Skip to comments.Swedish KFOR General Warns About Total Ethnic Cleansing of Serbs
Posted on 05/18/2004 8:49:57 AM PDT by Jane_N
Swedish KFOR General Warns About Total Ethnic Cleansing of Serbs
May 18, 2004
"Do not abandon Kosovo!"
Unless the Serbian minority is protected by a strong international military force, the part of the Kosovo Albanian population that is prone to violence will ethnically cleanse anything Serbian out of Kosovo as soon as it gets an opportunity. Until the violent riots in March, the external world believed that the situation in Kosovo had become stabilized. There were plans to strongly reduce the peacekeeping KFOR troops. Thanks to the disarmament not having gone very far, it was possible to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Serbs. Brigadier Anders Brännström, until recently brigade commander in Kosovo, writes that an international force must remain.
Last Friday I returned to Sweden after serving as brigade commander in Kosovo. During the last six months, Sweden has been responsible for the Multinational Brigade Centre MNB (C) -, one of four brigades in KFOR, the military force in Kosovo. This is the first time that Sweden has been in charge of a brigade reporting directly to a NATO staff.
By this article I want to explain the radical change that occurred during my time in Kosovo. I am not a politician and this is not a political brief. My responsibility has been security. This is a field where I see myself as being well informed after my Balkan missions. Apart from the recently finished mission I was commander of the Swedish batallion in Kosovo in 2000.
Before I continue the argument I would like to comment on what I write about the Kosovo Albanian population. It is important to clarify this part of the analysis in order not to get misunderstood.
The absolute majority of Kosovo Albanians are of course like in other parts of the world honest citizens who aspire to a good life for themselves and their families. I have many good friends among Kosovo Albanians. And I can testify that that friendship is often warmer and more intense then with many of my Swedish friends. We must, however, not disregard the a genuine and encompassing suspicion and aversion against Serbs is found in the Kosovo Albanian population. And let me, for the sake of completeness add that a corresponding suspicion, aversion and in addition fear of Kosovo Albanians is found in the Kosovo Serbian population.
When I travelled to Kosovo in October last year I believed as did the entire international community that the situation in Kosovo was stable. Everybody deemed that Kosovo was ripe within a near future to live in a multiethnic society where the different population groups could live together. It was therefore planned to reduce KFOR drastically, to reduce the international police force correspondingly and to hand over power and competences to local institutions.
On 17 March that illusion was broken very clearly and brutally.
As a complete surprise to the entire international community, riots broke out all over Kosovo. Kosovo Albanian crowds burnt Serbian churches, hospitals and houses in the Serbian parts of cities and villages. Women and children were forced to abandon their burning homes and flee for their lives. KFOR succeeded in preventing a total ethnic cleansing, but the damages were nevertheless vast all over Kosovo. Miraculously, no KFOR soldier was killed in the riots.
In hindsight, it is rather embarrassing that we could be this naive. How could we believe that Kosovo &endash; after all that had happened through history &endash; would be ripe already now for its different population groups to live in harmony with each other?
A positive consequence of what happened it that we discovered the frailty of the project in time. If we had had time to disarm even further, it would not have been possible to prevent the ethnic cleansing. Some 100,000 Kosovo Serbs and other minority groups would might in that case have been either dead or assembled in refugee camps, with which Balkan history is replete.
I would like to summarize my analysis of the new situation in Kosovo in four points.
1. Kosovo is not sufficiently ripe to become a multiethnic society within any near future. This was made very evident by what happened on 17-19 march this year.
2. The contradictions and the hatred are so strong that this situation will remain the same for many years. It is quite obvious that we must count with decades until a different situation can be expected.
3. Kosovo Serbian lives and Kosovo Serbian property must be protected by a strong military organization. Existing alternatives are either an international force like KFOR or the army of Serbia-Montenegro. Under present political conditions, the latter alternative is hardly implementable.
4. Unless the Serbian minority is protected by a strong military organization, the violence prone part of the Kosovo Albanian population will cleanse everything Serbian from Kosovo at the first opportunity.
