ALLIANCE 33: June 1999:



  An "authoritative" voice says this of the KLA:

"It is fact if you follow the publicity photographs and TV that the absolute majority of Kosovars that are being organised, armed, transported and supplied with all modern weapons of destruction are not the Kosovar Albanians who were born/live in Kosovar, Yugoslavia, but Albanians who ran from Socialist Albania and are the sons and grandsons of the anti-Communists who lived in lives in Germany, Switzerland and other countries. They speak German and are only used as cannon fodder by the US-NATO masters to do their dirty work!"
Editor p.7 NSC; Volume 7; # 10. May 1999.
    Another view of the KLA is encapsulated in this following statement: "The Albanians have been radicalized, and their new voice is the KLA. Rugova, the old pacifist, is more a symbol of outmoded moderation than a leader. By ignoring the plight of the Kosovar Albanians for nearly a decade, the West lost much of its credibility before NATO began bombing. Many Albanians feel let down by the world and their own meek leaders. What is most striking, then, about the KLA insurrection is not that it occurred but that it took so long to occur. "
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
    Who is right? Well, the Editor of Northstar Compass is always very "authoritative" when pronouncing upon the Balkans. In this we find a similarity with the many "pronouncements" of the "Marxist-Leninist List" upon the question of Kosova, and upon the matter of the KLA (Ushtria Çlirimtare ë Kosovës (Kosovo Liberation Army - UÇK or KLA). But we fear that this "authority" is not always enough. At least from time to time - some corroboration is required. Every single substantive statement in the Editor’s Northstar Compass quote is factually wrong. Perhaps more than simple following of "publicity, photographs and TV" is needed Comrade Editor? Some facts and some interpretation of facts are needed.
The two most widely heard allegations about the KLA among the "Marxist-Leninists" were and remain that:     "Marxist-Leninists" should clearly understand what it is they say. We ask the purveyors of these charges, to consider: "What does bourgeois propaganda say about ANY national revolutionary movement? Or indeed ANY revolutionary movement? "     We will deal with these charges that emanate from those who call themselves "Marxist-Leninists", in the context of the history of the KLA. Sources on the KLA are still sparse, so we utilize rather longer passages of quotations than we normally use.

1) Upon The Origins Of The Kosova Liberation Army- A Response to Repression
When the peacefully voiced legitimate aspirations of a people are repeatedly, and brutally denied, those people will turn too more determined and violent means to effect their aspirations. Which Marxist-Leninist does not know that? Alliance in Issue Number 21 had already pointed out that:

1) That the "Greater Serbia" aim of Slobodan Milosevic was first resisted by the people of Kosova in a constitutional and peaceful manner:
" Serbia embarked .. on a military and police crackdown on .. the people of Kosova... in late March 1989 .... Milosevic had launched.. martial law .. the 'Constitution of tanks', Albanians were killed in broad daylight by the 'Yugoslav' forces in late March 1989. .. The voice of the people of Kosova was not heeded by a speedily rising Nazi.. nomenclature in Serbia, embodied in Slobodan Milosevic." A l b a N e w s - Thu, 28 Mar 1996; Alliance 21:

2) That the repression had failed to prevent the democratic election of Rugova as President of Kosova:
"On 27 and 28 March 1989..thousands of Albanians protested .. The death toll was high. Yet .. democratic movement launched the Albanians on a path of no return toward complete independence from the Serbs or a new Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. .. Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, the Democratic League of Kosova .. The Independence Declaration (2 July 1990), proclaimed a republican status for Kosova ..a constitution (7 September 1990), a popular referendum on Kosova as an independent and sovereign state conducted in late September 1991, were a prelude to the first multiparty parliamentary and presidential elections in the Republic of Kosova held on 24 May 1992. Through direct vote the people elected their representatives to the Parliament and chose Dr. Ibrahim Rugova President of the Republic of Kosova with a sweeping majority of votes."
A l b a N e w s - Thu, 28 Mar 1996). Alliance 21.

3) We also pointed out that, an organisation called the Kosova Liberation Army had arisen in the wake of the Slobodan Milosevic repressions and the defeated aspirations of Rugova:
"But throughout 1996 from January, a further grim repression has set in the Province, really the nation, of Kosova. An organization calling itself the Liberation Army of Kosova (Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves -UCK) arose, while escalating violence from the Yugoslav remnant states erupted. The increasing attention paid to the atrocities against Kosovan Albanians, by both the USA and the EEC, shows the importance of the Kosovan and Albanian keys to the current situation in the Balkans." Alliance 21.

