hague tribunal for the Coalition for International Justice, told IWPR, however, that it is important to remember that these are two distinct cases. Haradinaj is charged under a different set of alleged facts, he said. Judges will have to consider Haradinaj's case on the evidence that [prosecutors] and his defence presents.
The judges hearing the case against Limaj, Musliu and Bala in The Hague appeared keen to emphasise that the acquittal of two of the accused did not mean that crimes had not taken place.
They underlined that civilians had been held in horrific conditions at the KLA camp in Lapusnik, with gross overcrowding and some chained to the wall; KLA soldiers, often wearing hoods to hide their faces, beat inmates into unconsciousness; detainees, including some who had been shot, were denied medical treatment despite the existence of a clinic in the village where KLA personnel were treated.
Apart from three prisoners who were murdered at the camp itself, Bala was also found to have taken part in the massacre of nine prisoners in nearby mountains.
But the judges said they were not satisfied that Limaj and Musliu held positions in the KLA which would have made them responsible for the camp.
While there was a strong possibility that Limaj had been personally present at the facility, they said, there was not enough evidence to convict of personal involvement crimes there. As for Musliu, the judges ruled that there was in fact little evidence to identify... [him] as having any kind of involvement in the prison camp.
Meanwhile, reactions in Belgrade to the verdict have been unsurprisingly gloomy. Rasim Ljajic, president of Serbias National Council for Cooperation with the Hague tribunal, told the Beta news agency that the result would bolster the positions of those who are hostile to the United Nations court.
Janet Anderson is IWPRs programme manager in The Hague.
"The judgement I cast on "ethnic cleansing" is therefore dependent on whom I deem to be the legitimate owners of the country."
Your "judgment" therefore lacks morality. The judgment I cast on ethnic cleansing is that it is indefensible. Ethnic cleansing is not a legitimate response to enforce property rights. There is law and war, there is terror and there is ethnic cleansing. If you can not tell the difference then you lack moral clarity.
In today's world the condemnation of ehtnic cleansing is contingent on the identity of the victims not the universal application of principles. Muslim victims garner cries of atrocities world round. Christian victims are not sympathetic to the European left with their post colonial self-flagelation. And Muslims who are usually the perpetrators of the killing are definitely not owning up. They are still crying victim even as they wield the stick.
agreed. See my answer in post #81.
Really? Nice try. Now explain to me how these colonists were on that land from before the 10th centuary. Explain how those SERBIAN churchs are 1200 years old. If you apply that standard, you Franks had best get the hell off the Gallic/Roman lands you stole and go back to Germany.
Excellent, then you won't mind returning Krajina and Dalmatia back to it's rightful owners correct?
Using the "logic" (you should excuse me for even applying that term to his Dhimmitude propaganda) of the surrender monkey, we'd better start transferring most of the American southwest to the new nation of Aztlan.
You might as well go right ahead as you've already shown yourself to be completely incompetent on subjects you claim to have studies.
Of course, reading from Soros' talking point hardly qualifies as "study," dear boy.
Outside of the fact that Bulgarians, another Slavic people owned that land before the Serbs, the Albanians were not present in Kosovo until the Turks, since before the Bulgars, it was the Greek Bzyntines who lived there.