In my analysis I refer to the part of the Kosovo Albanian population that committed the deeds on17-19 March. The UN estimates that there were at least 50,000 people who created the disturbances more or less spontaneously. These are people whose hate of the Serbian population is so great that they will use any means. If this group is permitted to further plan and coordinate its deeds, the destruction would no doubt become even greater.
The conclusion of my analysis is that as long as the international community is not ready to permit ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, a strong international force must be present in the area.
I started by stating that I am no politician; and that is certainly true. I nevertheless wish to conclude this article by using a citizen´s perspective to indicate some possibilities that might be used by skilled and courageous politicians.
- If the international community chooses to continue protecting Kosovo Serbs against ethnic cleansing, would it not be a good idea to attempt to cooperate with Serbia-Montenegro in these issues?
- Would it not thereby be possible for Serbia-Montenegro to enter European cooperation in other ways too?
- Would not that provide an opportunity for Serbia-Montenegro to deal with some of the negative effects of the Milosevic era and perhaps even become able to neutralise some of its radical politicians?
I am completely convinced of the relevance of this analysis of the security situation of the Kosovo Serbian minority population in Kosovo.
The question is whether there is political courage to constructively manage and exploit the opportunities created by the entirely new situation in Kosovo.
F'em let France help them!
Funny, it wasn't at all a surprise to me. Muslims on one side, dead innocents on the other... what's so surprising?
I guess seeing Kosovo wasn't in the mainstream news, most people figured it was all "sugar and spice and all things nice" over there. They really got themselves a rude awakening when the riots started in March.
You all might want to read this analysis written by a Swedish Kfor General who just got back Kosovo
NATO, under Bill Clinton's lead, supposedly stopped the ETHNIC cleansing by bombing the hell out of the Serbs. He obviously missed a few. Thanks Bill, you SLIME BAG.
"In some ways "Peacekeeping" is the toughest military task of all."
I would have to agree with you there M. Dodge Thomas. I have a hard enough time keeping the peace between my two sons, I couldn't imagine how it would feel to be in the shoes of international "peacekeepers".
I thought RBJ said it was the other way around, my how the table turns when the truth makes its way to the surface.
Just thought you might want to read this analysis written by Swedish Brigadier Anders Brännström, who was until recently brigade commander in Kosovo.
The violence didn't surprise me, but it probably surprised a public who have repeatedly been told by the media that the Clinton/Clark/NATO war was "successful." Funny, even though the war was over five years ago and the situation is still completely unresolved, we have heard no critiques in the media of Clinton's post-war planning, of "winning the peace," etc. More media double-standards.
It seems you have forgotten that it was BJ Clinton who created this mess, not France.
Gee, who couldn't have seen this coming?
This is why we must do everything that we can to keep this in the public eye. The Clintonistas are doing everything they can to shift away attention from Kosovo and Kaiser Willie's bombing of the wrong side. Count on American military forces being a permanent presence in Kosovo. Can we say "Quagmire?"
Thanks Jane, BTT.
We don't give a sh*t about Christians!
The surprise is 1) Bin Laden groups of KLA drug dealers operates Kosovo under our nose. 2)The same Moslems who are terrorizing the whole world are terrorizing the Christian Serbs, and our "born again" president is looking the other way. I can understand if our media don't give a sh*t about the Christians! But our so called Christian White House?
President Bush has stated in public that he is a born again christian. I am sure that he will use all the forces at his control to right this wrong.
To allow the muslim horde to continue to slaughter innocent men, women, and children as the United States Armed Forces did under Clintons watch is a terrible affront to our Creator. That is why I am sure President Bush will put a stop to it as soon as he is able.
I don't understand why he would wait on this as he can expose how badly our nation was misled by Kaiser Willie and the Demonrats.
I was being sarcastic. This is one of the issues that make no sense for President Bush to ignore.
Sorry. You have to remember that there are some posters who still put on the kneepads for Kaiser Willie and declare that we did a good thing in Kosovo.
With that sort of blather going on, it's hard at times to tell when someone's got their tongue in their cheek.
It was a sarcastic comment meant to show how utterly incapable Europe is in taking care of problems in their own backyard but seem to have no problem lecturing us!
