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Why is the KLA shooting at KFOR?
by Nebojsa Malic, Max Sinclair and Jared Israel (2-17-00) [emperors-clothes]

What is happening in Mitrovica?

Last weekend the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) launched coordinated attacks on KFOR troops in this northern Kosovo town.

You remember the KLA. According to KFOR (NATO in Kosovo) it has ceased to exist. KFOR and the UN bureaucrats achieved this miracle by allowing the KLA thugs to be Kosovo's police force and government. New title, new uniform and voila! - new man.

The regulation targets for KLA snipers have been Serbs, Roma ("Gypsies") Gorani (Slavic Muslims) Turks, non-KLA Albanians and Jews. But last weekend the snipers were shooting at NATO. Why? The KLA and other secessionists have been NATO's protégés and wards since the late 1980s. Do they shoot their Masters?

At first glance, the shooting appears to have unhinged the leaders of the NATO establishment. Or perhaps not. Perhaps these gentlemen have simply chosen to lie.

An island of multiethnic life

Under NATO occupation, most potential opponents of the KLA have been driven from Kosovo. But in northern Mitrovica, thousands remain in their ancestral homes. Reinforced by a flood of anti-KLA refugees from elsewhere in Kosovo, the forces of the old Kosovo, that is of normal, multiethnic life, have been holding their own.

The KLA has no will to fight when people defend themselves. Hence they have chosen to avoid a frontal assault on northern Mitrovica. Instead, last weekend, KLA operatives staged a provocation. They shot at French KFOR troops from positions on the non-KLA (that is, northern) side of the Ibar River, as if to make it appear that the shooting was the work of Serbs. The KLA propaganda machine then kicked in with false claims that hundreds of Albanians had been "ethnically cleansed" from the north.

Based on public statements by KLA leader Hacim Thaqi, the attacks were not the work of some rogue faction; Thaqi, who is closely allied with the U.S. military machine, warned that if the secessionists didn't get what they wanted, more and worse attacks would follow.

The KLA is shooting at KFOR? As if that weren't unusual enough, KFOR shot back, killing one KLA sniper. Almost fifty more KLA types were arrested. KFOR troops fired warning shots to stop KLA supporters from crossing the Ibar.

Meanwhile the UN actually contradicted and discredited the "ethnic Albanian [read: KLA] human rights center" by saying that not one ethnic Albanian had registered as expelled from northern Mitrovica last week.

What is going on?

The new math: one plus zero makes…two

Commenting on last weekend's firefight, State Department spokesman James Rubin blamed "both ethnic Albanians and Serbs for incidents in the city." [AP, U.S. Condemns Violence in Kosovo, February 14]

Rubin admitted that the snipers were Albanian (read: KLA) yet he concluded that: "It should be very clear that the confrontation is coming from both sides." In a dazzling display of Slobophobia, Rubin added:

  • "We need to impress upon the parties their responsibility to deal with the hatreds and animosities that have been built up" and stoked by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade.

    "When things go bad, he feels like he had a good day," said Rubin. [AP, 2/14/00]
  • So according to the State Department, when Albanian secessionists shoot at KFOR the blame lies with Milosevich. Hmmm. Is this like original sin?

    {James Rubin recently announced his resignation. Hopefully soon.}

    Rubin was not the only American who presented the situation in Mitrovica in a totally illogical fashion, whether intentionally or due to some unfortunate disability. In Tuesday’s New York Times, he was joined by Carlotta Gall, a reporter with years of experience portraying the KLA snakes in a flattering light.

    In her article "Kosovo Peacekeepers Warn That Extremists ‘Want Peace to Fail’", NY Times, Feb. 15, 2000, Gall blamed faceless "extremists" for the fighting. Given the Times' constant attacks on Serbs, readers would find it easy to deduce whom Gall means. She cited the fears of senior UN and KFOR officials that "ethnic relations will be poisoned permanently."

  • General de Saqui de Sannes, [French commanding officer] who has blamed the violence on both sides, said individuals were instigating attacks purposely to escalate the violence and to destroy the last multiethnic town in Kosovo where Serbs and Albanians are still living side by side, if uneasily.

