Source Sid Shniad
Date 99/05/15/23:50

From: phillp2@Ms.UManitoba.CA
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 15:58:42 -0500


Essential Public Policy Points Relating to the ISSA
Mission to Yugoslavia, April 18-21, 1999

The International Strategic Studies Association organized a fact-
finding mission from Washington DC to Yugoslavia on April 18-21,
1999. The purpose was for the Association and a key US
Congressman to determine to a greater extent factors important to
future policymaking with regard to the war being prosecuted
against Yugoslavia. ISSA worked with a Yugoslav NGO, the
Institute for Geopolitical Studies, in facilitating the mission.

US Congressman Jim Saxton (Republican, New Jersey), an ISSA
Life Member and Chairman of the US House of Representatives
Task Force on Terrorism & Unconventional Warfare (and member
of the House Armed Services Committee; and Vice-Chairman of
the Joint [House-Senate] Economic Committee), participated in the
mission, along with the Director of the Task Force on Terrorism,
Yossef Bodansky.

The mission delegates met with key Yugoslav officials and
politicians, at the highest levels, including the Foreign Minister. As
well, contacts were made with non-governmental individuals in
Yugoslavia, and an assessment was made of NATO bombing
damage in the greater Belgrade area.

A. The Rationale Behind the Fact-Finding Visit

1. The visit was principally undertaken to ensure that the US
Congress had sufficient independent information on the conduct of
the war ("the Kosovo Crisis") to be able to fully debate proposals
put to it by the US Administration. The Founding Fathers of the
United States wished to ensure that there were checks and balances
in the US system. The Congress was empowered to approve and
fund — or disapprove and withhold funding — the actions of the
Administration, and was charged with the function of declaring
war. It was, therefore, the responsibility of Congress to satisfy itself
through the utmost diligence that courses of action to which it
committed its actions were appropriate. It was never intended that
the Congress should blindly endorse the Administrative Branch, but
rather should support it or check it after due debate and research.

2. The commitment of US lives into a combat situation, where
many lives will certainly be lost, and where the long-term strategic
interests of the United States are involved, cannot therefore be
undertaken without the most complete research and understanding.
With regard to the present situation in Yugoslavia, Congress had
until this mission been virtually totally reliant on the
Administration’s view of events, and on the media, which has been
greatly influenced by the only real source of information and
opinion available: the Administration.

3. It was necessary to determine far more objectively the real
situation before one-sided evidence and jingoism was allowed to
determine whether Congress threw American lives, and the future
strategic position of the United States, into a war. This was the
underlying motive for the ISSA/Saxton mission to Yugoslavia.

4. It was also necessary to ensure that the United States did not
unwittingly commit crimes of its own in pursuit of a just solution to
the tragedy.

B. What was discovered

1. The Flow of Refugees: The international media, because it is
largely on the external borders of Yugoslavia, has seen only the
flow of refugees out of the country, to Albania and Macedonia.
However, some one-third of the Albanian Yugoslav and other
ethnic group refugees appear, in fact, to be fleeing further into
Serbia, to avoid the Kosovo Liberation Army. Yugoslavia has
already been burdened since 1992 with almost one-million refugees
from Bosnian Serb areas and Croatian Serb areas, as well as
Croatians and Muslims fleeing into Serbia-proper from what is now
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

2. There is no doubt but that the NATO bombings in Kosovo and in
the rest of Serbia have contributed heavily — perhaps
overwhelmingly — toward the outflow of refugees, not only the
Kosovar Albanians but many other ethnic groups who have been
forced on the road with the destruction of their homes or their

3. There are some 26 different ethnic groups in Yugoslavia, and
some 20 different ethnic groups living in the Kosovo region. Within
Yugoslavia, some one-third of the population is not of Serbian
origin, and this makes it the most multi-cultural, multi-religious
state in the Balkan region.

4. We saw extensive destruction of civilian targets, many of which
could not be justified by NATO as military targets nor vital to the
maintenance of a Yugoslav strategic power base. Given the
widespread damage to these purely civilian targets which we saw,
including the direct destruction of homes, it is not difficult to
believe the claims of the Yugoslav Government that some 400,000
to a half-million people have been thrown out of work because of
the destruction of their workplaces. This means that some 2-million
Yugoslavs of all ethnic origins are without income, out of a
population of some 10+-million people.

5. Justification for bombing civilian targets has now been given that
these facilities were owned by relatives of President Milosevic, but
the vast majority of these factories were either State-owned,
privately-owned by non-Milosevic family members or, for the
greater part, owned jointly by the State and by the workforces of
the various factories. As a result, this has directly contributed to an
attack on the average Yugoslav family.

6. There was no evidence to support the contention that the
Yugoslav warfighting capability has been overwhelming broken by
the sustained NATO bombing campaign. Rather, the bombing has
driven the Yugoslav people to put aside their political differences
and to unite in the face of an external threat, much as would be the
case if the United States was attacked. We met with people who
have, in the past, been totally opposed, politically, to President
Milosevic. Today, they are working completely with Mr Milosevic
to defend their country. So the intention of the bombing to break
the Yugoslav people away from Mr Milosevic has totally failed, and
shows no sign of succeeding.