This is the view also of other informed, albeit bourgeois, commentators. We will use primarily four respected sources.
    Firstly: "Jane’s Defence Weekly" comments in a lengthy "Background" to Kosovo: "The 1981 movement, demanding a fully-fledged Kosovo Republic, was brutally crushed by the Federal Yugoslav Army and police, which continued to run the province under various martial-law provisions. ..In 1989, by intimidating and manipulating the provincial assembly, Milosevic managed to abolish Kosovo's autonomous status. .. he then used the thin pretext of a miners' strike to arrest and imprison Azem Vllasi, the foremost ethnic Albanian moderate politician, and a number of others. .. The Serbian authorities then dismissed tens of thousands of Albanians from their jobs, taking particular care to almost completely purge the police. Ethnic Albanians, who make up almost 90 per cent of the province's 2.1 million inhabitants, responded by declaring Kosovo a full republic within Yugoslavia and naming Ibrahim Rugova, a poet, its president. As the fate of the former Yugoslavia was becoming obvious, a clandestine Albanian referendum was held in September 1991 declaring the ``Republic of Kosovo'' fully independent. Underground parliamentary elections were held in May 1992. Although the parliament never met in session, Bujar Bukoshi was declared prime minister, a duty he has been performing from exile in Germany." Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;     Secondly: Tim Judah writing an article entitled "Inside the KLA" for the New York Review of Books, characterizes Rugova as a "restraint" upon his people: "Ever since 1990, the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo had abstained from violence in favor of passive resistance. In this they had been led by Ibrahim Rugova, the leader of the main ethnic Albanian political party, the Democratic League of Kosovo, the LDK. As the old Yugoslavia dissolved into war, Rugova restrained his people. To start an insurrection, he said, would only bring disaster. "We would have no chance of successfully resisting the army," he cautioned in 1992. "In fact the Serbs only wait for a pretext to attack the Albanian population and wipe it out. We believe it is better to do nothing and stay alive than to be massacred." Rugova thought that since there were so few Serbs left in Kosovo, independence was inevitable. Besides, the "international community" would soon see the justice of the Kosovars' cause and reward them. But the international community, in particular the Western nations, did no such thing. After the Dayton agreement the European Union countries recognized the borders of what remained of Yugoslavia-that is to say Serbia and Montenegro-thus seeming to lock Kosovo into Serbia forever." Tim Judah, New York Times; Review of Books; "Inside the KLA"; June 10th 1999; pp19-23. Or at: < Rugova was explicitly "pacifist", objectively the Rugova wing was a comprador wing of the Kosovar bourgeoisie, comprador to the Belgrade colonists: "As head of the Democratic League of Kosovo (Lidhja Demokratike e Kosoves - LDK), Ibrahim Rugova repeatedly declared the determination of Kosovo Albanians to achieve independence by peaceful means. This included passive resistance, the creation of parallel ``Republic of Kosovo'' institutions and faith in the support of the international community. Busy with fighting in Bosnia and plagued by growing opposition and a total disintegration of their domestic economy, rulers in Belgrade apparently tolerated the parallel Albanian society as it seemed to content itself with running its own affairs peacefully under the full control of Rugova and the LDK."
"Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
    Thirdly: Chris Hedges (The same individual that North Star was very pleased to fully reprint earlier-see Alliance 33 part 4) writing in "Foreign Affairs," describes Rugova’s vision as "Gandhi"-like. No doubt this was the peaceful path that both North Star Compass and Harpal Brar recommends, as we discussed in part 2 of this article. We characterized Brar's view, as the option of: "Let us close the door and let them sort it out themselves, and meanwhile we throw away the key"! How does Hedges use the adjective "Gandhi-like"? "Croatia and Serbia, whose political ideology is often overtly racist, unleashed a war in the early 1990s largely against unarmed civilians to try to form ethnically "pure" enclaves and states. Militias stormed through minority communities in drunken frenzies, looting, burning, raping, and murdering. They set up detention centers, carried out mass executions, and ignored tepid international protests. But after Milosevic revoked Kosovo's autonomy in 1989, Rugova insisted on a very different road to independence, a Gandhi-like plan to withdraw from all state institutions and create a parallel government. His was to be a peaceful revolution and an example of civility and tolerance that would earn the backing of the Western democracies."
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
Serb led violence escalated: "Belgrade, blind to the looming rebellion, blithely continued to rule Kosovo like a colonial backwater. On several occasions, I saw two or three beefy Serb police officers, who I suspect are often recruited by the pound, walloping young ethnic Albanians with their clubs in the center of Pristina. I once watched a cop shove a young boy of about ten, who held a small wooden tray of individual cigarettes for sale, onto the sidewalk. The cop laughed as the frightened child scrambled to rescue the cigarettes from the mud puddles. Many of the Serb police were sent to Kosovo as a demotion or a punishment for misbehavior. One of their favorite pastimes was to set up roadblocks and collect money from a long line of cars for invented traffic violations. Drivers that did not have money or did not pay had their documents seized. All this, however, paled in comparison with the brutal treatment in Serb jails. People were beaten, tortured (usually while chained to radiators), and held incommunicado for days and weeks. Some simply vanished."
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
    Fourthly: Christophe Chiclet writing for Le Monde Diplomatique says: "Passive resistance to Belgrade repression had achieved little. For 10 years Ibrahim Rugova (elected president although not recognized by Belgrade) had insisted that a guerrilla war in Kosovo would fail."
C.Chiclet: "Rise of the Kosovar Freedom Fighters"; Le Monde Diplomatique; May 1999.
    What was the inevitable response of ordinary Kosovars?
    Those willing to fight back, would adopt the usual tactics of those oppressed:
    Guerilla Warfare.
    This was especially so when Kosovars saw Bosnian rights being trampled, and when Dayton showed that the USA imperialists were further placating and favouring the Bosnian Serbs - including criminals such as Karadzic: "We all feel a deep, deep sense of betrayal," the KLA man told me, echoing a sentiment that seemed to speak for most ethnic Albanians. "We mounted a peaceful, civilized protest to fight the totalitarian rule of Milosevic. We did not go down the road of nationalist hatred, always respecting Serbian churches and monasteries. The result is that we were ignored." The Dayton peace negotiations, which dealt with Bosnia but not Kosovo, "taught us a painful truth, [that] those that want freedom must fight for it. This is our sad duty…. Its death notice came after the 1995 Dayton agreement was swiftly followed by the European Union's recognition of Yugoslavia -- even though the EU had earlier demanded that Yugoslavia first resolve the Kosovo issue. Kosovar Albanians, with understandable rage, did not grasp why the Bosnian Serbs, responsible for some of the worst acts of genocide since World War II, were handed nearly half of Bosnia at Dayton. The recognition of Radovan Karadzic's gangster statelet, Republika Srpska, was the final insult. It shattered all hopes for peaceful change in Kosovo."
