Skip to comments.Improvements Visible in Kosovo
Posted on 08/16/2005 7:31:32 PM PDT by mark502inf
It's easy to spot the changes to Kosovo from the air -- all the U.N.-provided plastic tarpaulins that provided shelter in the years after the NATO intervention are gone. In their place are orange roofs covering homes that have been rebuilt. Roughly 1,700 American servicemembers -- almost all National Guardsmen -- are part of the 17,000-man Kosovo Force helping provide the environment the province needs to recover.
Four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters fly over Kosovo in support of a troop visit by Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and USO celebrities on Aug. 15. Myers is visiting American troops deployed around the world to assess morale and to thank servicemembers. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
NATO intervened in the province after then-Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic initiated ethnic cleansing against the Kosovar Albanians.
Americans today command Multinational Brigade East, headquartered here. Army Brig. Gen. William H. Wade II commands the unit, which includes Poles, Ukrainians and Lithuanians, among others.
The American side is predominantly a "composite" unit. Most Americans here are volunteers from the California, Kansas and Pennsylvania National Guards. The medical task force supporting the effort is made up of Army Reservists drawn from all over the Southeastern United States. "I have got portions of 42 different units from 27 states," Wade said during an interview. "I'm amazed at how well they work together."
The guardsmen come from all over the U.S. and demonstrate to the people of the region that diverse populations can work together. "They see black and white and Oriental and American Indian," Wade said. "They see Catholic, Jews, Protestants and Muslims. They see men and women working together, and we set the best example, I believe, that can be set for the people of Kosovo."
"The Guard ... is uniquely able to do this," Wade said. "We bring our civilian skills to this mission. We have attorneys; we have firemen; we have chiefs of police; we have (chief executive officers) of corporations; we have city managers. Those are the kind of skills that we bring here."
Servicemembers deployed here maintain the job in Kosovo is not yet done. "There are still men preaching hate around here," said Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Darren Dreher, a Pennsylvania Guardsman who flies Black Hawk helicopters.
Army Spc. Paul Roath and Cpl. McKindree Perrin, both of the Kansas Guard, know this well. Roath, a field artilleryman, and Perrin, a tanker, patrol the region on foot and in vehicles. They search for arms caches, conduct cordon-and-search missions, and work with local and international police. "We work with the people on a very positive basis," Roath said. "They like us. They know the United States stepped in to stop this country from going into chaos."
Spc. Stefanie Davison, a guardsman from Bellingham, Wash., agreed, saying that Serbs and Albanians living in the province tell her: "Because of us, they can live in peace."
Cpl. Danielle Grudzinski, an aviation specialist from the Pennsylvania Guard, said she believes local residents are beginning to understand not just freedom, but also the responsibility that goes with it. "On Earth Day this year, we worked with children from around the area to clean streets," she said. "Now I notice they are taking responsibility for cleaning the streets themselves, and there are other encouraging signs just since we have been here in February."
Wade said the unit has seen progress. "We see the institutions of self-government start to move forward," he noted.
In March 2004, there were a number of violent clashes between Albanians and Serbians. These may have served as a turning point for the province. "After the March riots, I believe all the people realized that it is in their best interest to cooperate and to move forward to whatever the future holds for all the people of Kosovo," Wade said.
Related Site: Kosovo Force
Related Article: Kosovo Mission Successful, Important, U.S. Forces Say
News Archive http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Aug2005/20050815_2447.html
The Russians went home several years ago. They said they deemed it unlikely that there was the possiblity of any more military attacks and the region was sufficiently pacified that there was no longer any reason to keep Russian military troops stationed there. Sound decision in my opinion.
Bring them down to ZERO, I don't care, I want the home. Let France handle it.
Except we're not there to deter the Serb military anymore. We're there to keep the Serbs & Albs from killing each other.
"Final status" negotiations will probably begin in the next few months. The Kosovar Albanians respect & like the Americans & the Serbs certainly won't want to go up against Rummy, so we'll keep at least some troops there until the negotiations are complete & satisfactorily implemented. Then it'll be up to the Europeans to finish it up. That is exactly what President Bush has already done in Bosnia; another quiet success for the Bush administration.
Can't the blue helmets do that?
There are no blue helmets there--it's a NATO mission. The Albs like the USA & NATO, but have grown to despise UNMIK, so a "blue helmet" force would be problematical. Similarly, the Serb memory of UN forces (remember Srebrenica?) is not exactly one that inspires respect. The USA & NATO will keep at least some forces there until negotiations are complete and Condi & the Prez are convinced there will be stability. It is likely, however, that the follow on to UNMIK & KFOR will be the EU, similar to what is going on in Bosnia now.
for Kosovo 10 years ago = make that 6 years ago although it feels like 10.
10 years ago was when we went into Bosnia for a year. Drove the Army planners nuts since everybody knew we'd be there for lots longer, but President Clinton said it would only be a year and we had no money requested or allocated to support the operation. Consequently when the deployment was inevitably extended, the Army had to raid its own training & maintenance accounts, thus shorting the rest of the units. I was in the 101st at the time and our training funds were curtailed and we were restricted to procuring only parts that fixed "deadline" deficiencies on our vehicles & weapons; one at a time and each signed off by a field grade officer. What a way to run things!