    "There are extremists who want the peace to fail," he said in an interview at his headquarters. While the violence consists of "isolated acts," he said, the strategy is to escalate tensions and intolerance. "I am worried that we may be in the process of an escalation of intolerance," he said.

    Some Albanians have wanted to push the Serbs in northern Mitrovica and beyond out of Kosovo, and some Serbs have wanted to do the opposite—to push the Albanians remaining among them south of the Ibar river, which divides Mitrovica, in order to create a pure Serbian area in northern Kosovo, he said. "The people are hostages to this," he said. (NY Times, Feb. 15, 2000)

  • Has Gen. de Sannes been on another planet? Back on Planet Earth, it's too late for "an escalation of intolerance": approximately 350,000 non-Albanians and anti-KLA Albanians have already been forced out of Kosovo by KLA terror. Were all these people victims of "isolated" incidents? And how does Albanians firing on KFOR constitute Serbs trying to create an ethnically pure zone? And if Serbian extremists are indeed trying to create such a zone, how come the UN says no Albanian - not one - has been forced out of the Northern side of town?

    And what does "ethnic relations" have to do with KLA snipers shooting at KFOR anyway?

    This is all rather dizzying.

    Is the man deranged? Or is there method in his madness?

    Never give a Serb an even break

    Mitrovica is the last multiethnic town in Kosovo for two reasons: the Serbs and other anti-secessionists have fought eviction and the French troops have actually held the KLA in check. This as opposed to what's happened in areas under US, British and Dutch control. For example, British troops marched into Pristina alongside the KLA and oversaw the eviction of literally thousands of non-secessionist residents. (See Note 1). Similarly, Dutch troops have given the KLA free reign to terrorize and control Orahovac. (Note 2)

    Clearly, if the Serbs and their allies would just leave Mitrovica, peace would follow: no Serbs = no ethnic violence. Are Serbs then to blame because their very existence frustrates and provokes a faction of Albanians beyond endurance?

    Along these lines, UN high official Mr. Marcone noted that although Monday was a "bad day for the Albanians," some Serbs will soon be arrested as well. For what? Since KFOR admits the violence derives entirely from the KLA side, is the unnamed crime for which the Serbs are to be punished existential: "One is a Serb; one exists; therefore, one is bad"?

    Through the fog of misleading writing that is Ms. Gall's hallmark, some light filters. Consider the following:

  • …Thousands flocked today to the burial of the one man killed by French troops during the fighting Sunday.

    Avni Haradinaj, 35, a former guerrilla fighter of the Kosovo Liberation Army and a local hero, was buried with full honors by his former comrades in arms. His coffin, draped in the red Albanian flag, was carried up the hill to the edge of a wood outside the city, through a crowd of some 3,000 mourners.

    The Albanian mayor of Mitrovica, Bajram Rexhepi, who said he had been a good friend of the dead man, said Mr. Haradinaj was unarmed when he was shot by French soldiers and was in Mitrovica visiting his sisters. "There were four people with him and they explained that he had no weapon at the moment he was killed," he said.

    General de Saqui de Sannes insisted that Mr. Haradinaj was armed and was shooting at the soldiers when he was shot.

    The general tried to reassure the Albanians of French neutrality. "If we were shot at by Albanians, it is difficult to arrest Serbs," he said. (ibid., our emphasis)

  • The French General is apologetic: he wishes to arrest Serbs, alas they aren't doing the shooting. Then why the apology?

    Why would a French General apologize to terrorists who are trying to kill his troops?

    Therein lies the question. In this world it is customary for people to kiss up to those more powerful than they. Then why is this General currying favor with...the KLA, an organization which never won a battle against the Yugoslav Army, an organization which is only good at terrorizing old people, shooting farmers from the woods, ransacking apartment buildings and driving out school teachers and electrical engineers?

    Perhaps the General isn't really bowing before the KLA. But if he isn't really bowing before the KLA, before whom is he bowing?

    Let's assemble some facts, and let's think it over.

    1) Last weekend's fighting was clearly an organized KLA operation. While KLA snipers shot at KFOR their colleagues tried to cross the Ibar River. Forty-five Albanians were arrested, all men of fighting age. The KLA sniper whom the French troops shot was A. Haradinaj, age 35. Was he one of Ramush Haradinaj's five brothers? Ramush Haradinaj is a deputy of KLA boss Hacim Thaqi in the Kosovo Peace Corps, set up by…KFOR.

