Slobodan Inic analyzes the causes of the defeats of the KLA in Kosovo in the September 4 and 11 issues of the Novi Sad weekly "Nezavisni."

Everything indicates that the Serbian security forces, aided by the units of the Yugoslav army are coming out as a victor in the current military clashes with KLA in Kosovo in a much quicker and forceful manner that they expected themselves.. But the secret of the operational successes of the Serbian police and army lie more in the weaknesses of the KLA, and less in their particular achievements or victory mentality of the armed Serbs, as is is being mentioned, not without euphoria, in the Belgrade public circles.

In the more direct and specific causes of the defeat of the KLA come those that deal with direct and obvious weaknesses of this Kosovo-Albanian armed formation. The outcome of every war does not depend only on the outside, or influential factors which are unfathomable to the warring sides, but on themselves, their internal capabilities to lead combat in which they will, due to stronger force, better preparedness, better technological equipment and organization, defeat the enemy and force him to surrender.

The armies that do not have political leadership, or, which is even worse, whose leadership is split and confronted, do not have any chance do win a war, even certain battles in between. This weakness has obviously lessened the miliary - operative capabilities of the Albanian KLA an, in a way, has had its revenge on it. Besides this, the armies do not create political leaders, which is something KLA did with Adem Demaqi, but the other way around.

No lesser weakness of the KLA lies in the fact that, disproportionate to its strength, technological capabilities, military training and number of forces in relation to the other side - Serbian police forces (which are, actually, the real army supported by the regular army units), it has set national goals which surpass all its human, military and numerical capabilities. "Independent Kosovo" cannot be achieved as a goal without the engagement and use of enormous violence, either by the side that is striving for it, or the side that is opposing it.

That is why the goals based on one kind of natural or bare ethnic comprehension of nations, without a modernization element in their roles, reduce these same nations to Darwinistic arena of mutual slaughter.

It is tragic that , neither the military leaders of the KLA, nor the political "pacifists" as Rugova, were not informed enough - or, more precisely - did not pay too much attention to the stance of the international community concerning the solution of the position of Kosovo, which it has started to continuously present since the beginning of the Yugoslav crisis.The principle that the Serbs cannot create any Serbian states in Croatia and Bosnia, meant the same in the case of Kosovo Albanians in Serbia.

If the leaders of the Kosovo Albanians thought that through KLA they could successfully lead a war against an organized state, which has also developed into a specific military-police organization during the last decade, without the general uprising of the Albanian population in Kosovo, direct aid of Albania and their co-nationals in Macedonia, than this is another reason that has contributed to their military losses. All indicators show that there was no mood for this, particularly on in Kosovo itself.

Albania was not able, as Serbia did in Croatia and Bosnia, to play a necessary strike role in Kosovo, first of all because a question is raised how much is it currently an organized state at all. There is even less chance that Macedonia Albanians do more for their Kosovo co-nationals, since the authorities in Macedonia have seen such activity as something that is directed against it, if not today, than tomorrow.

Still, if the KLA leaders thought that it is enough that they bring to the boiling point the conflicts with the Serbian regime, so that this would be a cause for the arrival of the NATO forces that would conduct the war for the liberation of Kosovo Albanians, than this is not only a cardinal mistake of a military-political assessment of international relations, than even more, a fatal miscomprehension of the interests of the Western alliance in the Balkans. There, there are no "sympathies" for this or that side for which the Balkan mentality yearns.

One of the most serious mistakes of the KLA and its military leadership is direct boasting in public that this military formation of Kosovo Albanians is fighting for the unification of all its brethren, that is, for Greater Albania. If nothing else, such a stance would have encountered a strong resistance of Serbia itself and the Serbs, who have themselves been unsuccessful in a similar great fatherland attempt during these last years of the bloody war in Croatia and Bosnia.

But, there is also something tragi-comical in this ambition of the KLA military leaders who are striving towards Greater Albania, when Albania itself is not ready to fight for this kind of its "romantic" size. But, with this banner of Greater Albania, the Kosovo Albanians will not only loose this or that military battle, but, in the long run also in the sphere of finding a democratic solution for the position of Kosovo. For each of the Balkan nations, including the Albanian one, it is defeating to reject "life with others, or "joint life," as it is also called.

The warring method of the KLA was inexcusably wrong. The idea to conduct a war on the principle "army against the army" is an ideal formula from the JNA military academy manual. But, for such a war, all you need is an army ! It is obvious that the military personnel of the KLA, with the influence of the former JNA officers had problems with the application of their well learned lessons.

KLA has lost a lost in its possible image with its medieval methods expressed in the conflicts so far. To kill, for example, a police major from Belgrade, Cuprija or Kraljevo, who came with the intent to guard the current ethnic apartheid in Kosovo by force falls within the "rules" of war and its unfortunate laws. But to snipe down a messenger of local municipality on a bicycle, to kidnap civilians, to massively detain innocent people in private camps, mistreat foreign and local journalists, pillage and destroy property, and not reach the mentioned major, is a certain way to lose all credibility, but also all sympathy for its liberation struggle.

This is really a no way out towards terrorism, no matter how much their national goals might seem "saintly" and "justified" to their protagonists.

Source: Novi Sad weekly "Nezavisni," September 4, and 11, 1998

back to index

Monitor Index | War Zone | MediaFilter