Kosovo: Stratfor

ex Singidunum (beograd@brazil.tcimet.net)
Sun, 18 Apr 1999 22:28:45 -0400

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NATO pakta na SRJ. Lista sluzi kao dopuna vestima, sa temama
vazanim za zivot i prezivljavanje civilnog stanovnistva SRJ.

From: http://www.stratfor.com/crisis/kosovo/

A Yugoslavian View of Current Air War Situation
18 Apr 99 - 2105 GMT

A source in Yugoslavia has provided Stratfor with detailed claims
asserting that Yugoslavian Air Defenses and Air Forces have not been
damaged nearly as much as NATO claims. In particular, they are
claiming that NATO has failed to seriously damage the main Slatina
airbase. According to this source, the YAF maintains its aircraft
there in underground bunkers designed to absorb nuclear strikes. Thus,
while the runway is heavily cratered, aircraft remain safe and the YAF
has procedures available capable of repairing the runways in under an
hour, once the decision is made to do so. The same is said to be true
at Batanjaca air base. Indeed, Batanjaca is said to be even more
secure since it was originally created to house Yugoslavian leaders in
the event of nuclear war. Thus, both major airfields remain fully
operation should the YAF choose to go active. The source says that
NATO battle damage assessment is mistaking apparent damage for real
damage. For example, while six Mig-29s have been lost, most of the
aircraft destroyed on the ground have been Mig-21s or decoys. Other
aircraft, such as the Orao (Eagle) have been used to intercept cruise
missiles with great success. The source pointed out that the Orao does
not have on board radar and that it has to be directed to the target
by ground control radar. This proves, according to him, that the air
defense radar system continues to operate as and when the Yugoslavs
choose to activate it. NATO SEAD efforts have failed in part because
the Yugoslavs are using older radar installations as decoys,
dissipating NATO efforts. It was not explained why NATO SEAD aircraft
could not discriminate between the signatures of different Yugoslav
systems but was merely asserted that Yugoslavia could and has spoofed
NATO SEAD efforts. It follows, therefore, that Yugoslavian air defense
radars are not only operational, but are also able to operate in spite
of NATO SEAD operations.

According to the source, Yugoslavia fully expected the loss of its
fixed radar installations and has been depending, as planned, on the
use of mobile ground stations that carry out a mission, are shut down
and redeployed. Outmoded and unnecessary equipment being used to
confuse NATO into wasting resources on non-functional radar sites
while NATO's attacks on airfields destroy obsolete aircraft and decoys
without seriously damaging operational capabilities. All communication
systems, including digital, are fully operational. Some fixed
communications facilities are down but this was planned for and other
systems are available. There is sufficient fuel for about two years of
combat and morale is claimed to be high. The source is also claiming
that 30-40 NATO aircraft have been destroyed. Finally, the source is
claiming that the F-117 was not destroyed by SA-3s, SA-6s or AAA, but
by a unique system developed in Yugoslavia on which even the Russians
have not been briefed. The source has also provided us with the
Yugoslav view of NATO air tactics. According to the source, NATO
aircraft will approach Yugoslavia's borders in large numbers and orbit
just outside Yugoslavian air space, until they suddenly and
simultaneously begin their bombing run. This means that NATO does not
have continual air supremacy over Yugoslavia and does not maintain
constant air patrols. YAF is able to mount its own air operations
while NATO is not active over Yugoslavia. For example, on the day of
the massacre of Albanian refugees by aircraft, we are told that YAF
did have 12 aircraft in the air north of Pristina. Obviously, the
source is insisting that none participated in the strafing of refugees
and none were near by.

Stratfor has not been able to verify these claims, but then we are not
always able to verify NATO and other Western claims either, but do
report them. This is the view of the situation from the Yugoslav side
and should be read as such.


0310 GMT, 990419 -
A reader has sent in his read on our Yugoslavian shoot-down tape. He
noted the following. First, Vixen 23 sounds like a British jet, given
the accent. At one point, the name Gorazde is mentioned, which is in
Bosnia. On April 16, 1994 a British Sea Harrier was shot down near
Gorazde. Given the accents and the town mentioned, it appears to this
reader that this is a replay of an old-shoot down being passed off as
a new one.

0210 GMT, 990419 -
The attached RealAudio file was downloaded from BEONET, an Internet
site in Yugoslavia, located at http://www.beonet.yu/vesti_sl.html. It
was called to our attention by a source in Yugoslavia, indicating
interest in bringing it to public attention. According to the
Yugoslavs, this is a recording of a shoot-down of a NATO aircraft
sometime today, including conversations from AWACS controllers and
other pilots in the area. We have no way to verify whether this tape
is authentic nor whether the events took place today or even over
Serbia. It is sufficiently realistic to post. It should be noted that
our Yugoslav source claimed that it was a shoot-down of an F-16,
whereas it appears to us to involve an A-10. We would be interested in
hearing from any of our readers who are familiar with such material
their evaluation of the authenticity of the tape.