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
2) The Rise of Various Militant Kosovar Groupings – Factions of the Future KLA.
    It is only in this light: i.e. a response to ineffectual "pacifist" leadership – that Marxist-Leninists can see the development of the KLA. The first embryos of the KLA was embodied in a series of revolutionary organizations influenced by Marxism-Leninism, which ultimately would amalgamate into the Levizja Popullore e Kosoves (LPK), or the Popular Movement for Kosovo.
    One precursor faction was known as the LRSHJ, and according to one Chiclet was "Maoist"; this itself spilt and one splinter was the LKCK: "In 1982 militant Maoist supporters of Enver Hoxha's dictatorship in Albania founded a movement to fight for an Albanian republic in "Yugoslavia (the LRSHJ). A year later a breakaway Kosovo liberation movement (LKCK) carried the struggle into Serbia. Between October 1982 and March 1984 they killed three Yugoslavs in Brussels, then shifted their operations to Kosovo. Between October 1982 and March 1984 they carried out nine attacks in Pristina. The Yugoslav authorities responded brutally: 12,000 Kosovars accused of belonging to these underground groups were arrested between 1982 and 1989."
Chiclet Ibid;
    Nonetheless, the various streams ended up in the LPK, by 1993: "In 1985 the LRSHJ became the hard-line anti-Yugoslav Movement for the People's Republic changing its name again in 1993 to the Kosovo People’s Movement (LPK) after Rugova and his Democratic League of Kosovo declared the province a republic."
Chiclet; Ibid.
    Some accounts omit the earlier splinters, placing the start of the LPK itself at 1982. There is little doubt that elements of the earlier organizations ended up in the LPK by 1993: "One of the driving forces behind the formation of the KLA was a tiny political party formed in 1982 called the LPK.. it had a secret cell structure, each cell kept apart from the others.. During the 1980s it claimed to be a radical leftist organization which took its inspiration from the Stalinist Albania of Enver Hoxha. Now in exile in London, the Kosovar journalist Daut Dauti sums up these so-called Enverists succinctly: "The Marxist-Leninists of the LPK were for an armed uprising in the 1980s. They had no idea what Enverism was-they just wanted to get rid of the Serbs." Many of them went to jail in Kosovo for political agitation and, as they came out, many of them then went abroad. Bardhyl Mahmuti, one of the founders of the LPK and then the KLA, told me: "It was not a question of ideology. [It was] rather Leninist theory on clandestine organizations." Judah T: "Inside the KLA"; Ibid; p. 20.     Judah adds that their Marxism, was a guise adopted to obtain monies from the then People’s Socialist Republic of Albania (PSRA). But there is no evidence that we are aware of, to substantiate this. Hoxha is on record as making it perfectly clear that the PSRA would not intervene in the legitimate national aspirations of the Kosovars. Even Judah does not ground his own jibe in any concrete facts. Nonetheless, Judah is correct to say that the Marxist underpinning of the organization was probably superficial.
    Hedges locates a large ideological range that is contained within the KLA.
    Hedges as well as Judah (See above), alleges that Hoxha "bankrolled" the LPK. No doubt, Hedges is correct in identifying an attraction for the more politically aware and radicalized students of Prishtina University in Kosova, to the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania: "The KLA splits down a bizarre ideological divide, with hints of fascism on one side and whiffs of communism on the other. …The second KLA faction, comprising most of the KLA leaders in exile, are old Stalinists who were once bankrolled by the xenophobic Enver Hoxha, the dictator of Albania who died in 1985. This group led a militant separatist movement that was really about integration with Hoxha's Albania. Most of these leaders were students at Pristina University after 1974, when Belgrade granted the province autonomy. Freed from Yugoslav oversight, the university imported thousands of textbooks from Albania, all carefully edited by Hoxha's Stalinist regime, along with at least a dozen militant Albanian professors. Along with its degree programs, Pristina University began to quietly school young Kosovar leaders in the art of revolution. Not only did a huge percentage of the KLA leadership come out of the university, but so, ominously, did the ethnic Albanian leadership in neighboring Macedonia.
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
    It is also true that Jane’s Defence Weekly claims the existence of specialized training camps inside the former PSAR. Alliance is prepared for the moment, pending better data, to accept this claim of Jane’s Defence Weekly. Although it does seem strange to us that neither Tito’s regime nor his heirs including Milosevic - exposed the existence of these camps at the time.
    If we do accept the claim of Jane’s Defence weekly, it would seem the best reference, to rebut the slanders of those such as Northstar Compass, that the KLA are simple pawns of imperialism. Moreover, it would appears that these camps were shut down by USA imperialism: "Several specialised training camps had existed in Albania since the post-war rule of Albanian Communist Party leader Enver Hoxha (who died in 1985), and at least two (in Fushe Kruje and Bajram Curri) are believed to have remained well into the time of the Berisha regime; these were reportedly closed down in 1993 under US pressure. Although the present Nano government has officially acknowledged Kosovo to be a part of Serbia and stated its commitment to a peaceful solution, it is possible that unconfirmed reports of a training camp in Lhibrazd may be true. Even so, that would appear to be more a result of anarchy than official support by the Albanian Government, and in military terms the significance of such a camp would be negligible."
Jane’s Defence Weekly; Ibid;
In any case, Marxists-Leninists are correct, to characterize these above discussed factions, as a militant and revolutionary wing of the national democratic revolution. It will become quite apparent as we discuss other factions of what became the KLA, that there are wings of the national democratic forces that are not revolutionary per se.
    In addition another faction was the National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo (Levizje Nacional-Clirimtare e Kosoves) (LNCK). We have been unable to find an ideological underpinning for this faction, we are simply aware that it was: "a known Albanian emigrant organisation that had been operating out of Switzerland since 1981."
Jane’s Defence Weekly.
    Marxist-Leninists are aware that the national liberation movements are split into the compromising section and the revolutionary sections. We have identified the revolutionary sections. Which were the compromising sections? Chiclet claims that the KLA also was: "Encouraged by groups in Washington, Berlin and Zagreb".         Chiclet Ibid;     The clearest pro-comprador force to be set up was one encouraged by the USA and known as FARK. This was an armed militia, which emerged from Rugova’s camp: "In the late summer of 1998 a rival militia emerged. The United States wanted a more docile fighting force and so, under Rugova's leadership, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosovo (FARK) was created with Saudi money and Turkish logistic support. The KLA responded with violence: on 18 September 1998 it murdered Ahmet Krasniqi… who had been assigned to set up the new army, in the center of Tirana."
Chiclet Ibid.

