"OUR CAMPAIGN will continue. Our timetable will be determined by our goals, not the other way round," said US president Bill Clinton last week. He was saying that the bloody war which NATO forces are waging in the Balkans is set to go on and on. New Labour's George Robertson also promised in parliament on Monday to continue bombing "day by day and night by night".
But every serious commentator now recognises that NATO bombing has brought wider disaster to the Balkans. Even some NATO generals acknowledge that the bombing campaign has not achieved what they said it would. NATO supreme commander Wesley Clark boasted at the outset that air strikes would force Milosevic to "change his pattern of behaviour". Now he admits "you cannot stop" what is happening in Kosovo "with airplanes". In a television interview on Monday night he clearly felt that the NATO bombing was far from a success.
Revelations that NATO leaders thought the bombing campaign would lead to Serbia's surrender within hours show the depths of their disarray. However, the more Clinton and Blair's war aims fail, the more they are intensifying the bombing. Their logic is now drawing them towards a ground war. This would be catastrophic. It would not be a Falklands Island operation where a few troops could cow a conscript army. It would not even be like the Gulf War in 1991 where allied planes pinned down and destroyed the Iraqi army in the desert. This would be full scale war in Europe.
The US estimates it would need an army of 75,000 to invade Kosovo and 200,000 to march on Belgrade. NATO is already talking of assembling an 80,000 advance force. They would be up against war trained Yugoslav troops who are used to fighting on the terrain. If NATO troops pour into Kosovo and Serbia through Albania, Romania and Bulgaria they are likely to create political turmoil that could draw those countries and others in the region into war. There is a growing alarm across Europe among ordinary people at such a nightmare scenario. Even those people who backed the bombing at the outset are becoming worried. In every town, workplace and college those who are against the war must organise to put the message across that Nato has no strategy but to add fuel to the fire in the Balkans.
|Picture: HANNAH DEE
UP TO 2,000 people marched through central London last Saturday in protest at both NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia and the continuing bombing and sanctions against Iraq. For more on anti-war protests click here.
Saturday 24 April
Saturday 1 May
Saturday 8 May
National demonstration in London
Wednesday 5 May
Thursday 22 April, 8pm
Friday 23 April, 7.30pm
Thursday 29 April, 8pm
South East London
Thursday 29 April, 7.30pm
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