Three new reports issued (8/26/98) by Amnesty International drew
attention to the "deliberate and arbitrary violence against civilians, the...terror and mass displacement of people" in central and western Kosova. One report noted that women in particular are bearing the brunt of the humanitarian crisis, citing one ethnic Albanian woman shot in the leg by snipers as she tried to return home to find a safe place for her daughter. Amnesty also called the disappeared and missing the "hidden victims" of Kosova, saying that "ethnic Albanians have disappeared' in Serbian police hands;
Associated Press reported (9/11/98) that "one official said the current refugee situation threatens to create as many as 25 new ghost towns in Kosova."
Mother Theresa Society, the main local humanitarian NGO in Kosova,
estimates that 100-150,000 IDP's are living in the woods and hills.
Associated Press (9/7/98) cited a nurse working with humanitarian NGO Doctors Without Borders: " I've had women and children die in front of me'...[he] said a woman with a complicated pregnancy tried to pass [a] heavily fortified Serbian police checkpoint, but was turned back... there's little chance she survived,' " he said. AP also reported that health care is still a problem for those who are able to get to medical facilities: "In one recent case, wounded women and children lay groaning on the cold floor of a truck for nearly two hours until doctors at the Serb-run Pristina hospital agreed to admit them...without proof of medical insurance. Relief
workers call demands for such documentation from emergency cases absurd."
AP cited a Kosova Albanian doctor working with IDPs in the Nekovc Valley, who said "12% of the Nekovc Valley refugees suffer from diarrhea. Pneumonia and ear infections are also on the rise, particularly among kids. Two infants who died in the past 48 hours could have been saved with basic medication."
"What we have seen is tremendous suffering, suffering that will only increase dramatically once winter sets in a month from now...we also hear testimony from eyewitnesses to some of the crimes and atrocities...these accounts were chilling."
Former US Senator Robert Dole (9/9/98)
"The families that have absorbed people in their own homes" and those who are living under Belgrade's months-long food blockade."....."There's no capacity in the world for the international community, under the best of times, to be able to take care of 2 million people in Kosovo. They're starving their people to the extent that this blockade continues."
Julia Taft, US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, Washington, DC, 9/9/98
The New York Times: "Making a partner of Mr. Milosevic is not an acceptable way to help the displaced. . .Most crucial. . .is to get Mr. Milosevic to stop shooting. This will requite intense pressure on Belgrade, with the credible threat of military force if necessary."
Agence France Presse noted that "despite UN statements regarding the situation in Kosova, neither the council nor Annan has recommended any action to end the conflict and avert the humanitarian catastrophe."
NATO announced (9/10/98)it has completed contingency planning for a full range of military options in Kosova. "NATO has adopted three scenarios for military action: one provides for large-scale air strikes, another, limited air strikes, and a third would see a large ground force deployed to back up a cease-fire or peace deal...limited air raids seem the only feasible option. There would be little risk to Allied troops as US Tomahawk missiles shot from ships or submarines in the Adriatic would be the weapon of choice. Such a series of warning shots would be credible, NATO sources have
said. They have chosen targets, most likely in Serb military communications centers or headquarters."
"The only other place I have seen as eerie as this is in Rwanda."
Former US Senator Robert Dole, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights John Shattuck was quoted by Associated Press (9/9/98)
"Instead of ultimatums and deadlines, instead of firing up the engines, NATO is postponing decisions and firing up excuses. American and European diplomats hide behind official statements that the situation in Kosova is "complicated" and that NATO needs UN Security Council authorization to act.
Both of these assertions are dead wrong. First, the situation is not
complicated. Indeed, it could not be clearer: This is a war against
civilians, and we know who is responsible: Slobodan Milosevic. Second, NATO does not need and should not seek a UN Security Council resolution authorizing it to take action to respond to a crisis in Europe that threatens stability in the region. All NATO needs is some leadership from the United States first and foremost, and then from Britain, France and Germany."
Former US Senator Robert Dole, Washington, 9/17/98
Former Senate majority leader Bob Dole -- who had just returned from a three-day visit to Kosova -- sharply criticized US Kosova policy at a hearing (9/17/98) held by the Congressional Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe:
"Instead of acting forcefully, America is asking the victims to
negotiate with those who are attacking them. In addition, there is a real attempt impose a moral equivalence between Serbian forces and the small band of Albanians who have taken up arms." Dole went on to say that "the bottom line is that once again, Western diplomats are trying to avoid the tough decisions and are desperate not to take on the person most responsible for the misery, suffering and instability in the region:
Slobodan Milosevic...while more humanitarian aid is desperately needed, such assistance will not solve the problem. The time is long overdue for the US to embrace a policy that will end Milosevic's reign of terror in Kosova."
Ibrahim, Kcic, Kosova, 9/18/98 :
"It's pretty calm now,
the police just shelled