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US/UK - Russia Confrontation in Kosovo

Although this Stratfor analysis refers  primarily to immediate June
11 issues about the occupation of Kosovo, it also reveals much more
deepgoing East-West and West-West fault lines in the G-8 agreement,
Security Council resolution, and conflicts of interest about the NATO 
role in the Balkans [which were also evoked in the part 3 of the June 2
AGF article on  Political Praxis to Dismember NATO] 

                      Unresolved Issues Erupt in First KFOR Crisis
                      1537 GMT, 990611 

                      The issue left unresolved by both the G-8 and the UN
– the exact makeup, deployment, and
                      command structure of the peacekeeping forces in
Kosovo – has now erupted in the first crisis
                      for KFOR. As U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe
Talbott departed deadlocked
                      negotiations on the issue in Moscow, Russia was
already presenting NATO with a fait
                      accompli. 500 Russian paratroopers were reportedly
redeployed from SFOR duties in
                      Bosnia to positions along Kosovo’s border with the
rest of Serbia where, according to
                      Russian military officials, they would remain until
NATO and Russia reach an agreement.
                      Upon receiving news of this, Talbott’s aircraft
reportedly turned around mid-flight and
                      returned to Moscow.

                      Russia’s top military negotiator on Kosovo, General
Leonid Ivashov, has made Russia’s
                      position crystal clear. "We are not going to beg the
United States to give us a specific sector,
                      said Ivashov. "If we do not reach an agreement, we
will work out with Yugoslavia the sector
                      we will control." 

                      The G-8 agreement, and the UN Security Council
resolution it fostered, included key
                      compromises by NATO. The peacekeeping force in
Kosovo, while it would be armed and
                      retain NATO at its core, would include non-NATO
nations, operate under Security Council
                      mandate, and have a unified command. As NATO refused
to relinquish the leadership role
                      and Russia held firm both that it would have troops
in Kosovo and those troops would not fall
                      under NATO command, the G-8 agreement for a time
looked dead. Yugoslavia was not
                      going to accept unmitigated NATO domination of
Kosovo. In an emergency session of the
                      G-8, NATO made sufficient assurances that the issue
could be resolved to convince
                      Yugoslavia and Russia to accept the G-8 plan, the
military-technical accord, and the Security
                      Council resolution. Point 7 of the UN Resolution
"Authorizes Member States and relevant
                      international organizations to establish the
international security presence in Kosovo." It does
                      not mention NATO leadership – it charges NATO and
others to reach an agreement. In fact,
                      U.S. President Bill Clinton explicitly acknowledged
that Russian troops in Kosovo would not
                      fall under NATO command, but would be expected to
coordinate at an acceptable level with

                      Apparently, once the deals were signed, NATO felt it
could once again dictate terms on
                      Kosovo – this time to Russia. Russia is not amused.
This is the second time NATO has
                      attempted to override the spirit and letter of the
peace accords, and once again it is attempting
                      to marginalize the Russian Federation. Russia has
two options to bring this to a head. The first
                      it is apparently underway – presenting NATO with a
fait accompli in northern Kosovo. The
                      second would be for Russia to take the issue to the
UN Security Council, charging NATO
                      with being incapable of forging an agreement on an
international security presence and
                      demanding that the task be handed to a neutral

                      Both dramatically escalate the confrontation between
NATO and Russia – or more precisely
                      between the U.S. and UK and Russia. NATO’s European
members, Germany in particular,
                      are not going to allow Washington and London to
foment confrontation and conflict in
                      Euro-Russian relations over the command structure of
KFOR. Russia will get its sector, and
                      either NATO will accept a neutral UN commander or
the UN Resolution will be reinterpreted
                      or revised to account for the Russian zone.
Washington and London have again gotten
                      greedy, and are again going to be slapped back.

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