Source Barkley Rosser
Date 99/05/28/18:01

Two points:
1) Apparently there is very hard evidence that for
large numbers of those in the refugee camps there
was a standard sequence of events: a) village or
town shelled, b) door to door visits by Serbian troops
or police or masked paramilitaries ordering the people
to leave within five minutes or be killed (with those refusing
having grenades tossed into their homes), c) males
of certain ages being separated off, in some cases it
is known that some or all of them were killed, in most it
is unknown what happened to them and hopefully most of
them will show up one or another, so to speak, d) the remaining
people being told what route to leave by and where to go,
e) in many cases there homes were destroyed after they
left, f) in many cases their personal papers were destroyed
and they were robbed, g) a lot of other unpleasant personal
stuff has been done to them before they got out finally.
2) Your argument, repeated in this posting, that it is
reasonable for defensive purposes for the Serbians to wish
to create a cordon sanitaire near the borders of Albania and
Macedonia is very reasonable. This is all the more so as
we see increasing evidence of a "stealth" effort to escalate
towards a ground troop invasion from one of those countries
(although Macedonia has declared that it will allow no such
thing). This is a very serious and scary move.
However, this argument does not explain two things:
a) why have people been expelled from areas quite far from
the borders, e.g. from Pristina? b) why were they not moved
in and away from the border rather than totally expelled from
the country?
You have made some very useful and important points that
I have not seen repeated much in these discussions (Lou, you
should put these in your forthcoming history!). One is that
the Rugova regime did not respond to the moderate Milan
Panic regime's openings in the early 90s. Their failure to do
so certainly encouraged the return of the hardliners (no names
today) in Belgrade, just as the policies of those hardliners
encouraged the irredentism of the Albanian political leaders.
The other is the failure of NATO to stop the shipment of
arms across the Albanian border more recently. Of course
Albania is not a NATO member and until recently did not have
much in the way of NATO troops. But the failure to make such
an effort and the siding up with the "politically incoherent" (not
to mention corrupt and generally nasty) UCK/KLA at
Rambouillet is something that cannot be defended and certainly
contributed severely to the current awful (and getting worse)
Aside to Lou: Actually the timing of things that I have been
recounting here has been from my memory. I followed these
events closely as they happened and remember full well when
Vukovar was attacked and when the Croats counterattacked
later and drove the Serbs out of Krajina and (eastern) Slavonia.
It was this ground assault that led a certain leader to cut deals
at Dayton, deals that for all their problems are still mostly holding.
It is rather amazing that this war has not spilled over into Bosnia-
Herzegovina, not yet anyway.
To anyone who wants to justify the Serb assaults in both
Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Kosmet: What if in the early 90s
the leader of Russia had decided to a) bomb Lithuania for
seceding from the USSR, b) arm and support Russian
guerrillas in the Crimea to separate from Ukraine and to
force all non-Russians to leave, c) do the same in northern
Kazakhstan, and d) deal with the Chechens by invading
and expelling most of the population forcibly? Would the
appropriate response be to talk about how all of this was
justified by US plots against the USSR, fascist links in the
past by some Baltic and Ukrainian separatists, and the
sexism, clannishness, and high birth rates occurring among
the Muslim Kazakhs and Chechens?
Barkley Rosser

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