Kosovo is lost to the nation of Islam, Italy and Greece are next.
I was being sarcastic too. If it was Moslem or Jewish problem it would be a front page story. Christians get no respect in this country. Ethnic Cleansing in Sudan has killed 2 million Christians, and we never talk about it with a sense of outrage or anger. The Rwandan Genocide killed much less people, by people who are not terrorizing us, and they got better coverage. Here Arab Moslems committing genocides in Sudan, and Nigeria, and we never lift a finger!
Thats understandable. I cannot believe that some freepers actually stick up bill and maddies war. Especially since 9/11 caused us to wake up, well somewhat wake up to the fact that muslims are waging a war against us.
"Only a complete fool..."
Unfortunately there are many complete fools out there and by out there I don't mean just on FR. There are so many people that have a "don't know, don't care" attitude. I can understand to an extent that people living on other continents would think that. The weird thing is that many in Europe have that attitude too. I remember while serbia was getting bombed, having discussions with people about this and their attitude was "why should I care...It's far from here". By here, I mean in Sweden. Yes Sweden is rather far from the former Yugoslavian republics, but not so far that it wouldn't be effected. And it was effected in that Sweden took in many of the refugees from Kosovo (which in it's turn has led to other problems which I won't go into here).
On 17 March that illusion was broken very clearly and brutally.
WRONG! Well over a hundred Serbian Orthodox churches (plus at least one Albanian Protestant church) were destroyed by the KLA/UCK--THE VAST MAJORITY OF THEM before March 17, 2004. And well over 200,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians (plus who knows how many pro-Yugoslav and/or anit-KLA Albanians) were cleansed from Kosovo BEFORE March 17, 2004--most of them in 1999!!
Like most Americans, I remember where I was and what I was doing when the planes hit on 9/11. I also remember where I was on March 17, 2004. I was exactly where I belonged--at a Lutheran Lenten communion service. Among other things, we sang St. Patrick's Breastplate, because it was St. Patrick's day. (St. Patrick is a saint for both Lutherans and Orthodox, as well as Roman Catolic Irish.) What a letdown and a grief it was when--soon thereafter-- I found out what the UCK was doing!!
On another, related subject: Welcome, Srebrenica Squak! All I can say is AMAZING!!!!
This Swedish Officer was disillusioned. He should try walking in the Serbs shoes for one day in Kosovo. He will then understand.
The absolute majority of Kosovo Albanians are of course like in other parts of the world honest citizens who aspire to a good life for themselves and their families. I have many good friends among Kosovo Albanians. And I can testify that that friendship is often warmer and more intense then with many of my Swedish friends. We must, however, not disregard the a genuine and encompassing suspicion and aversion against Serbs is found in the Kosovo Albanian population. And let me, for the sake of completeness add that a corresponding suspicion, aversion and in addition fear of Kosovo Albanians is found in the Kosovo Serbian population
About sums it up.
No...This about sums it up.
This quote speaks volumes.
Forced sterilization is the only non-violent way to deal with it. Nobody dies...so the Left should rejoice. Shouldn't it?
No need to thank me for the ping Nennsy, I thought you would be interested in what a foriegner who has just come back from Kosovo had to say about the situation there.
And by the way, thank you for your post about the Austrian contingent. It was interesting to see that even others who are non-biased are more or less saying the same thing. Yet certain people still believe the serbs are to fault, that they deserve it and the albanian actions are justified revenge. It is not revenge. It's a deep inner hatred for serbs, serb culture and religion, yes, everything that is serb by the Albanians.
If nothing is done by the international community and done soon, then Kosovo will be cleansed of all Serbs. We need to remove our blinkers and recognise that major problems exist. If we don't do something now, than we are helping in the cleansing being committed.
Funny actually how so many people were for the bombing of Serbia when there wasn't any real proof of ethnic cleansing being committed by the Serbs against Albanians in Kosovo before the war. Yet now when there is absolute proof of ethnic cleansing against Serbs by Albanians, everyone is silent. Talk about hypocrisy.
