Trouble Brewing In Kosovo As Dissent Grows

By Paul McNamara | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

(CNS) - As unhappiness with the current Yugoslavian government grows, officials there may soon find themselves at the mercy of an angry nation.

At an opposition rally in Cacak, Yugoslavia, angry Serbs chanted for a new government. Since Milosevic agreed to NATO demands, removed Serbian troops and police from the Kosovo Province, the public has been critical of him.

"I'd rather wish to be bombed for one more year than have this one stay in power for six more months," stated Gradimir Rakocevic to wire services at the rally.

Rakocevic said the bombing had taken away his job and his faith in Milosevic's government. "He's been our ruin. . . . We've come to nothing because of him."

"Our demand is for resignation of Slobodan Milosevic," rally organizer Goran Svilanovic said.

"Resignation! Resignation!" the 10,000 strong crowd shouted in reply.

Alliance for Change, Yugoslavia's premier pro-democracy group, organized the rally to see if Serbian opposition can use public dissatisfaction with Milosevic to start a series of governmental reforms.

John Bolton, senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute told the political dissention could go two ways.

"The dissent is of at least two different kinds. One is a pro-democratic dissent that wants to replace Milosevic with something that's democratically elected. . . . The other is a hard-core Serbian nationalist view that is opposed to Milosevic because he lost the war. . . . They see him as giving away Kosovo."

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called a meeting with key members of the Kosovo peacekeeping force to review the progress and problems of the joint UN-NATO forces.

Annan wants to get the UN civilian administration operational quickly. There are currently 428 staff working in Kosovo, including dozens of UN workers. UN officials say they would like 3,000 workers, but so far only have commitments from 1,300. They also need funds to pay local officials, and for construction projects.

Originally the G-8 economic group called the meeting, inviting only its members. Annan then added eight more countries, and three organizations to the guest list, saying they are friends of Kosovo, and have a key role in the progress of the province.

"I think this whole effort is to try to bring it all together," said U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, after meeting with Annan Tuesday.

According to Albright, the US has committed financially, and in terms of personnel, to support the mission in Kosovo. Albright said the US personnel want to hear "a full report" from Annan "so we will have a better idea of all the needs."

Bolton told he thinks that the UN's progress has so far has been "miserable."

"They can't even pick the key administrator for Kosovo, they're not getting the civilian police deployed."

Bolton also fears shades of Bosnia in Kosovo, is cautious to believe the apparent success of the military part of the mission will translate into an equally successful peacekeeping campaign.

"When I saw that the post-military phase involved getting the UN back in charge and NATO receding solely into the peacekeeping mode, my immediate reaction was this is like Bosnia in reverse," said Bolton.

"It's another reason why people should not be too optimistic that the relative success of the military campaign will be replicated during the peacekeeping phase."