7. The cost in terms of human casualties from the NATO bombing
have largely been civilian: between 500 and 1,000 dead, with
several thousand injured. Military personnel casualties have been

8. There has clearly been significant damage suffered by Yugoslav
military assets, including domestic oil refining capability. However,
it would be a mistake to believe that the real warfighting capability
of Yugoslavia has been degraded to anything like the level where
the insertion of ground forces could be successful: that is, that it
could militarily defeat Yugoslavia without massive loss of life and
without destroying the one thing which the campaign intends to
save, namely a viable restoration of Kosovars to their homes and
livelihoods in the Kosovo region. The net result of an insertion of
ground forces would be that a protracted war would continue
within the very rugged terrain of the country, and that the lowland
areas would be lain-waste to in the process. It surely is not our
intention to achieve a victory without restoring the homes and
employment of the Kosovar people (whether of Albanian origin or

9. Apart from a costly, protracted war with the massive loss of life
among NATO states, including, of course, the United States, there
is reason for grave concern over a wider war. Firstly, it is clear that
there would be retaliatory actions against major Western targets,
such as our own oil refineries and nuclear power stations, etc., from
Yugoslav special forces or from non-government Serb activists. So
we could expect a major outbreak of anti-NATO terrorism, perhaps
on a scale not before seen, if we choose to escalate the war into a
full ground operation. This must at the very least be taken into

10. We attempted to investigate reports that there has already been
considerable loss of life among NATO forces, and we feel that we
received some confirmation that this has been the case. Clearly, the
cost to NATO in human and equipment terms has already been far
greater than anything which has been announced. Just how
extensive the NATO aircraft and personnel losses have been
remains to be confirmed. What is clear is that already there has been
a cost to us, apart from the mere monetary cost of equipment and
consumables. This cost can only rise significantly as the conflict

11. It has been stated by NATO that the Yugoslav Air Force has
been driven from the skies, with half the Yugoslav fighter aircraft
force lost, and that all defenses now consist only of anti-aircraft
artillery and anti-aircraft missiles. It is more likely that the Yugoslav
Air Force is preserving its forces to be used in any broader conflict.
This is not Iraq, and we should not make the mistake of believing
that the fight, or fighting capability, has been driven from the

12. There has, in fact, been considerable progress toward reaching a
political solution acceptable to all moderate parties. And, of course,
we except from the definition "moderate parties" the so-called
Kosovo Liberation Army, which derived from the communist
origins of the former Albanian stalinist leaders and which today is
funded largely by narcotic trafficking into Western Europe and
through extortion. It has been a mistake for the West to support the
KLA now, when moderate Kosovar Albanian leaders have been
committed to a political solution to the tragedy. Equally, attempts
to discredit moderate Kosovar Albanian leader Dr Ibrahim Rugova
are counter-productive to achieving a peaceful and lasting solution
to the problem. The fact that Dr Rugova’s enormous courage in
remaining in Yugoslavia to seek such a solution is now being
dismissed by allegations that he is a "virtual prisoner" only serve to
reinforce the hand of the KLA, which has previously been labeled a
terrorist force by the United States, and remains so today. [The
matter of KLA terrorism and the prospect of Yugoslav special
operations in a wider war are both matters which have been the
subject of considerable study by the US House of Representatives
Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, chaired by
Congressman Saxton.]

13. We received strong indications from the very senior officials
with whom we met — and clearly the messages which we received
were sanctioned by Mr Milosevic himself — that virtually all the
substantive demands for Kosovo’s future autonomy within
Yugoslavia could be met, and met quickly, provided negotiations
could resume. As a result, we need to undertake a careful step-by-
step approach toward peace and we need to see some substantive
evidence of commitment and goodwill on the part of the Yugoslavs.
I believe that this will be forthcoming.

14. Without question, we need to ensure that Congress is totally
clear on the situation before further escalation takes place, and
before further funding is put in place to continue a protracted war.
Congress needs to undertake this process of due diligence itself,
given the fact that the enormous confusion which has taken place
due to media manipulation on all sides has only contributed to a
blood-lust which — if it is the only basis for decisionmaking —
could lead to a much longer and wider war.

15. Finally, it seems clear that if we accept that we must commit to
a broader war in Yugoslavia, then we must also accept that US and
NATO military preoccupation with this conflict will open the door
to a range of other conflicts which could be of massive and lasting
consequence. In this regard, we must expect that an expanded war
would lead to an exacerbation of Turkish-Greek tensions leading to
a separate war, in which the Cyprus issue would become a key. We
could expect North Korea to take the opportunity to initiate a
military attack on South Korea, with Japan drawn into the fray. We
could expect that the People’s Republic of China would use the
opportunity to attempt to invade Taiwan. We could expect a variety
of new conflicts to arise in the Middle East. And so on. What is
clear, not just to ourselves but to others, is that we have a finite
military force available to NATO at present, and, because we have
spent our post-Cold War "peace dividend", others will take
advantage of the situation to launch their offensives, knowing the
West does not have the capacity to fight on many fronts.

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