tary-general George Robertson minimizedthe relevance of the violence in Mitrovica byblithely pointing out that “the murder rate[in Kosovo] has declined from over 50 perweek in June 1999 to around five per week today.”
Similarly, NATO commander Gen.Wesley Clark asserted, “The level of violence[in Kosovo] has come down remarkably, andwhat remains is primarily organized crimeand family violence.”
Robertson and Clark,however, failed to point out that the murderrate has fallen precisely because Kosovo hasbeen virtually cleansed of non-Albanian mur-der targets. To put it another way, Robertsonand Clark point to Kosovo’s declining mur-der rate as evidence of NATO’s “success,”when in fact it is evidence of NATO’s failureto stop the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo’sminority populations.Outside Mitrovica, ethnic Albanian terrorattacks on Kosovo’s remaining Serbs havecontinued in an ongoing pattern of violencethat has been orchestrated by the KLA sincethe NATO bombing ended.
On at least twooccasions in February, UN authoritieswarned that violence by ethnic Albaniansagainst Serbs was increasing throughoutKosovo, and in March the UN warned thatKosovo’s new national guard, the KosovoProtection Corps—composed of former KLAguerrillas—was engaged in illegal activitiesand human rights abuses.
Disorder Spreading outside Kosovo
Even more troubling than the ongoingattacks on Kosovo’s Serbs is that the KLA isfomenting an insurgency across the provin-cial border, in Serbia’s predominantly ethnicAlbanian–inhabited Presevo valley—whichthe KLA calls “Eastern Kosovo.” In a disturb-ing replay of the strategy it used from early1998 until the NATO bombing campaigncommenced, the KLA is attacking Serbianpolicemen and civilians—and ethnicAlbanians loyal to Belgrade—in the hope of provoking Yugoslav authorities into aresponse that will incite the United Statesand NATO to resume the war withYugoslavia. (That ABC’s
World News Tonight
recently reported the massing of Serbiantroops in “Yugoslav-held territory” without ahint about why they were gathering indicateshow well such a strategy works.) As a UN offi-cial in Kosovo said, the KLA is “hoping thatthe Serbs will retaliate with excessive forceagainst civilian populations and create awave of outrage and pressure on KFOR[NATO’s Kosovo Force] to respond.”
Belatedly awakening to the danger posedby the KLA’s cross-border insurgency, U.S.forces on March 16 raided the arms cachesand other logistical infrastructure used bythe KLA to sustain its operations withinSerbia.
In mid-April peacekeeping troops inKosovo arrested 12 ethnic Albanians oncharges of illegal possession of arms andother military materiel after the driver of atruck failed to stop when flagged down at acheckpoint. In the truck, peacekeepers found80 anti-tank mines, 40 hand grenades, andlarge quantities of guns and ammunition.
And in late April NATO peacekeepers arrest-ed four ethnic Albanians after a house searchin the town of Sedlare yielded hand grenades,AK-47 assault rifles, and ammunition.
Fourethnic Albanians were detained near thetown of Djakovica after peacekeepers discov-ered various weapons, ammunition, andexplosives.
Notwithstanding the downward spiral of events in Kosovo, and the KLA’s role infomenting the instability, U.S. officials—notably Secretary of State MadeleineAlbright in a March 8 speech in Prague—havelabeled Belgrade the chief instigator of vio-lence in Kosovo. Clearly, the regime of Slobodan Milosevic is not an innocentbystander, but the KLA has indisputablybeen the heavy in Kosovo since NATO endedits bombing campaign. Exemplifying theClinton administration’s Alice-in-Wonder-land version of the situation, in her Praguespeech Albright blamed “extremists” on bothsides but exempted the KLA, which she
The KLA isfomenting aninsurgencyacross theprovincial bor-der, in Serbia’spredominantlyethnic Albanian–inhabitedPresevo valley.