Under the Byzantine Empire Kosovo and parts of Albania were populated by agriculturalist Slavs in the plains and valleys while pastoralist Vlachs, Illyrians, Albanian, Dardanians and Thracians held the highlands. There is no evidence that the ancient Illyrians were Albanians. Since the Illyrians, before they were absorbed by the Romans, did not have a written language, Venetians, Dalmatians, Croats, Montenegrins, and Albanians, all can claim ancient but unprovable Illyrian roots.After a period within the Bulgarian Empire, and another period of Byzantine rule, in 1180 Kosovo became part of the Serb state. In 1219 the Kosovar town of Pec became the seat of the Serb Orthodox church, against which the Pope organized crusades. The Battle of Kosovo Polje (which in Serb means Field of Blackbirds) was fought in 1389 and saw the Christian armies, led by the Serb Prince Lazar, the Bosnian King Tvrtko and their Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Albanian allies challenging the invading armies of Emir Murad and his vassals. That battle was a draw--both Prince Lazar and Emir Murad were killed-- but in later battles the Christians were defeated and most of the Balkans were conquered. Originally, Ottoman rule was definitely more rational and tolerant than that of any contemporary European state. Any conquered prince or village chief, if he converted to Islam, would be accepted as an equal of the Ottomans and would see his own wealth and power increase, at the expense of those who remained Christians. Nevertheless, Christians and Jews were tolerated, although converts were favored. With time, the converts became owners of ever greater spreads of land, worked by their Christian serfs, who in Bosnia and Kosovo happened to be mostly Serbs. Sometimes converts or immigrants are embarrassed by their origins, and to prove their dedication to their new faith or country,they are more likely to turn vicious against their infidel uncivil cousins.
Often amongst the cruelest persecutors you find people whose granparents were from the persecuted group. As the formerly Christian Albanians became the rulers of the land, it became very uncomfortable to be a Christian in Albania and in Kosovo. One half of the population of Albania escaped to Italy, while most of the other half converted. Many of the Serbs of Kosovo escaped north, in successive waves,to escape the rule of Albanian converts or the avenging Ottoman armies, which arrived after every failed Serb insurrection. Serbs peasants were replaced by Albanians from the Kosovo highlands or from northern Albania. About the year 1800 things began to get worse still: in more tolerant days, all that Serbs had to do was to accept serfdom under an Albanian bey or pasha or under a Bosnian beg. Now a particularly demanding Albanian pasha might simply kill Serbs unwilling to convert or destroy their village. Some Serbs who chose conversion to Islam remained crypto-Christians and for many years maintained Christian traditions within the home. Persecution of crypto-Christians was initiated, and after a few generations, through intermarriage, all converted Serbs were absorbed into the Albanian population. What often remained was awareness of blood ties and of an ancient shared history,as well as common traditions and bilingualism. There is no record of organized violence between Serbs or Montenegrins and Albanians until 1785, when an Albanian army, under the nominal sovereignty of the Sultan in Istambul, invaded Montenegro.
After 11 years of fighting the Albanians had to withdraw and Montenegroremained an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire. In 1875 an agrarian insurrection against the Moslem landlord and tax collector started in Bosnia and turned into a national Serb revolution, which found support and volunteers amongst European liberals, particularly the followers of Mazzini and Garibaldi. At the end of Tolstoy's Ana Kerenina, we see Prince Vronsky on his way to the Balkans as one such volunteer. The Bosnian Serbs proclaimed their union to Serbia,--they were the majority then in Bosnia -- but Austria had other plans for the area. In a secret agreement, concluded in Budapest, Vienna and St. Petersburg divided the Balkans into spheres of influence. The Zar declared war against the Sultan. With the aid of forces from Bulgaria,Montenegro, and Serbia, the Ottoman armies were defeated and a peace treaty was signed, which gave parts of Kosovo to Serbia and Montenegro,while Bulgaria got Macedonia and independence. But Berlin--and Vienna,Rome, London, and Paris-- didn't like that one bit, and told the little Slavs, "Give it back immediately!" Which they did, while Bulgaria had to accept autonomy instead of independence. That was the Congress of Berlin, 1878, whose big winner was Austria-Hungary, which grabbed Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Sanjak. The Ottoman Empire tried reforms and gave equal rights to Serbs. This offended the Albanians, who saw themselves taxed just like Christians, equated to the "rayah", Turkish word that means herd. That is the traditional term of reference for Christians, seen as a herd whose purpose in life is to be fleeced.