"An attempt by the 'prime minister' of the self-proclaimed Kosovo government, Bujar Bukoshi, to raise a parallel fighting force under his command - the Armed Force of the Republic of Kosovo (Forcave Armatosure ë Republikes ë Kosoves -FARK) - ended in failure following the disbandment of the only FARK brigade and the flight to Albania of its commander, Colonel Tahir Zema. "
Jane's Defence Weekly; Ibid.

    At this stage, there were other militant Kosovar Albanian groups, and early on, a faction developed out of Rugova’s LDK. But this quickly moved away from "Gandhism": "The KLA had built close ties or melded with much of Rugova's League of Democratic Kosovo (LDK). It was no coincidence that once the rebellion erupted a year ago, local LDK leaders immediately picked up weapons and became commanders of village units. By the time of the uprising, Rugova had lost control of his own party."
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
    Naturally the comprador faction has not hesitated to attempt to smear the more determined independence fighters. It is no surprise that they use the same terminology as have many of the "authoritative" "Marxist-Leninist" – terminology that Judah identifies as emanating from Serb propaganda: "Bukoshi and his supporters have been muttering that a future KLA-dominated government would be a "Cuba in Europe." Rather bizarrely they have also picked up the vintage Serbian propaganda line that the KLA are in fact little more than glorified drug dealers. It is true that Kosovars are prominent in the Zurich heroin trade and control some drug-trafficking routes, and it is also true that these gangsters certainly make hefty contributions to KLA funds. The KLA has also used the Mafia connections of these gangs to buy arms. However, to make the leap to saying that the KLA leaders are drug traffickers themselves is about as convincing as claiming that the US government, too, is a drug trafficker because, at times, the CIA has worked with various drug barons."
Judah; Ibid; In New York Times Review Books.
    The participants of all these ventures were then folded into what became the KLA. So clearly, there are now a large number of factions within the present KLA that reflects all this previous history.
__________________________________________________________________ A SUMMARY OF KLA ANTECEDENTS: National Revolutionary Wings
1982: LRSHJ; A Maoist organisation fighting for a Greater Albania. 1983: (LKCK) Kosovo liberation movement
1985: LRSHJ becomes the LRPK: Movement for the People’s Republic of Kosova.
1992-3: KLA first being heard of.
1993: LRSHJ becomes the LPK, or the Popular Movement for Kosovo Levizja Popullore e Kosoves).
Comprador Wings
LDK Democratic League of Kosovo (Lidhja Demokratike e Kosoves); and FARK
Led by Ibrahim Rugova and Bujar Bukoshi ________________________________________________________________
    Although highly motivated, the activities of the LPK group, were located at first mainly in the Western based émigré communists: "Although the movement was not all that active in Kosovo itself, it became influential among the Diaspora in Switzerland, Germany and Belgium."
Chiclet; Ibid;
    Effectively they were unable to do very much at this stage. Even so, the Yugoslav secret services considered them serious enough to assassinate leading cadre: "On January 17, 1982, three Kosovar activists were assassinated in Germany, presumably by the Yugoslav secret services. They were the brothers Jusuf and Bardhosh Gervalla and the journalist Kadri Zeka. ... Still, until 1995, there was little they could do about it all. Living mostly in exile, LPK members agitated with little success among the exile and Gastarbeiter communities of up to 500,000 Kosovars who lived in Germany, Switzerland, and elsewhere."
Judah T; Ibid; p.20.
    As Hedges says, some sections of the national liberation movement are more right wing. But Hedges raises the canard of the "Skanderberg division" raised by the German Nazis out of traitorous elements in the Second World War: "The KLA splits down a bizarre ideological divide, with hints of fascism on one side and whiffs of communism on the other. The former faction is led by the sons and grandsons of rightist Albanian fighters -- either the heirs of those who fought in the World War II fascist militias and the Skanderbeg volunteer SS division raised by the Nazis, or the descendants of the rightist Albanian kacak rebels who rose up against the Serbs 80 years ago. Although never much of a fighting force, the Skanderbeg division took part in the shameful roundup and deportation of the province's few hundred Jews during the Holocaust. The division's remnants fought Tito's Partisans at the end of the war, leaving thousands of ethnic Albanians dead. The decision by KLA commanders to dress their police in black fatigues and order their fighters to salute with a clenched fist to the forehead has led many to worry about these fascist antecedents. Following such criticism, the salute has been changed to the traditional open-palm salute common in the U.S. Army."
Hedges; Ibid.
    But the "black fatigue" is worn by other progressive fighters, and the "clenched fist salute" is not unknown amongst progressives either. Hedges himself notes that the Skanderberg Division was "never much of a fighting force". We have previously dealt with this question. Both the "authoritative" editor of Northstar Compass and the highly "knowledgeable" and insistent Alexander Moumbaris of Editions Democrite – like to dwell on this question. The goodly (to Serb fascism) Moumbaris said this: "Said Editions Democrite: There is some confusion concerning the Albanians of Kosovo. Among the Albanians in Kosovo, many are Albanians from Albania, who either arrived recently or were elements opposed to communist Albania including survivors of two Albanian SS divisions that the Yugoslav government settled there after the war. It is difficult to determine the exact number of Albanians of Yugoslav nationality."     Alliance in issue 32 responded as below: "UPON THE SS LINEAGE OF KOSOVARS: We suggest that this is an attempt to defame the Albanian majority of Kosova and somehow "devalue" their claims. We must ask for proof of this allegation. We would also refer readers to some independent evidence, rather than bar-room gossip - to Noel Malcolm : "One large scale recruitment effort (by the Germans) .. created the 'Skanderbeg' volunteer SS division. This sprang from discussions between the German authorities & Bedri Peja who offered to raise a large military force to fight against the communists; at one point he claimed he could gather up to 150,000 men. But the recruitment drive, carried out in early 1944, was a disappointment: in the period up to the beginning of the German withdrawal only 6,491 men joined the division. According to the commanding officers' report the main obstacle had been the "invisible resistance of the beys and agas which resulted in inactivity on the part of the prefects and majors who were controlled by the beys, and in a whispering campaign against recruitment."
(Malcolm; ?Kosova-A Short History?; London; 1998; p.309)." Full reply to "Editions Democrite" to be found at:.
    In any case we have already in Alliance 33 (this issue part 4) pointed out that there were fascist Quislings in all nationalities during the Second World War. Neither the Serbs, the Kosovars or for that matter the Croats had any monopoly on human goodness. Nor for that matter do they now. What of it? What bearing does this have on the legitimacy of a National War of Liberation?? Let us return to the main aim in this section - the history of the KLA.
    The name of the KLA itself was first heard between 1991-1993. It had drawn members from elements of all the factions discussed above: "The KLA itself was formed from a nucleus of LPK members in late 1992 and early 1993, but it was so small that it did not take its first armed action, an ambush of a group of Serbian policemen, until 1995. Still, significantly, the men it did have on the ground in Kosovo included a new generation of LPK members who were in their twenties and had grown up remembering the demonstrations and widespread resentment that accompanied the abolition of Kosovo's autonomy by Milosevic in 1989. Among them was Hashim Thaci, then twenty years old.";
Judah T; Ibid; p.20.
    The youth of the KLA was an important consideration. High unemployment of the youth whether in the Diaspora or in Kosova itself, high oppression, led to a situation that Hedges compares to the Palestinian "Intifada".
    But as the KLA became more visible, Chiclet points out that it fell into a "trap" – that of suiting and ‘justifying" the exterminist plans of the Milosevic led Serbian fascists. "Supporters of a "popular" war, however, believed that Serbian persecution was bound to strengthen the KLA's position among the Kosovars and internationally. What they failed to realize was that Slobodan Milosevic's government was waiting for just such provocation to push forward with its ethnic cleansing programme and spilt Kosovo. The KLA, clinging to old-style Marxist-Leninism and a mixture of Greater Albanian nationalism and clannishness, chose the worst possible option. Since 1987 Milosevic has used Kosovo to strengthen his position. On 1 March 1989 a state of emergency was declared in Kosovo and on 23 March the Serbian constitution was amended to restrict the region's autonomy. On 2 November the Yugoslav security service killed two LRPK cadres in Pristina. The LRPK then carried the struggle abroad. In 1990 a bomb exploded at the Zurich home of Xhavit Haliti, a senior officer in the Sigurim (the Albanian secret service) who was responsible for keeping an eye on pro-Hoxha Kosovars in Switzerland and Germany. He was made a leader of the KLA on 13 August 1993 and was one of the Albanian delegates to the Rambouillet conference in 1999."
Chiclet; Ibid.
3) As The Struggle Rises – The KLA Becomes More Overt
    As the tempo of Serb oppression inside Kosova rose, more overt actions by presence of Kosovar militants was likely. Initially, fear of the Serb fascist repression had kept the lid on Kosovan actions: "The apparent might of the Yugoslav Army (JNA) and Serb paramilitary units, which kept pounding the cities in Croatia and later Bosnia with heavy artillery, had a deterring effect in Kosovo."
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
    In addition the KLA was still small: "The KLA itself was formed from a nucleus of LPK members in late 1992 and early 1993, but it was so small that it did not take its first armed action, an ambush of a group of Serbian policemen, until 1995. Still, significantly, the men it did have on the ground in Kosovo included a new generation of LPK members who were in their twenties and had grown up remembering the demonstrations and widespread resentment that accompanied the abolition of Kosovo's autonomy by Milosevic in 1989. Among them was Hashim Thaci, then twenty years old."; Judah T; Ibid; p.20.     The level of armed retaliation against Serb fascism was initially low, but then became more frequent, and targeted the Serbian police. A simple Serb Police phrase covered it all:
    "Terrorist attacks" -
    We could almost substitute such phrases favoured by Northstar Compass and the Marxist-Leninist List: "The number of armed incidents ..was surprisingly low in the period 1992-95 and .. limited to short exchanges of fire or harassment using firearms. Although official Serbian data records 136 attacks on the police in the first 18 months after the declaration of the ``Republic of Kosovo'', the only major action was an attack on a vehicle of the Serbian Interior Ministry (Ministarstvo unutrasnjih poslova - MUP) near Glogovac on 22 May 1993 in which two policemen were killed and five wounded. … On 22 April 1996 four almost simultaneous attacks took place within less than two hours of each other and in widely separated locations. .. Serbian police blamed ``separatist terrorists'': a usual cover-all phrase.. attacks on the police continued throughout the summer and autumn of 1996. "
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
    That there was indeed now, an actual named organization that coordinated these attacks, became slowly clear. Of the several possible contenders, the LCNCK, the LPK, and the KLA - The Milosevic fascists tracked them down, and claimed to have eradicated them by early 1997. But, the name of the KLA became steadily more well known: "The existence of a ``Kosovo liberation movement'' was at first just a rumour, but continued attacks and a similar modus operandi made it clear that an organisation existed. The initial confusion was caused by rumours claiming that the attacks were carried out by the armed wing of the LNCK, …. Rumours also suggested that the attacks could be the work of the LPK, which was formed in 1982 by the unification of several smaller Albanian Marxist-Leninist factions. Attacks continued at a steady rate, targeting not only the MUP but also ethnic Albanians who pledged their loyalty to the Serbian administration. In early 1997, Albanian language media started receiving faxes in which an organisation calling itself Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves (Kosovo Liberation Army - KLA) admitted responsibility for the attacks. After a series of ambushes and executions of ``loyal Albanians'', Serb authorities arrested 60 Albanians in late January 1997. Although President Milosevic claimed that ``terrorism in Kosovo had been cut in its roots'', reality proved him wrong; after a brief lull the attacks resumed in the late summer of that year. "
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;

