Michael Pugliese debsian at pacbell.net
Wed Oct 11 22:34:22 PDT 2000

http://www.egroups.com/message/spynews/8663 http://www.crisisweb.org/projects/kosovo/reports/kos39main.htm From: International Justice Watch Discussion List [mailto:JUSTWATCH-L at L...] On Behalf Of Thomas Keenan Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 9:26 PM To: JUSTWATCH-L at L... Subject: ICG: Reaction in Kosovo to Kostunica's Victory

Very strong, and pessimistic, analysis from ICG of reactions to, and implications for, Kosovo of the power shift in Belgrade.



The way in which Kosovo Albanians view Milosevic and Kostunica is shaped by their perception that on the issue of Kosovo there is no essential difference between Milosevic and the (former) Serb opposition. At the beginning of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) election campaign-which Kosovo Albanians boycotted, as they have every Serb election campaign since 1990-it was widely said that if they would vote, Kosovo Albanians would support Milosevic in order to ensure that Serbia remained locked in international isolation. In at least one of the Kosovo Serb enclaves, the pro-Milosevic officials organising the 24 September FRY elections hopefully set up a polling place at the edge of the Serb territory to allow any Albanians who wished to do so the opportunity to vote for Milosevic. Some Albanians even went so far as to resurrect the old canard that the first statute put up in independent Kosovo would be to Milosevic-as the man whose brutal approach to Kosovo finally forced the international community to expel Serb forces in 1999.

When pressed, however, thoughtful Kosovo Albanians admit that they are, in fact, glad to see Milosevic disappear and even-albeit often through gritted teeth-acknowledge that they would prefer to see Kostunica rather than Milosevic ruling in Belgrade. Mahmut Bakalli, the former head of the Kosovo League of Communists who resigned in 1981 rather than consent to the use of Yugoslav troops against Albanian demonstrators and who retains considerable back-stage influence among political circles in Kosovo, said that only "shallow thinkers" believed it would be better for Kosovo if Milosevic stayed on. Serious Albanian political thinkers, according to Bakalli, recognised that in the final analysis it would be much easier for the world and for Kosovo Albanians to resolve issues of importance to Kosovo, with a democratic Serbia than with one ruled by Milosevic.

There is, on the other hand, deep reserve in Kosovo regarding Kostunica, who is believed to be just as nationalistic as Milosevic on Kosovo but even more dangerous in some ways because of the support he is gaining from Western leaders. Two days before Milosevic fell, a senior Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) official commented that "Kostunica is just as nationalist as Milosevic himself." Kosovo Albanians reacted with anger and alarm to statements that Kostunica made during the campaign to the effect that he expected Serb forces to return to Kosovo. Albanians also noted that Kostunica emphasised the suffering of the Serb people under NATO bombing but that he has never expressed any contrition or remorse for the sufferings of any of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia victimised by Milosevic, including the thousands of Albanians killed and hundreds of thousands expelled from their homes during the fighting in 1998 and 1999. In the feverish climate of ethnic hatred that currently prevails in Kosovo, a picture that was circulated widely in the Kosovo media of a distinctly uncomfortable looking Kostunica carrying an automatic rifle, allegedly during a visit to Kosovo during the 1998, led many Kosovo Albanian political leaders and ordinary citizens alike to assert that Kostunica-who, whatever his political tendencies may be, is personally a man of distinctly peaceful temperament-was a backer or even a member of the Serb para-military forces. A teenager summed up the opinion of many Kosovo Albanians by saying about Milosevic and Kostunica, "I hate them both."

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