Ottoman rule was now very weak and became definitely unable to protect its Serb subjects. During the previous war the Slavic armies had terrorized the Albanians, while Albanian irregulars had terrorized the Serbs in Kosovo. Afterwards,robbery, beatings, rape, and murder of Serbs by Albanians came to be commonplace in Kosovo. Raiding Serb towns became a conventional way of making a living. Raids were made against towns in Serbia proper as well as against Serb towns in Kosovo. In 1901 Albanian bands raided Novi Pazar and Pristina, the raids regularly turning into pogroms. In between pogroms Serbs in Kosovo had to keep a low profile. For example, it wasn't wise for Serbs to paint their houses or in some other way make them look fancier than their Albanian neighbors'. In one Kosovo town it was customary for the town crier to end every announcement with the cry "Woe unto him who is a Chistian."
Vienna's agents stirred up unrest in the expectation that chaos would enable Austria-Hungary to occupy the area as it had done in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Kosovar Albanian notables visited Belgrade as honored guests and were offered gifts and arms to encourage them to protect Kosovo Serbs. In 1903 the Macedonians rose up and the bashibazouks, mostly Albanian irregular forces, were sent to crush the uprising.In 1908 the Young Turk government in Istambul attempted the centralization of the empire and mandated Turkish language instruction, military service, and higher taxes. Kosovo Albanians revolted and the Turkish reaction was severe. 50,000 Albanians and 100,000 Serbs fled Kosovo. Serbia and Montenegro began to support Albanian guerrilla leaders like Isa Boletini and Idriz Seferi, who in exchange protected Kosovo's Serbs. Seferi had some of his followers shot for robbing Serbs and Boletini had Serbs amongst his most trusted men. However,when Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia went to war against the Ottoman Empire, the Albanians sided with Istambul. " Better the devil you know..." Albanians thus became victims of generalized killing and pillage at the hands of the victorious Balkan armies. Serb forces reached the sea but Vienna and Rome announced that this would not be tolerated. It was Austria' s policy that Serbia should never be allowed to have a port on the Adriatic. Italy's objective was control of both sides of the Adriatic. The Italians landed and fought off Greeks and Serbs. Austria and Italy were then allied in the Triple Alliance, whose third member was Germany. They supported a convention of feudal lords from all over Albania, which proclaimed Albania's independence in Vlora in 1912. The Treaty of London of 1913 recognized an independent Albania, but the settlement of her final borders was postponed. Serbia lost access to the sea but kept most of Kosovo. World War I saw general mayhem between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo, the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia, one year of Serb resistance, the German and Bulgarian invasion, the loss of Serbia and the epic retreat to the sea of the Serb army through Kosovo and Albania. Serbia lost 1/2 of its men of fighting age (18-55) in battle,famine, typhus, massacre,Austrian gallows and concentration camps. A good German line of the time was "Serbien muss Sterben," meaning,"Serbia must die." The Italians occupied Albania --they had been promised half of Albania in the 1915 Treaty of London--and an Italian general proclaimed once again Albanian independence, "under the friendship and protection of Italy" in June 1917. In 1918 the Serb army came back to Kosovo. The Italians financed Albanian guerrillas against Serbia. The Serbs reacted with massacres. Amnesty was offered in 1921, but the guerrillas surrendered in the fall only to return to the hills in spring, just as had been the practice of outlaws in the Ottoman Empire.
The new ruler of Albania, who later became King Zog, decided to kill the rebel leaders and the Yugoslav amnesty of 1924 put an end to the rebellion. King Zog followed a middle line, now leaning towards Italy, now towards Yugoslavia, but when he went as far as marrying a Hungarian countess instead of an Italian princess, Mussolini decided he had enough of King Zog, organized a Constituent Assembly of Albanian feudal and clan lords and asked them to offer the crown to the King of Italy. Mussolini's explicit order to the new governor was that Albanian irredentist feelings towards Greece and Yugoslavia be encouraged.World War II saw Kosovo divided between Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria. Italy formed Albanian units, which were used in the "pacification" of Greece. Balli Kombetar, the National Union, which has often been said to be the nationalist resistance to the Axis, was allied to the SS Skandenbeg division, an Albanian unit with German officers, which concerned itself with the final solution of both the Jewish and the Christian problem in Albania. In the place of killed or expelled Serbs and Jews came 70,000 settlers from Albania.
