Fehim Rexhepi reports in the August 7, 1998, issue of the Novi Sad weekly "Nezavisni" about the complex internal relations within the Albanian movement in Kosovo.
KLA has in the recent times suffered political, psychological and military defeats. Up until now, the Albanian public was witness only to conflicts between politicians and political parties. It mainly knew nothing about the fact that the differences within the KLA are much deeper and that these differences between the political and military factions within KLA are much more damaging to the unity of Albanians, than could be imagined. There is no definitive proof, but it could be said that the politicians and political parties played their role much better. But, it could be noted here that they were in a much greater advantage, because they had the full support of the big powers. On the other hand, KLA was considered as a destabilizing factor. This could be best seen during the current Serbian military offensive against the KLA.
The relations between the political and military factions were not constructive. On the contrary, they were fully competitive and were laden with rivalries, even including attempts to create monopolies and domination relations. Of course, relations within the KLA can be discussed only based on premises.
The factor which indicates all the complexities within the Albanian movement in general, is an attempt to create an Albanian executive body which would even out all the disparate factors.
The monopoly ambitions, or the fear of those are quite evident with all involved. The group of political parties which boycotted the elections does not recognize this Parliament. If it would be consistent, it would not accept that this body would be a government which would be voted in a Parliament which could bring it down in a different political constellation. This group prefers a formation of a strong executive political body, based only on the consent of all political forces, including the KLA. On the other hand, Rugovas group, with all the satellite parties will hardly give up on its parliament and to give up so easily part of power to a body which it will not be able to fully control later on. Here, even the position of Rugova is not clear.
There was a widespread opinion in Kosovo, which is still present, that the KLA will be able to prevent vertical political divisions within the Albanian population. But the Albanian political parties did not agree to pass on their primacy to somebody else. They were aware of the fact that KLA is politically quite heterogeneous and that it is unified only based on the platform of resistance to Serbian rule. It was realistic to expect that as soon as serious politics and diplomacy were, externally or internally imposed on KLA, its internal divisions will come to the front. Just in case, the Albanian politicians have been working behind the scenes for weeks and months to heat up the divisions within the KLA. It is only now becoming clear that the Albanian public and the KLA have quite underestimated the role of politicians and political parties.
All of this has been used by Albanian politicians, Belgrade, and the international diplomacy to marginalize KLA as a factor which cannot be fully controlled and brings insecurity to everybody.
In the next few weeks or months it will become obvious who gained what. In any case, after the current Serbian offensive, the general uprising, which has been spreading with lightning speed will have to analyze what has been achieved in the coming days. It can be currently estimated that uprising phase of the war has been concluded. If a speedy turn towards diplomacy is not made, Kosovo could find itself within the next few weeks in a real prolonged war.
Source: Novi Sad weekly "Nezavisni," August 7, 1998