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Unhappy with KFOR, Serbs bolster Milosevic

Yugoslav leaders want the Army back in Kosovo. Paramilitaries may be

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In recent days, Yugoslav military leaders have begun harshly criticizing the KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

The leaders, pretending as though they were not involved with the killings of thousands of Albanians during the war, have repeatedly said they want the UN to invite the Yugoslav Army to help establish order. Analysts say the situation is indirectly bolstering the Milosevic regime, because Serbs are again uniting around a perceived foreign enemy.

"International peacekeeping forces [under NATO auspices] haven't adequately fulfilled one single task assigned to them by the UN Security Council and the military technical agreement," said Third Army Commander Gen. Maj. Nebojsa Pavkovic on Sept. 12. "If international peacekeepers in Kosovo can't carry out their assignments, they should ask the Yugoslav Army to return."

Major Pavkovic stressed that according to the military-technical agreement signed in June between NATO and the governments of Yugoslavia and Serbia, the Yugoslav military is supposed to return to Kosovo to protect border crossings and cultural monuments.

According to the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Center for Peace and Tolerance in Pristina, Albanian extremists have killed more than 350 minorities since KFOR arrived in mid-June, while another 400 have been kidnapped.

A disproportionate number of the victims are elderly Serbs. About 130,000 Serbs have left Kosovo since the Yugoslav Army pulled out in mid-June, while 97,000 remain there.

"The violence in Kosovo serves [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic," says historian and Milosevic observer Alexander Djilas. "It compromises the West and the pro-Western Yugoslav opposition. Now that they're allowing the annihilation of everything Serbian, the West's initial reason for fighting the war seems spurious."

Mr. Djilas and others note that initially, the lost war worked against Mr. Milosevic, but then the country entered a new phase of ambiguous loyalties, where Milosevic's worldview is somewhat vindicated.

Journalist Dragoljub Zarkovic writes in the opposition weekly Vreme: "As each day brings more news of the desperate situation of Serbs in Kosovo, [Milosevic's] war against the entire world appears less like a bad or insane move."


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