US to send 130 members of Spec-Ops to Kosovo, Vucic not concerned

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In this picture relased by the US Department of Defence, US Army Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division scan the landing zone for possible hostile forces 26 August 2005. US and Iraqi forces launched 16 March 2006 what they said was the biggest air raid since the war began three years ago, with a massive assault dubbed Operation Swarmer, intended to clear a suspected insurgent operating area northeast of Samarra, over 125 kilometres (80 miles) north of Baghdad. AFP PHOTO/US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE SGT RUSSELL E. COOLEY

Analysts say the US announcement of sending an additional 130 troops to Kosovo to support KFOR and NATO is a message to warmongering politicians in the region.

The troops in question are members of US special units of the Tupelo-based 1st Battalion, “highly trained for emergency response,” the daily Blic is reporting.

They will arrive in Kosovo after preparations in Fort Hood in Texas, where they are “learning Serbian and Albanian” and “becoming acquainted with the Balkans,” said the article.

“When they arrive in Kosovo will be deployed as part of KFOR aviation units that use UH 60 Black Hawk helicopters and will stay for 10 months,” writes Blic.

Analyst Dusan Janjic told the paper that this is “more a political and security than a military message of the US.”

“In this way, Americans are clearly telling local politicians not to play war any more and are making an operational return to the Balkans. Their assessment is that they had left this region for too long to Turks, NATO and Europeans. They also believe that the Balkans is in danger of terrorism. This means that they will not leave this part of Europe with unresolved issues of Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also that they will try to reduce Turkey’s influence in the region,” said Janjic.

Professor at the Faculty of Security Zoran Dragisic also thinks that additional US troops are needed due to increased tensions in the Balkans.

“The fall of the government and the upcoming elections in Kosovo have caused disturbance within the Albanian population, which makes Serbs additionally threatened. That is why this assistance to KFOR is welcome, and it’s a reason to rejoice that this is a unit of the strongest military force in the world,” said Dragisic.

According to Blic, similar opinions are held by political analysts from Kosovo. Imer Mushkolaj sees the arrival of US troops as a response to the political situation in the region and the threat of terrorism.

“Tensions are present in Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, and therefore the move of the United States expected. Kosovo is an American investment and certainly the United States will not allow it to go in an unwanted direction. Also, terrorism threatens across Europe and this is an additional form of security,” says Mushkolaj.

Dragisic says that “US help is a clear message that there the Kosovo Army will not be established.”
“The stance of the whole world on this issue is clear and the dissatisfaction of Albanians is even greater because of that,” said Dragisic.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic says he is not worried because the US is sending additional troops to Kosovo.

“There is no reason for concern, because we have good cooperation with KFOR. We feel safer, we feel that Serbs in Kosovo are safer when there are more KFOR members,” he told reporters in China, when asked to comment on the news.

Vucic added that this issue was discussed in the past with then US Vice President Joseph Biden, and observed that “only KFOR can protect Serbs in Kosovo.”

“We can’t in a different way… how are we to protect our people in Kosovsko Pomoravlje, in Gracanica, in Metohija, other than KFOR being able to do that,” Vucic said.”

“If that’s the point, then we are grateful, if that’s not the point, then I don’t know what to say to you. But, I think there’s no other point,” Vucic said.

B92

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