cj#773> New World Order / Dept. of Redevelopment / Kosovo


Richard Moore

From: "viviane lerner" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Richard K Moore" <•••@••.•••>,
    "Michel Chossudovsky" <•••@••.•••>, ...
Subject: spearhead for German business in Kosovo
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 09:38:38 -0700

From the World Socialist Web Site www.wsws.org


WSWS : News & Analysis : Europe : The Balkan War

The German army as occupying power... and spearhead for German business
By Ulrich Rippert
10 July 1999
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German army (Bundeswehr) units have been stationed in the south of Kosovo
since June 11, thus opening up a new chapter in the history of German

With its active participation in the NATO bombing of Serbia, the Bundeswehr
joined in a war of aggression against a sovereign state for the first time
since its foundation in the fifties. For the first time since the defeat of
the Wehrmacht and the end of the Second World War, German troops are acting
as an occupying force.

With 8,500 soldiers the German army has the second biggest contingent of
the NATO force, following Britain with its 13,000 soldiers. The US, France
and Italy have each sent 7,000 men and Russia has sent a 3,600-strong
force. Kosovo has been divided into five zones of occupation, with the
German zone comprising the southwest part of the province, bordering on
Albania and Macedonia.

The German KFOR contingent is led by General Fritz von Korff, commander of
the 12th tank division "Oberpfalz". Last March von Korff was promoted to
brigadier general. He has been waiting for some months at the German army
base in Teltovo, Macedonia for the intervention in Kosovo. For a time he
was directly involved in the talks with the Yugoslav army leadership led by
General Mike Jackson.

The entry and the stationing of the German troops in the region of Prizren,
Kosovo's third biggest town, was accompanied with a barrage of propaganda:
"peace mission", "army of liberation", and pictures of refugees clapping
and waving. As usual, the more removed from the truth, the bigger were the
headlines and the shriller were the commentaries. The facts reveal a very
different picture.

KLA terror

Backed up by the entry of the Bundeswehr and the withdrawal of the Yugoslav
army units of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) immediately began to
terrorise those parts of the Serbian population which remained. KLA
fighters have taken over the police headquarters in Prizren. Prior to
taking over the building they arrested many civilians, mostly elderly men,
including Roma gypsies and Kosovar Albanians, who are accused of betraying
their country and collaborating with the enemy.

The KLA terror against gypsies and Serbs has not been limited to the German
zone of occupation, but has taken place throughout Kosovo and unleashed a
new flood of refugees—this time in the direction of Serbia.

From the total 200,000-strong non-Albanian population in Kosovo, tens of
thousands began to flee when Yugoslav Army troops began to withdraw on June
9. Many of those remaining are being persecuted. In Kosovo's capital,
Pristina, 30,000 of the total 40,000 Serbian inhabitants of the town had
left within the first two weeks of the peace.

Neither the Bundeswehr nor the NATO leadership can pretend to be surprised
by the extremely brutal actions of the KLA commandos. Such a development
was predictable. In the negotiations over several days for a Serbian
capitulation, the leadership of the Yugoslav army warned NATO
representatives of such a danger and attempted to delay the withdrawal of
their own troops in order to guarantee the security of the Serbian

NATO however insisted on the immediate withdrawal of Serbian troops and
threatened to renew the bombing. It knew full well that the resulting power
vacuum could not be immediately filled by NATO troops and left a free hand
for the KLA.

NATO banked on the KLA terror. This not only serves to refute the
propaganda over the "peace mission" of the Bundeswehr and NATO, it also
makes clear that the occupation government which is being put together and
assisted to power in Kosovo will be based on the most reactionary political
and social forces.

Reports have been circulating for weeks detailing the Mafia-type structures
of the KLA. There is no doubt that the organisation has financed its
activities with drug dealing and extortion and that the present ruling
clique came to the fore through resorting to the murder of its political
opponents. The German interior ministry even justified its decision for the
quickest possible repatriation of Kosovo refugees in Germany with reference
to the criminal activity of the KLA, which had to be prevented from
establishing a base in Germany. In Kosovo however, the German and other
occupying powers are relying precisely on such forces.

At the same time as the entry of German troops into the area, the KLA named
one of its retinue, Gafur Kiseri, as the new mayor of Prizren. He has the
responsibility of ensuring that local businessmen close to the KLA do not
go wanting when it comes to reconstruction.

The new prefect for Prizren is the former KLA spokesman in Kuces (Albania),
Kadri Kyreziu. He now acts as a mediator for the German KFOR troops. In a
report by the German Tageszeitung, Kyreziu confirmed that the KLA was
carrying out policing actions together with the KFOR soldiers: "They wear
the PU sign on their arm—‘Police Unit'." He referred to the co-operation
with the KFOR as "excellent" and added: "I am in contact with the Germans
and last Tuesday they expressly approved of my work."

While the alleged violent expulsion of the Albanian population by Serbian
militias served as the justification for the weeks-long NATO bombing and
the destruction of large parts of Yugoslavia, the brutal activities of the
KLA against the Serbian minority is regarded as the criminal actions of a
few individuals, and only halfheartedly punished.

As well as the Serbs, the Roma gypsy population have been the victims of
racist attacks. An editor of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Peter Münch,
interviewed a 29 year old Roma named Luan Kallo who had been tortured by
KLA members in the "KLA thrashing school"—a school which has been turned
into an army barracks for the KLA. Kallo reported that, on arrival at the
centre, he was greeted with the words: "You will confess to whatever we
accuse you of." He was then accused of collaboration and the murder of
women and children. Although threatened with death he denied all the
charges. Gangs of thugs took turns in beating him black and blue.

