Why Milosevic Decided to Settle the Conflict Over Kosovo When He Did
Jan 1, 2001
Why Milosevic Decided to Settle When He Did
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This report examines the reasons Slobodan Milosevic, the then president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, decided on June 3, 1999, to accept NATO's conditions for terminating the conflict over Kosovo. Drawing in part upon the testimony of Milosevic and other senior Serb and foreign officials who directly interacted with Milosevic, the report analyzes (1) the assumptions and other calculations that underlay Milosevic's initial decision to defy NATO's demands with regard to Kosovo, and (2) the political, economic, and military developments and pressures, and the resulting expectations and concerns that most importantly influenced his subsequent decision to come to terms. While several interrelated factors, including Moscow's eventual endorsement of NATO's terms, helped shape Milosevic's decision to yield, it was the cumulative effect of NATO air power that proved most decisive. The allied bombing of Serbia's infrastructure targets, as it intensified, stimulated a growing interest among both the Serbian public and Belgrade officials to end the conflict. Milosevic's belief that the bombing that would follow a rejection of NATO's June 2 peace terms would be massively destructive and threatening to his continued rule made a settlement seem imperative. Also examined are some implications for future U.S. and allied military capabilities and operations.
Why Milosevic Didn't Settle Earlier
He Assumed Accepting Rambouillet Terms Would Endanger His Rule
He Assumed He Could Force NATO to Offer Better Terms
Why Milosevic Decided to Settle on June 3
He Realized That His Hoped-For Leverage on NATO Had Evaporated
Bombing Produced a Popular Climate Conducive to Concessions
Damage to "Dual-Use" Infrastructure Generated Growing Pressure
Damage to Military Forces and KLA "Resurgence" Generated Little Pressure
He Expected Unconstrained Bombing If NATO's Terms Were Rejected
He Probably Also Worried About Threat of Future Invasion
He Believed NATO's Terms Provided Him with Some Political Cover
The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.
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