Preach it "Pristina-Mark"....!!!
Chief of KLA veterans threatening monks
August 17, 2005
Chief of KLA veterans in Decani and Pec, colonel Avdil Muskoljaj is making threats to the monks of Visoki Decani Monastery and members of Italian KFOR that are securing that monastery, Kosovo Information Service reported.
In a message published by 'Epoka i re' daily of Pristina, Muskoljaj wrote that he was addressing the 'criminals hiding behind black curtains of the monastery' as well as KFOR and UNMIK administration and requesting removal of the checkpoints 'because the rage of the people is increasing every day'.
Italian KFOR soldiers stopped Muskoljaj at a checkpoint near the monastery for a routine control. KFOR representatives rejected Muskoljaj's claims that he was maltreated.
International security bodies in Kosovo have evidence that Muskoljaj and his men are behind three so far attacks on the Visoki Decani Monastery, Kosovo Information Service reports. After violence in March last year and destruction of UNMIK vehicles in Decani, UNMIK Police arrested Muskoljaj. He was, however, soon released 'because of no witnesses'.
Yeah, right. "Clashes".
August 17, 2005
WASHINGTON -- The SUC Washington office was invited to a press conference by Ambassador Thomas Patrick Melady were he reported his observations and recommendations for the ongoing process and status questions for Kosovo following his recent trip to the Balkans. The press conference, which was held in the Senate Russell Office Building on Capitol Hill was attended by Hill staffers from the offices of Congressman Trent Franks and Senator George Voinovich. The recommendations outline imperative policy changes that need to be made in order to protect the peace, ensure minority rights and participation in the governing process, and to promote the stability of the province and the region as a whole. Further comments were also made by Joseph Grieboski, President of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy which sponsored the event. During the Ambassadors presentation, he compared the March 17, 2004 riots to the time when the Nazis burned down synagogues in Germany during the Kristallnacht. As was the Nazi Kristallnacht, the Albanian riots of March 2004 was a manifestation of hate towards a minority group. He also compared the response of Albanian authorities after the March riots and general lack of coverage in the media as being similar to the responses by the German authorities during Kristallnacht. The Ambassador also pointed out that since March 2004, there is still no full explanation how this happened. He then recommended that the UN should have a full commission to look into this.
Next day on August 12, 2005, Ivan. Djurovski made an additional presentation in the House Canon Building on Capitol Hill. Djurovski is a graduate student at St. Johns University in Rome and currently serving as an assistant to Ambassador Thomas Melady and interpreter during Meladys visits to the Balkans. Mr. Djurovski presented a video presentation of the March 17 violence in Kosovo last year. The presentation emphasized that the Albanians were well organized during the riots and they knew how to react and where to attack.
NOTE: Dr. Thomas Patrick Melady has held four diplomatic posts including US Ambassador to Burundi, Uganda, and the Vatican as well as Senior Advisor to the US Delegation to the UN General Assembly.
"Last weekend, the United States, Britain, Finland and Germany rushed a couple of thousand additional troops to Kosovo's disoriented 17,000 U.N. peacekeepers. It's the end of winter in Kosovo and the more than 2 million Albanian majority pitted itself for several days against the handful of local Serbs. More than 30 Serbian churches and monasteries went up in flames as some 40 Serbs were brutally killed, their homes looted and the toll added to that of "Operation Matchstick."
"I was witness to how Kosovo and Metohija was transformed from a society based on law and order into a land of anarchy and violence. My Greek, Polish, Ukraine, Lithuanian, Armenian and U.S. soldiers understand that the violence resulted from a criminal group that wants to turn Kosovo into chaos. This minority tried to take the future of Kosovo and Metohija into its own hands and destroy it!" says U.S. general Rick Erlandson, the commander of Multinational Brigade East (and, of course, the U.S. base Bondsteel).
The Albanian terrorists, some 500 of them, threw bombs and bottles of benzene at KFOR tanks from Bondsteel in Urosevac on March 17. The attack continued even after the Greek commander, with the intent of dispersing the terrorists, ordered his soldiers to fire warning shots in the air.
The attackers did not withdraw; on the contrary, their numbers only increased - to 3,000. The situation became critical. Flaming devices were thrown at KFOR vehicles, the last obstruction to the fleeing Serbs... That's how the situation remained until the arrival of U.S.
In the clashes a soldier from the 525th Greek mechanized airborne battalion sustained second degree burns to the face and neck as he defended an observation post near the church of the Holy Emperor Uros in Urosevac, where the fleeing Serbs sought sanctuary. One U.S. soldier and 16 Greek soldiers were wounded by explosive devices thrown at them by the Albanians.
What are you up to? Trying to pass of the Balkan fiasco onto W?
IMO it will be a 'success' when Condi and Bolton initiate the return of Kosovo to Serbia. After all, that's what the 'ceasefire' called for.
To top off the success, Condi and Bolton, should put a halt to the persecution of Milosevic by the Hague Tribunal. Milosevic was no Chamberlain and fought the Islamists rather than sign on with Albright.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.