Asked about the torture, a KLA man responded: "All gypsies should be
slaughtered. They have ransacked our houses, they admitted it yesterday."
He continued swearing until others told him "to keep his mouth shut". No
one was brought to book for the offences.

The paper made the following comment regarding the tolerant attitude of the
Bundeswehr to the KLA: "The Germans are cautious of adopting too hard a
line against the often dubious Albanian troops. They are petrified of
endangering the deal over the disarming of the freedom fighters which was
recently celebrated as a breakthrough. The Bundeswehr also believes that
they could well use the services of the KLA in the struggle against the
threatening anarchy, as a sort of subordinate power" ( Süddeutsche Zeitung,

The human rights organisation Human Rights Watch has also reported on
attacks being made by the KLA on Serbs, Albanians and Roma. "In Prizren,
two elderly ethnic Serbs, Trifa Stamenkovic, an eighty-five-year-old man,
and Marija Filipovic, a fifty-nine-year-old woman, described the June 21
murder of their respective spouses, allegedly by KLA soldiers. Stamenkovic
and Filipovic, close neighbors in a traditionally Serbian area of Prizren,
both went out to run errands in the mid-morning. When they returned home,
Stamenkovic's seventy-seven-year-old wife, Marika, and Filipovic's
sixty-three-year-old husband, Panta, had both been killed: they were
stabbed and their throats had been cut. The week prior to the killings, the
couples had both received three threatening visits from uniformed KLA
members armed with AK47s who demanded their weapons and money. Panta
Filipovic was struck with a gun butt when he claimed not to possess any
weapons, Marija said. The Stamenkovic family was robbed, according to
Trifa. Although neither Stamenkovic nor Filipovic witnessed the killing of
their spouses, Filipovic's ethnic Albanian neighbors told her that the KLA
was responsible."

In light of such reports German politicians and the military leadership are
trying to diffuse any impression that they are directly working with the
KLA. Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping (SPD) has rejected the American
proposal for an independent military role to be played by the KLA in Kosovo
or the transformation of the organisation into a sort of national police
force. Scharping however qualified his rejection by declaring: "There is a
place for some of its members, but it is in a multi-ethnic, democratically
legitimated police force."

Economic interests

In line with the hoary old saying of all colonial powers, "divide and
rule," German policy is to use the conflict between the various ethnic
groups in the Balkans to advance its own economic and strategic interests.
The recognition of Slovenia and Croatia by the Kohl government, which
opened the floodgates to a torrent of violence, worked to this end. The
flood of words about "democracy" and "freedom" cannot disguise this fact.

A virtual baggage train of German industrialists, determined to outdo the
competition and secure the majority of lucrative contracts arising from the
reconstruction of Kosovo, has followed the trail blazed by the German army.

Already in the middle of June the United Electricity Works (VEW) from
Dortmund and the Chamber of Industry and Trade from North Rhine-Westphalia
(IHK) announced the foundation of a Kosovo pool of companies. In all 60
companies joined within the space of a few days and interest grew when the
VEW and IHK reported on their initiative to a press conference. Georg
Schulte, speaker of the Chamber of Trade, complained that "in
Bosnia-Herzogovina it was mainly Italian and American firms who benefited
from the reconstruction. This time German companies have to take part."

At the beginning of July a delegation of 20 managers from the VEW/IHK
company pool travelled to Prizren to carry out initial discussions with the
leader of the reconstruction work, Mattai Hoffmann, and the KLA town mayor.
The first successes were recorded. According to the German business
newspaper Handelsblatt 500 German companies were active in the region
before the war and receipts from exports amounted to 25 billion DM last
year. This year the figure is expected to rise to 30 billion DM, despite
the war.

Lucrative contracts are in prospect because of the large sums which the
European Union has made available for the reconstruction of the devastated
land. From January next year a total of 700 million Euros (over 700 million
dollars) will be made available each year. On June 22 the European Council
established a European Agency for the Reconstruction of Kosovo. Led by 250
"specialists," allocation teams are to be set up which can check, on the
spot, the degree of war damage and then allocate contracts based on "clear,
objective criteria".

In view of these enormous sums, a tug of war has begun behind the scenes
over who should participate in the allocation teams. In one of its last
acts as president of the European Union, the German government pushed
through the nomination of the former minister from the Chancellor's office,
Bodo Hombach, as EU Balkan co-ordinator. Austria and a number of other EU
countries were firmly opposed to the decision. Business groups in Germany
applauded the move, well aware that Hombach—a former company manager and
state economics minister—has a record as an aggressive advocate of German
business interests.

Immediately following Hombach's nomination, the Handelsblatt (June 24)
quoted the head of the National Organisation for German Industry, Rudolf
von Wartenberg, who called for "appropriate consideration to be given to
German business." The newspaper continued: "The mistake that was made in
Bosnia, where Germany assumed responsibility for a third off the costs but
only received between 4 and 8 percent of the contracts, should not be
repeated... The interests of German companies had to be secured with seats
and votes in the Agency for Reconstruction".

"Not least," the Handelsblatt concluded, "German business hopes that
Hombach will prove to be an effective advocate of its interests. The
international tussle for the huge contracts arising from the reconstruction
of the infrastructure has already begun."


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