Jackson Overruled Nato Commander 'To Avoid World War Three'
>From the Press Association
Monday August 2, 1999 4:57 am
Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Jackson overruled Nato supreme commander General Wesley Clark as allied troops poured into Kosovo because he feared triggering a global conflict, it has emerged.
Britain's most senior soldier refused to send an air assault team into Pristina airport to block Russian forces who unexpectedly seized it when the Nato bombardment ended.
"I'm not going to start Third World War for you," Gen Jackson apparently told the American commander.
In the hours that followed Gen Clark's order both men sought political backing for their stance but only Gen Jackson received it, the United States magazine Newsweek reports.
News of the rift comes just days after US officials announced that Gen Clark, who oversaw the air campaign which achieved its ends without a single casualty, would be stepping down early from his Nato post.
Trouble flared between the two men as soon as the air strikes were ended and Gen Jackson was appointed commander on the ground in Kosovo, says Newsweek.
Talks on Russia's role had broken down and the American general was so anxious to stop the cold war enemies from stealing a march on the allies he ordered British and French troops to take the airport.
But the order was rejected by Gen Jackson, nicknamed Darth Vader by the British troops who served under him in the war-torn Yugoslav province.