Waiting for the Bombs to Fall

PRISTINA: War is a dirty thing and that is something I didn't find out only today as Kosovo awaits NATO's bombs. I first learned of it when I saw the faces of refugees in all of the wars of the former Yugoslavia. I was aboard the last flight from Croatia before war exploded there, and although I had a regular plane ticket, I found myself at the end of the queue to get on a plane. Men pushed women and children out of the way to get aboard. Everyone wanted to flee war, even if that meant leaving anonymous women and children behind.

I write seated in my office in Pristina, virtually hours before NATO strikes will hit Serbian positions. War today seems no better looking than before in Zagreb. I know that the fighting here (slaughter, really) will end sooner than I had thought, because, for the first time, Milosevic's war machine confronts a much stronger one, the NATO alliance. I know that one of the results of the coming air strikes will be the destruction of Milosevic's war machine, to the extent that it will never arise again as did the Serb machinery in this century.

I also know that this fact itself may change the Balkan people's behaviour towards war; we in Southeastern Europe will be confronted by the fact that there is a security umbrella over them created by NATO . The warfare of the past centuries, in particular the bloody ethnic cleansings of the past decade, is not valid anymore.

Given technology, war here may be over in a matter of weeks, and it may bring a dramatic change in our society. As a negotiator on the Kosovar side during the recent talks in France, I have signed an agreement that will give Kosovo three years of self-rule guaranteed by NATO, with the possibility of the people of Kosovo deciding their future status after that period of interim rule has finished. NATO has sufficient power to impose such a settlement.