0120 GMT, 990419 -
According to Reuters, Vicktor Chernomyrdin told Russian television on
Sunday night that the Russian leadership will meet on Monday to
consider proposals for settling the conflict in Yugoslavia. He also
said that he expects to begin visits to NATO capitals as well as to
Belgrade shortly. Chernomyrdin also said that his appointment does not
mean that Yeltsin has passed over Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov or
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who are the architects of Russia's
pro-Serbia policy.

2315 GMT, 990418 -
According to Agence France Presse, Yugoslavian authorities detained
and escorted the Deputy Premier of Montenegro, Novak Kilibarda, before
a court on charges of "undermining the military defense capacity of
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." He was brought before a military
magistrate who ordered him to be detained after he had ignored a
summons from the court on several occasions, according to the press
service of the Yugoslavian Second Army. According the AFP, Kilibarda
had said earlier in the day that he did not "recognize either the
military tribunal or the Yugoslav government." Rumors of a coup by the
Yugoslavian army against the Montenegran government have been
circulating for weeks. It is unclear what this action against
Kilibarda implies.

0130 GMT, 990419 - Russia Establishing "good cop, bad cop"
Negotiating Framework

We have been commenting for the past week about the "good cop, bad
cop," routine that Germany and the United States have adopted in the
past week. It now appears as if Russia were setting up the same game,
this time playing off the Primakov-Ivanov faction against Viktor
Chernomyrdin. Chernomyrdin is in an odd position. Domestically, he is
a fairly unpopular figure, architect of a generally discredited
economic policy. He has no support in the Duma. On the other hand,
precisely for the same reasons that he is disliked in the Duma, he is
well thought of in the West, particularly by those Westerners who
still harbor visions of economic liberalization in Russia. It is
fascinating that Yeltsin should have selected as his negotiator on
Serbia a man whose primary claim to fame is that Western bankers and
financial officials like to deal with him. Yeltsin is setting up a
negotiation with two pivots. On one axis, there is the question of
Russian pressure on Serbia. Here, Yeltsin can carefully play off hard
liners like Ivanov and moderates like Chernomyrdin in the same way
that Washington and Bonn play off against each other. On the other
axis, Chernomyrdin is in a superb position to play off Western
economic aid against cooperation over Serbia, always pointing to the
glowering Primakov and Ivanov in order to extract economic concessions
for pressuring Serbia. Finally, the wily Yeltsin, always written off
and always surviving, has now created an internal factional dispute
that he can play off against each other. Of course the problem with
the latter is that Chernomyrdin is more a lonely dinosaur in Russia
than a faction, and the real opposition are the Communists and
nationalists in the Duma. But for all of its limits, Yeltsin is still
pursuing a clever strategy.

1955 GMT, 990418 - Analysis of French Summit Proposal

Washington has hardened its position this weekend in two ways. First,
Clinton has asserted, publicly but unofficially, that the Serb
question now depends on the removal of the Milosevic regime. Second,
Washington and London are signaling through multiple means that NATO
is now contemplating a ground attack to achieve this goal. There has
also been a proposal made by the French and endorsed by the United
States calling for a summit of all nations bordering Serbia. There are
three reasons for such a summit. The first is too coordinate refugee
issues. The second, and more important reason, is to make Washington's
threat of a ground war credible. At this point, only Albania has
authorized the use of its soil for an attack on Serbia. We would
assume that Bosnia and Croatia would be prepared to permit an attack
to be launched from their soil and would probably participate.
However, the two key countries in any ground war against Serbia are
Macedonia and Hungary and both of those appear to be adamantly opposed
to the use of their soil for such a mission. An attack solely from
Albania, Bosnia, and Croatia would be difficult to mount and could
very well fail. Hungary and Macedonia must be brought into the fold
for the NATO threat to be credible. However, we see another third
motivation behind the call. The French, who work closely with the
Greeks, know that Macedonian participation depends on Greek
cooperation. They also know that the Greeks will not agree to a ground
attack on Serbia. The French are also aware that even if Hungary does
agree to participate, the ability of German forces to deploy on
Hungarian soil depends on Austrian or Slovakian cooperation, since
troops must take incredibly circuitous routes to get to Hungary. The
more countries that have to cooperate, the more difficult it is for a
ground attack strategy to emerge. Thus, we see Chirac's proposal as
being a very subtle way of forcing Washington to see that its
bombastic threats are not very credible and to pave the way for the
Russo-German initiatives that can be expected this week.

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