"Towards the end of 1992 it was announced a mysterious "Kosovo Liberation Army" had been set up - so mysterious that Rugova denied its existence for five years, ..For the next three years the organisation - structured around LPK members and with a dual leadership based in Pristina and Switzerland - consolidated its position. The clandestine army was chiefly known for its assassination attempts until the bomb attacks on 11 February 1996 on five Serbian refugee camps in Krajina for which it claimed responsibility. Two months later eight Serbian policemen were killed in Decani and Pec."
Chiclet Ibid;

"The first KLA armed attack took place in May 1993 in Glogovac, killing two Serb police officers and wounding five more. But the rebel group -- its membership largely drawn from a few clans in Kosovo and radicals in the Albanian diaspora -- was founded eight years ago. Most of its leadership has spent years in prison for separatist activity, many having been jailed earlier by Tito's communist government. Like all revolutionaries who have spent years underground or in jail, the KLA leaders are wary of the outside world and given to secrecy."
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).

    But it was not until September 1997 that the KLA gained "real credibility", by mounting coordinated actions over the space of 150 kilometers, taking out police targets. They made a public appearance at a holiday called "Flag Day": "The most spectacular series of attacks which gave the KLA real credibility took place within four hours of each other on the night of 10-11 September 1997. No less than 10 co-ordinated attacks in locations up to 150 km apart, mostly targeting police barracks and vehicles, proved that there was a well-organised force. .. anti-tank weapons were used for the first time to penetrate the wall of a building in a night attack in the village of Babaloc near Decani on 16 October. However, the event that was to make the KLA a household name was the first public appearance of one of its members on 28 November: a date observed by Albanians in Kosovo, as well as their kin in Albania, as Flag Day – a holiday of great patriotic significance".
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
By late February 1998, the Serbian police decided that it was time to end the problem, and in the Drenica region they felt they could do this easily. This area had become a "hot-spot" : "In February 1998 a revolt started in Drenica. The KLA then launched its first major offensive. In five months it liberated at least 30% of the territory, but it banned all political parties in the liberated villages and attacked the Serb, Gypsy and goran (Islamised Macedonian) minorities. Determined to take the political lead, it denounced Rugova, his LDK and the Kosovar parliament. On 13 June 1998 it appointed its spokesman, Ahmet Krasniqi, on 13 August its political committee."
Chiclet Ibid;
    But the Serbs had only one real weapon – a brutal terror and ‘scorched earth’ policy. The resulting terror came up against unexpected heroism from a single family – the Jasharis. They were a peasant farmer family clan, who had links with the KLA. Their farmhouse was surrounded by a massive army force, and they were eliminated after a fierce resistance: "The Serbs opted for .. 'scorched earth' - hitting any suspected 'terrorist resistance' with all means available. Such indiscriminate force met with fierce opposition from the Jashari family compound in Prekaz, and it took more than 48 hours to end all resistance there. .. to silence less than 10 armed males the forces of the Serbian Interior Ministry (MUP) killed more than 40 civilians, including women and children. .. pictures from Drenica of destruction and grief served as an unexpected impetus for KLA recruitment."
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
    The heroic resistance of the Jashari family, against overwhelming odds, inspired the Diaspora Kosovars who responded with a patriotic pride: "Thousands of young Albanians left their jobs, both in Kosovo and all across Western Europe .. to join the force fighting for the independence of their homeland: Kosovo. So rapid and unexpected was the inflow of recruits that the KLA initially was unable to cope. Many made their way into Drenica, which, despite the bitter defeats of February and March, was seen as the center of the resistance."
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
It was now that the KLA began to weld itself more into a semblance of an army.