The matter has been explained to you, and here you are repeating the lie.
What's the major malfunction Jane?
And that justifies what is happening today or? If we could bomb Serbia because etnic cleansing than we would and are hypoctrites for just standing by and watching on while the same thing is being done by the Albanians. Or do you also believe that the Serbs deserve it as some others tend to do?
The ROE for KFOR units will be changed, and additional pressure will be applied on the Kosovo Albanian leadership to become more proactive in preventing this type of behavior in the future.
Now answer my question - why are you repeating the "no ethnic cleansing prior to Allied Force" lie?
"why are you repeating the "no ethnic cleansing prior to Allied Force" lie"
Because the sources I rely on have been involved with Kosovo before the Yugoslavian wars started. These sources have always worked for peaceful solutions to ethnic problems. And no these sources are not Serb-backed. The major one of these is Transnational Organisation whose founder Jan Öberg is a internationally respected expert in Peace and Reconciliation and has been interviewed many times on CNN among other mainstream media networks. Other sources include albanians from kosovo that have lived in sweden since the early '90's who tell me that yes awful things had been going on but ethnic cleansing it was not. Is this enough for you?
As to your "additional pressure will be applied on the Kosovo Albanian leadership to become more proactive in preventing this type of behavior in the future."
There is a major difference in additional pressure compared to blackmailing (Rambouilett), threatening with bombing and destroying a sovereign state.
No. I could care less who your sources are - if their statements are in conflict with the facts, and you cannot resolve them, then you are in error for continuing to cite those sources as any sort of authority.
You are in error.
Tell me, Jane, why do 250,000 Serbs count more than 350,000, Kosovo Albanians?
So far, the Kosovar Albanians have responded to our pressure, whereas Milosevic simply racheted up his ethnic cleansing campaign - that some refuse to recognize Milosevic's actions as what they were doesn't invalidate NATO's reaction one bit.
of the 350,000 "Albanians", how many of them have Yugoslavian citizenship? How many of them are illegaly residing within Yugoslavia? It is funny how many of them upon being interviewed state they are from Albania.
"if their statements are in conflict with the facts"
So you can basically say that according to you, unless a source repeats the common line, than it is not true, can not be trusted, or is biased?
Well we all know what the common line was/is from Capital Hill and they don't ever "fabricate" do they? And when it comes to figures concerning the war, well do I really need to comment? We all know about the numbers that were quoted and the way they happened to shrink as the war progressed (or should I say degressed). I really don't think we need to go into a discussion about the lies told by NATO when it comes to the Kosovo attack on Serbia. They are so well known already.
"Tell me, Jane, why do 250,000 Serbs count more than 350,000, Kosovo Albanians?"
Well tell me Hoplite, why do 350,000 kosovo albanians count more than 250,000 Serbs?
"So far, the Kosovar Albanians have responded to our pressure, whereas Milosevic simply racheted up his ethnic cleansing campaign - that some refuse to recognize Milosevic's actions as what they were doesn't invalidate NATO's reaction one bit."
Responded to our pressure? In what way have they responded? Are you at all up to date to with what has been happening in Kosovo since NATO/UN took over? Or do you live in a dream world where everything is suddenly perfect now that NATO/UN are there? Are you denying the riots that occured in mid march? Are you also denying all attacks against Serbs, Serb property and Serb culture that have occured after NATO/UN got involved? Is that what you call responding? In that case you have a rather warped sense of positive and negative responses. Tell the Kosovo Serbs, Kosovo Roma, Kosovo Jews, Kosovo Albanians and so on, that have fled Kosovo since NATO/UN took over how well the Albanians are responding to NATO/UN pressure. I'm sure they would greatly appreciate your explanation.
NATO/UN's lack of action/pressure/response to the real ethnic cleansing being committed against minorities in Kosovo under their watchful eyes invalidates NATO's reaction/presence totally.
Not much for paying attention, are you.
Your sources are ignoring facts upon the ground, being that there were 350,000 refugees in Kosovo prior to NATO's commencing Allied Force. Instead of reconciling this fact with your views, you are simply ignoring it.
That is not acceptable.