The Italian army tried to protect the Serbs, but the greatest help it could really provide was transportation out of Kosovo. Balli Kombetar could be argued to be part of the Albanian resistance if by "resistance" you mean beating up or killing Italians, after Italy switched to the allied side in 1943. Partisan units in Kosovo attracted thousands of Serbs and Montenegrins but a rather small number of Albanians. Although the defeats of the Axis showed that the end was in sight, the killings of Serbs continued, even though Albanian elders questioned the wisdom of such a policy. I944 saw the retreat of the Germans, the Yugoslav partisans' takeover, the suicidal insurrection of Kosovo's Balli Kombetar, and the settling of accounts: during and after very heavy fighting, thousands of Albanians were killed. The end of the war saw a new, young, strong, confident government, still animated by a spirit of idealism, certain of the coming of a bright new (red) dawn, a new society, even a new civilization. Milovan Djlas quotes Tito as saying, in 1945, " Enough of all these death sentences and all this killing! The death sentence no longer has any effect! No one fears death any more." So they stopped most of the killing and did not expel the Albanians, as the Greek government did, without any important person in the world noticing it. Albanian language schools were opened, and higher education was opened to Albanians. Albanian flags, however, were not permitted, and flag raising was cause for arrest. In 1969 the Albanian, Serbo-Croat, and Turkish languages achieved equal status in Kosovo, while the independent University of Pristina was established. In 1974 Kosovo became one of the eight federal units of Yugoslavia. The national nine-member collective leadership consisted of President Tito and one member for each federal unit. This meant that as long as Tito lived --he was president for life--there would be an Albanian vice-president for a year, a Croat next year, then a Slovenian, etc. After Tito died there would be a collective presidency of eight members, one of whom was to be an Albanian. Kosovo now had representation on the federal courts and on the constitutional court --the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court.
It had a veto on all Serb legislation affecting it, while Serbia could not veto a law passed in Kosovo, which now had its own government, parliament, police, judiciary, and supreme court. In the field of public service 80% of all jobs were reserved for Albanians and knowledge of Albanian became mandatory and sufficient. Albanian literature and culture flourished, but a university degree in albanology or Islamic studies did not offer opportunities as an engineering degree would. Most of Yugoslavia's development fund went to Kosovo but the high birthrate, three times the Yugoslav average, insured poverty. As youth unemployment increased, the Albanian government of Kosovo tried solving the problem by providing opportunities and funds for higher education, in Albanian, countering a tradition of bilingualism or trilingualism--Albanian, Serb, And Turkish. That decision of the Albanian leadership was quite catastrophic, since it ghettoized Albanians. It is not easy today in Kosovo to find young Albanians who speak Serb, or any foreign language at that. All successful, affluent minorities are bilingual. What was created was a class of dissatisfied intellectuals without prospects of translating their humanities degrees into jobs, while the development of university facilities did not keep pace with the increase in the number of students. Students were unhappy with the food and with conditions in general at the university. The government and the university were totally in the hands of Albanians, but a culprit had to be found. In some places you naturally blame the Jews, in some places you blame the Muslims, in Kosovo you blame the Christians. So on March 26, 1981 the first pogrom since World War II took place in Pristina. Instead of Jews, the targets were Serbs and Montenegrins, who were attacked, their homes and shops looted and set on fire. The army intervened to quell the riots and perhaps one hundred Albanians were killed. This, however,was not a riot like the Watts, Newark, or Detroit riots of the 1960's. In Pristina policemen were killed. Certainly it would have been wiser to use less force to end the riots, certainly there was no need for the type of repression that followed. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that the Yugoslavs had succeeded in breaking with the brutal history of massacre and revenge that had afflicted Kosovo. The Albanians in Kosovo had obtained more rights than any minority in any contested area in the world, and had more economic, religious, political, and educational freedoms and opportunities than Albanians in Albania. But this was not sufficient to break that old custom of beating up Christians when you can get away with it. The autonomous Albanian government allowed Albanians to get away with it. Serbs and Montenegrins found themselves to be targets of job and language discrimination.