4) The KLA Organizes Itself:
    The "authoritative" Lucas of the Northstar Compass cannot understand how the KLA managed to organize itself, unless it was with aid from the CIA; or from drug running. Undoubtedly from what we can glean, Lucas is right that there are some elements of the KLA who are involved in the drug trade:

"The Pristina militants went underground to escape Yugoslav justice: between 1981 and 1983, 1,000 underground fighters received heavy prison sentences. Some fled abroad, joined up with Marxist-Leninist cells that had links with the Kosovar "Mafias" in Western Europe. According to Interpol figures, Kosovars account for 14% of arrests for trafficking and control most of the heroin traffic in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Norway, the Czech Republic, Poland and Belgium."
Chiclet Ibid; Citing El Pais.
    But there are more important links that Lucas neglects. Perhaps he has forgotten the effect of living in a closely-knit community; or the overall rebellious spirit that oppression brings about. This seems odd - given the number of raffles, plaques-on-walls-for-money, auctions, and fundraisers that Northstar itself organizes. Nonetheless, the correspondent of Jane's Defence Weekly sympathizes with him, saying: "It is still not easy to understand how it was possible to bring together, organise and arm the 30,000 fighters that the KLA mustered between the spring and summer of 1998."
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
    But do not fret Michael, because the correspondent of Jane’s Defence Weekly does have an explanation, one that "dialecticians" may have forgotten in their haste to apply ready-made-tailored-solutions-to-fit-their-biases.
    This invokes the legendary "clans" of the Kosovars, and their sense of solidarity. Those who have experienced the hospitality of the Albanians in previous times can testify to this. This solidarity, appealed to both farmers, students and intelligentsia: "A key factor in explaining the unexpectedly rapid growth of the KLA, however, is the nature of Albanian society. Closely knit, with strong family, clan and regional affiances, Albanians have always been regarded as impenetrable to outsiders and loyal to their own sense of unity. This helped them to rally behind ..the KLA (that) appeared in public on 28 November 1997. The fact that the Jasharis were just ordinary farmers and not professional soldiers reinforced the belief that an armed uprising had a chance. The would-be fighters approached the former political prisoners in their respective regions with offers to fight. Most Albanian political prisoners were former students arrested in the 1980s for their participation in the movement demanding a Republic of Kosovo within Federal Yugoslavia. .. Other leaders included the younger generation of students (dismissed from the universities when Kosovo autonomy was forcibly abolished in the early 1990s), teachers, doctors, members of influential families and known local rogues. Army officers and police inspectors who were purged in the early 1990s were the only ones with any military knowledge. As soon as rumour spread that there was a core of resistance in a particular area, potential recruits were directed there by word of mouth."
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
    Whether the Jasharis were only farmers is disputed by Hedges, who identifies them as principal leaders of the KLA movement inside Kosova. However he points out that they bore resemblance to the older Clan chieftains – although some condescending and almost racist whiffs come across in his view of the Balkans here. And he concurs with "Janes’ Defence Weekly", in the view that the ‘scorched earth’ policy of the Serbian fascists of Milosevic was a major element in igniting rebellion. Hedges points out the Serbs were given a "green light" for their actions by...... None Other Than....U.S. Special Envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard. It is most interesting that this USA representative, fully agrees with the view of many "Marxist-Leninists" who easily label the KLA simply as "terrorist": "Until the uprising in Kosovo last spring, the KLA had only a couple hundred members. The most prominent inside Kosovo was Adem Jashari, a gruff, taciturn peasant who, with his brother Hamza, had been on the run from Serb authorities for months. They were among the handful of militants who founded the KLA in 1991 before it mushroomed into a popular army, much like the Islamist resistance in Algeria. In the early days, they came closest to running the organization, and many of their lieutenants and relatives -- at least the ones that have survived -- now run the KLA. ….In another era the Jashari clan, which oversaw a large black-market smuggling network, would have faded away into local folklore. The Balkans are filled with small-time renegades who combine criminal activity with thin, separatist ideologies. Instead, by leveling Prekaz with 20 mm antiaircraft cannons and killing more than 50 people, including many old people, women, and children, the Serbs made the Jasharis into martyrs. U.S. Special Envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard gave what many have interpreted as a green light to Belgrade to go after the rebel bands by announcing in Pristina on February 23, 1998, that the KLA "is without any question a terrorist group." He went on to add that the United States "condemns very strongly terrorist activities in Kosovo." Within two weeks Serb forces had turned Prekaz into a smoldering ruin, killed close to a hundred people, and ignited the uprising."
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
    Jane's Defence Weekly also further discredits the view of some "Marxist-Leninists" that the KLA was raised by the USA as a puppy: "Currently by any definition the KLA is a terrorist organisation, even if for political reasons everybody but the Serbs is cautiously avoiding the use of the term. .. The KLA does not appear on the official US State Department list of foreign terrorist organisations, and threat of its inclusion on the list is currently the only US sway over radical Albanians. After two explosions on Macedonian territory at the turn of the year, for which the KLA claimed responsibility, a clear warning was issued by Robert Gelbard, the top US envoy for former Yugoslavia."
Jane’s Defence Weekly; Ibid.
    In order to win the peoples, it became a conscious policy of the KLA to win over leading clans and chieftains. Thus the term "simple" farmers of for the Jashari family, is not at all inconsistent with their also being "clan chieftains": "Kosovo operates on a system of local chieftains, whom the KLA set about recruiting in 1996. With their support the organisation established local bases to provide it with men and supplies. In 1997 it set up rapid action units of several hundred men. In one year it carried out 14 attacks in Kosovo and one in Macedonia. Through its clan links it operated an efficient intelligence system and systematically assassinated "traitors", especially those working for the Serbian intelligence service. It was at this stage that the KLA began to come out in the open. Three hooded KLA militants were at Skenderaj cemetery on 28 November 1997 to pay their respects to a comrade killed in action."
Chiclet Ibid;
    This process of radicalisation of the Kosovars, is actually (surely!) a Marxist textbook case of what happens in situations where there is no other recourse than to take up arms?
Well, so much for "enthusiasm" of the KLA. But, how did they KLA live, how did they purchase arms, how did they sustain a fight? According to Lucas and many others it was drug running. As we ahve said this was one source. But Lucas ignores the many other strands of support for the KLA.
    The KLA primarily relied on the good will of émigrés, and by a tax placed upon them;
    They were aided by the sense of solidarity discussed above;
    They also had an advantage in that guns were part of the background culture;
    Moreover the Serb neighbors would sell them up to date weaponry;
and the disintegration of the next door Albanian state provided a ready source of arms: "The self-proclaimed government of the 'Republic of Kosovo' collected a 3 per cent income tax on all exiles working in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, but much more important for the financing of the KLA were the funds sent by family members who worked abroad. Before the beginning of mass resistance they simply served to sustain the large families and clans, but once a decision was taken to fight, those funds were further augmented by additional donations and re-directed towards the procurement of arms. An important role in the collection of funds was played by a Swiss-based fund, 'Homeland Calls' (Vendlindhja Therrët), which organised large-scale collections, first across Europe and later in the USA, where the Albanian community in the New York area alone numbers over 200,000. Arms were procured from all sources, but the single most important early channel was from the Serbs themselves. Worried that the break-up of former Yugoslavia might prompt an early uprising of Kosovo Albanians, the Serbian government distributed an estimated 75,000 rifles to Kosovo Serbs. Albanians, traditionally people with a gun-culture, kept as many weapons as they could and kept buying Kalashnikovs from their Serb neighbours. The Serbs were quite happy to sell, relying on the might of the Yugoslav Army (Vojska Jugoslavije - VJ) to protect them. An important channel was Albania, where the disintegration of the central government in the spring of 1997 and subsequent looting of military depots put more than half a million small arms on the market. The price for a Kalashnikov in northern Albania was as low as $100; in Kosovo it was double. Supplies started flowing across the mountains, first in small groups, but then convoys quickly grew to up to 200 mountain ponies and a thousand men.
The gun-culture of the Albanians, the need for concealment and the lack of trained officers created a propensity for individual weapons. At first the only weapons apart from the usual rifles were shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons, usually of the early generations, and limited numbers of small-calibre mortars. To the surprise of many, land-mines were barely used, not even for perimeter defence, but this also reflects the Albanians' heroic system of values, where the only worthy way to fight was deemed as being with a gun."
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;

"The KLA became bolder after the riots in Albania in March-April 1997. The rioters looted more than a million weapons from army and police armouries. Most of them were sold off cheap and found their way to Kosovo. They were badly made and did not last long when fighting broke out in spring 1998. The organisation needs money to buy more weapons. The KLA exploits its links with the Kosovar 'Mafia" in Switzerland and Germany, deriving most of its income from drug trafficking and fraud in Western Europe In December 1997, for instance, the Paris police broke up an LPK cell with links in Germany and Italy that specialized in false invoices and accommodation bills. "
Chiclet Ibid;