Well tell me Hoplite, why do 350,000 kosovo albanians count more than 250,000 Serbs?
Because there's 100,000 more of them - that's a tough concept, isn't it.
In what way have they responded?
Are they still driving out Serbs right now, or have they stopped (albeit temporarily or otherwise)? Perhaps you missed the part where 19 deaths and 4,000 refugees resulted in over 250 arrests, vs. over 6,000 known deaths and 800,000 + refugees resulting in - well why don't you tell me how many Serbs have been arrested for the murder or expulsion of Kosovar Albanians Jane?
Your Swedish neutrality is about as real as your willingness to deal with the facts in an honest manner.
Those arrests are attributed to KFOR/UNMIK, not the K-Alb authorities. You can't claim the Albanians are arresting their guilty, quite the opposite. There are massive protests when one of their "KLA heroes" is arrested. This is in direct contrast to the Serbian soldiers on trial for crimes in Kosovo, who are being tried by the Serbian government itself. When the Kosovo Albanians start trying their war criminals, then call me.
"Your Swedish neutrality is about as real as your willingness to deal with the facts in an honest manner".
I only live in Sweden. I am in fact an Australian and we (Australians) are not known to be neutral...as can be seen by our involvement in Irak!
I don't suppose you would see any of this as being valid considering it comes from German sources but maybe someone else might find it interesting.
Internal Documents from Germany's Foreign Office Regarding Pre-Bombardment
Genocide in Kosovo
Collected by International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, IALANA
1. Opinion of the Upper Administrative Court at Mnster, March 11, 1999 (Az: 13A 3894/94.A):
"Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo have neither been nor are now exposed to regional or countrywide group persecution in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."
2. Opinion of the Bavarian Administrative Court, October 29, 1998 (Az: 22 BA 94.34252):
"The Foreign Office's status reports of May 6, June 8 and July 13, 1998, given to the plaintiffs in the summons to a verbal deliberation, do not allow the conclusion that there is group persecution of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. Not even regional group persecution, applied to all ethnic Albanians from a specific part of Kosovo, can be observed with sufficient certainty. The violent actions of the Yugoslav military and police since February 1998 were aimed at separatist activities and are no proof of a persecution of the whole Albanian ethnic group in Kosovo or in a part of it. What was involved in the Yugoslav violent actions and excesses since February 1998 was a selective forcible action against the military underground movement (especially the KLA) and people in immediate contact with it in its areas of operation. ...A state program or persecution aimed at the whole ethnic group of Albanians exists neither now nor earlier."
3. Intelligence report from the Foreign Office, January 12, 1999 to the Administrative Court of Trier (Az: 514-516.80/32 426):
"Even in Kosovo an explicit political persecution linked to Albanian ethnicity is not verifiable. The East of Kosovo is still not involved in armed conflict. Public life in cities like Pristina, Urosevac, Gnjilan, etc. has, in the entire conflict period, continued on a relatively normal basis." The "actions of the security forces (were) not directed against the Kosovo-Albanians as an ethnically defined group, but against the military opponent and its actual or alleged supporters."
4. Intelligence report from the Foreign Office January 6, 1999 to the Bavarian Administrative Court, Ansbach:
"At this time, an increasing tendency is observable inside the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of refugees returning to their dwellings. ... Regardless of the desolate economic situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (according to official information of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 700,000 refugees from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzogovina have found lodging since 1991), no cases of chronic malnutrition or insufficient medical treatment among the refugees are known and significant homelessness has not been observed. ... According to the Foreign Office's assessment, individual Kosovo-Albanians (and their immediate families) still have limited possibilities of settling in those parts of Yugoslavia in which their countrymen or friends already live and who are ready to take them in and support them."
5. Report of the Foreign Office March 15, 1999 (Az: 514-516,80/33841) to the Administrative Court, Mainz:
"As laid out in the status report of November 18, 1998, the KLA has resumed its positions after the partial withdrawal of the (Serbian) security forces in October 1998, so it once again controls broad areas in the zone of conflict. Before the beginning of spring 1999 there were still clashes between the KLA and security forces, although these have not until now reached the intensity of the battles of spring and summer 1998."