As the Albanians obtained control of the police, life became difficult for all minorities. It starts with cursing when you meet your Serb neighbor in the street, then come threats, robbery,cutting of trees, theft and destruction of crops, killing of animals, stonings, and beatings. If that is not enough to convince Serbs to sell their house and leave, there is always the knife. Altering the balance of power between nationalities through intimidation or terror is ethnic cleansing. In 1989, to put a stop to such ethnic cleansing Milosevic withdrew the autonomy and reincorporated Kosovo into Serbia. I would not deny that this was done undiplomatically, and that there was no real effort to give incentives to Albanian leaders willing to cooperate with Serbia. Nevertheless, the action of Milosevic, though heavy-handed, was essentially defensive in nature. The recent armed struggle has caused the ethnic cleansing process to accelerate. Many villages have been totally cleansed of Serbs. Serbs, Montenegrins, as well as Rom or even Albanians unwilling to work with the KLA, are robbed or beaten. Some may be beaten to death.Sometimes their tortured bodies are found, sometimes they just disappear. Human remains were found in the village of Klechka, where a limestone kiln was used as crematorium for 22 people whom the KLA did not like. It's too bad that since the governments of NATO countries decided to take sides in this conflict, the western media have found it inappropriate to involve unpleasantries like Klecka into the general discussion of Kosovo.
Wrong. The Albanians were terrorizing Serbs out of Kosovo in the 1980's and before. The New York Times wrote about it. An Albanian soldier in the Yugoslav army murdered several sleeping non-Albanians (including Bosniaks, part Bosniaks, Slovenes, etc.) and they did many other subversive actions within the army and without.
One of the reasons crimes were low in the early '90s was because many of the Albanian troublemakers were participating in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. After the wars, Albanian veterans sought to start up troubles in Kosovo. They supported and do support themselves with a vast network of crime - drugs, people trafficking, robbery, prostitution, and more. They are known throughout Europe as especially violent criminals.
The New York Times
November 1, 1987, Sunday, Late City Final Edition
Section 1; Part 1, Page 14, Column 1;
"In Yugoslavia, Rising Ethnic Strife Brings Fears of Worse Civil Conflict"
By DAVID BINDER, Special to the New York Times
Portions of southern Yugoslavia have reached such a state of ethnic friction that Yugoslavs have begun to talk of the horrifying possibility of ''civil war'' in a land that lost one-tenth of its population, or 1.7 million people, in World War II.
The current hostilities pit separatist-minded ethnic Albanians against the various Slavic populations of Yugoslavia and occur at all levels of society, from the highest officials to the humblest peasants.
A young Army conscript of ethnic Albanian origin shot up his barracks, killing four sleeping Slavic bunkmates and wounding six others.
The army says it has uncovered hundreds of subversive ethnic Albanian cells in its ranks. Some arsenals have been raided.
Ethnic Albanians in the Government have manipulated public funds and regulations to take over land belonging to Serbs. And politicians have exchanged vicious insults.
Slavic Orthodox churches have been attacked, and flags have been torn down. Wells have been poisoned and crops burned. Slavic boys have been knifed, and some young ethnic Albanians have been told by their elders to rape Serbian girls.
Ethnic Albanians comprise the fastest growing nationality in Yugoslavia and are expected soon to become its third largest, after the Serbs and Croats.
The goal of the radical nationalists among them, one said in an interview, is an ''ethnic Albania that includes western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, part of southern Serbia, Kosovo and Albania itself.'' That includes large chunks of the republics that make up the southern half of Yugoslavia.
Other ethnic Albanian separatists admit to a vision of a greater Albania governed from Pristina in southern Yugoslavia rather than Tirana, the capital of neighboring Albania.
There is no evidence that the hard-line Communist Government in Tirana is giving them material assistance.
The principal battleground is the region called Kosovo, a high plateau ringed by mountains that is somewhat smaller than New Jersey. Ethnic Albanians there make up 85 percent of the population of 1.7 million. The rest are Serbians and Montenegrins.