    Jane’s Defence Weekly, identifies three main sources of arms and money: The Diaspora, the drug courier service,  and the break-up of Albania.
    But Jane’s Defence Weekly makes it clear that the Albanians were couriers only, and not "running the drug service"; and the other factor was the clan and national solidarity of the Diaspora: "The bulk of the financing of the KLA seems to originate from two sources:
drug-related operations and Kosovo Albanian settlers in the West. The former Yugoslavia has always been on the main European drug-transit route. With the break-up of Yugoslavia the route has been somewhat modified; west Europe-bound narcotics now enter Macedonia and Albania and are then distributed towards Western Europe through Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia. Extremely high levels of corruption in former Yugoslavia facilitate drugs trade, and routes across the borders had been well established by trade blockade runners in 1992-95. Albanians are highly regarded as couriers due to their reliability and secrecy, but they do not appear to be running the drugs trade themselves. "
"The second source of financing is also significant. There are over 500,000 Kosovo Albanians in the West, mostly in the German-speaking countries of Europe and in the US. The largest community is in Switzerland - 180,000-strong. The Luzern-based LPK, led by Ibrahim Kelmendi, was the first organisation to claim direct connection with the KLA and openly collect funds. .. there seems to be a willingness on the part of Kosovo Albanians to contribute to the cause, but proper funding arrangements have not yet been established. Émigrés in Germany have approached the circles close to the ``Kosovan Prime Minister'', Bujar Bukoshi, with offers for funding, but it is not yet clear in what way that funding has been organised. On the other side of the Atlantic, ethnic Albanians have proved more skeptical, demanding concrete proof of KLA connections before donating money. All this is limited to Kosovo Albanians - their kin from Albania having suffered significant losses in the spring collapse of that country - who have proved incapable or unwilling to aid the ``Kosovo cause''. Apparently very little money has been collected in the US."
Jane's Defence Weekly.

"Until the spring chaos in Albania, Kosovo Albanians could only count on a limited number of weapons. The reserves of the Kosovo Territorial Defence had been taken away after riots in 1981 and supplies were limited. However, the wide availability of weapons after the conflict started in former Yugoslavia brought a steady trickle to Kosovo, most being sold by the Serbs themselves. Following the February/March 1997 looting of Albanian Army barracks and depots, weapons became even more readily available. The current price for a Kalashnikov is barely US$300, and the most conservative estimates of Albanians' stocks now start at 25,000 hidden AK assault rifles. Also available are anti-tank weapons, rifle and hand grenades and even small-caliber mortars and anti-aircraft guns."
Jane’s Defence Weekly; Ibid.

Marxist-Leninists do not shirk from the facts, and do NOT only choose facts that support their bias. A recent meeting of the Communist Party Germany (ML) and the Communist League (UK) expressed their reservations on some elements that either are within the KLA or are using the KLA. This does not detract from the correctness of the national liberation struggle whatsoever. As the communiqué of the meeting, [to be found on the home page of the National Committee for The Marxist-Leninist Party (UK)] puts it: "that, while condemning alike the military intervention of the NATO powers in Yugoslavia and the genocidal atrocities committed by the Serb socialfascists, full support must be given to the heroic fighters of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA) in their correct struggle for the  national liberation of the Kosovar people; however, the CPGer / ML express reservations on role of some mafia-type elements which they believe to be operating within the KLA".
    What other sources of funding did the KLA find? There was some bourgeois State support, especially from Germany: "Germany, which has a large Kosovar community, responded as it did in 1989-90 when it backed the first Croatian militia'. By 1996 the BND intelligence service was building up its offices in Tirana and Rome to select and train prospective KLA cadres. Special forces in Berlin provided the training and supplied arms, transmission equipment and uniforms from ex-East German Stasi stocks."
Chiclet; Ibid; Le Monde Diplomatique;
    But even Chiclet agrees that the fundamental springs of KLA support were the Diaspora and the tax on the Kosovar peoples: "The KLA's statements in l995 and 1996 were clear. All Kosovar men between the ages of 18 and 50 in exile and living abroad can be mobilized. Heads of families and anyone earning a living are allowed to stay behind to finance the struggle; the others have to join the Resistance. In a month and a half, 20,000 volunteers have arrived from the West. In addition each of the 220,000 Albanians in Switzerland must contribute 2,000 marks a month. Around 200 volunteers have been sent from France, and those with jobs are contributing 50% of their eager wages."
Chiclet; Ibid.
    The membership of the KLA are basically peasants: "It would be a mistake, though, to think of the KLA as a group made up only of men whose main purpose in life has been the liberation of their homeland. While these people have provided the leadership, many of its field commanders are local men, sometimes peasants, whose families have a historic tradition of uprisings against the Serbs. Coincidentally, some of them have dubious gangster connections too, rather like the first men to take up arms to defend Sarajevo in 1992. The footsoldiers of the KLA are generally ordinary men who have armed themselves to defend their villages and their families."
Judah; Ibid; New York Times Book Review.
    As well as all this, the intense oppression was coupled with a high youth unemployment. The number of youth was made higher by the policies in Western Europe of deporting refugees-émigrés. A high birth rate added to the youth of the population. All these triggers all led to a Balkan, young people’s "Intifada": "Money, especially the three percent levy on all earnings abroad, was diverted to the KLA's Homeland Calling fund. Albanian newspapers outside the province, such as the Zurich-based Voice of Kosovo, started to print communiqués from the rebel group and run ads calling for donations.
The young men who had sent home remittances from menial jobs in Europe to support their families began to be deported under a series of agreements signed between Belgrade and countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden. Burdened by close to a million refugees from Bosnia, these governments were unwilling to see the numbers swelled by a new influx from the Balkans. The fighting in Kosovo has ended the repatriations. A huge number of disenchanted and angry youth who saw no benefits from Rugova's rule and who, unlike their parents, did not speak Serbo-Croatian, began giving up on multi-ethnicity. The unemployment rate among ethnic Albanians is 70 percent, and this pressure, coupled with the highest birthrate in Europe (23.1 births per 1,000), has created a deep recruiting pool for the KLA. Seventy percent of the population is now under 30. Kosovo has undergone a generational shift much like that in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip at the start of the iIntifadah in 1987."
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
    But the welding of a National Liberation army requires more than enthusiasm, money, and youth. Military train and strategy are learnt from practice, if it is not learn before hand in a more theoretical and structured, disciplined way. The KLA would come to understand this, only by a bitter lesson.
    The existence of deeply divided factions exacerbated the overall problem. Hedges comments the KLA has no unifying politics except that of national liberation.
    This is confirmed by a quote from a prominent KLA spokesman Jakup Krasniqi: "The two KLA factions ..are split bitterly between radical left and radical right, they are now arguing over whether to carry the fighting to the pockets of ethnic Albanians who live in western Macedonia and neighboring Montenegro. The only thing they agree on is the need to liberate Kosovo from Serbian rule. All else, menacingly, will be decided later. It is not said how. Given these deep divisions, it is no accident that the KLA has failed to create a political organization or even a vague platform. "I do not think we have an ideology," Jakup Krasniqi, the KLA's mercurial spokesman, told the Albanian-language daily Koha Ditore on July 12, 1998. "And in fact we do not have time for such things even if we were interested in them, because we have our main job to do, which is the task of liberation."
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
5) KLA Problems in Military Strategy
The first organisational steps of the KLA were to attempt to organise a military structure. It based itself first on Kosovars who had been trained in the Yugoslav army and then deserted. Some support was offered by the Albanian President Sali Berisha. : "Initially the KLA fighters were led by ethnic Albanian officers in the Yugoslav army and police who had deserted in 1991-92 to join the new Croat and Slovenian armies. In l997 the KLA set up training camps in the Mirdita mountains of northern Albania. It was discreetly supported by the new Albanian services (SHIK) and later President Sali Berisha. After resigning in spring 1997 Berisha offered Tropoja stronghold to the Kosovar fighters. The underground army also established bases in Western Macedonia, the home of most of the country's Albanian minority. Arms, food and medicines were hidden in the villages around Gostivar, Debar and Velesta and at Pogradec on the Albanian-Macedonian border."     Alliance in previous articles, has pointed out that Berisha was the first choice of the USA imperialists to take over the state of Albania after the sabotage and destruction of the socialist state. However Alliance also pointed out that Berisha was losing favour with the USA and was deliberately toppled in the Pyramid Scheme (
    After its’ early successes described above, the KLA became over-confident.
    They over-reached themselves, and ignored fundamental tenets of guerilla warfare. They relied on road blockage and eschewed the "mobile" lighting flash, the disappearing and sudden striking –hallmarks of successful guerilla forces. It was still very much an infant army. They were still learning. Nonetheless, they survived – partly because the Serbian forces made in their turn, an error. The Serbs persisted in a slash-and-burn strategy, which created over 100,000 refugees. This refugee mass, provided the final pretext for the intervention of foreign imperialism (See section 6 this article): "As the KLA grew .. The MUP simply stopped patrolling ..Growing overconfident, the KLA proclaimed 'free territories' and blocked the main roads. ..denying safe communications .. the KLA still had little central co-ordination and no unified command structure. Each operational area cared only about itself, attracting funds and weapons through its own channels and recruiting local villagers. There was no training... Food was provided mainly by requisitioning supplies available. ..In July 1998 there were only three field hospitals. The total number of fighters had reached 30,000 by mid-June, but a large number of those were just locals carrying guns in their own villages. The government finally acted .. early summer, when the KLA attempted to take .. Orahovac, .. The KLA failed to properly plan and execute the attack ... By mid-summer the MUP was .. firstly removing all roadblocks by force and freeing up communications. .. its main allies were incompetent – often competing - KLA commanders, who did not use their mobility to their benefit but defended roadblocks, canyons and mountain passes with no attempt at surprise or flanking actions. .. The KLA was thus broken into isolated pockets of resistance. What, in turn, saved the KLA from ultimate military defeat was the incompetence of the Serbian security forces: in destroying not just the fighters, but whole villages as potential KLA bases, they sent the entire population fleeing in the woods and hills. When the number of displaced civilians passed 100,000, the international community had to react, and in the face of the threat of NATO airstrikes Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic reached a deal with US envoy Richard Holbrooke that ended the offensive, allowing refugees to return."
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
    The KLA had to reorganize. "The KLA used the winter .. establishing a competent central command structure centered around the General Staff (Shtabi i Përgjithshëm - ShP) and dividing Kosovo into operational zones... The principle of subordination was reinforced and applied almost fully. Several local commanders who were reluctant to accept central command quietly slipped away. Among those was former commander .. Hajdin Abazi (nom de guerre Lum Haxhiu), .. who returned to civilian life in Germany."
Recent Background to Current Crisis in Kosovo: Jane's Information Group Limited 1999;
The ShP, and its Operations Directorate (Oz) was slow to organise in a full command structure: "All of the KLA's military and political matters are run by the ShP, which consists of 16 known members although there may be up to 20 of them. Each member has a specific responsibility, but their relations are not always harmonious. The ShP established at least eight directorates (drejtoria) and several services (sherbimi), some of which are subordinated to the Directorates while others are under direct ShP command."
Janes Defence Weekly.
    The question was related to that of a potential loss of local control. In Spite of this attempts to set up a military training were facilitated by establishing an "Academy": "It is quite a peculiar feature of the ShP that its Operations Directorate (OZ) is still feeble, and it is not even known who heads it. This reflects the relative weakness of the ShP in imposing efficient military control over influential OZ commanders. While accepting ShP guidance, the OZ commanders still remain largely independent in the conduct of operations and even maintain their own parallel and independent financing and logistics. It appears that one of the main short-term goals of the ShP is to impose tighter control on OZ commanders. So far most resistance to centralisation seems to come from the commanders of OZs No 5, 'Drini', and No 2, 'Remi'.
.. A system of military education was established, however, where the central Military Academy (Akademia ë Ardhshme Ushtarake) trains higher officers (from just below OZ commanders to battalion commander level), while at least three of the OZs have their own Military Training Schools, which train officers down to squad leader level. Courses, which take an average four to six weeks, are conducted mostly by former Yugoslav Army officers ..At least 600 officers have completed various courses so far; the Military Academy is currently into its 4th class."
Jane’s Defence Weekly;
    The Civil affairs of the KLA are vested in the Public Order and Civil Administration Directorate (Drejtoria për Marrëdhënie Publike dhe Administrim Civil) , formed in late 1998. It was headed by the first KLA spokesman, Jakup Krasniqi. But training of recruits remains a problem: "Training presents a major problem: up until 1990 basic rifle training and infantry drill were provided by the JNA. Since that year, however, Albanian conscripts have not been required to serve in the JNA. Large basic training camps cannot be established - either in Kosovo or in Western Europe - forcing the KLA to limit its size for the time being.."
Jane’s Defence Weekly; Ibid;
    In spite of all this, there is little doubt that under the more determined sections of the KLA, a genuine national liberation will be achieved.