    2) On Tuesday, Feb. 15, French KFOR troops found an ambulance abandoned near a checkpoint in south Mitrovica, i.e. the KLA side of the Ibar. In it was a huge stash of deadly weapons.

    • Among the stash were 14 anti-tank rocket launchers, more than 180 high-explosive grenades, and more than 3,000 cartridges for guns, (Bergen County Record, Feb. 16, 2000, from various wire services)

    The ambulance had been donated by an Italian aid organization (Cooperazione e Sviluppo) to a KLA-controlled town.

    3) In a rather surprising move, none less then Gen. Henry H. Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a statement about the ambulance.

    • "[Gen. Shelton] said today in Washington that the incident underscored the difficulty faced by the NATO-led Kosovo peacekeeping force in stopping arms from entering the province illegally.

      "Getting weapons in (illegally) is no hard task," Shelton said. "You've got a fairly porous border. You've got everything from backpacks to mules that can bring in weapons, but you've got Lord knows how many thousands of weapons that may have been cached in the local area as (the Serbs) pulled out of there." (
      AP Online Feb. 15, 2000)

    Is General Shelton suffering from some malfunction? First of all, the administrative border between the Province of Kosovo (legally part of Serbia) and inner Serbia is quite well policed by Yugoslav troops. The truly porous border is between Kosovo and KLA-infested northern Albania; that border is porous precisely because Yugoslav border guards were forced to depart under the June peace agreement. So why is Shelton, who is responsible for the absence of border guards, going on about Serbian weapons?

    Indeed, why is he talking about borders and arms caches at all? A KLA ambulance full of tactical weapons just got seized on its way to arm KLA forces attacking French troops who are being shot at by the KLA. The KLA are American proxies. Shouldn't Shelton use this opportunity to say to his proxies: "We backed you up until now but if you pick on the French troops and try to destroy a multiethnic community, you're through!"? He does not. Instead he talks wistfully about the difficulties of stopping illegal arms; he laments; he, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff laments the Unknowability of Earthly Things; he invokes the Lord; he suffers ennui; he speaks wistfully of mules facilitating the flow of arms as if it were arms and not the men, the KLA men, who were shooting at those French troops.

    4) Back on solid earth, the ambulance full of weapons was driving towards Mitrovica from the south, from a KLA controlled town. Not from the Serbian or any other border.

    The deadliest weapon in that ambulance was a six-shot grenade launcher along with 180 high-explosive grenades, usable with devastating effect against, let us say, French troops guarding a bridge. That weapon did not come from a hidden cache of Serbian weapons. It is state of the art. And as the Agence France Presse (but NOT the American Associated Press or British Reuters!) pointed out:

    • Police intercepted a shipment of arms hidden in an ambulance heading for Mitrovica, including a US-made "street sweeper" grenade launcher... (AFP, Feb. 156, 2000, our emphasis.)

    Not from Yugoslavia. Made in the USA.

    5) Meanwhile, US-made allies have joined the fray. Dutch and special British troops, the so-called Royal Green Jackets previously assigned to Ulster, arrived in Mitrovica, ostensibly to back up the French. The English and Dutch governments are the main US ally in Europe, often opposed by France and Germany. For example, when Greece, Italy and Germany attempted to relax the sanctions that have kept heating fuel out of Serbia in this harshest of winters, the Dutch and British delegates, acting on orders of the State department, vetoed the measure. (Note 3)

    Perhaps "US ally" is a mistaken way to describe the British, and especially the Dutch governments. A more accurate term might be "US servants." The US elite does not think along egalitarian lines. By way of illustration, consider this comment made at a Senate hearing by Michael Short, the US General who ran NATO's bombing campaign against the Serbs. Referring to the difference in status between the U.S. and "allied" forces, Short testified that:

    • Our allies recognize that. They recognize that they are small dogs, but they want to have a seat at the table. I would use the Dutch as the prime example. A small air force, a proud air force, a competent air force. They have bought their own tankers. They have two modified DC-10s with the Israeli system in the front with mirrors to allow them to refuel their own airplanes. They have lantern pods. You'll remember on the first night of the war, a Dutch F-16 shot down a MiG-29? A small air force, but a seat at the table.