Worst Strife in Years
As Slavs flee the protracted violence, Kosovo is becoming what ethnic Albanian nationalists have been demanding for years, and especially strongly since the bloody rioting by ethnic Albanians in Pristina in 1981 - an ''ethnically pure'' Albanian region, a ''Republic of Kosovo' ' in all but name.
The violence, a journalist in Kosovo said, is escalating to ''the worst in the last seven years.''
Many Yugoslavs blame the troubles on the ethnic Albanians, but the matter is more complex in a country with as many nationalities and religions as Yugoslavia's and involves economic development, law, politics, families and flags. As recently as 20 years ago, the Slavic majority treated ethnic Albanians as inferiors to be employed as hewers of wood and carriers of heating coal. The ethnic Albanians, who now number 2 million, were officially deemed a minority, not a constituent nationality, as they are today.
Were the ethnic tensions restricted to Kosovo, Yugoslavia's problems with its Albanian nationals might be more manageable. But some Yugoslavs and some ethnic Albanians believe the struggle has spread far beyond Kosovo. Macedonia, a republic to the south with a population of 1.8 million, has a restive ethnic Albanian minority of 350,000.
''We've already lost western Macedonia to the Albanians,'' said a member of the Yugoslav party presidium, explaining that the ethnic minority had driven the Slavic Macedonians out of the region.
Attacks on Slavs
Last summer, the authorities in Kosovo said they documented 40 ethnic Albanian attacks on Slavs in two months. In the last two years, 320 ethnic Albanians have been sentenced for political crimes, nearly half of them characterized as severe.
In one incident, Fadil Hoxha, once the leading politician of ethnic Albanian origin in Yugoslavia, joked at an official dinner in Prizren last year that Serbian women should be used to satisfy potential ethnic Albanian rapists. After his quip was reported this October, Serbian women in Kosovo protested, and Mr. Hoxha was dismissed from the Communist Party.
As a precaution, the central authorities dispatched 380 riot police officers to the Kosovo region for the first time in four years.
Officials in Belgrade view the ethnic Albanian challenge as imperiling the foundations of the multinational experiment called federal Yugoslavia, which consists of six republics and two provinces.
'Lebanonizing' of Yugoslavia
High-ranking officials have spoken of the ''Lebanonizing'' of their country and have compared its troubles to the strife in Northern Ireland.
Borislav Jovic, a member of the Serbian party's presidency, spoke in an interview of the prospect of ''two Albanias, one north and one south, like divided Germany or Korea,'' and of ''practically the breakup of Yugoslavia.'' He added: ''Time is working against us.''
The federal Secretary for National Defense, Fleet Adm. Branko Mamula, told the army's party organization in September of efforts by ethnic Albanians to subvert the armed forces. ''Between 1981 and 1987 a total of 216 illegal organizations with 1,435 members of Albanian nationality were discovered in the Yugoslav People's Army,'' he said. Admiral Mamula said ethnic Albanian subversives had been preparing for ''killing officers and soldiers, poisoning food and water, sabotage, breaking into weapons arsenals and stealing arms and ammunition, desertion and causing flagrant nationalist incidents in army units.''
Concerns Over Military
Coming three weeks after the ethnic Albanian draftee, Aziz Kelmendi, had slaughtered his Slavic comrades in the barracks at Paracin, the speech struck fear in thousands of families whose sons were about to start their mandatory year of military service.
Because the Albanians have had a relatively high birth rate, one-quarter of the army's 200,000 conscripts this year are ethnic Albanians. Admiral Mamula suggested that 3,792 were potential human timebombs.
He said the army had ''not been provided with details relevant for assessing their behavior.'' But a number of Belgrade politicians said they doubted the Yugoslav armed forces would be used to intervene in Kosovo as they were to quell violent rioting in 1981 in Pristina. They reason that the army leadership is extremely reluctant to become involved in what is, in the first place, a political issue.
Ethnic Albanians already control almost every phase of life in the autonomous province of Kosovo, including the police, judiciary, civil service, schools and factories. Non-Albanian visitors almost immediately feel the independence - and suspicion - of the ethnic Albanian authorities.