6) Rambouillet – The USA Splits The Factions of the KLA -Creates a New Comprador Wing.
    Although the courageous "Marxist-Leninists" of the ilk of Northstar Compass and Harpal Brar claim that the USA basically was 100% behind the KLA, the reality is much more opaque. In fact the USA was still uncertain as to how to deal with the situation in which it had a vested interest. It was only after the cease-fire of 13 October that the USA began "talking to the KLA leaders" - leaders they had previosulsy dubbed as "Terrorists":

"On 13 October.. the US envoy, Richard Holbrooke, persuaded Milosevic to accept a ceasefire. As the Yugoslav forces withdrew from Kosovo, the KLA escalated its operations, reoccupying former Serbian positions. In December 1998 the fighting resumed. The KLA was not short of weapons. Container passed through the Adriatic and arrived at the Albanian port of Durres. Arms also came from Macedonia disguised as humanitarian aid. At that point US diplomats began talking to the KLA leaders, but the attacks continued. The Kosovar delegation was already divided when it arrived at Rambouillet on 6 February, and the KLA soon gained the upper hand. At the end of the talks the KLA intelligence chief, Hashim Thaci, announced that a new Kosovan government was being established to replace that set up by Rugova in 1992 and appointed himself Prime Minister. Meanwhile the KLA leadership was expanding. The 'political committee' had grown from six to eight members. On 24 February Suleyman Silema, nephew of a prominent chief of the general staff, which had two heads operational planning, Rexhep Silemi and Bislim Zyrapi, five zone leaders specialist divisions."
Chiclet; Ibid;
    The KLA Leaders at the start of Rambouillet, included those in the Diaspora: "The leadership still appears to rely, at least for its public face, on the radicals in the diaspora, including Jashar Salihu, the head of the Homeland Calling fund, and Pleurat Sejdiu, the KLA's London representative."
Hedges; Ibid.
    But more important were those whose primary work was carried out, in the dangerous conditions of Kosova itself. And among these Hashim Thaci was and remains most important: "But the group's chief appears to be the university-educated Hashim Thaci, the head of the political directorate, whose nom de guerre is "Snake." Like many in the leadership, he was a student activist in Pristina before leaving to study in Albania and raise money in Europe for the independence movement. "
Hedges; Ibid;
He was then an "unknown":
  "Many, including most Kosovo Albanians.. had never heard of him, Thaci emerged from the hills to lead the Kosovo Albanian delegation to Rambouillet. He had become the leader of the KLA's loose-knit organization by being one of the most zealous members of the minuscule group that founded it. Indeed, he was so dedicated that he began military training in 1992, before the KLA was founded. His link to the older exiles like Mahmuti, in Switzerland, was money. They collected it and funneled it to Thaci and his colleagues in Kosovo. The connections between the émigrés and the members of the new generation became more solid when the young men made periodic visits abroad. Thaci, for example, spent some time in 1994 in Zurich, studying politics and international relations."
Judah; Ibid;
    Someone more well known, and who had been tested over a longer time was Adem Demaci, who had been repeatedly and prolongedly imprisoned by the Serbs for his Marxist-Leninist based espousal of national status for Kosova. Demaci was the closest of the KLA leaders, to Marxism-Leninism – as we can determine to date. "Adem Demaci, who was sometimes called the Mandela of Kosovo because of his twenty-eight years as a political prisoner, and who was then the KLA's "political representative" in Pristina";
Judah Ibid.
    When the USA and the EEC imperialists engineered the Rambouillet farce, they already knew that they could not deal with such an experienced and determined fighter as Demaci. The imperialists set out then to break the ranks of the KLA, and they in essence ensured Demaci’s exclusion from the talks. This was wise on their parts, since Demaci was steadfastly refusing to rescind the demand for independence and at the very least another referendum: "At Rambouillet .. The crux of the deal being offered was that while the Serbs had to accept a NATO military force, the Albanians would have to give up on their demand that there be a referendum on independence after three years. The diplomats told Thaci that there could be no credible pressure on the Serbs if his delegation did not sign. Thaci was torn, not knowing what to do. Demaci…. was constantly on the phone yelling at Thaci that he must not sign the deal. He told him that the KLA commanders in the field would never accept anything short of independence after three years. One diplomat who was there says that Thaci, uncertain what to do, "was almost in tears."
Judah; Ibid.
It can be justly said that Thaci was pressured into taking an opportunist line. Demaci held firm to the wisdom of not trusting the imperialists self-proclaimed sense of justice. Whether Thaci has learnt from his opportunist error, and has returned to a principled national liberation perspective must yet be seen.
    We will remind readers that four parties affiliated to International Struggle Marxist Leninist (ISML); issued a joint statement on the war of aggression in the Balkans; namely Alliance (North America); The Lenin Committee (Italy); Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (Turkey); Communist League (UK).
    In that statement we condemned USA aggression; BUT we supported the war of national liberation of the KLA. However, in light of slanders made against us, we remind all, that we also resolutely warned that the KLA would make a make an opportunistic mistake, if it supported NATO. We wrote this in our resolution, also found on the web site below: "We must however point out to the Kosovar working class and peasantry, that supporting the US and NATO led imperialist bombing war in the North of the former Yugoslavia - once more ties their fate to that of the imperialists. The imperialist Treaty of London divided Albania into two, and "gave" Kosova to the Serbs. Relinquishing now their freedom struggle to imperialist USA and NATO - would lead the Kosovar people into yet another, and equally tragic blind alley. Therefore we criticise the calls of the Kosovar Liberation Army in calling for support of the NATO strikes - both before and since the start of air-strikes - as a grave mis-understanding of how to achieve real nationhood and meaningful independence. For the Kosovar people - such calls to NATO leadership, can only retard their main and final goal - socialism. If for the Serbian peoples it is necessary to repudiate their bourgeois leader's suppression of Kosova independence - the corollary for the Kosovar working peoples is to understand that national liberation of oppressed peoples involves a struggle against imperialism, as well as a struggle against the immediate oppressors."
The current situation in the KLA leadership is that of at least three main contenders for power. These are: "Contrary to what would be expected, most influence and power lies within the Political Directorate (Drejtoria Politike), led by the rising political star and head of the Kosovo negotiating delegation to France Hashim Thaçi. Many consider his most serious long-term opponent to be Hxavit Haliti, whose several years of political imprisonment are marred by allegations of collaboration with Serbian authorities. Haliti has very close links with the current government in Tirana and is trying to put all the financing of the KLA under his control. Although Sylejman Selimi, 'Sultan', has been named commander-in-chief, the extent of his real influence is not clear. It appears that his surprise nomination during the first round of negotiations in Rambouillet was an attempt by hard-line Kosovo politician Adem Demaçi to explore rifts among ShP members and prevent the acceptance of the Kosovo Interim Agreement. Losing the battle against the Kosovo accord, Demaçi had to exit the political scene, but the ShP decided not to cause internal divisions by replacing Selimi by a more influential and militarily competent member."
Jane’s Defence Weekly; IBid.
    In addition there is the continuing presence and reality of the clear-cut comprador agencies set up by Rugova and Bukoshi. It is clear that the USA has now taken up the cudgels on behalf of Rugova (See part 6). But at the moment of writing some water still needs to flow. The state of the present divide between the wings of the KLA and its openly comprador rivals is depicted below: "Likewise, Albanian politicians are squabbling among themselves. As the Rambouillet meeting drew to a close the Albanian delegation agreed among themselves to set up a provisional government. The ministers were to be chosen by Hashim Thaci and they included members of Rugova's LDK. But the LDK leaders refused to accept their appointments. .. a fierce power struggle has broken out among the Albanian leaders. All sides are working on the assumption that Kosovo will sooner or later be liberated and thus it is essential to be in the best position now so as to be able to take power when the time comes. On the one side are the leaders of the KLA and on the other the leaders of the LDK, and more specifically Bujar Bukoshi, the man Rugova appointed as his prime minister in exile after he declared Kosovo's "independence" in 1991. Despite the breakdown in the relations between the two, Bukoshi has remained premier, continuing to perform his main job, which has been to raise money from Kosovars abroad. No one knows how much money he and his government-in-exile have, but the KLA regularly denounces him as a traitor for refusing to hand it over to them."
Judah Ibid;
    We remind the reader that Stalin supported the Kuomintang, and steadily upheld the most determined and revolutionary section of it - as weaker successive layers capitulated to imperialism. (See:
     At the time of writing it is still not clear as to how the situation will end, nor which section of the KLA will become predominant. Nonetheless it is quite clear that the inevitability of Kosovar independence is becoming clearer: "Despite all Serbian efforts to treat it as a terrorist group, the KLA is now the strongest player on the Kosovo Albanian political scene and fully aware of its current status and responsibilities. All signs indicate that, should the Serbian authorities accept the Kosovo Interim Agreement, the political arm of the KLA would transform into the Kosovo Liberation Party (Partia Çlirimtare ë Kosovës - PÇK). The requisite political wisdom and resources to take on a civilian role without surrendering its position to the previous civilian structures of the Kosovo Albanians are already in evidence."
    Those who tried to ignore them can do so no longer: "The KLA fighters are the province's new power brokers. Whatever political leadership emerges in Kosovo will come from the rebel ranks, and it will be militant, nationalist, uncompromising, and deeply suspicious of all outsiders. U.S. intelligence agencies, preoccupied with tracking militant Islamist groups and Iranian agents in Bosnia, were caught off guard by the Kosovo rebel force's emergence, strength, and popularity. Indeed, some diplomats argued as late as last year about whether the shadowy group really existed -- even as small armed bands roamed Drenica in central Kosovo.
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3).
    The lessons for the KLA are also also clear: If independence for Kosova is to be achieved – do not trust the USA: "The West's blundering peace initiative has reminded the KLA not to rely too much on NATO. The alliance was palpably reluctant to move against the Serbs, although they have flagrantly violated the agreement made last October to cease hostilities in Kosovo. Ignoring the October pact, NATO bombed to get Belgrade to sign on to the Rambouillet deal -- a shift not lost on the Kosovar Albanians. Milosevic, for his part, has driven NATO crazy since the Kosovo crisis began. Chris Hill, the current U.S. Kosovo mediator, has carried out fruitless shuttle diplomacy since last spring; on his latest trip to Belgrade, Milosevic did not even meet with him. Put bluntly, the Serb leaders stiffed the United States. The KLA is correctly distrustful of Western intentions and resolve. That distrust led to the decision by the KLA not to sign the Rambouillet agreement in the first round of talks last February -- which, in turn, let the alliance off the moral hook. Kosovar intransigence gave the West the excuse it was looking for not to implement the October agreement and deepened the already wide rifts within the alliance."
Hedges; Ibid.
    Chiclet offers this view of the future of the KLA: "In the early days the KLA was under the thumb of its pro-Hoxha backers. Now the Ordeals suffered by Kosovo's, ethnic Albanian population have won it support. Fighting experience militarized it. In deciding to back the KLA, the USA is dealing with a much more structured leadership. A new KLA is probably about to emerge."
Chiclet Ibid.
    But to Conclude this section, we will close for Northstar Compass with a citation from a favorite bourgeois author of theirs, Chris Hedges: "Settling in for a long fight, the KLA probably has 30,000 automatic weapons, made available at bargain prices after Albanian military arsenals were looted in the chaos after the spring 1997 economic meltdown. The rebels have made a concerted effort to acquire German antitank weapons, heavy machine guns, sniper rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades. Most important, by launching the current rebellion, taking on the Serbs, and drawing international attention to the conflict, the rebel group has done more in a year to further the cause of independence for Kosovo than Rugova was able to do over the preceding decade…. In the end, it will come to this: Led by the KLA, Kosovo will separate from Serbia, whether by negotiations or by violence. "
"Kosovo's Next Masters"; By Chris Hedges; Foreign Affairs May/June 1999 (volume 78, number 3.
 This Section completed August 1999.