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The Kosovo Liberation Army. Inside Story of an Insurgency. Henry H. Perritt, Jr. Chicago-Kent College of Law. (book to be published by University of Illinois Press, 2007). Introduction. Where is Kosovo? History of oppression Three Kosovar Albanian factions Military doctrine

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the kosovo liberation army

The Kosovo Liberation Army

Inside Story of an Insurgency

Henry H. Perritt, Jr.

Chicago-Kent College of Law

(book to be published by University of Illinois Press, 2007)

introduction
Introduction
  • Where is Kosovo?
  • History of oppression
  • Three Kosovar Albanian factions
  • Military doctrine
  • Phases of war, military and political
  • Battle of the bridge
  • Targetting and ICL
  • Lessons learned
history of oppression
History of oppression
  • Ilyrians populated western Balkans before Romans
  • Ottomans conquered after Skenderbeg died in 1468
  • Albania became a state in 1913, Kosovo forced into Serbia
  • Greater Albania during World War II, under Axis
  • Tito promised referendum then renegged
rise of milosevic
Rise of Milosevic
  • 1987, 1989 speeches on the Field of Blackbirds demonized Albanians
  • Political autonomy revoked in 1989
  • Albanians expelled from jobs
  • Referendum on, declaration of, independence in 1991
  • Parallel society and government in exile created 1991
kosovar culture
Kosovar culture
  • Never had a state they could rely on
  • So depended on family/clan
  • Strong cultural norms:
    • Hospitality
    • Revenge
    • Loyalty
  • Corruption under the formal legal system necessary to survive
three factions
Three factions
  • Peaceful Path Institutionalists
  • Planners in Exile
  • Defenders at Home
peaceful path institutionalists
Peaceful Path Institutionalists

President Ibrihim Rugova

Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi

planners in exile
Planners in Exile

Xhavit Haliti

Hashim Thaci, KLA Political Director

defenders at home
Defenders at Home

Ramush Haradinaj

Commander Remi

military doctrine
Military doctrine
  • Clausewitz
    • Superiority of numbers
    • Concentration of forces
    • Surprise
    • Defense has an advantage
  • Mao/Che Guevarra
    • People must support
    • Hit and run attacks
    • Provoking reprisals against civilians builds popular support
    • Wear down will of regime
fourth generation war
Fourth Generation War
  • Goal is political, not military
  • Organize conflict so as to:
    • Peel elites away from regime
    • Build international support for insurgency
  • “Battles” are P.R.
battle of the bridge
Battle of the Bridge

Police convoy

Machine guns

& sniper

Obstruction

AK-47s

goals of the kla s war
Goals of the KLA’s war
  • Defend our families
  • Build popular support through resistance--“Slap them in the face” in Drenica
  • Avoid annihilation
  • Import arms from Albania through Dukagjini
  • Interfere with Serbian lines of supply in Llapi
  • Discredit Peaceful Path Institutionalists
  • Attract international intervention
phases of the kla s war
Phases of the KLA’s war
  • Preparations for resistance
    • 1981-1995: build core supporters, infrastructure
    • 1991-1996: the “Intelligence War”
    • 1996-1998: spread violent resistance, “consciousness of potentiality”
  • Enablers
    • 1996: Dayton leaves out Kosovo, discredits PPI
    • 1997: Albania collapses, opens arms supply route
    • 1998 (March): Jashari Massacre
  • Results
    • 1998 (Summer): 40% KLA controlled; Serb counteroffensive
    • 1998 (October): Holbrooke/Milosevic ceasefire, KLA regroups, reorganizes
    • 1999 (February/March): Rambouillet
    • 1999 (April/June): NATO bombing campaign; 850,000 civilians driven from their homes by Serbs
    • 1999 (June): Serbs expelled, KLA disbands, UNMIK established
kla strategy and tactics
KLA strategy and tactics
  • Humiliation, ragewill to resist
  • Gradually morphs into 4GL
  • Classic guerrilla tactics 1993-1998
  • Premature resort to positional warfare 1998
    • Defensive
    • Naiveté and overconfidence
    • Need to be visible for P.R. reasons
  • Retreat into guerrilla warfare during NATO bombing campaign
targets
Targets
  • Special oppressors: secret police, police (assassination)
  • Albanian collaborators (intimidation, detention, occasional executions)
  • Police stations, convoys (hit-and-run attacks)
  • Serb military units and supply lines (sniping from the hills)
  • Defend villages against organized military attacks (trenches and sniping)
kla order of battle
KLA order of battle
  • No more than 200-300 active fighters before Jashari Massacre
  • Balooned to 15,000, but poorly organized and led
  • Weapons shortages
    • “We’ll carry these guns on our backs forever”
    • Mostly AK-47s, sniper rifles, a few machine guns and, rarely, anti-tank weapons
political order of battle
Political order of battle
  • Diaspora raised $60-100 million
  • Followed CIA advice
    • Limited targets
    • No violence outside borders of Kosovo
    • No Mujahadeen
    • Limited dirty money
  • Publicized humanitarian violations
    • “My weapon was English and my cellphone”
    • “Once the TV crews could go to refugee camps, they didn’t need to come to Kosovo”
the stars aligned
The Stars Aligned
  • Collapse of the Warsaw Pact”consciousness of potentiality
  • Active Diaspora in U.S., Germany
  • Popular, press outrage at Milosevic
  • Dayton/Albania collapse
  • Clinton/Blair guilt over Bosnia
  • “How I miss the war” sympathetic press
  • Good KLA P.R.
    • Websites
    • Video and cellphone interviews for U.S.
lessons learned
Lessons learned
  • Hearts and minds
  • Insurgency difficult to extinguish once it gets a foothold: annihilation becomes rampage against civilians
  • Outside support essential
    • Money
    • Arms
    • Refuge