Region's Slavs Lack Strength
While 200,000 Serbs and Montenegrins still live in the province, they are scattered and lack cohesion. In the last seven years, 20,000 of them have fled the province, often leaving behind farmsteads and houses, for the safety of the Slavic north.
Until September, the majority of the Serbian Communist Party leadership pursued a policy of seeking compromise with the Kosovo party hierarchy under its ethnic Albanian leader, Azem Vlasi.
But during a 30-hour session of the Serbian central committee in late September, the Serbian party secretary, Slobodan Milosevic, deposed Dragisa Pavlovic, as head of Belgrade's party organization, the country's largest. Mr. Milosevic accused Mr. Pavlovic of being an appeaser who was soft on Albanian radicals. Mr. Milosevic had courted the Serbian backlash vote with speeches in Kosovo itself calling for ''the policy of the hard hand.''
''We will go up against anti-Socialist forces, even if they call us Stalinists,'' Mr. Milosevic declared recently. That a Yugoslav politician would invite someone to call him a Stalinist even four decades after Tito's epochal break with Stalin, is a measure of the state into which Serbian politics have fallen. For the moment, Mr. Milosevic and his supporters appear to be staking their careers on a strategy of confrontation with the Kosovo ethnic Albanians.
Other Yugoslav politicians have expressed alarm. ''There is no doubt Kosovo is a problem of the whole country, a powder keg on which we all sit,'' said Milan Kucan, head of the Slovenian Communist Party.
Remzi Koljgeci, of the Kosovo party leadership, said in an interview in Pristina that ''relations are cold'' between the ethnic Albanians and Serbs of the province, that there were too many ''people without hope.''
But many of those interviewed agreed it was also a rare opportunity for Yugoslavia to take radical political and economic steps, as Tito did when he broke with the Soviet bloc in 1948.
Efforts are under way to strengthen central authority through amendments to the constitution. The League of Communists is planning an extraordinary party congress before March to address the country's grave problems.
The hope is that something will be done then to exert the rule of law in Kosovo while drawing ethnic Albanians back into Yugoslavia's mainstream.
Copyright 1987 The New York Times Company "And there was practically no retaliatory violence from the Albanians until 1996"
post this article as a topic for its self. It shows it all and much more.
Well, you could do it yourself. I had thought it might have been posted here years ago - but couldn't find it, so go ahead if you wish.
I searched a bit and came up with a FR post about Bob Dole which quotes a bit of an even earlier article by The New York Times July 1982 similar to the 1987 one. (The article says 57,000 Serbs had left in the last decade which would mean from 1972-1982):
Bob Dole and Yugoslavia; "Concurrent Resolution 150" and Other Puzzle PiecesThe New York Times,
Monday, July 12, 1982
Exodus of Serbians Stirs Province in Yugoslavia
"Serbs .... have... been harassed by Albanians and have packed up and left the region.
"The [Albanian] nationalists have a two-point platform, ...first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then the merger with Albania to form a greater Albania. "
"Some 57,000 Serbs have left Kosovo in the last decade... The exodus of Serbs is admittedly one of the main problems... in Kosovo..."
Hiya. Nice to see you.
Idiotic Balkan mindsets all.
Well, the Jews then have no claim to Israel and the Islamic are the masters of that land, since the Jewish claim is 2,000 years old. Now don't you feel a bit dumb with that statement.....or are you an islamic israeli arab?
We've got another pro-islamic and this one out of Israel: Alter Kaker
Sorry, but I don't base my support for my country on any sort of belief in Eretz Yisrael. The Jews came to Israel because we were chased out of Europe, Russia, and, later, the Arab world.
Wow, so your view is basically supported by might makes right. Because, since that land was occupied, however sparsly and you don't keep any moral justification from the ancient Judea, then you just stole that land, flat and simple. More Jews like you are the reason that the EU supports the absurd Islamic claims that you are just a bunch of colonizing thieves. Talk about playing right upto the Islamics.
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