      And I knew I could send the Dutch anyplace I had to send them and they'd salute and say, "Yes, Boss, we'll be there."
      (Gen. Michael Short, testifying at the Oct 21, 1999 Senate Military Hearings)

    6) While Gen. Shelton was avoiding any criticism of his dear KLA, the leader of that non-existent organization, Hacim Thaqi, made his position on the KLA-French conflict perfectly clear. Here's Thaqi:

    • Hasidim Thaqi, co-chairman of Kosovo's Temporary Administrative Council, also told Koha Jone newspaper that French troops of the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force must shoulder some blame for the gun battles that erupted on Sunday because they had allowed Serbs to control half of the town.

      "It is paramount the (U.N.) institutions be more active to solve the situation in Mitrovica otherwise they will have to face bigger problems,'' said Thaqi, a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas.

      "I also cannot exclude that such developments could spread to other parts of Kosovo,'' he went on.

      Fighting in Serb-dominated northern Mitrovica drew in Serbs, ethnic Albanians and KFOR troops. Two French peacekeepers were wounded by sniper fire and one ethnic Albanian -- identified by KFOR as a sniper -- was shot dead by KFOR troops.

      Thaqi accused international peacekeepers of doing a "`weak job in Mitrovica and allowing terrorist groups and Belgrade institutions to function freely there.''

      ``These phenomena should be eliminated in order to solve the problem of the city as soon as possible,'' he added.


    At first glance the KLA attacks on KFOR seem crazy, suicidal. But the KLA has a history of carrying out apparently crazy actions which are not really crazy at all but rather are coordinated with covert operations by NATO, especially the US.

    In this case, we think the KLA is acting as a proxy for the US which cannot itself attack French KFOR troops. The US (and its British and Dutch servants) is engaged in a struggle with the French and German elites - that is, with Europe. The US Empire is trying to consolidate its strength in Kosovo to prepare for further attacks on Yugoslavia, with important geopolitical goals. Basically what is at stake here is a) gaining control of the formerly Socialist East and b) preventing a unified and effectively powerful Europe from emerging.

    To this end, one US goal is to put control of all Kosovo in the hands of the KLA, its proxy. The French have been resisting this - alas not out of love for justice but because the French elite sees US hegemony as a serious menace. Hence the KLA attacks, the "reinforcement" by US servant troops, the official endorsement of the attacks by Thaqi with his threat of more attacks unless the KLA is given a free hand and full support in taking over northern Mitrovica and getting rid of the Serbian terrorists (for which read: multiethnic society), the statement by US military chief Gen. Shelton who, by not denouncing the KLA attack on French troops, made it perfectly clear to the French that the U.S. was behind the attacks, though of course not openly.

    Never openly.

    Finally, there is the weird statement by Gen. de Saqui de Sannes. An odd statement because overly conciliatory. A bit of a puzzle: why was a General, a French General, simultaneously smashing a KLA attack and apologizing? Now we can solve the puzzle.

    Why was he simultaneously resisting the KLA's aggressive stance and kissing up to the KLA? The answer is he wasn't simultaneously resisting the KLA's aggressive stance and kissing up to the KLA.

    He was simultaneously resisting and kissing the ass of the USA.

    And after all, isn't that what the French elite always does?


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    Note 1 - For an eye-witness account of British complicity in the KLA rape of Pristina this past July, see the interview with Cedda Prlincevic. Mr. Prlincevic was the chief archivist of Kosovo and President of the Jewish Community in Pristina. Click on Driven From Kosovo or go to

    Note 2 - The Dutch have performed shockingly in Orahovac, where they have brought sheer terror to the Serbian and Roma ("Gypsy") communities. Emperors-Clothes has run a number of articles on this subject. In chronological order:

    Note 3 - Concerning the Dutch & British government's shameful veto of a measure intended to alleviate Serbian suffering this winter, see Europeans Bow to U.S. Pressure, Extend Yugoslav Sanctions or go to

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