6. Opinion of the Administrative Court of Baden-Wrttemberg, February 4, 1999 (Az: A 14 S 22276/98):
"The various reports presented to the senate all agree that the often feared humanitarian catastrophe threatening the Albanian civil population has been averted. ... This appears to be the case since the winding down of combat in connection with an agreement made with the Serbian leadership at the end of 1998 (Status Report of the Foreign Office, November 18, 1998). Since that time both the security situation and the conditions of life of the Albanian-derived population have noticeably improved. ... Specifically in the larger cities public life has since returned to relative normality (cf. on this Foreign Office, January 12, 1999 to the Administrative Court of Trier; December 28, 1998 to the Upper Administrative Court of Lneberg and December 23, 1998 to the Administrative Court at Kassel), even though tensions between the population groups have meanwhile increased due to individual acts of violence... Single instances of excessive acts of violence against the civil population, e.g. in Racak, have, in world opinion, been laid at the feet of the Serbian side and have aroused great indignation. But the number and frequency of such excesses do not warrant the conclusion that every Albanian living in Kosovo is exposed to extreme danger to life and limb nor is everyone who returns there threatened with death and severe injury."
7. Opinion of the Upper Administrative Court at Mnster, February 24, 1999 (Az: 14 A 3840/94,A):
"There is no sufficient actual proof of a secret program, or an unspoken consensus on the Serbian side, to liquidate the Albanian people, to drive it out or otherwise to persecute it in the extrememanner presently described. ... If Serbian state power carries out its laws and in so doing necessarily puts pressure on an Albanian ethnic group which turns its back on the state and is for supporting a boycott, then the objective direction of these measures is not that of a programmatic persecution of this population group ...Even if the Serbian state were benevolently to accept or even to intend that a part of the citizenry which sees itself in a hopeless situation or opposescompulsory measures, should emigrate, this still does not represent a program of persecution aimed at the whole of the Albanian majority (in Kosovo)."
"If moreover the (Yugoslav) state reacts to separatist strivings with consistent and harsh execution of its laws and with anti-separatist measures, and if some of those involved decide to go abroad as a result, this is still not a deliberate policy of the (Yugoslav) state aiming at ostracizing and expelling the minority; on the contrary it is directed toward keeping this people within the state federation."
"Events since February and March 1998 do not evidence a persecution program based on Albanian ethnicity. The measures taken by the armed Serbian forces are in the first instance directed toward combatting the KLA and its supposed adherents and supporters."
As in the case of the Clinton Administration, the present regime in Germany, specifically Joschka Fischer's Foreign Office, has justified its intervention in Kosovo by pointing to a "humanitarian catastrophe," "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" occurring there, especially in the months immediately preceding the NATO attack.
The above internal documents from Fischer's ministry and from various regional Administrative Courts in Germany spanning the year before the start of NATO's air attacks, attest that criteria of ethnic cleansing and genocide were not met.
The Foreign Office documents were responses to the courts' needs in deciding the status of Kosovo-Albanian refugees in Germany. Although one might in these cases suppose a bias in favor of downplaying a humanitarian catastrophe in order to limit refugees, it nevertheless remains highly significant that the Foreign Office, in contrast to its public assertion of ethnic cleansing and genocide in justifying NATO intervention, privately continued to deny their existence as Yugoslav policy in this crucial period. And this continued to be their assessment even in March of this year. Thus these documents tend to show that stopping genocide was not the reason the German government, and by implication NATO, intervened in Kosovo, and that genocide (as understood in German and international law) in Kosovo did not March, 1999, but is a product of it.
Excerpts from the these official documents were obtained by IALANA (International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms) which sent them to various media. The texts used here were published in the German daily Junge Welt on April 24, 1999. See
http://www.jungewelt.de/1999/04-24/011.shtml as well as the commentary at http://www.jungewelt.de/1999/04-24/001.shtml).
This seems to be as complete a reproduction of the documents as exists in the German media at the time of this writing.
Copied from: http://www.transnational.org/features/germandoc.html